Well it’s Halloween yet again, any movie goers favourite time of the year. So last year I gave my Top 10 horror films. So this year I am going to pick my Top 10 B-movie horror films. So lets dive in to the world of low budget gore…..
C’mon, anybody who complains that a movie called “Thankskilling” about a foul-mouthed (or is that fowl-mouthed?) supernatural turkey who goes on a murderous rampage is not a good movie missed the point. This movie is not supposed to be good. It’s supposed to be as bad as it sounds, and thankfully, it is! “Thankskilling” is a movie made for horror fans, as it totally exploits the ridiculous genre conventions most horror films employ to a fault. All the usual suspects of overused clichéd characters are here (The Jock, The Hot Girl, The Sensitive Girl, The Funny Fat Guy, and The Nerd), but each one is exaggerated to the point of caricature, so the whole thing works really well instead of being tiresome. The five friends embark on an idyllic Thanksgiving weekend getaway, and of course, things don’t go as planned.This movie is offensive, vulgar, and most of all, absurd, but all the crazy random elements are woven together in a way that could be called (dare I say)…. brilliant? The villain of “Thankskilling” is a trash-talking necromanced ancient undead turkey realized on screen through a really poor quality hand puppet, and yet the Turkey is one of the most refreshing villains I’ve seen in low budget horror in a long while. He’s definitely original (in the very least), but also boasts some unforgettable one liners that will keep you smirking long after the end credits have faded away.
9.Ilsa: she Wolf of the SS
Ilsa is first and foremost an exploitation film and, realizing that, I have to say it is in the upper echelons of its field because it wallows in filth and does so unapologetically. It boils down to this. If you search out a Euro Trash film, be it an Italian Giallo or English 70’s horror, you desire it to be as sleazy and un politically correct as possible but also you want the movie to have some semblance of a plot, be it ever tiny. Ilsa scores big on all these points. There is wall to wall nudity, all female. Gratitutious torture scenes that are more ridiculous than offensive, (I mean every time Ilsa drags a prisoner down for torture they are completely naked as they are being tortured). And all most everyone of the female cast members at some point is completely naked. Let’s be honest, It ain’t Shakespeare, nor does it pretend to be. Of note is the lead actress Dyanne Thorne. Apparently Ms. Thorne had lofty ambitions of being a serious actress at one point in her career but the fickle finger of fate lead her to Ilsa fame. In her mid 40’s, Ms. Thorne is competent enough not to look like an amateur on screen. She has a several nude scenes throughout the movie and anyone who watches Ilsa will no doubt remember her more for her large breasts than her acting ability. Ilsa She Wolf of the SS is a noteworthy entry into the world of exploitation films and should be the starting point for anyone who journeys into this genre. I rate it as a 10 because it knows what it is and does not pretend to try for anything higher
As slasher movies go, this one is not too bad. It borrows liberally from other more famous Canadian slasher films (the wintry setting and actress Lynn Griffith from “Black Christmas”, the killer’s mask from “Terror Train”), but it’s not a bad little film in its own right. It has a good set-up. Six young actresses are gathered together in an isolated house to compete for the same theatrical role (of an insane woman). As it turns out the treacherous director (John Vernon) had previously given the part to an older actress (Samantha Egger) who had gone so far as to fake her way into a mental institution to research the role and ended up being left there by the director. Soon the competitors start disappearing one-by-one. But is it the director, the bitter older actress, or has one the younger would-be thespians been driven over the edge by the competition? The movies falls apart a little in the middle. The ending is good, however, and pretty surprising–and it definitely has some very spooky scenes.This is one of the rare slasher movies that is more interested in creating a strong atmosphere and developing the characters than in showing 101 ways to carve up annoying, brain dead teenagers. If you’re the proud owner of the “Sleepaway Camp” box set you might want to pass on this one, but if you like horror movies that are well-crafted and actually a little bit scary, this is worth a look
7.Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
People, get a grip! I have heard people say this film roles all the bad things from sci-fi, action, and horror movies into it…That’s the point!I don’t see how any one could resist the charm. Even the opening score is cheesy and had me giggling like a school girl to the point where some one came into the room to ask what in god’s name was going on. If you don’t like this movie at all, I guess laughter is just not for you. I have seen many truly awful independent B-movies and this pretty much encompasses them all. Now, it’s not with out it’s flaws (looking at it in a as a satire/parody). I didn’t like how at some points the film act as a parody. Okay, I know I’m being confusing. Let me explain…The film is great because, for the most part, it feels like a cheesing independent horror movie. When jokes are clearly jokes, it breaks this formula. I’m not saying some of these weren’t funny, I am saying I wish they were more subtle. Basically, these guys set out to make a film that was so horrible, so cheesy, so cliché that you couldn’t help but laugh. Think of it like this. Imagine the worst film you’ve ever seen (I honestly mean the worst). I guarantee you laughed at some parts because of the poor quality. Times it by one hundred and you have Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
6.A Night to Dismember
The plot sees unfortunate young Vicki Kent (Samantha Fox), released from an asylum after she offed a couple of kids, tormented by her siblings who want to make her go nuts again and return to the institution. Now this is a bad, bad film, bad from shonky start to shoddy finish, but its beautiful too.This is truly backward, screwy and degenerate stuff, a production no doubt hurt bad from the loss of 40% of the original negative, leading intrepid director Doris Wishman to spend the next couple of years cobbling together replacement footage in between other projects. Barely coherent and filled with ineptitude, the film ascends the realms of mere car crash cinema in its adept assimilation of different varieties of badness into one multi layered whole. For a start, rather than having conventional acting and dialogue, this one is designed more like Coleman Francis’ masterpiece “The Beast Of Yucca Flats”, in that it has narration, music and just a few lines of chat, all post dubbed, rather than any semblance of actual acting. Performers are all devoid of passion, and the music, constructed it seems entirely out of stock tunes, swings wildly in terms of tone and appropriateness. The plotting is sorta bad melodrama meets deranged hack ’em up schlock with a weak finale, but it does at least make way for plenty of slaughter. This is at best reminiscent of Herschell Gordon Lewis, with very cheap dummy work, gooey red splatter by the bucket, soft hitting violence and directed and edited in a fashion that is nearly always funny but often punishingly inept.
“Intruder” certainly ranks up there as one of the all-time greats. In this film, a grocery clerk’s ex-boyfriend shows up to harass her. After the store closes, people begin dying off one by one. Is it the boyfriend? With notable appearances by the “Evil Dead” alumni: Bruce Cambell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel and Danny Hicks. What a line-up! The film has its flaws. I mean, it’s a very amateur movie so the music is just awful (how long can the produce guy listen to the same song?). Not sure where the regular composer was this day. The acting is decent but iffy, and the overall feel is of a cheap and predictable film.But that is ignorable. The unique camera angles let you know you’re working with a Raimi posse member. You won’t find shots like these in anything else, except maybe an M. Night Shymalan film (and in that case maybe he owes someone a thank you). And the deaths are of a kind you won’t find in your average slasher film: a simple grocery store is taken to new depths.Nice product placement for Adidas, Meister Brau and Diet Pepsi. Too bad they didn’t actually get the money for doing that. And an excellent re-use of the monologue from “Raising Arizona” about the head and sandwich. The Raimi-Coen connection is strengthened.If you liked the dark humor of the other Raimi projects, you’ll love this. Scott Spiegel does not have the name recognition he deserves, showing us here he is just as able as the big boys to step up to the plate for a low budget horror comedy thriller
Fast-paced and atmospheric thriller set in and around the carnival midway. Two couples visiting the local traveling carnival decide to spend the night in The Funhouse and fool around as a lark. After witnessing a murder, they become the targets of a deformed maniac and his barker dad who are determined they will not leave to report it to the police.Mercifully, the film abandons all of the excess baggage and strips the story done to the bare essentials. I enjoy Tobe Hooper’s direction here much more so than that shown in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as it seems we are seeing a much more polished effort. He nicely establishes the atmosphere of the midway, which by turns is colorful and sordid. The central characters are nicely delineated and well played by an appealing cast. They seem like credible and overwhelmed young people rather than fodder for the axing. Lead Elizabeth Berridge, in particular, has a nice girl next door quality and radiates a resourcefulness through her terror without ever seeming like either Superwoman or a victim. The make-up for the primary killer is particularly effective and novel. The film builds up a substantial head of steam before going for broke in a wild Grand Guignol climax. The score is also worth mentioning as it provides a very effective counterpoint to the action. Ironically, this film is rarely mentioned by horror fans, having been buried amid the morass of Friday the 13th clones that proliferated in this period, but it is definitely one that should be rediscovered.
