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Top 10 Greatest Cult Actors

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Actors and actresses who aren't quite mainstream, but have die hard fans that love everything they do, and appear in movies that are more indie or underground. WatchMojo presents top 10 Actors who have a cult following. But who will take our number one spot? Will it be The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Tim Curry, or Dracula's Christopher Lee? Watch to find out!

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Top 10 Greatest Cult Actors


Their acting choices may not win them many awards, but to their die-hard fans these actors and actresses are better than any A-list celebrity. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 cult actors.

For this list, we’ve selected actors and actresses who may not have necessarily made a name for themselves through A-List movies and projects, but still possess some special traits that have made them stand out over the years. Thanks to their large fan followings, they’ve attained cult status.

#10: Nathan Fillion

Handsome, likable and just a little offbeat, Fillion first developed a cult following as star of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly”, a sci-fi series that cast him as Captain of the spaceship, Serenity. The show was cancelled after only one season, but Nathan Fillion – along with “Firefly” itself – has developed a loyal fan base over the years. He reprised his role as Captain Mal Reynolds in the film ‘Serenity,’ but it was his musical turn as Captain Hammer in Whedon’s online miniseries “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” that won him a new legion of fans. Since then, he’s starred in the award-winning TV series “Castle” and lent his voice talent to an ever-growing list of animated programs.

#9: Vincent Price

Morbid, creepy, but undeniably debonair and sophisticated, this Yale graduate brought an air of class to his many roles in B-horror movies inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Frequently playing maniacs hell-bent on revenge, Vincent Price played his roles to the hilt, cackling his way into our imaginations. Price was unafraid to play monstrous characters, and in fact part of Price's appeal as a villain was the humor he could inject into these sinister roles. His distinctive voice also contributed to his ability to create tension in films. He also had an unmistakable, classically trained voice, which was rich, deep and sometimes had an eerily unsettling quality – as demonstrated in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” We may not always root for anti-heroes, but we can’t deny that we’re captivated by him in almost anything he’s done.

#8: Steve Buscemi

Having acted in many indie films from the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Steve Buscemi is also recognized by his appearances in Adam Sandler films. Often playing a slimy supporting character that you love to hate, Buscemi has played in half a dozen Coen Brothers films – so far. Known for his distinctive eyes and look, he usually plays the cowardly loser, but came close to leading-man status when he portrayed the romantic interest - of sorts - for Thora Birch in the film, “Ghost World.” Steve Buscemi’s trademark Brooklyn accent and intriguing appearance has netted him many supporting roles in Hollywood films over the years, while HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” earned him mainstream success in the early 21st century.

#7: Pam Grier

Arguably the leading female star of the blaxploitation movement of the 1970s is one lady you don’t want to mess with. Whether she was crusading to keep drugs off the streets of her neighborhood or putting potential sex offenders in their place, Pam Grier fought against the tyranny of ‘the man.’ More than twenty years later, she experienced a resurgence in her popularity as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown”. She was a sex symbol, but because of her sheer badass qualities, she also symbolized the growing empowerment of women and African-Americans in action movie roles. And what role could’ve fit this description better than “Coffy”: a nurse by day who hides razor-blades in her afro?

#6: Dennis Hopper

Known for playing dangerous, over-the-top villains in movies like “Waterworld” and “Speed,” Dennis Hopper began his acting career in his late teens while playing in movies alongside James Dean. He then directed the massive counter-culture hit “Easy Rider,” which did much to emphasize his rebellious image. Due to his admitted drug use later in his career, his off-screen persona of wild and unpredictable behavior hurt his chances of getting cast in many movies. Director David Lynch gave him a second chance by allowing him to play Frank Booth in “Blue Velvet” though, and an all-time great character was born. When he passed away in 2010, Dennis Hopper left us with a slew of characters that were intimidating to watch and strange enough to be unforgettable.

#5: Robert Englund

You may not recognize this actor’s name, but if you’re a horror fan, you’ll definitely recognize the grotesquely burned face and sharp blade fingers of Freddy Krueger. The fact that he’s played the seemingly indestructible villain of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series eight times on the big screen so far earns him this spot alone, but it should be noted that Robert Englund has appeared in more than 75 feature films throughout his forty years as an actor. That being said, typecasting has never been so effective. Having made such an indelible mark on pop culture, Freddy Krueger was named the #40th top villain in the American Film Institute’s 100 Heroes and Villains List – and it’s all thanks to Englund’s excellent work.

#4: Kurt Russell

One of the best actor-director partnerships in the world of cult films, Kurt Russell and John Carpenter had a string of memorable projects together that played out like veritable checklists for badass sci-fi and action films. Meanwhile, early 21st century appearances in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise and Quentin Tarantino films keep Kurt Russell in the public eye. While he has occasionally exercised his dramatic chops, for example when acting alongside Meryl Streep, he really nails the whole over-confident, wisecracking hero of B-movies. This All-American good guy is definitely somebody we want on our side when things go south.

#3: Christopher Lee

For over 65 years, he played in some of the most famous horror and sci-fi classics. His resume includes The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, a Bond Villain, and appearances in the Star Wars prequels and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, meaning he was truly the elder statesman of cult movies. Christopher Lee began his career making horror films in the U.K., often appearing next to Peter Cushing, a cult actor in his own right. Tall, dark and commanding, Lee played the villain to Cushing’s hero in several films. In fact, he played the villain so well; Lee almost exclusively portrayed bad guys throughout in his entire career.

#2: Tim Curry

He has managed to play a wide array of different characters, and made each of them his own. Whether he portrays a sweet transvestite from another world, or a truly evil demon in clown form, Tim Curry always entertains and leaves his unmistakable mark on a demanding role. The English actor has made a career in Hollywood for over 4 decades, steering clear of leading man roles in favor of strange or unconventional characters. What’s also evident in his acting is his wicked sense of humor, which makes it fun to watch him as characters like Pennywise in “It” - even though he is also scaring the living daylights out of us.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Danny Trejo
- Jeffrey Combs
- Ron Perlman
- Brad Dourif
- Michael Ironside
- Parker Posey

#1: Bruce Campbell

If chins could kill, we’d be stone cold dead right now. There are some actors who can command an army of fans with a mere raised eyebrow and this man is one of them. Most famous for his appearances in the “Evil Dead” series, he has thrilled a legion of horror movie fans by dispatching demons using badass methods – and topping off the bloodshed off with an ironic quip. He has embodied characters in fantasy worlds on TV as well, and made many appearances as the comical thief Autolycus on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and its spin-off, “Xena: Warrior Princess.” Bruce Campbell always knows how to poke fun at himself, which endears him to his fans even more. Hail to the king, indeed.

Do you agree with our list? Which cult actors are your favorite? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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