Movie Picture
This week: B-MOVIES
06.05.02

Comin' at ya a day early this weeky, kiddies! I've got some stuff brewing, and I can't revolve my life around ranting to you folks, so you get this little treat one day ahead of schedule. Lucky you...

Here's a question that I've had on my mind for a while now, and since you're my semi-captive audience, you get stuck with it. What has happened to all of the deliciously bad B-Movies that used to get made? Where have they gone? I asked in the message boards about people's opinions on B-Movies, and the response was fairly positive. People enjoy a good, bad movie. I know I do. And I'm not talking about a movie that should be good. I'm talking about a movie that the filmmakers know is bad. A movie that is so tongue in cheek, the filmmakers probably laughed at the simple fact that it was even being made. Wouldn't you love to have been in the room when Killer Klowns From Outer Space was being pitched? Seriously, how did that film ever get green lit? Better yet, how did it ever find distribution?

I hate the idea of "direct-to-video/DVD". It's ruined the B-Movie industry. These little films just aren't finding their audience like they used to. Where would Sam Raimi be if the Evil Dead films hadn't found an audience? He certainly wouldn't have made Spider-man, and that film wouldn't have been nearly as fun as it was if he hadn't made it. B-Movie filmmakers know how to make a fun movie, because that's why they're doing it. Don't judge these filmmakers by there films, judge them by how much fun their films are. Do they make you smile? Laugh? Do you sit around with other movie-geek friends (it's OK, we're all geeks here, we can admit it) and discuss the film? That's a sure sign that the film, no matter how bad, is special.

There's a certain distinction that needs to be made between a B-Movie and a horror, sci-fi, or comedy flick. A horror film tries to go for legitimate scares. A sci-fi film tries to get across a certain view of the world or time frame it is portraying. A comedy, well, they play things for laughs. But a B-Movie is a genre all its own. It's not a horror film because they don't try to scare. They're not sci-fi because they aren't trying to get a certain view across. And the comedy, well, they're not going for the obviously laughs. The laughs in a B-Movie come from the obvious lack of budget, and the tongue in cheek way the story is told. A comedy sets up laughs while a B-Movie is just one big joke upon itself. B-Movies are their own genre and should be treated as such.

Often times, a film that should have been a B-Movie tries to reach beyond its potential, and that's when they fall flat. Look at Mimic, The Relic,, and The Faculty . Each of these is a B-Movie that got too big for its britches. These films all took themselves too seriously. They tried reaching out beyond the realm of B-Movies, and none of them worked. Had they played the story tongue in cheek, they could have been fun. Had they looked at some more recent B-Movies, and learned from them, they could have been another Tremors.

Has the film-going public gotten so jaded that they can't enjoy a good B-Movie anymore? Are we looking for too much from films? It feels that way. Look at the reaction to the newest Star Wars films. These movies are meant to be fun, entertaining films. They're not meant to be religious experiences, and they never were. George Lucas set out to make updated versions of the old serials from the 40s and 50s. He isn't looking for Oscar nominations, yet the public, and the critics, want more. The old serials were nothing more than B-Movies for the action genre. They were Flash Gordon, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and Clash of the Titans . They were FUN!

Many people are not even up on the joys of the B-Movie. Here, I'll make it easy for you. Check out the following films: The Giant Claw, Critters, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, The Evil Dead I and II, Army of Darkness, The Toxic Avenger, Doc Savage - Man of Bronze, Ice Pirates, Time Bandits, Tremors. I could go on and on. The acting is so overdone it should be an art form. The effects are the best kind of terrible. The stories start of bad, and only get worse, to the point where you understand the amount of work that goes into writing this awful. Listen carefully and you'll swear you can hear the creators laughing off camera, reveling in their decidedly bad creation.

I have a craving for some new low-budget films. Nowadays, an "Indie Film" is something to be respected. It's a picture that was made with no money, yet the acting is spot on, the directing is top notch, the story is original, and people love it. Screw that! I want something made for no money that has a terrible script, poor acting, basement level effects, and has been injected with the kind of love that only a B-Filmmaker can give his or her films! I want a stop motion Attack of the He-Man Toys. I want to see a paper-mache flying dinosaur, visible strings and all, in Pterodachdyl From Timbuktoo. And I want to see them in a movie theater with 200 other B-Movie fans just loving every second of it, hooting and hollering, throwing popcorn, and having a good time!!! Hey, the stories may suck, but at least they're original!

Oh yeah, and to quote Hamlet (sort of) "Get thee to the Message Forums!" (message forums, nunnery.. it's the same thing, right?)

~Kerouac out!

Brian B.