"You! You're not Sylvia! You're one of the Kung-Fu Creatures On The Rampage! Two!"A lot of the time, characters are shown watching stereotypically "bad" movies with titles like The Curse of ______ or The Attack of ______. This is possibly to keep the focus on the title characters and prevent a Show Within a Show from developing, or simply because the writers themselves enjoy that kind of movie. More recently, though, it may be because so many of the pre-1964 B Movies have fallen into the public domain and can be used as a Show Within a Show without triggering any copyright concerns. One of the biggest reasons writers do this, though, is that it can serve as an easy shorthand for a character's cultural values (or lack thereof). If a characters is depicted as enjoying old B-movies, it's usually meant to indicate to the audience that they are low-brow and uncultured. These movies are notorious for being So Bad, It's Good, so the typical logic goes that anyone who enjoys watching them must have low standards for what constitutes a "good" movie. If you want to cement your character's status as an outcast from normal popular culture, having him or her be a fan of old B-movies is a common way to do it. It also helps that typically B-Movies are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. For example, a more "cultured" movie title like Citizen Kane doesn't immediately tell you that it is a mystery-drama about a deceased man's life. Whereas if the characters watch a movie titled "Killer Lobsters from Planet X", you know what to expect and don't have to spend much time elaborating on what they're watching so that the story can move on. Revenge of the Sequel may ensue. See also Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death. May be a case of Stylistic Suck, especially if the B-movie doesn't actually exist outside the world of the characters.
open/close all folders
- The object of the card game Grave Robbers from Outer Space (and sequels such as Cannibal Pygmies in the Jungles of Doom, Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island, etc) is to put together a B-movie with the highest-scoring collection of standard elements (characters, locations, props).
- In the Blacksad album Arctic Nation, Blacksad meets the missing girl's mother at her workplace, a drive-in theater where she works as a waitress. While waiting for her to show up, he watches a movie about giant killer ants menacing the United States (an allusion to Them!), which he feels can barely be called a movie.
Films — Animated
- In The Iron Giant, Hogarth watches The Brain That Wouldn't Die! and gets kind of jumpy, leading him to investigate some mysterious sounds outside.
- A promo for Inside Out has the emotions' reactions (mostly Fear's) to Riley watching a horror movie called The Shoes of Doom. Movie posters seen in the dream studio advertise her nightmares like schlocky B-movies, only with titles like "Dad's Driving Scares Me" and "Grandma's Vacuum."
- Norman Babcock from ParaNorman is fond of gory, cheesy zombie movies. While he's only seen watching one at the beginning and end of the movie, his room is filled with posters and memorabilia.
- Lilo & Stitch uses these a lot. B-movie clips of giant monsters destroying cities show up on TVs on display at a store window, catching Stitch's attention. In the sequels and first TV series, the entire 'ohana ends up watching them on various occasions. It's no wonder Lilo comes up with ideas like pretending a bug laid eggs in her doll's ears to explain its oversized head.
Films — Live-Action
- Bert I. Gordon liked to Product Place his B-movies in his other B-movies. Earth vs. the Spider has a scene where the hero talks about how much he wants to see Attack Of The Puppet People while the marquee of a movie theatre shows an ad for another Bert I. Gordon movie, The Amazing Colossal Man. Attack of the Puppet People also features a viewing of the Colossal Man as well.
- There's a scene in Troll 2 of Elliot and his friends watching a the real Italian movie Grunt!, which features a gorilla who uses a crystal ball to fly around. Of course, Troll 2 is hardly any less stupid.
- My Name Is Bruce is a meta-example of this trope, the movie being about B-Movie star Bruce Campbell as himself meeting a bunch of B-Movie fans to help them get-rid of a local monster. This is funny because it is by itself also a B-Movie.
- In Donnie Darko, Donnie goes to see The Evil Dead (1981). It was originally supposed to be C.H.U.D., but they couldn't get the rights.
- In Lord Love a Duck, T. Harrison Belmont is the producer of beach movies such as The Thing that Ate Bikini Beach. Every one of his films has the word "bikini" in the title.
- The B-Movie The Monster That Challenged the World from 1957 has appeared in at least two other horror films; Piranha (the original 1978 version, being watched by one of the guards from the military camp) and Motel Hell (it's the movie being played at the drive-in).
- In NewMoon movies the characters go see a movie called Face Punch.
- In the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the heroine watches The Evil Dead (1981) to try to stay awake. This doubles as a Shout-Out, since one scene of The Evil Dead has a visible poster for Nightmare director Wes Craven's earlier film, The Hills Have Eyes.
