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2016 – Breakout Session #3: B-Movies and Monster Movies

monster

After talking about the spectacular Historical Epics of Golden Hollywood, we took a look into the darker world of B-Movies, especially Monster Movies. Before we saw the biopic of Z-grade director Ed Wood.

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82 responses to “2016 – Breakout Session #3: B-Movies and Monster Movies

  1. White Rabbit ⋅

    I thought the movie Ben-Hur looked very interesting. The music for starters was very epic. The sound of the trumpets creates an excellent ambience preparing us for the intensity of this scene. The stunts are equally incredible, and I was shocked to learn that no one was injured. I am also assuming that no horses were harmed in the making of this movie. The use of colors was also very clever. The villain for instance was dressed in black with black horses. Black is often used to depict darkness, which symbolizes evil. His chariot was red, which is often associated with blood and death. To the contrary, Judah was dressed in blue, had white horses and a white chariot. White is most often symbolic of purity, innocence, and good. Both color schemes are most likely intentional, and as the teacher stated, the Biblical concept of good triumphing evil is at the heart of the film.

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  2. shmoo ⋅

    I liked our discussion about B movies because I love B movies! So it was nice to learn some new things and get reminded of some classics. I think that there is no limit to creativity, even on a budget. I know that many of these films were produced very quickly and weren’t very long for more profit, but I believe that they represent a very artistic side of film. What can be done with some Hershey’s syrup and some pliable foam will blow your mind. The imagination that goes into these crazy plots, and the actual execution of these difficult scenes is very impressive. Instead of relying on money to create the magical sets and effects of Hollywood, B movies improvise and in doing so gives the films a campy, home made quality that is oddly comforting. Often, young actors were used in these films because they were unknown and did not need much pay. But in doing so, they attracted the views of young people. It is nice to see people who look like you, or have similar issues that you are going through on the big screen.

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    • Derp ⋅

      I agree with you. Different from modern blockbuster movies that heavily rely on CGI but still fail to be entertaining, old B movies utilized their technology to the fullest extent within a limited budget and succeeded to create great plots, production values, and MONSTERS! If you are a fan of B movies, I recommend you watch “Tremors” (if you already know this movie, you’re awesome!). It makes the best use of vast environment of countryside and animatronic.
      I forgot which movie it was, but I heard the story that it made success by making the best use of the drawback it had due to limited budget. I sometimes feel that better creativity is born with limited resource.

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  3. TRONtravolta ⋅

    I feel that this course is moving along quite nicely, keeping me interested as new genres are introduced. Some of the films may not be my first choice, but I am glad that I am being exposed to titles that I would never check out on my own. Ben-Hur is a movie that I have always heard of but never took the time to watch. I feel that the cinematography was very impressive. The chariot death race seemed quite realistic, as I did not see any noticeable green screens that appeared over the top. Showing a film that is considered a master piece to contrast the gritty quality of B Movies really shows you the difference of having a budget. Also looking at some of the slides which showed the film budgets compared to box office success was very interesting. This shows that not every movie will live up to the hype, just because there is a famous name or director involved. Hopefully we can watch some older Horror B Movies, which could be fun to watch. The special effects in these films really illustrate how far movies have come along today.

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  4. Nyphos ⋅

    I am extremely excited for this section, though I am a bit bummed that we’ll only be able to screen parts of “Them!”. Them! was one of the first monster movies I watched as a kid, and it was what originally got me hooked on monster movies and eventually B movies. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why B movies are so enjoyable for me, but there’s something about the campy atmosphere that makes them one of my favorite genres to watch.

    I’ve been looking forward to this section of the class since the beginning, and I look forward to hearing what other people think of the genre!

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    • Derp ⋅

      I feel you, I was bummed to know that we can’t watch full version of “THEM!”. I’m jealous that you got to watch it as a kid, it must have been amazing (and scary) experience! I feel like this kind of old, campy quality of B movies is something that scares us as kids. Having grown up in Japan, I’ve been watching Japanese monster movies like Godzilla from when I was so little. Different from Jurassic Park, they used muppets to show monsters. That may be regarded absurd from foreigners, but to me, they looked real and scary. This is just a very personal opinion, but to children’s eyes, I feel like monsters shown with muppets could look as realistic and scary as monsters created with CGI.

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  5. Eddie ⋅

    I decided I didn’t know much about monsters or Monster Movies so I got a copy of the 1930’s Frankenstein Movie and sat down. I loved it. IT reminded me of being in the theater for one with the way the scenes were shot they gave a vibe that could only come from the stage. The dramatic lighting and the Moral questions it raised with the wealthy son of Baron Frankenstein crossing the Moral grounds set by God and society finds himself at odds with the realities of life. No one can play god or perhaps there are some places that science and innovation can’t go regardless of how hard we may try.
    Frankenstein is actually a sad creature being not quite human with the mental capacity of a severely disabled child with murderous tendencies and his most primal instincts left at the forefront of his personality driving him to react on an extremely base and low level. At first I pictured him to be a murder only until he was playing with the little girl with the flowers and believed that it was wonderful to see beautiful flowers floating on the water. At that moment you realize it’s not really frankestein the monster behaving ina murderous way but doing what his limited moral comapce dictates is good or right which neglects the basic logic of a normal human.
    The best part I think or most telling I should say is the very end when the young baron is taken back in to his family, his elderly father shrugs off the other tradgedies because the rich are allowed to live outside of the law, while the people who truly suffered were the common people and the Frankenstein monster himself. I wonder though with the young Dr. Frankenstein regaining his health and sanity what could potentially follow. Now I need to search the other films and wonder if they are all linear or separate stories.
    I’m really really looking forward to watching a few more early monster films and expanding my views on old monster cinema.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      I’ve never seen the Frankenstein film in entirety, but I’ve seen a good amount of chunks of it along with other films portraying the character…even the show “The Munsters”…and it’s funny how much of contrast there is between the cinematic character and the literary character. He’s portrayed as more of a brute in the movies while he’s actually very smart and well-spoken in the actual book itself.

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      • Eddie ⋅

        Frankenstein speaks in the book! That’s mind blowing I’ve never even considered that as a possibility. I liked that Frankenstein seemed like he had some sort of consciousness but I’m a bit disappointed now that I hear he originally had dialogue.

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    • ihatenickelback ⋅

      Just wanted to react to one small part of your post, where you mentioned how the way the films were shot reminded you of being in a theatre. That’s an element I always love about older movies. Moving away fro monster films a little bit, even if you think about The Wizard of Oz, which was shot mostly in color, the lighting always gave away a tiny bit of the reality of the movie set. And I loved it! I like movies where the set is a little surreal, it’s a nice break from the illusions of huge current Hollywood productions. Every now and then sitting down for an almost “live” feeling performance of a story is kind of cool. I don’t know if a current movie with current filming quality and techniques could pull off that same feeling thought. That would be like turning something like Saturday Night Live into a movie-length production.

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      • The idea of a movie feeling like a film versus an experience that indulges the audience in the theater is interesting now that you bring that up. I agree, in point, that innovation in movies has caused the audience to lose that genuine surreal feeling one gets when they watch a film from an earlier period in time. It’s arguable whether just the authenticity of having watched a film different than films that are shown in theaters today create that feeling of nostalgia.

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    • Derp ⋅

      I’m glad that you watched the movie. The old monster movies actually have very deep themes and messages within. As you described, Frankenstein depicts the persecution of the weak and the darkness within “normal” human beings. I read a book about monster movies, and it actually had some interesting analysis of other monster movies. For example, it was saying that each zombie movie of George Romero expresses different message; for example, “Dawn of The Dead” was criticizing consumerism via the depiction of mindless zombies devouring human flesh in a supermarket. It might be fun to look back into old horror movies and analyze the meaning hidden beneath.

