From Academic Kids

The term B-movie originally referred to a motion picture designed to be distributed as the "lower half" of a double feature, often a genre film featuring cowboys, gangsters or horror. In the days of the major film studios, this was official terminology that also gave rise to the practice of referring to "A-list" or "B-list" stars.

"B-movie" has gradually come to refer to any low-budget movie with lesser-known (and generally considered inferior) actors (B-actors). Usually the films are formulaic and campy, with cheap special effects, uninspired dialogue, and gratuitous nudity, sexuality, and/or violence. B-movies of the horror movie genre are especially popular. B-movies today are often not even released in theaters, instead going direct-to-video.

In the 1980s, with the advent of cable television, B-movies were used as a source for a type of late night television programming in some major cities where they are shown back-to-back until the early hours of the morning. The 1990s television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 used B-movies in its episodes, where they were shown in toto (although often edited for time) while being subjected to sarcastic commentary by the program's stars. David A. Prior and Mario Bava are prominent figures in the B-movie industry, and Ed Wood has been credited by some as a master of the form (although the term better applicable to his work would be "Z-movies"). Roger Corman specialized in producing and/or directing the kind of films which typify B-movies of the 1950s.

Currently, certain production companies such as Troma specialize in producing large quantities of low quality B-movies. One of the classic producers of these films was the U.S. company American International Pictures (AIP), founded in 1956 by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff. Its films include works by Roger Corman, Vincent Price, and the early efforts of then-unknown figures such as Francis Ford Coppola, Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro, and Jack Nicholson. In the 1970s, such houses as Independent-International Pictures, Film Ventures International, Charles Band Productions, Cannon Films, New Line Cinema, Golan-Globus, and others leapt up to create a new generation of B-movies; most of these films died away as budgets soared in the early 1980s and even a comparatively low-budget, low-quality picture would cost millions of dollars given the public's expectations of color filmstock, original music scores, and comporary special effects techniques. Outside of the so-called "adult" film marketplace, B-movie techniques and characteristics became largely confined to direct-to-video outfits.

See also

External links

  • Bad Movies (http://www.badmovies.org/movies/) B-movie reviews, each with screenshots, sound clips, and a video clip
  • Nanarland (http://www.nanarland.com/) French website that hosts reviews and several media/information on B-movies and other bad movies
  • B-Masters Cabal (http://www.b-masters.com/) A confederation of movie review sites specializing in B- and cult movies.de:B-Movie

fr:Srie B it:B-movie ja:B級映画 zh:B級片


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