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Author Topic: Do We Need A New Term for B-Movie?  (Read 7732 times)
Patient7
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2008, 05:20:33 PM »

Although I find B-Movie to be a fine term it does get get confusing if a movie is supposedly good-bad or bad bad because people just say bad.  I think a good term would be Unknown Movies because even the most famous of B-Movies, (Evil Dead, Plan 9, etc.) aren't known by a lot of people.
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2008, 05:25:44 PM »

Michael Weldon's term "psychotronic", which he uses to describe low budget efforts, strange science fiction films, inexplicable mainstream movies, cheap horror flicks, martial arts films, and the like, seems to cover many of the same films I tend to like.  I've been reading through his "Psychotronic Video Guide" and found that what he likes to write about and what I like to write about seems to fall into the same normally-used categories, though I am not so much into music-background films as he.

"Late night movies" is what I would call them.  In the past, I had considered another URL for the site, latenightmovies.com.  It was not registered back then, but it looks like a domain squatter has registered it (and sat on it, hoping to make a profit) since about 2000.
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2008, 05:29:59 PM »

Although I find B-Movie to be a fine term it does get get confusing if a movie is supposedly good-bad or bad bad because people just say bad.  I think a good term would be Unknown Movies because even the most famous of B-Movies, (Evil Dead, Plan 9, etc.) aren't known by a lot of people.

I should note that there is The Unknown Movies Page which is on Andrew's links list.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2008, 05:31:36 PM »

Quote from: Allhallowsday link=topic=120667.msg210021#msg210021
Meh, I don't see the need to define terms. Anymore I think "B-movie" is a blanket term that applies to anything with less than a Hollywood budget, while "bad movie" is anything cheesy or goofy that most people would watch and either turn off or just come away from scratching their heads and wondering why such a thing would be made in the first place. Those are my definitions. Everybody's definition varies from person to person and no new blanket term needs to be made, because that term will have the same issue.
There is always a need to define terms, whether you see it or not (with all due respect AnubisVonMojo, you know I love you!)  If we don't define our terms, how will we understand one another?  
No offense taken at all Wonka. I just find that the definitions given to something like a "b-movie" or a "bad movie" vary from person to person and as such simply cause discourse when the matter is addressed. When Andrew posted his El Topo review last month, I remember someone posting angry comments about how Andrew should remove the review immediately because it didn't fit the poster's definition of a "bad movie" and therefore putting it up at badmovies.org was some kind of horrible insult. I don't know. Aside from delving into the various genre and sub-genre classifications for movies, I don't think a universal agreement can be had. Then again, I'm an anti-social pessimist for the most part, so every thing I say should be taken with a grain of nevermind anyway.  TongueOut
Well, I don't see the point of that commentary, that posting was by a guest, I think, and Andrew was right to correct that nose!  We're not considering whether any one movie is bad or not.  Aside from that, the idea was not to define "genre classifications" but to define the term "B-movie."  We seem to all agree a "B-movie" could be "good" or "bad."  So, "B" ness must mean something else...  Thumbup for being an "anti-social pessimist..."  
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2008, 05:59:01 PM »


 Aside from that, the idea was not to define "genre classifications" but to define the term "B-movie."  We seem to all agree a "B-movie" could be "good" or "bad."  So, "B" ness must mean something else...  Thumbup for being an "anti-social pessimist..." 


I guess I'm a bit confused...because I don't find the term "B Movie" confusing at all.

It's an umbrella term (and thus a little fluid in meaning from use to use) used to say one or more of the following:

Low Budget
Low Production Value
Poorly Executed visual and/or sound effects
Poor Direction
Poor Acting
Poor Script
Poor Concept
Amateurish in any other respect

Any or all of these can be on purpose, but they sure don't have to be.  Thus, a film can be intentionally "B."  Low Budget grabs a lot of films to the "B" label that are good in the ways on that list.

I'm sorry; I don't get all the angst over the term.  We ALL seem to agree "B" is not "Bad."

Therefore, I think "B" is a good term as we use it, and it is "Bad" that gives us trouble when it comes to defining it.  Look at how many threads we have had over the years on this forum alone on the topic of "What does BAD mean to you?"

My two cents....and not authoritative in ANY way, shape or form.
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2008, 06:33:57 PM »

Thanks for the healthy debate. Nice to see some active responders to my first topic.


