It’s the end of the decade and everyone is looking back and reminiscing over the past ten years. I thought I would join in the fun and give you my Top 13 Cult Movies that were release between 2000 and 2009. These are all movies that you would (or one day will) find in the cult section of your video store, or Netflix, or Amazon Lists, or…whatever. Let’s go to the movies and see some sex, violence, and giant monsters!
Uzumaki – 2000 Dir: Higuchinsky, Japan
A surreal and creepy story about a town haunted by “spirals” (as in the shape). It is extremely difficult to try and describe what this movie is like but just trust me – it’s brilliant. For the most part, it’s just one disturbing and weird visual after another. That may not sound like much of an endorsement, but Uzumaki truly is more than the sum of its parts.
Battle Royale – 2000 Dir: Kinji Fukasaku, Japan
The tale of an overpopulated and underemployed Japan where school children are forced to battle to the death on reality television. Smart, criminally under seen, and awesomely bloody, Battle Royale is a must watch.
Happiness of the Katakuris – 2001 Dir: Takashi Miike, Japan
Takashi Miike, the same man famous for prolonged scenes of torture and spelling title captions in semen, decided in the early 00’s to make a musical-comedy. Of course, his musical is about a family who keeps accidentally killing people and features zombies and stop-motion monsters. Watch the trailer – then pick your jaw off the floor.
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack – 2001 Dir: Shūsuke Kaneko, Japan
Did you know that Toho continued to make Godzilla films through the 00’s? Well, you should, because they kick ass! Big (for Japanese film standards) budgets and cutting-edge special effects make the 00’s Godzilla films into true spectacles. But make no mistake, these are still man-in-a-suit movies. Godzilla: GMK is the best of the latter Big-G movies, featuring Mothra, King Ghidorah, and (a personal fav of mine) Baragon. Go Go Godzilla!
Shaun of the Dead – 2004 Dir: Edgar Wright, United Kingdom
Maybe the definitive horror-comedy. A hilariously astute story of how slackers survive the zombie apocalypse. This movie came out of no where and blew the whole world away. This movie also marks the official beginning of the modern zombie craze. Also, in this viewers opinion, this is the last good zombie movie ever made (don’t you dare bring up that fucking piece-of-shit Zombieland around me).
The Descent – 2005 Dir: Neil Marshall, United Kingdom
Monsters! Monsters! Monsters! I love monster movies and The Descent was not only the best monster movie of the decade, but one of the best monster movies ever. Neil Marshall’s stunning sophomore effort was one of the biggest surprises of the decade. Also make sure to check out Marshall’s first movie, Dog Soldiers – military versus werewolves!
Hostel – 2005 Dir: Eli Roth, USA
A vicious sex and violence thriller from new gore auteur Eli Roth. A lot of people hated this when it first came out (and still do) – accusing it of being nothing more than exploitation. On the surface this may be correct but when the viewer digs deeper they will find a surprising deep and complex film. One day I would like to write book examining the thematic and technical layers of this modern horror masterpiece. Also, Roth deserves kudos for officially killing off the PG-13 ghost stories and Meta-Slasher flicks that plagued the 90’s and early 00’s.
Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006 Dir: Guillermo Del Toro, Mexico
Words can barely explain how much I love this movie. Anarchist theory, paganism, the Spanish Civil War, magick, and monsters – few movies contain so many topics that immediately hook me. Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece is a visual and philosophical treat.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead – 2006 Dir: Lloyd Kaufman, USA
The second musical on the list. I’ve been avidly following Troma for more than ten years now and the release of Poultrygeist was an absolute thrill to me. An perfect distillation of satire, violence, and trash that Kaufman has been perfecting for decades.
Postal – 2007 Dir: Uwe Boll, USA
That’s right, I have a Uwe Boll film on this list. I understand if you’ve seen one of Boll’s earlier films and then never bothered to see Postal, but you’re really missing out. In the vibe of the very best Troma, this is one fucked-up film (how many movies open on a comedic recreation of the 9/11 attacks?). Designed to attack every political ideology through a constant assault of boobs and blood, Postal is amongst the finest cinema trash ever created.
Grindhouse – 2007 Dir: Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, USA
Every now and then Hollywood goes temporarily insane and produces something like, Grindhouse. How the fuck did this movie get made? Big budget, top directors (five of them!), and wide-spread distribution, all for a movie meant to be a tribute to an obscure film niche interest. Of course the film flopped in theaters but cult movie fans got one of the most fun films in decades.
The Dark Knight – 2008 Dir: Christopher Nolan, USA
Some may question the inclusion of this movie on the list. But The Dark Knight was the first film to finally take its super-hero source material seriously. The script seems like it could have been written by Alan Moore or Garth Ennis and Heath Ledger as the Joker will be a film icon for decades to come. If you like any of the other movies on this list, you must see The Dark Knight.
Tokyo Gore Police – 2008 Dir: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Japan
Those crazy Japanese – they’ve done it again. I went into Tokyo Gore Police blind, only having heard the title, and was completely blown away. Never before have I seen such a nonstop assault of gory surrealism. Snail people, a quadriplegic that has swords attached to their stumps, and more dismemberments than entire slasher franchises. For me, this movie is heaven.