Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I don't get it...

I don’t understand how certain major movie blockbusters are referred to as ‘cult films’ (Star Wars, Blade Runner, Star Trek) – I understand that they have a very strong following (a “cult following” as they say) – but doesn’t that just make them ‘popular’?

You wouldn’t find people calling Disney or the Harry Potter films ‘cult’ films – but they have huge strong following.

It rubs me wrong in the same way as when people call the Star Wars prequels ‘independent films’ – they may have been made outside of the “major studio” system – but with the same money and with the same distribution major films get.


  1. Cult films + Star Wars = WRONG!

    Say cult film and the Evil Dead movies jump right to the front, followed closely by Mad Max.

    If it has better production value, lots of merch and a video game about the movie prior to realase; then it cannot be a cult film.

    Huge following of nerds is one thing, and cult film is another. People seem to get the two confused.

  2. Exactly! Mad Max, Evil Dead are great examples of actual cult films - I don't get calling popular films - cult films.

    My rule used to be - if you can find it at every Target in the region - then NOT a cult film... Then Target started carrying multi-packs featuring Gamera, Werewolf Woman, Warriors of the Wasteland, Menace from Outer Space and other odd films - so it blew my theory to pieces - but it's still correct on principle.

    I think "cult" following is fair - but cult film is dead wrong - I just keep hearing people refer to it as "cult film" lately - maybe it's just some of the odd corners of the interwebs I've been visiting...

  3. I've never heard of Star Wars being referred to as a "cult film." Neither with Star Trek; though both are "cult" in that they both have cult followings. Same way with Harry Potter.

    It's the same way with the "indie" distinction in music. There are bands on independent labels, and then there are bands on majors who play to the "indie" aesthetic.

  4. I can partially understand the music distinction - where you can market music as being "indie" when it's actually put out by a major label... It's the same thing they tried to pull in the 90's with 'Alternative' - where there was nothing that it was 'Alternative' to...

    The cult film thing still kind of eats at me a bit though... There was a list published by NPR not too long ago that I put up on my blog and STAR WARS, WIZARD OF OZ, LORD OF THE RINGS were sitting right there next to SUSPIRIA, SHE KILLED IN ECSTACY, THRILLER - THEY CALL HER ONE EYE and DJANGO... They followed up with another article explaining what a "cult film" is - but I haven't read it yet.

    I get it - "cult" means culture - but that would make any "popular" film part of the culture - thus a "cult" film...