FILM GENRE Cult Classics

Genre Assignment - Cult Classics Presentation

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Page 1: Genre Assignment - Cult Classics Presentation

FILM GENRE Cult Classics

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•A cult film, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following. •Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fanbase, an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation.•This definition excludes films that have been released by major studios with big budgets, films that try specifically to be a cult film or films that have become accepted by mainstream audiences and critics.•A cult film is often designated as such "in the eye of the beholder" without fulfilling any definition. It's often a matter of opinion. One viewer's cult film may not be judged the same by another viewer.

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•It is extremely difficult to define a cult film, however they are often recognised through these qualities;

- Cult films are usually strange, quirky, offbeat and eccentric.- They are often controversial as they step outside the standard narrative and technical conventions of their time. - They can be very stylized, and they are often flawed or unusual in some striking way.- Cult films frequently break cultural taboos, and many feature excessive displays of violence, gore, sexuality and profanity. - This can lead to controversy, censorship, and outright bans (A Clockwork Orange was banned in the UK for 27 years).

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CODES AND CONVENTIONS•Some of the techniques that cult films use are intertextual references, gore(Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974), loose ends in storylines(2001, A Space Odyssey, 1968), or the creation of a sense of nostalgia(The Sound of Music 1965).•Cult films are shocks to the system. They often contain a sense of innovation aesthetically or thematically; they challenge conventions and instigate new techniques. Contrary to films that insert small and careful innovations to avoid upsetting viewers.•Cult films are often referred to as ‘so bad they’re good.’

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CULT FILM AND ITS MERGING GENRES•Cult Road films: Easy Rider (1969), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)•Cult Musicals: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975),Tommy (1975), Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), The Sound of Music (1965) (the 'sing-along' version)•Cult Blaxploitation: Shaft (1971)•Cult Westerns: Johnny Guitar (1954)•Cult Teen 'Chick-Flicks': Heathers (1989), Clueless (1995)•Cult Sci-Fi: Blade Runner (1982), Repo Man (1984)•Cult Comedy: Harold and Maude (1971), Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)•Cult Documentary or Exploitation/Sexploitation Films: Reefer Madness (1936), Showgirls (1995)

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DIRECTORS WITH A CULT STATUS•Some directors/producers are more prone to making cult films.•Such as the Coen Brother’s, David Lynch and Ed Wood, especially early in their careers, because of their individualistic perspective and style.•The Coen Brother’s - Miller's Crossing (1990), The Big Lebowski (1998) •David Lynch - Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990)•Ed Wood - Glen or Glenda? (1953), Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

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THE INFLUENCES OF CULT FILM•Clubs and events organised by dedicated fanbase (Jameson Cult Film Club)•Film festivals dedicated to cult film (Toronto After Dark film festival)•Fancy dress events based on cult films (Rocky Horror Picture Show)•Cult film merchandise is often sold including the iconic cult film posters.

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THE INFLUENCES OF CULT FILM – MIDNIGHT MOVIE•The midnight screening of offbeat films began in the early 1970s in a few urban areas, particularly New York City.•The screening of nonmainstream films at midnight was aimed at building a cult film audience, encouraging repeat viewing and social interaction in what was originally a countercultural setting.•Today the midnight movie screenings still exist (Donnie Darko was played for 28 consecutive months of midnight screenings at one New York theatre)

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HOW CULT CLASSICS HAVE DEVELOPED OVER TIME• At first, films could not obtain a ‘cult’ status unless they had received a small but devoted audience.•In the early days of cult films, the popularity was achieved through word of mouth. This meant it took time for these films to truly obtain the cult status.•However several films today have acquired massive, quick cult followings, due to spreading virally through social media. Easy access to cult films via video on demand and file sharing has led some critics to pronounce the death of cult films.

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Early Cult Classics The Most Dangerous Game (1932) Reefer Madness (1936) The Wizard of Oz (1939) Fantasia (1940) It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Glen or Glenda? (1953) Godzilla (1954)

Modern Cult Classics The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) (remade in 1986) A Clockwork Orange (1971) The Exorcist (1973) Jaws (1975) The Blues Brothers (1980) The Shining (1980) Diner (1982)

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Modern Cult Classics Blue Velvet (1986) Pulp Fiction (1994) Fight Club (1999) American Psycho (2000) Donnie Darko (2001) Napoleon Dynamite (2004) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

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SOCIAL ISSUES CULT FILMS• A particular sub genre of cult films which I found intriguing are the ‘social issues’ films.• A social issue refers to an issue that influences and is opposed by a considerable number of individuals within a society.•This cult sub-genre is one that has been explored within the film industry throughout the decades.•The three social issues films I have decided to focus on are ‘Reefer Madness (1936), ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971) and ‘Fight Club’ (1999).•Each of the films above explore societies influential and frightening realities.

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•Reefer Madness is an American cult propaganda film released in 1936. •A church group financed the production, who intended for the film to be shown to parents attempting to tell them of the dangers of cannabis use. •The social issue present within ‘Reefer Madness’ is the use of misleading propaganda

•The film illustrates an exaggerated and deceptive story of the outcomes of marijuana intake. •In a more ‘marijuana enlightened’ society today, the film has become a satire among advocates of the cannabis policy reform. •Therefore gaining its ‘cult status’.

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•‘A Clockwork Orange’ is a 1971 film which has gained the ‘cult classic’ status.•It has done so considering its controversial and disturbing qualities. •‘A Clockwork Orange’ depicts a fictional social experiment, however Kubrick himself is carrying out a social experiment on the basis of his hatred of anarchy and totalitarianism and perhaps how the audience will react.

•The social experiment lies on the basis that if we are deprived of the choice between good and evil, like Alex, do we lose our humanity.

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•‘Fight Club’ is a 1999 cult film relevant to the social issue of gender constructs. •It was a box-office failure considering the high expectations of the producers. •However it later gained critical and commercial success with its DVD release, establishing its cult status.•The prevalent theme of men and women being reliant on one another is a social issue present within ‘Fight Club’.

•Marla Singer and the narrator’s (Jack’s) respective femininity and masculinity are dependent on that of the other.•Marla’s stereotypical masculine traits and Jacks contrasting feminine traits highlight the social issue of gender constructs within ‘Fight Club’.