chapter  12
4 Pages

Teaching bad objects: Introduction

WithJodi Brooks

Fewwould dispute that in film studies scholarship ‘bad cinema’ embraces an eclectic range

of film practices and texts. While exploitation films, hard-core porn, and direct-to-

video/DVD cult films are the most celebrated forms of ‘bad cinema’, these are simply its

most recognized genres. ‘Bad cinema’ also embraces in its reach such unpopular and

seemingly uncinematic film practices as sex-education/‘hygiene’ films, propaganda films

(when they can be claimed as and for kitsch), and home movies. However amorphous the

category ‘bad cinema’ may be in film scholarship, its parameters are quite different when it

comes to teaching and the classroom. As Belinda Smaill argues in her contribution to this

teaching supplement, what counts as bad cinema or bad television in the classroom is not

simply those forms of film or television recognized as (and often celebrated for) falling

outside the bounds of ‘proper’ cinema or ‘important’ television. In the classroom ‘bad

cinema’ is often determined as much by questions of pedagogical value as it is by cultural

and/or aesthetic value. A film may be ‘good cinema’ but a bad or poor learning object (and

this may be the case for the teacher or for the students), just as a film may be ‘bad’ cinema

but a ‘good’ learning object (as many cult-film scholars have argued).