A listing of Retro B-films

A hand full of my favorite b-movies
January 08, 2008

Let me start off by saying, I like b-movies. I really don't know why I guess they have just grown on me.Now the movies that I am going to mention are retro. It is not to put down these movies at all. Heck I own Just about every one of the movies mentioned. I have also seen and enjoyed every one of them. What I consider to be a b-movie is a film that goes under the radar. A film that is like the b-side of a record. It Doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's not the most popular.

If I were to walk into a video store and ask someone who was renting videos, "have you ever heard of Ernest goes to jail?". Now with the exception of the movie RV, odds are that they might have no idea what I am talking about. Now if I mention Jurassic park Then they "go oh, yeah, that movie with the dinosaurs". I would not say that Ernest is better than Jurassic park or that Jurassic park is better than Ernest. It's just that some movies aren't as well known as others.I hope you enjoy what I consider to be a small list of my favorite retro b-movies

Attack of the killer tomatoes
What a crazy title for a movie, but yet it fits. When I was a kid I loved the theme song from titles. "Attack of the killer tomatoes!, Attack of the killer tomatoes!, They'll beat you, bash you, squish you, mash you , chew you up for brunch, And, finish you off for dinner or lunch". What a great song. Anyway I remember watching bits and pieces of it. But it is definitely not as fun unless you have a friend over to rip on it with you. I had the unrated version on VHS once but I traded it to the music recycler, shame on me.

Some consider this to be a great contribution to the superman series, to which I do as well. But it is a movie that I would say is at the lower end of the well known superman films. I think Helen Slater (which I believe to be Christian Slater's brother) was pretty cute. It was also fun seeing superman from a teenage prospective. I know there is the TV show Smallville, but this movie had an eighties quality to it. I would have to say that for me this is one of my top favorite superman (superwoman) movies; however others may not feel the same way.

This is one of my favorite 80's monster movies of all time. Little deadly dust bunnies from outer space with an attitude. The bounty hunters were also pretty cool. It was freaky watching them flip through channels to find a body, then in blood and white goop transformed into human form. This movie was also one of Billy Zane's first performances. I often wondered to myself who would win in a Match of Gremlin vs. Critter.

Howard the duck
I saw an article on Retro Junk recently and this movie was not well liked. I guess I liked it for its cheesiness and crazy story. A rude talking puppet who likes pictures of sleazy women, smokes a cigar and drinks is a character that you will not find to often. You also have a side kick who is a female singer. Also how many chances do you have to see Jeffery Jones as a powerful villain with red eyes. Tim Robbins was also in the movie but I can't remember what part he played, I know he was on the good side though.

Stay tuned
A movie about what happens if you watch too much TV and sell your soul for a satellite/ television package. This movie features the great comedian John Ritter, in which is one of my favorite roles that he has ever played. A movie which is full of spoofs and other just plain crazy television programming. Some of the parodies are classic, though you have to like dark humor to enjoy them.

My science project
This movie has a Blob like feel it, where people are poking around where they are not supposed to be and find something crazy. Then they bring it into civilization, where all hell brakes loose. The main characters find a power sucking, portal opening machine from a junk yard/military base of some sort. Then bring it to their cool teacher ("aka" Dennis hopper) to look at. After which the teacher becomes mad with power and opens a kind of other dimension in their high school. Featuring Fisher Stevens from Short circuit and Hackers as a wacky best friend (the kind that always gets you into trouble). It is a fun 80's take on science fiction.

The Monster Squad
One of the only kids film that I know of that is rated pg-13. It is great to have all the classic movie monsters Up against a Goonies type group of kids. Even the great Stephen king is mentioned in this movie. This has to be my favorite movie featuring all classic movie monsters. It actually feels like a horror movie even though it was meant for kids. The special effects and sets were great; the makeup however was so so. My favorite part or parts would be where they bring Frankenstein back to life and the scenes with the werewolf.

Little shop of horrors
There was the first one done by the classic film maker Roger Corman featuring one of Jack Nicholson's first roles. However I still think the new version is ten times better. First off you got the classic songs, which include mean green mother from outer space (and I'm bad). Then you got Rick Moranis taking a break from shrinking kids to chop up people and you got Steve Martin as the dentist who doesn't know the meaning of the word painless. Finally you got the big plant with a big bad attitude to go with it. If I had to pick out my fav parts it would be when Steve Martin sings the dentist song, Steve martin get high off of laughing gas and when Audrey 2 sings "I'm a mean green mother from other space". ( as I obviously
mentioned in the third sentence)

Tommy tricker and the stamp traveler
A family home entertainment classic. Wouldn't it be cool to ride on a stamp? To feel what it would be like to be a piece of paper. Yeah, maybe that sounds kind of crazy but it got me wondering. However wouldn't you rather travel for the price of a stamp instead paying a whole bunch of money to pay for gas, bus tickets, plane tickets, etc.. This movie is one of the only movies that I have seen to feature stamps and show the importance of them.

