Cult following

A cult following comprises a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a work of culture, often referred to as a cult classic. A film, book, musical artist, television series or video game, among other things, is said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fanbase. A common component of cult followings is the emotional attachment the fans have to the object of the cult following, often identifying themselves and other fans as members of a community. Cult followings are also commonly associated with niche markets. Cult media are often associated with underground culture, and are considered too eccentric or subversive to be appreciated by the general public or to be commercially successful.

Many cult fans express a certain irony about their devotion. Sometimes, these cult followings cross the border to camp followings. Fans may become involved in a subculture of fandom, either via conventions, online communities or through activities such as writing series-related fiction, costume creation, replica prop and model building, or creating their own audio or video productions from the formats and characters.[1]

Montreal Comiccon 2015 - Boba Fett (19432428786)
Boba Fett, from the Star Wars franchise, is a character with a cult following.

Forms

Film

There is not always a clear difference between cult, and mainstream, media. Series such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Rocky Horror, Clueless, Ethel & Ernest, The Dark Knight, and Mean Girls attract mass audiences but also have core groups of fanatical followers. Professors Xavier Mendik and Ernest Mathijs, authors of 100 Cult Films, argue that the devoted following among these films make them cult classics. In many cases, films that have cult followings may have been financial flops during their theatrical box office run, and even received mixed or mostly negative reviews by mainstream media, but still be considered a major success by small core groups or communities of fans devoted to such films.

Some cults are only popular within a certain subculture. The film Woodstock (1969) is especially loved within the hippie subculture, while Hocus Pocus (1993) holds cult status among American women born in the 1980s. Certain mainstream icons can become cult icons in a different context for certain people. Reefer Madness (1936) was originally intended to warn youth against the use of marijuana, but because of its ridiculous plot, overwhelming amount of factual errors and cheap look, it is now often watched by audiences of marijuana-smokers and has gained a cult following.[2]

Quentin Tarantino's films borrow stylistically from classic cult films, but are appreciated by a large audience, and therefore lie somewhere between cult and mainstream. Certain cult phenomena can grow to such proportions that they become mainstream.

Television

Many cancelled television series (especially ones that had a short run life) see new life in a fan following. One notable example is Arrested Development, which was cancelled after three seasons and, because of the large fanbase, returned for a 15-episode season which was released on Netflix on May 26, 2013. Futurama is another notable series that was originally put on permanent hiatus after its initial 72-episode run. Strong DVD sales and consistent ratings on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block led to four direct-to-DVD films which, in turn, led to the revival of the series in 2010 on Comedy Central following Adult Swim's expiration of the broadcast rights. Space Ghost Coast to Coast had a cult following throughout its eleven season run on television, and help pave the wave of other shows of similar style, which also had cult followings, specifically Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Star Trek: The Original Series is highly notable in that it was cancelled after three seasons but later gained a cult following through broadcast syndication and ultimately spawned a media franchise.

Another cancelled series that has attained cult status is the NBC teen dramedy Freaks and Geeks which had an 18-episode run. Another series that was cancelled but gained a second life with cult status is the FOX teen medical dramedy Red Band Society which had a 13-episode run. Other examples include Firefly, Roswell, Community, Joan of Arcadia, Millennium, Twin Peaks, Veronica Mars, Invasion, Pushing Daisies, Gargoyles, Young Justice, Gypsy and The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which had short lives, yet achieved large fanbases.

In a BBC review of Farscape episode "Throne for a Loss", Richard Manning said "Farscape is now officially a cult series because it's being shown out of sequence". The episode in question was actually shown as the second episode, after the premiere; despite originally being intended as the fifth episode to be shown.[3]

Series often considered cult classics include the long-running BBC series Doctor Who (1963–present), The Prisoner (1967–1968)[4][5] and the Australian soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H (1979–1986).[6]

Video games

Some video games attract cult followings, which can influence the design of later video games. An example of a cult video game is Ico (2001), an initial commercial flop which gained a large following for its unique gameplay and minimalist aesthetics, and was noted as influencing the design of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013) and Rime (2017), among other games.[7] Other games which have cult followings include EarthBound (1994), a commercial flop that later resulted in the creation of a "cottage industry" selling memorabilia to the EarthBound fandom,[8] Scott Cawthon's Five Nights at Freddy's (2014), and Yume Nikki (2004), a surreal free-to-play Japanese horror game[9]also Undertale. Another game with a large cult following is Crash Twinsanity (2004) which is considered by fans to be the best Crash Bandicoot game post-Naughty Dog era despite only average critic reviews. In particular, it is well known as the turning point in style and theming for the series; choosing a more humorous and cartoon-esque aesthetic, music composition by the a cappella group, Spiralmouth and Lex Lang's portrayal of series villain, Dr, Neo Cortex.

