Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - "B" Movie Classics

Yeah, I know it's not Thursday yet, but I will be out of pocket most of tomorrow and can't find the option to post at a later date that is probably available on the more sophisticated blog models.

Beth recently reviewed what she thought was a "good" B movie. I'm no B movie expert, but I enjoy cheesy movies, so I thought this would be a fun meme. I think there's a fine line between "A" & "B" movies these days, as Beth noted when trying to name those worthy of 5/5 Kraft Singles. I think the key is "low-budget," in every sense of the word. The challenge for me is that I don't care for sci-fi or horror movies, and that's where most B movies are made. And once I started this list, I realized I was on a very slippery slope (but after reading that the Southern Baptist church invested in Ed Wood's film, Plan 9 From Outer Space, I felt a little better about myself ;-). So, here are my suggestions for the 13 mostly non-sci-fi, mostly non-horror (zombies don't count), mostly PG-ish but many unrated (all, without a doubt, unsuitable for children), "B" movies to see before you die:

1) *Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (this may just be the funniest of all "B" horror films)

2) Dawn of the Dead (this is the spawn of Night of the Living Dead , the quintessential, original zombie movie; this one brings back fond high school dating memories).

3) *Bedtime for Bonzo (who can resist Ronald Reagan and a monkey?)

4) The Mummy (classic Boris Karloff)

5) *Touch of Evil (classic Noir…I wish there were a lot more where this came from)

6) The Blob (this movie scared the daylights out of me, but who can resist?)

7) *Rocky Horror Picture Show (this was just becoming a cult film when I was in high school and so, yes, I threw toast and shot water pistols in a movie theatre, who hasn't?)

8) *Hercules (I actually saw Lou Ferrigno in real life, working out at Gold's Gym in Venice Beach, CA, circa 1981...he was the Incredible Hulk at that time...don't ask why I was in Venice Beach, I really don't remember that part; the reviewer describes this as the "most insane sword and scandal film ever made;" yeah, that's about husband owns just about every variation on this film ever made).

9) Planet of the Apes (if you've only seen the tee vee series, you owe this one to yourself...Charlton Heston at his finest; there are really no words except "brilliant!")

10) *Little Shop of Horrors (adorable schtik)

11) The Killer Shrews (vintage schlock)

12) *Bagdad Café (downright odd...this one will throw you off balance and you'll wonder what just happened)

13) *Polyester (the only Scratch & Sniff movie I've ever seen and probably the only John Waters movie, besides Hairspray, worth watching)

Now, don't even get me started on Spaghetti Westerns (or Macaroni Westerns, as they are known in Japan). MBH has just about every one ever made. ;-)

* I own these ones (I don't own many movies, but these are really just that "good").


At 9:07 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Jim said...

Touch of Evil is a terrific film, but I'm not sure it deserves a "B movie" designation.

And which little shop of horrors are you referring to: The Jack Nicholson or Rick Moranis version?

At 9:23 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Jim, You're right. As the review says, it is more of a classic B movie. That might be said for Bagdad Cafe also, which is a little more introspective than a true B movie...avant garde is more like it. I had exhausted my list of truly worthy B's I guess. ;-)

And I was referring to the Jack Nicholson version of Little Shop. Or it might be Jonathan Haze? None of the covers on Amazon match the one I have. I've got a very old version and the actor reminds me of a young Jerry Lewis. I'll have to look.

At 9:26 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

I remember seeing a "Hercules" movie as a child at a north Texas drive-in during a visit to my grandmother's house. As I recall, Steve Reeves played Hercules. I distinctly remember being so impressed as my older cousin explained to me that Steve's biceps were SO big that he couldn't even scratch his back! Funny how stuff like that sticks with you for decades...

"The Tingler" was the classic horror B-movie that scared the daylights out of me.

At 9:34 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Jim said...

I guess I could have simply follow the links that you supplied and answered my own questions. It's been a long day.

