Top 20 Cult Classic Lifetime Movies

With Lizzie Borden Took an Axe and the remake of Flowers in the Attic getting huge ratings for Lifetime recently, let’s take a look back at some of the most classic movies to air on the network since it’s creation in 1984. These are the movies that you can’t help but watch on a Sunday afternoon for the 7th or 8th time even with commercials. Rankings based on title, tagline, actors, best scene, and overall notoriety. Please note: not all movies on this list are “Lifetime Original” movies as we have come to know them now, but have since gained their infamy through airing in syndication on the network and are universally recognized as a “Lifetime Movie”.

20. My Stepson My Lover (1997)

Also released under the alternative title “Love, Murder, and Deceit”

IMDB synopsis: A kind nurse finds herself embroiled in a tense and potentially deadly family affair when she falls for the son of her ruthless new husband.
Tagline: She was rich, beautiful and bored. But her stepson had a plan…
Stars: Rachel Ward, Joshua Morrow, and Terry O’Quinn
Best scene: Any scene that takes place at the love shack!

“Stepson” is always doing manly things at his (love) shack which is conveniently on the water so he can go swimming often and never wear a shirt. Spoiler alert: after we learn that the stepson is the one responsible for the murder of his father (step mom was previously on trial) he falls, in slow motion no less, to his death at their love shack. The last scene of the movie is step mom spoon feeding her now paraplegic son/lover.

The Takeaway: Best to date outside the family, or make sure you meet the kids first!

19. Sin of Innocence (1986)

IMDB synopsis: When David, a widower with a teenaged son, marries Vicki, who is divorced and has a teenaged daughter, it’s sure to be a happy family. But the kids, Tim and Jenny, become romantically attracted to each other, which makes David and Vicki VERY uncomfortable, and Vicki’s ex-husband, Andy, furious. It’s no longer a happy family in this household.
Tagline: N/A
Stars: Megan Follows, Dermot Mulroney
Best scene: Tim and Jenny skinny dipping in the lake during a family vacay and later getting caught in bed together.

You cannot watch these two without thinking of Anne of Green Gables or My Best Friend’s Wedding, but the taboo topic of step incest is addressed with plenty of 80’s fashion and hairstyles!

The Takeaway: Again, best to date outside the family!

18. Friends ‘til the End (1997)

IMDB synopsis: An emotionally disturbed and hyper-competitive young woman schemes to land a spot as the lead singer in a local rock band, and as well as land the lead guitar player as her boyfriend.
Tagline: Two sorority sister. One had it all…the other was dying to take it away.
Stars: Shannon Doherty, Jennifer Blanc, Jason London, John Livingston
Best Scene: Said emotionally disturbed and hyper competitive young woman, Zanne, has a mental breakdown during her newly hijacked band’s big break at a battle of the bands. She collapses on the side of the stage and rocks, without blinking, in her mother’s arms.

Shouldn’t be hard to figure out that someone named Zanne is INsane. Shannon Doherty and Jennifer Blanc actually do all their own singing in this battle royale to “make it big” in the music industry back before all you needed was YouTube.

The Takeaway: If you want to make it big in show business, you’re going to come across some crazies. Don’t invite them to be back up singers.

17. The Burning Bed (1984)

IMDB synopsis: An abused battered wife has had enough of her husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there’s not much anyone will do. After he rapes her one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it asleep.
Tagline: He didn’t know how to stop it…She did.
Stars: Farrah Fawcett, Paul LeMat, Richard Masur
Best scene: What else? Francine setting her husband on FIRE while asleep in bed!

This movie will actually give you a headache. Watching Fran continue to go back to her abusive husband over and over again, you are def ready for him to burn at the end!

The Takeaway: Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned.

16. A Friend to Die For (1994)

Also released under the alternative title “Death of a Cheerleader”

IMDB synopsis: At an American high school, all that matters to the materialistic kids is that they are the best at every thing. Outsider Angela’s plan to befriend the most popular girl in school backfires leading to deadly consequences.
Tagline: At high school, failure can be fatal.
Stars: Kellie Martin, Tori Spelling, James Avery
Best Scene: Angela pathetically telling Stacy Lockwood how cool and popular she is and how much she wants to be like her only to have Stacy call her “pathetic.” Angela completely freaks out and stabs Stacy with her cucumber knife.

Kellie Martin of Life Goes On fame is amazingly twitchy and weird as Angela Delvecchio. The real scene stealer, however, is Tori Spelling as the evil yet popular Stacy Lockwood, especially when she’s reading other’s diaries. One of the central ties between Angela and Stacy is the social group “The Larks”, but did anyone even know what they did? And why was there a knife for eating cucumbers IN THE CAR? Who has a casual knife in their car?

