Life is like a B-movie: you don't want to leave in the middle of it, but you don't want to see it again.
In the early days of cinema, studios distributed feature films in pairs meant to be screened as a Double Feature
. The longer and bigger-budgeted of the two films was called an "A-movie", while the secondary feature was called a "B-movie".note
As the double feature faded from prominence in the 1960s
, the term B-movie came to be synonymous with what were previously called "exploitation films
" — low-budget cash-ins
with an emphasis on sensationalism, sexuality, and gore — and the phrase is understood in those terms to this day.
B-movies are generally produced on a limited budget with C- or D-list actors who are often paid very little for their appearance. While B-movies may occasionally have very well-written scripts and gripping plots, the primary goal is not art or staying power, but cheap, disposable entertainment. As such, B-movies tend to be genre pieces, in such categories as western
, Science Fiction
, or crime
. B-movies are often heavily trope
, and a particularly successful one can become a trope maker
for big-budget films in the future.
During the "Golden Age" of the B-movie in the 1960s and 1970s, the films were widely distributed and screened in older cinemas colloquially called "grindhouses". Since the dawning of cable TV and home video in The Eighties
, few B-movies see theatrical release, but are typically produced as TV movies
releases, or released directly over the internet.
The Sci Fi Channel
) in particular produces many original B-movies
, and Mystery Science Theater 3000
maintained interest in the genre throughout the '90s, with its rereleases of classic B-movies with three characters making snarky comments on the action. While many B-movies are "bad" in terms of writing and execution, some prove to be So Bad, It's Good
. Those that attempt seriousness are usually full of narm
However, several B-Movies of the 1940s and 1950s, came to be Vindicated by History
. The restrictions of The Hays Code
often focused more heavily on the A-Picture, with the B-Movie falling Beneath Suspicion
, this meant that directors, paradoxically, had more freedom on a B-Movie than an A-Picture. Several films, especially Film Noir
, which today are regarded as classics were B-Movies in their day. This includes Detour
, by Edgar G. Ulmer, shot in a micro-budget but would later be cited by the likes of Martin Scorsese
, François Truffaut
and Errol Morris
as a major masterpiece of cinema. Another well known B-Movie is Touch of Evil
by Orson Welles
, a Genre-Busting
film which is today regarded as the last Film Noir.
A lot of later movies could be called B-movies— if not for their A-list cast and large budgets, then for their hammy acting and cheesy lines. (See Krull
, Flash Gordon
and the Dune
movie.) Actual B-movies tend to not get too widely noticed these days, but as the style has come to be appreciated for its camp
value, there have been a number of successful big-budget movies that emulate B-movie tropes and production values in a sort of Affectionate Parody
. The style saw a resurgence in the late 2000s as the rise of streaming video and ready access to video recording and editing made low-budget filmmaking and distribution easier than ever.
Contrast Epic Movie
. See There's No "B" in Movie
for when a character is a fan of one of these, and The Mockbuster
for a particular form of Z-movie
B-movies of note include (chronological order, please)
- Reefer Madness (1937) : Exploitation film portraying the dangers of marijuana use in an, um, highly exaggerated manner. Remade as a Musical Comedy in 2005.
- Child Bride (1938) : A schoolteacher in the Ozarks campaigns to stop the practice of older men marrying young, underage girls. The film claims to draw attention to the subject of child marriage and be critical of it; so why it therefore needed an extended scene of a 12-year old Shirley Mills skinnydipping is a mystery.
- Stagecoach (1939): Western Ensemble Cast film about stagecoach passengers attempting to avoid Apaches. Its star was a nobody cowboy actor named John Wayne who had appeared in over 80 films and blown several previous attempts at stardom (and was paid less than most of the other cast members), and its director, John Ford, was widely considered insane. Made on a B-film budget and not expected to do much, it managed to become a massive hit, made Wayne into a superstar, and garnered an Oscar win for supporting actor Thomas Mitchell. Remade in 1966 and 1985.
- Detour (1945): Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, the "B" director who gave the world The Black Cat, this Poverty Row piece is considered by some to be the first true Film Noir. Sadly, for leading man Tom Neal, the film would prove a case of Life Imitates Art. In a further oddity, the 1992 remake starred Neal's son, Tom Neal Jr.
- Gun Crazy (1949) : A couple with a mutual fascination for weaponry go on a crime spree. Inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, it would itself be used as inspiration for Bonnie and Clyde.Very loosely remade in 1992 with Drew Barrymore.
- The Thing from Another World (1951) : A group of military personnel at an isolated polar base discover a crashed flying saucer and its sole surviving inhabitant, a being that can absorb and imitate other life forms. Adapted from the 1938 short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell. Remade by John Carpenter in 1982; video game sequel to the remake in 2002; a prequel to the 1982 film was released in 2011. Bits of the original can be seen in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), as the film on television in the various houses.
- Kansas City Confidential (1952): Above-average "B" Film Noir, it was the first of several "City Confidential" pictures of the era, and the reference for L.A. Confidential.
- Superman And The Mole Men (1952): Essentially a pilot for the series The Adventures of Superman this one-hour long film starred George Reeves as Superman battling mob violence brought about after some strange looking creatures begin appearing in a small town. At barely an hour, this is notable as the first feature-length superhero film.
- The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) : The Trope Maker for the convention of the monster being created by the bomb (predating Gojira by a single year), and one of the first giant monster movies per se following a hiatus that had been ongoing since 1933's King Kong. A ferocious dinosaur is awakened by an Arctic atomic test and terrorizes the North Atlantic and ultimately New York City.
- Cat Women Of The Moon (1953) : A team of astronauts land on the moon and discover a race of women who mind-control the team's only female member and seek the use of the team's rocket to get to Earth. In case you're wondering; no, despite the title, the women aren't catgirls.
- Glen or Glenda? (1953) : Following the suicide of a transvestite, "Dr. Alton" and "the Scientist" offer a Fauxlosophic Narration ("Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep!") on the life of a man afraid to tell his fiancee he is a cross-dresser and a pseudohermaphrodite who undergoes sexual reassignment surgery. The directorial debut of Ed Wood; and a foretaste of what people could basically expect from his career.
- Project Moonbase (1953) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, the US government has built a permanent orbital space station and seeks to construct a base on the moon itself as well. In order to do this, they need photographs of the dark side. An expedition composed of two men and an unruly female colonel whom the general threatens to spank into complacency are sent to do it. The colonel is the least of the problems, however, as one of the men is a saboteur.
- Robot Monster (1953) : An alien named Ro-Man hunts the last humans alive on earth, but ends up falling in love with the inevitable sexy young scientist's daughter and consequently has a crisis of conscience, leading to much earnest solilioquizing ("At what point on the graph do 'must' and 'cannot' meet? Yet I must — but I cannot!"). Ro-Man, it might just be mentioned, is played by a man in a gorilla suit wearing a toy plastic space helmet. Oh, and did we mention his master computer constantly spews bubbles? Music by Elmer Bernstein.
- Devil Girl From Mars (1954) : A Martian dominatrix arrives on Earth in search of men for breeding stock, and terrorizes a British country inn.
- The Beast With A Million Eyes (1955) : A rural family contends with the forces of an alien that takes control of the minds of animals - and eventually humans too.
- Bride of the Monster (1955) : An exiled European scientist abducts people with the intention of turning them into a race of atomic supermen so he can take over the world. By Ed Wood.
- Creature With The Atom Brain (1955) : An American gangster and an ex-Nazi scientist team up to create zombies by removing the brains of corpses and replacing them with atomic energy, whereupon they set them upon the gangster's enemies.
- Day The World Ended (1955) : After a nuclear war, a small group of people is confined to a rural property. Tensions soon mount between them, and they also contend with a mutant dwelling nearby. By Roger Corman.
- It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) : A giant octopus is disturbed by atomic tests and makes its way to San Franscisco. Oh, but because Ray Harryhausen wasn't given enough money, the said octopus only has six arms. Call it a "hextapus".
- King Dinosaur (1955) : A new planet moves into our solar system and four scientists (two couples) are sent to explore Planet Nova. In between romantic interludes, they face an iguana masquerading as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The directorial debut of Bert I Gordon, who - despite somehow being far less well-known - can pretty much join the ranks of Roger Corman, Coleman Francis and Ed Wood in terms of the rate at which he churned this breed of movie out.
- Tarantula (1955): Tarantula injected with a growth serum breaks out of a lab, grows into a giant monster, ravages the Arizonan countryside, and is defeated by an air-strike with a pilot played by a 25-year old Clint Eastwood.
