12 Awesome Cult Movies to Watch on Hulu

Sara Paxton and Pat Healy in The Innkeepers. Image: Magnet Releasing
Sara Paxton and Pat Healy in The Innkeepers. Image: Magnet Releasing

It’s been over a week since our list of Netflix recommendations, so here’s another stack of movies to add to your binge-watch pile. This time, they’re all on Hulu, which (added bonus) also contains all 11 seasons of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in case you get too freaked out by any of the following.


1) Snowpiercer

Inspired by a French comic, gorgeously shot by Bong Joon-ho (The Host), and starring Chris Evans in a very different heroic vein than anything he gets to do in the Avengers movies, Snowpiercer is a movie that doesn’t just hold up after multiple viewings, but actually gets better.

Apologies to Hitchcock, but Snowpiercer might be the most dynamic and exciting movie ever to be set entirely on a train. Tilda Swinton’s frightening yet eerily comic performance is a highlight, as is the film’s unique ability to convey life that’s completely come to a standstill even as it transpires on a vehicle that’s thundering forward at great speed.

2) Children of the Stars

If you see only one documentary about a Southern California cult that believed in UFOs and intergalactic past lives and made gloriously cheesy films exploring their beliefs for public-access television...you’d better make it Children of the Stars.

3) Scanners

Hulu has a few David Cronenberg selections tucked into its library, thanks to its collaboration with the Criterion Collection.

Scanners gets a lot of well-deserved love for its fantastic exploding head scene, which occurs in act one (hell, it’s in the trailer) and lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that this movie is not gonna fuck around. But it’s more than just a movie with one spectacular special effect—it’s a potent thriller about sinister science, telekinesis, family secrets, world-domination schemes, and evil Michael Ironside.


4) Ginger Snaps

High school in suburbia is a drag, especially when your best and only friend—who also happens to be your older sister—turns into a bloodthirsty werewolf.

The result is a blend of satire, horror, and teen angst (and a mash-up of its contemporaries, including films like Jawbreaker, The Craft, and She’s All That). Ginger Snaps is not always subtle, but it’s still great fun to watch.


5) The American Astronaut

Just your standard-issue Western about space travel that looks like it was made in the 1920s, in the room next door to The Forbidden Zone, with jaunty musical interludes composed by its writer, director, and star. Yep.

Cory McAbee’s The American Astronaut came out in 2001, but it’s truly timeless—and, needless to say, completely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.


6) Primer

Primer is a movie with a time-travel plot so complex you may become obsessed with solving all the riddles contained in its narrative. (Google “Primer movie explained” if you get too frustrated, and you will realize this is not uncommon.) Not bad for something that was made for just $7,000.


We included Upstream Color, Shane Carruth’s Primer follow-up, on our Netflix list because it’s just as amazing and even more baffling. His next film, The Modern Ocean, has a Hollywood cast and sounds like a bit of a departure from his first two films, but we’re still excited. If only we had a time machine, we would jump ahead and see it already.


7) Equinox

Primer is an impressive low-budget feat, but Equinox cost even less ($6,500, though that’s in late-1960s dollars) and it contains way more than just a time machine. The plot follows a group of kids who stumble upon a cursed book...and unleash unspeakable horrors, many of which are rendered in stop-motion. (Co-director Dennis Muren later got his big break working on the special effects for Star Wars.)

The benefit of hindsight adds a certain glow to Equinox, but it is a truly bizarre relic of the drive-in era. The fact that it has a Criterion edition is proof that the movie gods exist.


8) Highlander

Illustration for article titled 12 Awesome Cult Movies to Watch on Hulu

Included because on those nights when you’re like, “I just want to watch something good, right now, with this piping-hot pizza that just arrived, and not spend 30 minutes scrolling through all the choices,” the answer is always either Big Trouble in Little China or Highlander. Hulu doesn’t have Big Trouble, but it does have Highlander (and Highlander 2: The Quickening, if you’re looking for an encore).

9) The Innkeepers

It’s the last weekend before a historic hotel closes forever, and the only two remaining employees spend their final shifts poking into the establishment’s signature ghost story.

Though The Innkeepers’ story is quite familiar, writer-director Ti West (House of the Devil) keeps things fresh by mixing wry humor with some genuine frights. Kelly McGillis has a nice turn as one of the inn’s few guests, a once-famous actress who has left Hollywood behind in favor of the spirit world, and Lena Dunham has a fun if random cameo as a chatty coffee-shop worker.


10) Blue Sunshine

Hulu’s version of the Zalman King-starring LSD freakout movie Blue Sunshine is personally introduced by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, who pops in throughout the movie to offer saucy commentary. It is a magical combination.

11) The Last Winter

Ron Perlman and Connie Britton star in actor-director Larry Fessenden’s chilly environmental creeper, about oil company employees tasked with building an ice road in the most remote part of Alaska.


The mysterious forces of nature, however, have other plans. Extremely malevolent plans.


12) House

Another Criterion selection, Japanese oddity House is a sensory marvel of fantasy, horror, and “WTF DID I JUST SEE?” moments. You will love it, or it will drive you completely insane. Or if you’re lucky: both.

io9 News Editor, here since 2016. Previously SF Bay Guardian newspaper (RIP), SF State University (MA, Cinema Studies), big fan of horror, metal, and verrry small dogs.


Remy Porter

Highlander is an awkward movie. It’s too well produced for its own good, because honestly, it’s flirting with “so bad it’s good” territory- the first ten minutes are hilariously awful. The garage sword-fight is so awkward and pathetic I just adore it.

But from that point forward, the movie is a plodding mess with cheap sets, crap dialogue, wooden performances, and pathetic action sequences. The highlights are Clancy Brown and the soundtrack, and honestly, if I want to watch a movie where actors ham it up to Queen songs, I’d rather watch Flash Gordon.