The B-movie may seem at first to be a somewhat outdated genre, having developed solely in order to fill a gap in cinematic double features, but the resurgence in popularity of the low-budget B-movie over the past few years just goes to show that there is something genuinely appealing about these often ridiculous films. Online movie rental service LOVEFiLM, which offers its members the option of watching movies online as well as have them delivered on DVD or Blu-Ray right to their door, has a good selection of the best B-movies around.
Topping the list of B-movies producers has to be American studio The Asylum, whose 2009 film Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus has played a big part in getting modern day audiences to embrace the B-movie genre. The Asylum have also produced a number of films which parody mainstream blockbusters; these “mockbusters” include titles such as Sunday School Musical, Mega Piranha, and even Titanic II.
Having noted the success of creature features from The Asylum, other studios have jumped on the B-movie bandwagon. Syfy have consistently created made-for-TV movies on low budgets which could be considered B-movies, but 2010 saw the creation of a surprising hit, Sharktopus. Playing on the success of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Sharktopus merges the two creatures together to create a dangerous hybrid that has to be caught, but kills and eats a number of people in a typically gory fashion along the way.
One director who particularly endorses the B-movie ethos (although not necessarily its budget) is Quentin Tarantino, who produced along with Robert Rodriguez the two-part Grindhouse feature in 2007. Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is followed by Tarantino’s Death Proof, both designed as exploitation films in the style of old grindhouse double features. Mock trailers shown before and after the Grindhouse films have resulted in two other recent releases in the same vein; Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun – the former of which is set for a sequel!
All of which seems to confirm one thing – as the studios became a little more sophisticated in their methods of film production, and audiences tired of the formulaic films produced with a B budget, the B-movie crept quietly away…but only to return with a vengeance to the same audiences who had by then tired of the self-same expensive and repetitive blockbuster movies; if nothing else, the latest wave of B-movies proves to audiences that a little imagination will always win out over a lot of money.
*This is a Guest Post post.