Articles & Notes — September 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

Personal: 18 influential B-movies

Yesterday I thought of some films, that I’ve watched, and those that left an impression on me, or in some way, influenced me.

So, naturally, I decided to list some of them here (Hollywood blockbusters excluded), with some comments. Here they come below (films in this post), in no particular order.


1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973).
“I remember the first time, long time ago, I asked my mom which was the “worst ever”, “most disgusting” movie she ever saw… She replied: “movie about some huge guy in a mask, running around with a chainsaw, slicing people up, in Texas I think”. From that moment on, I got hooked. I started googling for the film, trying to find some sort of info on this movie.

I’ve read a lot, both on how the film got into production, about the rumors about Leatherface being real, and so on. When I finally watched the film, it was scary in a difference sense – I imagined this happening in reality – a bunch of kids getting lost, and then being hunted down by a crazy chainsaw-wielding maniac in a flesh mask. Undoubtedly, one of the best horror movies ever made, in my opinion.


2. The Terminator (1984).
“Before seeing this film, I already knew who Arnold Schwarzenegger was, I’ve seen his “Pumping Iron” and “Conan the Barbarian”. Back then, those films did not impress me, they seemed, weak, so to speak.

Then one day, I rented an old dubbed VHS with “The Terminator”. Oh my, this is what I wanted to see. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the bad guy, an indestructible killing android, seemingly unstoppable. Up to this day, I believe, this was his best role ever.

I did not really care about Linda Hamilton’s character (although I liked Michael Biehn in the film), and I knew, that in the end, the heroes will find a way to destroy the terminator, yet I rooted for him till the very end.

And, of course, the soundtrack of the film couldn’t be better. Hands down, best cyborg movie ever made, one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen.


3. Predator (1987)
“This was another Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that surprised me. One thing I remember that I wanted to see this movie for was the tag line “This time, Schwarzenegger is the prey”.

This was really something no one ever seen before, and it worked perfectly. Kevin Peter Hall did an outstanding job as the Hunter, and Arnold’s team was awesome as well.


4. The Night Stalker (1987)
“This unknown (to me) film I wanted to see because of the actors. I knew, that a movie where Charles Napier plays a cop and Robert Z’Dar is the villain can’t be that bad. Wow, this turned out to be a whole lot better than I could have expected.

By itself, the film is nothing special – some maniac (played by Z’Dar) is killing hookers, and it seems like he cannot be killed. A bitter cop (Napier) sets out to kill him.

Somehow, this movie stuck with me, and I’ve watched it 20-25 times, no less. And for those of you who didn’t know – part in the “Night Stalker” was the reason Z’Dar got casted in the infamous “Maniac Cop” movie series.”


5. Bloodsport (1988)
“Loosely based on a true story. Cheesy. Filled with martial arts. Bolo Yeung gets to play with his chest muscles. Van Damme gets to show his naked butt. Great soundtrack. Absolutely pathetic, but climatic ending fight….all of this was “Bloodsport”, when I first saw it.

No, it wasn’t the best martial arts movie ever, but it definitely was one of the most enjoyable ones. It did become a cult classic for a reason.



6. F.I.S.T. (1978)
“Yeah, Rambo was great. Rocky was even better. But for me, “F.I.S.T.” was on a totally different level, as this was the first film that proved – Sylvester Stallone can act just as good as throw jabs and shoot M60.

A great drama in my opinion, great supporting cast, truly shows the other side of Sylvester Stallone. Sadly, it never became as popular as did “Rocky” or “Rambo”.



7. Undisputed 2 (2006)
“I did saw the first “Undisputed”, was nothing special, really. Yes, there was Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes, and even Peter Falk, but so what? It was boring. Now, “Undisputed 2” went the other way, as Isaac Florentine was set to direct.

Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins, so to say “brought the beauty of martial arts” back to the silver screens. Some jaw-dropping scenes in this little movie! While being a low-budget movie by Hollywood standards, “Undisputed 2″ was definitely a jackpot for fans of modern martial arts movies. I did pick up my jaw, after the ending credits.”

8. The Exorcist (1973)
“Nothing much to say about this cult classic horror film…except for – this was the first movie that actually scared me.

Sequence with Linda Blair going down the stairs, anyone? Yes, on that one I actually jumped out of my seat.

Oh, and I somehow expected Linda Blair to become a much more bigger star after “Exorcist”, but sadly she didn’t.”


9. The Hitcher (1989)
“I’ve seen a couple of Rutger Hauer films before “The Hitcher” and wasn’t impressed at all, they all seemed mediocre to me. “The Hitcher” was like a wake up call, or like a straight punch to the face – is this what a true villain must look like?

Rutger Hauer’s character in this movie (John Ryder) is probably the scariest guy on Earth – he simply doesn’t care. He doesn’t need money, he doesn’t have a home, we’re never told about his past, his family or anything at all. All we know – is that he isn’t afraid to die, and kills everyone in his path, just because he likes it… “The Hitcher” falls into the action/thriller category, but thanks to Hauer, the main villain of the film simply screams horror.”

10. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
“In case with this film, I’ve heard of it long before actually seeing it myself. Lots of people spoke highly of the picture: “a real horror movie”, “very scary, disgusting film”, “better not watch it, its too scary, you won’t be able to sleep after it”, blah blah blah.

Needless to say, I had to watch it. And I did. Rumors turned out to be true, it was scary, disgusting at times, and Robert Englund was absolutely great as Freddy Kruger.

I am thankful to Englund that he “stayed in line” to portray Freddy in the following sequels, however the other “Elm” films were not as good as the original. Oh yes, the scene with Johnny Depp being killed by a bed – that was cool!”


11. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
“I love on-screen mayhem. And tag line for “Hobo…” was just that. A simple, brutal, gory story about an old homeless man, armed with a shotgun going justice, and killing every scumbag in a city, that is hardly normal by any means.

I must admit, the film left a very deep impression on me, at times there were moments that were very hard to watch, but Rutger Hauer as “Hobo” absolutely shines throughout the whole film. And the ending soundtrack will probably be stuck in my head forever. Forget “Planet Terror” and “Grindhouse”, “Hobo with a Shotgun” is the real deal, and a great proof that one man can make a significant difference.”

12. Drive (1997)
“This film would have been just another action movie with some martial arts scenes thrown in, if it wasn’t for the fact, that these martial arts scenes are…simply amazing. Mark Dacascos plays a fighting cyborg on the run from the powerful corporation, that tends to bring him back. Along the way, lots of people are being sent after him, and Dacascos uses all his knowledge, energy and skills to stop them.

Naturally, as he plays a cyborg, he is stronger, faster and smarter than those who try to hunt him down.

Back in 1997, when the movie came out, for that time, the martial arts scenes were amazing. Today, it might look a little outdated, but this doesn’t make this action flick any worse.”


13. They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore (1985)
“With a title like this, I expected this to be…I don’t know, one of the 10 goriest films ever. It turned out to be both what I expected, and something I couldn’t have expected at all.

“They Dont Cut the Grass…” is a ultra low budget film (reportedly shot for only 500 bucks), that became a cult classic. It’s a “touching story” about two lawnmover men, who “got sick” of doing the dirty job for their rich neighbors, and decide to kill them in most gruesome ways possible. I doubt this movie has a lot of fans, but somehow it manages to capture your attention.”


14. Rocky Marciano (1999)
“In my opinion, Marciano would have beaten Ali, had they go head to head in an official match. Marciano seems to be only champion, that retired undefeated (in martial arts, I believe we got Benny “the Jet” Urquidez).

“Rocky Marciano” the movie is a great sports drama about arguably the best boxer of all time. Long before Jon Favreau gained weight and directed “Iron Man”, back in 1999 he was the one portraying Marciano in the movie. And, he did a great job. This is a little different than Stallone’s “Rocky”, but more fast-pased, and more entertaining.”


15. Rage (1995)
“I love PM Entertainment. I mean, the company doesn’t exist anymore, but, in my opinion, they were THE BEST when it came to shooting the best and most amazing car chase scenes. “Rage” is a b-action movie, starring former kickboxing champion Gary Daniels, as a school teacher, who goes on the run, and is being hunted down by federal agents.

The film is filled with fights, action, shootouts, and one long, fantastic highway chase scene with trucks, cars, jeeps, etc. If you haven’t seen this one, track it down.”



16. The Hit List (2011)
“Although not really an action movie, “The Hit List” is surprisingly good b-movie, with an A-list star Cuba Gooding Jr, as the lead (I am calling Cuba an A-list because he does have an oscar, and an impressive career).

Story centers on a loser (Cole Hauser), who accidentally hires a professional killer (Gooding Jr) to get rid of the people who did him wrong.

When he realizes what he started, he tries to stop the assassin, but it seems to be too late. As the DVD cover of the film states: “Gooding’s grittiest performance in years”…hard to disagree with that.



17. BrainDead (1992)
“Most people know director Peter Jackson from his later works – “King Kong”, “Lord of the Rings”…I always had respect for Jackson as he started out with now cult classic horror movies “Bad Taste” and “Braindead”.

BrainDead has to be one of the goriest horror movies ever. According to IMDB, 300 liters of fake blood was used in the final scene of the film. If you like entertaining horror movies, give this one a look – lots of blood, lots of crazy monsters, some dark humour thrown in as well. Classic Peter Jackson.”

18. Instinct to Kill (2001)
“This action thriller would have been just another cliche b-movie if it wasn’t for Tim Abell. His portrayal of serial killer Jim Beckett was outstanding in my opinion.

He even gets to engage in some hand-to-hand action with Mark Dacascos (who plays his part alongside Kadeem Hardison, again after “Drive”).

The movie itself is mediocre, but Tim Abell made it entertaining. There’s one memorable line in the film:  Dacascos (after losing Abell in the hospital) – “I did my best, and it wasn’t enough.”


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