Sifting out the gems in the cascade of B-Movies

Katelin Aanerud

While we commonly think that all low budget B-Movies are just for people with an odd sense of humor, there are still a few that are both genuinely creative while also still being a barrel of laughs. From horror to sci-fi, these are the films that stick out and remain nostalgic for many and a lot of fun for anyone willing to give them a try.

William Castle was always known to use audience interaction, from the invasion in The Tingler or the guaranteed life insurance in Macabre, his 1961 film Mr. Sardonicus continues this trend.

“For years I have searched for a unique way, where by a motion picture audience can actually decide the climax of a picture,” Castle said in the many different advertisements for the film.

Though low budget, the plot and character interactions really comes to life. The title character, played by Guy Rolfe, wears a mask during the majority of the film after inviting a doctor to his castle. The reason for the invitation isn’t revealed until much later, to the horror of all who watch. It’s a fun vintage horror flick for those willing to indulge in its bizarre plot, and comical effects. It would also be a wonderful film to watch with a large group, where everyone can “decided” and debate the fate of the characters.

This wouldn’t be a proper list without mentioning one of the “worst movies” of all time. There can’t be much said about Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, it is one of those movies you just have to see. The plot, effects, and acting are all out of whack, but it is certainly a good time and a movie that everyone has to watch.

Spinning around the idea of the deceptive 50s aliens, Critters follows a much smaller creature. With it’s playful design but sinister actions, these aliens are far from ET. Released in 1986, Critters is a fun sci-fi horror B-Movie with just enough jump scares to please a thrill seeker, while not being too scary for a younger audience. Unlike most films of its era, it’s not terribly gory or over the top.

As the Hammer company became to go out of business in the early 70s, they took the remainder of their money and put it into what was suppose to be the first in a trilogy: Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. The story follows an ex-German soldier, Kronos, and his assistant Grost as they solve a small town mystery. When a young girl seems to “die” of old age, it is up to them to find out why. The low budget of the film is blatant thought the majority of it. Horst Janson plays the title character and due to his strong accent, all of his lines were dubbed. The makeup is not up to the standards of the era, and the costumes are not extraordinary. But, it took the idea of vampires and gave it a new twist. It is not overly gory, like many of the B-Movies of that time. Because of the innovative storyline, likable characters, and the amazing sword fights, this movie stands out as a B-Movie classic.

All of these movies have a long list of cons, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad altogether. Sometimes, these flaws make the movie more enjoyable. It’s entertaining to see how far we’ve come, and how movie magic has evolved since the golden era of Hollywood. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of movies that are just plain fun if you’re willing to dive deep into the hilariously terrible realm of B-Movies.