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From Stanley Kubrick to George Romero: John Cusack names his 5 favourite films

American actor John Cusack has enjoyed a prolific career during which he has worked in more than 85 productions. From popular coming-of-age comedies like Sixteen Candles to surreal cult-classics like Being John Malkovich, Cusack has maintained an impressive range in his choice of projects and his performances. He recently starred in Utopia (2020), a remake of the eponymous 2013 sci-fi television series.

In an interview, Cusack reflected: “The artists, they’re never the tough part. The tough part is navigating the idea of making everything into a commodity. You get tired of the business. It’s also a strange thing, because what are the struggles of navigating Hollywood, really? It seems petty to complain. Even just talking about myself seems slightly obscene given the political climate. But it can be a tough business.”

He went on to add, “Hollywood has changed a lot. When I was first coming up, it was connected to ’60s, ’70s filmmaking. The film companies weren’t part of mega-corporations where the film division was nothing compared with their vast holdings. There were people who ran studios. You can deal with one personality, but dealing with this veil of 25 junior vice presidents? Maybe the directors and artists gave the game away when they started triangulating with the money people and pushing out independent producers.”

Cusack discussed his love for cinema and named five of his favourite films in a fascinating conversation with Rotten Tomatoes. Although he denied being a “top five guy”, Cusack ultimately relented and chose William Friedkin’s The Exorcist as one of his five picks: “As far as the horror genre, I think The Exorcist is the scariest movie of all time. It’s like head and shoulders above… there’s nothing more terrifying, or deeply sinister than that. When I saw The Exorcist, at that time when I was a kid, I may have slept with the light on.”

A true horror fan, Cusack’s list also included George Romero‘s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead as well as his later work Dawn of the Dead. The actor explained: “There’s two Romeros. Night of the Living Dead and the 1978 Dawn of the Dead. I think they’re… well, it’s obviously about racism, and class issues, and consumerism and capitalism, you know, thematically and satirically…I just think the premise of holding up in a mall… being that prescient about the kind of gated communities, and consumerism, and mixing that with zombies in 1978 is just beyond genius.”

Check out the complete list of John Cusack’s five favourite films of all time below.

John Cusack’s 5 favourite films:

  • The Exorcist (William Friedkin – 1973)
  • The Shining (Stanley Kubrick – 1980)
  • Night of the Living Dead (George Romero – 1968)
  • Dawn of the Dead (George Romero – 1978)
  • 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle – 2002)

While remembering his personal experiences with Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining, Cusack said: “Well The Shining I thought a lot about, because we did Stephen King’s 1408, which was another movie set in a hotel room, and the madness of that. But I think just seeing it in theatres, you know — I think it’s when you saw it.”

Adding: “My mom was from Boston, so we used to go to Nantucket, and it was the summer and I remember I snuck away in the afternoon to go see it, at around 4 or 6 o’clock or something, and when I came back out it was dark and I had to walk down this dark street alone. And I remember being really, I mean really scared coming out of that theatre; like, I did not want to leave the street lights to walk home.”

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