Cult following

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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.

Fan (person) person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or someone

A fan, or fanatic, sometimes also termed aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody, such as a singer or band, a sports team, a genre, a politician, a book, a movie or an entertainer. Collectively, the fans of a particular object or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways, such as by promoting the object of their interest, being members of a fan club, holding or participating in fan conventions, or writing fan mail. They may also engage in creative activities such as creating fanzines, writing fan fiction, making memes or drawing fan art.

Culture societys way of life within anthropology

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization, mythology, philosophy, literature, and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.

Community group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment; a social unit of human organisms who share common values

A community is a small or large social unit that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions. Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties (micro-level), "community" may also refer to large group affiliations, such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.

Contents

Many cult fans express a certain irony about their devotion.[ clarify ] 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]

Irony Rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is an incongruity between the literal and the implied meaning

Irony, in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what appears, on the surface, to be the case, differs radically from what is actually the case.

Camp (style) ostentatious style

Camp is an aesthetic style and sensibility that regards something as appealing because of its bad taste and ironic value. Camp aesthetics disrupt many of modernism's notions of what art is and what can be classified as high art by inverting aesthetic attributes such as beauty, value, and taste through an invitation of a different kind of apprehension and consumption.

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

Mainstream is current thought that is widespread. It includes all popular culture and media culture, typically disseminated by mass media. It is to be distinguished from subcultures and countercultures, and at the opposite extreme are cult followings and fringe theories.

The Star Trek film series is the cinematic branch of the Star Trek media franchise, which began in 1966 as a weekly television series on NBC, running for three seasons until it was canceled in 1969 because of poor ratings. Reruns of the series proved to be wildly successful in syndication during the 1970s, which persuaded the series' then-owner, Paramount Pictures, to expand the franchise.

<i>Star Wars</i> epic science fantasy space opera saga

Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, created by George Lucas and centered around a film series that began with the eponymous 1977 movie. The saga quickly became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.

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]

Subculture group of people within a culture that differentiates themselves from the larger culture to which they belong

A subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political and sexual matters. Subcultures are part of society while keeping their specific characteristics intact. Examples of subcultures include hippies, goths and bikers. The concept of subcultures was developed in sociology and cultural studies. Subcultures differ from countercultures.

<i>Woodstock</i> (film) 1970 documentary film

Woodstock is a 1970 documentary film of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969 near Bethel, New York. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.

Hippie human subculture

A hippie is a member of the counterculture of the 1960s, originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word hippie came from hipster and used to describe beatniks who moved into New York City's Greenwich Village and San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The term hippie first found popularity in San Francisco with Herb Caen, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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.[ citation needed ] Certain cult phenomena can grow to such proportions that they become mainstream.

Quentin Tarantino American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor

Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American filmmaker, author, and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines; satirical subject matter; an aestheticization of violence; extended scenes of dialogue; ensemble casts consisting of established and lesser-known performers; references to popular culture and a wide variety of other films; soundtracks primarily containing songs and score pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s; and features of neo-noir film.

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.

<i>Arrested Development</i> (TV series) American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz for the Fox Broadcasting Company and Netflix

Arrested Development is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz, which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003, to February 10, 2006. The show follows the Bluth family, a formerly wealthy dysfunctional family. It is presented in a serialized format, incorporating handheld camera work, voice-over narration, archival photos, and historical footage. The show also maintains numerous running gags and catchphrases. Ron Howard serves as both an executive producer and the omniscient narrator. Set in Newport Beach, California, Arrested Development was filmed primarily in Culver City and Marina del Rey.

<i>Futurama</i> American comedic animated television show

Futurama is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of slacker Philip J. Fry, who is accidentally transported to the 31st century and finds work at an interplanetary delivery company. The series was envisioned by Groening in the mid-1990s while working on The Simpsons; he brought David X. Cohen aboard to develop storylines and characters to pitch the show to Fox.

Cartoon Network American cable television network

Cartoon Network is an American pay television channel owned by Turner Broadcasting System, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia.

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] and Yume Nikki (2004), a surreal free-to-play Japanese horror game [9] . 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.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cult film film that has acquired a cult following

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.

Fanzine magazine published by fans

A fanzine is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest. The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and first popularized within science fiction fandom, and from there it was adopted by other communities.

Fandom subculture composed of fans sharing a common interest

A fandom is a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices ; this is what differentiates "fannish" (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

Science fiction on television television genre

Science fiction first appeared in television programming in the late 1930s, during what is called the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Special effects and other production techniques allow creators to present a living visual image of an imaginary world not limited by the constraints of reality.

