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What Makes a Cult Movie?

For more than a century, movies have been one of the most popular modes of entertainment. That being said, “popularity” can mean different things to different people.

Some movies are considered popular because they were blockbuster hits (like Titanic) or because they were critically acclaimed (see The Godfather). Yet some films barely made a dent at the box office, don’t feature Oscar-worthy performances, and had no groundbreaking special effects to boast of, but somehow became part of the pop culture landscape. Indeed, such is the case with cult films.

There’s no one way to define a cult flick, but according to experts, they generally fall into three categories: (1) the so-bad-it’s-good type; (2) the underappreciated gem; and the “campy” classic (monster movies like Mega Piranha).

Cult masterpieces also tend to share certain characteristics. For instance, many are considered “bad” because they have poor cinematography, plots, and dialogues–yet, strangely enough, their ineptness makes them endearing to audiences.

Some flicks also achieve cult status because they tackle progressive storylines that mainstream movie companies wouldn’t dare touch. Others also have mysterious and open-ended conclusions that spark lively discussions both in after-screening hangouts and in countless online forums where people comment as they watch English movies online.

Cult movies are somewhat like viral social media content: they become popular by word of mouth alone, and there’s no telling which one will become the next Alien Abduction or Zombie Wars. Perhaps this undefinable quality is what keeps drawing people back to these films.

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