Every so often, a movie is created that piques the interest of viewers from multiple generations. These films aren’t necessarily a commercial success right away, but they eventually become a money maker as a fan base around the film begins to build. These films, are what we like to call, Cult Classics.
Cult Classics often receive great reviews from critics, even if they don’t rack in a few academy awards. It’s hard to predict which films that have been made recently will go down in the history books as a Cult Classic. However, some recent films that have been suggested are Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, because of it’s unique story, cartoon style special effects, and the fact that the film has an amazing soundtrack. Essentially, if you want to create a Cult Classic, you need to create something that nobody has ever seen before…something completely unique.
Without further ado, here is our list of the 10 Movies with the Biggest Cult Following.
10. Donnie Darko (2001)
Box Office: $7,600,000
Donnie Darko released in 2001, is an American drama film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, celebrities that you may or may not have heard of. The film is also features a young Seth Rogen, making his Hollywood debut as a bully named Ricky. Despite its small commercial success, the film is praised as a cult classic based on the troubled teenage character, Donnie Darko.
Donnie Darko revolves around a mentally ill teenager who, after a man in a rabbit costume tells him, believes the world is going to end in 28 days. The film follows Donnie’s thoughts as he tries to understand what is happening to him, while his friends and family become increasingly worried about him. The film is praised for merging philosophy, science fiction, and teenage angst into one film.
9. The Evil Dead (1981)
Budget: $350,000 – $400,000
Box office: $2.4 Million (estimated)
The Evil Dead is an American horror film released in 1981, not to be confused with the recent remake. The original film is considered a low budget masterpiece, although when the movie was first released, people thought it was “good” but not “incredible”. Many critics noticed the film’s unique style, saying that the film was able to combine Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Three Stooges. Sort of a quirky combination, don’t you think?
This movie, much like a fine wine, became more appreciated with age. Although the film was considered a disaster during production, the film’s eventual box office success led to numerous sequels being created.
8. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Box Office: $4,700,000
This Is Spinal Tap paved the way for mockumentary style filmmaking. Essentially, This Is Spinal Tap is a documentary style movie about a fake band. The movie didn’t earn a whole lot of money at the box office, but it didn’t really become popular until it was released on video for people to buy. It has been praised by almost every major film critic out there for it’s original story telling, and spot-on satire. Perhaps the reason it developed such a cult following, is because the movie was mostly improvised by the actors, and can be quoted all day long.
We should mention that because the fake band, Spinal Tap, became so popular as a result of the film that they actually started to tour and played live concerts for their fans!
7. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Box Office: $26,500,000
A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971, but adapted from Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange. The book, and in turn the film, is filled with violence, social, political, and economic statements about society, and of course, a sociopath delinquent that is the leader of a gang. The film takes place in a dystopian society, where themes such as morality, and psychology, are constantly brought into question.
Despite being pulled from numerous movie theatres, the controversy created by this film’s sexual violence, among other things, helped propel it into the limelight.
6.Fight Club (1999)
Budget: $63 Million
Box Office: $100,853,753
Fight Club, another book turned film, stars big name Hollywood stars such as Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. While it was released in 1999, the book that the film is based off of was only released 3 years prior, in 1996. Without being too detailed, the film became an instant cult classic as a result of having one of the most surprising endings of any movie ever made. Furthermore, the film has been described as a coming of age film, but for people in their 30s. The film teaches the viewer that if you want something in life, you’ll have to work for it, but you can live your life however you want. Even if you want to live in total anarchy.
5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Budget: $1 Million
Box Office: $51,525,171
The Breakfast Club, released in 1985, was every angsty American teenagers favourite film for a long, long time. This coming of age classic stars a few of the 80’s most famous actors including Emilio Estevez, and Molly Ringwald. However, what really made this film stand out in the eyes of those watching it was the fact that it, at the time, accurately displayed what it was like to be a teenager in high school.
The film follows five students who attend detention early on a Saturday morning. There is a jock, a nerd, a preppy girl, a trouble maker, and of course, a weird kid. Each clique from a typical American high school was represented, and the film focused on the fact that yes, teenagers are different, they are also very similar and have the same day to day problems. Essentially, the film taught everyone that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, or a movie by it’s poster.
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Box Office: $42 Million, ($281 Million total revenue)
Night of the Living Dead, released 1968, is the movie that started the zombie craze. The film, much like many other zombie films out there, follow a group of people that are trapped and, eventually attacked, by undead monsters that nobody seems to call zombies. Initially, the film was overly criticized because of the graphic content throughout the film. However, that point of view has since been changed, and it was selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry. The film was such an iconic film that the government said to themselves: We need to cherish this film forever. And cherish it we have, despite the fact that it’s a little cheesy compared to modern horror films.
3. Clerks (1994)
Box Office: $3,151,130
Clerks, released in 1994, was Kevin Smith’s debut film, and it is surprisingly unique. The comedy film was released in black-and-white, and is about two store clerks, their friends, and what they go through on a day to day basis. Perhaps the film’s most iconic milestone is that the film was filmed for a very small budget, and earned millions at the box office. Clerks became a staple for what low budget film producers could do to really get their films out there. The film was so low budget that the movie was shot in the convenience and video stores where Kevin Smith actually worked in real life.
The film also introduced two loveable characters, that were given multiple spin-off films. These characters, of course, are Jay and Silent Bob which can be seen featured in the film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Box Office: Estimated $175,000,000
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, made in 1975, was a musical comedy with an edge of horror, and was adapted from the stage production of the same name. The play debuted in June 1973, and ended September of 1980. The play was performed 2,960 times during this7 year stretch. While the stage production became an instant classic, it is believed that the film escalated the popularity of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to what it is today.
The appeal of the show was initially the quirky tale, which involves a newly engaged couple getting stuck in a storm, so they take refuge in a stranger’s home. This stranger, turns out to be a transvestite made scientist who wants to release his newest creation on the world: a sexy man named Rocky Horror.
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Box Office: $127,878,662
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a film created by a British comedy group known as Monty Python. The film was made during the break between the third and fourth series of the BBC television show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. While the TV show was considered hit and miss humour, the film was a definite hit. The film constantly breaks the fourth wall, telling the tale of King Arthur and the knights of the round table, as they search for the legendary Holy Grail.
While gathering an international fan base, the film has been listed numerous times on the lists of best comedy films of all time. So, what makes the film so funny? Is it a bumbling King Arthur, a vicious rabbit, of the average wingspan of an African swallow? You’ll just have to watch it to find out.