"It happens by accident": failed intentions, incompetence, and sincerity in badfilm

Bartlett, B. (2019) "It happens by accident": failed intentions, incompetence, and sincerity in badfilm. In: Mathijs, E. and Sexton, J. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema. Series: Routledge media and cultural studies companions. Routledge: London, pp. 40-50. ISBN 9781138950276 (doi:10.4324/9781315668819-6)

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Abstract

This chapter examines films that are identified, distinguished, and potentially valued for their incompetence and technical failure – a category known as badfilm. Badfilms are those in which viewers can recognise, or claim to recognise, the failed intention to achieve certain standards of cinematic representation. Badfilm fandom became more visible throughout the 80s and 90s, due largely to the Harry Medveds’ books and, later, the cult television programme Mystery Science Theater 3000. Badfilm literature indicates assumptions are frequently made regarding intentions. Reflecting on the complex concept of intention invites consideration of both how intentionality is identified and who, or what, is the subject of intention. Extratextual information can impact how informed viewers understand and approach film texts. Comparing contemporary cult badfilm Birdemic: Shock and Terror and its sequel Birdemic 2: The Resurrection demonstrates how issues of intention and authorship can be further complicated if filmmakers embrace their films’ cult status.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Refereed:No
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bartlett, Dr Becky
Authors: Bartlett, B.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9781138950276
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Contributors
First Published:First published in The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema: 40-50
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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