“You made me look bad. And that’s not good”: The millennial cultification of Fatal Deviation, Ireland’s only martial arts film

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The ultra-low-budget video-shot Fatal Deviation (1998) has become renowned in cult cinema circles as Ireland’s only martial arts action film and as a unique example of ‘badfilm,’ both critiqued and celebrated for its technical ineptness. This article interrogates its classification as ‘badfilm,’ analyzing the ways in which it both meets and fails to meet expectations concerning its generic classification, and the role of the soundtrack in shaping these expectations. Rather than the sound being considered ‘bad’ purely due to a failure to meet recognized technical standards, I argue that critique of the soundtrack demonstrates a conflict of sonic taste frameworks and hierarchies. In addition, Fatal Deviation's cultification is a peculiarly millennial phenomenon, associated with technological changes and changes in the social uses of media technologies from the 1990s onwards that have shifted in tandem, and I argue therefore that this process of cultification is historically contingent.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContinuum
Volume33
Issue number6
Early online date26 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Ireland
art
technical standard
technological change
cinema
ritual
budget
video
Art Film
Soundtrack
Deviation
Contingent
Sound
Cinema
Cult
Media Technology
Action Film
1990s
Technological Change
Art

Keywords

  • film sound
  • cult
  • taste
  • martial arts cinema
  • media technologies
  • masculinities
  • Irish cinema

Cite this

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abstract = "The ultra-low-budget video-shot Fatal Deviation (1998) has become renowned in cult cinema circles as Ireland’s only martial arts action film and as a unique example of ‘badfilm,’ both critiqued and celebrated for its technical ineptness. This article interrogates its classification as ‘badfilm,’ analyzing the ways in which it both meets and fails to meet expectations concerning its generic classification, and the role of the soundtrack in shaping these expectations. Rather than the sound being considered ‘bad’ purely due to a failure to meet recognized technical standards, I argue that critique of the soundtrack demonstrates a conflict of sonic taste frameworks and hierarchies. In addition, Fatal Deviation's cultification is a peculiarly millennial phenomenon, associated with technological changes and changes in the social uses of media technologies from the 1990s onwards that have shifted in tandem, and I argue therefore that this process of cultification is historically contingent.",
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