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A film reaches cult status due to an audience's relationship to the film. This makes the designation of cult status to a film difficult, however continued success amongst a subset of moviegoers many years after the film's original release is a key defining factor. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_film
A text reaches cult status due to an audience's relationship to the text. This makes the designation of 'cult' to a text difficult to define. Continued success amongst a subset of the audience many years after the text's original release appears to be a key defining factor. --Jahsonic, Apr 2004
Defining cult status
- Cult items are in the eye of the beholders.
- Cult items are never mainstream.
- Cult items attract obsessive fans
- Cult items generally don't gain that status until some time after their release.
- An item that attracts too large a number of fans cannot be regarded as a cult item.
- In fiction, items of certain genres (horror, science fiction) are more likely to be regarded as "cult" items.
- The attraction of cult items is sometimes totally different to the original intentions of the author.
- In fiction, cult items often contain "subversive" elements like references to homosexuality.
- Cult items are collectible and are avidly collected.
A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific thing, usually a film, television or radio program, though some comic books, musicians, writers and others also gain cult followings.
These dedicated followings are usually relatively small and pertain to items that don't have broad mainstream appeal, though there are exceptions, mostly in science fiction. Cult followings are often dedicated enough that many of the people in them have at least heard of each other due to their meeting at conventions, concerts, internet chat rooms or shops featuring the item in question.
An example of a usual cult following would be the followers of the Ogre Battle series of video games. An exception to the usual cult following rules is Star Trek, whose followers call themselves Trekkies. Star Trek has an extremely large following but can still be considered 'cult'. Science-fiction oriented cult followings include that of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
"Cult Following" is also used to describe the more obsessive fans of established mainstream performers. For example, many persons have been interested in Michael Jackson's music or in Disney films, but some fans take their interest to what are generally considered extreme levels, such hoarding vast amounts of collectables. Some such "cult fans" occasionally veer into obsessive-compulsive disorders or stalking. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_following [Jul 2005]
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