The term 'cult classic' is, and always has been, a contested one. There really is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a cult film, though generally speaking they are movies that are known for having passionate fanbases who engage in repeat viewings, endlessly quote dialogue, and go as far as dressing up as their favourite characters to celebrate their love for the film en masse - just google Lebowski Fest and you'll see what we're talking about here.
While films like the Coen Brothers classic command fiercely dedicated fanbases that only seem to become more fanatical year on year, there are a number of equally deserving movies that, for one reason or another, missed out on the cult status that they truly deserved.
There are a number of factors that can stop a worthy film from building up a cult following, from being overshadowed by a similarly themed movie to being associated with unfashionable actors, though it normally boils down to a mixture of bad timing and bad luck. What ultimately determines whether or not a film is granted cult status is us: the viewers.
Critical opinion is invalid in the world of cult films. In fact, poor reviews often breed that morbid type of curiosity that leads viewers to discover gems that were panned by the experts, though not every uncut cinematic diamond is rescued from the rough. From ripped-off sci-fi to pitch-black comedies, here are 10 films that never got the cult following they deserved.
10. Knights Of Badassdom (2013)
Knights of Badassdom is a sword and sorcery film with fake swords and some accidental sorcery. When best friends Hung, Eric, and Joe enter their local woods to participate in a dungeons and dragons inspired live-action role playing event as they have done countless times before, they have no idea that it could be for the very last time.
When the group attempt to take their LARPing to the next level with a batch of magic mushrooms and a spell book purchased on the internet, they soon find that their prop weapons and fake armour aren't going to help them against what is to come: the book turns out to be a genuine grimoire and the LARPers unwittingly welcome a vicious succubus into their realm.
Why It Never Got The Cult Following It Deserved:
Although it was released some five years after, Knights of Badassdom still somehow seemed to struggle for light in the shadow of 2007's Role Models. David Wain's similarly themed film follows two energy drink salesmen who end up having to participate in 150 hours of community service as punishment for crashing their company car into a school, which leads them to the world of LARPing.
While Role Models is a very funny film that utilises the weird and wonderful tropes of LARP to great effect, Knights of Badassdom is a lot more than that. Yes, like Role Models it pokes fun at the idea of live-action role play and the eccentricity of the people it attracts, though at its core this film is as much a horror as it is a comedy.
The movie really gets going once the horny blood-sucking demon is accidentally summoned, and what at first seemed like a mildly enjoyable take on LARP-culture becomes a hilarious battle for survival in the most ridiculous of circumstances. A great film that died in the shadow of a slightly better one.