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B-MOVIES 101

By Andrew Berg | March 3, 2001

Why “Scream” on “Friday the 13th” when you don’t have to? ^ Why don’t you just wake up from this bad mainstream “Nightmare on Elm Street”? ^ Isn’t “Halloween” an overrated holiday, anyway? ^ “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” but frankly don’t really care.
If you’re one of the many misguided souls who love modern day horror films, then this story isn’t for you. There’s another terrifying world out there, a deeper, more ethereal world. It’s the world of fear and fright only surpassed by reality itself. It’s the world of B horror flicks.
In B-land, they’re flicks, not films. Some say this is because you just want to flick them into the garbage after watching them. I say it’s because these precious pieces of art ignite a burning flicker of light in your soul after just one viewing.
In B-land, flicks are usually less than 90 minutes in length. Some say this is because there is no story, just stage blood and plastic dismembered appendages. I say, why waste two hours of celluloid on a boring dramatic story when you can go right to the thing you came for: the horror, duh?
In B-land, you’ll experience more than one emotion; laughter, terror, sympathy, sadness, disgust, and so on. Some say this is because the flicks are so stupid that you will laugh at the plot, feel terror for the future of the director’s career, sympathy for the actor who got wrangled into it, sadness for the episode of ER you’re missing for this, and disgust for the pathetic attempt at realism. I say you will laugh at the fact that no one else knows this gem exists, feel terror for the bloody maimed victims, sympathy for the actress who had to work on such a realistic project, sadness because the theater will not be playing it next week, and disgust for the people who think otherwise.
Actually, the theater won’t be playing it at all. B’s don’t usually make it to the big screen. They go straight to video. This is simply unjust, but too painful of a subject to discuss now. How could any theater proprietor shun titles like: ^ The Brain that Wouldn’t Die ^ Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town ^ Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers ^ I Spit on Your Grave ^ Killer Condom ^ Rabid Grannies
There are a few key facts you should know in case the cerebral concept of B horror flicks comes up at a sophisticated cocktail party. I’ll graciously list them here to help you be more of an expert on such a profound concept.
Vincent Price is probably the biggest star of B flicks. His credits include “Pit and the Pendulum,” “Raven,” and “Diary of a Madman.”
If you want to sound like an expert then say, “I think Poe was trying to convey the inherent evil in all of us by hinting to its existence in Roderick.”
Ed Wood is considered by some one of the worst directors of all time. But with some 30 flicks under his belt before he died in 1973, I think his eccentricities were key to his unique style. Some were “Glen or Glenda,” “Necromania,” “Orgy of the Dead,” and the cult hit “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”
If you want to sound like an expert then say, “Trent Harris really captured the essence of Mormon mysticism when he made the sequel Plan 10.”
B horror actors don’t die boring conventional deaths. Modern day films always stab. Stab, stab, stab! But in Mausoleum, the possessed wife’s breasts turn into mouths with jaws and eat the hero to death. In “Leperchaun,” the green fellow pogo sticks a shop owner to death. In “Troll 2,” victims are force fed bad milk and then turn into mushy goo. The trolls then lick up the remains. Simply brilliant.
If you want to sound like an expert then say, “I put my money on Ricardo Islas. His next flick Headcrusher will probably give us the best deaths yet.”
You’ll never recognize a B horror actor or actress. Forget star power and high salaries. B’s focus their concentration on the important stuff – the horror. Directors purposely cast nameless and talentless actors. They want you to really pay attention to the realistic and fearful emotions the actor conveys on screen as they are disembowled, not the actor himself. Actresses always have big breasts and actors always have other big things you can’t see. That’s because these talents are so prolific they can crossover and from horror flicks to pornography and back again. If your neighbor looks like the actor from the B you rented last night, he probably is that actor.
If you want to sound like an expert then say, “No, I didn’t know the name of that actress, but did you see her breasts chomp that guy to death?”
Never rent flicks from Blockbuster. Never! Go elsewhere. Bob’s Videorama. Dave’s Video Palace. Ma and Pa’s Videoland. Go to the seedier parts of town. B flicks wouldn’t dare show their jackets in the same place that rents a Jennifer Love Hewitt horror film.
If you want to sound like an expert then say, “If you rent at least 300 B flicks per year, you essentially will be paying for the complete production of a new one. Now there’s giving back to the community.”
You must pledge allegiance one way or the other in the war of horror films versus horror flicks. I just hope my fruitful knowledge has shed some light on your ignorance. Embrace the bizarre, unnatural, and delinquent world many of us love so dearly. Take a step back from a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt and really look at her. If that doesn’t scare you away from mainstream horror, then you’re probably a lost cause anyway.
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