Published On: Tue, May 27th, 2003

Top Ten Cult Movies of All-Time

Cult films elicit a distinct fire and passion that drive devoted fans to repeatedly viewings. The cult followers will argue their favorites based on individual merit. Cult is not untalented filmmakers: Coppola, Scorsese, Cameron, Dante, Demme were, at one time, in the services of the “Godfather” of cult – Roger Corman. “The Blair Witch” nullifies the “low-budget argument” and commercial success dictates a “phenomenon.”

Cult films transcend expectations or perceptions and make personal connections with the audience. They are addictive. They become an obsession. Some transition into a fabric of popularity (Star Trek TV series), finding a niche audience, while some mock that which is sacred to us: “Spinal Tap” and “Thumb Wars.” 

Society associates cult with “bad” movies, but “Troll 2”, “It’s Pat”, and “Battlefield Earth” aren’t cult, they are just crap.

So, what is cult? Well, here are my add-ons to the Entertainment Weekly list:

heavy-metal-1981-movie-poster10. Bottle Rocket: Screenplay homework. Yep, you wanna’ write a screenplay? Go out and get this script and watch the movie about ten times in a row – you should get a film school credit for doing that. That’s the magnitude of how great this Wes Anderson story with Owen and Luke Wilson.
9. Kentucky Fried Movie: Forget “Airplane”, this is the Zucker masterpiece. Pure zany, insane and tasteless jokes that culminate with the news broadcast team spying on a couple at home. They have a more intense climax than the participants.
8. Tremors: The attack of the giant earthworms with two rednecks who make their decisions by playing “fistees” in a town called “Perfection.” Wow – an to think there were sequels (“Tremors 4” is in post). Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross led this B-movie to a poor commercial turnout. Ron Underwood delivers a fast pace of action and jokes and is loved by many.
7. Bound: The Wachowski’s break thru picture has enjoyed heightened popularity since the Matrix phenomenon. A great piece of film noir that is more than just a “lesbian movie.” A fact remains that’s how the Wachowskis got $5 million of their budget. They just remembered to include a great story, romance, suspense and Joey Pants. Did I mention the sex scene with Jennifer Tilly?
6. UHF: Yep, that Weird Al Yankovic. The man has this HUGE following, hence the polkas that keep coming (currently “Angry White Boy Polka”) Twinkie weiner sandwiches and Harvey the Wonder Hamster hit the big screen with Al, taking ownership of a small television station. Oh, forget it, there plot was crap, but the gags were so stupid, but Michael Richards was amazing. The multitude of spoofs still crack me up.
5. Caligula: It’s hard to accept the realization that Malcolm McDowell was somewhat responsible for my introduction into pornography. This movie was shocking and exhilarating. People were and are disturbed the sex and violence yet that’s what makes it so incredibly unique. “Eyes Wide Shut” rode the controversy express and wasn’t half of Tinto Brass’s “Caligula.” Did I mentioned that I fear anal fisting because of this film – McDowell would be proud.
4. Real Genuis: Cool for its time. Amidst the John Hughes pictures and other “geek” pictures – this one has always been a favorite. Forget the popular obvious comment that Val Kilmer was in it (he was also in “Top Secret”) this is a great script with a ton of laughs. Goofy slippers, exploding popcorn, driving a six-inch spike through a 2×4, Hollyfeld living in the closet and a “penis strectcher” are the gags here – a lot of fun. It is a moral imperative to include it on this list. BTW: Jesus knows if you’ve been touching yourself.
3. Rope: As a Hitchcock nut, this one has always been one of my favorites. Jimmy Stewart leads a great cast, but the genius here is that the film is shot in “real” time. Forget flashbacks, cutaways etc…you follow the action and intrigue along side of the actors. Hitchcock shot entire rolls of film – there was no cutting. The edits are extreme close-ups of actors moving past one another or the still objects in the room. Pure genius.
2. Heavy Metal: From the pages of a great mag to a rockin’ movie with a soundtrack that even better. This was a late night staple with the “Rocky Horror” adventures. Science fiction, horror, and eroticism – this had it all.
1. Monty Python: “Holy Grail”, “The Meaning of Life”, “The Flying Circus” – pick your favorite in the insanely hysterical universe from this comedy troupe. I experienced a midnight showing of “Grail” at the defunct Varsity 6 with the audience quoting every line – it surpassed my “Rocky Horror” experiences. I performed skits from the “Circus” for a theater final exam and I still am in contact with Craig Kellem, writer on SNL and one of the creators “The Rutles” starring Eric Idle.

Honorable Mentions: Qualified but not quite cult: “Metropolis”: Fritz Lang’s masterpiece finally gained some popular recognition as it hit #6 on EW’s Top Sci-Fi movies of all time (issue #454, 1998). “The Conversation”: The Oscar nominated, star-studded Coppola film has fallen into relative obscurity and mires in the shadows of “American Graffiti.” “Requiem for a Dream”: incredibly disturbing and yet I can’t shut it off. Too recent for cult status and has lost some of its buzz. “Pi”: I just don’t think people get Aronofsky. Love, religion, chaos – this is life. “Highlander”: The television series hindered the legacy of the original film. Amazing, but has drifted into mainstream with a couple of crappy sequels. When will they learn – there can be only one.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail battle the black knight

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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