Another great monster movie aside from critters. I would be scared to death if one of those flippin' things was chasin' me. You cant hide and unless you get lucky enough to find a bunch of big rocks (which would be pretty unlikely) in which case then you are Sc**wed. This movie has got great humor, but that's probably due to it's great characters. Like Kevin Bacon as Val, Fred Ward as earl, Michael Gross as Bert, and an appearance by Reba Mcentire. Great moments for me include Bert and his gun collection as well as anytime one of the creatures was killed with slime gore all over the place.

The legend of Billy jean
Another movie featuring Helen Slater. It is about a girl who encountered a sleazy man who abused her sexually. After which she runs away from home and becomes a rebel. I believe it even has the Billy Idol song the rebel yell in the soundtrack. It is a fun movie about what you would do if you ran away from your parents. I haven't seen Helen Slater in too many other movies aside from supergirl and the legend of Billy jean. What happen to her?

Go get you're candy and drinks, it's intermission time!

Everybody Good!, got the gu gu bees, popcorn, and the carbonated beverages. Great! Then I'll continue.

Cool world
What happens when you take Sin City and cross it with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Give up?, You get Cool World. A crazy blend of animation, sex, humor, and sex. If a human sleeps with a cartoon (a doodle) the cartoon becomes human and the human becomes a cartoon. I am so bad for thinking this, but how would this play out with Jessica rabbit? Aside from my crazy thoughts, this movie is one of a kind I have never seen a movie like it. You in ways could say that is a good thing and in ways you could say that it is a bad thing. Some may find no bad in it; I guess the mix of sex and cartoons just does not sit right with me for some reason. But for the good or the bad, it is definitely a movie that stands out among the rest.

Return from Witch Mountain
A classic B-movie from Disney. I assume everybody knows the movie Escape to Witch Mountain.This sequel his Kim Richards returning to playing her role as Tia. (who along with Helen Slater I think also is cute.) The movie has Tia looking for her brother Tony who was kidnapped by an old couple that anyone should be afraid of, the haunting Christopher Lee and the scary looking Betty Davis. The couple plans to take control of Tony and use him for profiting schemes. But luckily Tia makes some friends with street kids and with her new friends (as well as her powers) she finally saves her brother. My favorite part in this movie would have to be the car ride where Tia is in the car with truancy officer.

Electric Dreams
What would happen if you spilled alcohol on your computer? What!, it's never happened to you? Well, this is one take on what would happen if possibly did. When Miles bought his first home computer he wanted nothing more than a pocket organizer but what he got was a home computer with an artificial intelligence. Even though this movie is dated some of the concepts are still fun to think about. Like being able to handle your security, coffee maker, blender, lights, and TV all with your home computer. It has probably been done pretty well in different ways but I still daydream every time I watch the first time Miles installs his computer. Plus it would be kind of fun to have a computer for a friend. Think of all the perks you could get. Features (at least to me anyway) a great movie theme song.

My Boyfriend's Back
A fun zombie flick that goes on the same wave length as Shawn of the Dead. I love the way they use the comic book in the story line, kind of makes me think of Creepshow. The humor is great but just like Stay Tuned with its dark humor, it is not for everybody. That would be a crazy situation to die and then come back as a zombie. But not a mindless zombie, person that is just Well,.... dead. Now one of my favorite parts is when he tells his parents and they act like it's a normal day. The fact that their son is a zombie does not change things one bit. Even better is when he finds out that he doesn't like human food, he likes to eat humans instead and his parents are more than happy to provide.

I love movies with multiple stories. Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, Stephen King's Cats Eye, John carpenter's Body Bags, and the old version of Tales from the Crypt the movie (before Demon Knight) are all great movies however out of all the movies listed I think Nightmares turns out to be more of the b-movie out of the list. I believe it has four stories. The first one is where somebody just can't wait for that next cigarette (even if there's a murderer on the loose). The second one is where Emilio Estevez is a heavy gamer who gets a challenge from a certain bishop. The third is a sort of remake of the movie Duel, but with a religion twist. Then finally the fourth one is about a rat problem (A GIANT RAT PROBLEM). This is a classic favorite of mine next to all the multi stories that I listed.

Killer Clowns from Outer Space
Ok, there are some people that are scared of clowns and this movie is a good reason to be scared. Next to the Pee-Wee movie clown sequence this would give anyone the willies (the Willies is another good movie by the way) about the way look at clowns. This movie is very inventive and fun. The first time I watched the movie I was not expecting much. I guess all the rave reviews on it made me just curious enough to watch it and I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great example of how many ways clowns could kill a person. Along with the awesome special effects this movie was so creative with all the scenes. Like a clown riding on an invisible bicycle and the way the clowns tent looked inside and out. With all the gore and crazy stuff in it, it is hard to believe that it is pg-13.

The Evil Dead
The first out of the three Evil Dead movies. Although I consider Evil Dead 2 to be a better remake of the first Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell does not really shine in the first like he does in Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness but he is still pretty good for the scene time that he does get in the first. This to me is more fun if you watch the second one first and then watch the first one second to see the differences. Both have their cool differences in good and bad ways. In the good ways get different story lines and in the bad since they had a better budget with the second then with the first. After all these years it still is a good time to be had. On an extra note did you know that in every movie Sam Raimi directs Bruce Campbell always has a starring role or a cameo? Just watch for him in all three of the Spiderman movies because he has a role in all three of them. Oh, and one more thing, has anybody heard of the Evil Dead
musical, or the new Evil Dead movie coming out?

