B-movies, they’re so bad, they’re good, and the creators know it. Sometimes, B-movies are just cheap cash grabs based off a popular trend, like several horror movies, these B-movies suck. However, they don’t always suck. In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that “just because it’s supposed to be bad doesn’t excuse you,” or something along those lines. I still believe in that rule, but there are occasions where bad will equal good.
It all comes down to your plot. Using a lazy plot doesn’t work, so in writing, you’re purposefully bad writing will never be good. Even parody requires work to be put in making fun of the overused trope, but it’s also parody that mostly falls into this trap. What a surprise, you need to actually put effort into your writing, whoda thunk it.
Plot needs to be good, your writing can’t be bad, but the way you make it work is to disguise it. Use the bad, mimic it, but don’t make it.
In the case of movies, mimicking the bad means the production value and dialogue must emulate that of a normal B-movie. The dialogue can sound like it comes from a comic book but not be bad. Why? Make it clear that this dialogue is supposed to evoke laughter. A common flaw is that the laughter is accidental, a result of poor dialogue.
Next, the production value, don’t aim for realistic, that’s what the bad B-movies aim for. Embrace your low production value. Big Trouble in Little China and the Evil Dead trilogy check these two boxes; the dialogue in Big Trouble in Little China is very obviously unrealistic, no one in the real world speaks like that, but John Carpenter knew this. The cheesy dialogue aids the movie, and evokes laughter in the right way. You’re laughing at the characters, not the writers.
In Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, the special effects are quite obviously not realistic; the monsters are made of clay, the blood looks like red Kool-Aid, and the Deadites, well they’re nasty and cheap. Sam Raimi knew this.
On the surface, one could think that these two movies are just more cheap movies with no value, but the campiness adds to the setting. Once you dig deeper, you see proper cinematography and effort put into the movies. Carpenter and Raimi cared about what they were making, and used the campiness as a style choice, whether it was to harken back to or make fun of the classic B-movie, they succeeded. While still staying in their respective genres, they got the title of B-movie, and wear the badges proudly.
Also, the line “This is my boomstick,” is probably one of the best things ever said in cinema history.
This is the situation in which you can make it “so bad it’s good,” but please don’t do Sharknado. They put no effort into their shit show.