Do you like bad movies?
Are you excited for the next low-budget horror comedy? Well, you’re probably really smart. According to science.
Over the summer, Keyvan Sarkhosh, a film scholar and postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, conducted a study on perceptions of trash cinema and discovered that fans of the low-brow, low-budget subgenre tend to be well-educated viewers with a hand-in-hand appreciation for arthouse filmmaking. The study was originally published in the empirical research-based Arts, Medis, and Culture journal, ‘Poetics’.
Sarkosh collected data from 372 participants with the average age of 34.6 years old through an online survey, with a sample pulled largely from university and active participants in trash film-centric forums and communities. Participants were asked to list 20 words they spontaneously associated with the term “trash films”, 10 titles they associated with the phrase, what feelings they elicited, and what context they were usually watched in.
Here’s some of the statistical breakdowns from the survey:
- 148 (43.3 percent) held a university degree
- 110 (32.2 percent) had a higher education entrance qualification
- 61 (17.8 percent) had a general certificate of secondary education
- 15 (4.4 percent) had only completed mandatory basic secondary schooling
- 4 (1.2 percent) had no educational diplomas
- 4 (1.2 percent) reported having a degree which was not included in the list given
The study found that fans of trashy movies, Sharknado the most commonly name-dropped, most commonly associated trashy movies with being cheaply (low-budget) or poorly made, and that their primary audience tends to be made up of well-educated, “omnivorous” film viewers who appreciate them as a transgressive break from mainstream cinema.