With lower budgets and less resources than their big studio brethren, independent films are often more innovative when telling their stories. Interestingly, mainstream filmmakers later adopt a lot of those innovations. Here are a few Indie flicks that helped break the movie mold:
“Easy Rider’ (1969) ” Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who directed) broke cinematic rules and shook up Hollywood with this tale of two rebels on a road trip across America. The film was both popular and hugely profitable, and made the major studios realize there was an audience for lower-budget films.
“Eraserhead’ (1979) ” Reportedly made on a budget of only 10,000, David Lynch-s exercise in black and white surrealism blurs the lines of fantasy, horror and reality. Became a cult classic and a staple for midnight screenings.
“My Own Private Idaho’ (1991) ” Directed by Gus Van Zant and starring Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix, the story of two young hustlers was controversial for its depiction of gay relationships and its mash up of slang and Shakespearean dialogue.
“Reservoir Dogs’ (1992) ” Quentin Tarantino-s directorial debut is a heist movie told in a cinematic style that would become iconic with “Pulp Fiction’. The scene with Michael Madsen torturing a cop while a top 40 hit plays in the background is still chillingly effective.
“The Blair Witch Project’ (1999) ” The horror film scared up a lot of business with its cast of unknowns and use of documentary-style storytelling. Made for 25,000, the film earned 248 million worldwide. The filmmakers were also innovative in their use of the Internet to promote the film.
“Memento’ (2001) ” Before the Dark Knight made his name, Christopher Nolan wrote and directed this noir thriller. Telling its story in fragmentary fashion to mirror the lead character-s amnesiac state of mind, the film was successful with critics and audiences alike.