A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific area of pop culture. Fans in Little Italyjpg|thumb|right|Fans in Little Italy Manhattan celebrating the victory of the Italian association football team after the 2006 FIFA World Cup]][[Image Wm-oly-de-cr Popular culture (or pop culture) is the Culture — patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance — Cult followings most often develop around television shows, films, and books. A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific area of Pop culture. A cult film is a Film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans. A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific area of Pop culture. Some comic books, video games, musicians and writers also gain cult followings. A comic book (often shortened to simply comic and sometimes called a comic paper or comic magazine) is a Magazine or Book of narrative A video game is a Game that involves interaction with a User interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. A musician is a person who plays or writes Music. Musicians can be classified by their roles in creating or performing music An instrumentalist plays a A writer is anyone who creates a written work although the word usually designates those who write creatively or professionally as well as those who have written in many different forms Non-media items may also have what could be considered cult followings, for example the soft drink Tab. Soft drink is a beverage that does not contain Alcohol. Carbonated soft drinks are commonly known as soda soda pop pop, or Tab (styled as "TaB" is a diet cola Soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company.
Cult followings are often dedicated enough that many people of similar interest are familiar with one another due to convention gatherings, concerts, message boards, Internet chat rooms, word of mouth, or shops featuring related items.
These dedicated followings are usually relatively small and pertain to items that don't have broad mainstream appeal. Mainstream is generally the common current of Thought of the Majority.
"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 extreme levels, hoarding vast amounts of collectibles. Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29 1958 is an American musician entertainer and businessman Walt Disney Pictures refers to several different entities associated with The Walt Disney Company: Walt Disney Pictures, the film banner was established Hoarding is the storing of food or other goods or money Hoarding of food is a natural behaviour in certain species of animals Some such "cult fans" occasionally veer into obsessive-compulsive behaviors or stalking; however, cult followings do not necessitate that individuals partake in such activities. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD is a Chronic Anxiety disorder most commonly characterized by obsessive Distressing Intrusive thoughts ---- Stalking is the obsessive following observing or contacting of another person or the obsessive attempt to engage in any of these activities And in such cases like (for example) Marilyn Manson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, U2, Prince and Pink Floyd. Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969) better known by his Stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American Musician and The Beatles were a pop and rock band from Liverpool, England formed in 1960 The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964. The primary lineup consisted of guitarist Pete Townshend Led Zeppelin were Prince, from the Latin root Princeps, is a general term for a Monarch, for a member of a monarch's or former monarch's family and is a Pink Floyd are Even though these bands and artists have millions of fans, and are practically a household name, there are certain intensely devoted fans who know about every song on every album as opposed to just the songs that receive airplay; or these fans will buy imports and other rare items pertaining to the bands; or these fans were into the bands before they became mainstream. The Grateful Dead are the epitome of a cult band; their fans are called Deadheads. The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Deadhead or Dead Head is a name given to fans of the American Jam band, the Grateful Dead.
Cult followings establish their own canons and cherish the notion of cult classics, which are individual items with cult followings. This article is not about Literary canons of influential works of fiction but about the concept of a canon which defines the world of a particular fictional series A cult film is a Film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans. Cult followings are usually generated through a film or television show having targeted a particular genre, such as fantasy, sci-fi, comedy or horror, but other types of films or TV series can produce a cult following as well. Fantasy is a Genre that uses magic and other Supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting Comedy (from the Greek κωμωδίαkomodia has a popular meaning (any discourse generally intended to amuse especially in Television, Film, and
While cult followings are unquestionably more prevalent in pop culture, examples of this phenomenon exist in serious culture as well, especially among certain sub-segments of the public, such as homosexuals and other cultural minorities. Thus we find cults of certain writers, such as Yukio Mishima, J.K. Rowling, H. P. Lovecraft, J.D. Salinger, Simone de Beauvoir and perhaps most famously, J.R.R. Tolkien; composers like Erik Satie or Edgard Varèse; or performers, like Maria Callas or Magda Olivero. was the pseudonym of, a Japanese author poet and Joanne "Jo" Rowling OBE (born 31 July 1965 who writes under the Howard Phillips Lovecraft ( August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy Jerome David "J D" Salinger (born January 1 1919 (ˈsælɨndʒɚ is an American author best known for his 1951 Novel The Catcher in the Rye "La Beauvoir" redirects here also see Beauvoir (disambiguation Alfred Éric Leslie Satie ( Honfleur, 17 May 1866 – Paris, 1 July 1925) was a French Composer and WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section --> Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse, whose name was also spelled Edgar Varèse Magda Olivero (born March 25, 1910) is considered by many to be one of the greatest Sopranos of the Verismo -school of singing
A cult band is a term often used to describe a rock and roll band with a dedicated base of fans whose appreciation of the band goes beyond merely enjoying their music. Rock and roll (also known as rock 'n' roll) is a form of Music that evolved in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s with roots in mostly African Music is an Art form in which the medium is Sound organized in Time.
