Sections on This Page
On this site, I will use the phrase horror cult classic as an umbrella term for all of these different flavors of the horror genre:
- Underdog Horror
- Horror B Movie
- Bizarre Horror
- Horror Exploitation
- Psychotronic Horror
- Midnight Horror Movie
- Low-budget Horror
- Horror Shlock
I promise you that when you decide to enjoy one of the horror cult classics I review in these pages you aren’t going to walk away disappointed.
I assembled the items in this category because any horror fan having a proactive enthusiasm for any of them exhibits major enthusiasm in the genre.
Native Horror Cult Classics
Cult horror movies that are conversions from other mediums, like for instance from books, are an example of the misuse of the term cult film.
The Love for Camp
Herschell Gordon Lewis – This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! (1971) | Source
Many can argue that these kinds of movies are an acquired taste, and I don’t have anything to say against that. I agree with that statement.
When I didn’t proactively research cult classics I just called them B movies or bizarre movies.
Later on, I learned the politics of film on the mainstream, what is called a triple-a, multi-million-dollar budget, or simply mainstream movies as juxtaposed to independent cinema and low-budget production houses.
B movies were a subject I pondered about all the time. That was because of my vocation as a horror screenplay writer.
If one reads and studies the most popular books that teach the art of scriptwriting, one is bound to become very structured and conventional at the mental level when it comes to movies and their business.
It happened to me. I ended up fighting an inner battle between the need for a high standard due to the spec script market being mostly mainstream triple-a demand, and a lifelong deep love for all kind of cheaply made, old movies.
I knew that it was affecting me negatively. You can’t feed a gas engine with diesel fuel and expect it to work as it musts.
I conceded with this conflict and decided to watch a triple-a movie every night and leaving the b-grade ones for my weekend binges.
Cult Psychotronic Horror Classics
The Wicker Man (1973) | Source
An article touching the subject of horror cult movies, like this one, can’t let it pass a book like The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, and not mention it.
This is a tome. Over eight-hundred pages and 3000 mini-reviews of psychotronic movies, not all are horror films, though. Still, I wouldn’t venture into this field without owning a copy of this excellent reference book.
It’s good to see that almost forty years since the first use of the term at the mass level, with the first edition of the book, it has caught on and it’s another way fans call these movies; taking it as one more sub-genre of horror with which we can curate them.
Horror cult classics teach us
to watch beyond the social mores of film
and to find beauty where we aren’t supposed to find it.
Try Some Horror Cult Classics Content
There are a lot of cult classics and movies that fall under any of the categories I listed at the beginning of this article. Some means of classifying them, for someone who wishes to have considerable knowledge of them, are always welcome.
Some people knock down genres and sub-genres, deriding them as commercial inventions for optimal consumption.
You noticed that I grouped nine sub-genres of horror under the umbrella term of cult classics. This is for ease of classification and communication.
The fact that it helps assimilation is just an added perk to using sub-genres as a means to more effective curating. The power of precise classification has many advantages that you don’t realize were possible until you try it.
To give an example, the patterns that you find doing this have the potential of uncovering trends that weren’t obvious.
Even if the sub-genres you employ are your invention you’ll notice that they help with organizing and curating your tastes.
Let’s not Neglect any Horror Cult Classics
Up to now, I talked to you about the cool and positive things about horror cult classic movies. Still, there’s something we mustn’t forget. They are a lot of movies.
Think about it, The Psychotronic Encylopedia of Film was published in 1989 and it reviews 3000 films. Even if they aren’t all horror, just imagine the time it would take to go over all the horror ones from a source like that.
I’d wager, not overdoing it and making it become an issue, it would take like two decades to go over 3000 old, odd movies as geeked out by this book.
Yet, after all, that’s only one reference book from three decades ago. It may be exhaustive for the time-frame in which it was written.
If we don’t count the nineteen-nineties follow-up, The Psychotronic Video Guide to Film, what about the movies from then up to now?
