Cult Film Graveyard: A Halloween Tour of Famous Memorials

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Yesterday, in honor of Halloween and the many deaths of punk rock, we took you on a crazy trip through the grave sites of fallen punk legends. Since we all survived that wild ride (and even had some fun doing it), we’re back today with an equally spooky tour of cult film stars’ headstones, from Divine and Russ Meyer to Edie Sedgwick and the man responsible for Shaft. Tomorrow: literature’s masters of horror!

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Divine John Waters’s childhood friend and muse and People magazine’s Drag Queen of the Century, Divine elevated trash to art, playing unforgettably over-the-top characters in films including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Hairspray. He (yes, that’s the pronoun, because Harris Glenn Milstead always considered himself a man) also memorably portrayed Jackie Kennedy in an early, crazy Waters short called “Eat Your Makeup.” Divine died of an enlarged heart in 1988, only a week after the release of Hairspray. You can visit Divine’s grave at Prospect Hill Park Cemetery in Towson, MD. Fans tend to decorate (or, depending on your point of view, deface) his headstone with lipstick kisses, eyeliner messages, and gifts such as donuts.

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Russ Meyer The man who made Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill! and the undisputed master of sexploitation cinema, Meyer is famous for his love of busty women who kick ass. He lived to the age of 82 but suffered from Alzheimer’s in his final few years and had to be cared for by his secretary. Meyer is buried at Stockton Rural Cemetery in San Joaquin County, CA, and his lipstick-kissed headstone boasts an epitaph befitting his funny, sexy movies. He truly was “King of the Nudies,” and we’re very happy he “Was Glad to Do It.”

Sharon Tate In one of the darkest moments of the ’60s, Charles Manson and his cult murdered movie star Sharon Tate, only a few weeks before she was to give birth, and several of her friends in the Los Angeles home she shared with husband Roman Polanski. She was only 26 years old. Tate was buried with her unborn son, Paul Richard Polanski, in her arms at Holy Cross Cemetery in a family plot in Culver City, CA.

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Béla Lugosi Forget Robert Pattinson and Brad Pitt — Béla Lugosi was the most memorable movie vampire of all time, and no box-office smash can change the fact that his Dracula was the definitive version. The Hungarian actor starred in scores of successful Hollywood horror flicks and bedded Clara Bow before finding himself relegated to Ed Wood’s B-movie madness later in life. Lugosi died of a heart attack in 1956 and was buried wearing one of his Dracula costumes, in accordance with what his family thought he would have wanted. Like Tate, he is buried in Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery, where his simple plaque bears a design sure to please his many goth fans.

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Joan Crawford Brassy, wicked, and glamorous, Joan Crawford was destined for cult icon status — and Mommie Dearest, the 1981 film in which Faye Dunaway starred as a totally bonkers, abusive Crawford, cemented that dubious place in history. The actress died of a heart attack while battling pancreatic cancer. Her ashes are kept in a crypt with her final husband Arthur Steele’s at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY.

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Andy Warhol Best known as a visual artist, Andy Warhol’s bizarre cinema oeuvre shouldn’t be ignored and certainly earns him a place on this list. Having survived a shooting at the hands of Valerie Solanas in 1968, Warhol died unexpectedly nearly 20 years later of cardiac arrhythmia after routine gallbladder surgery. The artist was buried in a black cashmere suit, one his famous white wigs, and sunglasses, at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Cemetery outside Pittsburgh. Visitors like to leave Andy small presents, including the Campbells soup cans he was so famous for and the bottles of Coca-cola he loved so dearly.

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David Carradine The actor most TV viewers will remember from his Kung Fu TV series starred in countless cult films, from Death Race 2000 to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies. Carradine’s death last year occurred under strange circumstances: He was found hanging from a closet in a Bangkok hotel room. Although originally considered a suicide, an autopsy revealed that Carradine was a victim of accidental (and likely autoerotic) asphyxiation. He was buried in Los Angeles’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in a bamboo coffin. His wordy headstone lists his many roles, from actor to dancer to martial artist and predicts “he will ever more be revered as one who popularized the spiritual values of the East in the West.” It also includes a quote from his song “Paint”: “I’m lookin’ for a place where the dogs don’t bite, and children don’t cry and everything always goes just right and brothers don’t fight…”

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Edie Sedgwick A Warhol superstar and ’60s It Girl, Sedgwick was a socialite with a rich family and a dark past. She caught Warhol’s eye in 1965 and began starring in just about all of his films. The fashion world took note, and she became a style icon, but her intense relationship with the artist faltered before the year was out. She had a short, traumatic relationship with Bob Dylan, made a few non-Warhol films — notably the semi-autobiographical Ciao! Manhattan — and married Michael Post shortly before her death in 1971, at age 28. A mix of alcohol and pills was responsible for her death, which was declared “undetermined/accidental/suicide.” She was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard, CA.

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Gordon Parks Although he was also an accomplished and acclaimed writer and photographer, Gordon Parks is best know to cult movie fans as the director of Shaft. Parks was Life magazine’s first African American employee, as well as a co-founder of Essence and a civil rights activist. He lived until the ripe, old age of 93. Parks was buried in Fort Scott, KS, at Evergreen Cemetery. At Fort Scott Community College, a museum pays tribute to his memory and houses his writings and photographs.

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Derek Jarman Weird, experimental, and unapologetically queer, Derek Jarman is one of our all-time favorite filmmakers. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen his punk opus Jubilee , track it down.) He collaborated with Tilda Swinton and Brian Eno, brought Caravaggio to life, and even took on The Tempest. Jarman was only 52 when he died, in 1994, of complications related to AIDS. He is buried at St. Clements Church in Old Romney, England, where Jarman’s simple headstone bears only his elegant signature.