Cult Films To Watch Before Halloween
By Morris Raymond
If you’re a fan of cult films, you know that nothing satisfies you more than watching what could be best described at a bad attempt at making something called ‘art’. Well, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. Truth be told, a cult film is really just a movie that takes on a life of its own, attracting ‘followers’ that embody a faithful attention to its lines & in many ways see the film’s characters as the embodiment of something bigger than the film. Pretty ‘meta’, to be sure, but the devotion people have to their cult film of choice is pretty astounding.
Very few movie genres have as many entries on the cult film list than horror movies. Given the often gratuitous violence & sensitive material in these films, movie makers have had to get creative when pulling off death scenes & telling twisted tales of a psychotic or supernatural nature. Bad effects, terrible dialogue, and a need to push the boundaries with gore all make for some of cinema’s greatest horror cult films. With Halloween right around the corner, it sounds like the right time to park yourself on the couch & take in some serious horror cult film classics.
We start with the granddaddy of them all – “The Evil Dead”. This particular film set the standard for the idea of building a campy story with a brittle plot, but taking the whole process into high gear with over-the-top performances by the actors, and a whole lot of blood from the props department. Moreover, ‘props department’ gives the filmmakers too much credit as the very low budget resulted in a number of money-conscious decisions to be made. One of the originators in the idea of visiting a cabin in the woods motif, “The Evil Dead” brings together some college friends for what’s supposed to be a relaxing time in the woods. Instead, they are greeted by demonic possession and evil spirits, and don’t even get us started on the trees.
If you’re hoping for a movie that’s a bit more on the entertaining side of Halloween cult films, you need look no further than “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Perhaps the crowing achievement in avant-garde movie musicals, “Rocky Horror” takes the old monster movies of the early 20th century & turns them on their ears. In many respects, the movie, while ripe with its own oddly interesting story, tends to focus on a tremendous amount of social commentary regarding gender norms, sexuality, love, science, philosophy, and time travel (OK, maybe not the last one, but we had to work in “Time Warp” somehow).
Finally, since you’re celebrating Halloween with a good cult classic, no doubt you’re experiencing the same problem we all face when celebrating one holiday – we’re looking forward to the next one. Why not do this all at once by watching “Gremlins”, perhaps one of the most underrated Christmas movies ever? Sure, it’s not really a movie based on Christmas, but it definitely showcases what can happen to a sacred holiday when the less-than-sacred runs amuck. It also helps put the commercialism of the holidays into perspective in a really, really crazy way!
Cult films, whether based in Halloween-type horror or not, are meant to be one thing – entertaining. Who knows? One of these gems may be just what your Halloween needs to go to the next level.
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