- Earth Vs The Flying Saucers (1956) : A scientist is contacted by aliens who, in order to avoid conflict, want him to arrange a meeting of world leaders which they can inform of their intentions to take over the earth.
- It Conquered the World (1956) : An alien from Venus resembling a giant zucchini with arms and a face arrives on Earth and mind-controls people with a flock of bat-like creatures plus the aid of Lee Van Cleef.
- The Mole People (1956) : A team of archaeologists discovers a race of humans living underground beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia, who keep the eponymous mole people as slaves.
- Twenty Million Miles To Earth (1957) : A spaceship freshly returned from Venus crashes into the sea near Italy. An embryo washes up on the beach and is found by a small boy, who sells it to a zoologist. A reptilian monster hatches from the embryo and quickly grows to enormous proportions, whereupon it terrorizes Rome. A movie by Ray Harryhausen.
- The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) : Colonel Glen Manning is exposed to radiation and he starts growing to tremendous size, cutting off the blood supply to his brain thus causing him to go mad. By Bert I Gordon.
- Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957): A group of scientists study an irradiated isle and find giant land crabs with human intelligences from eating the previous group of scientists. The Page Image.
- Beginning of the End (1957) : An enterprising female journalist comes across a destroyed town and learns of a scientist that's been using radiation to make vegetables grow to giant sizes. It seems that a swarm of grasshoppers broke into a silo containing some of said vegetables, ate them, became irradiated themselves, grew to enormous proportions and are now running amok, headed towards Chicago. By Bert I Gordon.
- The Black Scorpion (1957) : A volcano unleashes a hive of giant scorpions that attack Mexico City.
- The Brain From Planet Arous (1957) : A giant, hovering alien brain possesses the body of a scientist and attempts to take over the world.
- The Deadly Mantis (1957) : The eruption of a volcano in the south seas causes the north pole to shift location into warmer climates, causing a giant prehistoric praying mantis frozen in an iceberg to thaw out. It attacks military installations in the arctic, and then makes its way to Washington D.C. and New York City.
- The Giant Claw (1957) : Earth is attacked by a Giant Antimatter Space Buzzard. Translation: a puppet that looks like Big Bird's evil twin. Thus beloved for some of the most hilariously out-of-sync shots of 'horror' and 'wonder' in history - the puppet was created & filmed long after the actors' reaction takes.
- Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) : Bulbous-headed aliens that kill via injecting their victims with alcohol descend upon a town named "Hicksburg" and are defeated by the resident teens.
- The Monolith Monsters (1957) : A meteorite lands in the American southwest scattering mysterious black rocks everywhere. When the rocks come into contact with water, they grow into giant pillars that threaten a small town.
- The Monster That Challenged The World (1957) : An earthquake in the Salton Sea unleashes a horde of prehistoric mollusk monsters that terrorize the citizens of California's Imperial Valley.
- Not of This Earth (1957) : An agent from a planet whose race is dying of an incurable blood disease comes to Earth to gauge the viability of human blood as a replacement. By Roger Corman.
- The 1988 remake was done on a bet by Jim Wynorski that he could do it on the same budget and schedule. It shows and the acting exactly what you would expect when the best you can afford wouldn't make a HS drama club. Some of the special effects, however, would have been right at home in Star Trek.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) : Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A Distaff Counterpart to The Amazing Colossal Man.
- Attack Of The Puppet People (1958) : The lonely owner of a doll factory uses a ray to shrink people that he thinks are going to abandon him and keeps them as his pets. Although the shrunken people do try to get back to normal size, they don't ever strictly ''attack'' anyone. By Bert I Gordon.
- The Blob (1958) : A glob of jelly comes to earth in a meteorite and starts getting bigger by engulfing people. It is defeated via dousing with fire-hydrants and airlifted to the Arctic. Remade in 1988.
- The Brain Eaters (1958) : A rocket-like structure emerges from the ground, and monsters resembling dust bunnies with two drinking straws stuck into them emerge from it, mind-controlling the residents of a nearby town. The film had enough similarities with the novel "The Puppet Masters'' (1951) to allow author Robert A. Heinlein to sue the creators for plagiarism. The case ended with an out-of-court settlement. The film is also remembered for a small part played by then-obscure Leonard Nimoy.
- The Crawling Eye (A.K.A. The Trollenberg Terror) (1958) : Two sisters and a UN scientist go to a resort in the mountains of Switzerland, where an ominous radioactive cloud has been looming nearby. Two men venture to the proximity of the cloud; one turns up decapitated and the other an entranced maniac. It seems the workings of a tentacled blob of flesh with a giant central eye are afoot.
- Queen Of Outer Space (1958) : Opinions differ over whether this was tongue-in-cheek hack work or the most misogynistic sci-fi movie ever made. Probably the quintessential space-explorers-discover-a-world-populated-entirely-by-beautiful-women movie (e.g. Cat Women Of The Moon, Missile to the Moon, the British Fire Maidens from Outer Space, and the spoof Amazon Women on the Moon).
- The Alligator People (1959) : A newly-wedded couple are on a train when the husband receives a telegram and runs away, vanishing without a trace. The wife, after years of searching, turns up at the Florida plantation where he once lived, whereupon she discovers that a treatment for a medical condition the husband had has turned him into a human/alligator hybrid.
- Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) : In the swamps of Florida, a pair of the eponymous People in Rubber Suits abduct local hicks and take them to an underwater grotto to feed on their blood.
- The Giant Behemoth (1959) : The dumping of radioactive waste off the shores of Cornwall, England, awakens a prehistoric monster than can project electric shocks and radioactive beams, whereupon it makes its way towards London. Was originally going to be about a blob of radiation, but executives demanded it be reworked into a Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (which was made by the same director) knockoff.
- The Giant Gila Monster (1959) : A small town in northern Texas is terrorized by... well, read the title.
- House on Haunted Hill (1959): An eccentric billionaire invites 5 strangers to an old mansion for a party, wherein they will each be afforded $10,000 if they can only survive the night. What do you suppose the odds are that they get locked inside and that the house turns out to be inhabited by ghosts, murders and other terrors? By William Castle; remade in 1999.
- The Killer Shrews (1959) : Some people trapped on an island are terrorized by... well, again, read the title. Every bit as fun/silly as it sounds, fortunately.
- The shrews are transparently played by German Shepherds in body wigs.
- Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) : Aliens resurrect the dead as
vampires zombies that look like vampires to stop humans from building a bomb that will "explode particles of sunlight." With model-kit flying saucers, gravestones made of cardboard, and an airplane cockpit consisting of a shower curtain and two folding chairs; this is just one of many films contending for the title of the "worst movie ever made", but it is generally regarded as the winner. By - who else? - Ed Wood. Remake in development, with The Angry Video Game Nerd himself in a bit part.
- First Spaceship on Venus (1960) : An artifact from Venus is discovered in the Gobi Desert, so a Five-Token Band space crew is sent to the planet to investigate for aliens. Honestly not too shabby.
- The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) : A teenage florist cultivates a relationship with a sentient plant that feeds on human blood. Directed by Roger Corman. Adapted as a musical in 1982, which in turn spawned a 1986 film adaptation. It's also the only possible case where a character first portrayed by Jack Nicholson was later portrayed nearly identically by Bill Murray.
- The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) : Following a gratuitous opening topless scene that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REST OF THE MOVIE, a defecting Soviet scientist played by Tor Johnson wanders into a nuclear testing range, contracts radiation, grows into a hulking monster (the eponymous Beast), kills a couple, then two boys get lost, then the beast is killed, and then a rabbit sniffs his corpse. Somewhere during production, the film's soundtrack was lost, forcing its thoroughly inept director, Coleman Francis, to dub it with a drunken-sounding Fauxlosophic Narration instead. The end result is another contender for the title of the worst movie ever made.
- Gorgo (1961) : A sea monster is captured by sailors off the Irish coast and brought to London for display. But then the monster's mommy shows up... By the same guy that did The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and The Giant Behemoth.
- Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961) : A group of kids wanders around doing random things, whilst Sonny Chiba battles aliens from Neptune. Though ostensibly a children's film, it incorporates genuine WWII footage into destruction sequences; something which did not sit too well with the MST3K crew.
- Reptilicus (1961) : A piece of tail is found in the mines of Lapland and brought to Denmark, whereupon it regenerates into the eponymous giant lizard and terrorizes Copenhagen.
