Thursday, July 21, 2011

T.H.E. L.I.S.T.: Exploitation/Monsters/B-movies—or: Hey, This Could Be a Good Syllabus For a Class!

Attention, Kino-Cadets of the National Film Board of Ivanlandia:
On July 6, 2011; Nathanael Hood of the fab blog Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear wrote in a comment here at Ivanlandia:
"You know what would be interesting? If you made a top 100 list of exploitation/monster/B-movies."

The gauntlet has been thrown! Huzzah!

“Exploitation/monster/B-movies” is a wide term, and the National Film Board of Ivanlandia admits to WIDE gaps in its cinematic knowledge—there’s known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.
Then there’s the thousands of flicks we’ve never seen.

But when Super-Nate threw down that gauntlet, we were intrigued—
lists are always fun—
and can start dialogs—or arguments

The Ivanlandia Caveat: This is not being put forward as a definitive, historical, or exhaustively researched—but the National Film Board of Ivanlandia did try to make it interesting—
Some are obvious choices, but we didn’t want to overthink it—
Some readers will complain of what’s not listed (I’m sure I missed something), but that’s what the “Comments” section’s for—
Sure, T.H.E. L.I.S.T. is monster/horror heavy
with lots of biker flicks, disaster movies, gore, noir and weirdness—

NOTE: Flicks with an asterisk (*) are
“The New Exploitation”: often direct-to-DVD (the new drive-in), but usually a helluva lot more intelligent and intriguing than their A-list theatrical counterparts—just like a B-movie should.

Also, and a big factor—
The flicks on T.H.E. L.I.S.T. are movies I’ve actually seen, liked and can recommend (even if they have recognizable warts)

FYI: I’ll be willing to argue the “exploitation/B-movie” merits of any of these pictures,
but only in the “Comments” section below—
otherwise, this post could become encyclopedic in length—
and a man’s got to know his limitations.

T.H.E. L.I.S.T.
(Alphabetically, so’s not to show favoritism, though)
(Oh yeah, I think there's more than one hundred....)

Airport ’77 (1977)

The Angry Red Planet (1959)

Army Medicine in Vietnam (training film, surgery footage) (1970)

At Midnight, I’ll Take Your Soul (Coffin Joe) (1963)

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) (ESSENTIAL)

The Baby (1974) (ESSENTIAL)

Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979)

Brain Damage (1988)

The Brood (1979)

A Bullet for the General (1966)

A Bullet in the Head (1990)

Burn Witch Burn (1962)

The Candy Snatchers (1973) (ESSENTIAL)

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) (ESSENTIAL)

The Car (1977)

The Cat (1992) (ESSENTIAL)

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) (but only the letterboxed version)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Coonskin (1974)

The Corpse Grinders (1971)

Crank (2006) (*)

The Cycle Savages (1969)

Dagon (2001) (*)

Dark of the Sun (1968) (ESSENTIAL)

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Death Race 2000 (1975) (ESSENTIAL)

The Devil's Rejects (2005) (*)

Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

Duck, You Sucker! (1972)

Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)

Enter the Dragon (1973)

Executive Action (1973)

Eyeborgs (2009) (*)

Fiend Without a Face (1958)

Fight for Your Life (1977)

Final Destination 2 (2003) (*)

Five Million Years to Earth (1967)

Flash Gordon (1980; representing the “Star Wars Ripoff” genre—see also Message From Space, Starcrash, The Black Hole and Battle Beyond the Stars)

The Flesh Eaters (1964) (ESSENTIAL)

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

The Glory Stompers (1968)

Godzilla’s Revenge (1969)

Godzilla Versus Monster Zero (1965)

Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster (1971) (ESSENTIAL)

Gorgo (1961)

The Green Berets (1968)

Head (1968) (ESSENTIAL)

Hells Angels ’69 (1969)

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (I figure you already know about this one, but its inclusion was so not to give the impression that all of director Wes Craven’s flicks are recommended—the same can be said about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

Hostel 2 (2007)

The Howling (1980)

Ichi the Killer (2001)

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1958)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) (ESSENTIAL)

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)

Infra-Man (1975)

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Island (1980) (Michaels Caine & Ritchie...and pirates!)

It’s Alive (1974)

I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Kitten With a Whip (1964)

The Late Great Planet Earth (1979)

The Lickerish Quartet (1970)

Live and Let Die (1973)

The Love God? (1969)

Mad Monster Party (1967)

Martyrs (2008) (*) (A flick I don’t really like, but do respect, and part of the “French Gore” subgenre of the “New EuroGore” genre, which includes Inside, High Tension and [REC]2--which was awesome, by the way)

Massacre at Central High (1976)

Meet the Feebles (1989)

Men Behind the Sun (1988)

The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

Mr. Vampire (1985)

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Orphan (2009) (*)

The Phenix City Story (1955)

The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

The Prophecy (1995) (Christopher Walken’s killer angel, not Frankenheimer’s mutant bear puppets--although you should probably watch that, too)

Psych-Out (1968)

Queen of Blood (1966)

Rambo (2008) (*) (a gorehound's delight! Jeez, just listen to the audio, without watching: it's dizzzzzzzzzzgusting! And therefore, awesome.)

