There’s Nothing Wrong With A B-Grade . . .

Sunday 25 May 2014

The topic I had originally planned to write this post about has fallen by the wayside. I had all good intentions to write about something important to me, and then I happened to turn on the TV, and Anaconda was on. Good ol’ Anaconda. The B possibly D-grade ensemble cast flick with the likes of Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, J-Lo, Owen Wilson, and Ice Cube, and that big a$$ animatronic snake. And that got me thinking about the crap movies that we all kinda like watching now and again.

So let me start this list with Anaconda. The acting is crap. Jon Voight’s accent is crappier than the acting. J-Lo is . . . well . . . she’s J-Lo so I don’t think anything really needs to be said about her. Owen Wilson is impossible to take seriously. And there are some things that rappers should just stay away from . . . like acting. But damn, this is a great movie to watch. It’s what I like to call a ‘no-brainer’ – in other words, you don’t need to think for a minute about what’s going on or what’s about to happen. And I say again, it’s got a big a$$ animatronic snake that eats people. What’s not to love about that? Okay, fine, there’s a lot not to like about it, but it’s a great B-grade movie.

Fright Night: Of course, I’m referring to the original from 1985, not the remake with David Tennant. Again, we have a certain quality of acting in this film that, frankly, leaves a helluva lot to be desired. However, back in the day, it was a flick that we all watched and thought was pretty good. Check out the original if you can get hold of it. The special effects alone are worth the viewing time. And the lame vampires in this movie are still 100% better than those sparkly ones in that unmentionable movie.

Lake Placid: Like Anaconda, we have a big a$$ adversary to amuse us in this flick. This time, we’re dealing with a big a$$ ‘gator. As per the formula with the big a$$ snake, we’ve got some “experts” trying to capture it. However, unlike the snake flick, the “experts” in this movie are trying to capture it to protect humankind . . . well, most of them are.

Road House: Oh, be still my beating heart. Patrick Swayze in his prime. It doesn’t matter how truly bad the script or the acting are, Patrick Swayze is the star, and he’s always worth looking at.

Starship Troopers: Bugs. Giant. Alien. Bugs. Is there really anything more that I need to cover here?

Army Of Darkness: Now, while I’ve put this flick on this list, it must be noted that I really enjoyed this instalment of the Evil Dead franchise. Bruce Campbell brings that perfect mix of comedy into this lame horror. This is a cult classic in my mind. Sam Rami did a wonderful thing by making this film. All hail Sam Rami, and all hail Ash! Some of you probably have no idea what I’ve just written there, but I know that there are a few of you out there who know the greatness of Ash.

The Beastmaster: This is a flick I remember from childhood. Marc Singer was the guy who could telepathically communicate with animals. Yes, that’s right, a sort of fantasy/adventure Dr. Doolittle. But semi-naked. And hot.

Flash Gordon: The universe blessed me with a showing of this movie earlier this month. I’m sure that when I was a kid it was far more impressive. But that’s the thing with memories, isn’t it? Often things seem better than they actually were. Flash Gordon, however, is truly a cult classic. Oh, the tyranny of Ming the Merciless.

Sleepwalkers: A young Brian Krause stars with Alice Krige, and Mädchen Amick in this film. An original screenplay by Stephen King couldn’t even help the terrible flick that this turned out to be. Still, it was a great ‘no-brainer’.

Super Mario Bros.: Not an actual fan of the game, I only watched this movie because Roxette provided the main soundtrack song, ‘Almost Unreal’. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo are the brothers, Dennis Hopper is Koopa, our necessary evil guy, and Samantha Mathis is the princess. Panned by reviewers, critics, and moviegoers alike, I actually kinda liked this one.

Warlock: Richard E. Grant and Julian Sands. That made this viewer very happy . . . particularly Julian Sands as the dashing-but-horribly-evil warlock from the title. The special effects were probably quite good in their day, but would definitely not stand the test of time. Great movie though.

Damnation Alley: What I’ve always vividly remembered about this movie is the scene in which mutated cockroaches strip the flesh from a guy sitting in a car. Couldn’t tell you what the rest of the film was like, but that one scene has been emblazoned in my memory. I’m sure that it was viewing that scene that acted as some sort of catalyst for the kind of things that I do so enjoy putting in stories. As with the majority, if not all of these B-grade classics, the special effects were really rather rubbish, although, probably top of the line in their day. Check it out if you can find a copy.

Trick Or Treat: This movie comes from the great ol’ year of 1986, and was about a high school outcast who wrote a letter to his rock’n’roll hero, Sammi Curr. The kid hears about the gruesome death of Curr, crispy-crittered in a mysterious hotel fire. Long story short, the dead rocker comes back from beyond the grave via the exploits of the high school kid. It eventually leads to a showdown between the kid and the dead rocker. I liked this crap movie some much that I even bought the soundtrack on cassette. It was played incessantly in my Walkman. When I was researching for this post, I discovered that there are still some weirdo people around who listen to the soundtrack today. I don’t know where my copy went, but I do know that I knew every word of every song on that soundtrack.

As we’re all aware, there are countless B-grade flicks that are really crap, and there are many, many worse-than-B-grade movies around that we can’t help but watch. I kinda feel that B-grade movies have a valid place in our cultural identity . . . okay, maybe that’s a strong assertion to make . . . however, they do play a vital role in film culture. These are the movies that we watch when we don’t want to think, when we want to escape from reality. These are the movies that make the great flicks seem even greater.

Do feel free to leave your thoughts regarding what you believe to be some of the best B-grade flicks that you’ve seen. That’s what the comment section is for. 😉

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About Danielle

I like to write. What more is there to know?
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2 Responses to There’s Nothing Wrong With A B-Grade . . .

  1. I didn’t think anyone else in the world had ever seen Damnation Alley! I saw it like 50 times on HBO back in the day and loved how bad it was. I must see this awfulness again! I bet it’s on YouTube. Lots of other good awful classic no-brainers on this list, too. Good one! Did you ever seen Phantasm?

    • Danielle says:

      And I was pretty sure that I was the only person in the world to have seen Damnation Alley. Yes, Phantasm was also a film that I remember from my much younger years.

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