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962) : After his girlfriend is decapitated in a car crash, a scientist keeps her severed head alive in a pan and searches for a replacement body. Said girlfriend is not pleased with the circumstances.
- Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962) : Five astronauts land on Uranus (the eponymous planet) and are mind raped by a giant alien brain. A bit less narmy than standard 60s B-grade sci-fi/horror fare.
- Mondo Cane (1962) : Documentary by Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi about strange and depraved cultural practices around the world. Progenitor of the Mondo subgenre, also called "shockumentaries". Title translates in English to "A Dog's World".
- Beach Party (1963) : An anthropologist studies the mating habits of teenage surfers at a beach, and boyfriend Frankie and girlfriend Dolores try to make each other jealous by flirting with others. By American International Pictures. Followed by way too many sequels, semi-sequels and rip-offs; many of which didn't actually even have anything to do with the beach.
- Blood Feast (1963) : The world's first splatterfest, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, about an Egyptian caterer who graphically murders a bunch of women in Miami as part of a ritual to resurrect the goddess Ishtar. The first in Lewis' unofficial "Blood" trilogy.
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) : Woman goes to Rome and gets entangled in a string of murders based upon the alphabetical order of the victims' names. Progenitor of the Giallo subgenre.
- The Raven (1963) : Very, very, very loose adaptation of the poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe; starring a young Jack Nicholson. The most well-known of Roger Corman's series of B-movies based on the works of Poe.
- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1963) : Martians, upset that their children have became obsessed with Earth TV-shows, kidnap Santa Claus along with two Earth children so they can engage in some more wholesome fun. Too bad Santa's a drunk... erm, that is, still needed on Earth. Made (in)famous by its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963) : Dr. James Xavier, a scientist, gives himself X-ray vision. Alas, he starts to be able to see through the fabric of spacetime, and goes insane. One of Roger Corman's more competent, more critically-acclaimed works. The "X" of the title stands for "Xavier".
- The Time Travelers (1964) : A group of scientists attempts to create a window to the future but ends up creating a portal to it instead. They step through, and end up trapped in the future; in which the Earth as been decimated by nuclear war reducing it to a barren wasteland. They team up with underground-dwelling survivors, who are in the process of building a spaceship to escape to Alpha Centauri. Alas, the mutants who dwell in the waste are out to put a stop to this.
- Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) : The residents of a deep southern town lure six tourists to obtain revenge for the town's destruction at the hands of Union troops during the Civil War by sacrificing them in the rituals of its annual festival. Can you say "Gorn"? Good, we knew you could. Second in Herschell Gordon Lewis' unofficial "Blood" trilogy.
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) : Battle of the sexes by Russ Meyer about a gang of Amazonian go-go dancers who murder a young woman's boyfriend and take off with her, then scheme to rob an old redneck of his large, hidden stash of money by seducing his sons. While it didn't create sexploitation, it's the Trope Codifier.
- Monster A-Go Go (1965) : Upon landing back on earth in a field, an astronaut emerges as a mutated monster. After killing some people, he is caught by some scientists, but then escapes again... at least, according to the narrator. Then, it suddenly turns out that there never was a monster... the astronaut actually landed in the Pacific, completely normal. If you're thinking "what?", don't worry, so are we. Originally starting out as Terror at Halfday in 1961, its director, Bill Rebane, ran out of money halfway through and dropped it. Four years later Herschell Gordon Lewis needed something to screen as a double feature with his own Moonshine Mountain so he bought this, finished it with footage of people sitting around and talking while reading script pages pasted to the floor, and this incomprehensible piece of garbage was the result. If this isn't in the running for "Worst Movie Ever", it's only because it barely counts as a movie in the first place.
- Monsters Crash The Pajama Party (1965): A short that is one of the last surviving artifacts of the Spook Show, which combined a film with audience participation. Frat boys and sorority initiates spend the night in a supposedly haunted mansion, complete with a Mad Scientist named Mad Doctor, Big G the Gorilla and No Fourth Wall.
- The Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966) : One of the best, most beloved, most important and most influential B movies of all time; about three unscrupulous gunslingers competing to find a buried cache of coins in the midst of the American Civil War. It is frequently regarded as both the single greatest western movie of all time and as hailing the end of that said genre.
- "Manos" The Hands of Fate (1966) : Another contender for the title of "worst movie ever", made into a cult classic by its rerelease on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Red Zone Cuba / Night Train To Mundo Finé (1966). Three prison escapees find themselves forced into fighting in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and meet an ill fate while pursuing a treasure they learned about from a P.O.W. there. As of 2011, rated 6th worst movie of all time on Imdb. Best remembered for a surprisingly awesome theme song sung by John Carradine himself. Like Manos, it's been skewered by both Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Agony Booth.
- Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years To Earth (1967) : British construction workers unearth a millions-of-years-old crashed UFO, the existence of which is tied to centuries worth of poltergeist phenomena in the region. Adapted from a BBC serial aired in 1958, the best-known of four serials to feature Prof. Bernard Quatermass, the original and its remake have been cited as a key influence of everything from Doctor Who to The Tommyknockers to Babylon 5.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) : Originator of the Zombie Apocalypse movie. The distributors of the film neglected to include a copyright notice in the end credits of the released version, thereby (by the laws of the time) entering the film and its associated concepts into the public domain. Remade in 1990 and again in 2006. An animated remake is in development.
- Equinox (1968): Low-budget film that launched the career of Dennis Muren, who would later go on to win an Oscar for effects on Star Wars and become a founding member of ILM. Later re-cut by Jack Harris (of The Blob fame).
- Hercules In New York (1969) : We all gotta start somewhere. For Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was here. A lightning bolt wielded by Zeus consists of a metal rod painted gold; that is all you need to know.
- Love Camp 7 (1969) : Two female British agents go undercover at a Nazi prison camp to get information from a scientist imprisoned there, but end up subject to the same torture and humiliation betrothed upon the other inmates. Progenitor of both the Nazisploitation and Women-in-Prison subgenres.
- Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) : An all-girl rock band goes to Hollywood hoping to make it big and slips into decadence... as only 1970's celebrities could. "This is my happening, and it freaks me out!!" Directed by Russ Meyer, but most notable for being written by none other than... Roger Ebert!!!; who had became friends with Meyer after writing positive reviews of several of his films.
- I Drink Your Blood (1970) : A coven of Satanist hippies loosely based on the Manson Family descends upon a quiet little country town and molests a local girl. The girl's grandfather confronts them but is dosed with LSD. The brother/grandson seeks revenge by injecting some meat pies with blood from a rabid dog and feeding them to the hippies. Can you guess what happens next?
- Nams Angels (1970) : A gang of bikers is recruited by the US military to undertake a rescue operation of a CIA agent imprisoned by the Viet Cong with motorcycles armed with machine guns mounted on the front. Sound manly enough for you?
- The Big Boss (1971) : After The Green Hornet failed, Bruce Lee went back to Hong Kong and was catapulted into stardom with this film. About a man sworn-to-non-violence going to live with his cousins and getting on the wrong side of a local drug lord.
- Evel Knievel (1971): Why the most famous daredevil of the era chose to have his biopic done as a surreal semi-exploitation serio-comic flick is anyone's guess, but the result is unforgettable. Starring George Hamilton, who also produced, and Sue Lyon of Lolita fame.
- Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971) : From the duo that brought you Mondo Cane (above); examines the degrading conditions in which African slaves lived in pre-Civil War America in horrifyingly graphic detail.
- The Omega Man (1971) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, a war between America and the USSR has decimated the planet. The only survivors are Charlton Heston, Rosalind Cash, a handful of children, and a clan of Evil Albinos that want to smush them all. Adapted from the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Previously adapted as The Last Man on Earth in 1964. Remade under the title of the original novel in 2007.
- Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) : Progenitor of the Blaxploitation genre; essentially a manifesto for an African-American revolution. Director/writer/producer/lead actor Melvin Van Peebles is the father of actor/director Mario Van Peebles. Melvin appears in unsimulated sex acts in the film, and even contracted an STD during the filming.
- Two Lane Blacktop (1971) : Two nameless men (James Taylor and Dennis Wilson) touring across the US in their 1955 Chevy 150 challenge another (Warren Oates) in a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge to a cross-country race to Washington D.C. A female hitchhiker (Laurie Bird) drifts between the two parties. No character is shown reaching Washington during the course of the film; its tone is of endlessness and existentialism. It is also regarded as a nostalgic time-capsule of Route 66 prior to it being overtaken by the Interstate Highway System.
