Confessions of a cult movie explorer

A little over a year ago, we booted back up Mutant Reviewers with the initial intention to bring it up to a modern look and get all of the rest of these backlogged reviews transferred over to this site. At the time, I was of the opinion that I held for the past seven or so years — that I had no time for movies any more, that I’d moved past them, but I was happy to help repost all of those lost reviews.

But something really funny happened over that strange summer of 2020: All of the work on this site started prompting me, slowly at first and then increasingly rapidly, to delve back into the realm of cult movie discovery. I started up a small list of movies that I’d missed out on over the past decade and figured I’d write one or two up as reviews. That list quickly ballooned into over 400 entries as I poured over other articles and did a whole lot of research about what cult films we’ve never even touched here at Mutant Reviewers.

I was smitten with cult movie exploring. I was in deep smit all over again.

You see, for me, doing Mutant Reviewers wasn’t an excuse to be a couch potato. It was an outlet for both a desire to write and an excitement over diverging from your normal movie viewing habits to plunge into the wild and wooly landscape of cult.

There’s something addicting about searching out cult movies because they’re so off the beaten trail that they don’t get the press that your Avengers or Star Wars movies do. They often exist in the past — twenty, thirty, forty years in the past — and come with a whole lot of caveats and warnings. They’re not polished classics, but odd movies with an odd appeal. I’ll often watch 10 of them before I get to one that I really, really love.

And it’s so… much… fun to do! I feel like I get to be an intrepid pathfinder who stumbles upon a strange vista and then gets to turn back and wave my arms and direct everyone’s attention over to it. I love that it’s not the same-old, same-old of modern blockbuster cinema, but a whole hodge-podge of genres and filmmaking styles and geeky passions. I love the ones that are so-bad-they’re-good and the ones that were unjustly overlooked until a cult following finally delivered that justice.

I’ve had to rethink how I use my limited free time to get in a few movies a week. Usually I’m watching them while I do mindless tasks or some mindless gaming. If it’s something appropriate for the family, I’ll rope my kids into it (my wife has long since become too wary over my “suggestions”) and get their take on it.

That huge list of yet-to-be-reviewed titles has no organization on purpose, as I want each successive title to be a true discovery of randomness. I’ve been using three methods to find most of these films: YouTube (there are a surprising number of full-length older movies there), Tubi, and Netflix’s DVD.com. Once in a great while if it’s unavailable anywhere else and I really want to snag that review, I’ll pay for a rental. Very rarely these days do I buy any DVDs or Blu-Rays.

Getting a new cult movie watched and reviewed up here on Mutant Reviewers is satisfying. It’s that feeling of contributing to a growing collection that is available to anyone who comes on by and wants to explore cult with us. I equally love it when I read new and old reviews from the staff with their unique takes.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the end of this list of cult movies in my lifetime, as I keep adding on to it every day, but I’m really excited about a whole bunch of them that may, one day, grace the front page of this esteemed site.

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