Liv Tyler, Ann Dowd, and Amy Brenneman in The Leftovers (2014-2017)
After months of anticipation, Ryan Murphy recently announced the title of the newest season of American Horror Story. Inspired by the 2016 election, “Cult” is the theme of season seven.
It’s certainly a chilling topic for the latest installment of the horror anthology. It’s been utilized in a number of classic thrillers. From Wicker Man to Rosemary’s Baby to Eyes Wide Shut, they’ve played on our own fears that have been instilled by the likes of the Manson Family and Children of God.
As Murphy prepares to share his own vision of this anomaly, we look back on some of our favorite films and series about cults of the last decade.
Before the web series craze took off, this teen mystery really caused some waves among some concerned, albeit slightly naive viewers. When it was revealed to only be a fictional video blog of a teenage girl (Jessica Rose) born into a dangerous cult, its viewership quickly picked up. The show continued among various other YouTube channels, created in the names of other fictional characters in the LonelyGirl15 universe.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Elizabeth Olsen kicked off her blossoming career with this eerie indie about a young woman (Olsen) who escapes a cult, only to find the adjustment to her old life not so easy. Living with her estranged sister (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), she struggles to repress her past few years while she’s haunted by the memories and appearances of her other family.
Sound of My Voice (2011)
Two documentary filmmakers (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) set out to expose a cult leader as a fraud. Claiming to be from the year 2054, Maggie (Brit Marling) has a charismatic hold over her followers, despite her claims to be allergic to everything in her environment and her need for the blood of her acolytes. But in their fact-finding mission, they find their subject is more persuasive than they imagined.
The Following (2013-2015)
What was originally an idea for Scream 3, Kevin Williamson revived the inspiration for this popular Fox series. It follows a former FBI agent (Kevin Bacon) who’s faced with the return of an escaped killer (James Purefoy) from his past. Now with a loyal following, the murders are stacking up at the hands of the least suspected.
When a renowned expert (Leland Orser) on mind control is asked to deprogram a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he’s reluctant to take on the job. As he gets deeper into her case, he soon learns that things are not what they appear to be. Written and directed by Riley Stearns, this film leaves viewers with an unbelievable twist.
The Invitation (2016)
After recieving an invitation from his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) for a dinner party, a man (Logan Marshall-Green) struggling with past demons shows up despite his reservations. As the evening carries on, he grows suspicious of his ex-wife’s intentions with their close-knit circle of friends.
The Leftovers (2014-2017)
After what’s commonly referred to as the “sudden departure,” 140 million people disappear from the face of the Earth. Suspected to be the rapture, the world’s remaining occupants struggle to move on. One group that goes by the Guilty Remnant takes up chain smoking and a vow of silence in preparation for the end of the world.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-)
This hit Netflix show from creator Tina Fey is admittedly much more lighthearted than the other titles on this list. After being rescued from an underground bunker and a doomsday cult, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) takes on her new life in New York City. But after missing 15 years of culture, she struggles to make sense of the emotional scars she’s left with.
The Path (2016-)
Aaron Paul stars as a husband and father who belongs to a spiritualist movement known as Meyerism. After having a vision about the movement’s founder, he has a crisis of faith that leads him to seek out a defector (Sarah Jones) for answers. His wife (Michelle Monaghan) grows suspicious of his behavior as another prominent member (Hugh Dancy) puts a strain on their marriage.
The Deleted (2016-)
Created by literary icon Bret Easton Ellis, this show on Fullscreen combines the writer’s affinity for LA, youth, and sex. This chilling erotic thriller follows the escapees of a cult as they hideout in Southern California. Left with the sexual drive that was instilled by their leader, they struggle to acclimate to society while hiding out from their captors.
Check out these titles before American Horror Story: Cult premieres this fall on FX. Watch the teaser below:
It was almost as highly anticipated as the historic election on which it was based.
In what has become a ritual of sorts among fans, the title of the new season of American Horror Story has been the subject of much speculation and sleuthing since the last season ended. But when creator Ryan Murphy announced that season seven would somehow be based on the 2016 election, our interests were ultimately piqued. Since then, he’s posted a series of intriguing clues on Instagram, including a horrifying elephant sketch, a blue-dyed bob, the return of Twisty the Clown, and most recently, a man engulfed in a swarm of bees.
But recently, Murphy announced that the season’s title would finally be revealed via social media and that all of the pieces would come together when it happened. Late Thursday evening, he kept his promise, and the title not only makes sense, but it holds some interesting possibilities.
Regardless of what side of the perpetual political strife you fall on, the title “Cult” will certainly resonate. Although Murphy has revealed that the show will not include Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as characters and that, as usual, the theme is more of an allegory than a literal interpretation, this season’s subject matter is sure to provide plenty of social media discussion points for months to come.
Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters have been confirmed to return to the new season, joined by newcomers Billie Lourd, Colton Haynes, Billy Eichner, Alison Pill, Leslie Grossman and Lena Dunham. American Horror Story: Cult premieres this fall on FX. Check out the creepy teaser, which just dropped at San Diego Comic Con.
Tilda Swinton in Orlando, a film selected by Joseph Altuzarra for Nitehawk Cinema’s ‘Fashion and Film’ series
Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has become known for curating some of the most eclectic film series’, with a unique flair for pop culture. In the past, they’ve put a spotlight on genres from horror to erotica and cinema icons from Stephen King to Chloë Sevigny.
For their latest, they’ve teamed up with i-D Magazine and some of our favorite designers to curate a must-see lineup of stylized classics. Fashion and Film celebrates the intersection of fashion, culture, and cinema with flicks selected by Creatures of the Wind, Adam Selman, and Joseph Altuzarra. Before screenings of Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, To Die For, and Orlando, they’ll screen Designers on Their Favorite Films, a short produced by i-D, featuring the designers in the series.
