Top 10 B movies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B Movies, you either love them or hate them.  I happen to be on the side that loves them.  I once thought I was alone in the strange world of cinematic masterpieces (sarcasm included) when I was a young teenager.  I remember waking up earlier than usual on Saturday mornings to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) with my family and thinking to myself, “Are we the only people that find this hilarious?  Am I alone in a world of grueling films which accidentally bring me to tears laughing so hard, while at the same time, stealing hours of my life?”  Sadly, I began to think this was true as I watched MST3K eventually disappear from cable television (I later learned this was due to legal fallout with the big wigs versus the creators).

Yet, I began to see a shimmer on the horizon of B movies and people that love them.  I began to meet new people that shared the same guilty pleasure of sitting round in a group and trashing on the worst films to ever appear on VHS and DVD.  In fact, it must have been somewhere in my life around the early 2000s that I began to realize just why I loved these films as much as I love laser tag, bowling, table top RPGs, or any other hobbies that make me or anyone else reading this article so unique.

Simply put, good movies are for amateurs.  Anyone can sit through a movie like Transformers, Avatar, or any other multi-million dollar film (debatable).  These movies are saturated with state-of-the-art CGI, A-list actors, and tons of hype which place them on a pedestal for at least a weekend or two throughout the cinema season.  However, B-movies possess what mainstream films could never produce: good old fashioned, mind-numbing fun that only the strong at heart can endure.  If you can manage to sit through these horribly awesome films, the reward is like a diamond in the coal mine.

To me, B movies are like great bar stories that make for great conversation and 1-ups for those people we love to hate.  Filled with unforgettable one-liners, poor directing, atrocious acting, and miserable special effects, these gems allow viewers to sit back and not worry about following plot lines or even remaining quiet so you don’t ruin the movie.  No, when it comes to B movies, you can’t ruin what was self-destructed upon its initial release.  In fact, there is nowhere to go but up with interjections and commentary throughout the entire film.

The best part about B movies is that they are so darn cheap compared to new releases at your local store, pay-per-view, Netflix, and many other outlets which can charge an arm and a leg.  With B movies, you already know it is going to suck- half the guess work is already alleviated.  It’s worth the dollar for those DVDs you often pass in the checkout lane which secretly offer tons of laughs. The only question is whether it will be a funny type of torture or a grueling 1-2 hours of pain; yet, even the latter pain can be a great prank which I will later discuss.

The only necessary disclaimer for delving into the B movie genre is that MST3K had it right with three people trashing the movie.  I would call myself a novice B movie watcher having seen around 40 horrible movies; yet, watching even the funniest B movie alone is grueling- it makes you feel like Tom Hanks talking to himself without the volleyball (Wilson!!!!).  Three to five people including you will help to bounce jokes around and to fill in the dead gaps of movies.  It also helps create a memorable experience that will provide hours of reflection for ages to come.  I would say ‘the more, the merrier’ but having too many people present will increase your chances of getting at least one person that ruins everything either by dominating the event with lame jokes or by trying to move the crowd toward any activity but laughing at B movies.

Lastly, of course, this article would not be complete without a top 10 list of my favorite B movies.  The below movies are not only favorites of mine but are also well known in the B movie community for their poor acting, special effects, cheesy plot, bad directing, and tons of laughs.  These movies serve as great entry-level flicks for those willing to give B movies a shot.  For those of you in disagreement with my list, please respond with any of your favorite B movies that I may have missed or still not had the pleasure to view.  My friends and I look forward to taking in your suggestions and sacrificing ourselves for a few more laughs.  By the way, the MST3K guys are still around under the guise of Rifftraxx.  Mike Nelson and his cohorts even have live theater broadcasts a few times a year to spread their affinity of B movies to the greater United States.

10.  ‘Gerry’ stars Matt Damon and Casey Affleck in over two hours of both brothers looking for “something” in the desert.  To make a very long story short, they don’t find what they were looking for and the object they are looking for is never revealed.  It is a wonder this movie received such good praise as it did at the time.  There is no accompanying soundtrack, there are no other actors, and there are collectively 300 words throughout the entire film.  This is one of those super artsy movies that fared well at independent film festivals but, when filtered down to us simple folk, it leaves you wondering if you missed something.  There are no laughs throughout the entire film, especially after the credits roll.  This movie is where the analogy of Tom Hanks without the volleyball comes into play.  This movie could only serve two purposes: slow torture for captured global terrorists and to gaslight someone into thinking this is the best movie ever made.

 

9.  ‘Phantom Raiders’ stars Miles O’Keefe as the leading role tasked to train ex-special forces vets who are washed up selling “swag” to make a dishonest dime.  This movie is a terrible rip-off of Apocalypse Now as the plot involves overweight vets chosen to rescue a U.S. Army Colonel from deep Vietnamese territory.  By the way, Vietnam looks more like California in this movie…go figure.  The film is loaded with laughs as the effects are filled with moments that make the movie 2012 look believable in comparison.  Equipped with exploding throwing stars and never-ending ammo, this movie provides great laughs as the vets look like 1983 George Lucas meets Credence Clearwater Revival.  Enjoy!

 

 

8.  ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ is a black and white film that spawned from the brain of once-famous director Ed Wood.  This movie was bashed by RiffTraxx due to its horrible directing and lack of plot.  Have you ever watched a movie and gotten the feeling the script was made up as the movie progressed?  This is one of those films that make you feel it was shot entirely from the hip and fell flat as a result.  Due to the awful special effects, I started to make a game out of how many strings I could site in the background.  Eventually I lost count as I was occupied with keeping my popcorn down throughout the laughter.  I would definitely suggest the RiffTraxx version of this film as it could make solo viewing somewhat enjoyable.

