It’s pretty easy to see all of the latest hit films on television, seeing as they end up showing on practically every single premium channel after a run on Pay Per View, before hitting the networks eventually and then endlessly repeating on TBS on Saturday afternoons. But finding your favorites can get a little bit more difficult. After all, certain films that end up tanking in theaters, like “A Christmas Story,” end up making it big on television. Today, if it’s nearing the Yuletide spirit time, “A Christmas Story” is going to end up on television for at least 24 hours straight on a single satellite TV station. It’s just a matter how of how things work.
So it is possible to check out your favorite cult classics on television without having too much of a struggle, though in the past it was even easier, surprisingly enough. Certain channels like IFC used to give acclaimed directors free reign to showcase their favorites from obscurity or further away, including the absolutely phenomenal series of hilarious cult director John Waters. Waters, who is known for his own films being serious sources of inspiration for weirdos and film students all over the world, was able to show everything from horror films from the 1950s to the famous Chroenberg feature, “Crash,” in his weekly showcase of films designed to shock and awe.
While today satellite TV and IFC might be a little bit less focused on these sorts of edgy programming, there are still a whole lot of other chances to check out the best in cult classics on television without even having to subscribe to premium channels. On Comedy Central, you can expect to catch the stoner comedy “Dazed and Confused” a couple of times during the year at least, while Halloween promises a viewing of Tim Curry in heels and a young Susan Sarandon, since “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be on. And no matter what channel you’re tuning into on satellite TV, once summertime comes and people head to the beach, “Jaws” in all of its various forms will end up back on television for awhile.
But the difference between these classic films and great cult classics in general is that unlike the other fare that is so plentiful on satellite TV, these films consistently manage to retain the wonder and spark from the moment that viewing audiences realized how great they were in the first place. Whether it is campy, serious, or just plain inspiring, opting to watch a cult classic or more underground acclaimed film over the latest blockbuster is a statement. It is saying that you respect those pieces of films that are made places besides the big studios, that you understand that a film doesn’t have to have an all-star cast to be great, and that sometimes it is more worthwhile to recognize one particularly special or great moment in time rather than expecting something to be great just because it is new and fancy. It’s a look back to film from a different time, and it’s definitely a great way of spending a Saturday evening at home.