Cult movies go against the grain in a host of different ways. What makes them â€ścultâ€ť can be down to different and varied sets of criteria.
One key aspect is devout fans. Plenty of films fail on release and find an audience much later on down the road. As US writer Armond White once sagely noted: â€śNo movie is ahead of its time, just ahead of cultural gatekeepers.â€ť Yet itâ€™s equally true of the cult movie, that it can be a critical success and the audience is nowhere to be be found.
Illusion magazine gazed into its crystal ball and selected ten recent movies which have cult movie potential written all over them.
Top: Mia Wasikowska stars as the heroine in Guillermo del Toroâ€™s “Crimson Peak.”
S. Craig Zahler, a former musician and novelist, made his directorial debut with “Bone Tomahawk.”
S. Craig Zahlerâ€™s superb directorial debut comes on like a Howard Hawks western, only its final reel was accidentally spliced with â€śThe Texas Chain Saw Massacreâ€ť (1974). The switch from guys-on-a-rescue-mission into revolting cannibal feast shouldnâ€™t work at all. But it does. Magnificently so. Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson and Matthew Fox star as the posse heading across the prairie and into the bellies of a cave-dwelling tribe.
“Green Room” is the second feature film by acclaimed director, Jeremy Saulnier.
A punk band turn up to a gig and realize theyâ€™re playing for a bunch of neo-Nazis. Feeling a little bit mischievous, they launch into a cover of Dead Kennedysâ€™ anti-fascist anthem, â€śNazi Punks Fuck Off.â€ť Things turn far worse when, post-gig, they witness a murder. Featuring cool characters, lots of blood and guts and an unusual role for Patrick Stewart, â€śGreen Roomâ€ť is all set for future cult-classic status.
Marjane Satrapiâ€™s “The Voices” is the very peculiar and colorful tale of a small-town serial killer.
Ryan Reynolds gives a terrific performance in Marjane Satrapiâ€™s â€śThe Voicesâ€ť (2014). As a serial killer looking for love and trying very hard not to be, you know, a serial killer; the Canadian funnyman is downright brilliant. Satrapiâ€™s skilful direction makes â€śThe Voicesâ€ť the most charming and transgressive movie ever made about a murderer.
“Deathgasm” is a bromance comedy about the power of heavy metal and friendship.
New Zealand is currently the best place in the world for horror comedies. â€śDeathgasmâ€ť (2015) by Jason Lei Howden is the story of a teenage metal band accidentally kicking off the apocalypse and having to fight demonically possessed zombies let loose in the neighborhood. If you love films like â€śEvil Deadâ€ť and Peter Jacksonâ€™s â€śBraindeadâ€ť (aka â€śDead Alive,â€ť 1992) youâ€™ll bloody love â€śDeathgasm.â€ť
Russell Crowe headlined the blockbuster retelling of Noah and the Ark.
Giving Darren Aronfosky $100 million and change to make a Biblical epic about Noahâ€™s Ark was a risky move. â€śNoahâ€ť (2014), as it turned out, was pretty batshit crazy (the film features giants made out of boulders), visually astounding and gave Russell Crowe a really great role to sink his teeth into. Itâ€™s a Bible story shot almost like a â€śMad Maxâ€ť movie.
Steve Oramâ€™s singular urban tale is one of the most eccentric British films in years.
All dialogue in Steve Oramâ€™s micro-budget family drama is delivered in animalistic grunts, sighs, whistles and calls. For some, upon realising this crucial factor, theyâ€™ll disengage immediately. â€śAaaaaaaah!â€ť (2015) mixes up a gangster movie plot with aspects of a wildlife documentary and ancient mythology. Shot like a Dogme 95 film and set in south London, Oramâ€™s film is a singular piece of work.
Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain as the English aristocrats up to no good in “Crimson Peak.”
Guillermo del Toroâ€™s gothic romance (donâ€™t call it a horror film!) received mixed reviews, when released in October 2015. Yet already it has die-hard fans and itâ€™s easy to see this one growing into a genuine cult obsession. While it lacks a certain dramatic weight, the sets, costumes and performances are uniformly excellent. The cinematography, too, especially the vivid lightingâ€”all absinthe greens, flame oranges and velvety bluesâ€”is magical.
Four vampires agree to be the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary in “What We Do in the Shadows.”
What We Do in the Shadows
Four male, centuries-old vampires house-sharing in a quiet suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, open their doors to a film crew. â€śWhat We Do in the Shadowsâ€ť (2014) is a superb mockumentary packed with memorable dialogue (“I think we drink virgin blood because it sounds cool”) and laugh-out-loud scenes (a vampire bidding for a table off Ebay). Taika Waititi, the filmâ€™s co-director and co-writer, steals the show as the sweet-natured and hopeless romantic vampire, Viago.
John Michael McDonagh upped sticks from Ireland to make latest film in America.
War on Everyone
Making its world premiere at Februaryâ€™s Berlinale and receiving mixed reviews, John Michael McDonaghâ€™s â€śWar on Everyoneâ€ť pokes fun at the hyper-masculinity of beloved cop thrillers with the two leads, played by Alexander SkarsgĂĄrd and Michael PeĂ±a, making â€śDirtyâ€ť Harry Callaghan and Lethal Weaponâ€™s Martin Riggs look like model citizens. For all that doesnâ€™t workâ€”the redemptive third act is seriously contrivedâ€”there is enough in it to stake a claim and suggestion â€śWar on Everyoneâ€ť has potential cult credentials.
David Wainâ€™s absurdist take on the rom-com format is also the best rom-com of the 21st century to date.
They Came Together
David Wain already has one confirmed cult favourite under his beltâ€”2000â€™s â€śWet Hot American Summerâ€ťâ€”but does his excellent rom-com deconstruction â€śThey Came Togetherâ€ť have the chops to draw a cult crowd? It definitely should. Wainâ€™s brand of humour is absurd and often filthy, but also endearingly goofy. Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler headline a romantic comedy for the ages.
Images Â© respective film studios.