Remo Williams: the adventure begins
The first time I had ever heard of Fred Ward. I never noticed him before. But after I watched this movie all of a sudden I started to catch all the movies he was in and started to enjoy them. This movie is so much fun mainly because of crazy, wacky, Chiun and Fred Wards attitude. It is has got to be one of the ultimate guy movies. Fred loves junk food, is a ladies man, learns the art of fighting from a Chinese man, and is a secret agent. What more can you ask for in a guy flick.

It is hard to pick either the first mannequin or the second. I would say that the second is my personal favorite. I dont know why, it just is. Maybe it is because I like Kristy Swanson better. But anyway, what would it be like to have a mannequin as a girl friend? I certainly would not mind only if she was living and not plastic. Because it would be very strange having a plastic girl friend and it could make you go crazy over a period of time trying to talk to a piece of plastic. This movie is a great example of what a man or kid might daydream when he spending long hours in a department store. William Ragsdale is really fun to watch too, especially when his girl friend turns back into plastic and his to explain what he is doing. Now here's something to ponder, if you were a live mannequin, would you age?

Buffy the vampire slayer
Kristy Swanson did not only play a department store mannequin but she was a vampire slayer as well.Not like the TV show with Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was meant to be a comedy, not a serious concept. I mean what could be more fun than handing a valley girl a wooden stake and telling her to go slay a vampire. I guess as the movie progressed she became better skilled, but it still had the "ooo, I broke a nail" tongue in cheek comedy to it. It was also fun to see Paul Ruben's (pee-wee Herman) and David Arquette take on vampires.

Invaders from mars
There was an older version, but the one I am talking about is the newer 80's one. This is basically like a kid version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Wouldn't it be freaky as a kid to wake up and your parents were aliens? Then to top it off when you go to school you find that every one of the teachers is an alien expect for the school nurse. Now it is up to you to go to the alien hideout with the only adult who is not an alien to try and stop the human race from being extinct. Sound pretty crazy right? Well, that pretty much is the plot. Why don't kids movies follow movies like this as an example of how to do a kids alien movie properly. I suppose there are better examples but this is a pretty good one.

The Fly
The old fly with Vincent Price is a great mention of a b-movie, but (at least to me) it is not retro. The Jeff Goldblum version I think also has a bigger cult following.
Being able to transport anything from humans, animals,to leg stockings (tee hee) is a pretty cool concept. However the idea of slowly becoming an insect gets under my skin and creeps me out. A thought comes to my mind. What happens it doesn't only effect your body but effect your brain. You would be losing your memories little by little. A birthday here, a Christmas there and then losing your mind all together, creepy.The sets, the props, and special effects really drew you into the story. I still remember the face of the fly, Jeff throwing up on a packet of donuts and the taste for chocolate bars.

Weekend at Bernie's
Finally to end off my list is the movie great, Weekend at Bernie's. This one is a classic. You find an embezzlement scheme for the company which just happens to be your bosses doing. Your boss knows the mob and orders them to kill you, but they kill him instead. Now you are stuck with him, your dead boss. Everything that follows that is nothing short of hilarious. This is one comedy that you can't let slip though your fingers (ha! ha!)

The Willies
Ok, after mentioning it in Killer Clowns from Outer Space I just had put this movie in this list. Another great multiple story movie. You got the old man in the beginning who, for some reason wants to go on a haunted house ride. But little does he know that the ghoulies and ghosties have something in store for him. Then there's the kid that just has to go pee but his mean teacher wont let him until he wets himself.(poor little guy). Don't worry for him though, the school janitor has a special surprise for her. Then there's a boy with an obsession for bugs. Who finds out in the long run that his bug problem is becoming too big to bare. The last two I remember are short and pretty disgusting. One is where a woman wants to dry off her dog by putting it in the microwave....uhh. The other is about a fat woman who orders fried chicken. But does not except it with a side order of rat.... Nasty. This movie certainly lives up to its title. To give anyone that is watching it the willies.

Well, that's just a taste of my b-movie favorites. Hope you remember and enjoy them as much as I did. Now keep in mind that there are more like

The Kentucky Fried Movie & Amazon Woman on the Moon

I could probably go on for sometime just picking them off one by one. But I don't want to start mentioning movies that I would consider to be a b-movie and others consider it not. So I am staying with the safe picks that I can remember and like I have said before it's not to say that there are more that I have not listed or remembered that others will. This is not a top list it is unorganized. Needless to say I could probably make a part two if I wanted to. Anyways, I hope you consider the movies from the list that I have made to be b-films. Even if you don't I guess its just what I think and everyone else has a right to think or feel a different way if they want to. Like I mentioned in the top, I do not consider b-movies to be bad. I love b-movies and I have watched every one of these movies that I have listed. I hope you enjoyed my article and I look forward to your comments.

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