To B-Movie Sites
By Will The Thrill Viharo
the oft-used and maligned term "B movie" referred
to the bottom half of an average double bill back in the '30s
and '40s. The "A" title was a slicked-up Hollywood
product with big name stars, while the soggy side of this cinematic
sandwich, filled with cartoons, newsreels and previews, was
usually some tossed-off project with a budget culled from a
hobo's pocket and a concept leaked from a wino's imagination.
Interestingly enough, it was these barely-advertised bottom-fillers
that gave us many now-classic film noirs, such as Detour
and T Men, cult film series like the beloved Bowery Boys,
and later provided us with endless hours of timeless entertainment
on late night television.
the mid-'50s, James Nicholson and Samuel Arkoff formed American
International Pictures and revolutionized the film industry
by packaging two B moviesaka, exploitation films, since
they often catered to prurient tastesfor less than the
price of one A movie. The results were record-breaking profits
with minimal investments. What these frantic flicks with lurid
titles like I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Invasion of
the Saucer Men, Girls in Prison and High School
Hellcats lacked in fiscal comfort, they more than compensated
for with kooky creativity and starvation-motivated earnestness.
In many cases, they were gritty, authentic time capsules, much
more reflective of the era's true ethos and mores than their
glossy counterparts. Many legendary directors cut their sharp
little teeth on these memorable mini-masterpieces, from Roger
Corman to Francis Coppola to Peter Bogdonavich. But while the
filmmakers themselves later earned respect and kudos from the
industry at large, their earlier work remained sources of embarrassmentexcept
to sick people like us.
the over-the-top plots once reserved for exploitation movies
are blown out of proportion into big budget mainstream productions,
pointlessly spending wasteful millions on derivative concepts.
Meanwhile, the low-budget genre picture has been relegated to
direct-to-video dreck. The term "B movie"which
could stand for breasts, beasts, and bloodhas come to
encompass any cheap flick made on the fly for a quick buck.
But the sad truth is, in today's greedy, imagination-bankrupt
world of remakes and sequels, they don'tcan'tmake
'em like they used to. Fortunately, if you yearn to share your
nostalgia for mad scientists, screaming scantily-clad starlets,
private dicks, mutant bugs, alien invaders and rubber-suited
beasts, you need only dial into your futuristic space-age computer,
daddy-o, and dig these crazy way-out sites devoted to that most
outré of obsessions: The B Movie.
Astounding B Monster
The leading source for the junk movie junkie's cyber-fix, this
brilliant and beautiful, award-winning site was created and
designed by graphics genius and genre guru Marty Baumann, who,
among many other things, writes freelance articles and illustrates
his own comic book, The Crater Kid (www.craterkid.com).
Marty and famed guest writers, such as Tom Weaver, craft intelligent,
witty, well-researched reviews of vintage and current films,
as well as compelling profiles of their stars, including exclusive
interviews. While all of this is of intense interest to the
hardcore B movie buff, the site also serves as a pithy primer
for the nutty novice. In the astounding archives, be sure to
check out the Top Ten Lists of Horror and Sci-Fi Films from
the "experts" including, humbly, yours truly.
B-devotee Brian Walker has created a lovingly built site with
specially designed sections, packed with pictures, devoted to
varying B movie sub-categories (Hercules, Tarzan, beach party,
superhero, and monster flicks, to name a few), as well as galleries
of "Beefcake" and "Cheesecake" photos. Brian
may only be an ambitious fan, but he gives that phrase a classy
ring with his stellar site.
This site is a stunningly comprehensive guide to every movie
ever shown on the hit cable show Mystery Science Theater
3000, which, despite its irreverent approach, helped revive
interest in the classic B movie after the untimely ¹90s demise
of that formerly ubiquitous television staple, the weekend horror
host. What¹s more, Daddy O's is also an electronic encyclopedic
reference source crammed with links to other sites of similar
interest, plus exhaustive info on the directors, stars, and
producers of both the MST3K program itself, and all the movies
it showcased. These ranged from offbeat crime thrillers to sword
and sandal sweat-fests to schlocky sci-fi. Though there is more
text than graphics, the site does display original poster art
and photos for the flicks in focus, each of which gets its own
page of data. This is dirt well worth delving into.
Van Doren's HomePage
With sundry indelible appearances in dozens of decadent drive-in
delights, like High School Confidential, Girls Town, The
Beat Generation, Guns, Girls and Gangsters, Sex Kittens Go to
College, Las Vegas Hillbillies and The Navy vs. the Night
Monsters, Mamie has proven once and for all that she is
the reigning Queen of the Bs. The still-sexy star is currently
swingin' harder than ever as the first Sex Kitten of Cyberspace.
This site is as gorgeous, colorful, entertaining and provocative
as the lady herself, bursting with photos from her early glory
days right up to the present, as well as informative autobiographical
pieces and other sources of catchy candor and eye candy. (See
also Issue #7 of ATOMIC for more of Mamie.)