- Becomes a major plot point in the original Fright Night (1985), where the hero recruits his favourite horror actor to help him fight a vampire. The actor's name - Peter Vincent - is itself a homage to real-world horror actors.
- Subverted in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, where Robert Prosky's character, the host of a late night horror-movie screening show, is portrayed as deeply unhappy with having to watch Invasion Of The Octopus People (starring Robert Prosky) with a cheap dragon puppet, and would much rather be a news anchor.
- In The Monster Squad, the hero wants to go see a holiday-themed slasher film called Groundhog Day. This became Hilarious in Hindsight (and slightly confusing) a few years later, when the actual film Groundhog Day - a charming romantic comedy with elements of Magic Realism - was released.
- What Felix's career seems to have degenerated into in S.O.B., although it is mostly lowbrow comedies rather than campy horror films. His eulogy mentions movies such as Chicken at the Wheel.
- During the Good-Times Montage of 10 Cloverfield Lane , Michelle and Emmett watch the VHS of a fictitious movie called "Cannibal Airlines".
- Captain Underpants's Extra-Crunchy Books o' Fun each had a story featuring a villain named Hairy Potty. The second Hairy Potty story was called The Night of the Terror of the Revenge of the Curse of the Bride of Hairy Potty, which ends with a teaser for The Night of the Terror of the Dawn of the Day of the Curse of the Late-Afternoon of the Son of the Bride of Hairy Potty.
- Dave Barry likes to make fun of classic literature in this way, mentioning such titles as Hamlet II: The Next Day (noted for its Shower Scene) and Moby-Dick vs. the Atomic Bat from Hell.
- The Snark Theater in Daniel Pinkwater's stories seems to show an odd mixture of foreign films and American B-movies. According to The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, a typical double bill might consist of Vampires in a Deserted Seaside Hotel at the End of August (in Serbo-Croatian with subtitles) and Invasion of the Bageloids, "in which rock-hard, intelligent bagels from outer space attack Earth."
- In Proven Guilty, supernatural beings that feed on fear take on the form of that Verse's Expies of various horror-film villains. One of the films imitated is titled "Nature Red", which is at least minimally-literate as B-movie titles go; the others come from slasher-style series which play this trope to the hilt.
Live Action TV
- Used as a Subverted Trope in Mr. Show in the sketch "The Return of the Curse of the Creature's Ghost," in which the characters in a B-movie try to parse the film's title.
- Live Action Example: Lister's favourite movies in Red Dwarf include Revenge of the Surf-Boarding Killer Bikini Vampire Girls and Vampire Bikini Girls Suck Paris. Another episode features Attack of the Giant Savage Completely Invisible Aliens, which is just as daft as it sounds.
- Star Trek: Voyager:
- Tom Paris and Harry Kim are big fans of the campy B-serial The Adventures of Captain Proton, and frequently take on the roles of Captain Proton and his sidekick Buster Kincaid (respectively) in the holodeck (the program being in black and white, including Tom and Harry themselves.)
- In one episode, Tom recreates a 20th century movie theater in the holodeck so he and B'Elanna can watch Revenge of the Creature. At the end of the episode many characters have gathered to watch a double feature which includes 'Attack of the Lobster People'.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Apparently B Movies are shown on Movie Night on the Enterprise as well, though this is only referred to in conversation. The one film we do see them watching, The Wages of Fear, is a very good movie... but still arguably a B-movie with minimal licensing costs.
- There were movies in some Seinfeld plots, many of which were B movies like "Sack Lunch", "Checkmate", and "Prognosis Negative".
- "DEATH BLOW! When someone tries to blow you up, not because of who you are but, for different reasons altogether."
- "Rochelle, Rochelle: One Woman's Erotic Journey From Milan to Minsk".
- In The X-Files, Mulder claims to have seen Plan 9 from Outer Space 42 times, and claims he finds the movie useful for shutting down his brain's logic processes, allowing for intuitive leaps.
Scully: You've seen this movie forty-two times? ... That doesn't make you sad? It makes me sad, Mulder.
- In the Nickelodeon teen series Drake & Josh, Josh works at a movie theater with a marquee filled with movie titles like 'Cave Mom' - each title indicating a more schlocky movie than the last.
- On Charmed, Phoebe's favorite movie is a B-horror movie called Kill It Before It Dies.
- In The League of Gentlemen, Ally and Henry are essentially a subversion of this trope. The two are gore-obsessed teens who judge a movie on "how many killin's it's got". Despite this, between the two of them they've watched such critically acclaimed films as Se7en (although they didn't like it because it only had seven killin's), Richard Eye Eye Eye and Trois Couleurs: Bleu.
