Billion-dollar blockbusters along the lines of Avatar or the Fast & the Furious franchise seem like they’re a dime a dozen, but less frequent are those hidden gems that come out to lukewarm reception only to build in momentum and popularity steadily over time. We’ve just had a return to a cult classic with the sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner, so we’re going to count down the top 5 cult classics that have accrued massive fanbases from humble beginnings.
While this black-and-white, pop culture-infused comedy was popular from release, its novel approach and subject matter have given it an enduring popularity since its release in 1994. It follows the exploits of a few convenience store employees, and paints comedic sketches over the drab and challenging job of being a retail worker. Almost anyone that’s ever worked in a customer-facing job will be able to sympathise with the crew of misfits and makes an ideal movie for young adults to collectively and vicariously share their angst over.
4. Fight Club
Fight Club is adapted from a book by American author Chuck Palahniuk, which is an introspective look at how men engage with each other — something most viewers completely missed first time around. That being said, its bizarre premise and collection of quotable dialogue, as well as hilarious and relatable performances from Edward Norton and Brad Pitt have made this a firm favourite among men of a specific generation. At its heart, it’s a critical analysis of many aspects of modern society, but its narrative is a sequence of laughably absurd scenarios that often distract from some of its more serious themes. Any movie that features Brad Pitt in a red leather jacket and sweatpants crashing a bicycle in an abandoned house has to be worth a watch though, right?
3. Blade Runner
This neo-noir science fiction classic started out by being relentlessly panned by critics after its 1982 release, despite featuring Harrison Ford as the lead and iconic director Ridley Scott at the helm. It had some cerebral themes at the core of the script, and an arguably ambiguous and lofty plotline that initially earned it very little praise. As time went on,though, many of the themes became central to some other massive franchises like Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and The Matrix – making Blade Runner a bit of a godfather to the cinematic cyberpunk genre. Because of how highly-stylised it is, the movie has aged surprisingly well, while also serving as an inspiration for a lot of other successful franchises. Its sequel recently hit cinemas, 35 years after the original, but it may yet live up to its predecessor’s high status.
4. The Room
While the movies mentioned above were potentially diamonds that were just ahead of their time, The Room has garnered its cult following simply because it is possibly the worst movie ever made – and like most horrific tragedies, it’s incredibly difficult to tear your eyes away from the carnage. Somehow Tommy Wiseau, the director and lead, managed to get a $6 million budget together and construct one of the most terribly acted movies with one of the most horrendously flawed scripts. This movie is a cult classic because its existence serves as a warning for any prospective film professionals on exactly what not to do if you want a successful film. Keep a lookout for comedic veteran James Franco who has made a dramedy lampooning The Room, which will hopefully be a cut above the actual travesty.
1. Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction is another example of a movie that was very well received upon its release, and cemented Quentin Tarantino as one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation. Its cult-status most likely stems directly from its quality, with many elements of the film becoming pop-culture memes that are so prevalent it’s almost necessary for everyone to watch the movie at least once just to be aware of how many popular one-liners and references it created. Beyond the comedic quality, Pulp Fiction also has a massively talented cast, with Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Travolta being a few of the extremely high profile names involved with the movie.
What are some of your favourite cult-classics of all time? Let us know in the comments below and tweet us @MenStuffZA!