[Originally released 22-1-2012]
Here's a brief list of fun little B movies I've seen over the past few years. Not all are great, but they're all good for a Friday night.
The Narrow Margin (1952)
71 minutes of claustrophobic tension as an oldschool hardass tries to protect a woman from gangsters on a highspeed train. So awesome it got a shitty remake.
Hell and High Water (1954)
The story of a group of mercenaries on an old Japanese submarine attempting to foil a plot by Chairman Mao to drop a nuke on Seuol. Richard Widmark is his usual dependable self as an asshole-with-a-heart, Bella Darvi is on hand as a token female crew member and director Sam Fuller keeps the pace up with plenty of underwater hide-n-seek and land-based gun fights. It's Cold war exploitation nonsense but good fun in a comic book kind of way.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
If misanthropy and schadenfreude had a baby, it would be Mike Hammer. Whether it's blackmail, violence or murder, he does it with a shrug and a sneer. Worth a look just for the scene in which Hammer jams a villains' hand in a drawer, with the camera lingering on his easy grin as his foe howls in agony.
Black Sunday (1960)
Mario Bava shows Hammer Films how to make a real Gothic Horror film. With Barbara Steele along for the ride.
Youth of the Beast (1963)
A Yakuza variation of the YOJIMBO story made by someone on a very bad acid trip. Featuring sandstorms that come out of nowhere, psycho momma's boys, and moronic gangsters, this is the most coherent of director Seijun Suzuki's bizzare gangster flicks. The madness ends with an upside down fist fight involving the hero tied to a chandelier.
Navajo Joe (1966)
A loner with fewer lines than his horse. An army of bad guys. And a town of poor saps stuck in the middle. Mayhem ensues. Stallone was taking notes.
Fifty minutes of nymphpomaniacal hijinks for the punters. Twenty minutes of pointless political discussion for the censors. Did it work?
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
If it weren't for the plot and characters this would be brilliant. As is, it's two thirds bitchy couple on holiday, one third eyeless monk cadavers wreaking ruin on said couple and their compadres.
Horror Express (1972)
It's got Peter Cushing looking stern, Telly Savalas looking drunk and Christopher Lee looking badass fighting zombified Cossacks with a scimitar.
Lips of Blood (1975)
Pretentious? Most likely. Illogical? Of course. Mesmerising? To a select few. Gratuituous nudity? OH HELL YEAH.
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Scary, action-packed and tense you'll never look at a police station the same way again.
Turkey Shoot (1982)
The lovely little tale of a group of rich pricks hunting prisoners for sport. A piece of Aussie sleaze from a time when its film industry had no sense of morality or high culture.
Don't let the big budget and name cast fool you. This is a B movie through and through. Directed with laughable restraint by Tobe Hooper, this misfire features a bunch of scientists hunting for an alien woman with no clothes on.
The Hidden (1987)
A Cop. An FBI agent. And an alien parasite. It could have been terrible. Instead it turns out to be one of the smartest, funniest and flat out coolest genre mashups of the 80s.
They Live (1988)
John Carpenter and pro-wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper. Together at last! Memorable for an extended fistfight over a pair of sunglasses and this one liner:
I Come in Peace AKA Dark Angel (1990)
One cop + One alien drug dealer = best Dolph Lundgren movie EVER. An unapologetic action flick from people who know how to shoot a dude running across a row of cars while they blow up behind him.