I was channel surfing the other day and came across a low budget science fiction movie, the kind that get replayed on Canadian cable television until the tape wears out, and I came to a realization.
Self-conscious irony has killed the so-called B-Movie.
What made me have this revelation was watching a scene where Earth's top general of the future, and Earth's top scientist of the future are having a meeting to discuss their war agains the evil aliens. The dialogue was poorly written, poorly acted, and the "actresses" cast as senior authority figures looked like they had been recruited from a strip club in Winnipeg.
In fact all the women in the film, all supposed to be soldiers, scientists, and androids, looked like the casting session was held at the Champale Room at Big Bob's Booby Hatch on the road to the airport.
I could only take five minutes of this before I flipped, and I used to like low budget science fiction and horror movies.
In fact, I grew up watching low budget science fiction and horror films from Universal, Hammer Films, and American International Pictures. I may sound like a cranky old man but the so-called B-movies were better in the old days, and I know why.
Back in the day they makers of low budget movies believed in their movies, even the bad ones. Either they were trying to do their best, but were held back by limitations of talent, budget, and special effects technology, or they were just having fun and believed that you in the audience were going to have fun too.
Nowadays I think too many low budget movie makers are deliberately going for an ironic "so bad it's good" aesthetic, but only end up delivering bad.
I don't see anyone believing in their films either as an attempt at quality entertainment, or as good old fashioned fun. They just do whiter-shade-of-pale imitations of big budget studio movies with poorly stitched together scripts and deliberately crappy CGI that can be outdone by a 12 year old's YouTube video.
And what really pisses me off is that filmmakers can do better without spending more money. It's very possible to do quality science-fiction and horror films without breaking the bank. In some instances following a tightly controlled budget can inspire creativity.
There are people out there doing it, just not enough, and you certainly can't find them on Canadian cable, because they're too busy re-running the same shit-fests for the umpteenth time this week.
However, that would take work, effort, actual talent, and a belief in aiming for something more than a mortgage payment. Things I don't see coming from enough low budget filmmakers these days.
I know this makes me sound like an old crank, but I know I'm right.
Hey, you punks, get off my lawn!