The Most Classic Cult Comedies In Film History
The term “cult” for a following refers to an underground, secretive and near clandestine classification for something rare and potentially worthy of a million eyes and ears. Unearthing a classic cult comedy is like finding diamonds in your dog’s butt: unlikely, but not impossible, and totally worth it if you do. Here are some of the most classic cult comedies that comes to mind from film’s extensive history of great and not-so-great comedies, the latter of which are apparently much easier to make. Now quit shuffling through your dog’s poo and get reading.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Celebrating its 40th anniversary right now, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is at the top of most people’s and websites’ list of cult comedies. Celebrating a younger Susan Sarandon and the pioneering of cult comedy, the musical horror details the odd adventure of a couple in the home — err, castle — of the very strange Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Between the bisexuality, transgender scientist and cannibalism, this particular movie never seemed more relevant, especially to the cult genre. See Tim Curry like you’ve never seen him, as well as Meat Loaf, whoever that is.
The idea of catching and containing a ghost may seem like a unique and privileged concept, but it made perfect sense back in the ’80s comedy aimed at both the adult and child audiences. With the fluff of the Stay Puft and the dashing wit of Bill Murray, “Ghostbusters” has become quite the phenomena since. Directed by Ivan Reitman with one of the most original screenplays in a somewhat small-budgeted film, this remains one of the best original comedy trios up until they hired Ernie Hudson. Over the past 30-plus years, the franchise has only gained traction, resulting in a boom of multiple sequels, three so far announced by Sony.
A large first step for big name actors like Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee, who would later become co-stars on “My Name Is Earl,” along with Ben Affleck and other ‘90s heartthrobs, Mallrats struck an honest chord for the mallrat in us all. The movie spawned a series of cult movies, directed by Kevin Smith, with similar tones and repeat actors, including “Clerks,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and “Chasing Amy.” Production for one of the most needed franchise sequels, “MallBrats,” is already underway. And that damn kid is on the escalator again!
The Big Lebowski (1998)
A Coen brothers film about ruined rugs, bowling buddies and walking around in a house robe all day, The Dude and his buddies, played by Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman, are the subjects of a botched ransom. The follow-up to the Coen’s dark Dakota comedy, “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski” was one of the most heavily quoted cult comedies of the ’90s.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
A 1981 throwback to the last day at Camp Firewood, the “Wet Hot” cast reunited for a 2015 TV prequel to its 2001 movie. Starting with the first day of camp, the Netflix show works its way up to the hijinks of the original film on the final day with familiar faces like Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd met with new ones, including Jason Schwartzman and John Slattery. Did we mention Lake Bell, too?
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Rob Reiner’s comedic genius is in the ’80s Brit rock satire starring himself, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest as Spinal Tap. The rockumentary follows the band around in their hilarious escapades, one of the great directorial debuts for a comedic director.
Empire Records (1995)
Is it Rex Manning Day again yet? The record shop riot that is Empire Records, starring a young Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney and Renee Zellweger, follows the dramatic lives in a lighthearted rock ‘n roll fashion, along with some light shoplifting, failed gambling and therapeutic drum solos. The indie record shop’s employees ban together as they get ready for corporate takeover, along with the famous hair of sexy Rex Manning.
Super Troopers (2001)
Whether it’s the syrup-chugging contest, local cop feuds or the lovable Farva and his liter of cola that sold people, the cult cop comedy with an unusually large following managed to stay close to everyone’s hearts. In fact, the unexpected success of these Vermont State Troopers helped to drum up several million dollars for a sequel, $4.4 million to be somewhat exact, from an Indiegogo campaign. The original 2001 film was made for $1.2 million and had more laughs than expected, as well as more than $23 million in the box office. The sequel is slated for 2016, but we could go for it right about now.
Bottle Rocket (1996)
The genius of Wes Anderson can be easily attributed to his unique vision, meticulousness and the growing budgets he’s given for aforementioned successes. But what about his directorial debut, which had a fraction of the budget? Starring the Wilson brothers, Owen and Luke, in their earliest feature film work, along with a director who was just starting to find his feet, “Bottle Rocket” is the crime comedy based off a short film, written by Owen Wilson and Anderson themselves. Whatever cult following the film garnered has tagged along for the Wes Anderson thrill ride, along with every other hipster and symmetrically compulsive obsessor.