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Grade B Movies that Transcended

Most filmmakers are sincere in wanting to create movies that are entertaining, tell engaging stories, and impress upon the viewer a lingering, visceral afterimage: that was a great movie! or like to see that again! or Sonny Tufts there was an actor! And many succeed, making not only good films but in many cases making history with the quality and professionalism of their final product.

Unfortunately, though, the world of cinema hasn been filled with only ersatz D. W. Griffiths, Billy Wilders, Elia Kazans, or Stanley Kubricks. canada goose sale The world also has in it directors such as M. Night Shyamalin and James Cameron; with big budgets and splashy special effects these people are capable of making a slick product for public consumption, but that product may not necessarily be a truly great movie.

On the other end of the spectrum are those earnest filmmakers who tried so very hard to bring their visions to the masses but failed. These failures aren always necessarily in the concepts (though a Grade B movie such as 1938 Terror of Tiny Town musical Western with an all midget . . . er . . . excuse me . . . ahem . . . Most of the time the problems in such low rent movies stem from poor acting, bad production work, hackwork editing, and hokey storylines (such as the mid 1930s Reefer Madness, a morality tale of how marijuana can turn an ordinary young buck into a homicidal maniac).

Often, nearly all of these issues arise from one source: a lack of funding. Movies cost serious money to simply get a rough cut made and even more to get the polish needed for the final output to be good.

Grade B movies, perhaps, didn always have the luxury of finding an interested studio for backing. This left the upstart director and to either fund films themselves or rely on friends, neighbors, and business associates to pitch in financially. This is an honorable tradition in filmmaking, and many movies went on to achieve greatness for their creators. [A fine example of this is Billy Bob Thornton 1996 drama, Sling Blade, definitely not a B movie though made on a small budget of a million dollars.]

Peckerwoods of Hollywood In addition to independent producers, bigger studios, too, churned out cheapie B movies to quickly capitalize on a topical issue. [Think about all the sci fi films of the mid to late 1950s that featured radiation exposure as a vehicle for its stars insects turned gigantic played upon American fears of a Cold War era nuclear holocaust as psychological fodder.]

Credit: Reynold Brown, 1958; public domain

These films were not thought of by their creators as high art; many were banged out as quickly as possible with little care about quality. [One guy, William Beaudine, who later directed many episodes of the original Lassie TV series of the 1950s and worked for Disney toward the end of his career, was so notorious for wanting to keep things moving along he earned the nickname Shot He very rarely did a second take on anything, at least in his TV work. His last two movies, infamous in movie history for their awfulness, were both released in 1966: Billy the Kid vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein Daughter.]

And, of course, the king daddy of all B movie was Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1924 1978), a cross dressing film fanatic whose stabs at movie making were laughably inept. Wood used friends, D list actors (including TVs Maila Nurmi; TV wrestler Tor Johnson; and Hollywood great Bela Lugosi, in his declining years), stock footage, and whatever he could cobble together to make his films.

One of them, Plan 9 from Outer Space (1956), is routinely listed by almost any critic as the absolute worst film ever made. In homage to Ed Wood kooky take on life and movie making, quirky director Tim Burton made a pretty good biopic in 1994, Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp (suitably crazed looking) in the title role.

However, there exists a group of films within B dom that were, by and large, deadly serious about their subjects, their choice of actors, and use of plot and character development. But, for whatever reasons, these movies just plain failed to achieve the high gloss of well thought of films. However, their overall helped them exceed the expectations of their makers and financial backers despite (in most cases) terrible acting, crummy editing, awful dialog, and outrageous plot devices.

The following group of movies has the distinction for being responsible for entire franchises and genres of films that followed in their wake. Here we have zombies, a sexy space adventuress, an eco spaceman, slayers of hillbillies, a chainsaw wielding killer, a small time hood rat pimp, a post apocalypse cop, and a buncha young slackers in search of a witch.

All of these movies (in chronological order) were influential on the film industry as well as finding their way into the collective pop culture consciousness.

So, take your sense of decorum and lofty pretenses about art and leave at the theater door; kick back in a comfy chair with a soda and a bag of popcorn and enjoy some cheesy greatness!

8. Night of the Living Dead (released: October 1, 1968)This film is truly iconic.

Made on a shoestring budget of a mere $114,000 US (around $765,000 today, still a very low figure) this movie was shot in glorious grainy because color film was simply too expensive. That unintended touch ended up making this cheapie very atmospheric and, thus, more suspenseful and horrifying (with its bad lighting, use of heavy shadows, etc.). It also was done quickly was shot in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh on a catch as catch can basis over the six months from June to December 1967.

While there had been many movies before that featured the walking dead it was this one that perhaps gave a more realistic portrayal of what such undead denizens might look like and how they might behave. Director George Romero used random people for such scenes, mostly volunteers. Many of the zombies are nude, a disturbing element thrown in for realism, and they are people Romero hired and not supermodels are not physically attractive in their builds (if the same movie were made today, only the Salma Hayeks, the Scarlett Johanssons, and the Sof Vergaras would be nude).

Only the simplest of special effects could be afforded. Chocolate syrup films as blood in B so Bosco was used; clothing came from the actors or second hand shops, and makeup was the most basic white face with black ringed eyes. http://www.51canadagoosereview.top/ Another fun thing Romero did was get a bunch of ham pieces and raw entrails (donated by one of his actors who owned a butcher shop chain) for the zombies to and handle. The meat grew rancid very quickly, but the troupe soldiered on through the stench.

All of the actors and actresses were unknowns or friends of the filmmakers, and some of them appeared in more than one role (for example, an on screen person might appear in another scene as a zombie eating a bug).

Something else interesting Romero did in casting he did it without commenting on it in the film narrative making his leading man an African American. He said his choice in stage actor Duane Jones for the lead (as Ben) boiled down to the simple fact Jones gave the best audition for the role. In America at that time precious few black men (other than Sidney Poitier) were ever cast as heroes in movies with otherwise all white casts. Romero simply let the matter lie; it is never brought to the fore or discussed in any way, nor do the other characters in the film make a big deal about his race. We accept this black man as merely another player and we move on.

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