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  6. clintrump ⋅

    When it comes to B-movies I think they play an important role in Hollywood. This low budget category of film production gives new directors with a vision an opportunity to produce something that is new free of outside influences. This situation is different in comparison to mainstream Hollywood big budget films have to deal with outside money influences that might wish to censor parts of the film that have the wrong message or are to silly with the creativity. I think B-movies also give new actors in Hollywood a foot in the door playing roles and practicing for bigger roles.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I absolutely agree with what you said about how B-movies created new chances for people in the movie industry. I found it very interesting when I think about B-movies, I never thought about how having lower budgets for movies actually creates chances for not just newer and younger directors, but also young actors. In my opinion, I feel like B-movies is what people were waiting for as mainstream movies started to get repetitive and boring, then B-movies came with lower budget but higher creativity stand as a competitor to the mainstream. Also, these films like you said had more freedom on every aspects of the movie and that’s what makes them interesting and unpredictable.

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  7. Sorabari ⋅

    After we discussed about the definition of B-movie, I was wondering if indie movies are categorized as B-movie. Otherwise, indie movies are under B-movie category. The reason is that the one of the definition of B-movie is that the budget is low. I assume that indie movies are produced with less budget, so it might be fit into B-movie category? Another my assumption is that B-movie is produced in studio, while indie movies are made from outside of studio. Besides, indie movies have more freedom to shoot film because they don’t belong to any studio, so the filmmaker shoots whatever they’d like to, while B-movie seems restricted by studio, so they need to follow the determined rule.

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  8. pizzaboy ⋅

    I can’t help but like a lot of the old monster movies because they’re usually so low budget and silly. I guess that goes the same with a lot of the B-Movies in general. I guess in a big way I haven’t always entirely understood what a B-movie is. In all honesty…when I was younger I actually thought it meant “bad” movie…or even dirty movies…which I guess would make sense since a lot of the directors seem to be very “for-profit” as showcased in Ed Wood and hearkening back to our discussion on how many Japanese directors aren’t taken serious due to this general stereotype. I feel like mainstream “Hollywood” movies are the type of movies you may either respect or enjoy for cinematic quality…but B-movies have that gritty quality that you sometimes can’t help but fall in love with.

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  9. ihatenickelback ⋅

    Before this session, I had a basic idea of the distinctions between B-Movies, Independent (or Indie) Films, and Cult movies. I have had favorites of each category. However, this session really solidified for me the specific differences in qualification for each. Telling a cult movie from an independent film, for example, was one of the easiest distinctions to make for me before this session. But when it came to B-Movies, I was still unsure. I also have a lack of general knowledge of film history, so this class is really helping me identify different films as we learn.

    I have one specific question, trying to connect what I’ve learned in this class’s discussions to films that are already a part of my life. Would SLC Punk be considered part of one of these three categories? I know it very well because my mother, who was active in the music scenes of the 80s and 90s, has raised me with a lot of that kind of culture. However, I am not sure whether this particular film had more of a niche or cult audience, or if it was a widely popular film in history? I also remember the film having some negative feedback, claiming it to be too fabricated and generalized a representation of the cultural content, which made me wonder whether it was a big studio production with a wide intended audience or not.. Well, any info would be great!

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    • karltuj

      Thank you for the question. I have to look into this, because I am not familiar with this film. It looks like the film was made in 1998, so your mother might be younger than me, haha. On the first check, I have to say, it looks like it it is an independent film. There was no production company mentioned on imdB, that’s a sign. Because it involves non-mainstream culture/music, it probably is at the same time a cult film, too!

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  10. This session helped me distinguish my understanding of B-movies and what falls under a B-movie. The Typical B-movie, in my notion, are largely hollywood noir monster films. My understanding comes from not knowing any other B-movie other than sequels to storyline Godzilla. But that isn’t really the only movies that fall under B-movies, there’s multiple genres that form the intangible idea of a b-movie production. B-movies usually come from genres that will help replace the loss created by the production value. I was surprised to learn that b-movies benefited from outdated actors and shock to create a subpar product.

    The movie that comes to mind as a b-movie to me is star wars. But as you discussed in class, its a independent film which differs from the components of a B-movie production. The independent film uses no boundaries to create something different from the mold of hollywood and like lottery, puts faith in luck, to create a film which will impact the audience. Versus the b-movie film which uses genre’s at lower quality.

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    • karltuj

      Star Wars = Started as an independent film (Lucas’ own company tried to produce it but had not enough money), but a major production company jumped on it (20th Century Fox).
      B-Movie = Low budget and therefore low production, story and star value, but quality aspects vary from film to film.

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      • postnroast ⋅

        Yeah, I burned that into my brain after you told it to me in class.

        In retrospect, By Tim Burton’s Portrayal, Ed wood was a sloppy director. Makes you wonder if the director alone, for that matter, makes the movie a hit or not regardless of the budget. As you mentioned Ed Wood didn’t know any better. But that seems like something almost alien in nature, as far as for someone who is trying to make it big goes. I agree that inspiration shouldn’t be stunted by the lack of knowledge but I think Ed wood could have tried to learn a thing or two from other directors, because asking doesn’t hurt. I think that the lack of self-awareness in Ed Wood attracted Tim burton to the character of Ed wood, but that’s as far as I can see his interest. His ability to swoon people into funding his productions was also very admirable. Which may have meant he was a very like-able character, who might have made many false promises (haha).

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  11. Derp ⋅

    Having been the big fan of monster movies, this class session was very enjoyable. I can totally relate the characteristics mentioned in the class to the films I’ve seen. The monster movies that I know such as “Feast” have utterly disturbing violence and immoral actions in the story–for example, throwing a defenseless baby onto the ground so that a character can escape from hungry monsters! Their violence was pretty unnecessary in the story, and it seemed to be the vulgar entertainment for niche audience.
    However, this made me wonder the legitimacy of the use of violence and sex.

    To me, I feel that the film is good when they use violence as legitimate tools to enhance a particular effect. For example, “Rambo 4” used utterly disturbing violence during the scene when hostile military force is butchering civilians in Myanma in order to depict the reality of the war and also establish the evilness of the hostile force. Same applies to “Saving Private Ryan”: the extreme violence really portrayed the cruelty of the war. As for the monster movie, 1990’s Japanese monster movie series “Gamera” made a correct use of violence to portray the threat that hostile monsters are eroding people’s everyday life. “Gamera” used limited yet very effective violence to enhance this depiction.

    In addition, “District 9” had many violent scenes, but they blended into the dark tone of the film. Some violence did emphasize the power of the weapons aliens had, or the cruelty of humans.

    Then, going back to B movies, I feel that many movies exploit violence and sex for immoral pleasure, which is NEVER to be blamed. I did enjoy violence and sex when I was teenagers just for the sake of the thrill and sexual desire. In fact, it’s a little shameful to say but I used to go rent B movie’s DVD just to watch sexual scenes when I had no access to the Internet (LOL).
    Thus, I do feel that B movies bring entertainment suitable for niche aduience. But I don’t think that they use violence effectively to establish themselves as “good” movies.

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  12. youngbillionaire ⋅

    To be honest I don’t think I have seen any mister movies before and all I can think of when I think about monster movies are Godzilla or monsters ink. Also before this class I didn’t know what B films were exactly, but form this class I learn a lot about B films what they exactly are. Now I understand what B movies are. So now I am a little more interested to look in to B films. B films interest me more now because they give relative freedom to the directors, and touch on taboo, violent and scandalous topics. I think giving freedom to the producer is great because it opens up possibly to for many more type of film to be produce. And this happened because of the rising popularity of television made movie producers split in to major big budget films of low budget niche audience target films, like the b movies.

    I thought this is very interesting because now I think taboo, violent and scandalous topics are touched on to by television like breaking bad or weeds, which are shows about drugs. Also television series like the waking dead which gets pretty violent and gruesome. I assume this must have happen because of B movies success in the past which now is incorporated by the television. I love all these television show that I mentioned and now I want to thank the B movies for it, because with out the B movies I think television would have never became like this today. Also I would like to look at a few good B movies now that I know what they are and what time of movies they are as they are the roots to many good television series.

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  13. Sierra94 ⋅

    I’ve frequently seen/heard references to “Them!”, along with a few other old monster movies, but I have never actually watched the films themselves. I should watch them in full some day.
    I did not expect to see a giant ant, but perhaps I was mixing it up with what little I know about “The Thing”. The first half of the film felt like a B-movie, having very few actors and whatnot, but the second half’s production value felt a lot higher as the scale got bigger, especially as the military came into Los Angeles.
    The Wilhelm Scream felt a bit overused.

