Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Cult Cinema: Texts, Histories and Audiences
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Historical/Reception Analysis  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Critical Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Historical/Reception Analysis  2000 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Critically examine a range of theories related to the study of cult cinema.

Explore the field of cult cinema through the study of both film texts and contexts of reception.

Identify and analyse the historical developments of cult cinema, including social and technological developments.

Identify and examine a range of sources through which to analyse a film’s cult status.

Brief description

This module will enable students to study cult cinema, a growing field within the broader area of film and media studies. Since at least the 1970s, cult cinema (in its various forms) has been discussed and debated within the public sphere, as a multi-faceted form of alternative or niche film culture which is defined via textual qualities, industrial strategies, and critical and audience reception. The term ‘cult film’ has increasingly proliferated in recent years (particularly in tandem with the rise of Internet use and digital viewing platforms), and has continued to serve as a cultural site which encompasses and connects a range of modes of cinema (mainstream, independent, art cinema, experimental, alternative) and articulates and explores alternative conceptions of cultural identity (in terms of sexuality, gender and youth cultures). This course will introduce students to major theories of cult film, and to the broader history of its uses and applications. Students will, during the course, study a range of textual and contextual processes which feed into cult media (including distribution, exhibition, reception and censorship processes) and engage with theoretical concepts and issues such as taste, cultural capital, camp and the underground, subcultures, genre and authorship theory, reflexivity and intertextuality.


The module with feature detailed engagement with different types of Cult Cinema. The module with examine definitions and provide a historical approach to different concepts and characteristics of Cult. Weekly lectures and seminar will discuss and analyse film and television texts according to discourses of production and exhibition, content, and audience and reception practices.
The module will feature topics including: Defining Cult Cinema, Exhibition cultures and the Midnight Movie, Cult Authorship, Controversy, Cult and Art Cinema, Transnational Cult, and Cult Television.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students’ written communication skills will be developed over the two pieces of assessed work that they produce. They will be encouraged to produce arguments about the subject, using appropriate language and style and through structuring their argument and writing effectively. Students will develop their oral communication skills through seminar sessions which will encourage both individual contributions and group discussion, and, in some cases, will ask students to give brief presentations (in groups). Students will also be encouraged to answer and to ask questions in lectures.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will develop their critical thinking skills, and their ability to apply, evaluate and compare contrasting theoretical and critical perspectives and methods. Through small group discussions in seminars, students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary, to apply and test theoretical claims and arguments, and to articulate and communicate their ideas.
Information Technology Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and via AU’s Information Resources (particularly Nexis UK) in the research they undertake for seminar preparation and their assessed assignments. Students will develop their research and referencing skills when analyzing, evaluating and referencing materials from the web and related sources, and will focus on the selection of materials appropriate to the task (seminar work and assessed work). E-mail and Blackboard will be the main forms of communication and information sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in these processes.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning by preparing work independently for seminar sessions. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures through developing skills in self-study (supported by the general and specific reading lists and other resources distributed throughout the module). Students will be encouraged to develop their confidence in articulating and discussing their ideas (individually and in groups) in seminar sessions and lectures.
Problem solving Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field. They will be encouraged to engage with, compare and evaluate existing critical thought and theory, and to identify and select the most appropriate material (academic reading, films and historical and reception materials) to use in their assessed work.
Research skills Students will be given the opportunity to develop their research skills and apply and test the research methods necessary for their assignments within seminar provision. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, analyse, interpret and reflect upon a variety of primary sources that they will use in their assessed work and in seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop their film analysis skills, as well as their knowledge of key approaches and methods within film theory, film history, and film reception and audience studies.
Team work All seminar sessions will enable students to work within a small group, and discuss and compare ideas. Furthermore, some of the required pre-seminar preparation will ask students to engage in particular preparation tasks in small groups.


This module is at CQFW Level 6