 

7.  ‘Prince of Space’ is another horrible film that was slaughtered by MST3K in the 1990s.  Made in Japan in the late 1950s, this black and white film may have been the catalyst for Japan beginning to favor animation rather than actual actors.  The voices were dubbed into the script much like a kung fu film gone awry.  Even funnier are the effects of the aliens in which the evil villain Krankor resembles a chicken in tights with an antenna on his head (as shown in the first photo).  While negative scratches were a popular trend for special effects in the 50s and 60s, now they only serve as comical relief since the evolution of 3-D and CGI.  I won’t spoil the ending but I will say the movie truly gets juicy when outer space becomes the main setting.

 

6.  ‘The Last Slumber Party’ is a classic early 80s slasher film which revolves around a group of teens “just dying to have a good time”.  Don’t hate me for the cheesy description; that was a line from the actual trailer.  The actors playing the role of teenagers look more like 30-somethings in cut-off blue jeans and football jerseys as opposed to actual teenage actors.  I really don’t see why the casting director chose to use adults since real teenagers could have acted on the same level, if not better.  This movie shows its age as it was filmed before Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) impacted DUI legislation; there are many scenes of teens drinking and driving sadly like the national pastime it once was.  Lastly, the killer in the movie is revealed in the end with a surprising twist.  I won’t ruin the ending but I will say the stock footage which was used countless times to show the killer certainly makes you yearn for more slashing just to see the same clip, again and again.

 

5.  ‘Future War’ was also dished on by the guys at MST3K and for very good reason.  This movie is like a mix between Time Cop and Land of the Dinosaurs rolled into one comical dung-fest.  The lead actor looks like Van Damm’s body double except he seldom speaks, probably because his acting is even worse than Van Damme and Steven Seagal combined.  Yet, he has no difficulty thwarting off attacks from enemies which include toy dinosaurs filmed in Godzilla-style perspective filming and a cyborg that looks like a reject from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Borg.  Once again, I won’t ruin the ending but I will remind you to pay special attention to the cut marks on the hero’s chest in the final battle- it’s there, it’s gone, it’s back again!

 

4.  ‘Street Trash’ is one of those films that sort of reminds you of The Toxic Avenger but funnier.  The Toxic Avenger and most of Traumaville’s movies try too hard to be funny but end up with generally cheesy reception as a result.  Street Trash, however, tries too hard to be serious and turns out to be epically hilarious.  The bad guy in this movie looks like a washed up Zack Galifianakis on steroids.  The other evil element in this movie is cheap liquor called Viper which sells for less than a dollar a pint.  Viper must be 1,000 proof liquor since it instantly turns whoever drinks it into slime and bile.  This movie gets better as it progresses as the last 30 minutes is where the real laughter is to be had.

 

3.  ‘Evil Ed’ is most definitely not to be confused with another favorite of mine, Evil Dead and the latter movies in the series.  Evil Ed is more like a tribute to cheesy horror films but with a “shoot from the hip” plot.  What begins with a man losing his mind turns into a full-on slaughter fest as the lead character begins to take on the role of a maniacal killer.  This movie delivers one liners that endure for ages.  I can’t even quote the one liners from this movie as they make no sense unless you see the movie.  I will say that this movie is so funny that you may be able to endure this one solo even if all your friends claim to be too busy doing other things like washing dishes or some other mundane excuse in order to avoid watching this film. Just like Street trash, this movie continues to deliver the laughs even up to the credits.

 

2.  ‘Troll 2’ was actually ranked “The Best Worst Movie Ever Made” throughout the B movie community.  If you ever had the privilege to watch the first Troll, discard it from your brain.  This movie has nothing to do with the first movie and, furthermore, isn’t even slightly related to trolls as all the monsters are really goblins.  This movie also delivers non-stop one liners and poor acting which makes your stomach hurt from continuous laughter.  The hero in the movie looks like a young, androgynous Lindsay Lohan with freckles but without the probation bracelets.  The special effects in this movie are so awesome that you will find yourself pushing rewind and looping certain parts just to let the scene soak in.  Similar to Evil Ed, you could easily sit through this movie alone and troll your butt off.  (Lame pun intended)

 

1.  ‘Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness’ is, in my opinion, THE BEST B movie for so many reasons.  The main actor loses his mind in the most hilarious manner when he walks in on his wife in bed with another man who is also his best friend.  The husband ends up imagining people that aren’t actually there and ends up being hospitalized for years in a mental institution.  The soundtrack to this movie reminds you of a 6 year old child toying around on a $20 Walmart keyboard, especially since the music comes and goes at random times which don’t necessarily match up with the scenes.  What’s even funnier is that the main character goes berserk with a myriad of weapons which makes Jason Voorhees seem like an amateur in comparison.  If you try to order this movie through legal channels then be prepared to pay the same price as a used copy of Final Fantasy VII as this easily retails for over $50 on DVD.  But don’t let the price scare you.  This movie is well worth the collective $10 each from a group of potential viewers.  Enjoy!

 

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About Manny Garza

After serving 8 years in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst, Manny departed the military in order to pursue his B.A. in Philosophy from American Military University. Aside from college, he writes short stories and essays in the realm of philosophy and science fiction. Manny's short stories are heavily influenced by who he refers to as The Trinity: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Jack Williamson. He is married to his lovely wife, Melissa, and has two dogs named Koopa and Goomba. Aside from being an editor and contributor of Nerd Trek articles, his hobbies include playing guitar, singing, and both tabletop and video game RPGs. Manny currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.