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  14. IsThePartyOver ⋅

    I try to keep an eye out for film productions that fall outside the mainstream, most especially independent productions. However, I had not paid much attention to B-movies from the past, where it all started and it’s been hilarious. I feel like the comedy arises mainly from the fact that these films take themselves seriously to a certain extent when acting/special effects/props are pretty awful. To what degree the filmmakers behind them really “tried” to make a good film is a gray area. I believe most of them mindlessly followed formulas and undertook production like an everyday office job, popping these out as fast as they could to make a living. It’s totally understandable when we obviously consider time constraints, but most importantly, that these films were gonna be watched at drive-ins. In other words it did not matter how ridiculous The Giant [insert any insect or reptile] would look because the filmmakers knew that they were to be a mere background for young people to do whatever their hormones urged them to. On the other hand, it is unfair to view paracinema solely on this light. Ed Wood for instance does not really fit into what I have said because despite the terrible quality of his films he stubbornly believed that he was doing art, and tried his best. In addition to that, today’s screening “Them!” is proof that B-movies can have production value and be influential in mainstream production for years to follow. We may laugh but you can see there was extra effort put into it compared to other productions of the same line. I wish however that the Queen Ant was more menacing, I mean, it’s just like the others but with wings, somewhat disappointing. By more menacing I mean five times as big, something that could stomp buildings and whatnot. Gila Monster 1 – 0 Queen Ant.

    All in all, despite not being a huge fan of B-movies I absolutely see their place in film history. Films have mostly been for entertainment, and I don’t believe that every production should aim for the highest artistic value or important lessons/messages or break conventions.

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  15. clintrump ⋅

    Them, is a great example of a monster movie. Today in class I enjoyed watching the oversized radiation filled ants terrorize the local community in L.A. Even though by modern standards the oversized ants do not completely look realistic for 1954 I’m assuming they looked super realistic. The concept of fearing the after effects of radiation on others echoes the mindset that many Americans might have had after bombing the Japanese during world war 2. I found it interesting that the Police had massive firepower, and nobody in the film even blinked an eye or questioned why they had that equipment. I also found it rather interesting that the government declared martial law, and enforced a curfew because of the oversized ants. No one in the film questioned the government’s abuse of power when searching for the ants in the storm drain of L.A., and I think that reflected how American citizens trusted their government’s actions without question.

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  16. shmoo ⋅

    During our class this past Wednesday we watched “Them!” Which was very funny. The production quality was really good considering the year and its reputation. While trying to find the budget of this film, I learned that the crew could only afford 2 animatronic ants after their backers quit on them. So this is why we usually only see two ants at a time that attack. But in the climax of the film, the crew was able to put together a group of non moving ants. Crew members moved the arms so it looked like the whole group was alive. I think the creativity that went into making these creatures was really inspiring, as their fakeness made them seem even more alien. I also thought the black and white fit really well with the film, because the shadows made it all the more creepy. The acting wasn’t bad either, although there were a few scenes that were laughable. All in all I thought this film was really fun to watch.

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    • clintrump ⋅

      @ shoo I also thought that there was parts in Them that was absolutely hilarious. I agree that for that era in the 50’s the quality was surprisingly high but the special effects seem comical by todays standards in film production.

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  17. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    The “B-movie” category is more specific than I thought I was. Actually, I have never tried to distinguish the films that I watched by the categorization rules that we learn in class. It is a much broader field of study than many people think, and I personally think it is very interesting.

    Surely, I learned that the budgets are major components in order to categorize a film, but they are not always gonna define if the movie is good or not. As an example, the film Them! proves that low budget movies can also be successful in the mainstream film industry. Considering the low amount of money available, the director managed to make this film in good quality, especially because of aspects like the nice acting skills from the cast, decent special effects, and the sound management that follows harmonically the actions in the film.

    So, films like that proved that Hollywood is not only made by the blockbusters and big budgets. The cinema industry has also space for the ‘underdog’ movies, which are pretty decent when we want to escape from the mainstream.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      In a big way I can relate…because…for example….I had no idea that Final Destination would be considered a B-movie because I always thought B movie was referring to the relative quality of the film…but…if my mind is working correctly…Final Destination had a pretty good reception…at least among movie goers. I personally still find it mildly disturbing in a soft sense.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I really like what you said about B-movies. Before learning anything about B-movies, I always thought that they were called by the name because of their low quality or just bad movies in general. However, these films were separated only by their budgets, so a B-movie can still have major success like a mainstream movie. I would say this aspect of B-movies make them more interesting to watch because they have to produce something extraordinary with lower budget which can be surprises sometimes. Now I know there is a place to go when I am tired with all the mainstream movies.

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  18. OOR ⋅

    In the class, we have watched monster movie called “them!” It was funny, interesting and could have a great experience that I haven’t watched B-movies very often, so this is great experience to know and watch those kinds of movies. Also, unfortunately the quality is really low as comparing with current movies which is the most famous movie in this world such as “Gozila” and so on. I was wondering that “Gozila” got famous and popular one the best monster movie in japan, and if it’s not get famous and popular in all over the world, it is used to be a B-movie? Someone was talking in this blog, and I get wondered it was used to be a B movie as well? I’m kind of confusing how people categorized and named as B movie. If it gets famous movie after that, we don’t call that movie as B movie anymore.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      It’s funny thinking about the Godzilla films because although it technically surpassed its origins as a B movie…it remained B movie gold for years for all of its ridiculous iterations. I remember my dad was actually gonna buy me the entire series when I was a child…but there’s just so many of them. The same can be said for King Kong…who was a very common foe of Godzilla. In a weird way…it reminds me of watching professional wrestling when I was a kid.

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    • karltuj

      Please don’t forget that the “B” is generally only an index for a significantly lower budget than the average mainstream film. Godzilla movies are mainstream films in Japan. However, the Japanese Godzilla films were distributed like B-Films in the United States. Fame or actual quality have nothing to do with the “B-Movie” label.

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  19. Vera Lynn ⋅

    I really enjoyed the sessions we have had on B movies. Alien and Aliens are 2 of my favorite moves, and it was really interesting to see that those movies took so heavily from Them!. The thing I have a hard time with when it comes to a lot of b movies and monster movies is that a lot of the time, they seem to be trying to pound some kind of message into your heard. The end of godzilla for example, they damn near turn and look into the camera, and say “BOMB AND WAR ARE BAD! GET IT!? THATS WHAT THIS MOVIE WAS ABOUT!” The same thing happened in Them!. When you compare that with Alien, the message is still there, but you don’t feel like the movie is treating you like an idiot.

    A note about the sound design in Them!. We need to talk about the Wilhelm scream. I can’t recall if this was the movie where it originated, or just one of the first to start re using it, but ether way, it’s just bad. For one, it’s just a really bad clip. There has been exactly one person that screams like that, and it was the jackass over acting a scream. Second, movies are about the suspension of disbelief. A really good movie will make you forget you are watching a movie. For whatever reason, sound designers now think they are all in on this super funny joke when they put this awful scream in their movies. It is so over used at this point that as soon as most people hear it, even if they have no idea what exactly the Wilhelm scream is, they will say “oh yeah, I know that sound!” and it instantly takes you out of the movie. I am going to steal an example I heard on the sleepycabin podcast. Think of it from a visual sense. What if editors just decided it would be super funny if they started splicing in a photo of Shaq into their movies for .5 seconds. It would totally take you out of the movie. Thats what the Wilhelm scream does on a audio level. TLDR: It’s a shitty sound, it’s over used, and it was never funny.

    As to the ant noise. I agree with the idea that was expressed in class, I like he idea behind what they did with it, but its literally just a recording of a squeaking wheel. I realize that they had to work with what they had, but I feel like they could have come up with something better. I am an audio person, so stuff like that annoys me.

    The same person also brought up the sweeping wind sound. I totally agree with that point. I feel like that set a good tone, and I was into it.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      It’s funny to note about the Wilhelm scream because I had never heard about it prior to this class…and I’m actually not even familiar with it in all honesty.