Frank Oz directed an updated version of Little Shop with Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene (and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II). The critics said it was a stinker, but I think it's great. Featuring Steve Martin as a dentist and a great cameo by Bill Murray as a masochistic patient. It's B all the way! They changed the ending though... hollywood. Heh.

At 9:36 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Did you see it at "Brian's Drive-In Theatre" by chance? Brian's seemed to have quite a collection of Herculeses. Heh. I can't scratch my back either, but my biceps are nothing to brag about. That is funny you remember that.

I've never seen The Tingler but just looked at the review. Anything involving a centipede like parasite living along one's spine is bound to be pretty scary, I think. 8-}

At 9:39 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

I've seen the Rick Moranis version also, but still preferred the classic (although I enjoy Steve Martin in most things). Didn't catch the change in endings though. I'm not a very astute movie watcher, am I?

At 9:43 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Ellen Greene just blew me away in "Little Shop" (the Rick Moranis version). She was equally amazing in "Glory, Glory", a made-for-cable televangelist scandal movie that was unviewed by millions.

Then, of course, she once appeared on an X Files ep.

At 9:44 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Oh, and I don't know anything about a "Brian's Drive-In Theatre." Is it an actual drive-in, or a euphemism for something else?

At 9:50 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Guess I need to watch the Rick Moranis version all over again. ;-)

Brian's Drive-In Theatre was the link I used for the many variations of Hercules...take a look. ;-)

At 11:01 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Pancho said...

Good list. However, I have to argue the points that although "The Blob" started out in "B" territory time and events have elevated it. A classic of the genre and of course early Steve McQueen. On the otherhand "The Planet of the Apes" was a fairly big budget film when it came out. It just happened to really stink....lowering it to "B" status.

At 6:48 AM, May 11, 2006, Blogger beth said...

These are all great - and many have been done by MST3K, which of course clarifies their status on the list. :) I miss those little robots.

At 10:14 AM, May 11, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Pancho, I can't dispute your I said, there's a fine line. I liked how the reviewer described Planet of the Apes as "completely whacked." So completely whacked, it hurts. The large budget must have paid for the great costumes and Charlton's wages.

Beth, would you care to elaborate? Or must I go aGoogling? ;-) Who is MST3K?

At 1:14 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Gwynne. Please tell me you're joking. Mystery Science Theater 3000 - also known as MST3K - was an awesome TV show where they showed really awful (sometimes dipping into the C and D categories) movies - but the main character and the two robots he made would sit and make snarky comments all throughout the movie - redo dialog, etc. It was HILLARIOUS.

Sadly it's no longer on, but I'm sure you can find reruns or rentable dvds of the show somewhere.

At 1:14 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger beth said...

A better MST3K link

At 3:23 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Sadly, Beth, I am not joking! Remember, I just crawled out of a cave a few days ago? I only got cable tv a few weeks ago. Seriously. But thanks for sharing because that looks like it would be some seriously funny stuff.

At 6:59 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger beth said...

You will absolutely roll. (Well, I think you will...if you don't, please don't blame me. Or hate me because I have a warped sense of humor.) Maybe the library has it to check out? Or if you're a netflix person maybe they do? Dunno - but it's worth looking around to see if you can find an episode or two.

At 10:23 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

The fun thing about MST3K is that anyone can imitate it! All you have to do is be able to make fun of whatever's happening on screen.

At 7:06 AM, May 12, 2006, Blogger Lyn said...

Hey, I liked Planet of the was the "Return" sequel - in cartoon form! - that found new lows.
Sorta like when Scrappy Doo joined Scooby Doo - the show became doo doo. :-) lgp

At 5:30 PM, May 12, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Beth, as you can see from the post, I've never hated anyone for having a warped sense of humor. ;-) I'll look around.

Eric, sounds like a good source of FATR material then. ;-)

Lyn(don), did I say I didn't like Planet of the Apes? No, I said it was "completely whacked." There's a distinct difference. ;-) But I agree with you that the cartooning brought it down considerably. And I loved Scooby, without Scrappy! Best cartoon ever, imho.


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