My housemate has a number of film posters in his room that wouldn’t look out of place in any typical student house. There’s the Trainspotting ‘choose life’ speech, the classic black and white Scarface poster, and a picture of Don Corleone from The Godfather. This is all fair enough, except for one thing – my friend has not seen any of these films. What, then, possessed him to purchase these posters from the picturesque-landscape-laden Portland poster sale? It seems that my friend is guilty of falling for the charms of the student cult film; a film so impressive, one cannot be seen without it in his DVD collection or on his wall without being the subject of ridicule from his equally fashionable friends. It’s hard to specify just what it takes to turn your average film into a student cult hit. Even the term ‘cult hit’ is oxymoronic, yet is thrown about to justify buying a poster for a film you can only pretend to have an opinion on. Generally these films are from the late 80s and early 90s, of a number of different genres, and were maybe once cult films until the mainstream got a hold of them, but we decided to keep calling them ‘cult’ to make the films seem even better. These films generally contain swearing, violence and/or drug abuse, have a snappy tagline, and are usually directed by Quentin Tarantino.
The trouble is, so many great and deservedly ‘cult’ films are overlooked, as poster sales are filled with hundreds of posters for the same film with just a slightly different colour scheme and a new font. I would love to see a poster for ‘Spirited Away’ or ‘The Wrestler’ adorn my friend’s bedroom, but for some reason I don’t see them selling quite so well as this year’s new ‘300’ one. I am not suggesting that certain popular films do not deserve to be popular, because most of them are genuinely excellent films. I am only suggesting that it wouldn’t hurt to actually watch a film and make your own judgment on it before deciding to advertise it in your own home.