 Aside from that, the idea was not to define "genre classifications" but to define the term "B-movie."  We seem to all agree a "B-movie" could be "good" or "bad."  So, "B" ness must mean something else...  Thumbup for being an "anti-social pessimist..." 


I guess I'm a bit confused...because I don't find the term "B Movie" confusing at all.

It's an umbrella term (and thus a little fluid in meaning from use to use) used to say one or more of the following:

Low Budget
Low Production Value
Poorly Executed visual and/or sound effects
Poor Direction
Poor Acting
Poor Script
Poor Concept
Amateurish in any other respect

Any or all of these can be on purpose, but they sure don't have to be.  Thus, a film can be intentionally "B."  Low Budget grabs a lot of films to the "B" label that are good in the ways on that list.

I'm sorry; I don't get all the angst over the term.  We ALL seem to agree "B" is not "Bad."

Therefore, I think "B" is a good term as we use it, and it is "Bad" that gives us trouble when it comes to defining it.  Look at how many threads we have had over the years on this forum alone on the topic of "What does BAD mean to you?"

My two cents....and not authoritative in ANY way, shape or form.
A 'B-movie' is a second feature movie. It doesnt have to fit into your list at all. For example Fobidden Planet doesnt fit your list but is still a 'B-movie'. I do agree that the umbrella status of the term suffices for those already into these kind of films. To the uninitiated the term is a derogatory one and that is what I was trying to get away from.

I like Bixdugans 'Driveoff Movies' and I also agree with Andrew about psychotronic as term. I did wonder how many names he'd gone through before deciding on Badmovies.org. 'Late night movies' again sounds like a range of cheap porn flicks. Which in some cases is totally acurate.

This is a pointless thread but I will say don't confuse B-movie with Bad movie. They are not the same thing. A b movie can be a good or even great movie. The thing is, if you are trying to categorizing films you will end up with 200 different categories and still that won't be enough, so give it up.
As Allhallowsday said this is a little rude. This is not pointless, not massively important I'll grant you. It started because I wanted to describe the kind of movies I collect to a person who was only interested in the most mainstream films possible. He did'nt watch anything unless it was brand new and had a 5* rating. I wanted a term that sufficiently did justice to my favourite films and was interesting enough for him to try one or two out. B-movies wasnt it, bad movies definately wasnt it, camp, kitsch, or any other genre or sub-genre name only descibed part of my collection.

I think that whatever term we use should come from the gratification and enjoyment we get from these movies. It shouldnt come from any actual description of any particular movies because that just leads to people getting caught up arguing wether a particular example is bad or not. This is definately a very well defined niche I'm talking about so it shouldnt be impossible.

I think that the term 'Niche Movies' is positive or at least not negative and gives the impression that thier is something about these movies that is interesting but different from the mainstream. It doesnt label anything as good or bad and is not genre specific. At worst it may be a little eliteist, Yes, I'm a 'niche movie' fan (I think).


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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2008, 06:53:08 PM »

Interesting thread, I have many times thought of this myself and although I am content with the term B-movie(NOT the Jerry Seinfeld one..) I agree it is rather wide..
For example: Some people would consider it films that involves kung-fu/martial arts in any silly way, and others would say they have to be in B/W. Thus categorizing the term in not only different ways(which is inevitable) but on different kinds of merits(plot VS production technique, in this made up case)!

How about:
"Obscure Cinema"? (..or does that exist already?) It let's you know that there is something off tilt with the title although not necessarily bad!
"Niche Movies" is fairly good IMHO, but it sounds a bit too cute for my taste, although the movies we talk about(Starting to sound like Harry Potter, "He-who-must-not-be-mentioned" he he) certainly CAN be cute!

And for the films we consider "so bad they are BAD", how about:
"NPW" Not-Pause-Worthy... 'nuff said.  Smile
(In this pile I would put films like "Glen or Glenda", "Flesh for Frankenstein" "Kill Bill 1 & 2", "Shortbus" and so on..)   
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2008, 07:00:56 PM »

Aside from that, the idea was not to define "genre classifications" but to define the term "B-movie."  We seem to all agree a "B-movie" could be "good" or "bad."  So, "B" ness must mean something else...  Thumbup for being an "anti-social pessimist..." 
I guess I'm a bit confused...because I don't find the term "B Movie" confusing at all.  It's an umbrella term (and thus a little fluid in meaning from use to use) used to say one or more of the following:  Low Budget Low Production Value Poorly Executed visual and/or sound effects Poor Direction Poor Acting Poor Script Poor Concept Amateurish in any other respect
You're "a bit confused" because you don't find the term "B-Movie" confusing at all?   Buggedout  Who said anybody was confused?  (Though I'll grant you some sure are.) 

