Small budgets and a private vision often produce the hippest and edgiest stuff in filmmaking. For independent filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, every film is an instant cult favorite. If you can handle the violence, dark humor, soundtracks, freaks, and of course, all the love, here are the ten cult films you can't live without.
Paramount Home Video
If you want to be free, be free. From the Cat Stevens soundtrack to Bud Court's inventive suicide attempts to the stunning Pacific coastline, Hal Ashby's timeless film pleases on every level.
Miramax Home Video
"O.K., let me tell you what 'Like a Virgin's' about." This early Quentin Tarantino
masterpiece reinvented the landscape of independent film with this super cool heist flick. The terrific ensemble cast includes Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, and Tarantino as Mr. Brown.
This four-disc set captures the entire low budget and terrificly campy Ed Wood collection: Glen and Glenda
, Plan 9 from Outer Space
, Bride of the Monster
, and Mesa of Lost Women
, plus the documentary Flying Saucers over Hollywood
It depends on your comic sensibilities if you find this distopian fantasy funny or tragic, but there is no doubt in my mind director Terry Gilliam created a masterpiece. The Criterion Collection offers an excellent three-disc set with alternate versions and extras galore.
New Line Home Video
John Waters broke almost every rule of filmmaking and good taste with Pink Flamingos
. As an extra bonus, this DVD also contains Female Trouble
, a tribute to good-girl-gone-bad drive-in melodramas, and a commentary track by John Waters himself.
Jim Jarmusch really got me with this one. The sublime Forest Whitaker stars as Ghost Dog, a man of few words who shares his rooftop home with dozens of pigeons. A cross-cultural fusion of Eastern philosophy, hip-hop music, and urban violence.
David Lynch's twisted television masterpiece makes great home viewing. Who isn't a freak? Is there anybody normal in this town? Nope, sorry. Eight hours of entertainment can't be beat, with special features galore, including cast interviews, episode analysis, and extra scenes.
Before Gus Van Sant went mainstream, he made seemingly effortless offbeat movies about terrific characters. Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, and an undiscovered Heather Graham play a small group of drug addicts who heist pharmacies to feed their habit.
New Line Home Video
Harmony Korine was only 23 when he wrote and directed this film. It's a raw, improvised take on small town life in Ohio, and Korine doesn't care if you find fights with kitchen furniture or skinning cats disturbing or not. You have to love the bunny ears.
Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez star in Alex Cox's punk sci-fi classic about two guys who repossess cars.