Cult Movie Con?

I’m prepping a review of “Best Worst Movie” for one of the sites that pays me and there’s one point I’d like to mention that will not fit into the formal review: bad movies at conventions.

A scene from Troll 2?

There’s a sequence in “Best Worst Movie” — a documentary about the fan cult surrounding “Troll 2”– in which actors Dr. George Hardy, and Michael Paul Stephenson attended a memorabilia convention in the UK. Instead of the warm and energetic response the group became accustomed to at screenings in the states, they find the British crowd to be largely unaware of the film and unwilling to embrace it. They figures they’ll have more luck at a horror movie convention back in the states.

“Troll 2” is supposed to be a horror flick after all.

There, they find a similar lukewarm response. One-time actors from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequels get a better response from people perusing the autograph tables. Dr. Hardy seems to doubt the power of “Troll 2” as even the horror crowd seems to recoil from it.

I question the venue.

All of this could be celebrating "Staying Alive."

There’s no such thing as a Cult Movie Convention. Cult movies are experienced in a theater or with a group of friends. One does not fly to a hotel or convention center n another state and meet with other fans to trade or meet the stars and/or creators of their favorite cult films. While I can go to Long Beach Comic-Con and get a signed photo of Reb Brown, star of “Yor: the Hunter from the Future,” that film is not formally celebrated at said convention. There is no “Yor” panel at which Reb Brown can regale an appreciative audience with tales of making that film.

Yor's World Panel will be at 3PM in Room 6A

Sadly, I think, if one were to try to do such a convention, it might collapse as the entire pastime is fairly niche. At the same time, I’d love to moderate a panel like the one I just outlined.

A popular costume at Cult Movie Con

It seems like every cult movie or bad movie group is an island only passing information via the Internet. Movies like “The Room” and “Troll 2” play to packed theaters on a roadshow basis and the good folks at Cinematic Titanic have adopted the concert format to do their particular art. At Yakmala, all are welcome to join us — even if they cannot bare sitting through all four movies we watch at a single day’s event. That said, we are still doing Yakmala days at people’s houses. The critical mass necessary to move it out into an exhibition space is somewhat difficult for us to organize. Meanwhile, there are outfits like Horrible Movie Night and the So Bad It’s Good Film Fest who do have the organizational prowess (and cashflow) to make it work … but are still isolated from, say, the community at, who tend to coalesce in the Mid-West.

I’m sure I’m missing hundreds of groups who are united in discovering misguided passion and poor craftsmanship in the art form of cinema. The point, however, still stands. We’re little clusters that support these films in our own special ways … but could we ever come together as, say, a convention, and share those films and the ways we appreciate them to one another? Could we sustain a Cult Movie Con?

A new fan at Kid's Day

About Erik

Erik Amaya is the host of Tread Perilously and the former Head Film/TV writer at Bleeding Cool. He has also contributed to sites like CBR, Comics Alliance and Fanbase Press. He is also the voice of Puppet Tommy on "The Room Responds."
This entry was posted in Projected Pixels and Emulsion, Puffery, Yakmala! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cult Movie Con?

  1. Louis says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse any progress toward a Cult Movie Con.

  2. Clint says:

    I know we conversed briefly about this after the Troll 2 documentary. It’s weird because it seems like there *are* enough bad movies, and people that admire them, out there that you’d think something like an MST3Con could be viable… but it hasn’t happened. As you point out, it’s very decentralized, and bad movie showings tend to just piggy back onto other Cons.

    Maybe “Best Worst Movie” could be a kick in the ass to get people organized as they see how marginalizing this situation really is. I think to achieve a critical mass you’re going to need someone (or a group of someones) with a lot of cash on hand, and the ability to get Tommy Wiseau, Claudio Fragasso, and whatever other icons they can manage to come together under one roof and have a multi-day film festival accompanied by the obligatory merchandise and signing booths.

    This would also be complicated by the fact people like Claudio get legitimately offended at the thought their movie is anything less than a poignant and deeply symbolic work of art. It’d require the sort of promoter chutzpah necessary to get Stan Lee at the ribbon cutting for “Stan Lee Sucks Donkey Balls Con”.

    That may be a bad example though, since these days Stan Lee will do anything.

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