<i>Xena: Warrior Princess</i> American–New Zealand fantasy series (1995–2001)

Xena: Warrior Princess is an American fantasy television series filmed on location in New Zealand. The series aired in first-run syndication from September 4, 1995 to June 18, 2001. Critics have praised the series for its strong female protagonist, and it has acquired a strong cult following, attention in fandom, parody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.

Portmeirion village in Wales

Portmeirion is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, and is now owned by a charitable trust.

<i>Farscape</i> Australian/American television science fiction series

Farscape is an Australian-American science fiction television series, produced originally for the Nine Network. The series was conceived by Rockne S. O'Bannon and produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The Jim Henson Company was responsible for the various alien make-up and prosthetics, and two regular characters are entirely Creature Shop creations.

Rockne S. OBannon writer

Rockne S. O'Bannon is an American television writer, screenwriter and producer. O'Bannon has created five original television series.

Tolkien fandom

Tolkien fandom is an international, informal community of fans of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially of the Middle-earth legendarium which includes The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. "Fandom" is a term used to describe a specific type of fan subculture. "Tolkien fandom" in this sense sprang up in the United States in the 1960s, in the context of the hippie movement, to the dismay of the author, who talked of "my deplorable cultus".

A fansite, fan site, fan blog or fan page is a website created and maintained by a fan or devotee about a celebrity, thing, or particular cultural phenomenon.

Carl Brutananadilewski Aqua Teen Hunger Force character

Carl Brutananadilewski is a fictional character from the Adult Swim animated television series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, as well as the online Adultswim.com shows Carl's Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week and Pregame Prognostifications from the Pigskin Wyzzard. Carl is a short-tempered, vulgar, tacky, ignorant and sarcastic man who is often the victim of the villainous plots or the antics of Master Shake or Meatwad and he is frequently subject to non-canon deaths. Carl was created and designed by Aqua Teen Hunger Force creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro. Carl is voiced by Willis, who also portrays him via motion capture in Pregame Prognostifications from the Pigskin Wyzzard. Carl's interests are in sports, pornography and the bands Foreigner, Loverboy, Foghat and Boston, especially their song "More Than a Feeling". Willis has called him a stereotype of men in general.

In television, cancellation refers to the termination of a program by a network, typically because of low viewership, financial losses, or unfavourable critical reviews. Other potential reasons for canceling television programs include controversies involving the program's cast, conflicts among the show's staff members or to make room for new programming.

Fan labor term used to refer to the productive creative activities engaged in by fans, primarily those of various media properties or musical groups

Fan labor are the creative activities engaged in by fans, primarily those of various media properties or musical groups. These activities can include creation of written works, visual or computer-assisted art, music, or applied arts and costuming.

<i>Teen Wolf</i> (2011 TV series) American teen-drama television series

Teen Wolf is an American television series developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. It is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott McCall, who is bitten by a werewolf and must cope with how it affects his life and the lives of those closest to him, and Dylan O'Brien as "Stiles" Stilinski, Scott's best friend. The series has received generally positive reviews from critics.

The flow of Japanese animation and manga to the United States has increased American awareness of Japanese animation. Anime differs from American animation in the range of its audiences and themes. Anime is made for adults more often than are American cartoons, and often deals with more serious themes. Anime and manga incorporate a multitude of genres such as romance, action, horror, comedy, drama and cover a wide variety of topics like teen suicides, high school rivalries, and social commentary, and more subjects. Described as a gateway for many fans that takes them to a whole new culture; it is used as a way to learn about Japan. People who are avid devotees to anime in the United States affectionately refer to themselves as otaku, although in Japan the term is similar to geek, and is commonly frowned upon by society. Much like punk and goth, anime has become a subculture.

<i>Super Smash Flash</i>

Super Smash Flash is a series of fighting browser games published by indie website McLeodGaming, led by Gregory McLeod under the alias Cleod9. It is based on the Super Smash Bros series. The original Super Smash Flash is based specifically on Super Smash Bros. Melee.

<i>EarthBound</i> fandom

The 1994 video game EarthBound is known for its cult following and fan community. Multiple video game journalists have written about the dedication of the game's fans in producing fan art and lobbying Nintendo for further releases in the series. The company has been largely unresponsive to their efforts. Prominent fansites include Starmen.net and EarthBound Central. The former was started in 1999 and became the definitive community website. Their members organized petitions and campaigns to bring English-localized games from the Mother series to North America. One such effort included a full-color, 270-page EarthBound Anthology as a demonstration of consumer demand for further releases. After nearly a decade, EarthBound was rereleased for the Wii U Virtual Console in 2013, whereupon it became a bestseller.

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