Home Features 5 cult classics derived from books. Guest blog by Stephanie Rowes

5 cult classics derived from books. Guest blog by Stephanie Rowes

by Louisa Klein

Hollywood has been notorious for bringing together film and literature, and before ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ sagas were made, movies based on popular books were fixtures on the Big Screen. From childhood classics like ‘101 Dalmatians’ to this year’s Academy Award nominated ’12 Years a Slave,’ film and literature have been cinema mainstays. While there are many titles you may already be familiar with, there are many films based on novels that you never knew existed—many of which are cult classics.
If you’ve ever seen ‘Trainspotting’ or ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ then you’re already acquainted with the works of Irvine Welsh and Anthony Burgess. And fans of Bret Easton Ellis would be apt to check out Marek Kanievska’s ‘Less Than Zero’ and the 2002 dark comedy ‘The Rules of Attraction,’ in addition to ‘American Psycho.’ Even the famous Grimm Brothers have been given a cult following in the theaters with films like ‘Snow White: A Tale of Terror.’ It’s currently showcased on Picturebox, which describes the movie as “brilliantly atmospheric and sinister telling of a story usually told in a sugary style.” They also provide a constantly rotating stream of new movies, which allows for film and literary buffs to catch some of these popular cult classics.
American Psycho
In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis introduced us to Patrick Bateman—the poster child for the exorbitance, greed, and self-loathing of the ’80s. In Bateman, America got a taste of good old-fashioned depravity that most sadists would enjoy. And while the book was met with some controversy, film-goers fell for Christian Bale as Patrick and this gave the film quite a popular following. In 2013, the ever-so-misanthropic Ellis launched (and succeeded with) a Kickstarter campaign to get a musical adaptation of the book made with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik and the role of Bateman played by ‘Doctor Who”s Matt Smith. The show opened in London in December 2013.
Fight Club
You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake… And so goes one of the most well-known monologues from director David Fincher’s 1999 cult classic ‘Fight Club.’ Beloved by many who connect with Palahniuk’s miserable “everyman” character, ‘Fight Club’ hatched from the perversely clever mind of Chuck Palahniuk and is one of his most popular books to date. Edward Norton, who plays the nameless protagonist, and Brad Pitt, who gives a phenomenal performance as Tyler Durden, head up the impressive cast of this dark comedy. In 2008, actor-turned-director Clark Gregg adapted another Chuck Palahniuk hit with the film ‘Choke,’ which stars Sam Rockwell.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Terry Gilliam brings the bizarre world of Hunter S. Thompson to life with his 1998 film ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ It’s based on Thompson’s words and uses Ralph Steadman’s illustrations from the 1972 book, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:  A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream,’ to depict the frantic journey of narrator Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo on a trek through the Nevada desert to Las Vegas.
Gilliam’s film was a cinematic success with superstars like Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro playing the leading roles. Often noted as part fiction, part fact, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ was first published in 1971 as part of a two-part series appearing in Rolling Stone magazine. In 2011, Depp, who became a great friend to Thompson after filming the movie, later starred in another work based on another novel by the author, ‘The Rum Diary.’
A Clockwork Orange
There’s no greater cult film than Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ Starring Malcolm McDowell, this film is based on the Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel of the same name. While the movie follows closely to the book, Burgess was concerned by the absence of the 21st chapter, which prior to 1986 was omitted from the U.S. versions of the Burgess classic. Despite this, Kubrick’s masterpiece was well received in the States. It raked in $26 million and earned a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Directed by illustrious filmmaker Danny Boyle, ‘Trainspotting’ is a pop culture sensation that’s been highly ranked on prestigious lists like the British Film Institute’s Top 100 British films. Even the movie’s two soundtracks were a hit, with the original, which was released in July 1996, making the list of Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Best Movie Soundtracks. The first novel by Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, ‘Trainspotting’ the book achieved cult status after the film was released. However, the novel was adapted for the stage after its initial publication in 1993.

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