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Official Cult TV Magazine".
  2. ^ Peary, Danny (1981). Cult Movies. New York: Delacorte Press. pp. 203–205. ISBN 978-0-440-01626-7.
  3. ^ Manning, Richard (September 2005). "Throne to a loss". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, Emily (June 2012). "Fantastic Voyage". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (January 5, 2015). "The Prisoner: Cult classic TV series to be revived for new audio drama". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "Wentworth Prison: Prisoners return to cell block H". Daily Express. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  7. ^ "The Obscure Cult Game That's Secretly Inspiring Everything". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  8. ^ "Giving Thanks: Two New Books on a Cult Classic Embody Gaming's Rich Culture". USgamer.net. 2016-11-23. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  9. ^ Frank, Allegra (2018-01-10). "A disturbing cult classic finally hits Steam, with a follow-up on the way". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

Further reading

  • Jancik, Wayne; Lathrop, Tad (1996). Cult Rockers: 150 of the most controversial, distinctive and intriguing, outrageous and championed rock musicians of all time. Pocket Books.
Bex Taylor-Klaus

Rebecca Edison "Bex" Taylor-Klaus (born August 12, 1994) is an American actor. They rose to fame for their starring role as Bullet on the crime drama series The Killing (2013). They gained further prominence with their roles as Sin on the superhero drama series Arrow (2013–15), Lex on the comedy series House of Lies (2014), and as Audrey Jensen on the horror series Scream (2015–), based on the eponymous franchise. Until 2018, they voiced the role of Katie "Pidge" Holt on the Netflix animated series Voltron: Legendary Defender.

Taylor-Klaus has a cult following among fans.

Comedian

A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience by making them laugh. This might take many forms including jokes, satirical observations, amusing situations, acting foolish (as in slapstick) or employing prop comedy. A comedian who addresses an audience directly is called a stand-up comedian. Other practises include the sitcom, sketch comedy and improv genres.

A popular saying, variously quoted but generally attributed to Ed Wynn, is, "A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny", which draws a distinction between how much of the comedy can be attributed to verbal content and how much to acting and persona.

A lot of creative and original comedy is based on surrealism and absurdity. Early pioneers in these comedic forms include Spike Milligan and Monty Python. Current examples include Vic and Bob, Noel Fielding and Sam Simmons. Elements of surreal and absurd comedy include the non-sequitur (where language or events do not follow a logical process/sequence), irony (where a message is conveyed in a way contrary to its content) and deadpan performance (in the face of surreal and absurd situations, furthering the absurdity).

Since the 1980s, a new wave of comedy, called alternative comedy, has grown in popularity with more offbeat and experimental style. Alternative comedy was initially inspired by punk culture and rejected old comedy forms, the establishment and bigoted humour. Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Malcolm Hardee and Alexi Sayle were among the most well-known 1980's alternative comedians. Alternative comedy experienced a revival around 2010, with Stewart Lee promoting the liberal, progressive values of the movement and many younger comedians in the UK banding together in groups dedicated to alternative comedy including The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society and the Weirdos Collective.

Many comics achieve a cult following while touring famous comedy hubs such as the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, the Edinburgh Fringe, and Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia. Often a comic's career advances significantly when they win a notable comedy award, such as the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier comedy award). Comics sometimes foray into other areas of entertainment, such as film and television, where they become more widely known; e.g., Eddie Izzard or Russell Brand. However, a comic's stand-up success does not guarantee a film's critical or box office success.

Comic science fiction

Comic science fiction or comedy science fiction is a subgenre of soft science fiction or science fantasy that exploits the science-fiction (SF) genre's conventions for comedic effect. Comic science fiction often mocks or satirizes standard SF conventions - such as alien invasion of Earth, interstellar travel, or futuristic technology. It can also satirize and criticize present-day society.An early example was the Pete Manx series by Henry Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes (sometimes writing together and sometimes separately, under the house pen-name of Kelvin Kent). Published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the series featured a time-traveling carnival barker who uses his con-man abilities to get out of trouble. Two later series cemented Kuttner's reputation as one of the most popular early writers of comic science fiction: the Gallegher series (about a drunken inventor and his narcissistic robot) and the Hogben series (about a family of mutant hillbillies). The former appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1943 and 1948 and was collected in hardcover as Robots Have No Tails (Gnome, 1952), and the latter appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1940s. In the 1950s comedy became more common in science fiction. Some of the authors contributing included: Alfred Bester, Harry Harrison, C.M. Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Sheckley.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comic science-fiction series written by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it later morphed into other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and 2005 feature film. A prominent series in British popular culture, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has become an international multi-media phenomenon; the novels are the most widely distributed, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005.Terry Pratchett's 1981 novel Strata also exemplifies the comic science fiction genre.Red Dwarf primarily consists of a television sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave since 2009, gaining a cult following. As of 2018 eleven full series of the show plus one "special" miniseries have aired. The latest series, dubbed Red Dwarf XII, started airing in October 2017.