Doing a very rough calculation, let’s say the encyclopedia covers movies from 1930 up to 1989. Roughly six decades and 3000 movies.
Three decades have passed since then. To the 3000 covered in that book, you have to add at the very least 1500 cult classics of which I don’t know what percentage might be horror, made from 1989 up to now.
Let’s not even touch the subjects, for now, of the relatively recent and contemporary cottage industry productions, and horror movies from studios and production houses nobody knows and featuring actors who are nobodies as of yet.
There are tons of those kinds of horror movies. There must be tons of cult classics waiting to be discovered.
I think it would be unfortunate if cult gems that didn’t have the means to advertise, that are good except in the marketing department, or that were shunned by critics and the media, pass us by and we don’t notice them.
Horror Cult Classics Will Expand Your Horror Knowledge
|Motions I Learned|
w/ Horror Cult Classics
|Horror Cult Classics|
We can’t deny that oldness and the feel that comes with old analog film formats are more than appropriate for horror. This is something that not everyone may notice but it’s a fact. Haters will hate, and there may be many that, snug with the contemporary HD formats, may detest old analog media.
Still, for others, those subtle differences in the look and feel of movies that were filmed analogically are something endearing.
Oldness plays a great part in these kinds of films, and while there are movie watchers that like the time capsule effect of some movies, at the pace things are going it’s difficult to remember that the past holds many treasures.
There’s a lot of underdogs, and when one wants to dominate this field, the internet, reference books, old magazines, and such help, but they aren’t enough.
The more time passes, the more the inertia towards the present, the new and the future. That does pose a threat of letting interesting movies fall into oblivion.
The proactive approach one has to use if one wants to learn about cult classics in a way that isn’t superficial gives this pursuit very satisfying angles.
Take, for instance, the putting to good use of the skills that movies give us. Do you notice that movie after movie one watches, the more the structure of the stories, the form of the characters, and similar details become more apparent?
That is one’s skills as an artist, or at the very least as a patron of the arts, growing.
It’s silly to let the skills one accumulates when watching movies go to waste and never become anything more than that, just good skills as a patron of arts that enjoys the works of others and nothing else.
Is that you? Just someone that exists for self-gratification and not using the objects of gratification for a higher purpose?
There are many things one can do with the knowledge. I’m going to name just a few very primordial ones:
- Interior design
In the case of movies, I recommend watching movies with the intention of someday dabbling in the genre in any possible and desirable capacity.
As in watching horror b-movies thinking which horror art talent one would like to develop, because now more than never, making horror movies, or any other horror object for that matter, is something that’s accessible to common people.
Not just like it was before, only to mega-billions corporations and cult-like indy outfits with brick and mortar social networks.
ALL THE HORROR CULT CLASSICS CONTENT
- Horror Cult Classics Reviews
- Horror Cult Classics Articles
- Cult Classics that Actually Aren’t: 12 Old Horror Movies with the Cult Classic Feel
- Horror Cult Classics Lists
- October 2020 Horror Movies Marathon — 31 to 62 Movies to Halloween
- 12 Lesser-known Horror Cult classics of the 1980s
- 12 Absolutely Essential Horror Cult Classics
- Cult Classic from The 1980s: “ALONE IN THE DARK”
- Cult Classics of Horror, Why we Love Them
- 12 Cult Classic Horror Movies About Psychopaths
- Orson Welles’ “THE TRIAL” a Kafkaesque Cult Classic Review
- List of 80+ Spec Script Sales that Became Horror Movies
- On 3D Movies, IMAX and Legacy Film Formats
- A Short but Researched Rant on Film Noir
- The Animatrix — The Psychological Horror in it
- Horror-Cyberpunk Crossovers and Cyberpunk isn’t just Sci-Fic
- Classic Horror Movies: Proto-noir Horror, Black and White Horror and Film Noir
- Horror Noir and Related Movies — List of Articles Worth a Reading