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“Snootch to the nootch!”
“Let's do the time warp again!”
A cult film is one of the gravest threats to America, and Western Civilization as a whole, today. It is defined by Webster's dictionary as a film whose following or "fandom" has become so fanatical that it begins to resemble a cult. This usually includes dictated dress, coded messages and quotes, and a leader in charge (usually called the "Number One Fan").
edit Cult Film Cult (Fandom) Hierarchy
The cult following of a film (also known as the fandom) usually breaks down into several different steps, or castes. Most fandoms follow one distinct pattern; however, there are some fandoms that are more strict than others.
- On the top of the fandom is the Number One Fan. The Number One Fan is usually the most dedicated, well versed, and least sexually active fan in the fandom. Many times, the Number One Fan is the president, or founder, of the cult film's fan club or largest web community. Many times, the director of the film is the Number One Fan (George Lucas, for example),
- Right under the Number One Fan is the elite group that calls itself the Dedicated Fans. The Dedicated Fans have an unusually high knowledge of the film and its trivia, beyond what is found on IMDB.
- The main base of the fandom is made up of the Casual Fans. Casual Fans are general appreciators of the film. Usually, they have scanned the IMDB entry and Wikipedia page to have a cursory knowledge of the film and use that to hold themselves above their friends, family, and community. Usually, it is the Casual Fan that introduces common citizens to the Cult Film.
edit The Creation of a Cult Film
Cult films are usually born as small, independent films that generally are not seen by many people at all. Although not every independent film becomes a cult film, and serveral mainstream films are now cult films, nearly all cult films have at least one of these traits, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security:
- An incomprehensible plot
- Mysterious imagery
- Tacky costumes
- Catchy yet inappropriate song-and-dance routines
- Appeal only to a single subsect of society (ie--a movie that has animated, talking animals appeals to Furries and only Furries.)
- Subliminal messages and brainwashing techniques
Usually, films with these qualities become cult films through one of two paths. The first path is that when the film is released, it becomes a critical and commercial success for the director, and is loved by the mainstream. However, a few of the fans become a little too enchanted with the film, and begin to take it a little too seriously, like dressing up in costume and quoting phrases from it incessantly. Thus, the fan clubs are born.
The second path that a cult film involves the film failing at the box office. The studio then pulls the film out of theaters and giving it a quiet DVD or VHS release. However, because the film is either laughably bad or not given the chance in theaters, it finds its audience in the home video market. The cult film then follows the same steps as the other cult films.
edit Examples of Cult Films and their Directors
For the most part, the directors of these films created the films accidentally. However, there are a few prominent examples of film directors actually making cult films deliberately.
- George Lucas was a young, promising director who made a few mainstream, if strange, science fiction films. That changed, however, in the late 1970s when Lucas wrote a manifesto about Star Wars, an epic space opera about the savior of the universe, Luke Skywalker, and his plans to overthrow the government. Followers of Star Wars have been known to wait for hours to see the badly made films, in full uniform.
- Tim Burton created several mainstream successes with the Batman film series in the early 1990s. However, in 1996 he was contacted to create an animated film for the Disney Corporation. The resulting film was The Nightmare Before Christmas, a claymation with macabre, sinister overtones and subliminal messages for children to kill Santa and their parents. In 2004 Burton created a spiritual sequal, Corpse Bride with similar messages.
- Quentin Tarantino, originally a video store clerk from Los Angeles, California, came into the limelight in 1995 with his cult gangster film Resevoir Dogs. Since even then, his films have included Bible-spouting gangsters, kung fu, and an automobile called "The Pussy Wagon".
edit The Effects of Cult Films
Cult Films, as the name implies, create cults. Some of these cults are harmless scams (such as the following of the Monty Python films). However, other fandoms are not so harmless; occasionally, they are violent.