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 sport or 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 Social behavior and norms found in society

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies.

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

A community is a social unit with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place 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, important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at large. Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties, "community" may also refer to large group affiliations such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.

Contents

Many cult fans express their devotion with a level of irony when describing entertainment that falls under this realm, in that something is so bad, it's good. 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]

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.

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.

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.

Forms

Film

There is not always a clear difference between cult and mainstream media. Series such as James Bond , Doctor Who , Star Trek , Star Wars , 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 the prevalent current thought that is widespread.

<i>Doctor Who</i> British science fiction TV series

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being, to all appearances human, from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes while working to save civilisations and help people in need.

<i>Star Wars</i> Epic science fantasy space opera franchise

Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas. The franchise began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The original film, later subtitled Episode IV – A New Hope, was followed by the sequels Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), forming what is collectively referred to as the original trilogy. A prequel trilogy was later released, consisting of Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Years later, a sequel trilogy began with Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), continued with Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and will conclude with Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019). The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards and were commercially successful. Together with the theatrical anthology films Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), the combined box office revenue of the films equates to over US$9 billion, and is currently the second-highest-grossing film franchise.

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]

<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 diminutive pejorative of hipster: 1960s counterculture participant

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 was 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.

<i>Hocus Pocus</i> (1993 film) 1993 Disney Horror-Comedy film directed by Kenny Ortega

Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American fantasy comedy-horror drama film directed by Kenny Ortega, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Written by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris, it is based on a story by Garris and David Kirschner. It follows a villainous, yet comedic, trio of witches, who are inadvertently resurrected by a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween.

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, actor, film programmer, and cinema owner. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, satirical subject matter, aestheticization of violence, extended scenes of dialogue, ensemble casts, 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 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 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 way for later shows of similar style, which also had cult followings, specifically Aqua Teen Hunger Force . Star Trek: The Original Series was cancelled after three seasons but in broadcast syndication it gained a more substantial following ultimately spawned a successful media franchise.

<i>Futurama</i> American animated sitcom for the Fox Broadcasting Company and Comedy Central

Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of slacker Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically preserved for 1000 years and is revived in the 31st century. Fry 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 pay television channel

Cartoon Network is an American pay television channel owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia. The channel was launched on October 1, 1992, and primarily broadcasts animated television series, mostly children's programming, ranging from action to animated comedy. It operates usually from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM (ET/PT) and is targeted at children in between 7-15. Its overnight daypart block Adult Swim is aimed at adults and is treated as a separate entity for promotional purposes and as a separate channel by Nielsen for ratings purposes. A Spanish language audio track for select programs is accessible via second audio programing (SAP); some cable and satellite companies offer the Spanish feed as a separate channel by removing the main English-language audio track.

Adult Swim is the adult-oriented nighttime programming block of the American children's pay television network Cartoon Network and its own television production studio Williams Street Productions. It broadcasts nightly from 8 p.m to 6 a.m.. Williams Street also produces Toonami, a block-within-a-block, that airs every Saturday night on Adult Swim.

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) [4] , the ITC sci-fi thriller series, The Prisoner (1967–1968) [5] and the Australian soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H (1979–1986). [6]

Video games

Some video games, often those with unique concepts that fail to gain traction with the mainstream audience, attract cult followings, and 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), another unsuccessful game 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 example is Gravity Rush. Over time, it has gained affection from gamers due to its exciting, mysterious, and original history, and these elements have contributed positively to the modern video game industry. [10]

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.

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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.

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

Farscape is an Australian-American science fiction television series, produced originally for the Nine Network. It premiered in the US on SCI-FI Channel's SciFi Friday, March 15, 1999 at 8:00pm EST as their anchor series. 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.

Takashi Miike Japanese film director, film producer, screenwriter and actor

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Rockne S. OBannon writer

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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. The concept of Tolkien fandom as a specific type of fan subculture 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".

Degrassi is a Canadian drama franchise with over 621 episodes across all incarnations. It follows the lives of a group of teenagers who lived on or near De Grassi Street in Toronto, Ontario. The five main series are The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class.

A teen drama is a genre or type of drama series with a major focus on teenage and young adult characters. It came into prominence in the early 1990s, especially with the popularity of the Fox series Beverly Hills, 90210. After 90210 became a success, television writers and producers realized the potential for this new genre to reach out to a previously ignored demographic. In the past, most series that maintained a focus on teenagers had been sitcoms, while adolescents in drama series were usually part of a larger ensemble that included adults and children.

<i>Gidget</i> (TV series)

Gidget is an American sitcom by Screen Gems about a surfing, boy-crazy teenager called "Gidget" and her widowed father Russ Lawrence, a UCLA professor. Sally Field stars as Gidget with Don Porter as father Russell Lawrence. The series was first broadcast on ABC from September 15, 1965 to April 21, 1966.

<i>Tremors</i> (TV series) television series

Tremors: The Series is a 2003 television show spun-off from the Tremors franchise. Originally airing out of order on the Sci-Fi Channel, it was later aired in its proper sequence on the G4 Network.

In television, cancellation refers to the termination of a program by a network, typically because of low viewership, financial losses, low ratings, 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.

<i>Angry Video Game Nerd</i> Internet review comedy web series about video games

Angry Video Game Nerd is an American retrogaming review comedy web series, created by and starring James Rolfe. The series centers on Rolfe's character "The Nerd", a short-tempered and foul-mouthed video game fanatic who delivers commentary on retro games he considers to be of poor quality. While the series began with Rolfe simply playing games while delivering a running commentary, the show would eventually grow in scope to encompass sketches featuring guest characters, reviews of gaming consoles and peripherals, and short lectures about video game history and culture.

Fan labor is 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.

A teen situation comedy, or teen sitcom, is a subgenre of comedic television programs targeted towards teenagers. In general, these type of programs focus primarily on characters between 13 and 19 years of age and routinely feature characters involved in humorous situations, and often focus on the characters' family and social lives. The primary plot of each episode often involves the lead character(s) that the program centers on, while secondary plotlines often focus on the character(s') parents, siblings or friends, although the secondary characters may sometimes also or instead be involved in the episode's main plot.

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

Teen Wolf is an American supernatural teen drama 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 received generally positive reviews from critics.

James Rolfe American actor and filmmaker from Pennsylvania

James Duncan Rolfe is an American actor, filmmaker, film/video game critic, and internet personality. Rolfe is best known for creating and starring in the webshow Angry Video Game Nerd, a joint production of Rolfe's Cinemassacre Productions, GameTrailers, and ScrewAttack on the online video platform YouTube. His other projects include reviews of board games and classic horror films.

References

  1. "The Official Cult TV Magazine".Cite web requires |website= (help)
  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.Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  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.Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  6. "Wentworth Prison: Prisoners return to cell block H". Daily Express. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2018.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  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.
  10. "The Obscure Cult Game That's Secretly Inspiring Everything". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

Further reading