Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Three wildly different cult films in the top 100

A camp classic, a little schlock and . . . sentimental holiday fare?

1 of 3

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Director: Jim Sharman United States, 1975 A toast! This midnight-screening, audience-participation favourite – a campy musical about a stranded couple’s crazy night at a spooky castle – was the first film Mathijs and Mendik agreed on. “There isn’t a single essay on cult film that doesn’t pay lip service – pun unintended – to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, because it’s the best documented of all cult films,” says Mathijs.

20th Century Fox

2 of 3

Cannibal Holocaust Director: Ruggero Deodato Italy, 1979 A documentary crew goes missing in the Amazon while filming indigenous tribes. A rescue mission recovers the film, revealing brutalities unleashed by the Westerners (using real footage of animal slaughter). This is a classic mondo film or “shockumentary” – controversial pseudo-documentaries meant to disgust audiences. “Underneath that anthropological guise is basically an exploitation film,” says Mathijs, of the genre.

3 of 3

It’s a Wonderful Life Director: Frank Capra United States, 1946 What has become a ubiquitous holiday TV staple was poorly received upon its release. “Everyone found it overly sentimental,” says Mathijs. But a lapsed copyright coupled with TV stations in need of cheap Christmas programming earned the film a devoted fan following over the years, with a seasonal-appropriate message. “It’s a film that’s basically a critique of capitalism. It says: ‘Look, we have to put boundaries around greed and the pursuit of profit. After all, it’s community that counts.’”


Report an error