Nicole Kidman in To Die For, a film selected by Adam Selman for Nitehawk Cinema’s ‘Fashion and Film’ series
It concludes with a talk by Isaac Mizrahi – following is a special 35mm screening of Unzipped, the 1995 documentary about the designer and the launch of one of his collections.
“Fashion and Film” takes place August 3, 10, 17, and 31 at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. Find more info at Nitehawk Cinema.
Jaroslava Schallerová in Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, a film selected by Creatures of the Wind for Nitehawk Cinema’s ‘Fashion and Film’ series
Kyle Mooney has consistently kept us laughing with his hysterically awkward Saturday Night Live characters. The actor brings that same quirky humor to the big screen in the new heartwarming comedy, Brigsby Bear.
Mooney stars as James, a man who grew up in an underground bunker with a pair of eccentric parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) and the promise of a new episode of Brigsby Bear every month, a show that seemed to hold all of life’s answers. But when he’s rescued by the police and returned to his real parents, he learns that the real world is much bigger than he thought and that it doesn’t include his favorite show. As he makes friends and adjusts to his new life, he decides to finish the story of Brigsby Bear in his own way.
Written by Mooney and Kevin Costello and directed by Dave McCary, Brigsby Bear also stars Michaela Watkins, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Andy Samberg, and Beck Bennett. It’s a nostalgic reminder of the simple times of childhood and the determination to go after our dreams.
Brigsby Bear premieres July 28 in select theaters. Watch the trailer below:
Michael Fassbender stars in the big-screen adaptation of The Snowman. Based on the best-selling novel by Jo Nesbø, the mysterious thriller is chilling to say the least.
Fassbender stars as Detective Harry Hole, who’s called to investigate when a woman is found beheaded. Teaming up with new recruit, Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), he pieces together the clues that connects this new murder to a number of cold cases. The killer goes by the ‘Snowman Killer’ and appears to turn our favorite winter past-time into a vicious game.
The Snowman premieres October 20. Watch the trailer below:
It’s 2003, and Tommy Wiseau has unwittingly just released the most notoriously horrible film of a generation. From its awkward dialogue to its excruciating acting and its horrible use of green screen, The Room has earned its place in motion picture history. Since then, writer/director/star, Wiseau has gone on to such titles The House That Drips Blood On Alex, Car Botz and Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance.
If there’s one notable Hollywood figure who could find a muse in Wiseau and his debut film almost 15 years later, it’s James Franco. He directs and stars as Wiseau in The Disaster Artist, a film about the making of the worst film ever. And although the original wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece, the new take boasts a star-studded cast, including Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Lizzy Kaplan, Zac Efron, Bryan Cranston, Alison Brie, Josh Hutchinson, Judd Apatow and Sharon Stone.
This is not Franco’s first unconventional plunge into cinematic history. In 2013, he directed and starred in the sexually explicit documentary, Interior. Leather Bar., a film within a film in which he reimagines the lost 40 minutes from the 1980 Al Pacino film, Cruising.
The Disaster Artist premieres December 1, and the first teaser sees Franco’s Wiseau struggling to get through one of the film’s most infamous scenes. Watch below:
If you tuned into the season seven premiere of Game of Thrones, you may have been caught of guard by the slightly distracting cameo from a certain British pop star. As Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) rides through the forest, she comes across a group of Lannister soldiers, one of which sings an undoubtedly beautiful tune before offering her some rabbit. But some fans were not thrilled with the random casting choice of Ed Sheeran.
Following his appearance in Sunday’s season premiere, fans of the show took to social media with mixed reactions. Although some were pleasantly surprised, others felt it was an unnecessary distraction.
After the Tweet storm, Sheeran temporarily deleted his Twitter. Fans noticed his absence from the social media site on Monday night, although it appears he’s now back online. It’s not the first time he’s taken a hiatus from social media. In a recent interview with The Sun, he explained why he doesn’t read Tweets anymore.
“I go on it and there’s nothing but people saying mean things,” he said. “Twitter’s a platform for that. One comment ruins your day. But that’s why I’ve come off it. The head-f*** for me has been trying to work out why people dislike me so much.”
Wonder Woman has long been an empowering feminist role model for young girls. Her recent big screen adaptation has come with no shortage of acclaim, reigniting the superhero’s mission of female empowerment. From her origin in the Amazon to her pivotal role with the Justice League, the franchise is giving the comic book movie genre a woman’s touch.
A new film tackles a lesser known origin story of the comic book heroine. Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), a Harvard psychologist created the character in the 1940s as an amalgamation of his wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and their lover, Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcoate). He and his muses’ shared interests in feminism, pacifism and bondage served as the unconventional inspiration behind a beloved American hero. Much like the super heroine and her alter ego, Marston created the comic book anonymously and had to live his own life in the shadows.
Written and directed by Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S., The L Word), Professor Marston and the Wonder Women also stars Connie Britton. The biopic premieres October 27. Watch the trailer below:
Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner are used to teaming up for the greater good. They’ve fought alongside each other as Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.
Their latest film puts them in a slightly more realistic mission. In Wind River, Renner plays Cory Lambert, a local game tracker in Wyoming, with deep community ties to a remote Native American reservation. When a local girl is murdered, Lambert teams up with FBI Agent Jane Banner (Olsen) to investigate the girl’s mysterious death.
From writer/director Taylor Sheridan, Wind River is the third and final installment of his “Trilogy of the Modern American Frontier,” which includes Sicario and Hell or High Water. Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Asbille and James Jordan also star.
Wind River premieres August 4. Watch the trailer below: