B’s and Funny Bones
Some B horror movies go on to have cult followings, propelling them into pop culture. Others fall flat, becoming the fodder of discount movie collections with titles like: Zombie Gore Fest or Bloodsuckers and Nightmares or some other bland, blasé title to bind the collection together. Some are good, having some merit of being unintentionally funny or very disturbing.
And then there are the movies meant to be horror-comedy but manage to pull off the comedy part very well and lack true elements of outright horror. Here are some of my favorites.
The Direct to DVD/Video Releases: So Bad…but So Good
I Am Omega (2007). A zombie apocalypse movie with tones of I Am Legend and a slew of zombie movie staples. Lone survivor, Renchard, is holed up in his zombie-proof home, having lost his wife and son in a fatal encounter with the undead several years previously. He tries on a daily basis to search the internet for survivors but is unsuccessful until he is contacted by a stranded survivor Brianna, when she is trying to contact Antioch, a band of other survivors. Renchard refuses to help her, having dotted the city with explosives. Two men from Antioch appear soon afterward. They try to convince him to help, telling Renchard that Brianna might carry the cure to the virus in her blood. That doesn’t make Renchard eager to help, so the men end up forcing him to help at gun point. This movie isn’t for everyone. I enjoy it because it is funny, unintentionally, it was meant to be taken seriously. Some acting is actually good, others not so much. If you enjoy good bad movies, you might like this one.
Monster (2008). A documentary style movie. It is set in Japan where two reporters are doing a documentary on the unusual seismic activity that has been occurring around Tokyo. As the movie progresses, aftershocks begin assaulting the city, causing chaos, and the reporters document their experiences as they traverse through Tokyo. I did enjoy it, although it lacked the depth or terrifying elements of a horror film or the trying-too-hard-this-is-serious-acting kind of hilarity. It still remains a favorite B-movie.
Both of these movies were released by The Asylum. Delving a little deeper, I discovered that The Asylum has a history of making these type of movies usually when Hollywood blockbusters come out of a similar nature. I Am Omega has a clear association to I Am Legend. Monster came out when Cloverfield did. Going down the list of productions, I was surprised (but really don’t know why I should be) to see that The Asylum had a hand in the break-out hit Sharknado.
Other straight-to-DVD/video movies: Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999), The Lurking Fear (1994), The Dark (1994), 7 Nights of Darkness (2011).
Horror-Comedies: Easy Peasy Watching Movies
Horror-comedies are great tension easers and are preferred watching for those who don’t want a constant diet of fear, blood, violence and darkness. I like to be well-balanced and I also possess a (weird) sense of humor. So to cleanse the horror palette, I turn to some of my favorite horror-comedies.
Young Frankenstein (1974). Mel Brooks is a spoof genius, in my humble opinion. Anyone who has seen this movie could probably remember that every time someone says “Frau Blucher”, horses will neigh loudly, has noticed that the candles Frau Blucher carries when showing Frederick Frankenstein to his room is unlit yet she tells him to stay within the light because “the staircase can be treacherous.”, and (one of my favorite bits) when Igor gets a brain for Frederick, drops the one specifically asked for, grabs one that he later tells Frederick came from “Abby Normal”. This movie is in black and white, giving it a classic movie feel and pokes fun at the early Frankenstein movies. Trivia: this movie was written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks.
Beeltejuice (1988). I am a big Tim Burton fan and this is one of my favorite movies. It’s dark, quirky, visually interesting (as most of Tim Burton’s films are) and funny. A married couple die in an accident but return home, at first unaware that they are dead. They stumble across a handbook for the dead which they are unable to make sense of since it reads much like a manual. Their country home is bought by a family from the city and that is when Barbara and Adam decide to haunt them, to reclaim their house. Unable to do the job themselves, they try to hire a ghost by the name of Beetlejuice. But things do not go the way they plan. The DVD has several episodes of the Beetlejuice animated series under the special features.
Other horror-comedies: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Ghostbusters (1984), Haunted Honeymoon (1986), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), House (1986), Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), High Spirits (1988), Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988), Dracula: Dead and Loving it (1995), Scary Movie 1-4 (2000-2006).