11 Obscure Films That Gained a Cult Following

Movies like Avatar and Barbie greatly impacted pop culture and have a substantial fanbase. Other movies appeal to a more niche audience but are wholly adored in those circles. Films like Donnie Darko and Office Space are well-known cult classics you’ve probably heard of or seen, even if it’s not your cup of tea.

But sometimes, films that fly under the radar gain a cult following, connecting strongly with a smaller audience. People typically love or loathe these lesser-known cult favorites, showcasing how art can deeply resonate with one person and completely repulse or bore another.

1. Serial Mom (1994)

Serial Mom (1994) Kathleen Turner
Image Credit: Savoy Pictures.

This surrealist suburban film is about a typical housewife who gets a taste for murder. The outrageous movie is hilarious and also disturbing. The ridiculous plot didn’t satisfy many, but some viewers fell in love with the strange movie that flips the nurturing mother role on its head. It’s a sensationally satirical movie that most either love or hate.

2. Adventureland (2009)

Adventureland (2009) Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, this irreverent movie follows a young guy who falls in love while working at a rundown and sketchy amusement park. The movie features other major names, like Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Martin Starr. The slow-paced movie didn’t hold everyone’s attention, but some found it relatable and aesthetic.

3. Extract (2009)

Extract (2009) Jason Bateman
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

This indie film about a flavor extract plant has a demented plot that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Jason Bateman, Kirsten Wiig, and Mila Kunis star in the saucy movie where everyone seems to be a cheater, scammer, or idiot. The unusual comedy has some incredibly funny moments, but the unlikable collection of characters made it hard to watch for some.

4. The Weather Man (2005)

The Weather Man (2005) Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Judith McConnell, Michael Rispoli
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Weather Man packs an intense punch of graphic scenes and language, so it was too much for most viewers. It doesn’t have a typical storyline, and the film’s somber tone is depressing and poignant. The movie is anything but uplifting but offers excellent performances from Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine.

5. EuroTrip (2004)

EuroTrip (2004) Michelle Trachtenberg, Jacob Pitts, Scott Mechlowicz
Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

EuroTrip unapologetically pushes the limit when it comes to raunchy humor. A heartbroken high school graduate heads to Europe to get over his cheating girlfriend. One of the most notable cult aspects is the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know.” The main character, Scotty, discovers his girlfriend is cheating when her other boyfriend performs this song. It’s hilarious, but the song is also a hit.

6. Osmosis Jones (2001)

Osmosis Jones (2001) David Hyde Pierce, Chris Rock, Brandy Norwood
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Osmosis Jones is a kids’ movie with comedic moments and a plot that appeals to adults. Bill Murray, Chris Rock, and Laurence Fishburne star in this flick about an anthropomorphic white blood cell racing to stop a fatal virus in its human. The unorthodox movie meshes live action with animation, creating a quirky story with plenty of gross humor.

7. Lake Placid (1999)

Lake Placid (1999)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Lake Placid is a suspenseful movie about a massive crocodile that somehow ended up in a calm Maine lake. The movie is a little out there, with a wild concept, wry humor, and some racy language. Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Betty White, and Olive Platt star in the movie, which offers comedy, horror, romance, and more.

8. Death Becomes Her (1992)

Death Becomes Her (1992) Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Considering Death Becomes Her stars big names like Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep, and Goldie Hawn, it’s surprising it isn’t more well-known and widely loved. Two competitive women sell their souls to remain young and beautiful, but it doesn’t quite work out. The movie is campy and creepy, with a fashionable flair and hilarious characters.

9. Mystery Men (1999)

Mystery Men (1999) Hank Azaria, Ben Stiller
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This offbeat film follows a group of “superheroes” with unimpressive powers. Everything in this flick is unusual and goofy, from the villainous Casanova Frankenstein to the ridiculous powers. Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Kinnear, Paul Reubens, William H. Macy, and the rest of the cast deliver silly but sweet performances that made many fall in love with the film.

10. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Aubrey Plaza
Image Credit: FilmDistrict.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a movie that some feel has no payoff. Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Jake Johnson star in this sci-fi comedy about time travel. In reality, the characters are simply delusional. Despite the glaring lack of time travel, people enjoyed the film’s philosophical discussions and the layered story, which was overly intellectual for some audiences.

11. The River Wild (1994)

The River Wild (1994) Meryl Streep
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, and John C. Reilly star in The River Wild, a suspenseful action movie about crime, family, and white water rafting. The movie offers beautiful natural scenery, nuanced performances, and an action-packed, compelling plot. It’s difficult to understand why it wasn’t a bigger hit, but some folks were head over heels and consider it a classic.


The Usual Suspects
Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.
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