Among movie buffs, cult films have the reputation as the obsessive film genre. While most cult films won’t reach the instant fame and success of a blockbuster, they find their strength in audiences whose sustained appreciation makes these films “classic” and ensures their place in film history. Bookmans Speedway’s new DVD section for cult classics inspired us to ask our resident expert, film maker/director Marty Ketola of Pondo Enterprises, for an explanation of the genre.

The Obsessive Film Genre of Cult Classics

Marty explains that cult classics usually have a small, highly-devoted following. Cult films don’t make a lot of money. They aren’t the heavily anticipated movies that everyone knows and discusses at the water cooler, but fans care about these films. There is a charm to low budget, hands-on films that are made for the love of it. These B movies, now called direct-to-video, used to be the second film at the drive in.

Cult classics share stylistic qualities. They often include progressive or ground-breaking themes, shots or effects. “The Hammer Collection films were the first movies to show ‘excessive’ gore in color, which was shocking in the 1950s,” says Marty.

The genre experienced a lull in the 1990s given the expense required to make films. Marty says, “This was brought about by the death of VHS when one used to be able to make a film for $100 and sell enough copies to make your money back.” Marty explains that, “It can be incredibly difficult to make a living as a film maker. You really have to have a day job.”

We asked Marty if he was influenced by his love of cult classics in his own work making films. “No one sets out to make a cult classic, like no one wants to make a bad movie. It just happens–something connects with your audience. I have always enjoyed classics more than mainstream. It wasn’t a conscious effort but it’s nice if your film gets that life afterwards!” Marty adds, “Bookmans is the perfect atmosphere for cult classics. We have always supported quirky, offbeat genres and we also have multiple book titles on film theory and review, which is how I learned so much about the history of the genre.”

Marty is excited about the future of independent film making. “YouTube is the future for film makers. It allows directors to reach a wider audience more cheaply.” Marty’s movies, like The Comic Book Diaries and Marijuanos, can be challenging to find, but you can catch Marty’s web show Zhon: The Alien Interviews for free. You can also catch the screening of his newest film The Writing Frenzy in October at TusCon.

Stop by Bookmans Speedway to meet our expert. You can also stop by any Bookmans location to check out our DVD, BluRay or VHS selection of cult classics or books about cult classics. Bookmans is your store to explore.