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Marilyn Manson's breakthrough album Antichrist Superstar, about a worm that rises to power through other people's hatred, would become a self-fulfilling prophecy as religious, political, and media groups targeted Manson for his supposed negative influence on children.
Though Blackboard Jungle focuses on a teacher trying to rein in his unruly class of inner-city kids, it quickly became feared for showing teenaged rebellion and featuring rock and roll music.
Judas Priest's album Stained Class is known for two reasons: for getting Judas Priest put on trial for backmasking, and for changing the sound of heavy metal.
Doom attracted controversy for years after its release, but that didn't stop it from influencing first-person shooters and multiplayer gaming for years to come.
Bonnie and Clyde's popularity with young people sparked waves of worry over film violence turning impressionable youngsters into savage criminals.
Though it's tame and schlocky now, Tales from the Crypt shocked and disturbed audiences in the 1950s, and led to self-censorship in the comic book industry.
On their debut 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, Coven draped themselves in witchcraft and occultism before it was cool.
Though the world of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is cold and alienating at first, its mystery and desolate beauty makes it an unforgettable place.
While Tales of the Arabian Nights is lighter on mechanics than most board games, its massive Book of Tales will take you and your friends on a journey through the world of Middle Eastern mythology.
Yeelen creates an epic fantasy story with dazzling scenery from West African legends and folk tales.
Guillermo del Toro's first feature film Cronos goes beyond its cheesy horror aesthetic to present a story about immortality and letting go.
One of the best action anime of the early 90s, Yu Yu Hakusho takes ideas from Buddhism, Shintoism, and East Asian mythology to create a colorful, detailed world.
In a world filled with bland film adaptations of classic fantasy stories, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons attempts to capture the action and silliness of the original Chinese novel.
Featuring a deep look at the wizard archetype and a world based on Native American and Pacific Islander cultures, A Wizard of Earthsea is a must-read fantasy book that people of all ages can enjoy.
Drawing from Japanese folklore, Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare is a fantasy movie in the vein of Labyrinth or Dark Crystal starring a squad of Japanese spirits called yokai.
Avatar: The Last Airbender brings a story and characters that build in complexity, set in a world inspired by Asian culture where people can control the elements using martial arts.
Looking at the lives of two black high school basketball players who are trying to go pro, Hoop Dreams is the definitive documentary on the business of sports and social inequality.
Combining an inspirational sports story with an earthy 70s cinema look at American class struggle, Breaking Away gives a look at how sports can shape someone's identity.
Writing about one of his lifelong obsessions, celebrated author David Foster Wallace gives a look into the lives of second-tier tennis pros.
Nintendo game Punch-Out!! requires a sharp eye and twitch reflexes to beat its colorful cast of opponents and become the world's #1 boxer.
Classic documentary Pumping Iron gives a look into the tense world of competitive bodybuilding, featuring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
With Playing to Win, game designer and former Street Fighter pro David Sirlin created a guide on the real skills and thinking required to dominate gaming tournaments.
Cult film Slap Shot looks at changing times, the casualties of big business, and appealing to the lowest common denominator from the perspective of a minor league hockey team.
Both exciting and meditative, Ping Pong: The Animation brings a tale of high school sports that follows a cast of heroes and villains as they win, lose, and grow up.
A classic of soft science fiction, Dune is a portrait of an inhospitable planet in a universe where advanced technology is banned, forcing people to expand their own potentials to superhuman degrees.
One of the best comics of the 90s, Transmetropolitan uses a misanthropic journalist in a cyberpunk dystopia to satirize American culture.
Satirizing war and fascism, Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers follows space marines in a war against an enemy they don't know much about, other than the fact that they hate them.
Don Hertzfeldt's simple animation belies a touching and melancholic look at a future where humanity tries to use technology to preserve themselves and regain the past.
Out of all of the animated shows to come out of the 90s, the one that has aged the best is avant garde dystopian sci-fi series Aeon Flux.
Forbidden Planet is a classic of the 1950s sci-fi film boom, full of spectacle and Freudian psychology undercut by old-timey sexism.
The paintings of H.R. Giger bring the viewer into a dark future of psycho-sexual cyborg horror.
While Warhammer 40,000 is known for being so grim and dark it originated the term "grimdark" to describe it, it actually packs a great sense of humor and irony.
Combining transhumanism, philosophy, and theology, The Last Question examines technological power and the collective anxiety of the human race.
With Deltron 3030, alt-rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien paints a picture of a future that is outlandish, but strangely depressing.