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Inherent Vice – In Cinemas January 30 – Top 10 Cult Movies

19 December 2014

Paul Thomas Anderson is no stranger to cult cinema. Having directed cult hits such as Boogie Nights and The Master (a film literally about cults), Anderson has a history with creating movies that cultivate a passionate and very vocal fan base.

His upcoming seventh feature Inherent Vice is destined to become a cult classic. To celebrate its cinema release on 30th January, we have put together a collection of our favourite films which have reached cult status over the years...

A Clockwork Orange

Based off the 1962 novel of the same name, the 1971 dystopian crime film is one based around Alex; a charismatic sociopath delinquent, with a disturbing gusto for ultra-violence, and a taste for classical music. After going one step too far within his violent tendencies, Alex is jailed and volunteers to be part of an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government. With much controversy around this film, resulting in it being withdrawn, it was later reissued 27 years later.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro lead this Terry Gilliam psychedelic road trip to Las Vegas while heavily under the influence of a cocktail of drugs. Picking up hitchhikers, girls, and binging on any drug they can get their hands on, and generally wreaking havoc upon themselves and all around. Directed by the creative mind behind Monty Python’s famous animations, Terry Gilliam, known for his colourful and mad creations, this isn’t the only one of Gilliam’s films that has gained cult following. Despite initially receiving bad press upon release, audiences loved the film, leading it to gain a huge cult following from home entertainment release.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The 1975 British musical comedy horror about a very proper couple stumbling upon Dr. Frank N. Furter, a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania”, who then proceeds to dance and sing the couple into madness, while stripping them down to their underwear on the way. When released, the film was largely ignored, but grew to huge cult status as a ‘midnight movie’, where audiences began participating with the film in theatres in New York. This progressed to fans dressing as characters, and singing and dancing along.

WIthnail and I

Like several other cult classics, Withnail and I was not a box office success upon its release, but it’s now considered one of biggest cult comedies of all time and one of the most quoted too. Starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann and Richard Griffiths, the film has now inspired everything from song lyrics to drinking games.

The Big Lebowski

Like Paul Thomas Anderson, many Coen brothers films could be considered ‘cult’. But The Big Lebowski stands above the rest, with its extremely loyal and dedicated fanbase. The comedy starring Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski has inspired a wide range of fan support. There are constant midnight screenings, a store in New York called The Little Lebowski, a religion known as Dudeism and even a festival called Lebowski Fest.


Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical adventure fantasy film about a young girl Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) trying to rescue her infant brother from the labyrinth created by Jareth The Goblin King (David Bowie). It received a disappointing box office takings, resulting in the demoralisation of director Jim Henson, and the last feature film directed before his death in 1990. With extreme mixed critical response, the film picked up strong cult status, with features in Empire & Total Magazine contributing to this.

This is Spinal Tap

The 1984 American rock music mockumentary based around the touring lives of three childhood friends turned band members. Receiving modest success upon initial release, it seemed as though audiences didn’t quite get the irony and satire that the film was going for. It appeared that they thought this may be an actual documentary of a band, and the huge cameo roles and hilarity was just coming naturally. Described as ‘cutting close to home ‘by musicians such as Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne; admitting that they too had got lost backstage, and noted that the film was almost written about their own bands.

The Shining

Based upon the 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name, The Shining is one of the best known psychological horror films around. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) moves his family out to an isolated hotel to work as an off-season caretaker. Soon his son realises he has the ability to see paranormal going-ons, and Jack gradually succumbs to the influence of the supernatural presence, and unable to escape the hotel due to a snowstorm, descends to madness and attempts to murder his wife and son. The Shining has had multiple references in all sorts of popular culture, including adverts, The Office US, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and even making it into Family Guy. Possibly the most famous reference is when The Simpsons famous Halloween special ‘The Shinning’ in Treehouse of Horror V, where we saw Homer becoming a caretaker of Mr. Burns’ mansion and upon realising there is no cable TV or beer, becomes crazy and attacks his family. 

Shaun of the Dead

The first of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s ‘Cornetto Trilogy’, the 2004 comedy-horror Shaun of the Dead is one of the original mock-films. A play on version of the film from the same year of release, Dawn of the Dead, we see Shaun (Pegg), whose life is falling apart after his girlfriend leaves him, he’s in a dead end job which he hates, and his lazy housemate, Ed (Nick Frost). It takes a while for Shaun and Ed to realise that the zombie apocalypse had happened overnight, as they were both too hungover. The film received critical acclaim upon release, with high praise for its original comedy, with Stephen King describing it as a destined cult classic. In 2011 the film was voted by BBC Radio 1 and 1 Xtra as their second favourite film of all time, coming second to The Shawshank Redemption.

Inherent Vice

With a cast of eclectic characters including surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, this nourish psychedelic romp is guaranteed to be a cult classic. Joaquin Phoenix stars as the eccentric private eye Doc Sportello, supported by a host of unforgettable characters. Even before the release of the film, fans have been reciting Inherent Vice’s very quotable trailer, a clear sign that the film is destined for cult status.

Inherent Vice Film Page