      The scream I am actually used to hearing all the time is the scream from Doom and this horrified scream that I hear in a lot of crappy sci-fi horror films. The Wilhelm scream itself is actually entirely new to me…which may be an indication that I need to watch some more movies.

      I actually did a little research after the initial class in which we talked about the Wilhelm scream and watch a WatchMojo countdown about it.

      The Wilhelm scream is actually attributed to a character named Wilhelm in a movie whose name I already forgot…but actually predates that movie.

      All of this information can be found in the WatchMojo video I’m talking about if you’re interested.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        The scream is in countless movies and games. It’s in never Star Wars movie, I think all the lord of the rings movies, and a whole bunch of others.

        The doom sound clip is pretty common as well. Really there are a whole bunch of stock sounds that are used all the time. I will again pull from the podcast i quoted before. They talk about a squeaky gate sound that is really over used. They even showed an example of an oven door being opened, and using that sound.

        This kind of stuff annoys me because there are people that call themselves sound designers, and they are literally just pulling sounds from a stock sound library, and dropping them into a movie. It’s lazy, and someone is actually paying them to do something anyone could do. I don’t expect everyone to be a foley sound artist, but at least overlay a few different sounds and tweak them to make something new that hasn’t been used in a million other projects.

        As for the watchmojo thing, I saw it a while ago. I think I recall them saying it came from a western where someone gets stabbed or shot. Its been a while. I can’ t quite recall.

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  20. White Rabbit ⋅

    Yesterday in class, it was interesting to learn how B movies have influenced mainstream films, and still do today. The risks that a B movie can afford to take certainly surpass those of the mainstream media, where risks must be well-calculated. It’s interesting to learn how the B movie industry serves as a great platform for young directors and actors to kick-start their career. I did not realize James Cameron for instance started his career this way. Clearly he’s a great example of how this transition is not only possible, but also very effective. I also found it humorous how we discussed the effects of advertising for the B Movie industry. I’ve had numerous experiences in the past, where I’ve watched commercials for a movie, got excited, and then got an unpleasant surprise that the film’s quality is lacking. But certainly video quality and effects can be compensated with a strong story and great undiscovered talent. Another advantage, one I didn’t realize, is that B films are very easily distributed. This certainly gives the industry an advantage, especially if it possesses a quality film with the potential for great success. I am excited to learn more about the B film industry, and how it impacts other segments of the industry as a whole.

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    • Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

      I agree with you in many aspects. Firstly, the fact that B-movies are great platforms for small directors and actors who are trying to conquer their space in the Hollywood industry. Everyone needs to start somewhere in order to be known in the industry. As the B-movies are well distributed to the public, it can become a ‘success escalator’ for many individuals in this context. In addition, these types of films are presented in different ways to the audience and are a good option as an alternative to the mainstream movies.

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    • dinerbears ⋅

      I agree with your ideas. I also surprise when we talk about which actors are B movie actor I also surprise that Johnny deep is B movie start. Even thought I knew that most of actors before become famous they started their career in B movie. I also agree with Pedro. He mentions that all the actors and director need to start their career somewhere in order step by step become main stream director and actor. I think B movie industry is pretty interesting to understand more. Their topic is wide range and most of movie target is teenager so their content might be newly to catch audience attention

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  21. Frank Bullitt ⋅

    Monster movies are a hard for me. I personally have never cared for them as a genre because I don’t care for horror film in general. Having said that, after watching the abbreviated Them (1954) the classic monster genre seems to have turned into a comedic genre due to the standards of today. What I mean to say by this is that what was scary back in the 50s is not scary today because we as a society have become more accustomed to it. Additionally our sense of realism on screen has shifted dramatically and we no longer can see images of a man in a dinosaur suit as frightening.
    We also have to take into consideration that the majority of monster films back in the day were all B-Movies or independent movies. Being in these two categories means that there is going to be far less funding to make the film that is realistic and up to the standards of the time. But then again the target audience is smaller and therefore the directors can push the boundaries towards what those individuals want to see. What I am trying to say here is that B-movies and independent movies have smaller budgets but are more focused on a core audience.
    I would also be curious to see some statistics on how many horror movies and monster movies are on the A-line track in Hollywood as far as modern film is concerned. When I think about it, I can’t think of too many horror and monster films that are wide release. I also have a feeling that many people are like me and just are not willing to go to the cinema to see a horror movie so therefore Hollywood does not invest as much into these genres.

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  22. ihatenickelback ⋅

    Watching Them! was so awesome! I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a perfect mixture of hilarious, eerie, and quite impressive production-wise for the time!

    I really want to know how many separate ants they actually constructed, as I’m sure they could have shot it in an order where no actual harm to the ant structures was caused until their last shots, preserving fewer separate ants.

    I’m also wondering if this was around the time, since we also discussed drive-in theatres briefly, when drive-in movie culture was becoming super popular. The idea of bringing a girl to a drive-in horror movie is a classic date idea, and I’m guessing that it’s nothing new.

    I forgot to ask this in class, but – does The Thing (more specifically the most recent version) count as a monster movie? I’m always confused when it comes to monsters which are mutations of humans or based on some kind of mutative disease or breakout. I’m not even sure if zombie movies are under the category of monster movies.

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    • karltuj

      I would say The Thing is mainly SF Genre Mix with Monster and Thriller. Zombie Movies are a subgenera of Horror Movies, it can be argued that they are equal as subgenre to or just a subgenre to Monster Movies. Most people I think understand under Monster Movies movies that have giant monsters in it.

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  23. Sierra94 ⋅

    There was a comment during the last discussion about the lack of B-movies in which the central theme is “man getting raped by x”, claiming that it’s because “it makes men uncomfortable”. Isn’t making people feel uncomfortable the whole point of many horror films, particularly subgenres such as body horror or psychological horror? From what I have seen, the problem appears to be less because of “it makes men feel uncomfortable” and more because of how the raping of men by both women and other men is treating like a big damn joke in many societies, including the USA. It does not take much to find media in which the raping of men is used as nothing more than a source of humour. One example that comes to mind is Lexx, Canadian dystopian science-fiction TV series from the late 90’s, in which one recurring joke is the protagonist, Stanley Tweedle, gets the short end of the stick, with being raped by women he finds unattractive and the occasional implication of being the target of a male rapist happening at least once every few episodes. Even in children’s cartoons like the original Powerpuff Girls, one villain (I believe it was Mojo Jojo) ends up in a jail cell with a grinning throwaway character with typical “big bubba” characteristics; the typical kind of prison inmate who rapes his cellmates.
    Very rarely do we see media in which the raping of a man is depicted as traumatising as the raping of a woman. And please, don’t bother with the whole “it happens more to women, so we should completely ignore it happening to men” rhetoric. That’s as idiotic as saying “more men commit suicide, so we should completely ignore cases of women committing suicide”. It’s entirely possible to treat a problem seriously and do whatever it takes to prevent it and promote justice regardless of the gender, race, sexuality, etc. of the victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Armitage ⋅

    I used to really like watching Bad B-movies like sharktopus or whatever sifi channel movie was playing. actually during the holiday season i would watch all the tremors movies with my cousins while we digested our Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. I always found the cheesy lines and lame effects funny. I think its quite common to associate the B movie with Bad movies. Probably because the low budget allows for more movies from more film makers. But there are many B movies that are quite good, and not good because they are bad. Though it seems like mostly the best B movies somewhat reference their own cheesiness.

    Its almost like the film makers know that people like to see bad movies. Bad movies, because they don’t need to have convincing special effects or good writing/acting, are easier to make. If people want to see the bad movie, then film maker wont spend time and energy to make a masterpiece. They just crank out a, not terrible per-say, but lazy movie for a quick paycheck. I realize that many film makers need to have a start and B movies are great ways to get credits and begin to move up into better movies. But you can tell when a film is trying to be cool and interesting and when they are being hacked together.