Cult bands often have a unique conception or musical style which has led to their cult status. It is this uniqueness which sets the band apart from others and which fans find attractive. This also has prevented some cult bands from achieving wider success, as some cult bands are known for experimentation or musical styles outside of mainstream tastes. Often, cult bands are no longer performing and recording, but continue to have a following. Indeed, a band such as the Ramones show the following today can be larger than when the band was still together. The Ramones were an American rock band often regarded as the first Punk rock group
Specific musical styles may also have a cult following of the entire subgenre, including ambient music, comedy rock, experimental music, industrial music, intelligent dance music, hardcore punk, heavy metal, jam rock, japanoise, math rock, nintendocore, noise music, noise rock, outsider music, progressive rock, psychedelic music, ska, surf music and theme music. A genre (ˈʒɑːnrə also /ˈdʒɑːnrə/ from French "kind" or "sort" from Latin: genus (stem gener-) is a loose set Ambient music is a Musical genre in which sound is more important than notes Comedy rock is a term used to describe Rock music that is mixed with satire or other forms of Comedy. Experimental music is a term introduced by composer John Cage in 1955 Industrial music is a loose term for a number of different styles of Experimental music, especially but not necessarily Electronic music. Intelligent dance music (commonly IDM) is a genre name invented in the early 1990s by the creators of an American online mailing list Hardcore punk (now usually referred to as simply hardcore) is a subgenre of Punk rock that originated in North America in the late 1970s Jam bands (or jambands) are musical groups whose albums and live performances relate to a fan culture which originated with the 1960s group Grateful Dead and continued Japanoise, or ジャパノイズ, is a Portmanteau of the words "Japanese" and "noise" a term applied to the diverse prolific and influential Math rock is a rhythmically complex guitar-based style of experimental rock music that emerged in the late 1980s Nintendocore (also known as NEScore) is a subgenre of music inspired by Metalcore music and the instruments which accompany 8-bit video game soundtracks Noise rock (also known as noise punk) describes one variety of Post-punk Rock music that became prominent in the 1980s Outsider music are songs and compositions by musicians who are not part of the commercial music industry who write songs that ignore standard musical or lyrical conventions Progressive rock (often shortened to " progressive " " prog " or " prog rock " is a form of Rock music that evolved Psychedelic music is a term that refers to a broad set of popular music styles genres and scenes that may include Psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk, Psychedelic Ska ( pronounced /ska/ or in Jamaican Patois /skja/ is a Music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and which was the precursor Surf music is a Genre of Popular music associated with Surf culture, particularly Orange County and other areas of Southern California The phrase theme music usually refers to that of a radio program, Television program, or Movie.
Cult fiction is a term used to denote literature that has attracted a cult following. Literature is the Art of written works Literally translated the word means "acquaintance with letters" (from Latin littera letter
Literature that tends to attract a cult following include banned books, transgressive fiction, controversial books, erotic literature and genre fiction. Literature is the Art of written works Literally translated the word means "acquaintance with letters" (from Latin littera letter Many societies have banned certain Books This is a partial list of books that have been banned. Transgressional or transgressive fiction is a Genre of Literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts which sexually arouse the reader whether written with that intention or not Genre fiction is a term for fictional works ( Novels short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific Literary genre
There are three main categories of cult fiction.
Closely related are writers that may attract a cult following. Examples may include Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Austen, and Tom Robbins. Kurt Vonnegut Jr (November 11 1922 – April 11 2007 (ˈvɒnəgət was a prolific and genre-bending American Novelist known for works blending Satire, Black Jane Austen (16 Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina) is an American Author.