The Takeaway: Take pity on the weird girl on the outskirts of your social circle. You could be stabbed with a blunt kitchen knife.

15. Dying To Belong (1997)

IMDB synopsis: When Lisa starts her freshman year of college, everything seems perfect. She has a new job on the university paper, a handsome new boyfriend, and she’s pledging a sorority. Her world changes drastically during the sorority’s “hell week” as new pledges are asked to perform degrading tasks leading to tragedy.
Tagline: Everything seemed perfect…
Stars: Hillary Swank, Sarah Chalke, Jenna Von Oy, Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Best Scene: During “hell week” members use Sharpies to circle pledge’s fat and cover their bodies with other vulgar words and pictures. It’s all part of the “fun.”

Distributors of the DVD struck gold with the cover redesign touting that this movie stars a 2-time Oscar winner. They might actually be able to fool people that this is a good movie! Actually, it was released during Swank’s brief stint on 90210. Have you caught on to the 90210 trend yet?

The Takeaway: Should’ve stuck with swallowing gold fish as initiation.

14. A Secret Between Friends (1996)

Also released under the alternative title “When Friendship Kills”

IMDB synopsis: When two friends, Lexi and Jennifer try and get in shape, they turn to bulimia. They keep their vomiting a secret until one friend almost dies.
Tagline: She’ll be dead before she’s thin enough
Stars: Lynda Carter, Katie Wright, Marley Shelton
Best Scene: The girls binge and purge after school with full containers of ice cream and entire bags of chips.

This film provides a great juxtaposition between the tween daughter stuffing her face with pizza and teen Lexi eating 2 bites of rice for dinner with sunken eyes. Shown in junior high health class rooms around the country when it comes the chapter on eating disorders.

The Takeaway: The pregnancy pact of the 90’s

13. Our Guys: Outrage in Glen Ridge (1999)

IMDB synopsis: In 1989, a group of well-known high school athletes in Glen Ridge, New Jersey were accused of the gang rape of a mentally retarded teen girl. When the town rallies to protect their stars, a detective and the prosecutor have to unravel the cover-up by the school board and the police.
Tagline: They thought they were above the law…but one woman swore to bring them to justice
Stars: Ally Sheedy, Eric Stoltz, Heather Matarazzo
Best Scene: When we find out that the gang rape involved a bat, broomstick, and a stick from outside!

This is another movie that does make you sad, because we know that this actually happened and all she wanted was for these boys to like her. But this isn’t your typical Lifetime rape, and it’s like pulling off a band-aid.

The Takeaway: Another coverup for those of privilege.

12. 15 and Pregnant (1998)

IMDB synopsis: Based on a true story, 15 year old Tina Spangler discovers she is pregnant. Her choices are abortion, adoption, or a lonely, exhausting life as a single parent. Abandoned by her boyfriend, she turns to her mother. Tina discovers although it has torn her world apart, her pregnancy could re-unite her shattered family and help her find her true purpose in life.
Tagline: Tina Spangler is about to discover just how little she knows about life…
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Park Overall, David Andrews
Best Scene: Tie between Tina’s bratty reaction when no one shows up to the baby shower that she threw for herself, and when her loser boyfriend Ray shows up at the hospital postpartum with his new girlfriend. Tina’s dad tells Ray “sperm doesn’t entitle you to much”

Will we ever know why Kirsten Dunst got involved with this film after already having Oscar nominated films such as Interview with the Vampire and Little Women under her belt? Even at her young age, certainly better scripts were getting thrown her way. Any 15 year old unknown actor could’ve pulled off the whiny selfishness needed to play Tina. It’s the loser boyfriend who is the real scene stealer!

The Takeaway: The first ever episode of Teen Mom

11. For The Love of Nancy (1994)

IMDB synopsis: When Nancy graduates from high school, she is apprehensive about the future. She goes to college and becomes withdrawn. She starts to obsess over her weight, exercising all the time and hardly eating. Her parents ignore the changes in Nancy, until one shocking moment.
Tagline: A revealing look at a devastating illness
Stars: Tracey Gold, Jill Clayburgh, Cameron Bancroft, Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Best Scene: It was the gasp heard round the world when Tracey Gold, who was actually recovering from anorexia during filming, stood in her underwear in front of the mirror looking like a skeleton. Sadly, her body seems less shocking now and more like your standard super model.

It was groundbreaking stuff when her father took her to court for legal guardianship as an adult and forced her onto a feeding tube. Today it’s called the Britney.

The Takeaway: EAT!!!

