Thank God For The B-Movies!
So, I'm watching the trailer for SHARKTOPUS the other night and couldn't help but let my mind wander between scenes of epic awesomeness and foolish perfection. Is there any other genre that benefits more than horror from poorly produced, horribly acted films? The B-comedy is always a failure, the B-science fiction never finds an audience (unless you love MST3K), and the B-drama....... I can't even think of any B-dramas. The B-horror film will always have a place in the hearts of genre fans. Is it because we're easily pleased and/or dumber than your average film fan? No, it's because we're usually the ones making the films, and we know how to have a good time.
I would literally sit on the floor at my local video store and wait for copies of certain films to be returned. If I hadn't I never would have been blessed with multiple screenings of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, FROM BEYOND, THE TOXIC AVENGER, COPPING MALL, and so on and so on. Let's be honest, these are the films that created the horror fan in me. Their failure to pull any punches when it came to gore, nudity, and genuine creepiness set a standard that hinders modern horror. The characters were memorable, the kills were iconic, and the women were topless. I hate to say it but if some of today's filmmakers in the genre followed those three simple rules we'd live in a better world.
The cult hits may be few and farther between nowadays but the tradition is still alive. Check the horror section at your local media outlet and you'll find twice as many direct-to-DVD titles than mainstream bullshit worth renting or buying. And while the quality of theatrically released horror is constantly getting worse, the B-movie is getting smarter, sharper, and a hell of a lot more fun. The line between A and B is getting blurrier by the second and if North America ever runs out of great foreign horror to remake there might not be any difference whatsoever. Is this a good thing? I don't know, I'm drunk.
It's no coincidence that the only future horror films on my radar are cleverly disguised B-movies. HATCHET 2 broke through because the original followed those silly rules up above. PIRANHA 3-D seems to be using the hype of B-films such as MEGA PIRANHA to fool people (me) into thinking it will be a bigger, better version. I truly believe Hollywood studios have lost the ability to make a horror film anymore, and when they do get it right (TRICK 'R TREAT), they have no clue how to handle it. Original theatrical horror is dead in North America. I have the ticket stubs to prove it.
Maybe it's the booze talking but I fucking loved BASKET CASE. And PIECES. And RE-ANIMATOR. I love that they were ridiculous and sloppy. I love that my wife has never heard of a single one. Johnny Hollywood will catch on one day and start remaking the whole slew of them (actually, this already started with MY BLOODY VALENTINE) but what they don't realize is - by making them better, they're only making them worse.