25 Cult Anthology Movies That Are Worth Your Time

18. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Twilight Zone The Movie

This was the theatrical version of the Twilight Zone television series created by Rod Serling that ran from 1959 to 1964. It features a prologue, three stories from the original series and a new one and was directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller.

The stories involve a prologue where a discussion of the television series takes place, a bigot who ends up in occupied France during World War II, a group of residents at a retirement home are given the chance to be young again, a teacher meets a boy who can do things with his mind, and a man sees a monster on the wing of the airplane that he’s on.

This is a great horror film coming from a group of great directors paying tribute to something they enjoyed watching as a child. It delivers in the scare department, especially involving the stories “Nightmare at 20,000 feet” and “It’s a Good Life.”

It has a good cast featuring Dan Akroyd, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Vic Morrow, Kathleen Quinlan, narration by Burgess Meredith, and some minor appearances from actors that had appeared in the original trilogy. It is probably most remembered for the accidental deaths of two child actors and Vic Morrow, who were killed when a helicopter crashed during a stunt.


19. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

A series of comedic sketches from the Monty Python troupe that examines life and the various stages that we go through, which include seven chapters: the miracle of birth and a contraception song called “every sperm is sacred,” a school education that includes a physical demonstration of sex, a series of war vignettes, middle age where a couple orders conversational topics from a menu, organ donations, the autumn years where a morbidly obese man eats until he explodes, and a series of vignettes about death.

This may not be everyone’s favorite Python film, it also may not be their best, but it is their most technically proficient film. With their biggest budget for a film, they were able to do more large scale choreography, have a better score and more original songs, and more time to film each of the sketches.

The most memorable scene in the film has to be the one involving the obese man who eats a ton of food and then explodes after eating the after dinner mint. This was also the last film that they would make before Graham Chapman died in 1989.


20. Cat’s Eye (1985)

Cat’s Eye

A series of Stephen King short stories are linked together by a stray cat: a man who joins an organization that uses mafia style techniques to help people quit smoking, a rich husband that forces his wife’s lover to walk around the narrow ledge of a tall building, and a girl that is being hunted by a troll.

This is a decent somewhat forgotten horror film from the 1980’s, which features appearances by James Woods, Alan King, Robert Hayes, and a young Drew Barrymore. All of the stories are interesting, the best being the second story involving the man having to walk the ledge.


21. Really Weird Tales (1986)

Really Weird Tales (1986)

Three tales that are linked together by a Rod Serling type character played by Joe Flaherty, all featuring former alumni of SCTV. Martin short plays a lounge singer being seduced at a Playboy type mansion, John Candy plays a shady real estate agent, and Catherine O’Hara plays a woman who makes the people she love explode.

It was meant to be a comedic spoof of shows like the Twilight Zone, but is not as funny as SCTV or future appearances by the actors. It appeared on HBO and was only released on VHS, so it’s not too easy to obtain a copy. It is only really recommended for the fans of the actors or SCTV.


22. Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)

Amazon Women on The Moon (1987)

An unknown viewer flips through a series of programs airing on late night television, with the viewer’s main interest being a classic 1950 B-movie titled Amazon Women on the Moon.

The channel keeps having technical difficulties with the film, so we see various commercials, infomercials, and skits that are supposed to be the programming on the other channels. This includes a hilarious skit where Arsenio Hall is attacked by his apartment, a spoof or Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Called Bullshit or Not, and a dead man roasted by famous comedians at his funeral.

This was produced and co-directed by John Landis, who had previously worked on the similar Kentucky Fried Movie. It was also directed by Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, and Robert K. Weiss.

The amount of cameos is ridiculous and includes Sybil Danning, Steve Forrest, Rosanna Arquette, Michelle Pfeiffer, Griffin Dunne, Joe Pantoliano, David Alan Grier, B.B. King, Steve Guttenberg, Henry Silva, Steve Allen, Henny Youngman, Ed Begley Jr., Carrie Fisher, Lana Clarkson, Andrew Dice Clay, and many other known personalities.

The film bombed at the box office but has a cult following among fans of films like this and Kentucky Fried Movie.


23. Night on Earth (1991)

Night on Earth (1991)

“Five Taxis. Five Cities. One Night” [15]. The interrelating theme of the film is that each story involves a cab driver in different cities and what happens to them on the same night: a Los Angeles cab driver is recruited by a talent scout, a New York immigrant cab driver is getting lost in the city, a Paris cab driver picks up a young blind girl, a Rome cab driver talks his passenger to death, and a Helsinki cab driver picks up a man who has been laid off.

This is a comedy-drama from well known independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Jarmusch is best known for Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train, and Ghost Dog. The cast involved are actors from the respective countries that the stories take place, including appearances by Winona Ryder, Rosie Perez, and Roberto Benigni.

All of the individual stories are very good, with the weakest being the one involving Ryder. The story featuring Benigni is so funny that it should make you double over in laughter. The music for the film was performed by musician Tom Waits. This is a great film from a great independent director, featuring some good stories and great music.


24. The Burning Moon (1992)

The Burning Moon (1992)

This is a German produced film that is by far the most violent and gore filled movie on this list, and possibly one of the most violent films ever made. A teenager tells his sister a series of violent and highly gruesome bedtime stories: including a blind date that ends up being a serial killer, and a murdering priest who is sent to hell and tortured.

The film was directed by Olaf Ittenbach, who is known for making films containing a heavy amount of gore. It was one of his earliest films and the most memorable of all of them based on the level of gruesomeness that it has.

The final torture sequence makes you question whether or not you’re watching someone really being ripped apart. It had been pretty hard to obtain a copy of this, but there is a DVD version available now. Also recommended from this director is Beyond the Limits.


25. Four Rooms (1995)

Four Rooms (1995)

This is a series of four stories that take place in an old Los Angeles hotel on New Year’s Eve, with the new hotel bellhop Ted (Tim Roth) being the main character linking the stories.

Each story deals with Ted’s involvement with the guests in their specific rooms: it includes a coven of witches that need his sperm for a spell to call forth their Goddess Diana, one in which he is held at gunpoint by a jealous husband who thinks Ted slept with his wife, one where he is paid to watch two misbehaving children, and one where is he is asked to be a participant in a dangerous bet.

Each story was written and directed by four different directors, Allison Ander, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. There is an ensemble cast that includes Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Beals, Madonna, Quentin Tarantino, and Bruce Willis. This is a fun film with each story being pretty good.

The best one is done by Rodriguez and involves some very funny and unexpected moments. The glue to the film is Roth and his excellent performance as Ted the bellhop. He is reminiscent of Stan Laurel at times, bringing a combination of idiocy, slapstick comedy, and emotional craziness to the role as his character goes through a series of unusual situations.

All the works cited can be found here.

Author Bio: Raul J. Vantassle is a jazz musician whose key strokes move about the page creating an explosion of formlessness to form, or just total bullshit. His heroes include John Waters, Robert Crumb, Charles Bukowski, and the Cobra Commander. His Knowledge of film goes across the board but he specializes in Asian and cult cinema. He may be the filthiest person alive. You can visit his blog here.