4 More Potential Horror Cult Classics


What exactly is a cult film?  It been said to be defined as a film that has failed critically and/or financially but has since been appreciated and adored by a small and devoted group of fans.  Then again, some cult films pass over from the socially shunned circle of cinema into the mainstream such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  But what exactly determines a cult film?  Who gets to decide that a film is praised as being a hidden gem, or a so-bad-its-good fun filled unintentional laugh riot?  Well the fans do, but usually it’s not until years after their release in a slow organic process of rediscovery and word of mouth.  So who do I think I am calling out cult classics that have been released fairly recently?  I’m nobody, and all I’m not saying these are cult films one way or another, but they all have a shot.

Frailty (Dir: Bill Paxton – 2001)  Synopsis from imdb.com:  "A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."

Flash Factor: 3 – When I think of cult classics, the first things that come to my mind are films that are action packed, exciting, or just so balls out crazy that it’s truly an event to see the whole film play out rather than a passive viewing experience.  This is definitely not the type of film that Frailty is.  It’s slow, methodical, and if you’ve grown up with any kind of religion, terrifying. 

Staying Potential: 8 – I gave Frailty such a high score for staying potential because it came out nine years ago and is still being praised today.  To the untrained eye, it looks like a boring drama starring Bill Paxton and for some reason, Matthew McConaughey.  Not many people even realize that it’s a really disturbing horror film, but as soon as they do they are hooked in to the religiously terrifying world of Frailty. 

Chance for a Classic: 7 – It isn’t as fun as other similar cult classics, but it is a great horror movie that has been passing through the horror scene by word of mouth for years now.  When you ask someone "Have you ever seen Frailty", you get one of two responses.  1:  No? What are you talking about? Stop following me.  Or 2: Oh hell yeah, that was an awesome movie; I tell everyone I meet to watch it!  That’s the different between a good movie and a cult classic, a fan base willing to spread the word.

Carriers (Dir: Alex & David Pastor - 2009): Synopsis from imdb.com: Four friends fleeing a viral pandemic soon learn they are more dangerous than any virus.

Flash Factor: 2 – Carriers was released in barely any theaters with no marketing whatsoever.  The DVD cover looks like a cheap and terrible horror film on par with any horrible straight to DVD horror feature of the last 10 years.  Once you get past these major hurdles, I promise that as long as you know what you are in for, you won’t regret it.

Staying Potential: 5 – Don’t not get any wrong ideas here, but this movie is not fun to watch.  It’s a brutal, unrelenting, and unforgiving look at a group of people that are interested in nothing but their own survival and will do whatever it takes to stay alive.  If you’ve seen the end of "the Mist", then you know what to expect.

Chance for a Classic: 4 - The movie is good, in fact it’s really good, but in the eyes of that mean bastard time, a similar film (by basic plot only) released in the same year called Zombieland will probably get all of the rabid cult classic fans, which is a shame because this film should not be overlooked or ignored completely.  I hope it sticks around for a very long time, just like Frailty has.

Dead Snow (Dir: Tommy Wirkola – 2009) Synopsis from imdb.com: A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.

Flash Factor: 9 – Seriously, Nazi Zombies with heavy connotations that there is going to be a bloodbath?  How could I possibly resist such campy fun?

Staying Potential: 8 – When the film first begins, it lulls you into a false sense of security with conventions that you have seen in at least a million horror movies before it.  But as soon as the Nazi zombies show up, all of that goes right out of the window and the insane carnage begins.  All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Chance for a Classic: 8 – There is no doubt in my mind that this one will be cherished and appreciated by horror fans for a long time.  It has insane and impractical gore, nudity, and enough action to make your head spin.  The only way that this movie won’t become a cult classic is if people realize how hard it’s trying to be a cult classic.  For me, yes I realize that it is entirely self aware and grabbing for that cult classic feel, but it’s so enjoyable that I don’t even care.

REPO: The Genetic Opera (Dir: Darren Lynn Busman – 2008) Synopsis from imdb.com: A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however.

Flash Factor: 9 – When hearing about this rock opera of horror, it’s impossible not to parallel it to the Rocky Horror Picture show.  Yes they are both very different movies, but REPO looked poised to step in and take the crown from the world renowned fan favorite.

Staying Potential: 5 – I’m giving this one a five because it already has a very strong core fan base that is destined to keep this movie going for a long time.  I enjoyed REPO very much, but while I was watching it, it seemed too much like it was trying to be just a cult classic and never striving to be anything more.  Cult classics become the best cult classics because they are loved for what they are, not because they follow a cult classic template and checklist.  

Chance for a Classic: 8 -> this one nets an 8 because truth be told, those rabid core fans will not go quietly into the night.  They won’t care at all if no one else besides them loves and cherishes the movie like they do.  In fact, they will probably prefer that.

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