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  25. Derp ⋅

    I really enjoyed watching “THEM!”. I expected to see very cheesy, terrible monster movie, but I actually thought this movie is pretty awesome in terms of story, acting, and production value.
    I’ve been watching a lot of monster movies, and the golden and overused formula for monster B-movies is the following: A monster appears in a peaceful town, protagonists and scientists warn the authority to stop the party/event that gathers a lot of people, but the autority denies. Then, a lot of people come to the party/event only to be massacred. This formula worked for a good film like “JAWS”, but it’s been overused for so many B-Z movies. However, this film actually portrayed the unknown threat lurking into everday life of people, growing bigger and invading the metropolis. As Karl said in the film, it could be regarded as the metaphor for nuclear fear lurking into everyday life. Just like those mutant ants with highly reproductive ability, radiation could spread into our life in a glimpse and it cannot be removed easily.
    In many bad monster movies, actors hold the puppet or fake monsters and act like they are biting their bodies or something–and it looks beyond terrible. But this movie actually used a number of realistic, large puppet of ants–realistic at that time, at least–capable of grabbing actors in their mouths. I bet that this was quite scary at that time. If I saw this movie for the first time when I was a child without any familiarity to modern CGI, I would have been pretty scared. And acting was another thing that contributed to the enhancement of the fear. The actors really acted in the way that they have never encountered these creatures. The way they acted made the existence of mutant ants realistic.
    In the end, I thought that this movie went beyond the quality of most bad monster movies nowadays. Perhaps, a monster movie, which was created as some sort of social/cultural message, is now neglected as B-movie. Personally, I didn’t–and don’t want to–regard “THEM!!” as one of B-movies.

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    • GreenBanana ⋅

      “Them!” is really entertaining film, i really enjoyed watching. It looked cheap low budget monster film but it actually wasn’t bad at all! I love classy movies and this one of my type i want to watch during my free time! I liked how descriptive the narrator gets and also I really liked the sound effects of the ants in this movie the music in the background.This is really scary.. isn’t it?
      I agree that in many monster movie your”golden and overused” formula is used for monster B movies. I actually not fun of watching monster B-movies because they seems like the same thing with different monsters and location.

      Like

  26. IsThePartyOver ⋅

    I can see a clear parallel between B-Movies and the clickbait festival that internet has become today. It is a smart strategy, it works. It may not deliver to its promises, or actually almost never deliver them but people kept coming back, the reasons of which might be related to deeper human instincts/desires. I have discussed with friends before whether the people behind these films were actually geniuses, and perhaps they were. There are a couple of ways you can define a genius, I for one think that it involves being able to tune out of the mass culture and having the courage to start something new which defies the norm. If you don’t want to call them geniuses, they certainly were at least courageous to put out these sexual, violent films back then. Sexploitation, blaxploitation; it really is exploitation of our concealed human desires and/or fetishes. On my last entry I might have underplayed the importance of B-Movies a little. I feel like B-Movies might have been the most important event in film history in terms of being responsible for the open environment that cinema has become today. It’s as important as any anti-establishment form of art out there, or subculture, all of which essential for the advancement of our culture and mentality as whole. Taboos are simply impediments to progress, and B-Movies were not afraid to use and abuse them. I’m not saying B-Movies were the vanguard of the great societal changes of the 60s and 70s, but they played their part, being both on the receiving and giving end. Do I love B-Movies? Not really, if you pick most of them apart and look at them individually they were pretty awful, but even at that there is some ingenuity at play, I don’t think these are all accidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. White Rabbit ⋅

    It was interesting to learn that for not-so-great-looking actors, the B Movie Industry was an opportunity to make a career. In some ways, that really does reflect poorly on the mainstream industry. If you don’t meet the “criteria” of gorgeous or sexy, it’s as though the odds are stacked against you. It’s also interesting how many of the films discussed were typically called midnight films, displayed off peak hours. Even thought these weren’t porn films, I wonder if people still hesitated viewing a sexploitation film for fear of being judged. Of course in today’s world, people can watch any content from home. It was also to see how exploitation was used in films, like the use of drugs. Certainly it is humorous, but I also wonder how many people feel empowered to do drugs as a result, or influenced at the very least. We know that media affects us, some more than others. I found the movie Faster Pussycat to be a great illustration of just how dumb sexploitation can be. It just feels so out of place. Maybe that’s my culture speaking, or moral approach, but people just don’t typically act that way, and for that reason, it lacks realism. But I suppose that’s the very part many appreciate about the B movie approach. I certainly get what motivates the industry to include sexual content, however I still argue very strongly that there is a lack of accountability for ethical responsibility. For instance, many of the themes in Angel I am certain are questionable. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen the film, so I should probably do so before making my argument. But what impact do these themes convey to it’s audience? If the concept of prostitution at 15 years old is glorified, what does that tell other girls her age? Again, I should really watch the entire film, but it’s my initial thoughts prior to doing so.

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  28. mkt18 ⋅

    For me it is a first time to hear about B-movie. Overall, B-movie is interesting concept because it allows new directors to film a movie freely and new actors have a chance to come into Hollywood. Directors of B-movie could do anything free so many new things were born. Monster is a good example of B-movie as we discussed. Directors do not need to response audiences expectation. We watched the B-movie called Them! last week. Monster look is so gross and actually it was a low quality, but story was funny. this film cobines horror and comedy. Now it is popular this type of film, so I feel that B-movie is kind of a pioneer of new genre in hollywood.
    Another interting point of B-movie is that Gozila was a B-movie. Gozila is today known around the world, so I was surprised it was a B-movie. Actually, I know the old Gozila film was low quality. However, the story was intersting and Gozila is new type of a monster, it becomes popular. it shows that B-movie could be A-movie.

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    • karltuj

      Godzilla is not a B-Movie. It was made on a medium budget in Japan (there is no clear info available). However, the American distributor had released this film in the U.S. like a B-Movie.

      Like

  29. KillDozer ⋅

    For me, B movies have always been the main attraction because they typically bring ideas to film that would otherwise be seen as too strange or too much of a risk, but this is where a film maker can really show what they’re capable of and display some imaginative capabilities. If you give someone two hundred million dollars to make a movie, at the very least you can expect to see some great visuals and star power, but those things don’t always make for a good movie, especially when you have a lame director and/or idea. On the other hand, if a film maker can manage to make an entertaining film with only five million by using good camera work, good direction, entertaining writing, and some imaginative effects that don’t eat too much into the budget, then that to me is the mark of a good film maker.

    So many great directors, and many of them my favorites, got started in low budget films, showed that they had some real talent, and then went on to become extremely successful with bigger projects. Some such directors are John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, and even Peter Jackson who’s first film was basically just a silly passion project that he made with some help from his friends, but he showed a real aptitude for film making despite working on a shoe string budget. Fast forward twenty years or so and he’s winning a best director Oscar. More recently, James Gunn is directing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but few know that he actually started out writing and directing short films for Troma, the kings of the B movie if you ask me. After that, he showed that he had some real talent when he wrote and directed movies like Slither and Super. It’s that talent that attracted the eye of Marvel and Disney and now he’s directing big budget space adventures and they’re turning out great.

    Sometimes, the real appeal of a B movie is the insane premises that they can bring to the table that you just won’t see in an A level film, but when they’re just so entertaining that Hollywood can’t resist picking them up. A great example of this is all the 50’s B monster movies that were re-imagined in the 1980’s with bigger budgets and better effects. Good examples of this are The Thing, The Fly, and The Blob. They’re perfect examples of how great a B movie with an entertaining plot can be when it’s punched up by a bigger budget, better effects, and a mastered director.

    If nothing else, the B movies and direct to video films that have been released over the decades prove that even with a tiny budget and nonsense plot, a movie can still be fun and memorable when talented and dedicated people put a lot of work into them. I refer you to films like Puppet Master, Carnosaur, and Class of 1999. Low budget, ridiculous plots, and all of them totally unforgettable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GreenBanana ⋅

      I totally agree with your point. B-movies has more freedom in expressing idea in the film. It can pretty much be about anything how they want to show audience. Also high budget mainstream movie is not a always necessary things for making a big hits. Ive already brought up that Terminator 1 was started as B-movie, so keeping it as B-movie and low budget, it can prevent huge loss when it fails. Therefore it believe there are many good advantages in making B-movies. Expensive and gorgeous film are nice but i personally think its not the most important thing for successful movies. I also agree that content is more important than expensive visual aids etc.. In B-movies, if director can achieve good camera work, keeping entertaining plot, and some imaginal without spending much cost that’s a good film maker. thank you for sharing!

