Low-budget films are films that are made with a budget that is less than $1,000,000. However, a "no-budget" film is a film that is made under $200,000 or so. I'm going to list some no-budget films (some I haven't seen) that are cult classics, along with some that might be pretty darn interesting!
Bad Taste (1987; one of Peter Jackson's first film projects)
We all know New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson for both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy, both based off of J. R. R. Tolkien's famous books. Peter worked on his first film project, an amateur short film called The Valley in 1976, but it wasn't until 1987 that Mr. Jackson began working on his first film project. The film was known as Bad Taste, and when I first discovered the film, I thought it was interesting because the poster kinda looks rather promising, showing an ugly John McCain-looking puppet carrying an AK-47 while giving the finger.
Bad Taste is a mix of science fiction, splatter films, and black comedy, and the plot is kinda simple: a group of aliens invade a fictional New Zealand village and try to use its population for food for an intergalactic fast food franchise. The aliens also have an encounter with a small paramilitary group consisting of four guys.
The movie was shot on a series of weekends over a period of around 4 years, and each year costed around $25,000 to make. The production values of Bad Taste was pretty significant; the film was shot on a nearly 30-year-old 16mm camera, the alien masks were baked in the oven of Peter Jackson's mom, and the weapons used in the movie were simply made with aluminum tubing. The whole production costed a total of $150,000, similar to how films from the Asylum costed around $200,000 to make. Nevertheless, Bad Taste did manage to gain a cult following, and it received generally positive reviews.
Kickassia! (2010; film project of That Guy with the Glasses)
That Guy with the Glasses, founded by Doug Walker (better known as the Nostalgia Critic), is one of the most popular nerd-oriented websites in the history of the Internet. In May 2010, Channel Awesome, a website associated with TGWTG had made a web-miniseries that was combined into a film. The project was Kickassia!, and the plot is very interesting: the Nostalgia Critic, the Cinema Snob, and the rest of the guys and girls from TGWTG tries to start a takeover of the Republic of Molossia and turn it into a country of their own.
Molossia is an example of what is known as a micronation; a micronation is an actual man-made country formed by amateurs. Molossia's president, Kevin Baugh, appears in the movie as a comedic version of himself. The film was made with as little budget as possible; it was filmed on a video camera, it used fake weapons, and it also used digital stock special effects and sound effects (including some video game sound effects). Humorous plot points throughout the film include a tutorial of the board game Risk, and "Santa Christ", a character that is technically a mash-up of the two most famous Christmas icons.
Kickassia! was released on DVD, so if you want to get a kick out of this, you can either watch it on YouTube or buy a copy!
Lionman (1975; Turkish action film)
Cüneyt Arkın was one of the most well-known Turkish action stars of the 1970s and 1980s, and he was also a professional martial artist. In 1975, Turkish filmmaker Natuk Baytan had directed a film starring Mr. Arkın, known as Lionman. The film's English dub credited the main star as "Steve Arkin", and some of the other Turkish stars in the movie were also given Anglicized names as well. The plot is a little hard for me to describe, but here's what the plot is according to the foreign film review website Films from the Far Reaches:
"The story: The King is murdered by a rival who assumes the throne himself. He also kidnaps the murdered majesty's child and unbeknownst to the kid, raises him to be his own son whilst keeping the mother locked away. A twin child however is led away to safety... into the jungle. There, he is essentially raised by lions until adulthood. Filled with superhuman beast-like strength (he literally roars) and discovering through a band of rebels his true heritage, our Lionman storms the castle and discovers his twin brother who in turn learns of HIS heritage from their captive mother (who is quickly 'silenced' permanently). The reunited brothers go after the illegitamte king (and murderer of both of their parents). During the fracas, the faux king douses the lionman's hands with acid. Barely managing to escape, our hero and his rebel friends make it back to their fort where the lionman gets a makeover from the local blacksmith; a pair of razor sharp, iron 'lion claws'. Now fully 'armed', our heroes return to the castle to settle some unfinished business with the faux king."
The film was made with a very low-budget, like many movies from Turkey from the 70s and 80s, but nevertheless this is a favorite to fans of Turkish Pop Cinema.
Third Generation Ureme 6 (1989; South Korean Tokusatsu film)
Ureme, or Thunderhawk, was a series of children's Tokusatsu films made in South Korea back in the mid-to-late 1980s. In 1989, Third Generation Ureme 6 was released, and, like its predecessors, it was made with a low-budget, and it had a camp approach and highly toyetic visual quality. The robot you see on the poster kinda looks like something from the Power Rangers, and that still makes the movie look pretty darn cool.