Before the double feature there was the B Movie. B Movies were made to hype audiences up for "feature" movies or A movies. B Movies have simple stories that don't take a lot of energy to get into. They don't have a lot of specific details for viewers to remember. These are movies that focus on the unique elements of film. They are stories where the "kill scene" or the "monster" is the focus. B Movies don't have dramatic stories. They are films like The Blob, Night of the Living Dead, Eight Legged Freaks, Tremors, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, The Puppet Master, Chucky, The leprechaun, Army of Darkness and, The Thing. The stories in B Movies are told best through exploiting the visual elements of film. It is the difference between an A Movie (feature film) like ET and a B Movie like Grimlands. B Movies have been mistaken for Black movies or budget movies and they are not. They are just as diverse as Hollywood block busters and they can have larger budgets than some A movies.
One of the biggest issues with B movies is that it is not easy to determine whether a movie is a B movie or an A movie. Many people in Hollywood can barely agree on a movie's status. The film industry is mainly focused on big Blockbusters and A movies. The main goal of film festivals and film schools is to groom the next group of feature filmmakers who's sole destiny is to have their movie Theatrically released. Most Theater chains only show feature films. They have replaced the slot that the B movie filled with upcoming movie trailers and even TV commercials. The theater managers don't even know that B movies were designed to get people into the seats before the main feature and if people walked in late the story isn’t hard for them to get into. The Hollywood factor makes it tricky because they are about hype and are more focused on making a profit not entertaining people only. So, the B movie almost eliminated itself by being too successful . Many times people enjoyed the B movie more than they liked the feature. Hollywood realized that and started featuring B movies. That is what gave birth to the Slasher and Horror flicks of the 80's. Because these were not deep stories that weren't really meant to be featured so they did not have the same success as truly feature written stories. The actors and directors did not get nominated for awards. The writers and critics blasted them and made people think they were bad movies. That’s why some people think that the "B" stands for bad.
B movies are not "Bad" movies. People often think that if a picture is bad that is was a B movie. Most of the time people are looking at a B movie from years ago and it seems bad. However, if you understand that the purpose of these films was to get your attention and not make you cry or be passionately inspired then you may not consider it a bad movie at all. I have heard people say that they didn't like the movie but, they watch the whole movie to see how it ends or they liked the way the people got killed. Both are signs that the film was successful. The bottom line is movies are made for many reasons to educate, to inspire, to make a point, to scare and shock, and to entertain. What really determines a Bad movie is not the story but, the financial success. There are good B movies and bad B movies.
B movies are not independent films. A lot of people think that these are independent movies. That is not true either. Independent is a studio classification. If a film does not have a major studio producing it then it is an independent picture. Many times because of the depth of A movies stories many first time screen writers can only get the attention of independent filmmakers or have to produce their story themselves, like I did. B movies again are both produced by big Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers.
Now, with the straight to home video boom filmmakers are able to produce their films for a lot less than they did before. B movies are finding huge success in this area. Video renters rent movies for different reasons. They rent the movies that they missed in the theater that everybody told them was good and they rent the movies that has a big Hollywood star that never made it to the theater. Black, Urban, Latino and foreign stories are also rented because many of them are only available in video stores. Many of these films are B movies. B movies have the hot titles and fun stories the let renters know what they are going to get. B movies are also benefiting from the cable TV and Satellite boom. These Networks are filling slots with B movies. You can find a B movie on the Scifi Channel and USA Networks every week.
For me I like the B movie because they don't try to do too much and usually succeed where A movies failure stands out more. The future of B movies is solid. People in the film world only benefit from understanding the B movie. There is a freedom of not having to please everyone with your story that's what I enjoy. I am a short attention span person, I almost fell asleep in Lord of the Rings. I like Kung Fu movies. For these reasons I write and produce B movies. I plan to be a part of the resurgence of these stories. Just as African American filmmakers have provided Hollywood with urban stories, I plan to do the same with the world of B movies.