10. Lying Eyes (1996)

IMDB synopsis: Derek Bradshaw, a 33-year-old lawyer, courts and wins Amy Miller, an 18-year-old high school cheerleader. The affair progresses until she learns that he is married and has a family. During this period, she has been receiving anonymous notes, been the victim of vicious pranks and ultimately, life threatening attacks.
Tagline: Young and beautiful. She was this year’s pick…but somebody else’s target.
Stars: Cassidy Rae, Vincent Irizarry, Allison Smith
Best Scene: After all is said and done, we see Derek stalking next year’s prey at cheerleading practice.

Derek is not only able to pick out and stage a fake meeting with a hot high school cheerleader from the bleachers, but apparently he also has some kind of slut radar since Amy gives it up on the first date. But *spoiler alert* he must give some sweet lovin’ since it turns out in the shocking conclusion that it’s actually last year’s girlfriend who has been stalking and trying to kill Amy.

The Takeaway: He never leaves the wife, ever.

9. Prison of Secrets (1997)

IMDB synopsis: The true story of a middle-class wife and mother who is found guilty of a white-collar crime and must serve a lengthy prison sentence. While incarcerated, she witnesses male guards sexually assaulting female prisoners and uncovers a prostitution ring operated by guards. Outraged, she informs her husband, a popular local talk-show host, and risks her life and her family’s safety to successfully expose this conspiracy.
Taglines 1) She witnessed the unthinkable, she fought back with the truth. 2) Drugs, prostitution, corruption. These were not her crimes…they were her punishment.
Stars: Stephanie Zimbalist, Finola Hughes, Gary Frank
Best Scene: Evil prison guard Sergeant Crang feels up Lynn as part of standard prison “protocol” after family visiting hours. When Sergeant Crang is sure Lynn’s husband is getting a big eyeful, he adds a nice squeeze and smack on the ass!

The prostitution ring run out of the back of the laundry truck is pretty choice as are any of the night scenes in the prison, really…who is the lucky victim who will land under the beam of the flash light tonight?

The Takeaway: Don’t wanna get raped in prison? Straighten up and fly right!

8. Too Young to Die? (1990)

IMDB synopsis: An abused 15 year old is charged with a murder that carries the death penalty in this fact-based story.
Tagline: They were young, in love and wanted for murder
Stars: Juliette Lewis, Brad Pitt
Best Scene: Even after bad boy Brad, ahem Billy, has drugged 15-year old Mandy to help her “loosen” up during her debut at the The Black Stocking gentleman’s club, she still has enough sense to say no to sleeping in the back of his station wagon. Until it downpours, and she comes crawling back.

Choosing a “best scene” for this movie is really difficult. From her trailer trash stepfather telling her she looks “more like a woman every day”, her marriage at 13, strip club dance scenes to bad 80’s music, to her “but I gave you my love” dialogue, Amanda Sue Bradly’s life is all one best scene.

The Takeaway: Gina Davis had the same problem in Thelma and Louis, she just couldn’t get away from Brad Pitt.

7. She’s Too Young (2004)

IMDB synopsis: Middle-class parents Trish and Bill Vogel are stunned to learn that their responsible and intelligent fourteen-year-old daughter Hannah has been sexually active with an older male student. When an STD spreads throughout the school, Trish’s attempts to enlighten her community cause her to be ostracized.
Tagline: To fit in, you’ve gotta put out.
Stars: Marcia Gay Harden, Alexis Dziena
Best Scene: The high school nurse’s office turns into a cattle call for syphilis antibiotics. Stud Nick, patient 0, tells the nurse that she better “stick them all, ‘cuz I already did”

What’s not to love about this movie? Teen orgies, skanks, and syphilis!

The Takeaway: The old saying “if there’s grass on the field” doesn’t always stand true. If her mom is going to go to the school board over a blowy, she’s too young for you, bro!

6. Co-Ed Call Girl (1996)

Also released under the alternative title “Her Deadly Secret”

IMDB synopsis: Thanks to a roommate’s practical joke, bookish college student Joanna Halbert finds herself signed up with a Malibu-based escort service. Her initial annoyance turns to curiosity when she visits the boss’s beach house - and she is soon captivated by the seemingly glamorous lifestyle of working as a high-class escort.
Tagline: Every man’s fantasy. Every mother’s nightmare.
Stars: Tori Spelling, Susan Blakely, Scott Plank, Barry Watson
Best scene: Tori Spelling strips for her Maestro client while he plays Chopin “ON THE FIRST NOTE JOANNA!” For some reason this scene was supposed to make her feel scared and bad about herself, but c’mon, being a call girl you certainly run into worse things than this high brow creepster. More realistic that she’d have to bang some 300lb dude with boils.