- Vanishing Point (1971) : An enigmatic car delivery man named Kowalski drives a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, running afoul of the police in the process. Very similar in tone to Two-Lane Blacktop and Easy Rider, and along with Gone in 60 Seconds (below), arguably the Ur Example and Trope Codifier of the car chase movie.
- Black Mama White Mama (1972) : Blaxploitation/women-in-prison, with Pam Grier. The girlfriend of a pimp tries to steal money from him and is thrown in jail. The leader of a local anarchist group is thrown in too, and the two get chained together. They escape, and must put aside their differences to survive.
- Deep Throat (1972) : Porno about a woman whose doctor discovers her clitoris is located in her throat. It doesn't take much imagination to guess what happens next. Started a trend of couples going out to see porn together called "Porno Chic", caused a big brouhaha over censorship, and is the most successful film of all time in terms of box office returns (reportedly $600 million) in ratio to budget ($22,500 + 25,000 for music).
- Frogs (1972) : When an ageing patriarch poisons his local environs, the wildlife rise up to strike back. It's actually not frogs but various other animals that do most of the killings in the movie.
- The Last House on the Left (1972) : Two girls are abducted by a gang of criminals, tortured and murdered, and then the gang unknowingly shacks up in the house of one of the girl's parents. Just try to guess what happens when the said parents find out. Along with Cannibal Holocaust and I Spit On Your Grave (below); is regarded as the quintessential "Video Nasty". By Wes Craven, remade in 2009. This was Wes Craven's first film.
- Night of the Lepus (1972) : In which Dr McCoy - er, DeForest Kelley - helps Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh rid the world of a marauding herd of Giant Killer Bunny Rabbits. While wearing an orange turtleneck. Made by MGM... really.
- Pink Flamingos (1972) : By John Waters. Two families compete for the title of the "filthiest people alive". Includes, among other things: the unsimulated crushing of a chicken whilst engaging in sex, the unsimulated lip-synching of a man's anus, the unsimulated fellatization of a man's penis by his transvestite mother, and the unsimulated consumption of dog feces.
- Superfly (1972) : Blaxploitation. Priest (that's his name, not his occupation) is a cocaine dealer who realizes his occupation will eventually result in either prison or death, so he decides to stage One Last Job to get enough money to start a new life. The mob, however, doesn't want to let him go...
- The Baby (1973) : A social worker who recently lost her husband in a car accident investigates the strange Wadsworth family. The Wadsworths might not seem too unusual to hear about them at first - consisting of the mother, two grown daughters and a diaper-clad, bottle-sucking baby. The problem is, the baby is twenty-one years old. And the social worker has nefarious intentions of her own...
- Coffy (1973) : Blaxploitation about a nurse played by Pam Grier who goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the drug dealers responsible for her sister's addiction. Notable for featuring both a female protagonist and an anti-drug message, both of which were unfashionable at the time and done quite well. One of the inspirations for Kill Bill.
- Enter the Dragon (1973) : Fourth and final film of Bruce Lee, the only one made with a decent budget and the first to premiere in America and in English, released just after his death. About a Shaolin martial artist commissioned by an intelligence agency to infilitrate the island base of a crimelord by participating in an annual martial arts tournament.
- Lady Snowblood (1973) : A female samurai goes around killing ganglords as part of a blood-oath to avenge the imprisonment of her dead mother and murder of her mother's husband. Another inspiration for Kill Bill.
- Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973) : A girl is abducted, made addicted to heroin, has one of her eyes gouged out and her parents commit suicide; prompting her to learn karate, marksmanship and pursuit-driving to take revenge. Another inspiration for Kill Bill.
- The Legend Of Hell House (1973). A group of paranormal investigators attempt to solve the mystery of Belasco House, a manor in Campbell Country which was the site of depraved orgies and mass murders and which has Driven to Suicide everyone attempting to dwell therein since. Adapted by Richard Matheson from his much more graphic novel of the same name.
- The Vault of Horror (1973) : Five men wind up trapped in the basement of an office building and pass the time by recounting nightmares they've each been having in which they die to each other. Adapted from short stories from the eponymous comic series. Sequel to Tales from the Crypt.
- Death Line (1973): Also known as Raw Meat. The last survivor of an inbred family of cannibals trapped after a London tunnel collapse in the 19th century emerges to terrorize a student and his girlfriend. The police get involved after a Minister of Parliament is murdered at the same tube station. Stars Donald Pleasence.
- Caged Heat (1974): Often called the Citizen Kane of women-in-prison pictures, this was the feature debut of director Jonathan Demme, who went on to bigger and better things. Roger Corman was an uncredited producer.
- Foxy Brown (1974) : Counterpart to Coffy (above) where the eponymous Foxy Brown (also played by Grier) seeks revenge after her boyfriend is gunned down by the mob.
- Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974): A gang of car thieves is contracted by a drug lord to steal 48 high-end cars, an endeavour which culminates in a car chase that lasts for 34 minutes and in which 93 cars are destroyed. Competes with Vanishing Point (above) for the title of the Ur Example and Trope Codifier of the car chase film. By H.B. "Toby" Halicki. Remade in 2000.
- The Street Fighter (1974) : When a mercenary refuses to assassinate the heiress to an oil company for the Yakuza, they come after him due to him knowing about their plans. He offers his services to protect the heiress. What originally started as a low-brow Bruce Lee cash-in eventually evolved into something all of its own.
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): Five hippies going to visit the vandalized grave of one of their number's grandfather fall prey to a murderous backwoods family of cannibals, one of which, Leatherface, wields a chainsaw. Bashed on its release, regarded as a classic nowadays. Turned into a franchise, including three sequels, a remake and its sequel, and an alternate sequel to the original. By Tobe Hooper.
- Truck Turner (1974) : Blaxploitation starring Isaac Hayes (yes, that Isaac Hayes), where the eponymous Truck Turner has a hit placed on him by the wife of a man he kills.
- Death Race 2000 (1975) : Twenty Minutes into the Future the champion of a cross-country automobile race in which pedestrians are run over to accumulate points in order to placate the populace spars with his competitors and with a resistance movement. Regarded as a satire on society's voyeuristic obsession with violence and a herald of present day reality TV shows. Remade in 2008; both versions produced by Roger Corman.
- The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) : A meteorite lands in Wisconsin, creates a black hole, and then a Giant Spider consisting of a Volkswagen beetle covered in fake fur emerges and terrorizes the place.
- Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975) : Buxom, nymphomaniac dominatrix Ilsa tortures prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp to prove women can withstand more pain than men and castrates men unable to resist ejaculation long enough to satisfy her sexual appetite. Launched the popularity and typical tropes and cliches of the "Nazisploitation" subgenre, but was not the progenitor of said subgenre (with that honor falling to Love Camp 7, above). Probably best known for being filmed on the former set of Hogan's Heroes.
- Race With the Devil (1975) : Two couples vacationing in an RV witness a sacrifice committed by a Satanic cult. They inform the police, but no evidence is found. Once on their way, however, the cult goes after them, and they are forced to take measures to defend themselves.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) : Newly-engageds find themselves stranded at the castle of a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania, on the night he plans to bring life to his perfect creation. Oddball musical comedy (adapted from the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show) that remains popular as a midnight movie to this day, and holds the record for the longest theatrical release, having shown in at least one American cinema, once a week, in the US from 1975 to the present day. Possibly the ur-film of the Cosplay subculture.
- Supervixens (1975) : A man dumps his sexually-insatiable wife, whereupon a cop starts having an affair with her but eventually murders her. The cop tries to pin the blame on the man. The man flees across the country, being sexually-assaulted at every turn by a series of mammoth-breasted women whom all have the prefix 'super' in their name. By Russ Meyer.
- Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) : A man kills a gang member and takes refuge in a police station that is about to be decommissioned. The gang proceeds to besiege the station, and the police and criminals-awaiting-transfer within must work together to defend themselves. By John Carpenter. Remade in 2005.
- Bloodsucking Freaks (A.K.A. The Incredible Torture Show) (1976) : Master Sardu runs a theatre which puts on shows which feature women being tortured and killed in grotesquely depraved ways. Unbeknownst to the audience, these acts are not staged but are authentic, and the women are not actresses but kidnapped and captive victims. Doesn't just take Refuge in Audacity, it invades Audacity and takes no prisoners.
- The Food of the Gods (1976) : Still hungry for more after Ro-Man, the Giant Antimatter Space Buzzard and the Giant Killer Bunny Rabbits? Well, this little ditty features giant chickens. Okay; technically only in one scene - it's mostly about giant rats - but said one scene makes it all worth it. By Bert I Gordon.