I don't think your terms, used together or exclusively, define a "B" movie.  Certainly a "B" movie could be any one of those things, but hardly necessarily.  A low budget movie could include good production values, good script, good acting... etc. 

Any or all of these can be on purpose, but they sure don't have to be.  Thus, a film can be intentionally "B."  Low Budget grabs a lot of films to the "B" label that are good in the ways on that list. 
I'm sorry; I don't get all the angst over the term.  We ALL seem to agree "B" is not "Bad."
No.  I think we all agree "B" is not necessarily bad. 

Therefore, I think "B" is a good term as we use it, and it is "Bad" that gives us trouble when it comes to defining it.  Look at how many threads we have had over the years on this forum alone on the topic of "What does BAD mean to you?"  My two cents....and not authoritative in ANY way, shape or form.
Well, you and I agree your comments are certainly not authoritative.  I also agree the use of "Bad" is troubling as interchangeable for "B-movie."

...A 'B-movie' is a second feature movie...
That's well noted, but apparently no longer true, or certainly not necessarily true on this forum, for instance. 

...It doesnt have to fit into your list at all. For example Fobidden Planet doesnt fit your list but is still a 'B-movie'.
FORBIDDEN PLANET is not a "B-movie" if using this definition, as it originally had an "A" budget and had a major star (WALTER PIDGEON).  I'm beginning to understand why some think this thread is pointless. 

...And for the films we consider "so bad they are BAD", how about:
"NPW" Not-Pause-Worthy... 'nuff said.  ...(In this pile I would put films like "Glen or Glenda", "Flesh for Frankenstein" "Kill Bill 1 & 2", "Shortbus" and so on..)
KILL BILL VOL 1 & 2 is [a] great movie...(s)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2008, 07:07:20 PM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2008, 07:04:56 PM »

Though I have issues...all personal,not as far as talent goes, with Micheal Weldon,- I DO like the term PSYCHOTRONIC.
It covers a spectrum of film that only lovers of it's type can spot. It's like....I dunno...it has a lot to do with nostalgia,a sense of humor, a certain sense of artistic thinking (writers,musicians,artists...have a certain 6th "sense" about some things...I think...)

IMAGINATION.  I think that kinda covers it. NON -BIASED imagination. That kinda covers it...for me at least.
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2008, 07:17:35 PM »

Firstly, to address Allhallowsday, I dont know about the U.S. but in the U.K. this film was advertised on a re-release under the tagline of 'The greatest B-Movie Ever Made'. If I'm wrong I'm wrong but that is where that statement comes from.

Though I have issues...all personal,not as far as talent goes, with Micheal Weldon,- I DO like the term PSYCHOTRONIC.
It covers a spectrum of film that only lovers of it's type can spot. It's like....I dunno...it has a lot to do with nostalgia,a sense of humor, a certain sense of artistic thinking (writers,musicians,artists...have a certain 6th "sense" about some things...I think...)

IMAGINATION.  I think that kinda covers it. NON -BIASED imagination. That kinda covers it...for me at least.

I very much agree with this idea of the 6th sense. I think that is what we are all tapping into here. Perhaps 'Sense Movies' would work as a term.
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« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2008, 07:55:50 PM »

You're "a bit confused" because you don't find the term "B-Movie" confusing at all?   Buggedout  Who said anybody was confused?  (Though I'll grant you some sure are.) 


I'll try to clarify for you AHD.  I am confused about the term "B" movie needs 'defining.'  We've been using it for decades and everyone seems to know what it means.

Now, the OP gave the case for when this term has caused a problem - a specific case.

Quote

I don't think your terms, used together or exclusively, define a "B" movie.  Certainly a "B" movie could be any one of those things, but hardly necessarily.  A low budget movie could include good production values, good script, good acting... etc. 


