Tuesday, August 4, 2009


"There are so many bad horror movies. A good one is incredibly hard to make. It has to feel a fundamental sympathy for its monster, as movies as different as Frankenstein, Carrie and The Silence of the Lambs do. It has to see that they suffer, too. The crimes of too many horror monsters seem to be for their own entertainment, or ours. In the best horror movies, the crimes are inescapable, and the monsters are driven toward them by the merciless urgency of their natures." - Roger Ebert

This is a quote from Roger Ebert's essay on May in The B List: The National Society of Film Critics on the Low-Budget Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks, and Cult Classics We Love edited by David Sterrit & John Anderson.

The B List is comprised of several short essays (and I mean really short, most are only two pages long) by film critics about a variety of B movies. In each essay the critics talk about what makes each film great.

There's a huge variety of the types of films featured. For example, here are the sections in the book:

Out of the Shadows - Film Noir
Nightmares in Technicolour - Neo-Noir
From Grindhouse to Art House - Madness and Melodrama
The Allure of the Unknown - Science Fictions
Dark and Disturbing Dreams - Films of Horror and Terror
Burning up the Blacktop - Road Movies
Gunfighter Nation - The Wild Western
Up Against the Wall! - Political Pictures
Whole Lotta Shakin' - Rock, Pop and Beyond
Provocation and Perversity - Cult Classics
Transgressive Chic - The World of Midnight Movies

The movies featured in the horror section are Tales From the Crypt, The Fly, The Rage: Carrie 2, The Son of Kong, I Walked With a Zombie and May. And there are a few horror titles among the other sections such as The Stepfather, Night of the Living Dead and Peeping Tom.

Finally someone recognizes how great The Rage: Carrie 2 is. I kind of like it even more than Carrie. I saw it before I saw Carrie, and for some reason if I see a sequel before the original, I like it more. Anyway, the essay about it pretty much sums up why I love it so much.

It's fun to read what the critics think make all of these films great. It reminds me of why I love them and makes me want to watch them again.

There are 58 movies in the novel, but it's only 215 pages long. I wish each essay had been longer. Two pages just barely scratches the surface of what makes each movie awesome. Not all of the essays were that short. Some were about five pages long and I enjoyed reading those the most. The length of those was just right.

Although it may be short, I would recommend The B List to all B-movie lovers. It will make you want to re-watch all your favourite B-movies.

Rating: 4/5

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