Having a guilty pleasure for Sharknado doesn’t make you a cultural cretin - it actually means you probably have an above-average education and prefer the occasional arthouse cinema film.
While I may doubt this, sitting here giggling at the insanity of Ian Ziering’s impressively insane chainsaw kills, this is according to a study by the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. And of course, you can’t doubt social science!
So how did they do this study?
Well, they used an online survey and targeted regular consumers of trashy films, to work out why they actually enjoy what should really be judged as a sh*t flick.
The reasons, on the face of it, are illogical because you would normally hate films because of them - little-to-no budget, a random plot and pointlessly grand scenes of blood. But of course, it turns out we watch these ironically.
“To such viewers, trash films appear as an interesting and welcome deviation from the mainstream fare," Keyvan Sarkhosh, co-author of the study commented. “We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as ‘cultural omnivores’. Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.”
Wait… So we actually take a break from good films with trash?
Yes, but for good reasons. The study found that viewers found an ‘ironic enjoyment’ in watching films that were crapped on by the critics - take Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ for example. This became a cult classic purely because of how terrible it is.
During the study, researchers also found that these trashy film fans were also likely to have an appreciation of arthouse or ‘highbrow’ cinema.
It is worth bearing in mind, though, that 90% of the participants in this study were men. That makes for some skewed data.
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I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.