- On one episode of Community, Abed hosts a showing of the '80s movie Kickpuncher, which appears to be a bad Mad Max/Robocop mash-up. Abed and Troy even film a Fan Sequel for The Stinger.
- The sequel features Kickpuncher's nemesis, Punchkicker.
- On Forever Knight, Nick Knight likes to watch old horror movies, particularly ones about vampires.
- On the Animal Planet series, The Most Extreme, clips from B-movies and horror flicks are used to demonstrate talents that a particular animal has.
- During one scene in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Point of No Return", we briefly see O'Neill watching a black-and-white UFO movie.
- What we see of the Show Within a Show Wormhole X-treme! is essentially a TV version of this. In-universe, it's a show based on the real show's main characters, and out-of-universe it'a an excellent parody of the show itself and of science fiction in general, especially 60s-style campy sci-fi — with plenty of Stylistic Suck to go around.
- M*A*S*H used this as a Running Gag. Almost every movie mentioned as playing on a given day was some lousy B picture. On the rare occasions the camp was getting a good movie, it was usually a plot point. E.g., in "The Moon Is Not Blue", they want to get The Moon Is Blue (a film notorious at the time for its use of the word "virgin"), and instead get State Fair. We see clips from both, and they end up bored by both. (Ironically, history has decided State Fair is marginally the better film.)
- They didn't care if it was good or not, just that it had been labeled "obscene", which had to be better than the horrendous G-rated schpeel they've gotten nonstop.
- The McGee and Me episode "The Not-So-Great Escape" has the horror tetralogy "Dawn of the Blood Freaks," "Day of the Blood Freaks," "Twilight of the Blood Freaks," and "Night of the Blood Freaks."
- In the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, Dean is revealed to be a fan of low budget Horror movies.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted and one of his girlfriends go to see Plan 9 from Outer Space on a date, and in another episode, as part of a two-minute speed date, they watch a few seconds of "Manos" The Hands of Fate.
- In The Big Bang Theory, Penny has had roles in the (fictional) B-movies Serial Ape-ist and Serial Ape-ist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill''. Howard found and watched the first film, probably enjoying Penny's Shower Scene. Amy and Bernadette found and watched the second film, where Penny had a more substantial role. By their reactions, the film was So Bad, It's Good.
- Frank Zappa loved B-films, especially cheap monster movies, and referenced them a lot in his work, sometimes only in the titles.
- "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet", from Freak Out!.
- "Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar", from Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
- "Cheepnis" from Roxy And Elsewhere is an entire ode to B-monster movies.
- "The Radio Is Broken" from The Man From Utopia is a homage to B-science fiction movies.
- Oddly enough, the band Monster Magnet (not named after the Zappa song, but just the toy of the same name) give shout outs to comic books and B-movies in their songs, "Goliath and the Vampires" and "Ego, the Living Planet" being examples.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Nature Trail to Hell" is presented as a trailer for one...in 3D! His later song, "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From a Planet Near Mars" is also B-movie inspired, although the song itself claims to be referencing actual events.
- Another song, "Slime Creatures From Outer Space", just screams b-movie.
- The opening of Michael Jackson's "Thriller": On a date, Michael turns into a monstrous werewolf, lunges toward the girl, and the Fakeout Opening ends, revealing Michael is watching a B movie on a date. Then the music starts up and the whole video transforms into a B movie.
- An album by a dub musician Scientist, itself called Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (Which you may well know from the K-Jah station in GTAIII) has all its songs named in this fashion.
- In Far Side comics, insects watch "Return of the Killer Windshield", worms watch "Beak 2: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back into the Topsoil", potatoes watch "masher" films, and bottles of ketchup watch some kind of ketchupy slasher film ("Don't worry, Billy. They're just actors. And that's not real ketchup.")
Egad! It's the disembodied nose of Dr. Verlucci! Returned from the grave on the anniversary of the night we all betrayed him!
- Another comic gives us a scene from "Return of the Nose of Dr. Verlucci".
- Caption for a city being invaded by killer ungulates: "Scene from the film Giraffes IV: This time, they're not just looking for acacia leaves."
- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes often would attempt to get cheesy slutty movies like "Venusian Vampire Vixens".
- Jeremy from Zits has shown a similar obsession occasionally.