Cult film

A cult film or cult movie, 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. Inclusive definitions allow for major studio productions, especially box office bombs, while exclusive definitions focus more on obscure, transgressive films shunned by the mainstream. The difficulty in defining the term and subjectivity of what qualifies as a cult film mirror classificatory disputes about art. The term cult film itself was first used in the 1970s to describe the culture that surrounded underground films and midnight movies, though cult was in common use in film analysis for decades prior to that.

Cult films trace their origin back to controversial and suppressed films kept alive by dedicated fans. In some cases, reclaimed or rediscovered films have acquired cult followings decades after their original release, occasionally for their camp value. Other cult films have since become well-respected or reassessed as classics; there is debate as to whether these popular and accepted films are still cult films. After failing in the cinema, some cult films have become regular fixtures on cable television or profitable sellers on home video. Others have inspired their own film festivals. Cult films can both appeal to specific subcultures and form their own subcultures. Other media that reference cult films can easily identify which demographics they desire to attract and offer savvy fans an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.

Cult films frequently break cultural taboos, and many feature excessive displays of violence, gore, sexuality, profanity, or combinations thereof. This can lead to controversy, censorship, and outright bans; less transgressive films may attract similar amounts of controversy when critics call them frivolous or incompetent. Films that fail to attract requisite amounts of controversy may face resistance when labeled as cult films. Mainstream films and big budget blockbusters have attracted cult followings similar to more underground and lesser known films; fans of these films often emphasize the films' niche appeal and reject the more popular aspects. Fans who like the films for the wrong reasons, such as perceived elements that represent mainstream appeal and marketing, will often be ostracized or ridiculed. Likewise, fans who stray from accepted subcultural scripts may experience similar rejection.

Since the late 1970s, cult films have become increasingly popular. Films that once would have been limited to obscure cult followings are now capable of breaking into the mainstream, and showings of cult films have proved to be a profitable business venture. Overbroad usage of the term has resulted in controversy, as purists state it has become a meaningless descriptor applied to any film that is the slightest bit weird or unconventional; others accuse Hollywood studios of trying to artificially create cult films or use the term as a marketing tactic. Films are frequently stated to be an "instant cult classic" now, occasionally before they are released. Fickle fans on the Internet have latched on to unreleased films only to abandon them later on release. At the same time, other films have acquired massive, quick cult followings, owing to spreading virally through social media. Easy access to cult films via video on demand and peer-to-peer file sharing has led some critics to pronounce the death of cult films.

Flash Gordon (film)

Flash Gordon is a 1980 science fantasy film based on the King Features comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond. Directed by Mike Hodges and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, the film was shot in Technicolor and Todd-AO-35. It stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed and Ornella Muti. The movie was co-written by Michael Allin (known for Enter the Dragon) and Lorenzo Semple Jr. (who had previously scripted De Laurentiis's remake of King Kong). It uses a camp style similar to the 1960s TV series Batman (which Semple developed) in an attempt to appeal to fans of the original comics and serial films. Although a box office success in the United Kingdom, it performed poorly in other markets. The film is notable for its soundtrack composed, performed and produced by the rock band Queen, with the orchestral sections by Howard Blake. The film has since gained a significant cult following.

Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball

Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball (2004) (GHTP) is a T-rated first person paintball game released exclusively for the Xbox. The game gathered a cult following, consistently appearing on the Xbox Live Top 25 list posted by Major Nelson, peaking at the number nine position. A sequel, Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball MAX'D, was released in 2005. Greg Hastings Paintball 2, developed by Majesco Entertainment, was released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii on September 28, 2010.

Honda X4

The Honda X4 is a 1,284 cc (78.4 cu in) cruiser motorcycle produced by Honda for model years 1997 through 2003.

Its powerful transverse-mounted, inline four-cylinder, water-cooled engine was later used in the 1998 through 2002 model years of the Honda CB1300, although the X4 version had different carburetors and was geared to provide more low-end torque. The X4 is characterized by its low-slung profile, solid disc rear wheel, bulbous yet angular side panels, and stubby, large-diameter, chrome exhausts.

Created as an answer to the Yamaha V-Max, the X4 was sold primarily in Japan, but a number of bikes found their way to Europe, notably Germany, where the X4 enjoys a cult following.