- Grizzly (1976) : Jaws... WITH A GRIZZLY BEAR!
- Squirm (1976) : A man in a gorilla suit with a toy plastic space helmet, a Giant Antimatter Space Buzzard, Giant Killer Bunny Rabbits, giant chickens... there truly isn't anything you can't do a B horror movie about, is there? This time around, it's earthworms.
- Axe! (1977) : Three criminals take over a farm house and terrorize the young girl who lives there with her catatonic grandfather. After she is raped, she gets her gruesome revenge.
- Day Of The Animals (1977) : The depletion of the ozone layer allows for the bombarding of the Earth by ultraviolet radiation, causing all the animals above 5,000 feet in the mountains of north California to go nuts. They terrorize a group of mountain hikers. Be on the lookout for a scene where a shirtless Leslie Nielsen wrestles a bear.
- Fight for Your Life (1977) : Gang of criminals consisting of white redneck, Hispanic and Asian take a black family hostage. Might very well break the world record for the most racial slurs used in a single film. Behind only Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House on the Left in terms of infamy.
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977) : A family making a trip to see a silver mine they've inherited takes an unwise shortcut through a nuclear testing range, wherein their car breaks down and they are beset upon by a clan of inbred, mutated cannibals. Two sequels, remake, two sequels to remake. By Wes Craven.
- The Incredible Melting Man (1977) : Space radiation turns an astronaut into a rampaging goo monster.
- Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) : After their natural food sources are destroyed by pesticides, tarantulas swarm an Arizonan town.
- Orca The Killer Whale (1977) : Jaws... WITH A KILLER WHALE!
- Rolling Thunder (1977) A Shell-Shocked Veteran must avenge the deaths of his wife and son. A personal favourite of Quentin Tarantino.
- Tentacles (1977) : Jaws... WITH AN OCTOPUS!
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978) : Tomatoes across the US inexplicably come alive and kill people by... roaming over them while making mumbling noises. Three sequels and an animated adaptation.
- Dawn of the Dead (1978) : Followup to Night of the Living Dead wherein zombies have begun taking over the earth and a group of survivors attempts to ride the situation out by barricading themselves in a shopping mall. Frequently regarded as the best zombie movie of all time, and also a brilliant satire regarding consumerism. Remade in 2003.
- Deathsport (1978) : In the year 3000, after the great "Neutron Wars" have turned Earth into a wasteland populated only by mutants and warriors, a city-state abducts one of the warriors and forces him to participate in the eponymous deathsport; which consists of gladiator battles performed atop motorcycles. Something of a Spiritual Successor to Death Race 2000.
- Halloween (1978): While not the first slasher film, is the one which launched the typical tropes and cliches of the genre which people now come to expect of it in addition to sparking the boom in popularity of the genre during the 80s. Spawned 7 sequels. Remade in 2007, sequel to the remake in 2009.
- I Spit on Your Grave (1978) : Counterpart to The Last House on the Left (above) about an attractive young aspiring author from New York who gets brutally gang-raped by a gang of rednecks while vacationing in the woods and subsequently goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against them. Completely trashed on its release, it nowadays is seeing the occasional critical revision postulating it as a feminist anti-rape manifesto.
- Laserblast (1978) : Two aliens kill another alien but forget to pick up the laser cannon he's carrying. Some kid finds it, and he goes on a murderous rampage. Cheap stop-motion aliens, a character getting mutated into a monster by a salt shaker he wears around his neck, and according to Leonard Maltin, it's better than Taxi Driver. What a wild, wacky, wonderful world we live in!
- Piranha (1978) : Jaws... WITH PIRANHAS! However, this one's a bit more palatable.
- The Brood (1979) : A psychiatrist experiments with a new therapy that causes his patients to develop nasty physical manifestations; culminating in a psychotic woman giving birth to the titular brood of murderous children. Nobody else could pull this off but David Cronenberg.
- Mad Max (1979) : Cop in a post-apocalyptic Australia goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the biker gang that murdered his wife and son. Brought Australian cinema into the spotlight, and launched the career of Mel Gibson; though nobody outside of Australia itself would know about it if it weren't for the sequels. Dubbed for its US release due to perceptions that the actors' native accents were incomprehensibly thick. Two sequels; a fourth installment has been stuck in Development Hell since the early 2000s.
- Zombi 2 (1979) : A boat drifts into New York City, its passengers having long since succumbed to a zombie plague contracted on an unexplored tropical island. Unauthorized Italian sequel (In Name Only) to Dawn of the Dead (above), which itself was called Zombi in that country. The best known product of the Italian exploitation boom of the '70s. By Lucio Fulci. Somewhere between four and ten sequels (there being a number of b-movies with "Zombi 5" and "Zombi 6" as alternate titles), which have exactly as much to do with Zombi 2 as it has to to with Dawn of the Dead. Also known in some quarters by the title Zombie Flesh Eaters.
- Alligator (1980) : Jaws... WITH AN ALLIGATOR! However, this one too is a bit more palatable.
- The Anthropophagus Beast (1980) : Some Italian tourists vacationing in Greece land on an island only to find the town deserted save for a terrified blind girl. They soon contend with the deranged killer that slaughtered the island's inhabitants; culminating with the killer munching on his own intestines before dying.
- Cannibal Holocaust (1980) : About a team of anthropologists who venture into the Amazon jungle in search of another team of anthropologists that disappeared and recover some film footage; which reveals said previous team's fate. Style of the later half was the inspiration for The Blair Witch Project (see below). Featured the actual slaughter of several animals. Banned on about half the planet, and resulted in the prosecution of the director on suspicion that it was an actual snuff film. Also launched the popularity of the cannibal subgenre.
- City of the Living Dead (1980) : After the suicide of a priest causes the opening of a gate of hell and the rising of the dead, a psychic and a reporter must close the gate before All Saints Day. Infamous for two scenes: one of a woman vomiting up her own intestines whilst weeping blood (an effect which required the actress to swallow several yards of sheep intestines), and the other of a man having his head drilled through with an electric drill until it protrudes from the other side. The first film in Lucio Fulci's unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy, as it is also known as The Gates of Hell.
- Contamination (1980) : A ship rolls into New York Harbor. Aboard, the crew is found dead, and packages of mysterious, green, pulsating eggs are found in the hold. If a person gets close to the eggs; they explode, splattering the person with a substance which causes their stomachs to also explode. So yeah, it's basically Alien minus the face-huggers. An expedition to Columbia is mounted to find out where these eggs are coming from - turns out they're part of a plot to invade Earth on the part of an alien from Mars.
- Don't Go in the House (1980) : After his abusive mother, who burned his arms when he was a child, dies, a construction worker starts luring women back to his house and murdering them with a flamethrower.
- Friday the 13th (1980): Essentially a rip-off of Halloween made to cash in on its success; nevertheless started one of the most popular and long-running horror series of all time and introduced one of the genre's most iconic killers; Jason Voorhees. Directed by The Last House on the Left producer Sean Cunningham.
- The Last Shark (A.K.A. Great White) (1980) : Jaws... WITH... a great white shark?
- Prom Night 1980: A prank played by four children results in the death of a young girl. The four vow never to mention the accident. Years later, the four are teens in high school preparing for their prom. A masked killer - who may either be someone who witnessed the accident or an unrelated madman on the run - turns up and starts offing them. Three sequels and a pointless PG-13 rated remake.
- Terror Train (1980) : Some college teens play a traumatizing prank on a nerd. Years later, during a New Year's Eve/Graduation party aboard a train, said nerd returns to off them.
- Absurd (1981) : In Name Only sequel to The Anthropophagus Beast (above) about a man whose blood coagulates very fast thus making him nearly invincible; albeit also homicidal.
- The Beyond (1981) : A woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana and unleashes a curse pertaining to the gate of hell she finds it is built over and a painter who was lynched at it many years earlier; Gorn ensues. The second film in Lucio Fulci's unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy, and generally regarded as the best.
- The Burning (1981) : A counsellor at a summer camp is badly burned in a prank played by some teens. He returns to the camp from hospital and starts offing campers. Widely reputed to be a rip-off of Friday the 13th (above), though its script was actually written before that movie was made.
- Cannibal Ferox (1981) :
Spiritual Successor to Ripoff of Cannibal Holocaust about three grad students who head to the Amazon to research a thesis holding that cannibalism no longer exists. What do you suppose the odds are that this hypothesis turns out to be incorrect? We got more genuine animal killings, plus the somewhat dubious claim that it was banned in 31 countries.
