No movie is bad per se. The only movie that can be considered bad is one that was never finished. Keep in mind that “bad” is meaning was not made and has nothing to do with aesthetic judgement. An unmade movie is a movie that has not even met the basic qualification of being filmed. That seems pretty bad to me.
And yet, there are movies that hover above this incomplete line, the under-developed and cobbled together. This does not make them bad in a filmic sense but flawed. Missed opportunities, excesses of dramatic necessity, wooden performances, and nonsensical elements can be the hallmarks of what most would consider “bad” film.
Note that I said can and most in that last sentence. These “soft” words define what I call cult film. (Psychotronic is a serviceable adjective as well) By taking these movies off the scale of good and bad, you see what these films are. While poor filming can make a film look unaccomplished, this is independent of content. Not to say there is no relationship between the two but it is possible to consider content and execution separately.
When you consider how these two features intersect, this is when you enter into the theatre of cult film. Cult film requires it audience to regard it despite its short comings. It is this examination which is the basis of this nomenclature. Though you need to have a second element also. Re-watch ability is a key feature. This can be within a social circle OR social strata. The best are those which straddle both areas. Cult movies are a product of time as well.
The Cult Film is not so much broken as it is coded. The code can be intentional or accidental. The code can be the product or the consumer. The sole constant is the decryption, the break if you will. It is easy to see the break as bad, a malfunction. Instead the interaction between imagination and object is far more complex. What draws one to the other?
Next Five – The Rules of Distraction