Originally created 07/20/98

Hot spots on the Internet

THE SITE: B-Movie Theater
THE ADDRESS: www.b-movie.com
THE REASON: Ghouls, girls and gore galore

In the distant days before central air conditioning and the VCR, summer evenings often meant drive-in movie theaters, vast outdoor arenas where junk food binges and teen passion played out breathlessly against a backdrop of low-budget films.

Most of the films, you can be assured, did not make the American Film Institute's Top 100 list. These were the B-movies of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, teen screamers wherein young folk dressed engagingly in easily disposable garb were randomly victimized by vampires, zombies or some hatchet, chain-saw, knife-wielding maniac who could not be killed by conventional means. While "B" may have stood for bad, it certainly never meant boring.

These B-movies often provided a vehicle for filmmakers long on energy and imagination and short on funding to hone their nascent skills. George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" -- shot weekends with friends as actors and special effects purchased from a local butcher shop -- became a cult classic.

Even Jack Nicholson, the A-list superstar of the '90s, began his career writing, directing and acting in B-movies.

Drive-ins, of course, are no longer part of our cultural landscape, having long been supplanted by multiplex theaters where big-budget action flicks are the draw. So, whither the B-movies?

You got it, they're on the Net. Just log on B-Movie Theater, a Web site that boasts more than 4,000 "tacky, wacky and totally entertaining" low-budget, independent films.

Genre-headings on the site include Zombie a-Go-Go, Vampires Are People, Too, and We're Gonna Pump You Up. Another category, High Camp, offers micro-epics described as making "Plan 9 From Outer Space" -- held by many to be the worst film ever made -- look like "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

To be sure, where else can you find such films as "Curvaceous Corpses," the story of two aspiring film directors who, lacking the money to pay their leading ladies, come up with a real "killer" of a solution, or the collected works of TROMA Productions, the folks who brought you "The Class of Nuke 'Em High" and that superhero for our polluted times, "The Toxic Avenger"?

In addition to providing a clearinghouse for the sale of B-movie cassettes, B-Movie Theater offers two online publications about the industry. Dark Gallery features in-depth articles reviews and interviews while Side Show Newsletter provides news about such upcoming sure-to-be-crowd-pleasers as "Gut Pile" and "The World vs. Sonny and Gino."

There's a shopping section, too, for posters, props, etc. and the extensive selection of links (including more than 20 Godzilla sites!) is sure to convince you that B-movie culture is alive -- or at least pulsating -- as vigorously on the Web as it once did in drive-in movie theaters.


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