Skip to main content

The 34 best cult movies you should be obsessed with

25. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The film: Grinding horror classic which still chills today thanks to saw-edged atmosphere and grimy authenticity. Tobe Hooper's nasty, genre-shifting film struggled to find a distributor, but took off once in theatres, grossing over $30 million on a tiny budget.

Join the cult: Take a tour of the film's Texas locations, or if you're feeling particularly brave or hungry, eat at the restaurant that the film's horror house was turned into.

24. Bottle Rocket (1996)

The film: A charming daydreamer debut by Wes Anderson, featuring Owen and Luke Wilson as clownish would-be-crimes planning an ambitious book-store robbery. All the meticulous brilliance of later Anderson is here, along with an innocence which makes the film irresistible.

Join the cult: Ace Bottle Rocket fan site takes a very Wes Anderson approach to enjoying the movie, with a 'Make your own' guide to creating a bright yellow jumpsuit.

23. Brazil (1985)

The film: Terry Gilliam's Kafka-meets-Orwell-in-Thatcher's Britain dystopia, with a hopeless civil servant falling in love with a mystery girl as the world around him is choked lifeless by the tangled coils of bureaucracy. The film hit major production problems - the studio wanted major edits - but Gilliam stood firm and it's his flawed but fabulous version that's gained an intense and loyal following.

Join the cult: Several Gilliam fan sites offer resources and interviews, but the real Brazil bible is Jack Mathew's Battle Of Brazil, telling the blow-by-blow story of the director's fight with Universal studios.

22. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

The film: Plan 9 dips well below "so bad it's good" and into "I can't believe someone has made this on purpose". The someone in this case being trash king and Burton muse Ed Wood. Plans one to eight having all failed, the alien invaders apparently skip straight to the one where they use plates on string to overcome the Earth.

Join the cult: Plan 9 was redeemed from oblivion when it was sold to TV stations and shown in the late movie slot to audiences who understood its special qualities. Now, it lives forever on the internet where you can download it free.

21. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

The film: Russ Meyer's rough and ready exploitation goer, with a trio of Amazonian go-go dancers rampaging through the desert on the look-out for kicks and kinkiness.

Join the cult: Meyer was a pioneering force behind softcore pornography and sites dedicated to his, uh, visionary work are all over the net.

20. Re-Animator (1985)

The film: A grizzly modern Frankenstein based on the H.P. Lovecraft story, and starring an awesomely intense Jeffrey Combs at the obsessed doctor Herbert West. The film's budget was less than $1 million, but what it lacks in expense it more than makes up for with inventive nastiness (see the above pic).

Join the cult: You could read the original Lovecraft material or find a midnight screening of this and sequel Bride Of Re-Animator. But a real fan would make his own Re-Animator tribute movie, like these guys did with Re-Animated.

19. The Warriors (1979)

The film: Gritty thriller about the leather-clad, face-painted gangs of New York. When street visionary Cyrus is gunned down The Warriors are blamed, and must escape from the Bronx to their Coney Island home, chased by hundreds of rival urchins.

Join the cult: Recreate every step of The Warriors' midnight journey with a guide from a New York gang nostalgia site...

18. Love Story (1970)

The film: The original chick flick. Ryan O'Neal's smiley handsome rich jock dude falls insanely in love with Ali MacGraw's killer-eyed waif. Spoilers, if you're not seen it: she dies, everyone cries, the movie spawns a sickening catchphrase ("Love means never having to say you're sorry") and the studio earns a fortune.

Join the cult: The film still has a huge following and that line in particular has had a huge cultural impact, being referenced on everything from The Simpsons ("No it doesn't!" is Lisa's reply) to Tom Clancy's novels ("Sidewinder means never having to say you're sorry").

17. Eraserhead (1977)

The film: David Lynch's broody, unsettling and near-impenetrable debut film, starring an alarmingly-haired Jack Vance as an anxious young man coming to terms with fatherhood. There's also a lady in a radiator. Who sings. Yeah. It was a big hit on the midnight movie circuit.

Join the cult: The inscrutability of Lynch breeds huge fan interest. He has more in-depth and resource-heavy fansites devoted to his work than most higher-profile Hollywood directors, like, The City Of Absurdity, and the excellent Dugpa (we don't know what it means, either).

16. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

The film: A freaky technicolour circus ride featuring man-child Pee-Wee Herman, as played by Paul Reubens and directed by a young - but still clearly weird - Tim Burton. It's a mix of killer kitsch and slapstick laughs, and though a modest hit at the cinema proved to have stamina on video.

Join the cult: Pee-Wee fans are not hard to find on the net, though the truly hardcore might want to visit the America On Wheels Museum in Pennsylvania, to see it's shiny replica of Pee-Wee's treasured bike.