A cult figure or cult icon is a person who attracts the attention of a small band of aficionados. Some cult figures are well-known to the general public (Christopher Walken, Chuck Norris, Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Edward Norton, John Bunnell) while others are mostly obscure outside of a subculture (Bruce Campbell, Ed Wood Jr., Valérie Allain, Vanessa Duriès). Christopher Walken (born March 31 1943 is an American Film and Theatre Actor. Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10 1940 is an American martial artist, action star and Television and Film Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21 1948 is an American Academy Award -nominated and BAFTA -winning actor Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974 is a British John Edwin Bunnell (born 25 May 1944) is a former Sheriff of Multnomah County Oregon. For the term in biology see Subculture (biology. For the song by New Order see Sub-culture (song. Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22 1958) is an American Actor, producer, Writer and director. Ed Wood redirects here For the film see Ed Wood (film, and for the former British Foreign Secretary see E Valérie Allain is a French actress She is best known for her role as "Mireille" in the 1987 instructional television series French in Action Vanessa Duriès, also known as Katia Lamara ( 1972 - December 13, 1993) was a French Novelist. The notoriety of cult figures may be contrasted with that of pop icons. Pop icon is a Celebrity whose fame in pop culture constitutes a defining characteristic of a given society or era
In most of the cases, the work of a cult figure is unusual or exists outside current trends in his or her field. Thus, his or her appeal is limited to only a small group.
Although most cult figures are artists and entertainers who are genuinely recognized for their talent, others gain a following mostly for strange behavior (Wesley Willis, Ellen Feiss) or particularly memorable 15 minutes of fame (William Hung, Clara Peller, Darva Conger). Wesley Willis (May 31 1963 &ndash August 21 2003 was a Busker Musician and Artist from Chicago. Ellen Feiss (born circa 1987 became an Internet phenomenon after her 2002 Errol Morris -directed Television William James Hung Hing Cheong ( Traditional Chinese: 孔慶翔 Simplified Chinese: 孔庆翔 Cantonese Yale: Hung2 Hing3 Cheung4 Clara Peller ( August 4, 1902 &ndash August 11, 1987) was an American character actress who at the age of 81 starred Darva Conger (born September 21 1966 or 1965 is a former emergency room Nurse who was selected as the winner on the 2000 Reality television show Who
The term cult figure is difficult to define and different people may or may not qualify as cult figures by different standards.
The term usually refers to someone who is admired by a small group of fans and not by the general public or at least not for the same reasons he or she is admired by the general public. For example, Christopher Walken and Crispin Glover are both known for their acting abilities to the general public, but to their cult followings Walken is better known for his recognizable mannerisms and Glover for his strange behavior and distinctive poetry. Christopher Walken (born March 31 1943 is an American Film and Theatre Actor. Crispin Hellion Glover (born April 20, 1964) is primarily known as a Film Actor, but is also a painter, Filmmaker, Acting is the work of an Actor or Actress, which is a person in Theatre, Television, Film, or any other Storytelling Actor Bruce Campbell, best known for his starring roles in the Evil Dead movies, a notable cult film series, has become a major cult figure, especially in Sci-Fi circles. Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22 1958) is an American Actor, producer, Writer and director. The Evil Dead (also known as Evil Dead, The Book of the Dead, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead and
The term usually does not refer to a person who is both a widely celebrated figure in culture at large and the object of the acute interest of many dedicated fans, such as Neil Young, Richey James Edwards, Buckethead, Johnny Cash, Syd Barrett, Glenn Gould, Marilyn Monroe, or George Lucas. Neil Percival Young OM (born November 12, 1945, Toronto Ontario) is a Canadian Singer-songwriter, Musician Richard "Richey" James Edwards (born 22 December 1967 in Blackwood, Wales, UK) (also known as Richey James Brian Carroll, better known as Buckethead, is an American Guitarist and Songwriter. Johnny Cash (born J R Cash; February 26 1932 - September 12 2003 was a Grammy Award -winning American country Singer-songwriter. Syd Barrett (born Roger Keith Barrett; 6 January 1946 - 7 July 2006 was an English singer songwriter guitarist and artist Glenn Herbert Gould At a young age he reportedly behaved differently from typical children at the piano he would strike single notes and listen to their long decay Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson, June 1 1926 &ndash August 5 1962 baptized Norma George Walton Lucas Jr (born May 14, 1944) is an Academy Award -winning American Film director, producer, Screenwriter The term also usually does not refer to a widely significant figure who is particularly important to a subculture, such as Judy Garland, Cher, George Michael, Boy George, and Madonna in gay culture or John Lennon, Phish, and Bob Marley in hippie and neo-hippie culture. For the term in biology see Subculture (biology. For the song by New Order see Sub-culture (song. Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10 1922 – June 22 1969 was an American actress and singer Cher ( IPA: /ʃɛr/ born Cherilyn Sarkisian, May 20 1946 Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (Γεώργιος Κυριάκος Παναγιώτου (born 25 June 1963 best known as George Michael, is a two-time Grammy Award winning Boy George (born George Alan O'Dowd 14 June 1961 in Eltham London) is an English Singer-songwriter, who was part of the English New Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie (born August 16 1958 known as Madonna, is an American Poliamory pride in San Francisco 2004jpg|thumb|Representatives of the Polyamory community at a San Francisco parade John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (born Phish is an American Jam band noted for their Musical improvisation, extended Jam sessions and cult following Robert "Bob" Nesta Marley OM (February 6 1945 – May 11 1981 was a Jamaican Musician, Singer-songwriter and Rastafarian The Hippie Subculture was originally a Youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and spread around the world
In some cases, a cult following is so large or so infamous that the figure becomes a household name. Examples include Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Lee, and Elvira. James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25 1946) is a Singer, Songwriter, Author, Businessman, and recently Bruce Lee ( November 27 1940 – July 20 1973 was an American-born Martial artist, Philosopher, instructor, Martial arts actor and the Still these people are usually considered cult figures because a relatively small group of fans are responsible for their fame.
