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By 5 August 2014 | Categories: feature articles

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Some movies has a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps on pulling in fans ages after its release. Movie fundi Spling separates the wheat from the chaff to bring you only the best cult movies ever. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

If you want the epitome of cult, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is it. Tim Curry’s exuberant performance as Dr. Frank N. Furter helped cement an off-beat career and a musical comedy horror classic. While a tribute to sci-fi and horror b-movies from the 30s to 70s, the film has become a social phenomenon. 

After a false start, the film gathered momentum with midnight screenings in 1976, which had audience members dressing as characters and singing along. The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s international cult following inspired a stage play adaptation and continues to draw crowds of fans and converts.

Cult Trivia: Mick Jagger wanted to play Dr. Frank N. Furter in the film version, while Meat Loaf stars as Eddie.

Quotable Quote
Frank: “Do you think I made a mistake splitting his brain between the two of them?”

The Big Lebowski (1998)

While a frontrunner for the film with the most f-bombs, the Coen brothers’ crime comedy cult classic The Big Lebowski is arguably their most loved movie. The film revolves around the misadventures of “The Dude”, a slacker and ten-pin bowler played by Jeff Bridges, and his best friend and bowling teammate, a cantankerous Vietnam veteran, played by John Goodman.

When The Dude’s not taking it easy with a White Russian, he’s bumping into a number of oddball characters and trying to unravel an unnecessary plot. Since its inception, The Big Lebowski has inspired the religion of Dudeism and annual festivals, including the Lebowski Fest and The Dude Abides.

Cult trivia: The Dude says “man” 147 times in the movie, nearly 1.5 times a minute.  

Quotable Quote

Walter: “No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.”

The Evil Dead (1981)

Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi struck gold with their micro budget log cabin horror, The Evil Dead. While the crew was largely inexperienced and the conditions poor, Raimi converted his short film, Within the Woods into The Evil Dead on a meagre $100 000 budget.

The film was labelled as a video-nasty based on its violent and disturbing content. While this hampered some commercial success, it helped foster its cult notoriety. Campbell’s defining role as Ash Williams, earned him cult icon status as a figurehead for the film’s media franchise, which has come to encompass Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, video games and comic books.

Cult trivia: Stephen King’s glowing endorsement contributed to the movie’s success, and was used on film ads and posters.

Quotable Quote

Ash: “You bastards, why are you torturing me like this? Why?”

Donnie Darko (2001)

If you want a structured plot and logical, linear time-line, then Donnie Darko should not be on your to-watch list. While the film received a tepid response after initial screenings, it has developed a massive cult following since its release in 2001. While many would admit to feeling dumfounded during the rendition of Mad World by Gary Jules in the closing credits, this is just part of the Donnie Darko experience.

The cult classic covers time travel, fate, fear, visions and generally functions as a dark, comic, supernatural high school fantasy drama. The 80s music adds to the surreal quality of the visions and Gyllenhaal’s manic performance captures the offbeat and thought-provoking essence of Richard Kelly’s film.

Cult trivia: The Arabic-styled font used on the original movie poster was changed after the attacks of 9/11. 

Quotable Quote

Donnie: “Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?” 
Frank: “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

The fearless and now famous Flying Circus comedy troupe managed to give a timeless and iconic quality to their irreverent medieval send up, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. From using half-coconuts to mimick horses galloping, to concocting a string of indelible comedy sketches, the team outdid themselves on a shoestring budget.

The film’s quotable quotes, memorable scenes and devoted cult following resulted in a “lovingly ripped-off”, Tony award-winning Broadway production musical called Spamalot. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a testament to great writing and demonstrates that even Arthurian legend isn’t immune to camp, silly and over-the-top comedy.

Cult trivia: ‘God’ is represented by a photo of the famous 19th century cricketer, W.G. Grace.

Quotable Quote

French Soldier: “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

Close, but no cigar…

This Is Spinal Tap, Harold and Maude, A Clockwork Orange, Eraserhead, Anchorman, Shaun of the Dead, Fight Club and Blue Velvet.

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