Reanimator (1985)

Robot Monster (1953) (ESSENTIAL)

Rodan (1956)

Rollercoaster (1977)

Salvage (2006) (*)

Satan’s Sadists (1969)

The Sentinel (1977)

Shogun Assassin (1980)

The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)

The Signal (2006) (*)

Silent Running (1972)

Skidoo (1968) (ESSENTIAL)

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008) (*)

Stone (1974)

Stone Cold (1991)

The Story of Ricky (1991)

The TAMI Show (1964)

Targets (1968)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Them! (1953)

Thunderbirds Are GO! (1966)

The Todd Killings (1971) (ESSENTIAL)

Trick ‘r’Treat (2007) (*)

Turkey Shoot (1982)

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

2000 Maniacs (1964)

The Twonky (1953)

United 93 (2006) (*) (don’t try and tell me this isn’t an exploitation movie!)

Uptight! (1968; Jules Dassin) (ESSENTIAL) (perhaps not really a Blaxploitation film, but certainly one of the best B-movies ever made)

Vanishing Point (1971) (ESSENTIAL)

Witchfinder General (1968) (ESSENTIAL)

Willard (2003)

The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962)

Zardoz (1974) (because every film list should end with Zardoz)

As well as most, if not all of the films of:

…And by the way, The United Provinces of Ivanlandia will be a joyful participant in The 1950s Monster Mash blogathon, sponsored by the always-trouble-makin’ Nate Hood at the Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear blog.
Our entry is scheduled to be published on August 1, and will be about that kamp kitsch klassik The Blob! Stay tuned!

(Of course, coming up with this list of exploitation/monster/B-movies made me realize that The National Film Board of Ivanlandia needs to come up with its own essential viewing list—movies that all inhabitants of Ivanlandia need to see to retain citizenship! STAY TUNED…)


  1. Brain Damage - ***1/2 -
    The Devil Rejects - **** -
    Enter the Dragon - **** - This movie is not a masterpiece because of Bruce Lee himself! He's so perfect and awesome that he has no faults, so no interest in his development. Anyway, it's a kickass film.
    Fiend Without a Face - **** -
    Godzilla Versus Monster Zero - ***1/2 - A movie with a good start, but a repetitive second part, but still worth watching.
    Ichi the Killer - **** -
    The Incredible Shrinking Man - **** - The movie has an incredible speed and rythm, but looses some of its appeal when his stature gets "stable", but the end gives it up for a satisfactory endnote.
    Infra-Man - *** -
    The Invisible Man - ***** (FREAKING MASTERPIECE) -
    Rambo - **** - Incredibly satisfying in every way possible: acting, action, blood, perfect!
    Reanimator - ****1/2 - Just about one of the most entertaining Lovecraft adaptations known to mankind.
    Robot Monster - *1/2 -
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - ***** -
    Trick ‘r’Treat - ****1/2 - Incredible horror film, full of incredible and scary and gruesome stories. One of the best of modern horror.
    United 93 - ****1/2 - I won't deny it.

    Incredible list and very informative. Well done! (the ratings are out of *****)

  2. Great list man! I do agree, many of the essentials are just that.

  3. Hats off for the Monkees love. Head! Yeah! Your list entries are for the most part superlative (of those flicks that I've seen). There are some notable absences, but perhaps I can put those in a list of my own. I am nothing if not derivative. All Hail!

  4. Excellent! I've actually seen a few of these...

    But thanks! I'll look them up!

    Looking forward to your blogathon entry!

  5. You know what we should do?

    We should make a list of the 300 Must See Exploitation Films.

    This list will include EVERYTHING!

    Film noir...spaghetti movies...

    I'd love to participate in making it!

  6. Oh...and by the way...I LOVE "Coonskin."

    I've seriously thought of writing about it on my blog...

  7. It's a case of LISTOMANIA!
    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    Jaime: Bruce Lee *was* perfect. But it looks like I might like Robot Monster more than you--yes, it's bad flick, but to me, it's Art Brut.

    John Bem: Send me your email or something: none of the computer systems I have access to allow me to leave a comment at your site!

    Nate: I'm actually working on an "Essential Essentials" list--but I guess I won't throw away the reams of notes I scribbled: there were about 300 titles originally, all falling under that wide umbrella of "exploitation/monster/B-movie."

    Thanks for visiting!