Memphis rap

Memphis rap, also known as Memphis hip hop and in some forms Memphis horrorcore, is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in Memphis, Tennessee in the early 1990s. The genre is characterized by its often low budget, repetitive production and its occasional lo-fi sound that also heavily utilizes the Roland TR-808 drum machine and minimal synth melodies, as well as double time flows and samples ranging from soul and funk to horror film scores and classical music, as well as hooks from songs by related rappers in the same genre, although DIY production without sampling is common as well.Early artists and groups associated with Memphis rap include T-Rock, Tommy Wright III, Playa Fly, Al Kapone, MC Mack DJ Spanish Fly, Lil Noid, 8Ball & MJG and Three 6 Mafia, with the latter two achieving relative commercial success. Three 6 Mafia's Mystic Stylez and other releases by members of the group such as Come with Me 2 Hell by DJ Paul and Lord Infamous, and Lil Noid's Paranoid Funk, as well as DJ Spanish Fly's early mixtapes were particularly influential in the genre's development. Despite largely staying underground, it has attained a cult following from MP3 blogs, influencing rappers such as Lil Ugly Mane, Denzel Curry, 1S1K SeanMario, Marco Pavé and SpaceGhostPurrp, as well as the rise of crunk and trap music.

Neil Breen

Neil Breen (November 23, 1958) is an American independent film director, actor and architect. His films have garnered a cult following for their eccentric writing, editing and low-budget nature.

Oizys

In Greek mythology, Oizys (; Ancient Greek: Ὀϊζύς) is the goddess of Misery, Anxiety, Grief, and Depression. She is the daughter of Nyx, the goddess of night and the twin of the god Momos. Her Latin name is Miseria, from which the English word 'misery' is derived. She is also the younger sister of the Greek personification of the day, Hemera. She is a minor goddess without a great cult following, but a primordial goddess of misery and depression with a certain amount of mythological weight nonetheless.

Spice bag

A spice bag (or spicy bag, spice box or spicy box; Irish: mála spíosrach) is a fast food dish popular in Ireland inspired by Asian cuisine. The spice bag consists of deep-fried chips, crispy shredded chicken and/or chicken balls, red and green peppers, sliced chili peppers, fried onions, and a variety of spices. It is sometimes accompanied by a tub of curry sauce. Available in Chinese takeaways and chippers since the 2010s, the dish has developed something of a cult following.

Swamp pop

Swamp pop is a music genre indigenous to the Acadiana region of south Louisiana and an adjoining section of Southeast Texas. Created in the 1950s and early 1960s by teenage Cajuns, it combines New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences. Although a fairly obscure genre, swamp pop maintains a large audience in its south Louisiana and southeast Texas homeland, and it has acquired a small but passionate cult following in the United Kingdom, northern Europe, and Japan."Swamp rock" is a distinct genre and is different from swamp pop in that drew more on 1960s rock than on the 1950s rhythm and blues sound that helped to define swamp pop. It is epitomized by the work of such artists as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tony Joe White, Delaney & Bonnie and Jesse Ed Davis.

Taher Shah

Taher Shah is a Bangladeshi singer and music producer. He has a large cult following, and has been described as "Pakistan’s most instant internet celebrity" by Dawn (newspaper).Taher Shah became famous in 2013 when he released his first song Eye to Eye. In an interview, he stated that it took him 20 years to write the lyrics for the song. According to Indian Express, the song achieved " success ", and according to The Atlantic the song made him an "overnight sensation". The song went viral on social media, and many artists dedicated their covers to the singer. In 2016, his new video song "Mankind's Angel"was released, causing what the BBC described as a "social media frenzy".

Tecmo Super Bowl

Tecmo Super Bowl is an American football video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that was released in December, 1991. Developed by Tecmo, it was the first sports video game that was licensed by both the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association, thus allowing the game to use both the names and attributes of real NFL teams and real NFL players. Prior games used the real teams or the real players, but not both simultaneously. Although the game was released in late 1991, all team rosters and player attributes were based on the prior 1990–91 NFL season, which meant that no rookies taken in the 1991 NFL Draft and no player team changes executed before the start of the 1991 season were added.

The original game utilized the 1991 NFL schedule only; therefore, playing multiple seasons with alternate schedules was not possible. The game was a major success, resulting in several follow-ups for newer systems and, although more than 25 years old, it has maintained an extensive cult following.

The New Legends of Monkey

The New Legends of Monkey is a television series inspired by Monkey, a Japanese production from the 1970s and 80s which garnered a cult following in New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and South Africa. The Japanese production was based on the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West. The show is a co-production between ABC Me, TVNZ, and Netflix, and consists of ten episodes. The New Legends of Monkey premiered on 28 January 2018.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show cult following

The Rocky Horror Picture Show cult following is the cultural phenomenon surrounding the large fan base of enthusiastic participants of the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, generally credited as being the best-known cinematic "midnight movie", if not the first.

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