They say that you should never judge a book by its cover... but have you seen the trailer for Blackbird?

Michael Flatley’s long-delayed (and long-awaited) directorial and acting debut is already set to become an instant Irish cult classic - whether for positive or not-so-positive reasons.

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Well, we've been waiting years for our own version of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, after all.

Here are five other Irish films that have been designated unofficial cult classics...

TAFFIN (1988)

Before Pierce Brosnan conquered Hollywood and became the first Irishman to play James Bond, he played Mark Taffin: debt collector and martial arts maestro, akin to a sheriff in smalltown Ireland. The 1988 thriller was one of the Remington Steele star’s first leading roles in a film, but it wasn’t particularly well-received; Time Out called it ‘confused and unexciting’, while the script was roundly criticised. For everyone else, it’s an enjoyably ridiculous romp. A number of other famous faces, from Dermot Morgan to Patrick Bergin, Frank Kelly and Alison Doody are among the cast, and that iconic scene of Brosnan (who had apparently yet to fully hone his acting chops) shouting ‘Then maybe you shouldn’t be living heeeeeeeeeere!’ has gone down as one of the all-time best/worst moments in Irish film.

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FATAL DEVIATION (1998)

An Irish martial arts film? Set in Trim, Co. Meath? Starring Mikey from Boyzone as a bad guy? I mean, what's not to like? Written, produced and co-directed in 1998 by James Bennett - himself a martial arts expert who also took on the leading role - the plotline alone of Fatal Deviation is so preposterous that you just have to suspend disbelief and simply go with it. Bennett was clearly inspired by the likes of Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal’s 1990s action thrillers: Jimmy, a down-on-his-luck local, comes up against a tough-guy gang responsible for his father’s death, who invite him to take part in an underground fighting competition. And of course, there’s the honour of a pretty girl to win, too. Don’t try to discern why there’s a mysterious hooded monk wandering around Trim waiting to recruit Jimmy and train him for the competition, why one character is called ‘Seagull’ or generally what’s going on at any point. Just enjoy the ride...

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RAWHEAD REX (1986)

He's one of the most famous horror writers of all time, and several of his books have been successfully adapted for film in the past: Hellraiser, Nightbreed and Candyman have all come from Clive Barker’s imagination. So why was Rawhead Rex such a disaster?! A film about a pagan monster who has been awakened from slumber during a thunderstorm and proceeds on a murderous rampage across the Irish countryside could have been a lot of fun. To its credit, it does feature some impressive set horror setpieces for a 1980s film, and there’s a host of familiar names in its credits, from Niall Tobin to Donal McCann, a young Hugh O’Connor and even American actor David Dukes in the lead role. It is both enjoyably cheesy and unremittingly awful at the same time. But the biggest problem? The monster looked so bad that it was funny, even by 1980s standards. And if the monster in a horror film isn’t scary, well…

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SHROOMS (2007)

It's only 15 years old, but Shrooms is already destined for cult status, although perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. There is a lot to like about the Paddy Breathnach-directed (I Went Down, Viva, Rosie) horror, which tells the story of a group of young Americans who take to the Irish countryside on a camping trip. (Of course, there’s a spooky abandoned children’s home nearby - because, duh.) As they search for ‘magic’ mushrooms - and one of their group begins suffering from hallucinations and visions of death after ingesting some of them - they encounter more than just a bad trip when it becomes clear that there’s a killer on their trail. It’s silly, not very original and groan-inducingly cheesy at times, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

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LEGEND OF THE BOG (2009)

This 2009 film, often overlooked when it comes to Irish horrors or cult-classics-in-the-making, is one of those 'so bad, it's good’ films that you can’t seem to turn away from. Also known by its other title Assault of Darkness, if you’ve ever seen (and been subsequently freaked out by) the ‘Bog Men’ in the National Museum, this is the horror for you. The plot follows a group of strangers including archaeology professor (Jason Barry) and his assistant (Nora-Jane Noone), who converge upon a remote bogland cabin and are stalked by a 2000-year-old bog man who is intent on seeking justice for his resting place being disturbed… and for what other reason? Look, all we know is that it stars quintessential ‘hard man’ Vinnie Jones and Amy Huberman, and its tagline is: ‘Hell never saw him coming’. You need to see it.

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Blackbird is in Irish cinemas from 2nd September 2022