/   cult movies Get your free
email address:
UK time:

  what's a cult movie? definition, criteria, selection

Favourite Cult Movies
by Tony Lee

Here's a brief description of a cult movie...
1. It must be a personal favourite of yours that's at least ten years old, but is still very fondly remembered from the first viewing.
2. It must have a cross-genre or multi-genre scenario, or some weirdly offbeat quality that takes it outside the mainstream.
3. It is an effective showcase for new talent; which can be on either side of the camera.
4. A remake can be a cult movie only if it improves on the original film, or is more faithful to the source material (book, play, etc) than earlier production(s).
5. Any direct - narrative - sequel to another movie does not deserve cult status.
6. It must be worth watching several times, so that if you do not actually own the movie on video or DVD then you would always want to see it whenever the chance arose.

Here's further guidelines...
1. A cult movie should be a low-budget production, so very few studio movies count.
2. It should be undeniably flawed in some way, even if this means just dodgy visual effects.
3. It's probably not a masterpiece, of course, but it does offer a highly individual viewpoint and have a quirky, distinguished element - which can be a single unique image or a weird character.
4. The movie itself should not have any sequels made after it, as this implies the sort of success and widespread appeal that works against the 'cheesy' cult element of deserved obscurity.
5. Not an essential requirement, but it helps a movie's cult credibility if it's the sort of film that certain film fans would refuse to watch on TV, or walk out of at a cinema. This does not mean a film must be gross, or that the subject matter is repulsive or distasteful, only that the film lacks mass appeal. In short, a lot of people don't like your cult faves and - probably - someone that you know (and whose opinion you usually respect) actually hates at least one of them!
6. It should be a film released during your lifetime, so avoid choosing stuff from the 1940s unless you can remember a movie's original WW2 release.

Finally, to keep things simple, and in the interests of variety - choose only one film per director for a listing of ten... although the filmmaker's auteur status is entirely optional.

Here's some examples...

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Tony Lee
(arranged in chronological order)
Dark Star (1974) director: John Carpenter
Eraserhead (1978) director: David Lynch
Inferno (1980) director: Dario Argento
The Ninth Configuration (1980) director: William Peter Blatty
Q - The Winged Serpent (1982) director: Larry Cohen
Blue Thunder (1983) director: John Badham
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984) director: W.D. Richter
Repo Man (1984) director: Alex Cox
Streets Of Fire (1984) director: Walter Hill
Static (1985) director: Mark Romanek

If you don't find the above rules too restrictive (what with all those 'shoulds' and 'musts' - please feel free to break any or all of the above definitions, and make up your own criteria) - then email your own top 10 lists (just send titles if you don't know the year, or director - though, really, you ought to have such details memorised if you regard a movie as cult-worthy) to the MoD editor, for inclusion on this page!

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Brian Howell
(impossible task, of course, but here's what occurs to me)
Performance (1969) Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg
Static (1985) Mark Romanek
The Sender (1982) Roger Christian
The Element Of Crime (1984) Lars Van Trier
Electra Glide In Blue (1973) James William Guerico
The Adjuster (1991) Atom Egoyen
Possession (1981) Andrej Zulawski
Black Rainbow (1990) Mike Hodges
He Died With His Eyes Open aka: On Ne Meurt Que Deux Fois (1985) Jacues Deray
The Loveless (1983) Kathryn Bigelow & Monty Montgomery

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Rob Marshall
(in no special order at all, this week's choices)
To The Devil A Daughter (1976) Peter Sykes
Hard Target (1993) John Woo
Wild At Heart (1990) David Lynch
The Changeling (1979) Peter Medak
The Sure Thing (1985) Rob Reiner
Closet Land (1991) Radha Bharadwaj
Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead (1988) John Hillcoat
Posse (1993) Mario Van Peebles
True Stories (1986) David Byrne
Android (1982) Aaron Lipstadt

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Denise Wayne
(in alphabetical order)
The Breakfast Club (1985) John Hughes
The Devil And Max Devlin (1981) Steven Stern
The Duellists (1977) Ridley Scott
Flight Of The Navigator (1986) Randall Kleiser
Hero At Large (1980) Martin Davidson
Mask (1985) Peter Bogdanovich
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) Francis Ford Coppola
Rude Awakening (1989) Aaron Russo & David Greenwalt
Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone (1983) Lamont Johnson
Used Cars (1980) Robert Zemeckis

