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There's No "B" in Movie
aka: B Movie Fan
Some characters are watching an old B-Movie
with a title like The Curse Of ______
or The Attack Of ______.
This is done to parody the characters' perceived lack of culture, or 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.
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 it 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.
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- 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 movie about a gorilla who uses a crystal ball to fly around. Of course, Troll 2 is hardly any less stupid.
- It's actually real Italian movie called "Grunt!" (the '!' is part of the title, I swear). It's about 2 caveman tribes fighting over a magic egg. There doesn't appear to be any sort of home media release available, at least not in North America.
- 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 Evil Dead. 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 Iron Giant, Hogarth watches The Brain That Wouldn't Die! and gets kind of jumpy, leading him to investigate some mysterious sounds outside.
- In the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the heroine watches The Evil Dead 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, 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- In 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'.
- Apparently B Movies are shown on Movie Night on 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".
- 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.
- 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 do their own version of it 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 Nine 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.
- Frank Zappa track "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet".
- And live album, Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n' Play Your Guitar.
- His song "Cheepnis" is an ode to this type of movie.
- Oddly enough, the band Monster Magnet (not named after the Zappa song) 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.
- Who can forget 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.
- 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.
- Obscurus Lupa reviews mostly "Z-grade" films from the eighties and early nineties. She is plainly in love with that material, although some films aren't fun even from a camp standpoint.
- Solidly in The Cinema Snob's territory.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- The Strong Bad Email "unnatural disaster" further parodies this type of movie, with Bubs mutating into a giant kaiju called King Bubsgonzola Supreme.
- 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... 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".
- 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.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Lilo wants to see a monster movie called "Attack of the Bones." In the first movie, Stitch is also entranced by the film Earth vs. The Spider, because of all the destruction.
- 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.
- 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 are footage of real life Cute 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.
...There's no A in Movie either...