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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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Visual Pleasure, the Cult, and Paracinema

Visual Pleasure, the Cult, and Paracinema

(p.190) 12. Visual Pleasure, the Cult, and Paracinema
Science Fiction Double Feature

Sherryl Vint


This chapter focuses on gender in the intersection of cult and science fiction (sf). Both cult and sf have often been regarded as masculine forms, and the pleasures of excess that cult films celebrate often include the visual pleasures of scantily clad female bodies, images frequently associated with pulp sf's lurid magazine covers of the 1920s and 1930s. Yet sf also has a rich history of interrogating gender attitudes, using images such as aliens to express and examine patriarchal fears. The chapter explores cult's claims to transgression in this context of gender difference, focusing on a number of low-budget sf films of the 1950s and 1960s that have attained cult status, including Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), Devil Girl from Mars (1954), The Astounding She-Monster (1957), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), The Wasp Woman (1959), Monstrosity (aka The Atomic Brain, 1963), Attack of the Puppet People (1957), and The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962). These films demonstrate a dialectic of indulgence and critique that characterizes cult sf's treatment of gender difference, revealing how such difference — as well as differences in educational, cultural, or economic capital — informs the ‘raid’ on legitimate culture that such films stage.

Keywords:   gender differences, cult films, cult cinema, science fiction, sf genre, culture

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