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Terry Ableman
(in the order that I recall first seeing them)
The Brink's Job (1978) William Friedkin
Roadie (1980) Alan Rudolph
The Pursuit Of D.B. Cooper (1981) Roger Spottiswoode
Get Crazy (1983) Allan Arkush
Impulse (1984) Graham Baker
Black Moon Rising (1986) Harley Cokliss
Slamdance (1987) Wayne Wang
The Blob (1988) Chuck Russell
Drugstore Cowboy (1989) Gus Van Sant
Quick Change (1990) Bill Murray & Howard Franklin

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Donald Morefield
(not arranged in any particular order)
Special Delivery (1976) Paul Wendkos
Betrayed (1988) Constantin Costa-Gravas
House Of Games (1987) David Mamet
Streamers (1983) Robert Altman
The Keep (1983) Michael Mann
Obsession (1976) Brian De Palma
Firepower (1979) Michael Winner
The Serpent And The Rainbow (1988) Wes Craven
Bugsy Malone (1976) Alan Parker
Looker (1981) Michael Crichton

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Jeff Young
(these are all oddball movies, so the order is irrelevant)
Nice Girls Don't Explode (1987) Chuck Martinez
Fair Game (1988) Mario Orfini
Gwendoline (1984) Just Jaeckin
Hardcore (1978) Paul Schrader
Night Games (1980) Roger Vadim
PrisonShip StarSlammer (1986) Fred Olen Ray
Inseminoid (1980) Norman J. Warren
Crystal Heart (1985) Gil Bettman
At The Earth's Core (1976) Kevin Conner
Millennium (1989) Michael Anderson

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Gary Couzens
(in chronological order)
Carrie (1976) Brian De Palma
Manhattan (1979) Woody Allen
The Elephant Man (1980) David Lynch
Eureka (1982) Nicolas Roeg
Lianna (1983) John Sayles
Love Letters (1983) Amy Jones
Heartbreakers (1984) Bobby Roth
Stop Making Sense (1984) Jonathan Demme
Sunday In The Country (1984) Bertrand Tavernier
The Green Ray (1987) Eric Rohmer

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Jason Pohlman
(with a couple that are too 'good' for inclusion)
Night Of The Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero
Freaks (1932) Tod Browning
Crimewave (1985) Sam Raimi
Rock And Roll High School (1979) Allan Arkush
Dark Star (1974) John Carpenter
Carnival Of Souls (1962) Herk Harvey
Repo Man (1984) Alex Cox
Reefer Madness (1938) Louis Gasnier
Heathers (1989) Michael Lehmann
Peeping Tom (1960) Michael Powell

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by C.M. Walker
(listed in any old order...)
Meet The Applegates (1989) Michael Lehmann
A Bucket Of Blood (1959) Roger Corman
Bad Taste (1988) Peter Jackson
Caged Heat (1974) Jonathan Demme
El Topo (1989) Alejandro Jodorowsky
Ms .45 aka: Angel Of Vengeance (1981) Abel Ferrara
Of Unknown Origin (1983) George Pan Cosmatos
Clan Of The Cave Bear (1986) Michael Chapman
Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) Brian De Palma
The Bed-Sitting Room (1969) Richard Lester

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Samantha John
(these are in no particular order as I love them all!)
Corpse Grinders (1972) Ted V. Mikels
Blood Sucking Freaks (1978) Joel M. Reed
Bad Taste (1987) Peter Jackson
Dawn of the Dead (1978) George A. Romero
Day of the Dead (1985) George A. Romero
Hellraiser (1987) Clive Barker
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) Jorge Grau
ReAnimator (1985) Stuart Gordon
City of the Living Dead (1980) Lucio Fulci
The Beyond (1981) Lucio Fulci

A Top 10 Cult Movies - by Mike Kehoe
(in alphabetical order)
Dead Zone (1983) David Cronenberg
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) John Newland
Duel (1971) Steven Spielberg
Jesus Of Montreal (1989) Denys Arcand
Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) John Landis
Martin (1978) George A. Romero
The Omega Man (1971) Boris Sagal
One Deadly Summer (1983) Jean Becker
Tremors (1990) Ron Underwood
The World According To Garp (1982) George Roy Hill

DOWSE Guide to the Movies is compiled by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press
You can order videos and DVD releases reviewed on these pages at Blackstar

Movies home
Dowse home - Web Gateway for Creative Minds

Related pages:

 All Time Favourites - top 10 lists by critics, filmmakers, writers
 Fandom - MoD's guide to the world of movie fans.

Search the web

Computing & Internet
Fantasy art
Myths & Legends
News & Info
Science Fiction
Security online
Web Makers Tools
Writing & Publishing

. How to make
  your start page
. Your free email
. Message Bds
   & communities

. Suggest links
. Link to us

. About dowse
. Search the web


Copyright © 2001 dowse.com
all rights reserved


Movies on Dowse