Top 50 Wild & Weird Cult Movies Part 1 - CineMania - Home Of The B-Movie Fan

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Top 50 Wildest & Weirdest Cult Movies
By: Mickael
What is a “cult” film? Well, simply put, it’s a movie that wasn’t originally considered a financial or critical success, but over time has gained a dedicated cabal of fans who passionately love it despite it’s flaws. By this definition, you’d be flabbergasted to learn that The Wizard Of Oz was initially a flop which took decades to turn into a cult classic. Upon its release in 1939, it was the most expensive film MGM had ever made (with a budget of $2.7 million) but lost $1.1 million when it was originally released. 10 years later, they re-released it into theaters and finally made their money back. In the decades since, TV broadcasts and home video releases have cemented this film as an iconic piece of cultural and cinema history.
Similarly, The Shawshank Redemption, despite being based on a novella by Stephen King and having an all-star cast, lost nearly $10 million at the box office and was considered a flop. It also didn’t win a single Academy Award, even though it was nominated in 7 categories. Being released on VHS and airing frequently on cable TV eventually secured it’s legacy as a top film of the decade. Neither of these films hemorrhaged as much money as Fight Club, however. This beloved modern tale of anti-consumerism and anti-social behavior originally lost $26 million in the theaters. It had a tremendous following among the angsty and insufferable wannabe teen philosophers of Generation X, who demonstrated their strict adherence to anti-consumerism by giving Rupert Murdoch another $100 million when the film was released on home video.
Regardless of the numbers, there is no larger cult around film than that of the Star Wars fanatics. Even though the original movie immediately broke box office records and was considered a tremendous success, the fact is that Star Wars fans act more like a cult than any other subset of pop culture fandom. Not only has their passion kept this Sci Fi property alive for nearly 40 years, but they’ve managed to support the entire expanded universe consisting of spin-off novels, cartoons, comic books, made-for-TV movies, and loads of video games. They have conventions dedicated solely to their favorite franchise and have (most recently) made Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens the highest grossing movie of all time. This just shows that even successful movies can have a nucleus of cult fans surrounded by its mass audience.
You didn’t come here to learn that Star Wars, Fight Club, and The Wizard Of Oz are all worth watching, though. You came here to learn about some flicks that you haven’t seen. To be dragged deeper down the rabbit hole and hopefully find 2 or 3 films, on this ridiculously long list of 50, that are worth your time. Every other list you’ve stumbled across has just been a jumbled up version of the same movies over and over again; a constant circle jerk of copy/paste bullshit that websites post as clickbait. They all just recommend the same things: Reservoir Dogs, Donnie Darko, and anything by David Lynch, thus abandoning you to fumble about in the darkness of film history. Well, here’s your guiding light. An absolutely unpopular, non-definitive list of zany B-movies and cult films that you should check out:
If the following movies are too popular or mainstream for you (you little nonconformist, you!), then be sure to check out our ongoing series of esoteric “Hidden Gems”: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6 are available already!
#50: Cherry 2000 (1987)
In the far-flung future of 2017, the relationships between men and women have become so litigious that many men opt to bypass the whole process and just settle down with sexy, subservient fem-bots. When one such man's out-of-print bot (a Cherry 2000 model) permanently malfunctions, he'll stop at nothing to replace his love partner. He enlists the help of a spunky tracker, played by Melanie Griffith, to find a replacement body for his beloved Cherry in a post-apocalyptic no-man's-land. With appearances from Laurence Fishburne, Tim Thomerson, Robert Z'Dar, Harry Carey Jr., and Brion James; this cynical Sci Fi flick is definitely worth a watch.
#49: They Live (1988)
They Live is a subversive nonconformist manifesto, brought to you by the master of horror John Carpenter, via pro wrestling icon "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. When a directionless nomad named Nada starts a temp job as a construction worker, he discovers a pair of sunglasses which reveal to him the truth that the world is covered in subliminal messages. Every sign and advertisement is a hidden message to "OBEY", "CONFORM", and "BUY". What's more, he can now see that some people are more than they seem. Agitated by what he sees, Nada tries to enlist the help of his construction worker buddy (played by Keith David). John Carpenter is among the greatest directors of all time, and this film is one of his most engaging. For more fantastic Sci Fi, action, and horror from Mr. Carpenter, try: Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, In The Mouth Of Madness, and (of course) Halloween.
Be warned: Ong-Bak is a gateway drug that gives you such an exuberant euphoria that you will waste the rest of your life chasing this dragon, failing time and again to satisfy your edacious hunger for the martial arts mastery contained within. The fast-paced fights, brutal finishes, and amazing stunts are strung together beautifully by veteran Thai director Prachya Pinkaew; giving us faith that he'd actually discovered a worthy successor to Bruce Lee in his brilliant protege Tony Jaa. Ong-Bak pits muay thai master "Ting" against a gauntlet of opponents from different disciplines as he seeks to reclaim his village's statue from the sleazy underworld boss that intended to sell it on the black market. You'll watch this 4 or 5 times, I'm sure, before moving on to their next few films like The Protector or Ong-Bak's two sequels.
