Film & TV

3 Cult Horror Films

If you’re looking for something a bit more out there for your Halloween viewing pleasure, here are 3 less seen films that have nonetheless garnered a cult following of fans because of their strong visions and lasting scares.

Jonas Jamarik on Rabbits

“In a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain … three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.”

This is the tagline for David Lynch’s Rabbits, a series of shorts posted on his website in 2002. It is probably one of the most terrifying, weirdest and puzzling things I have ever seen and considering Lynch’s other works, it should be no surprise that he refers to it as a sitcom. It takes place in the living room of a dim-lighted apartment, the only inhabitants of which are 3 humanoid rabbits. Dressed in 1950’s clothing, they converse in disjointed statements and unprovoked questions which are seemingly in the wrong order and without any logic. Their conversations are underlined by the omnipresent sound of rain and a somber, funeral-like score. In true sitcom fashion, their strange dialogue is followed by studio audience laughter, cheers and applause. At different times each of the Rabbits enters the room by themselves and performs a soliloquy while a distorted, demonic face appears on the wall behind them. These monologues are at times just a series of freely associated words and misplaced grunts. The dialogue sometimes contains what some viewers interpreted as clues, but they just seem to add to the overall mystery. This didn’t stop the online community from trying to solve this mystery and there are pages of articles, and forum posts dissecting the work and trying to make sense of it all ( Nevertheless, as is typical for Lynch, Rabbits isn’t presented as something that needs to be solved, rather it’s something that needs to be experienced.

Bronte Spargo on Donnie Darko

It’s approaching Halloween, so what better time than to settle down with a scary movie as the nights draw in? Donnie Darko is the perfect Halloween film: a psychological thriller designed to mess with your head and a cult classic that gave us Jake Gyllenhaal in his breakout role as the troubled teenager.

As with many cult films, Donnie Darko was largely glossed over and forgotten when it hit theatres in 2001. With its low budget, bizarre premise and outcome as a box-office failure, it was only later that Donnie Darko developed a cult following, when it was released on video in 2002. This failure was largely due to the film being released shortly after the September 11 attacks in America.

Despite this lackluster first response, Donnie Darko is now firmly rooted in history as a cult movie with a large and devoted following. A mouthpiece for the young and disillusioned at the time and still today, Donnie Darko spoke to those who felt just as hopeless and bleak as the titular character. Donnie was relatable to teenagers going through a hard time, trying to make sense of a world that really doesn’t make sense.

Donnie Darko is appealing to me because it has no clear narrative, no traditional beginning, middle, and end. It’s dark and twisted and confusing, ensuring viewers watch it again and again, countless times, searching for clues and meaning in the meaningless.

Alex Briggs on Trick ‘r Treat

When I think of good horror movies to watch on Halloween, the first that really comes to mind is the 2007 cult horror movie Trick ‘r Treat. Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology movie, presenting four separate yet connected stories set in a small American town during Halloween.

If you’re looking for something more on the dark and graphic side, this is a good place to start. The stories in this feature aren’t exactly deep but they capture the macabre and haunted atmosphere of the holiday with monsters hiding around every corner in a seemingly suburban neighbourhood. From killer teachers and urban legends coming to life to the October equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge facing off a pumpkin demon, it’s not afraid to embrace the weird and monstrous. I will warn you though: it’s not for the faint of heart. Its indulgences of Halloween extends to a lot of blood and gore, even some of the child characters aren’t safe. In some ways, though, that’s part of the fun.

The movie reminds me a lot of old eighties horror, with stock characters getting involved in deadly hijinks but with a modern setting. Like many of those films the enjoyment doesn’t come to much from being legitimately scared but rather from the fun of watching spooks and gore. I think in some ways though that captures Halloween perfectly, it’s more about the fun alongside the scares and this one movie that understands that perfectly.