We all have that one guilty pleasure movie we love to watch when no one is around or if we’re feeling nostalgic. We’re talking about “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and 1997’s “Batman and Robin”. More likely than not, that movie that you think only you love is a cult classic.
What is a cult classic? The Oxford English Dictionary says that cult films should have “enduring appeal to a relatively small audience”, and be “non-mainstream”. That definition sounds about right. A good cult classic speaks to a small but passionate fan base and this fan base isn’t just a fleeting love. Cult classics, as the name implies, don’t fade with time. Movies like “Pulp Fiction” are a great example of a cult classic and they’ve kept that status for a long time. Why? There is something timeless about a good cult classic. It touches on subjects that are universal and that at least a small group of people can relate to.
Another kind of cult classic is the ‘It’s-So-Bad-It’s-Good’ kind of movie. People loves these kind of movies because of the glaring mistakes that the movie makes. Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space is a constant candidate for the title of worst film ever made especially since Bela Lugosi died during the movie was filming and was replaced by a much taller man. Showgirls can also fall in this category.
What makes a movie a cult classic? A cult classic is usually quirky, edgy and just plain different from the movies that have mass appeal. Being a cult classic is kind of like trying to be a cool kid in school, it’s not something you can actively try to be (as movies have shown us time and again) it’s simply a state of being. “Snakes on a Plane” was a pretty good example of what we’re talking about. It just tried too hard to be cult and just didn’t catch on.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for a night in watching movies, give the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” a try.