There is an event which celebrates the often maligned art form known as B Movies. The B Movie Celebration attempts to shine a light and provides a focus for public education on the subject of wacky, fun and schlocky cinema. And this year the event is to take place in Woodridge, a suburb of Chicago.
For the past seven years, fans of the often maligned genre of B-movies have gathered to just to watch classic and emerging B-films, but not just to passively view the films, as the name implies, but to celebrate them! This year — the Seventh— looks like being the biggest yet. Why? The organizers have been rampaging through the independent film underworld, ferreting out a host of new releases and soon-to-be-classics to be introduced into the Celebration’s film program. Many of the films presented will be either North American or World premieres.
The B Movie Celebration, the annual celebration of all things B takes place in Woodridge Illinois October 25th-27th at the Hollywood Boulevard Cinema
Bill Dever, founder of the B Movie Celebration explains that B movies’ freer form of cinematic speech allow for a higher form of artistic expression as there are often fewer studio constraints. B movies often have been a very strong medium for social subtext. In the classic Night of the Living Dead, for instance, director George Romero was able to offer profound commentary about the Vietnam War and racism in America.
“Beyond the gore, beyond the spectacle,” Bill Dever, says of Dawn of the Dead, “there really is social subtext about the dangers of consumerism in our society.” Death Race 2000, a film in which pedestrians become targets for drivers, discusses at its heart the erosion of the American cultural base. “Movies as a whole have been taken over by spectacle and shock, which at one time was the stock and trade of all B movies,” says Dever. Horror movies in which people, often teenagers, are terrorized, tortured, and murdered for seemingly no reason spring to mind. Maybe the ordinarily faint of heart can sit through a slasher flick – if the chainsaw-wielding maniac turns out to be a formerly mild-mannered and misunderstood accountant with a compelling reason to go on a killing spree.
Not a fan for blood for bloods sake?, try this offering from the B Movie folks: “Do you long for a zombie epic with inspired characters and complex storylines that will actually hold audience interest between the requisite scenes of chunk-blowing gore?” Oh, B movies. They had us at epic.
The organic structure of B movies is based upon a process and tradition where the audience can take more ownership of the medium. Anyone can pick up a video camera, shoot footage, and call what they’ve done a movie. As Dever states, B movies should be the proving ground for young film artists: “There’s a huge amount of opportunity to define themselves, a lot of product will be produced, and at the end of the day, a few new talents will be left standing.”
The Celebration will feature screenings of over 68 B movies, including 26 feature films as well as 42 cutting edge shorts. There will also be personal appearances from such B Greats as B Director Jim Wynorski, Fred Olen Ray and Kevin Tenney . New digitally remastered versions of Wynorski’s “The Lost Empire” and “Chopping Mall will be launched, Fred Olen Ray will have the World’ Premiere of his film “After Midnight” and Kevin Tenney will be present during a screening of his opus “Witchboard”.
For those that are about to Schlock we salute .