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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Beauty of the B-Movie
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Due to a hectic work life I rarely make it to the movie theater, but that’s actually just fine with me because my two favorite kinds of movies are rarely shown on the big screen. On the one hand I love the classics; Rebel Without a Cause, Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, Casablanca. It’s hard to go wrong with those types of flicks. On the flipside of that I am also a huge fan of b-movies. Those films that are so bad they end up being enjoyable in their sheer awfulness. My love of b-movies started with USA Up All Night (bring it back USA!) and Mystery Science Theater 3000 (bring it back Comedy Central!) and thanks to dollar store DVD racks and rappers thinking they can be actors, I will have a never-ending supply of such films at my disposal.

USA Up All Night was a show many of us remember fondly, especially those of us who are fans of Troma films, the likes of which include The Toxic Avenger. I have no idea why this series stopped, but it, along with Mystery Science Theater 3000, were two of my greatest late night loves back in my high school days (yeah, I know, I probably should have dated, but oh well). While Up All Night played classic b-movies, MST3K introduced me to some of the worst movies ever made, such as Manos - The Hands of Fate (props to How I Met Your Mother for throwing in a mention of this film in a recent episode). Manos featured a VERY long driving scene at the start that was supposed to have the credits rolling over it but when they found they had forgot to put them in they said who cares and left it as is. MST3K also introduced me my favorite movie monster of all-time, Gamera (pictured above). How can you not love a giant, flying, fire breathing turtle?

When I went off to college I began making my own attempts at b-movie wrangling, which turned out to be very easy thanks to a little company called Unapix. Unapix created a number of b-movie classics, including Uncle Sam, a hilariously bad movie about a serial killing Uncle Sam (with Isaac Hayes!), and a film I’ve mentioned on this site numerous times before, Jack Frost, which is about a serial killing snowman (sensing a plot trend?). These finds happened in the late 90’s, a time when something was about to revolutionize the b-movie world; rappers deciding they could also be actors.

Yes, while my friends and I were watching Jack Frost and the various other Unapix features Master P had decided to start producing movies and BET’s “Black Star Power” tag was being used to hype some of the worst dreck in the history of film. I can remember when my buddy Dyalekt brought over Gang Warz, a film he picked out due to its leading man being none other than Chino XL. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Chino XL as an emcee. No one can deny he’s one of the nicest to ever touch a microphone, but when it comes to acting… let’s just say even in the world of b-movies Gang Warz can only be described as a total mess (and it wasn’t just Chino’s fault). Of course, no discussion about rapper movies is complete without a mention of Cam’ron’s Killa Season, or the uber-awful Leprechaun in the Hood, which featured a death scene where Ice-T was stabbed in the neck with an afro pick.

This leads to the next great aspect of b-movies; the fact that a lot of actors and actresses wish all those films would find a way to magically disappear from their imdb pages. For as much as Shannon Elizabeth may want to forget about Jack Frost, or Denise Richards would love to hide her starring role in Tammy and the T-Rex, or Bill Maher might never want to be reminded of Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (seriously, it’s real), they are on their resumes forever (even if they have decided to leave them off of their reels). Let me tell you, when people are talking about actors and actresses there is nothing more satisfying than being able to throw out an obscure b-movie reference from said actor or actress’ past.

All this being said it should come as no surprise that a couple of weeks ago, while wandering a dollar store’s aisles, I became elated when I saw a movie rack. You know if they’re being offered up for a dollar they’re some pretty awful flicks. I happened upon one that had Fred Williamson on the cover; Warriors of the Wasteland. It was a post-apocalyptic “action” movie and boy was it ever terrible, but terrible in a truly enjoyable way.

Thanks to those dollar stores, as well as rappers turned actors turned directors turned producers, and the Sci-Fi Channel, which airs some amazingly bad made for TV movies, I know I will always have a litany of b-movies at my disposal, and that makes me happy. So I’ll let the boring folks of the world enjoy The English Patient and Titanic; the Class of Nuke ‘Em High is calling and I’d much rather watch that.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:40 AM  
  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Crew54 said…

    I know it isn't really considered a "B" movie, but Baby Boy with Tyreese is so horribly great I got to watch it everytime it comes on. I mean come on Omar Gooding is the hardest movie character since Larenz Tate as

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