In preparation of the 38th anniversary of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, we give you a list of the top five must see cult films. By traditional measures (acting, coherent screenplay, special effects etc.) these movies are terrible. And yet they have some indefinable quality that makes people want to see them again and again. Each has spawned a dedicated fanbase, viewers who know every line by heart and engage in elaborate audience participation at midnight screenings. If there’s any on this list you haven’t seen– or haven’t seen recently- you’re depriving yourself. Call up your friends and schedule a viewing party right away!
The movie has a reputation for being the worst movie ever made. Written, directed and produced by Tommy Wiseau (who also is the star in the film), The Room is known for its terrible acting, poor production and dubbed-over dialogue. Throughout the movie, the phrase “Oh, hi” is said nine times, “Don’t worry about it” eight times, and “Oh, hey” seven times. The movie did not fare well in theaters on its origianl run, but later turned into a midnight showing phenomenon where audience members dress up as the characters, throw plastic spoons at the screen (whenever the creepy framed picture of the spoon is shown) and toss footballs at each other (sometimes in tuxedos). My favorite bit of trivia about the film is that Wiseau claimed to have financed The Room by importing and selling leather jackets from Korea. Not only do The Room newbs need to watch the film, but they also need to play this pixelated game created by really, really dedicated fans.
What more could you ask for in a film than flying sharks caught in a freak tornado that spiral over Los Angeles. They start tearing down billboards, swallowing pedestrians and taking bites out of the Hollywood sign, but they seem particvualrly susceptible to chain saws. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Sharknado yet on Sy-fy, please do yourself a favor and watch it already. The film stars actors Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, who have come a long way down since Beverly Hills, 90210 and American Pie. Social media really got the wheels moving on this instant cult classic only a month since its release. The unconventional story plot had everyone talking — during the peak of the Sharknado Twitter storm (see what I did there), there were over 5,000 tweets per minute. After the TV film blew up on social media, viewers requested midnight screenings of the film at local theaters and fans created a Sharknado drinking game — the first rule of the game, do not talk about the game. All the buzz surrounding this instant cult classic has inspired the film’s producers to create a sequel titled, Sharknado 2: The Second One which will be released in July 2014. This
“Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth is my politics! Filth is my life!”
That favorite quote by Divine, the main character of Pink Flamingos, sums up the bizarre and foul plot. The controversial cult classic from 1972 is called insulting, disgusting and divine. Directed by John Waters, Pink Flamingos was produced on a mere $10,000 budget. The plot? A gender-bending criminal named Divine goes up against a couple, for the title of “the filthiest person alive,” who run an underground “adoption clinic” where young girls are kidnapped, impregnated by the homosexual manservant, and then the babies are sold to lesbian couples to help finance a heroin ring in inner-city elementary schools. There is also a scene where Divine eats real dog feces. Are you intrigued yet? It may be shocking and revolting, but it’s unlike anything you’ve probably (hopefully) ever seen before. Fans of Pink Flamingos have it down to a tee on what to bring to midnight screenings of the film: Pink Phlegmingo barf bags, brown chunky candy to resemble stool and a rubber ducky. You must attend a screening or watch the film to find out why.
The Evil Dead
This 1981 horror film is about five Michigan State University students who become possessed by demons after vacationing in a cabin in the woods. Not surprisingly, most of them die. A girl not only gets brutally raped in the woods, but she gets raped by the woods. The low-budget film presented horror fans with a gore shock value way beyond other horror films during that time. It has since spawned two sequels (The Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness), and inspired the plot for the 2012 The Cabin in the Woods. An updated version of the film, Evil Dead, was released in April of 2013 and now there’s even an Evil Dead musical. Cult followers of the film have created a drinking game where you must chug while watching the film when “the trees get really fresh.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This 1975 low-budget cult-of-all-cult films has grossed more than $100 million from midnight showings in the U.S. alone in nearly four decades. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, known by the poster with the big red lips, was a groundbreaking comedy musical with elements of vintage sci-fi and horror that featured Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick who end up in the bizarre home of Dr. Frank N Furter (Tim Curry). The cult following did not begin until the midnight showings of the film started in 1976 and the movie has since become the most successful midnight screening in the nation. Audience members wear costumes, bring props, and even haze new audience members by writing a ‘V” on their forehead to represent that they are a Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screening virgin.
Notable items to throw while watching a midnight screening of the film are toast, Scott brand toilet paper, and playing cards. Find a local midnight screening in your area here. If you can’t make it out, it is still a blast to do at home with friends — check your local cable or DirecTV listings (here or here) for upcoming Rocky Horror Picture Show showings.