Cult film

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A cult film (also known as a cult movie/picture or a cult classic) is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans.[1] Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside the small fanbases; however, there have been exceptions that have managed to gain fame among mainstream audiences. Many cult movies have gone on to transcend their original cult status and have become recognized as classics; others are of the "so bad it's good" variety and are destined to remain in obscurity. Cult films often become the source of a thriving, obsessive, and elaborate subculture of fandom, hence the analogy to cults. However, not every film with a devoted fanbase is necessarily a cult film. Usually, cult films have limited but very special, noted appeal. Cult films are often known to be eccentric, often do not follow traditional standards of mainstream cinema and usually explore topics not considered in any way mainstream—yet there are examples that are relatively normal. Many are often considered controversial because they step outside standard narrative and technical conventions.[2]


General overview

What are the requirements for transforming a book or movie into a cult object? The work must be loved, obviously, but this is not enough. It must provide a completely furnished world so that its fans can quote characters and episodes as if they were aspects of the fan’s private sectarian world, a world about which one can make up quizzes and play trivia games so that the adepts of the sect recognize through each other a shared expertise.

A cult film is a movie that attracts a devoted group of followers or obsessive fans, despite having failed commercially on its initial release. The term also describes films that have remained popular over a long period of time amongst a small group of followers. In many cases, cult films may have failed to achieve mainstream success on original release although this is definitely not always the case. Whilst they may only have a short cinema release cult films often enjoy ongoing popularity due to myriad VHS, LaserDisc and DVD releases. In some cases, these films tend to enjoy long runs on video, thus being issued in video "runs" with more copies than other movies. The movie Office Space (1999), which lost money during its box office run, managed to turn significant profits when word-of-mouth made it a popular video rental and purchase. Harold and Maude (1971) was not successful financially at the time of its original release, but has since earned a cult following and has become successful following its video and DVD releases. This has also happened with The Big Lebowski (1998), among others. Many cult films were independent films and were not expected by their creators to have mainstream success. Carnival of Souls (1962), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Pink Flamingos (1972), Eraserhead (1977), Basket Case (1982), The Evil Dead (1981) and its sequels, and Napoleon Dynamite (2004) could all be considered cult films.[citation needed] Sometimes the audience response to a cult film is somewhat different than what was intended by the film makers. Cult films usually offer something different or innovative in comparison to mainstream films, but cult films can also be popular across a wide audience.

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