1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Edited By Ernest Mathijs, Jamie Sexton Copyright 2020
    520 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    520 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema offers an overview of the field of cult cinema – films at the margin of popular culture and art that have received exceptional cultural visibility and status mostly because they break rules, offend, and challenge understandings of achievement (some are so bad they’re good, others so good they remain inaccessible).

    Cult cinema is no longer only comprised of the midnight movie or the extreme genre film. Its range has widened and the issues it broaches have become battlegrounds in cultural debates that typify the first quarter of the twenty-first century. Sections are introduced with the major theoretical frameworks, philosophical inspirations, and methodologies for studying cult films, with individual chapters excavating the most salient criticism of how the field impacts cultural discourse at large. Case studies include the worst films ever; exploitation films; genre cinema; multiple media formats cult cinema is expressed through; issues of cultural, national, and gender representations; elements of the production culture of cult cinema; and, throughout, aspects of the aesthetics of cult cinema – its genre, style, look, impact, and ability to yank viewers out of their comfort zones.

    The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema goes beyond the traditional scope of Anglophone and North American cinema by including case studies of East and South Asia, continental Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, making it an innovative and important resource for researchers and students alike.

    Introduction: The Cult Cinema Studies Experience


    Genres, Cycles and Modes

    1. ‘Naughty’, ‘Nasty’, ‘Culty’: Exploitation Film – Ernest Mathijs
    2. Underground Film and Cult Cinema – Glyn Davis
    3. Cult-Art Cinema: Defining Cult-Art Ambivalence – David Andrews
    4. "It happens by accident": Failed Intentions, Incompetence, and Sincerity in Badfilm – Becky Bartlett
    5. Cult Horror Cinema – Steffen Hantke
    6. Cult Science Fiction Cinema – Mark Bould
    7. Cult Comedy Cinema – Seth Soulstein
    8. The Italian Giallo – Alexia Kannas

      Global and Local Cult Cinema

    10. Latsploitation – Dolores Tierney
    11. Iranian Cult Cinema - Babak Tabarraee
    12. Rebels Without a Cause: The Bombay Cult Film – Vibhushan Subba
    13. East Asian Cult Cinema – Robyn Citizen
    14. Anime Is (Not) Cult: Gainax and the Limits of Cult Cinema – Rayna Dennison
    15. Blaxploitation – Harry M. Benshoff

      Critical Concepts

    17. Cult Cinema and Gender – Brenda Austin-Smith
    18. Cult Cinema and Nostalgia – Renee Middlemost
    19. Oc/cult Film and Video – Anna Powell
    20. "It's like looking at your past crimes at a parole hearing": Transgression in Cult Cinema– Tom Watson
    21. Access All Areas? Anglo-American Film Censorship and Cult Cinema in the Digital Era – Emma Pett
    22. Cult Cinema and Camp – Julia Mendenhall

      Cult Film Distribution and Exhibition

    24. Midnight Movies- Carter Moulton
    25. Drive-in and Grindhouse Theaters – David Church
    26. Blood cults: historicising the North American "shot on video" horror movie – Johnny Walker
    27. Cult Cinema in the Digital Age – Iain Robert Smith
    28. Cult Cinema and Film Festivals – Russ Hunter
    29. PART V: FANDOM

      Cult Fandom

    30. Conventions and Cosplay – Lynn Zuberbnis
    31. Grown Woman Shit: A Case for Magic Mike XXL as Cult Text – Amanda Anna Klein
    32. The Cut between Us: Digital Remix and the Expression of Self– Jennifer Ng
    33. The Professionalised Fandom of Careers in Cult: "Passionate Work" within Academia and Industry – Matt Hills

      Sound and Music in Cult Film

    35. Cult Musicals – Ethan de Seife
    36. Cult Soundtracks (Music) – James Wierzbicki
    37. Sounding out cult cinema: the ‘bad’, the ‘weird’ and the ‘old’ – Nessa Johnston

      Cult Film Aesthetics

    39. Inside an Actor's Scrapbook. Heath Ledger's Aesthetic Practice of Unbalancing– Jörg Sternagel
    40. Special Effects and the Cult Film: Cult Film Production and Analogue Nostalgia on the Digital Effects Pipeline – Leon Gurevitch
    41. Production Play: Sets, Props, and Costumes in Cult Films – Tamao Nakahara
    42. Cult Film and Adaptation – I.Q. Hunter
    43. Cult Film – Cult Television – Stacey Abbott

      Cult Auteurs

    45. "It’s a strange world": David Lynch – Jeffrey Weinstock
    46. "You guys always bring me the very best violence": Making the Case for Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Serenity as Mainstream Cult – Erin Giannini
    47. Anti-Auteur: The Films of Roberta Findlay – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
    48. Anna Biller – Jennifer O’Meara
    49. Alejandro Jodorowsky and El Topo – Antonio Lazaro-Reboll

      Cult Cinema Acting

    51. Judy Garland – Steven Cohan
    52. From the Other Side of the Wind: Dennis Hopper – Adrian Martin
    53. Barbara Steele – Nia Edwards-Behi
    54. Bruce Lee: Cult (Film) Icon– Paul Bowman
    55. All He Needs Is Love: The Cult of Klaus Kinski – Ian Cooper
    56. Crispin Glover – Sarah Thomas


    Ernest Mathijs is Professor of Film Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He teaches and writes on cult cinema. With Jamie Sexton he has written Cult Cinema (2011). He is the co-author of 100 Cult Films and the author of The Cinema of David Cronenberg.

    Jamie Sexton is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Northumbria University, UK. He is author of Cultographies: Stranger Than Paradise (2018) and co-author with Ernest Mathijs of Cult Cinema (2011). He is currently writing a monograph on American independent cinema and indie music cultures.