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  30. dinerbears ⋅

    I have no idea what is B movie before this class. I thought all the movie is divided their level by their box office and not the how much budge they have in a movie, what is kind of actor they use such. However, after understand the definition of B movie and watched few clips. I have more clear thought of B movie. more young actor and they are not famous. I found out the interesting of b movie which is most of B movie are horror, action, science fiction …etc. I think female actor usually wearing less and sexy showing their body ship. Just like one of the clips we watched in class the content makes me feel non sense but there are three girls and one couples in the middle of the desert. There are two girls dancing and they all wearing less and some cloths shows their body shape. And one of Asian girl having car race with a guy after the guy lose the car race they start fight with each other. The content makes me confused but the female has really nice body shape. I am really confused with independent movie and B movie at first, after the class I understand the easy way to recognize the two is B movie made by company and independent movie is independent and sometime the budge is lower that people cannot think about. I feel independent film or B Movie film the female charters usually wearing very sexy cloths show their body shape to catch audience attention. Also the last few clips make feel nonsense for me. the concept and the topic teenager mother. It is interesting they also add the education stuff on the film I believe that one might be the independent film.

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  31. Through your lectures in class about b movies, Ive noticed that the approach that many of the directors choose is very similar to eachother in regards to the storyline mostly based on huge monsters or mysterious creatures taking over the world and a super hero saving the day.

    From how i see it, I thought since b movies tend to have low budgets in regards to production so why go the route of creating a monster in their films. Although the monsters are very low quality props, i feel they could save a lot more money by having a solid script with mysteries that doesnt involve and use in props or less props.

    For example, “Masters of the Universe” a 1987 thriller cost 22 million dollars to make. Although it is considered one of the popular b movies made, It was definitely a unsuccessful film.

    I felt that with the 22 million dollars that was put into that film, they could have used that money in a more smarter way.

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  32. Another point I find interesting about B movies are that some of them have a very successful turn out.

    My question is, does the b movie films sell the original film to a more higher production company where they both benefit to making more money if they remake it and break box offices? or does it only benefit a higher production company?

    Everyone uses godzilla for example, since it was projected to being a b movie where it sparked peoples eyes after watching it and it was remade by “Legendary entertainment” which is a huge studio company. breaking 529.1 million in box office with a budget of 160 million USD nearly quadrupling what they used to create the film. Keeping in mind the endorsments that went in to promote companies especially in Japan is insane.

    Since production is increasing, from cameras to editing softwares on the computer, recent B movies such as “Piranha” are doing a lot better in my opinion receiving 83.1 million in box offices after only spending 24 million for production so in my eyes, I feel as if the b movies are still on the verge to being successful.

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  33. TRONtravolta ⋅

    One thing that really blows my mind is how much money is spent in producing films. Even those films that qualify as “B Movies.” In class we read the list of about 100 movies that sounded pretty terrible based on the puns and cheesy names in the titles. I often wonder who it is that is really supporting these movies with millions of dollars, hoping to see returns on their investments. I could see why someone would want to be a part of the whole Steven Spielberg money wagon as usually he puts the butts in the seats at theaters. But when it comes to a 60 year old Steven Segal performing bad kung fu with a clip on pony tail, I cannot help but feel confused. B Movies that are made with a low budget have the artistic freedom that other films cannot have due to production companies calling the shots which is what makes these films fun. But as far as making a profit on investing in these films, is just a part of the business that I do not understand. Today we will be watching Final Destination which is quite popular. I never knew that was a B Movie until the professor told us earlier on in the semester. I looked up the budget and was amazed to see how much money was given to that film for being a “B Movie.” It has been over ten years since I have seen the film so it should be pretty fun to see if I have the same feeling towards the story line. I am I will be blown away with outdated effects (which I find amusing and charming in these films).

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  34. jonsnow ⋅

    I always thought that the term B-movie was just a dismissive term for a cheap film, which in some ways, I think it still is. However, through our discussions I’ve come to see why B-movies are important and I can respect the effort that is put into them. It’s a great outlet for a more unique and free creative artistry that perhaps you couldn’t express if you were under a studio’s thumb. It’s an interesting dichotomy between B-movies and mainstream films. On one hand a mainstream film will have a much higher budget and experienced and very billable actors, but are tied down by the studio’s agenda. On the other hand, B-movies might be limited financially, but have more wiggle room creatively. I like the idea that a B-movie can be unafraid of what critics or audiences will say because it’s not expected to reach a wide audience anyways, or that it’s a niche genre so it’s directed at a specific group of viewers that might be interested in the film regardless of its ambiguity. Like it was said in class, B-movies are meant to entertain and not to confuse the audience. That being said, I personally find myself very confused at a lot of the B-movies I’ve come across. I know that the inventiveness of these movies is one of the things that sets them apart from mainstream cinema, but for me it just makes it really hard to follow. I guess that personally I’m more of a fan of escapist cinema, if a movie is too sad or too confusing or just too plain weird, I can’t help but want to run away from the thoughts invoked by these movies! So in a funny way it pushes me to escape towards escapist cinema more, haha. I also found it really interesting that one of the reasons for the large amount of interest towards these old monster movies was fear of atomic disaster. It’s interesting that the monster movies would exploit these fears by making the origins of the monsters mostly rooted in radiation. Also the fear of giant monsters being a direct reflection of the fear of being attacked by a giant superpower (Korean War and Cold War) was fascinating to me as well. I see now that a film being praised for its relevance to current events, no matter how ridiculous the film itself may be, has been a recurring theme for a long time.

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    • OOR ⋅

      I agree with you that B-movie is not cheap movie because I also think that B-movie can express how the director wants to make the film freely more than making in studio or something because the director mainly can control how they are going to make a movie, so it is creative and different with major movies obviously. I think that mainstream movies are making under the major studio, so the producers or someone will demand the director how they want the movie to be like. It seems like same thing happened in the movie Ed Wood. Therefore, The director who wants to make own movies or don’t want other people to demand anything make B-movies even though they can’t get higher budgets than mainstream movies. I agree with you that making B-movie can be unafraid. Making mainstream movie cost a lot of money on casting, fabrication and so on, so they must make a lot of money that want a lot of people o watch the movie. However B-movie make specific genre and creative even thought they have limited financially. I think that is interesting that the B-movie directors persist the way they make movies beliefs. After I learned about the B-movies, it makes me want to watch more and more.

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    • GreenBanana ⋅

      I agree to your point that when it comes to B-movies, I would automatically think cheap and low quality before I learned about this genre in class. But its not necessary always the case. Some films are actually started with B-film like Terminator 1 but as they get huge hit in their first series production company increased their production budget and the rest of terminator trilogy aren’t B-movie anymore. I also agree that B-movies tend to be more unique and has more freedom in expressing the ideas. Also, B-movies has an advantage of trying new things because it often dose not include star values and dose not hurt too much.

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  35. uruwa ⋅

    I love “terrible” horror films, whether it’s from this decade or another. It’s usually movies like these that become cult classics for some reason or another, and they always end up being parodied in other movies and TV shows. That’s something that always interested me. People will take something that is notoriously horrible (cheap, badly-made horror films) and turn it into something that everyone loves to see parodied. Though I’m sure many of these directors took their movies very seriously (i.e. Ed Wood), it’s hard to take the /movies/ seriously when watching them. You have to wonder if people like Ed Wood knew how bad these movies were when making them, or if they were blinded by their passion for their profession.

    Terrible horror movies aside, older monster movies are something that everyone should see at least one example of. They are classic, whether they are done well or not. There are many references in current “monster movies” to older films, as well. Hell, Young Frankenstein used the many of the same props from the lab set of the original Frankenstein movie! This genre is a cult genre that will always have its admirers and its critics. It’s something that I believe you either really enjoy, or cannot stand.

