Last week, I talked about the first Star Wars movie I ever watched. It was Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Like most movies produced during the 90s until today, The Phantom Menace had a multi-million dollar budget. In fact, practically all of the movies that I’ve watched since I was a kid had these sky-high budgets. However, thanks to my brother, I’ve come to experience the B-movie genre. That got me thinking: why doesn’t Hollywood make these cheaply produced movies anymore?
Now, I’m pretty sure there are dozens, possibly hundreds of B-movies still being produced even up to now. I mean, I know The Human Centipede and The Room can be called B-movies as they were produced on extremely low budgets. There are also those Direct-to-Video films and TV movies like Sharknado and Wrong Side of Town. I’m talking about the time when B-movies were actually released and shown in movie theaters! I guess The Human Centipede was a huge success but only saw a limited release in movie theaters. And Wrong Side of Town? The only reason why I knew about this film was because it starred WWE Superstars Rob Van Dam and Batista!
I mean, nowadays, the only movies that I actually see in cinemas are the Hollywood big blockbuster films. There are a few stragglers that do managed to get shown, such as Final Girl and Big Game (but, then again, Big Game was the most expensive film produced in Finland!), but we rarely get the wonderfully cheesy and cute films like The Evil Dead, The Toxic Avenger and Attack of The Killer Tomatoes?
You may say I’m too young to really have watched these films and, yes, you’d be right. But I have sort of fallen in love with B-movies since I’ve started watching them recently. It all started when I saw a 30 minute film with my brother called Kung Fury. I have heard of the movie when the David Hasslehoff music video for the main song of the film came out. I thought the music video was hilarious but I sort of forgot about it. I didn’t know it was released until my brother told me we were going to watch it!
And I loved Kung Fury! I loved the absurdity and how ridiculous the premise was! It was extremely silly and I adored how it didn’t focus on making sense in the least! All Kung Fury focused on was making a really cool and awesome movie! After we finished the film told me the stories of the B-movies he used to watch as a kid. He told me stuff like how the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes movies would just break the fourth wall. He mentioned how Ash Williams had to fight off his own possessed hand in the first Evil Dead movie. He described how endearing the obviously fake sets of Plan 9 From Outer Space. And much more.
I have tried watching some of these “classics” and, while they are generally hit-or-miss for my taste, I can’t deny there’s a certain amount of charm in them. You can see that the people in front of and behind the cameras were trying their best to make everything all work despite the limited budget. I could feel these people really wanted to make these films actually good.
But I do kind of understand why Hollywood shies away from actually creating B-movies nowadays. With the price of a movie ticket constantly going up, moviegoers are more discernible (am I using the word correctly? I hope I am!) on what they actually watch. Not only would you have an awful time if you watched a bad movie, it would only be doubly problematic if you actually paid to have a terrible time!
Also, movies have the unfortunate problem of having to compete with not only other movies, but against other forms of entertainment. Network television, cable TV and even YouTube can be more viable forms of entertainment and, not only that, much cheaper. Speaking of YouTube, there are extremely creative individuals that produce really cheap content on that website… and you can watch those for free!
Not only that, B-movies have to combat the stigma of it, well, being cheaply produced films! The general viewing public usually think, if they spent a lot of money on it, it’s gotta be at least good, right? They don’t take into consideration the amount of passion and heart of the people that actually make these films!
When B-movies were more prevalent and actually shown in theaters, I don’t think this wasn’t a huge problem. Movies were probably not as expensive as they are right now. It was much easier to take a chance and drop down a few bucks and waste an hour or so watching something. You can’t do that now. We all have better things to do with our time and better (and cheaper) ways to entertain ourselves! Heck, just as example, here’s a video of a cat playing a keyboard! Don’t tell me you didn’t find it at least amusing?
It’s kind of sad that I wasn’t born during the heydey of B-movies. I think I would’ve loved watching these cheap films a lot. I know it’s possible to watch them all by downloading them and watching them at home. But I don’t think it’s the same as watching them in the big screen, experiencing it for the first time. Maybe Hollywood will take a chance with them in the future when they actually “run out of ideas.”
But you know what Hollywood will never give up on showing? Sex and violence! Because they know those sell extremely well! And I’ll talk more about them next time!
Have any B-movie recommendations you’d like to make? Leave them in the comments section below!