Cult film is a colloquial term for a film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans (Such as Donnie Darko, and Pipedream). A cult film is a Film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans. Donnie Darko is a 2001 cult classic Psychological thriller Film written and directed by Richard Kelly, and starring Pipedream is the first solo album from Lindisfarne singer/front man Alan Hull. Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside of this small group (however, there are a few exceptions. ) Some cult movies have gone on to transcend their original cult status and have become recognized as classics, others are of the "so bad it's good" variety, and are destined to remain in obscurity. Some examples are horror films such as Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Evil Dead which has spawned video games. Horror films are Movies that strive to elicit Fear, Horror and terror responses from viewers The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical Comedy film that parodies Science fiction and Horror films. The Evil Dead (also known as Evil Dead, The Book of the Dead, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead and Other cult film examples include A Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, Donnie Darko, Boondock Saints, The Big Lebowski, Office Space, Clerks and Blue Velvet. Blade Runner is a 1982 American Science fiction Film, directed by Ridley Scott. Donnie Darko is a 2001 cult classic Psychological thriller Film written and directed by Richard Kelly, and starring The Boondock Saints is a 1999 action Crime drama film written and directed by Troy Duffy. The Big Lebowski is a 1998 American Comedy film / Film noir written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Office Space is an American Comedy film, released in 1999, that was written and directed by Mike Judge. Clerks is a 1994 film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also appears in the film in a minor role Blue Velvet is a 1986 American Mystery film, written and directed by David Lynch, that exhibits elements of both Film noir
Cult television, like cult figures, cult film and cult radio, attracts a band of aficionados or appreciators, known as a cult following, devoted to a specific television series or fictional universe. Television ( TV) is a widely used Telecommunication medium for sending ( Broadcasting) and receiving moving Images, either monochromatic A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific area of Pop culture. A cult film is a Film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans. A cult following is a group of fans devoted to a specific area of Pop culture.
Although some cult TV series are longer-lasting science fiction, fantasy or horror shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Invader Zim, Code Lyoko, Stargate SG-1, Doctor Who, seaQuest DSV, The X-Files, Supernatural, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, many pilots or short-lived shows such as My So-Called Life, Fawlty Towers, Firefly, Lookwell, Twin Peaks, TV Funhouse and Invasion have also developed strong followings. Fictional narratives (and works of art exist beyond their completion e Star Trek is a Science fiction Television series created by Gene Roddenberry that aired from September 8, 1966 through Invader Zim, Branded as Invader ZIM, is an American Animated television series that was produced by and subsequently Code Lyoko is a French Animated television series featuring both conventional animation and CGI. Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. seaQuest DSV was an American Science fiction television series created by Rockne S The X-Files is a Peabody, Golden Globe and Emmy Award -winning American Science fiction television series created by Chris Carter Supernatural is an American horror television series regarding the Paranormal. For the album by Progressive Metal band Voivod see The Outer Limits (album. The Twilight Zone is an American Television series created by Rod Serling. My So-Called Life was an American Television Teen drama created by Winnie Holzman and produced by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 Firefly is an American Science fiction Television series created by writer/director Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lookwell was a Television pilot written and produced by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel. Twin Peaks is a Television Serial drama that follows the investigation of the brutal murder of popular respected Teenager and homecoming queen Saturday TV Funhouse is the title of a recurring Skit on NBC 's Saturday Night Live featuring cartoons created by longtime Invasion is an American Science fiction television series that aired on ABC for only one season beginning A "cult" show can also be from the genres of drama, action adventure, animation, comedy, and children's series.