- Dead & Buried (1981) : Passing tourists are viciously murdered by mobs of townspeople in the sleepy New England town of Potter's Bluff, only for them to then appear alive again as residents of it themselves, prompting the sheriff to investigate. While still plenty gory, is one of the few films on the Video Nasties list to be genuinely scary and to generally be received well by critics, and features an ending that would put M. Night Shyamalan to shame.
- Don't Go in the Woods (1981) : Two couples go for a camping trip in the woods and are set upon by a grizzled old mountain man, who also kills a bunch of other random people. Frequently regarded as the single worst slasher film of all time.
- Escape from New York (1981) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, New York has been turned into a walled-off maximum-security prison. When Air Force One crashes into it and the US president is taken captive by the gangs dwelling within, an Eyepatch of Power-clad Kurt Russell is sent in to get him back, with 24 hours to do it before bombs in his bloodstream blow up. Remake/sequel in 1996.
- Galaxy of Terror (1981) : A spaceship crew sent to a remote planet on a rescue mission faces gruesome things out to kill them in this Roger Corman flick.
- Hell Night (1981) : A bunch of college pledges are required to spend a night in a house rumored to be inhabited by the sole survivor of the family that used to live there - now a deranged killer - to be allowed into a fraternity/sister sorority. What do you suppose the odds are that the aforementioned rumor is true?
- The House by the Cemetery (1981) : Family moves into an old mansion only to contend with a murderous ghoul dwelling in the cellar. The third film in Lucio Fulci's unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy.
- Ms 45 (1981) : After getting raped, a mute New York woman goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against men. Think Taxi Driver, only with a woman.
- My Bloody Valentine (1981) : Not to be confused with the band, who named themselves after it. A miner survives a mine accident and murders those who were supposed to be monitoring the safety but were at a Valentine's Day party instead, warning the town residents that they must never host another party again. 20 years later, some people make the mistake of disregarding this warning, and the obvious ensues. Remade (in 3D) in 2009.
- Porno Holocaust (1981) : Some castaways wash ashore on an island inhabited by a sex-crazed, radioactively-mutated monster. Don't be fooled; the only thing about this movie that's any more offensive than any other like-minded porn/exploitation flick is the title. By Joe D'Amato.
- Sadomania (1981) : Women-in-prison. A couple falls into the hands of some woman running a boot camp/brothel, wherein the wife is made a slave. The man schemes for her to escape. There's really no point in attempting to explain the plot beyond this; although one scene apparently involves a woman being raped by a dog. By Jesus Franco.
- Turkey Shoot (1981) : Ozploitation classic about social deviants at a prison Twenty Minutes into the Future being hunted for sport by the sadistic wardens.
- The Evil Dead (1982) : A group of college kids spending the weekend at a cabin in the woods accidentally unleash demonic powers after discovering an ancient book of the dead. Spawned the acting career of Bruce Campbell, who would become a latter-day B-movie superstar, and the directorial career of Sam Raimi. Sequel/remake in 1987, followed in 1993 by Army Of Darkness, both tended more towards comedy (and the latter towards fantasy/action) than horror. Remade in 2013; the main character, Ash Williams, has since been featured in spinoff comics (including one based on an aborted sequel to Freddy vs. Jason.)
- Forbidden Zone (1982) : The Hercules family obtains a house with a door in the basement leading to the Sixth Dimension. Everything is fine until the daughter, Frenchy, ventures in. What ensues involves Satan, a dancing frog, and which overall one could get the same experience of by overdosing on LSD. Made by the band Oingo Boingo.
- The Man Who Saves the World (1982) : After crash-landing on a desert planet, two Earth soldiers face off against an ancient wizard with plans of intergalactic domination. Often referred to as "Turkish Star Wars", owing to the massive amounts of Stock Footage lifted from that film. Sequel in 2006.
- Tenebrae (1982) : A popular American horror writer in Rome gets entangled in a case involving a murderer getting the inspiration for his kills from his latest novel. By Dario Argento. Often regarded as the best Giallo film of all time.
- Visiting Hours (1982) : A He-Man Woman Hater attempts to murder a Straw Feminist after he sees her defending a woman who murdered her husband on the news. But she survives the attack, so he plans a trip to the hospital to finish the job.
- BMX Bandits (1983) : Classic Australian children's flick about three biker kids who find some walkie-talkies belonging to a gang of bank-robbers, whom they are subsequently pursued by. Notable as the big-screen debut of Nicole Kidman.
- Hundra (1983) : A distaff rip-off of Conan the Barbarian (1982) by Matt Climber about a man-hating amazon woman named Hundra whose village is destroyed by a tribe of bull-worshippers and whom an oracle tells to find a male to mate with and continue her people, an endeavour which takes her to the bull-worshippers' city to contend with their leader. Best known for its gratuitous scenes of nude horseback riding and the aforementioned lead villain being killed via being smothered by a slave girl's buttocks. Climber likes to make the occasional claim that he practically invented the concept of the female warrior with this film... yeah, sure you did, Climber; Red Sonja totally did not first appear in 1973 ten years earlier.
- Videodrome (1983) : The head of a pirate television station becomes a key figure in a plot on the government's part to cleanse the country of low-lifes obsessed with sex and violence by having him broadcast a snuff television show that causes hallucination-causing fatal brain tumors. Much better than it sounds, but just as much a Mind Screw. Meant as a satire on how the media influences our minds and as an indirect result our bodies too. By David Cronenberg.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): A group of teenagers are preyed upon in their dreams by the spirit of a man their parents lynched. Another cash-in on Halloween's success, though more original than Friday the 13th. Introduced another of horror's most iconic killers; Freddy Krueger. Six sequels, including a crossover with Friday the 13th; remade in 2010.
- C.H.U.D. (1984) : When several homeless people dwelling in the sewers of New York are mysteriously murdered, an investigation reveals said sewers to be inhabited by a tribe of radioactively mutated Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.
- The Noahs Ark Principle (1984) : Before his giant Summer Blockbusters, Roland Emmerich began his career with the most expensive student film ever to be produced in Germany, about a space station that could be used to control the weather. Story's not much to speak of, but the sets and special effects are phenomenal for their budget; no doubt one of the factors that enamoured Emmerich to Hollywood.
- Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) : A young boy witnesses his parents being murdered by a man in a Santa suit. Later, he is abused by the mother superior of the orphanage he is sent to. Though he initially appears to get over his childhood trauma in adulthood, he finally cracks when he's forced to wear a Santa suit himself for his job, and embarks on a murderous rampage.
- The Terminator (1984) : A cybernetic assassin from the year 2029 arrives in the present day, on a mission to assassinate the mother-to-be of the child who will become the leader of the human resistance against the machines. A classic example of a B-movie done good: on a limited budget with one previously noteworthy star and an unknown director, it became a box office and critical hit, launched the career of James Cameron, gave Arnold Schwarzenegger his trademark Catch Phrase, catapulted Michael Biehn into his career as an action actor, and spawned three sequels, a bunch of novels, videogames, a TV series, comics, and countless homages, parodies and imitations.
- The Toxic Avenger (1984) : A nerdy janitor at a health club falls into some barrels of toxic waste and turns into the eponymous Toxic Avenger. Under his new guise he becomes a superhero (of sorts) cleaning up his hometown of Tromaville and contending with its corrupt mayor. Virtually ignored on its release, it has since obtained a cult following dedicated enough to afford it three sequels and a short-lived cartoon series. Probably Troma Entertainment's best-known film.
- Demons (1985) : Two girls are given free tickets to the premiere of a horror movie. When attending, the epononymous demons emerge from the screen, kill the audience and transform them into more demons, forcing the survivors to try and survive.
- Gymkata (1985) : A movie about a gymnast who creates a martial art based on gymnastics and ninjutsu to compete in "The Game". The winner gets anything he wishes. It gets worse from there. Doesn't get boring at the least.
- Nudo e selvaggio Massacre in Dinosaur Valley; Cannibal Ferox 2 (1985)
- The Stuff (1985) : A sweet, sticky, addictive white substance is discovered in a mine and is sold as junkfood termed 'The Stuff'. Its popularity hurts the industries of other varieties of junk food, so a saboteur is hired to find out what it is and get rid of it. Said saboteur discovers that 'The Stuff' is actually sentient and takes over the bodies of those who consume it, turning them into zombies.
