Film professor's new book explores cult classics


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Films which have been labelled among the worst ever made are included in a new book by De Montfort University Leicester film academic Professor Ian Q Hunter.
 
INSET - Pink Flamingoes large

Divine in a scene from Pink Flamingos, which is being shown at Leicester's Phoenix Cinema hosted by Prof Hunter

Cult Film as a Guide to Life features the likes of Showgirls – famously described by star Kyle McLachlan as “the wrong material with the wrong director and the wrong cast” – Ed Wood’s Plan Nine from Outer Space, and John Waters’ Pink Flamingos among its case studies of films which have since become cult favourites.
 
It has been getting rave reviews from film buffs with Thomas Leitch, Professor at the University of Delaware in USA, describing its “irresistible appeal”, adding: “The result is one of those rare academic monographs you can read for fun. Whether or not cult film can indeed save your life, writing like Hunter's could go a long way to save cinema studies from itself.”
 
The book is a collection of essays on topics including cult adaptations, exploitation, and trash cinema. Prof Hunter argues that adaptation studies could learn a great deal from cult and fan studies about the importance of audiences' emotional investment in their beloved, but often critically belittled, films.

Prof Hunter, Reader in Film Studies, said: "Cult films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Big Lebowski are more than just movies to their fans, who find in them great personal significance as they are watched and rewatched over a lifetime. The world of cult movies is a special sacred space to which outsiders gravitate in search of a unique and transformative experience. Cult movies are films to live by "
 
Cult Film as a Guide to Life is published by Bloomsbury and can be bought here .  Next month Prof Hunter will be hosting a special event at Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema which will include a rare screening of John Waters's outrageous trash classic, Pink Flamingos on Wednesday 23 November.
 
This Friday, Prof Hunter joins a panel of experts at London’s Barbican to debate Whatever Happened to Bad Taste?  
  
The Battle of Ideas debate asks whether film and TV is under more scrutiny than ever before, or whether it has become easier to shock and offend vociferous audiences.
 
On the panel are Dr Maren Thom, film researcher at the Queen Mary University of London; Professor Clarissa Smith, professor of sexual cultures at the University of Sunderland; Sophie Brown, film writer; and Dr Mark Betz, film studies expert in Kings College London.
Posted on Thursday 27th October 2016

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