Some cult shows are considered "underground" such as the hard to find show The Sleep of Reason  which has only a web presence as a guide. Underground culture, or just underground, is a term to describe various Alternative cultures which either consider themselves different from the Mainstream
What exactly makes something a "cult" is widely debated. Some popular and strongly interconnected definitions are:
Many series that some people found strongly compelling were not hits in their original runs, and quite a few well-loved shows had only a season (or less) worth of material.
Many people become attached to a specific computer and platform despite their marketplace failures (marketplace success suggests mere fandom). Computers known to have large cult followings include the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore Amiga, DEC PDP-11, and SGI Indy. The Texas Instruments TI-99/4A was an early Home computer, released in June 1981 originally at a price of USD $525 The Amiga is a family of Personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. The PDP-11 was a series of 16-bit Minicomputers sold by Digital Equipment Corp Introduced in 1993 the Indy, code named Guinness, was the fruit of SGI 's effort to muscle into the market for desktop publishing low-end CAD, and The Sega Dreamcast, which is relatively easy to modify, gained a cult following as enthusiasts modified them for their own amusement. The is Sega 's most recent Video game console and the successor to the Sega Saturn.
Since the late 1990s, cult shows have increasingly been available on DVD (Such as Invader ZIM), leading to many formerly niche series (such as Futurama, Family Guy and Freaks and Geeks) becoming popular as new people discover them. DVD (also known as " Digital Versatile Disc " or " Digital Video Disc " - see Etymology)is Invader Zim, Branded as Invader ZIM, is an American Animated television series that was produced by and subsequently Futurama is an Emmy Award -winning animated American sitcom created by Matt Groening, and developed by Groening and Family Guy is an animated American television sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane that airs on Fox and regularly on other Freaks and Geeks is an American Television series, created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, that aired on Cartoon Network's adult oriented "Adult Swim" programming block in the USA shows cult television quite often. Adult Swim, (usually stylized swim with its signature square Brackets, is an adult-oriented Television network sharing channel space with Cartoon Before the DVD and internet file sharing, cult shows were often much harder to obtain and spread. Success in syndication and DVD sales even influenced Fox to bring back Family Guy, and then later Futurama, a rare phenomenon in television. In Broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast Radio shows and Television shows to multiple individual stations without going through The DVD success of the short-lived series Firefly led to the show being followed-up with the feature film Serenity. Firefly is an American Science fiction Television series created by writer/director Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Serenity is a 2005 space western Film written and directed by Joss Whedon. Other creators refuse to release DVDs into the mainstream as it may be a threat to the cult status of a show (such as The Bronx Bunny Show). DVD (also known as " Digital Versatile Disc " or " Digital Video Disc " - see Etymology)is The Bronx Bunny Show was a ten part (10 x 22 mins series originally Broadcast in 2003 on E4 in the UK.
The internet has also been instrumental in growing TV series cults through inter-fan communication. Previously, a cult required enough people to support local clubs, conventions and book publishing to raise fan communications beyond the monthly newsletter level. Now many fans communicate daily with others about the series they are fans of. They can access vast stores of information on websites, even if there are only a few dozen people worldwide interested in a show.
The internet is also increasingly a platform for publishing cult shows. Programs like Happy Tree Friends and Queer Duck both went from online hobbies to broadcast cult TV. Happy Tree Friends (Often abbreviated as HTF) is a Flash cartoon series by Mondo Mini Shows, created by Rhode Montijo, Kenn Queer Duck is an Animated series that originally appeared on Icebox Others like Homestar Runner are immensely popular without any traditional TV presence. Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. It mixes Surreal humor with references to 1970s '80s and '90s pop culture
As it has become easier to make, distribute and promote TV shows, there has been a correlated increase in material of very modest support. This correlation is partially explained by the Long Tail theory. The phrase The Long Tail (as a Proper noun with capitalized letters was first coined by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine According to the theory, if these shows become yet easier to create and access, we will see yet more niche programming produced, and mainstream material will eventually make up a substantially lower proportion of all viewership.