A Guide to the B-Movie Genre

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There’s no denying it, we’ve all loved at least one B movie in our lives. I’ll always remember the joy I felt when I’d go on our weekly family trip to Blockbuster, most likely to pick out some dodgy parody film that was practically a B movie. Think Disaster Movie (2008), where fake Hannah Montana gets crushed by a meteorite, Alvin & the Chipmunks are rabid zombies, and for some reason Kim Kardashian features on the cast list. But parodies aside the genre that’ll always keep you coming back for more, whilst simultaneously questioning this decision, is the B movie.

Of course, a discussion on B movies wouldn’t be complete without one of the best in recent years, the Sharknado series. Shockingly they made six Sharknado films, clearly identifying its popularity. Sharks fly in the sky, a guy jumps across sharks like lily-pads, a shark is chainsawed in half, and many strange cameos occur – Billy Ray Cyrus, Perez Hilton and Kelly Osbourne to name a few. In Sharknado 3 (2015), we even witness the Sharknado take flight to outer-space, and Sharknado 4 (2016) features a firenado when the sharks catch alight. It really doesn’t get much crazier or entertaining than the Sharknado franchise. Or does it?

With a similar aquatic theme, the Sharktopus (2010) movie and its many alterations are just as wild. You get the premise, a shark and octopus are formed to make a Frankenstein combination of a shark head and octopus tentacles. You’d think the craziness stops there, but just wait for Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (2014) or Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (2015). In the former, sharktopus takes on a pterodactyl crossed with a barracuda, and in the latter they take on a whale crossed with a wolf. You really wonder how they come up with these ideas, but I’m not complaining. Something about the utter ridiculousness of two completely different animals merging, particularly ones that are extinct or land and sea animals becoming one, just makes it all the more engaging. After all, it’s not the budgets but the completely unbelievable plots that keep us coming back for more.

One thing that stands out about B movies are their titles and a personal favourite of mine has to be The Gingerdead Man trilogy. This follows a man who’s possessed by an evil spirit that’d been sentenced to death via the electric chair. With the tagline “evil never tasted so good” you really can’t go wrong, but the second and third movies pushed the boat out to deliver us even greater titles and puns. Although The Gingerdead Man: Passion of the Crust (2008) is pretty good, ultimately the winner has to be The Gingerdead Man 3-D: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011). I wish I’d come up with that. Another clever, but somewhat revolting title, is Monsturd (2003) with the tagline “don’t get caught with your pants down”. Not quite as tasty as the Gingerdead man, but still some genius wordplay.

From Frankenstein-esque beasts and monsters to hilariously worded titles and tag lines, the B movie will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a true guilty pleasure genre, one you know you shouldn’t be enjoying but you just can’t help it when the plots are so unbelievable. Whether it’s with uni flatmates or your family, you should introduce regular B movies into your watch schedule. You won’t regret it.

The Sharknado series, Gingerdead Man trilogy, and Sharktopus films are all available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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