It's a contradiction of terms to talk about great B-movies. If they were that great, they wouldn't be B-movies. They'd just be movies.
But some of the schlocky, silly, underbudgeted films featuring 50-foot cavewomen, voracious blobs, radioactive monsters, and dinosaurs in the Wild West exceed their humble origins. They're a lot of fun. And, whether you're laughing sincerely or ironically, doesn't matter as long as you're having a good time.
So this week, we're dedicating Throwback Thursday to the best of the B-movies.
(As always, you can check out any and all of these movies and books from the Mentor Public Library. We’ve even linked to our collection so you can put them on hold wherever you are.)
1. King Kong v. Godzilla—It's nigh impossible to get a group to agree on a favorite King Kong or Godzilla film, but anyone with the slightest sense of the spectacular can agree that the combination thereof is B-movie brilliance.
2. Piranha—Jaws begat a million imitators. For my money, Piranha is the funniest and the most fun.
3. Leprechaun 3—Picking a favorite Leprechaun movie is like picking a favorite flavor of M & M. You can dress them up so they look different, but they're all peddling the same shtick. A gory sadistic version of an Irish mythological character goes to some distinctive setting and kills people—usually in over-the-top fashion. In the third entry of this series, the Leprechaun goes to Vegas.
4. Death Race 2000—David Carradine versus a pre-Rocky Sylvestor Stallone (as Machine Gun Joe) in a cross-country race to the death! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to fittingly punctuate that premise!
5. Army of Darkness—Medieval setting? Check. Undead monsters? Check. Bruce Campbell with a chainsaw for a hand? Yes, sir. This is Sam Raimi's finest hour. (Don't talk to me about Spider-Man 2.) Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.
6. Plan 9 from Outer Space—This film from the godfather of schlock, Ed Wood, is legendary for all the wrong reasons. It's on the short list for worst movie ever. Sadly, it bottoms out beneath even Wood's usual standards for a tragic reason. Star Bela Lugosi died during production, so Wood used unrelated Lugosi footage from other films to complete it. No, it doesn't really work; but it's fascinating to watch.
7. Troll 2—You think Plan 9 is bad? Troll 2 is so horrific that they made a documentary about how bad it is.
8. House on Haunted Hill—I'm sure almost every Vincent Price movie except for Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine has been described as his "finest hour." But they're all lying. This is the greatest thing Vincent Price ever did. (Except for The Muppet Show.) by modern standards, it's about as scary as a box of puppies; but it's the quintessential 1950's horror flick.
9. Foodfight—The story behind Foodfight is a lot more entertaining than the movie itself. It stars Charlie Sheen as Dex Dogtective and HilaryDuff as Sunshine Goodness. I'd love to tell you what the movie is about, but I was distracted by the ridiculously bad animation. However, there's a reason for that. This movie was almost finished in 2003 when the hard drives with all the animation on it were stolen. So they had to redo the whole thing. On the cheap. And it shows.
10. Sharknado—It's a tornado of sharks. Do you really need more explanation than that?
Bonus Pick: Hobgoblins—This film is the epitome the good kind of bad and would have topped the list if we had the original and not the just the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. (But you should still totally check out the MST3k version.)
Come back each week for a new Throwback Thursday profile.