What is cult status?
Cult status is, in effect, a simple acknowledgement of social/intellectual achievement obtained by an individual, his work or both.
The major difference between cult status and any other acknowledgement of public recognition (such as plain stardom) is that it focuses on quality rather than quantity within the support base. Please note that “quality” needs not being taken too literally here: readiness of fans to don stupid outfits, gather monthly in said outfits and/or commit ritual suicide at said gatherings does constitute a form of “quality” in this context (freak microwave oven accidental death following attempt to emulate teleportation abilities does also qualify)...
Although this label is usually dedicated to the entertainment gent, it is not technically bound to the sole realm of artistic endeavours: cult status can also notably be achieved in such disciplines as philosophy, religion (a kind of entertainment, I will grant you that, but for historical reasons we like to consider it a separate discipline), politics (see religion), heavy drug use, mass genocide, serial killing and computer programming.
Can we laugh at cult status?
It has always been quite fashionable to mock and taunt cult status icons and their followers, maybe even burn a few alive on public place here and there.
While condoning this type of good-natured fun sure is a great way to relieve one’s own stress, it should be noted that cult status personalities have occasionally been known to rise to the much more effective “influential leader” status. And their followers to simultaneously gain access to powerful means of retaliation. Just think twice next time before making fun of some seemingly dorky loser and his morbid obsession for cheesy space-operas featuring bad actors wandering through retro-futuristic Formica commercials in their lycra pajamas... He might get the last laugh when Terra’s Self-Defense Force will be Humanity’s last hope against the imminent invasion of intergalactic space-worms and when his in-depth knowledge of Hawkins Hyperdrive Propulsion technologies will prove an invaluable asset compared to your obsolete 20th century skills.
At any rate, avoid laughing openly at your artistically minded peers for their lack of cool, on the basis that they want to incorporate Hammond organ in rock music, have weird ideas for dialogue-driven action movies with gory interludes or hope to launch their musical career by studying electronic rather than learning to play the guitar... In the end, they might turn out to be the cool kids on the block and you’ll be all the more embarrassed while rushing to hop on the trend wagon.
How to reach cult status?
This is a tough question, the requirements and criteria vary wildly depending on time and location...
While public miracles, followed by long and painful crucifixion, critically acclaimed best-seller, and bi-millennial worldwide cult following, were all mere requirements two-thousand years ago, nowadays, any movie featuring the appropriate mix of good kung-fu, bad acting, dumbed-down metaphysics and cheesy lines is more than enough to achieve some sort of cult status.
Among the common, somewhat verified, ways to achieve cult status recognition, one can find:
Premature death in particularly gruesome conditions, leaving unfinished and/or unintelligible body of work.
Quite a popular one - nearly a sure shot actually - this method has the major inconvenience that you will hardly be able to rip the fruit of your own work, being dead and all. An easy solution to this frustrating problem is to gather a group of candidates, publicly establish strong interconnections between every members in the group, possibly by working on a common project, then designate one individual for realization of the aforementioned “premature death” part: if things are done correctly, all surviving members should draw enough attention from this sacrifice and will be able to properly perpetuate his memory and posthumous cult status along with theirs.
Should you choose to go solo on this, the best way is probably to get swiftly into heavy heroin use, in conjunction with crystal meth or similar uppers, and go on speed benders during which you will scribble down your thoughts (on life, drugs, god, anything... as long as you are high as a kite on speed, it should all sound good to you and potential readers) on bits of toilet paper and alternate with increasingly strong doses of smack to provide the esential overdose story...
If you opt for the group solution, simply pick the weakest one and pass off his murder by sulfuric acid injection as ritual suicide.
Another popular one involves ritual murders, mutilation and/or decapitation of small furry animals on stage. Before you go on a satanic murder spree within Hollywood’s elite with a head full of acid and a handful of blonde groupies on your side, consider the simpler, but no less impressive, public bat beheading or chick stomping. Although this will definitely alienate animal lovers, that should still let you keep your mother’s affection while gaining general recognition from the cult-status population.
If you don’t like killing animals but don’t mind abusing dead artist corpses, just get into movies and copy whatever previously done material you can put your hands on that has not yet been entirely sucked dry by remakes and rip-offs. We know it might be hard to find any new angle or semi-original approach to overplayed space opera themes, conspiracy theories and alien abduction stories, but just get creative... Generate some new sci-fi random lingo, add some T&A, go for tentacle porn: anything is allowed as long as at least a handful of desperate losers^W^W educated fans can see ties with their own adventurous life as lonely software developers for Macrosoft corporation.
As a last resort, pick a particularly unpopular artistic genre of the moment to which you will apply all your craft and produce the most unbearably boring piece of work in a provocative way (e.g. Film your penis covered in cream cheese for five continuous hours with occasional outbursts of contemporary piano on the soundtrack; or record two hours of leaking faucet superimposed with readings of Wittgenstein’s unpublished works translated in Malaysian played backward). There will always be some pretentious influential asshole somewhere in the world to find superior avant-garde artistic qualities to your work and take on him to create you a cult following.
Why would you want to attain cult status?
the sex of course...
Well, the sex and the drugs. Possibly both at once.
Occasionally, the semi-success and small scale recognition within the artistic community can be somewhat heartwarming, but frankly, most people just covet cult status for the easy access to endless supplies of sexual consumables and expensive talc powder.
In short, cult status is the secret aspiration of every young starving artist who only puts up with his miserable life conditions by fantasizing about a future success, however limited, and above all involving hordes of nubile fans throwing themselves at his feet for his to pick and use their body any way he sees fit.