#47: El Topo (1970)
An odd gunfighter known only as El Topo (The Mole) wanders the desert with his naked son, battling various warriors and killing bandits along the way. This surreal film, reminiscent of a peyote hallucination, was allegedly John Lennon's favorite movie. He liked it so much that he convinced The Beatles' manager, Allen Klein, to obtain the rights so it could be shown across the United States. Typically, El Topo was only shown at midnight or 1 a.m. to enhance the experiential nature of the film. The writer, director, and star of El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky, has been trying to make a sequel for more than 20 years, but has had difficulty wrestling the rights away from Allen Klein. His other works, like The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre, are equally mesmerizing and strange.
Taking place 25 years after the events of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, this hilarious slapstick sequel is as goofy as a mad scientist monster movie can possibly get. Rarely is a movie this self-referential and self-deprecating still engaging to its audience, even as it destroys the 4th wall and annoys the audience with non-sequitor interruptions. A young George Clooney co-stars alongside the original "Gomez" John Astin, tabloid TV punching bag Rick Rockwell, and the ridiculously gorgeous Karen M. Waldron. I only recommend this movie over the original because it cranks the wackiness dial up to 11, but feel free to watch all 4 Killer Tomatoes flicks, if you're so inclined. I know I have.
#45: Supervixens (1975)
Russ Meyer is well known for his trilogy of black-and-white drive-in masterpieces: Mudhoney, Motorpsycho!, and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! but you honestly can't go wrong with any of his movies. I'm a fan of his colorful, fast-paced, big-breast-obsessed action comedies like Up!, Mondo Topless, and of course Supervixens. A master of short attention span cinema, Russ uses ridiculously fast cuts and close-ups to provide the comedy while oversexed Amazonian women dominate perverse, immoral men in a variety of tense situations. If you've ever struggled to get into a Russ Meyer film due to his unique directorial style, try watching Black Snake (1973). I find it to be his most palatable, traditional-style film, and even though it's his only diversion into Blaxploitation it's still an exceptional example of how to do the genre properly.
#44: Oblivion (1994)
Many so-called "space operas", like Star Wars, are really just westerns set in outer space. Well Oblivion takes this one step further by developing a far-future universe with a wild west planet inhabited by alien species. Meg Foster, Isaac Hayes, Julie Newmar, and George Takei co-star in this high camp take on the classic "New Sherriff In Town" storyline. Written by Peter David & Charles Band, this is pretty indicative of the Full Moon feature films of the late 80's and early 90's. If you can, catch some of their other films like Trancers, Puppet Master, Head Of The Family, and Dollman!
#43: Caligula (1979)
Caligula is one of the few movies to ever garner "0 stars" from Roger Ebert. Even it's writer, Gore Vidal, wants nothing to do with it. This historical drama has earned its reputation as a film that crosses every line imaginable thanks to its producer, Bob Guccione, who is the founder of Penthouse magazine. He had the idea to make a big budget Hollywood film, and then introduce hardcore sex scenes starring his Penthouse Pets. Were that all he did, the movie would be little more than standard porn fare, the precursor to today's XXX mockbusters like Million Dollar Booty, The Gaytrix, and Cum In 60 Seconds. Bob Guccione didn't stop there, though. This film violates its audience by demonstrating as many taboo subjects as possible, including infanticide, incest, genital mutilation, forced anal fisting, and so many more. It's cast is also superb, with Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, and Helen Mirren all hamming it up maniacally. If you have no boundaries or good taste, then you will love this film as much as I do.
#42: Double Dragon (1994)
Double Dragon was one of the most popular video games of the late 80's, featuring a lively medley of post-apocalyptic cyberpunk gang warfare and ancient martial arts mysticism. It also had an extremely thin storyline of "somebody stole my girl, I'll just beat up every thug in town until I get her back." When the film adaptation came out in 1994, however, audiences had either already put on their rose-tinted glasses about the game's plot or merely forgotten that movies are a passive experience. It flopped like a beached fish, with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus being that "Double Dragon '​s clever use of special effects cannot mask the film's overly simplistic storyline." In reality, the film contains essentially the same elements as the game, but with the silly meter maxed out. With practical mutant effects, goofy dialogue, and a manic 80's neon universe; the totally 90's cast of Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, & Robert Patrick deliver what every film should: FUN.
#41: Howard The Duck (1986)
Howard The Duck is the first movie I ever saw in a theater. My mom loathed it. I loved it. The whole world hated it. I still love it. From the cheesy riotgrrl punk persona of Lea Thompson to the stuttering nerd played by Tim Robbins to the wickedly disturbing transformation of Jeffrey Jones, I find the entire experience to be Sci Fi high camp done right. And that's without mentioning the trash-talkin' anthropomorphic mallard that the whole damn movie is based around in the first place! I understand that if you're comparison shopping between comic book movies, George Lucas-produced films, and 80's science fiction that this film won't exactly be the best representative from any of those categories. When you look at this 1st theatrical Marvel movie as a whole, Howard the Duck is actually a fascinating failure with a ton of personality that absolutely deserves a space in your collection.
The next 10 cult films are HERE!
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