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TK's MORNING BUZZ: The Major Studios Don't Seem to Care About the Quality of Their 'B' Movies Nowadays -- and Why Should They?

9 Jul, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

What I'd like to watch, more than anything else, is a good 'B' movie.

Sorting through the piles of no-name screeners piling up in my office makes me wonder where some of this stuff comes from. Not that it matters -- with the major studios all getting buckets of cash through revenue-sharing output deals, one gets the sense they care less and less about the quality of their acquired "filler" product -- the 'B' titles, many of them direct-to-video.

And why should they? Under output deals, retailers are required to buy everything, so why should a studio spend $2 million on a good 'B' title when there's a bargain to be snapped up for $500,000 or less?

It makes me long for the good old days, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the studios still gave a damn and independent suppliers were also a healthy source of interesting and clever non-hit product. Video was still young, and consumers were not nearly as hit-conscious as they are now.

As a result, every shipment of screeners I got was like a mystery goodie bag; there was bound to be something interesting in there, aside from the obligatory hits.

Remember Academy Entertainment's Liquid Dreams? One of my favorite thrillers -- quirky, dark and suspenseful. Or Full Moon's Puppet Master? Beats Chucky, hands down. The crime drama The F.B.I. Murders is another of my vintage "keepers." I've even developed a certain fondness for what at the time seemed like an endless stream of erotic thrillers from such long-gone video houses as Prism Entertainment, many of them starring Shannon Tweed.

Nowadays, I don't watch too many 'B' movies. Most of the stuff that comes in just doesn't look interesting, and the few titles I've dared watch aren't.

The only pleasant surprises are in the boxes of screeners from independent suppliers like Artisan and Trimark, who don't live or die by output deals.

At least, not yet.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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