- Shows up often in Garfield strips, particularly the older ones. One strip features several panels of ads for movies like "The Monday that Wouldn't Die" and "The Attack of the Incredible Slobber Monster". Jon then asks Garfield if he wants to go to a movie called "Slime Pit Zombie Chain Saw Massacre", to which Garfield agrees "as long as there are no Mondays" in it.
- In a 1960-era Peanuts comic, Linus and Lucy are looking over the movie listings in the paper and see "I Was a Teenage War Monger" and "I Was a Teenage Camel Driver" - Linus comments "It's hard to choose between such obviously quality motion pictures!"
- The Para-Medic from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is obsessed with (real) B Movies and Japanese Toku, and talks about them a great deal to the main character, who isn't obsessed with B Movies. To be fair, she does like some classic movies, but there's no excuse for anyone, fictional or not, trying to convince an unsuspecting soldier to see Plan 9 from Outer Space or The Alligator People.
- The main character from Secret of Evermore was obsessed with movies and would equate any encounter he had to being "Just like" various movies, most of them either starting with Attack of... or ending with ...from Planet X.
- The loading screens of War of the Monsters have a B-Movie poster for the level of choice, and generally has a B-Movie-like feel to the game. The menu screen is even a drive-in theater.
- One of the lines you can hear in Portal 2's Perpetual Testing Initiative involves Cave mentioning watching a movie called "Attack of the Killer Ants". He fell asleep shortly after it reached the part where they attacked the nation's sugar reserves.
- Homestar Runner: Strong Bad has expressed a fondness for "triple-R" rated movies like Women's Penitentiary Bakesale Nightmare, the Fists of Knuckles series, and Axe-Gun: Legends of the Brain-Outener. Similarly, the Cheat Commandoes have expressed a love for a series of Exploitation Films called Pony Fights.
- John Egbert from Homestuck loves terrible movies, although they're all real, relatively recent films (his favorite is Con Air). This has gotten to be the point where fanworks often Flanderise this quality, and his other interests are almost completely ignored.
- Though he eventually grows out of this during the Time Skip when he watches Con Air again and suddenly realizes "THIS MOVIE SUCKS!". That being said, he learns to love it again when he realizes he doesn't have to stop liking it despite its bad quality.
- Jake English is also a fan of cheesy action movies, but he and John do show an interest in some actually famous and good films, notably Avatar and Ghostbusters (1984) respectively.
- Karkat Vantas loves awful romantic comedies with long, spoilery titles. Unlike the other kids, his films are all noted to be of terrible quality.
- Schlock Mercenary has a bunch of fictional media within the setting. Many of these are all sorts of awful.
- The Jack San Robo series is heavily implied to be a horrible mindless action flick.
- Fashion Assault is every bit as stupid as one would expect from the title.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates (retconned into The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries due to copyright) is either brilliant and hilarious, or incredibly trite and mindless.
- In Broken Plot Device, Liz, who is a lizard woman, sometimes plays at being a female Godzilla to amuse herself.
- Mountain Time offers Trampoline Tony and the Man-Eating Lettuce from Toronto, Blood Orange, and Apocallipsis (which is presumably about an ellipsis that ends the world), among others.
- Star Power briefly features a show called "Psi-Cop" at the start of Chapter 16. What little we see seems to be in this vein, considering the classic Damsel in Distress scene, the protagonist uses "mind swords" and, as is revealed later, the bad guy is named Corporal Crime. From their reactions, they're well aware of its camp nature, but Danica sees it as a Guilty Pleasure and the others find it So Bad, It's Good.
"This show is so stupid.""Then stop watching it.""I can't."
- The title characters of The Angry Beavers are fans of these types of movies. Such choice titles as Viking Women from Venus (Who will become the bride of the volcano?!) and The Oozing Flesh *gag*... of the Rotting Hand.
- So are Coop and Jamie from Megas XLR.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Bloooo" has one.
- One episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo had the cast sucked into "The Curse of the Ghost of the Son of the Bride of Frankenstein".
Velma: I saw that one. Boy, was it corny!
- In one episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the gang discusses a movie called "I Was A Teenage Blob".
- In an episode of Garfield and Friends, the entire plot of the cartoon "Video Airlines" revolved around Jon and Garfield trying to find something to watch besides the alien invasion B-movie Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage II. Eventually they're forced to go to a movie theater, at which point they explicitly ask to make sure that the theater is not showing Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage II, but discover after the movie has started that they're watching Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage III.
- You're not Sylvia! You're one of the kung-fu creatures on the rampage... three!
- "PBS is airing a special presentation: The Making of 'Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage II'."
- The comic strip also mocks these every once in a while, with the screen not shown, the dialogue Narmy, the characters Genre Blind (with the occasional Genre Savvy character), and Garfield himself giving them the MST3K treatment.
- You're not Sylvia! You're one of the kung-fu creatures on the rampage... three!
- Lilo & Stitch: Lilo is a fan of these films and loves to watch them marathon-style. In the first movie, Stitch is also entranced by the film Earth vs. the Spider, because of all the destruction. In an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Lilo wants to see a monster movie called Attack of the Bones, and she also enjoys a film series called Wasp Mummies. In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, the 'ohana watch Them! for family fun night.
- As Told by Ginger: In The Movie, the girls watch a movie at camp about a slime monster coming out of the lake.
- In one of the brighter spots of the first season of Fantastic Four, Thing and the Human Torch watch one of these.
- Rocko's Modern Life brings us "Night of the Shaved Kittens".
- One of the background TV movies is Assisted Living Dracula on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
- ATHF has a lot of these, such as the "Vegetable Man" and the creepy puppet thing the Plutonians were watching, and most are included as DVD extras.
- In Static Shock, two of the characters are seen watching "Attack of the Zombie Cows". Other than the title, it is not seen...but you can hear it, and it consists of glass breaking, screaming, and mooing. Again and again and again.
- Ed of Ed, Edd n Eddy is obsessed with B-horror movies and comic books, which, given his intelligence and grip on reality, does not bode well for his behavior. Especially when it rubs off on others. Cheese-ball movies like these appear to be popular enough in the show's world that stuff like "Robot Rebel Ranch" still plays at the local multiplex.
- ReBoot season 1 brings us the episode Wizards, Warriors, And A Word From Our Sponsor, in which Mike the TV saves the gang from a shadow monster by blowing out the light. When asked how he came up with that idea he replies: "Tonight! Dr. Goldsmith vs. the Shadow Monsters part 4! Only on BMMN, the Bad Monster Movie Network."
- The games can be seen as a video game version of this.
- The Simpsons have seen, among other "Thousand-Dollar Movies," Roger Corman's Titanic.
- On Regular Show, Mordecai and Rigby watch Ello, Gov'nor, an old British horror film about a haunted taxicab. Mordecai was not impressed, but Rigby, who chose the movie in the first place, is freaked out and thinks the cab from the movie is out to get him. In his defense it is, although it turns out to be the Video Store Clerk in a British Taxi Costume.
- Every film by Vincent Van Ghoul in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
- Hey Arnold! had Killer Vegetables From Outer Space.
- In the 1987's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the turtles are often watching cheesy monster movies on TV. This got Down Played in the 2003's series where Michelangelo is the only one who is a b-movie buff.
- In Sabrina: The Animated Series the local drive-in was playing "I was a Teenage Mutant Lobster Zombie From Outer Space" in which a teenager was mutated into said creature. Though where he obtained the spaceship from is never explained.
- In Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofensmirtz inspires a plan after watching a low budget horror movie about giant killer cats, though what the viewers see is footage of real life kittens crawling and playing on top of a set made out of cardboard. This was very likely a parody of the laughably bad Night of the Lepus.
- Gravity Falls:
- At the end of "Summerween", the gang watches a horror movie marathon, which includes a film called The Fear Guy From Terror Town Street that apparently consists of alternating shots of a screaming woman and a growling, obviously-fake alien.
- "Into the Bunker" opens with Dipper and Wendy watching a cheesy zombie movie called Nearly Almost Dead But Not Quite! The Stinger features a selection of bad movies showing on Gravity Falls Bargain Movie Showcase, such as Attack of the Exclamation Points!!!!!, Ghost Turtle, Planet People from Planet Planet and Help! My Mummy's A Werewolf (and its sequel Help! My Mummy's a Werewolf 2: This Again).
- In Shaun the Sheep, both the Farmer and the sheep seem to like low budget horror films
- The ultimate Real Life movie title of this sort belongs to a Gag Dub of Night of the Living Dead (1968) called Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating, Subhumanoid Living Dead, Part II.
- In Shocking 2-D!
- B-Movies tended to run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. Several B-Movies have in the course of time become accepted as legitimate works of art. The reason for this being that because it was regarded as Beneath Suspicion, film-makers had more leg-room to explore interesting content and themes. Especially in the 60s to 70s, several major film-makers like Francis Ford Coppola openly discussed their love for these films and authentically cited them as predecessors. And of course, Coppola and roughly a dozen other major film-makers got their starts working for Roger Corman.
...There's no A in Movie either...