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    • OOR ⋅

      I agree with you that terrible horror movie ends up being parodied in other movies. I feel like there are a lot of of parodied horror movies in the world because I think that parodied movie which imitated from the famous and hit movie it will hit again, so the directors did it. I realized after the paranormal activity got famous and made a lot of money, movies which are similar with the paranormal activity released some of them because the original paranormal is the first movie which is using the style of making like hand made by people who have experienced strange happenings. I don’t know exactly whether it is the first one or not. The style of the movie is like people use a video camera to shoot what is happening against them while they are sleeping or when the strange happening s happened, so it doesn’t seem like it is not professional movie, and it is like people can think that it happened on seriously. It is one of the horror movies, but it doesn’t show any ghosts in the movie for instance, even though something strange happenings happened to main characters like door is opened automatically, people wakeup to walk to somewhere while they were sleeping, and footsteps are on all walls in the room. When I watched first time it was scary and surprised that is really different with other horror movies because usually Japanese horror movies are shot with some ghosts especially a woman and a girl. Therefore, it was the new style of the horror movie which people like that style, so after the paranormal released, the movies which are similar ones released.
      I agree with you that some of directors made the movies seriously. I think that Ed Wood in one of the best director because even though his movie doesn’t hit and gets famous and popular from people, he doesn’t give up making movies and always have passion of making movies. Also, even though the producer wants him to change a scene or something that wants him to change his mind, he doesn’t change his mind that he made the almost storylines and shooting line, so if he changed the scene by the producers offer, it wasn’t his movie anymore. That’s why he hates the advice or forces from producers or someone to talk about scenes and storylines in his movie.

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    • BIGANTEATER ⋅

      Speaking of terrible horror films. Ive recently been watching random Japanese horror films. I highly recommend you check out a particular film titled Noroi or The Curse in english. Its actually not as old as the monster films we discussed during this section but its worth the look if you want a cheesy japanese horror film.

      On another note, its interesting seeing the contrast between monster movies of the 50s and monster movies now. Theres a feeling that the puppets and props of those films convey that highly advance CG can not. For me no new Godzilla can topple the original baby faced suitmation godzilla. For thosenot in the know, suitmation is justa person in the suit. Dont get me wrong its really cool to see a lifelike fully 3d animated dinosaur but the lack of the human prescene inside of godzilla takes something away from the feeling that the designers of the original suit intended.

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      • GreenBanana ⋅

        Wow… thank you for sharing the video. I found the full “Noroi” movie that was uploaded on Youtube and I went over some parts. it looked so scary. The style of filming is really close to “Paranormal Activity”, and it probably used by hand camera. The framing is always unstable or bit shaking for the whole time. I believe It would not cost as much as mainstream films but it looked so scary. I love watching some scary movies but I would not watch this one alone. To be honest, this type of cheap filming actually makes film more scary.

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      • jonsnow ⋅

        I feel the same way about Godzilla. It might just be because this is how we saw Godzilla first, as the most clunky fake looking suitmation ever, but it was still Godzilla! The Godzilla! The slow moving terrifying shiny dinosaur that breathed fire and rained down hell. Any fully animated CGI dinosaur would just be a remake or a fake Godzilla to me, haha. It’s interesting that we would prefer the older version partly because it’s more familiar, but also like you said, the newer version takes something away from the original suit and the feeling the designers intended. I do think they could have just been limited by the technology of the time, otherwise Godzilla would have probably been more realistic looking.

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    • theSiren_Song ⋅

      I’m always down for a bad monster B-Film as long as it’s not the damn Poultrygeist film!

      I feel the monster films also kinda exploit that part of humanity that always believes there’s stronger and higher powers our there that we can’t explain or control. Before we had science to back up the reasons why natural disasters happened, we blamed it on gods. Now we know why it happens, but what about things we don’t know… such as a nuclear fall out. How will that affect the life around us? Will it rise and turn against us? Monster films, i think, take the worst case scenario of these questions we hold and put them into a setting we can watch and enjoy.

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  36. dinerbears ⋅

    This post is my summary after I read the class power point on the blackboard. Most of movie categorized in B movie because they are low budget, they did not have that much time to produce because they have limited time and money and their using young actor because they are new and unknown actor because they are new so they do not need to pay that much money for them. Most of the B movie content related with monster, they topic that can catch teenager’s idea and easy to understand because they use the classic plot and simple message to deliver to the audience. I think B movie is also important for some director who likes shoot some controversial topic or some special type of movie this might be great area for them to produce their movie because there is low financial risk. B movie also remind me the horror movie we talked during the class final destination. They are one of the successful B movie in the present time since 2000 they already have 6 series. The first one their budget only 23 million but their office box is 112 million so for me I think if people talk about successful B movie first thing come up might be final destination. I think right now camera and editing software improve a lot compare with before. Even B movie or independent movie people still can see some good quality on it.

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  37. GreenBanana ⋅

    Now we’ve discussed about monster and b-movies in the class. I am not aware of much B-movies but among the film I’ve watched I liked the “The Mist” directed by Stephen King. This film was well made on screening. I liked the plot and everything, but I doesn’t motivate me to watch it again. This is just really sad and depressing. It really described well on how people goes selfish when they face extreme fear. This is all about monster creatures that murders people. One family survived, but at the end, the creatures were already around one family and family realized that they are going to die soon therefore, a father takes out his guns with few bullets in it. there were only 3 or 4 Im not really sure about accurate number but It wasn’t enough for mercy killing everyone. So he killed all of his family with the gun because its less painful and he didnt have bullet to kill himself therefore, he was waiting for death. However, US army or special force with tanks that came to rescue father and he was saved and story ends… hmm this kind of story leaves me gloomy feeling. The father and his family could have been waiting for them to rescue, but he thought everyone would die soon. This is really sad story but this film made a excellent job of making people feel that way. Its actually quite interesting.

    This is recent monster film(trailer) what I’ve found on youtube called Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDTm2Yofj2I) its quite similar to what professor Karl showed us in the class but I think this is more recent. at 1:26 sec the gore scene is really unrealistic eventhough the graphic(CG) is really good. haha To be honest I also find many many kinds of monster film b-movie just like this one. I guess for this kind of films, trailer is already good enough to understand and guess whats gonna happen so i don’t really look for these films. I love film that are mysterious and thinkable.

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  38. RM ⋅

    Before this class I was under the impression that B-movies were simply badly made movies that for whatever reason had a cult following. I thought this was a hit or miss thing. I understand now that those are actually cult movies, and that B- movies don’t refer to the quality of the film but rather the level of funding that is available to make the movies. This was a revelation , as now I understood that bad b-movies could be made and good ones as well. I loved watching the old monster movies in class. As I mentioned in class Them! Was very close in feel to the original godzilla. I think monster movies of that time period were a way of, personifying and giving physical form to the threat of radiation and nuclear annihilation.In Godzilla this is more explicit as he is a literal physical metaphor, the ants in Them! are as well. In both films the plot revolves more around the people and how the react to the situation rather than the monsters themselves. The monsters are their simply to drive the plot. The real story is in how people react to the consequences of radiation. That said fro a B-Movie , Them! Seemed to have very good production values. The ants were convincing and very well done, the fact that multiple show up on screen at once was surprising. Going into the movie I thought they would only have the budget for one. Later on the underground sets and flamethrower effects were also astonishingly good. I had a hard time seeing this film as a true B-movie. That said there were obvious cost saving measures. It was a well crafted film though and as I and other commented in the class the sound design was particularly noteworthy. The constant background wind noise in the desert sections was eerie and helped set the mood to great effect, while the approach of the ants and their signature screaching became a warning, a sign to dread. It was a motif that served the movie well. It reminded me of the iconic music in Jaws which was used to similar effect. Over all I really enjoyed learning about monster movies. I would have loved to watch a classic horror movie like nosferatu or even dracula which made lugosi famous.Speaking of lugosi, I would rate edwoods movies as more C-Movies rather than B-movies. His films are simply not in the same catagory as Them!. I mean perhaps in terms of concept they are just as silly, but in execution Wood is the lesser. That said I greatly admire the man, and his steadfast devotion to what he saw as his calling.

