The New Cult Canon

For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club -- his personal effort to catalog modern cinema at its best, weirdest, and most delightfully unexpected.

As a group of movies, The New Cult Canon not only reflects a distinct niche of cinema that fails to fit into traditional "high" or "low" boxes, but also defines Tobias's critical sensibility: Open, curious, diverse, deeply knowledgeable about history, and partial to filmmakers whose reach exceeds their grasp.

The New Cult Canon is one of the great, modern examples of list-making as trenchant criticism, and it deserves to be celebrated and remembered, both as an artifact of its time but also as a more-than-worthy extension of Danny Peary's Cult Movies books, which inspired Tobias's work.

Each list-entry includes a link to Tobias's article on the movie, found under Read Notes.

Read notes
  • Donnie Darko
  • Morvern Callar
  • Irma Vep
  • Miami Blues
  • Babe: Pig in the City
  • They Live
  • Clerks
  • Primer
  • Pi
  • The Blair Witch Project
  • I Am Cuba
  • The Rules of Attraction
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
  • Battle Royale
  • Dead Man
  • Wet Hot American Summer
  • The Boondock Saints
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Wild Things
  • Road House
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate
  • Troll 2
  • The Devil's Advocate
  • Showgirls
  • Sexy Beast
  • Sonatine
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  • The Kingdom
  • American Movie
  • Fight Club
  • Songs from the Second Floor
  • Oldboy
  • Gerry
  • Irreversible
  • Office Space
  • Rounders
  • Near Dark
  • Audition
  • Pulse
  • The Devil's Rejects
  • Fallen Angels
  • Exotica
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Married to the Mob
  • King of New York
  • Mysterious Skin
  • Bitter Moon
  • Velvet Goldmine
  • The Limey
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Heavenly Creatures
  • Femme Fatale
  • Beau Travail
  • Way of the Gun
  • The Room
  • The Iron Giant
  • Alice
  • Spirited Away
  • The Triplets of Belleville
  • Millennium Actress
  • Careful
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Brick
  • Team America: World Police
  • Code Unknown
  • Trust
  • Quick Change
  • I Heart Huckabees
  • Darkman
  • Lost Highway
  • Pootie Tang
  • Beetlejuice
  • Naked
  • Dead Ringers
  • Stuck
  • Les Amants du Pont-Neuf
  • Slacker
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Head-On
  • Pusher
  • Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands
  • Pusher III: I'm the Angel of Death
  • The Stepfather
  • Army of Shadows
  • Ginger Snaps
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • In the Company of Men
  • Army of Darkness
  • Bad Santa
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Zero Effect
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Man Bites Dog
  • Let the Right One In
  • The Fall
  • Synecdoche, New York
  • The House of the Devil
  • Serenity
  • Glengarry Glen Ross