The Boneyard revolves around a psychic woman, a charismatic detective and his wet-behind the ears partner who team up with a morgue crew to stop some ancient supernatural evil……demons. To stop demons.The Boneyard more or less succeeds in a being a pretty good horror flick. With surprisingly good music (which you should notice right away), some over-the-top acting which makes you smile more than roll your eyes, and some very fun make-up effects. Though, The Boneyard does have problems taking itself serious during emotional scenes, and the tension builders take too long and eventually grow tiresome instead of frightening. I also would have appreciated a little more violence/gore. But no biggie it seemed they spent most of their cash on the make-up effects which were definitely cool.Another thing this movie has going for it is the hero. Or should I say, heroine. I’m actually one who is very much annoyed by all the horror flicks these days that are riddled with skinny, gorgeous women who by bullsh!t chance survive the unbelievable. In the Boneyard it’s a tad different, even though our main character is a woman, she’s a very overweight and average looking woman. It worked, it was unique, funny and it’s something I really appreciated seeing.With The Boneyard delivering some fun running around, some cool effects and a nice score it made for a pretty enjoyable 90 minutes. Definitely give it a look if you’re looking for a clear-your-mind and enjoy type horror flick. Oh, being a big fan of horror movies would suit you well.
Cannibal Holocaust was, first and foremost, a disgusting movie with more violence than I have ever seen. Despite this, it is also one of my favorite movies. It gives a feeling of Blair Witch done right, even though there are some very obviously contrived scenes in which nobody is holding the camera, but despite some small cosmetic problems this is the best horror movie I have ever seen.Unlike most “shock” films, such as the Guinea Pig movies, Cannibal Holocaust has a very well written plot and a definite progression. The focus is still on making the audience ill, but we don’t even see any violence until fairly late in the movie, so the emphasis on plot is much stronger. The story told is a deep one, showing the lengths at which people will go for some goal, the example given being fame and fortune. The theme is reflected in parallel story lines through the second half of the movie, as Alan and his crew go to more and more desperate lengths for fame, and the professor struggles against a big media company to suppress the release of their footage. Even in a “meta” sense, we see the theme appear once again in the lengths the director of Cannibal Holocaust itself went, going so far as to kill and butcher four animals on camera.
1. I Spit on Your Grave
I Spit on Your Grave is a film that will never be accepted as a serious piece of film-making. This is thanks in part to the gratuitous rape and murder scenes, which don’t exactly hold back the shocks; and it’s also due to the time in which it was made. These days, as proved by the likes of ‘Irreversible’, films tackling rape in a shocking and disgusting way are more readily accepted, and even gain a strong reaction from many critics. This film was unfortunately (albeit for good reason) caught up in the ‘video nasty debate’ in the early eighties, and as such it’s reputation has been diminished to such an extent that the likes of Roger Ebert have labelled it ‘the worst film ever made’ (even though The Blair Witch Project is the worst film ever made) and it’s reaction in general tends to be of the bad variety. For some reason, we have found ourselves in a world where it’s more than acceptable to give praise to ‘A class’ rape themed dramas such as Irreversible, but woe betide thee who labels this as a good film. Well, woe betides me then.For a ‘video nasty’, I Spit on Your Grave has surprisingly good production values. While the acting often lets it down, the cinematography and even the script are more than decent and this helps the film in it’s bid to get the praise it deserves. The story, which follows a New York writer who moves to a backwater part of the USA to work on her new novel, shortly before being horribly raped and beaten, is just a plot device for the more important elements of the plot. The main theme on display seems to be a comment on the male sexual ego and the way that women can have power over them. The film plays out like a revenge thriller, with the protagonist getting her own back on the men who raped her. This disrupts the main argument against this film; namely, that it’s misogynistic, as much of the violence in the movie is actually directed against men. Of course, the rape scenes are the main crux of the film; but most of the gore comes later. Don’t get me wrong, this is hardly an uplifting feminist drama; but it’s not the worst film ever made either. Content caution though; it gets a bit extreme. A certain scene in a bathroom takes the prize for being one of the sickest sequences ever to grace the silver screen.