Eccentric, offbeat, weird, ‘unique’ and catering to esoteric tastes of a particularly small group and number of individuals, cult movies or cult films are the exact opposite of the blockbuster, hollywood and hollywood-type mainstream feature films being screened in major movie houses today. Cult movies usually acquire a ‘cult following,’ groups of individuals whose particular tastes and interests fall under the film’s wing.
Classic cult films which come to mind are that of Stanley Kubrick’s controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971), Francis Ford Coppola’s anti-Vietnam war movie Apocalypse Now (1979), Ridley Scott’s loose interpretation of a Philip K. Dick novel, Blade Runner (1982), and the quintessential cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) by Jim Sharman. While cult films range from a variety of genres such as crime, suspense, science fiction, horror and so on, some cult films are deemed uncategorizable and exist in a ‘genre’ which could only be labeled as such: cult.
The cast of characters which appear in most cult films are barely known to the general viewing public. These are artists who are in the initial stages of their careers, others gaining a certain degree of fame and recognition from the said cult movie, and on few occasions, a select number of renowned actors and actresses gracing the part of often particularly quirky and outrageously and/or obscuredly sketched characters in an equally obscure and eccentric setting and environment.
The most recent cult films of today range from the local independent, to foreign movies packaged for different countries, to even top grossing movies well received by the mainstream movie viewing populace but regarded as a cult movie because of its ability to garner a particular group of dedicated following, which it would seem is growing in numbers, an example of such a cult movie is George Lucas’ Star Wars.
The cult movie of today has taken a different form, although catering to esoteric tastes, these movies have also garnered a significant amount of mainstream appeal. Such is the case with Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, received by a greater number of following subsequent to his first cult flick, Pulp Fiction, which seemed to have revolutionized and brought considerably significant amount of impact to the aspect of film making as it deals with aesthetic, style and content.
The apparent ‘trashy’ content and material which critics refer to in Tarantino’s film approach reflects and probably sums up cult ideologies and what cult movies are generally about. The movie viewing populace of today is becoming less discriminate and blurring lines of that of the ‘cult’ and ‘mainstream’ movies, and viewing these films for what they are, a pastiche of shared beliefs, opinions, ideologies and meanings as interpreted by a director who subscribes to individuality and captured on over an hour or so of reel and screen time.
It may or may not reflect the particular persuasions and leanings of the general populace and the rest of the masses, but as long as it applies to one individual, and an esoteric few, it makes every amount of difference.
“Cult Films. ” Film Site. Org. Tim Dirks. (2007) Retrieved 12 December 2007 <http://www. filmsite. org/cultfilms. html>