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Science Fiction Double FeatureThe Science Fiction Film as Cult Text$
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J. P. Telotte and Gerald Duchovnay

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381830

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381830.001.0001

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Robot Monster and the “Watchable … Terrible” Cult/SF Film

Robot Monster and the “Watchable … Terrible” Cult/SF Film

(p.159) 10. Robot Monster and the “Watchable … Terrible” Cult/SF Film
Science Fiction Double Feature

J. P. Telotte


This chapter analyzes the intersection of cult and science fiction (sf) cinema, focusing on Robot Monster (1953). It argues that sf films have developed a cult reputation and following not only because they are bad films or in some way ‘paracinematic’ but rather because, either intentionally or not, they seem to tap into a double character that, for better or worse, quite often marks the sf film: that ability to seem by turns quite serious, conventional, and compelling, but also more than a bit strained, unserious, even absurd, especially in instances when their special effects become dated and appreciably less appreciated, that is, through a kind of slippage that can make viewers overly conscious of how these works function as films and/or as generic texts, and thus of the special effects' own relationship to these texts. But that is only one connection and, indeed, even without such ‘slippage’, many sf films often seem to be in negotiation between the serious and the strained, to verge on the cult, and this potential kinship says much about both the science fictional and the cult.

Keywords:   cult films, cult cinema, science fiction, sf genre, Robot Monster, sf cinema

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