What’s a cult movie from a psychological point of view?

A cult movie is always actual even if it’s from an era you haven’t been born in. If you’re watching it you immediately can identify with one of the characters or situations. A cult movie is about life, emotions, behaviours and relationships. A cult movie is moving and often makes you cry. It can be very therapeutic.

I was quite shocked when I googled “cult movies” and could not find any of my favourite movies on the top 50 list but a lot of real cruel and disgusting ones. Why wondering about young people running amok when cruelty and brutality is becoming cult?

Of course I made you curious now because you’re asking “So what are cult movies for you?”

So I will list some of my favourites:

  • Dirty Dancing
  • Flashdance
  • Footloose
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • and many more like Grease etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps you state “Hmm, they’re all dance movies…” and you’re right!

Dancing and music always played and still play a very special role in my own life.

What is dancing? Dancing is rhythmic moving to music. Why is “movement” so important in psychotherapy? Movement is fundamental to human life. In fact movement is life. Contemporary physics tells us that the universe and everything in it is in constant motion. We can move our body and at the most basic level our body is movement. Since the beginning of time, indigenous societies around the world have used movement and dance for individual and community healing. Movement Therapy is explained as a movement-based therapeutic technique that aids in release of expressions or feelings and aids in promoting feeling and awareness. Why dancing? An active, creative mind should be housed in an active, creative body. Dance stimulates the imagination, strengthens the body, challenges the intellect, and awakens an emotional sensitivity without judgement. With Applied Psychology I had the pleasure to learn again what I had experienced myself in my teenage years: Movement, especially dancing, prepares the brain for learning. It improves the two brain hemispheres in their teamwork and helps you with faster and better understanding and an improved ability of integrating the stuff you learned into your daily life. In addition to that dancing can be part of anger management. Imagine a bad situation at work and you keep on boiling after coming home, but then you put on some good music and explode or you put on your headphones go outside and run until all the stem has escaped and you’re feeling calm and balanced again.

So I can remember my youth very vividly when watching one of the movies. As soon as I got 16 I escaped from home to the discotheques in my home town in order to dance my frustration, anger and sadness away. It was just about dancing not about meeting somebody because I wanted to be ALONE and AWARE of my emotions. I went to the disco already at 9pm because till 18 you were only allowed to stay till 10pm and you had to show your ID at the entrance. Most of the time I was the only one there because people started to come at ten and later. The bartender knew that I didn’t have a lot of money at that time and I had told him that I was here to escape my problems with my parents and dance away my frustration, so sometimes he offered me a Coke or Sprite for free. When I hear the movie characters say that as soon as the music starts they’re entering an altered state of their being I know what they mean. There’s a lot of dancing in my workshops too. I’m asking my group “How would you express your sadness or grief in a dance? What would a “Success Dance” look like?”

But those movies have more to offer than music and dancing.  There’s the favourite daughter and the jealous sibling who wants to get higher in hierarchy. The loving father who tries to understand, the critical mother who doesn’t even try to understand.

There’s the gang. Who has the leadership qualities? Who is the follower? Is it only “coolness” that makes somebody a leader of the pack or is it more about sensitivity, listening and caring that wins in the end?

Those movies are about authenticity, honesty and values. “I don’t want to hide any more…” “I’m fighting for my love and for the person I love”

“My baby belongs to me!”

Those movies show that you can make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Life is about going forward and that’s not possible without making a wrong decision one’s in a while when risking something. Learn from it and keep on moving!

Cult movies show us the power of saying “I’m sorry!”, “I was wrong!” and forgiveness. They show us the power of love and friendship.

And they show us how to follow a vision. “Don’t give up your dream or you will die!” This is a not only a sentence, this is a metaphor for life! I’m coming across a lot of “dead” people every day. Yes, they’re are physically alive but they’re dead in their hearts and souls. Because they have lost their passions. As soon as there’s passion, there’s life! And I want to help them finding this passion again.

Therefore cult movies are timeless and ageless. You can watch them from 14 (in Germany) or 17 (in Canada/US) till 99 (if you’re an open person and did not start to raise the moral forefinger at one time in your life in order to judge about sexuality, people and behaviours).

There’s a lot more to say about those wonderful movies but that’s what I want you to find out yourself! Have fun watching!


Cult movies


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