- Return of the Living Dead (1985) : Toxic gas stored at a secret Army facility is accidentally released into the atmosphere, provoking a Zombie Apocalypse. Created by John Russo, writer of Night of the Living Dead, as an indirect sequel thereof. Originated the meme of zombies specifically desiring to eat the brains of the living, and groaning "Braaaaaaaaains!" while shambling about. Four sequels.
- Dead End Drive In (1986) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, two teens get imprisoned at a drive-in theater along with 190 other delinquents. While most are content to just stay there placated by the junk food and violent movies, the hero ain't, and he starts scheming to escape. By the same guy that did Turkey Shoot and BMX Bandits.
- Bad Taste (1987) : Before The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, Peter Jackson began his career with this $255,000 So Bad, It's Good splatterfest about aliens coming to earth to harvest humans for their intergalatic fast-food franchise only to contend with a four person paramilitary force that includes Jackson himself.
- Dolls (1987) : The car of a little girl and her abusive father and stepmother gets stuck in the mud during a thunderstorm and they are forced to take refuge in a mansion inhabited by a mysterious couple of dollmakers. As they find out, something is not quite right about both the couple and the dolls the mansion is filled with...
- The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) : Based on the popular series of stickers and trading cards; a garbage can from outer space lands on earth, is picked up by an antique store owner, some creepy puppets emerge from it and... a bunch of random shit interlaced with a lot of fart, booger and pee-pee jokes happens.
- Nekromantik (1987) : A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.
- Predator (1987). A film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger which involves an alien species Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. It was the first of a franchise including sequels, videogames, comics, et cetera and so on.
- Street Trash (1987) : A liquor store owner finds a case of old wine called "Tenafly Viper" in his cellar, and sells it to the local hobos at a dollar a bottle. Those who drink it, unfortunately, are doomed to melt into rainbow-colored goop. Don't even get us started on the scene where a gang of hobos plays catch with a severed penis.
- Zombie Vs Ninja (1987) : A guy's family is killed and the said guy is left for dead. An undertaker who can summon zombies to sharpen his fighting skills takes him in as his apprentice and teaches him kung-fu, until he can avenge his family. There's an unrelated plot (the film is actually two films tacked together) about Highly Visible Ninjas with oh-so-Asian-sounding names like Duncan and Bob, and never do said ninjas and aforementioned zombies meet.
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) : A troupe of Monster Clowns from outer space land in a small town in a spaceship resembling a big-top tent and proceed to transform the residents into giant wads of cotton candy for later consumption. Features some profoundly creative concepts and scenes, such as a group of people being eaten by a shadow-puppet of a T-rex against the wall behind them, and a balloon animal being used as a tracker dog among other things.
- Men Behind the Sun (1988) : A pseudo-documentary about Unit 731; a branch of the Imperial Japanese Military that performed rather nasty biological experiments on Chinese prisoners during World War II.
- Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death (1989) : A team ventures into a jungle that happens to be located in southern California to liberate the nation's avocado supply from two tribes of women at war with one another over whether men are best eaten with guacamole dip or clam dip. Obviously, an intentional parody of B movies of this calibre, a satire of feminism and a send-up of a few other aspects of popular culture (such as Phil Donohue). Starring erotic thriller icon Shannon Tweed and comedian Bill Maher.
- Lobster Man From Mars (1989). In this homage to sci-fi B-Movies a Hollywood film producer, trying to get out of paying millions in back taxes by screenimg a flop, watches the title movie (shown as a Show Within a Show) and is enthused by how awful it is, only to go to prison when it's a great success.
- Meet the Feebles (1989). Second film by Peter Jackson. A parody of the The Muppets involving drugs, hard liquor, and diseases.
- Road House (1989) : A remake of Shane with Patrick Swayze and a monster truck... becomes a runaway cult classic. Much better than it sounds, plus unforgettable one liners ("Pain don't hurt.")
- Society (1989) : Bill is the son of upper class Beverly Hills parents but cannot seem to fit in with them, with them seeming to pay all their attention to his sister. Things get peculiar when he discovers a tape that seems to have the sounds of them engaging in an incestuous orgy recorded on it. The ending of this movie has to be seen to be believed.
- Frankenhooker (1990): Jeffrey Franken's fiance is killed in a freak lawnmower accident, so he swipes her severed head and collects the body parts of hookers to reconstruct and resurrect her. Another over-the-top schlocker from director Frank Henenlotter, it stars James Lorinz from Street Trash.
- Troll 2 (1990) : Yet another contender for the title of the worst movie ever made; a family moves into a town called Nilbog (goblin spelled backwards) wherein the resident vegetarian goblins plan to turn them into vegetables so they can eat them, leaving the young son, Joshua, to save the day. Sequel In Name Only to Troll, and itself features no actual trolls at all. Nicknamed "the best worst movie ever made".
- Riki Oh The Story Of Ricky (1991) : Twenty Minutes into the Future when all prisons have been privatized, a superpowered kung fu-kicking inmate (the titular Ricky) wreaks havoc against the sadistic wardens. Known for some of the most hilariously over-the-top, unrealistic, gorntastic death scenes in cinema history (such as people exploding upon being punched and a man attempting to strangle another man with his own intestines.) The head-crushing scene was later used for a time in the bumpers on MTV's Headbangers' Ball.
- Blood Sucking Pharaohs In Pittsburgh : Two detectives try to solve a series of murders in Pittsburgh involving the use of power tools to remove bodyparts for a bloody Egyptian ritual.
- Gayniggers From Outer Space (1992) : No, this movie actually exists, and that is its real title. We swear. It's about extraterrestrial gay black men who come to earth and proceed to kill off its female population to free its "oppressed" men and make way for an entirely homosexual society. Obviously, this one is intentionally bad.
- Braindead (1992). Third film by Peter Jackson. A Black Comedy homaging old horror films.
- Carnosaur (1993) : An evil scientist schemes to wipe out humanity by unleashing a virus that will make all the woman in the world become pregnant with dinosaurs. Not motherfucking kidding.
- Clerks (1994) : Charts a day in the life of two shop clerks as they are annoyed by customers, discuss movies with each other, play hockey on the roof, deal with two stoners out the front, and one comes to terms with his girlfriend's promiscuous past. Made on a budget of $27,000 with the director's friends and family, in the very shop in which he actually worked; it grossed $3 million, pioneered the ViewAskewniverse, and kick-started the independent film industry. Animated Adaptation in 2000, film sequel in 2007.
- Anaconda (1997) : Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez battle a giant snake.
- Cube (1997) : Six strangers wake up in a structure consisting of hundreds of interconnected cube-shaped rooms, some of which are booby-trapped, with no knowledge of what the place is or how they got there; and must work together to get out. Boasting a harrowingly claustrophobic feel, intricate character development, and intelligent social/philosophical commentary; truly proves that low-budget does not equal low quality.
- The Blair Witch Project (1999) : Three college students camp out in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while researching the legend of a witch who lived there in the 17th century, and find themselves haunted by the spirit of the same. Mockumentary shot on a hand-held camcorder with a budget of $75,000, proved to be one of the most iconic horror films of the '90s.
- Double Feature (1999) Was an award-winning pornographic movie that played on this theme. The first segment deals with alien women who "subvert" men and the science team who defeats them in the end, and the second segment on a female mad scientist who creates a monster because no one else can satisfy her. Said monster escapes, leading to further events. The movie starts out with several humorous fake trailers for adult-themed B-movies. This movie won a record-breaking 10 awards at the 1999 AVN awards.
- Big Money Hustlas (2000). The Insane Clown Posse parody cop dramas and exploitation films with help from Dolemite, Fred "Rerun" Berry, pro wrestler Mick Foley, and friends. In short, if you're a Juggalo, you've already seen it and you love it. If not, well...
- Dagon (2001) : A pair of tourists find themselves stranded in a small town in Spain inhabited by half-monster abominations who worship a fish god. Adapted (very loosely) from Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".
- Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001) : Our Lord and Savior (and his sidekick, the legendary luchador El Santo) battle a cabal of vampires that prey on Ottawa's lesbian population owing to the sunlight-resistant properties of their skin. Includes atheist clowns who know kung fu.
- 28 Days Later (2002) : A British bicycle courier awakes from a coma in a deserted hospital, to find that, while he was out, Britain has been entirely depopulated by a "rage" virus that rapidly turns human beings into violent cannibals. Shot on a budget of £5 million, it grossed $80 million internationally and revived the Zombie Apocalypse genre, spawning numerous imitators throughout the 2000s. Sequel in 2007.
- Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) : A man in a nursing home who insists he is Elvis, and a fellow resident who insists he is JFK despite being black fight a mummy. Intentionally bad, of course.
- Eight Legged Freaks (2002) : Some spiders escape from a farm in a small town in Arizona and ingest toxic chemicals spilt in a pond. They grow to tremendous proportions and terrorize the place. Yes, this premise or something akin to it had been done a million times before, but this is the first time such a movie had a decent budget.
- The Room (2003) : A young man's life is TORN APART when his girlfriend starts cheating on him with his best friend. Written, produced, directed by, and starring Tommy Wiseau, of whom it's hard to say at any given moment whether he's taking the movie seriously or treating it as intentionally bad. Became a cult classic and theatrical screenings have developed a Rocky Horror-esque series of call-and-responses from the audience.
- Kill Bill (2003/2004) : A two-part epic about a woman seeking revenge on the five people responsible for the death of her unborn child, the last of whom is the titular Bill. The movies are a shameless homage to samurai movies, Spaghetti Westerns, Rape and Revenge flicks, horror movies, and so many more. Regarded as some of the best movies ever made thanks to the extremely strong performances from its cast, and Quentin Tarantino's amazing direction/writing.
- The Call of Cthulhu (2005) : In the year 1927, a man now interned in a mental institution recounts his efforts in researching a network of cults around the world, based around the worship of an ancient, dormant god whose dreams inspire madness, insanity, and mass murder around the globe. Possibly the best HP Lovecraft adaptation ever made, shot as a silent film, in black and white, with cardboard backdrops and a stop-motion Cthulhu.
- Feast (2005) : A pack of ambiguous monsters attack a bar. The patrons barricade themselves inside and try to survive. The primary point of the film (if it can be said to have one) seems to be Playing With various Death Tropes. Two sequels.
- Snakes on a Plane (2006) : Exactly What It Says on the Tin, starring Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI Agent. On a plane. Yes, there are snakes. Actually quite good, thanks largely to the producers catching wind of the Net snickers and being Genre Savvy enough to retool it as an over-the-top homage. The fact that Jackson has had enough of these motherfuckin snakes on this motherfuckin plane really does help.
- Grindhouse (2007) : A double-feature of two faux B-movies. The film is scratched and at one point appears to catch fire and burn up, and the intermission consists of trailers for fictitious B-movies with titles like Hobo With a Shotgun or Werewolf Women of the SS. One of these fake trailers is for Machete, which Rodriguez actually made three years later.
- Transmorphers (2007) : No, not Transformers, Transmorphers. By the Asylum. It's actually The Matrix or Terminator made on a sub-zero budget.
- Starrbooty (2007) : The world's greatest secret agent goes undercover as a street hooker in order to rescue her niece, who has been kidnapped by an evil cosmetics magnate who sells women's genitalia to celebrities. The title character is played by RuPaul, and almost all the other female characters are played by professional drag queens or transgender males, resulting in what Diamanda Hagan called "quite possibly the only softcore porn-drag-blaxploitation-comedy ever made". Produced on a budget of $500,000, based on an earlier series of live-action shorts RuPaul appeared in in the late '80s.
- Colin (2008) : Zombie Apocalypse from the zombie's perspective. Made on a budget of forty five pounds, using unpaid actors recruited via Myspace who provided their own makeup. Made a big splash at the 2009 Cannes festival.
- Doomsday (2008) : Present day. A virus has broken out in northern Britain, forcing the government to quarantine it off. Twenty Minutes into the Future; the virus has resurfaced in London, so a military force is sent into the quarantined area to scour a cure off the degenerate survivors there who are immune to the virus. A Genre Throwback to films the likes of Escape from New York and Mad Max (above).
- The Machine Girl (2008) : The brother of a Japanese schoolgirl is murdered by a Yakuza clan he owes money to, and they also cut one of her arms off. So she replaces it with a machine gun, and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Tokyo Gore Police (2008) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, the Tokyo police force has been privatized to deal with a race of mutants called "Engineers" whose injuries turn into weapons. Meanwhile, Dark Action Girl Ruka seeks to avenge the assassination of her father. Mutant penises that shoot projectiles, breasts that squirt acid, vagina monsters that eat people, chainsaw duels, katanas; brilliant, a must-see; even the critics say so. Spiritual Successor to The Machine Girl and Meatball Machine (above). The fact that all of the above weirdness is played for Black Comedy and the movie is actually a rather effective social satire helps quite a lot.
- Zombie Strippers (2008) : Twenty Minutes into the Future, George W. Bush has just completed his fourth term as president. A chemo virus used to reanimate dead soldiers breaks out of containment and leaks into an underground strip-club, rendering one of the strippers a zombie. She quickly becomes the most popular attraction in the joint.
- Bitch Slap (2009): From Sam Raimi: Action Girl Meets Fanservice Meets Schlock, with EVERYTHING Up to Eleven.
- Dead Snow (2009) : A bunch of med students go for a vacation in a cabin in the mountains of Norway, and contend with a force of nazi zombies.
- Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009) : Another one not to be fooled by the title of. About two slackers who liberate a town of a curse that turns its girls into Lesbian Vampires on their 18th birthdays.
- Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (2009) : And you thought Zombie vs. Ninja, Zombie Strippers and Lesbian Vampire Killers were titles to fool you into thinking the movies in question would be so bad they're good. The two eponymous beasties get freed from an arctic glacier and proceed to terrorize the world; prompting the requisite scientist protagonists to lure them to the bays of major coastal cities to capture them. One of the few productions of the Asylum not to be a Mockbuster.
- Paranormal Activity (2009) : A $15,000 budget film that became a blockbuster. Used similar aesthetics to The Blair Witch Project (above), including consumer-grade camcorder footage and horror based far more on anticipation and psychology than on actual gore.
- RoboGeisha (2009) : And you thought The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police were awesome! Two geishas get recruited into the army of a steel tycoon with world domination plans and given cybernetic implants. Includes, among other things; katanas coming out of hips and armpits, circular saws coming out of mouths, breast machine guns, breasts that squirt acid (again), a woman transforming her lower body into a tank, a giant robot, buildings that bleed, and a man getting impaled in the eyes with a pair of fried shrimp! SEE THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW.
- Machete (2010) : "Mexploitation" revenge flick by Robert Rodriguez. The title character (Danny Trejo), a disgraced former federale turned illegal immigrant day laborer, sets out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against an anti-immigrant senator (Robert DeNiro) after being drawn into an Evil Plan on his part to justify the mass deportation of Mexican laborers. Spun off from one of the fake trailers Rodriguez produced for the above-mentioned Grindhouse. Features Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, and Lindsay Lohan in minor parts. Sequel in 2013, similarly featuring cameos by Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba, and introducing some guy named Carlos Estevez.
- A Serbian Film (2010): A retired porn star, now married with a son, is offered an outrageous sum to appear in what turns out to be a Snuff Film with themes that would make Marquis de Sade blush.
- The Human Centipede (2010) : A mad scientist kidnaps three people in order to make them into the titular human centipede by sewing them together mouth-to-anus. A sequel in 2011 was banned in the UK.
- Rubber (2010): A French-made, but performed in English, horror-comedy about an intelligent, ambulatory automobile tire that kills people.
- Drive Angry (2011): A film that is very much a Spiritual Successor to Grindhouse, combining elements of both a devil-worshipper movie and a driving movie, involving a man (played by Nicholas Cage) driving out of hell to rescue his granddaughter from the Satanists who want to sacrifice her to end the world, while at the same time being followed by a man who simply calls himself "The Accountant" and who steals every scene he's in. It bombed at the box office, but could potentially become a cult classic.
- Hobo With a Shotgun (2011): In a City with No Name which has become a Wretched Hive of scum and villainy, a nameless drifter (Rutger Hauer) spends his begging money on a shotgun and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against those who prey on the innocent. Also spun off from a Grindhouse trailer.
- Mega Python Versus Gatoroid (2011): An animal activist and a park ranger confront/cause a massive ecological disaster involving enhugened snakes and supermutated alligators. This Made-for-TV Movie is primarily noteworthy for the big show-stopping battle between its lead monsters: 80s pop princesses Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. Really!
- Attack Of The 50 Foot Zombie (2013): A gypsy curse causes a woman to come back from the dead, who then grows 50 feet tall shortly after stumbling into a vat of radioactive waste. The story gets even more absurd after that.
- Sharknado (2013): Los Angeles is besieged by a tornado made out of sharks.