Tori Spelling will never convince us that she’s any character who is supposed to be bookish and shy. The more believable scenes are after the reverse Pretty Woman makeover montage takes place and she goes from “nice girl” to skank. Barry Watson of 7th Heaven fame makes a lame cameo as Joanna’s boyfriend, who somehow learns about her behavior but still stays with her, something NO boyfriend in the history of boyfriends would ever do upon finding out his new girlfriend is a prostitute.

The Takeaway: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

5. The Babysitter Seduction (1996)

IMDB synopsis: The mother of the family for which Michelle baby-sits dies unexpectedly. Michelle is asked to take over looking after the children and is gradually “seduced” by the father. When suspicions arise that the mother had been murdered (and had been having an affair), Michelle unknowingly becomes enveloped in a web of lies until she herself is suspected.
Tagline: She was hired to watch over the kids. But who was going to watch over her?
Stars: Stephen Collins, Keri Russell
Best Scene: Michelle jumping three stories into the family’s swimming pool and playing dead.

Michelle is totally clueless throughout this whole movie. Who wouldn’t be creeped out by babysitting in a house where someone was just murdered, or by the Dad from 7th Heaven giving you a Range Rover and come hither stares?

The Takeaway: Felicity was a smart girl and should’ve known better!

4. She Cried No (1996)

IMDB synopsis: A college freshman is date-raped at her brother’s frat party by a fraternity member.
Tagline: Once innocence is lost…it can never be found again.
Stars: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Candace Cameron, Jenna Von Oy
Best Scene: Scott and the guys of the “most popular frat on campus” scope out the fresh meat on freshman move-in day using binoculars from their balcony.

Zack Morris raping DJ Tanner?! Enough said! But seriously, Mark-Paul Gosselaar plays a great villain, especially when he punches a bathroom mirror where someone has written “Scott is a Rapist” in bright red lipstick! The only other thing left to comment on is the extremely unflattering genie costume Donna Jo wears to her impending doom err…party.

The Takeaway: Even an unforgiving genie outfit can make you “ask for it”

3. She Woke Up Pregnant (1996)

IMDB synopsis: A woman whose husband has had a vasectomy learns that she is pregnant. All signs lead her to believe she was raped while under heavy sedatives during a recent oral surgery. Her marriage and life fall apart while trying to prove that she was raped.
Tagline: He violated her trust. It would be his biggest mistake.
Stars: Michele Green, William R. Moses, Lynda Carter
Best Scene: A “hot” undercover police officer needs to get her wisdom teeth out; the perfect opportunity to set up a sting operation to catch the dirty dentist! The anticipation has us twitching every time as we wait for the good doctor to make a move.

Given that the husband had a VASECTOMY, we’re somewhat shocked at how easily he believes his wife when she swears she has not been unfaithful; although him declaring “There is no sperm in my semen!” is a memorable line. With a title like “She Woke Up Pregnant”, there’s no way this movie could not be towards the top of this list.

The Takeaway: Consider local anesthesia

2. Mother May I Sleep With Danger? (1996)

IMDB synopsis: Kevin is the boyfriend of Laurel’s dreams. He is totally devoted to her but overtime, Laurel notices that he never leaves her alone. When she tries to get some distance he responds with aggressiveness.
Stars: Tori Spelling, Ivan Sergei
Best Scene: Stupid Laurel goes with psycho boyfriend Kevin out to a cabin in the woods where he keeps her prisoner. Lots of bad canoe rowing ensues. Runner up for best scene is in the first 5 min where Billy/Kevin kills his first girlfriend whose “body is so perfect”.

Terrible acting, amazing title, and a 90210 alum getting attacked…all boxes checked. The background music is also pretty spectacular, especially during this tense chase scene at the cabin. Thank goodness Mom is on the rescue!

The Takeaway: Mother knows best!

1. No One Would Tell (1996)

IMDB synopsis: Shy sixteen-year-old Stacy Collins can’t believe that the most popular guy in school, wrestling star Bobby, is interested in her. At first she is flattered by his constant attention, but it soon turns possessive and violent.
Tagline: Jealousy is dangerous. Obsession is deadly.
Stars: Candace Cameron, Fred Savage
Best Scene: Stacy wears a short jean skirt, tall white hooker boots, and a tight shirt with a giant star on it to impress Bobby with her cool sense of style. Her plan goes awry when Bobby’s friends notice her instead and he becomes threatened and embarrassed. Confused by Bobby’s anger and slamming of her locker, Stacy profusely apologizes and tells Bobby “I wore this for you!!”

This movie really has it all! DJ Tanner getting beat down by Kevin Arnold, great 90’s fashion, trashy/slutty maternal influences, true love on the wrestling mat, and the fantastic 80’s Whitney Houston soundtrack is the cherry on top!

The Takeaway: If you haven’t seen this movie and you are a Lifetime fan, WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!

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