Those terrible, trashy movies you love—the Sharknados and other low budget slops—well your enjoyment of them doesn't reflect negatively on your intelligence. Quite the opposite according to a new study.
In a study recently published in the journal Poetics film scholar Keyvan Sarkhosh from the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany looked into the association between trash films and the audience that watch them.
They concluded that those who seem to enjoy these films—Sharknado, Plan 9 from Outer Space and The Toxic Avenger were three that kept cropping up—are in no way stupid. They have generally been educated to a higher degree than average and have an interest in culture. It's just they also like watching crappy movies too, and they know they're crap as well. That's kind of the point.
Defining what constitutes a trash film, the study said it generally comes down to low costs and a penchant for gore and more horror-based fare. But not exclusive to that. “Apart from flying sharks, blood and guts are the main ingredients of this surprise trash hit”, says Sarkhosh. “At first glance it seems paradoxical that someone should deliberately watch badly made, embarrassing and sometimes even disturbing films, and take pleasure in them.”
They found, after conducting an online survey, that the people who enjoy these films do so ironically—revelling in the badness, while finding them entertaining and funny. They also seem to be enjoyed by males more than females and part of the enjoyment is that it's a welcome antidote to Hollywood movies. They also enjoy discussing them in blogs and forums, turning them into cult viewing.
“To such viewers, trash films appear as an interesting and welcome deviation from the mainstream fare”, notes Sarkhosh. “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.”
So next time your friends call you dumb for spending so much time watching trashy movies instead of something with meaning and cultured, show them this article. And make sure you are smiling when they read it.