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  39. armitage ⋅

    For those interested, Japanese B movies were actually sold with major movie reels, like the B side of music record. One famous japanese B film maker was suzuki seijun. Seijun began working for Nikkatsu as a B side director but he pushed the limits of censorship, and made movies very different than the ones nikkatsu wanted. He was eventually fired under some controversy and blacklisted the japanese film industry for 10 years. But now he is considered a foundational director for japanese film.

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  40. mkt18 ⋅

    The lecture of B-movie was interesting to me.I had never watched B-movie because I thought that the quality the contents of B-movie is low. Actually, the film of Them! was low quality for me, but it was very creative film. Even though it was a monster film, I laughed a lot.it was not only a monster film, but also comedy I think.
    As an effect of great depression, the Hollywood needed to provide B-movie to call back to the audience. Therefore, the film industries have to create more films within low budget. Because of filming movie few days and low budget, the quality tend to be not good. However, even though B-movie was filmed with low budget in few days, some films could gained high profit and became popular. I did not know the famous films of Star Wars or Jaws were categorized as B-movie. Indeed, 1970s when Star Wars was filmed, it might be strange idea. However, now Star Wars has a lot of series and grew up high budget film. In SF genre, Star Wars was a pioneer and created new popularity. Therefore, it can be said that some B-movie creates the base of some genre.
    Furthermore, like monster films of B-movie, today we can see many monster films in high budget films. Like monster film, these new ideas were created by a producer in making. Because B-movie industry could not pay senior producer, it hired young producer. As a result, B-movie was good for young producers to improve filming skill and try to new thing. Also, breaking taboo was accepted, so the producers could show their sense of creativities and test the audience’s reaction. In addition, B-movie was good for actors to get skills and be in the films. Through lecture, many famous actors experienced B-movie. Therefore B-movie helped both young producers and actors. Then, they now support the Hollywood industry.
    B-movie was also interesting because even though the producers could film freely, they took into public opinion. After WWII, people were afraid of nuclear weapon, so the producers took that opinion and create film about it. Godzilla is Japanese film, but it also illustrates nuclear weapon. It is interesting thought to illustrate fear of nuclear weapon using a monster. Because of B-movie, it could be possible to use a monster as nuclear. Indeed, expressing dangerous of nuclear weapon was made easy to understand by using a monster.

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  41. BIGANTEATER ⋅

    The picture used for this blog post reminds me of a classic b movie based on a marvel character. The movie is called The Swamp Thing. IAlan Moor directed the film. He is also the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street as well as other B Movie horro classics. Swamp Thing isnt necessarily a horror film but it defintily does the monstor films of the time due justice. Monstor films are interesting because they all deal with “what if”. What if mankind made this mistake and this type of thing happened. Or what if we gained this technology and this thing were to happpen. Most of these monster films deal with the trope of humanity gaining a new technology but in the end our lack of actual understanding results in the accidental creation of some kind of monster. In Swamp thing a scientist makes a break discovery which allow plants to be able to grow faster. Someone discovers this and attempts to raid his lab and take his discovery. while fighting off the theives some chemicals are thrown on the scientists and he is fofced to flee to get the chemicals off of him. He jumps in a swamp which causes his dna to fuse with whatever is in the swamp. This is how Swamp thing is created. An although his appearence changes he is still very much human which is a constant theme in the movieas well as sother monster movies. No matter how far a science fail takes our apperance away from humanity, ones heaerts always remains the same.

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  42. From our semester, I’d have to say learning about B movies was my favorite topic!

    I feel like from watching B movies in our class screenings, the door is open for everybody pursing film because i feel just the simplest idea can go along way into success.

    Also I feel like artists who are trying to make it, can benefit from this collaborating with the directors to make posters for their films!

    terminator being a great example, the first terminator was a b movie that became very successful after getting picked up from a larger label.

    Who knows, maybe the next big b movie can become the next terminator like film in the future. keep on creating!

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  43. wakarinai ⋅

    I still think monster movies are awesome, and still watch them regularly. Mostly out of humor now a days since the qualities isnt much higher today as opposed to back then. Also seeing a giant stuffed bug going after people is pure gold.
    Learning about where the fear from these films made them even more interesting seeing that it was fear induced from Nuclear War. This was a popular film genre in the United States especially, which I find ironic as The U.S. is the only country that has used nuclear war heads. But just like anything else that could have induced some fear of retaliation, also this was the era of the Red Scare. But it is entertaining to see these movies and think that someone would take a fear and use it for entertainment.

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  44. Nox ⋅

    I didn’t really appreciate monster movies until I realized they were often times a euphemism for a real world issue. The first monster movie I saw was Godzilla (the original one) and as a child, I didn’t think much of it. But as an adult and learning more about World War 2, it became hauntingly clear what Godzilla represented. With the trailers we saw in class I constantly thought of the year it was made and paid very close attention to the dialogue. I appreciated this section because it added onto my knowledge of B-films and how movies were used as a way to express sentiments across all regions.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I know these monster movies were about nuclear radiations, but I have never connected them with the nuclear war prior to their makings. Now after I learned more about these monster movies, I certainly will start to appreciate them more just like you. I think this is why movies are served more than just entertainment. Like you said, sometimes they connect and emphasize a real world problem with the story to spread the words. Something I found interesting was that these B-movies are lower budget compare to the mainstream, and that’s why they are often used to spread information or political propaganda.

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  45. Honestly, seeing the picture on this blog post, I wish I could go back in the past and be able to watch films with such awesome looking advertisements for their posters and keep them!

    Its very different now a days where all of the posters look identical with each other in regards to their genre.
    for example, in romantic movies, its always the two couples who fall in love with each other in a pink back drop or in a action movie, its always the protagonist hanging off of a cliff or something. And in my opinion thats very repetitive whereas in B movie films, their posters are usually hand drawn and very simple but shows the audience what they are paying to go see.

    Maybe I’m weird but i love it things are very simple and liminal so in my opinion keeping the advertisement simple but yet very dramatic like the B movie films, would enlighten me a lot.

    If anyone has any idea, I would love to find out about the artists who design the artwork for the posters.

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  46. liarina ⋅

    I would say B-movie is one of my favorites. Since nowadays that many mainstream cinemas are produced just for making money without any certain ideas and value that can bring to the audience. This lead me to rethink the genre of B-movie. Before learning the knowledge of B-movies, I only see it a low budget fil with low quality in production. However, after what we have go through in class, I do know now that B-movie actually can be very valuable for the passion of the director and those crazy, weird ideas in the movie. Those are thing I find more interesting to watch when I had to pick up a movie to watch in the theater. Especially, after watching Ed Wood, I am so impressed by the passion that Ed Wood have for movies. Although he only has a low budget and limited time to finish the work, he is still very devoted and trying to do his best to present his work to the audience. Despite of the shooting skills, the overall contents are almost fresh and interesting not only back in the time when B-movie is popular but also in nowadays in 2016. That is something I am looking for in b-movie and trying to find the new idea from a film is always exciting.

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  47. TaiwanSwag ⋅

    I really like the movie “Them!” that we watched. Although it was an edited version I still think it was good enough for me as a monster B-movie back in the time. I am not a big fan of monster movies, but now I actually do appreciate them more after learning that these were actually made to spread the words of how nuclear wars could affect the nature and the nature eventually will take revenge on us. There were more monster movies that came out later, but I feel like the audiences are starting to forget about the reason why these movies were created in the first place. I remember reading my friends posting on Facebook saying how they think the monster is cool or not cool, and that’s their criteria on whether the monster movie was good or not. I feel like people nowadays are focusing too much on the aesthetics of the monsters and the technologies that were used in the monster movies instead of the stories or the moral of the genre. I am not sure if it was the audience that started to careless or the director, but I hope that the reason for these monster movies could be emphasized more.

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  48. mkt18 ⋅

    B-movie gives me nice impression to me. When I first heard the world of B-movie, actually i felt that it seemed boring because i thought the Hollywood film high scale films with high budgets. Therefore, I could not imagine, low budge film. Also, filming required at least three month, so i was surprised that B-movie was filmed in few days. Because of low budgets and less time to film, i thought a quality of film was also low. However, like Star Wars, it can be famous.I like wathcing the Star Wars, so I should thank for B-movie. And all B-movie we watched in class were interesting.

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