 Bluesad

I did say one or more...meaning, of course, a low budget could be the ONLY thing on the list that a particular film met.  I think I even explicitly stated that this was indeed sometimes the case.

My list was not all-inclusive, by the way.  I banged it out in a hurry, and certainly left off qualities that could be on there.  The point is that what we call "B" generally DOES have one OR more of those qualities.

Quote

No.  I think we all agree "B" is not necessarily bad. 


Okay, I see where the 'fun' is coming from...this is a semantics debate.

Next, we'll probably be discussing what "is" is.   Lookingup
 
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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2008, 08:01:16 PM »



[/quote]



Next, we'll probably be discussing what "is" is.   Lookingup
 
[/quote]

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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2008, 10:49:46 PM »

You're "a bit confused" because you don't find the term "B-Movie" confusing at all?   Buggedout  Who said anybody was confused?  (Though I'll grant you some sure are.)
I'll try to clarify for you AHD.  I am confused about the term "B" movie needs 'defining.'  We've been using it for decades and everyone seems to know what it means.
Everyone?  That statement I do not agree with, because someone started this thread... I just pointed out to you that I, for one, do not agree with your assertions of the defining aspects of a "B-Movie."  That now makes someone else

Now, the OP gave the case for when this term has caused a problem - a specific case.
Quote
I don't think your terms, used together or exclusively, define a "B" movie.  Certainly a "B" movie could be any one of those things, but hardly necessarily.  A low budget movie could include good production values, good script, good acting... etc.
Bluesad I did say one or more...meaning, of course, a low budget could be the ONLY thing on the list that a particular film met.  I think I even explicitly stated that this was indeed sometimes the case.  My list was not all-inclusive, by the way.  I banged it out in a hurry, and certainly left off qualities that could be on there.  The point is that what we call "B" generally DOES have one OR more of those qualities.
I don't think your statement is explicit:
Low Budget grabs a lot of films to the "B" label that are good in the ways on that list.
Huh?  And I think your list was "shortcomings" not "qualities." 

Quote
No.  I think we all agree "B" is not necessarily bad. 
Okay, I see where the 'fun' is coming from...this is a semantics debate.  Next, we'll probably be discussing what "is" is.   Lookingup
No, Ulthar.  So, you've appointed yourself to speak for everyone for what is encyclopedically correct?  Don't try to obscure my point by suggesting I'm pedantic.  It's this simple: "Bad" is not "Good."  And a "B" film is not necessarily bad, which is close to what you stated, but not exactly.  As a scientist, you should appreciate my being exact. 
BTW, what is, "is?" 
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 11:05:04 AM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2008, 02:42:12 AM »

While it might be somewhat pointless and after all, how one categorizes movies will ultimately prove entirely subjective, I've enjoying reading this thread. For the most part, it's been a good natured debate/discussion although I actually prefer the discussion element of what fits into your own mind when you think about the movies you love. I love Sherlock Holmes films, Bulldog Drummond movies, Bruce Lee films, Jackie Chan films (especially his pre-Hollywood ones), 50s SF, 30s Universal Horror, 50s Hammer Horror, 50s-60s AIP Drive-In fare, 70s exploitation, 40s Film Noir and Mystery, anything that's a bit off the beaten path, most of which doesn't get much play on today's mainstream TV. That's how my mind has always categorized my favourites. Films off the beaten path. lol  BounceGiggle

I'll be gone a few days and hopefully I'll find even more cinematic gems to add to my vast ever-growing collection be it Western, War, SF, Horror, Fantasy, Animation, TV classic, Film Noir, Mystery, whathaveyou. Of course, what qualifies as my "off the beaten path" may well be seen by someone else as mainstream. It's truly very subjective.
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2008, 05:39:08 AM »

To me, "B" has always meant Budget - "Low Budget" filmaking. Not Hollywood, no A-List stars. In other words, second rate. A bad movie can be either a "B" movie or a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster that just out-and-out sucks.

It's down to each individuals opinion, I don't think everyone is going to agree at all, no matter what phrase is used. Some that have been mentioned can be used to cover a few different genres that "B" and bad movies encompass, some phrases/terms mentioned would be hard to get used to and thus take more explaining.

I'd stick with "B" and stick with the 'ol double meaning of "budget" and "bad" dependant on the film.

To each his own..... Thumbup
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