Vault Master Rants: Being a B-Movie “Film Buff”

Before I delve into my rant, allow me to get all nostalgic and set the backdrop for you: I’ve been obsessed with film since I was a tyke. During (and for a while after) my formative years, making friends was difficult for me, so I turned to the fantastical world of cinema to occupy my preadolescent mind.

Growing up I had two awesome things going for me in this respect: Video stores (still in their infancy) were everywhere, and numerous television channels had awesome late night programming on the weekends.

I’d take frequent trips to the local mom and pop video stores (Electric City Video and National Video… oh how I miss you), or Blockbuster (rest in peace) when one of them finally opened nearby. I would comb the Horror and Sci-Fi sections, looking for anything with a really cool cover, and though my picks were not always mom approved, some cool stuff did slip by.

Along with my regular video store raids, I also stayed up late on weekends and caught some really cool cinematic oddities on USA UP All Night, and the double threat of TNT’s MonsterVision and 100% Weird. Also, had it not been for my late night viewing habits, I would never have discovered Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I'll give you two reasons why I watched USA UP All Night religiously...

I’ll give you two reasons why I watched USA UP All Night religiously…

During this renaissance, I developed a fondness for certain types of films. Sure, I liked Action and Adventure films, and Comedies were fine by me, but in the end, I always found my way back to Horror and Science Fiction. In a time in my life where I was a social outcast (i.e. ahead of my time), it was films from these two particular genres that kept me going. I watched them, studied them, and in my teenage years, I began to collect them.

By the time I was in high school, I was known as “the movie guy” in my group of friends, and owned somewhere in the ballpark of seven-hundred VHS tapes (possibly more). I also got my first legit computer and began exploring the web. This is how I discovered Badmovies.Org, a site that would forever change my life!

Eventually I quit collecting VHS, and moved onto DVD (and now from DVD to Blu-ray), continued to write about movies here at The Vault, attended Horror cons & film fests, read numerous books about film, and collected lots of movie memorabilia. Heck, I even dabbled in filmmaking in my one year at college, where I was majored in Radio & T.V. Broadcasting, and I’ve worked in three video stores over the course of my life.

I guess it comes as no surprise that I am forever pigeonholed as “the movie guy” wherever I go. I don’t necessarily mind that since I’m a devout lover of films, but it has its drawbacks.

I was never a self-proclaimed expert on cinema, but since I have an above average knowledge on the subject, people just presume that I know everything there is to know about movies. This of course leads to frequently asked, and overly vague questions about movies, like:

  • “Who was that guy in that one movie? You know, that actor, oh what’s his face…”
  • “What movie has that part where [insert action here] happens?”
  • “Which movie is it where [insert actress’ name here] gets naked?”

If I actually know the answer, I am applauded. If I don’t, I get exasperated comments like “Aww c’mon… I thought you knew movies man!” Yes, you’re right! My apologies! I’m supposed to be the central hub of movie knowledge on this planet. Allow me to apologize for not knowing what the hell you’re talking about, or having not actually seen the movie you are trying to inquire about.

Which leads me to this intensely annoying question: “Have you seen [insert movie title here]?”

One possible way YOU could deal with this scenario.

One possible way YOU could deal with this scenario.

I despise that question! Just because I see a lot of movies, doesn’t mean I see EVERY movie. I have a distinct taste in film (as do we all) and I tend to focus on stuff that interests me. I do try to “expand my horizons” from time to time, but many films do sadly go unwatched. Also, I don’t just sit and watch movies all day because I have a full-time job, daily chores, as well as other hobbies and interests. Believe it or not, I actually have a life! (GASP!)

But the worst part isn’t the assumption that I’ve seen every movie ever made (a complete impossibility), it is the reply that follows when I say “no” to the question, namely “YOU haven’t seen a movie?!”

No, sorry, I didn’t see the one goddamned movie you just mentioned. How dare I not spend all my waking hours watching everything I can, just on the off chance that you and I can chat it up about the latest movie that held your (limited) attention span for more than five minutes!

Instead of acting like it’s a world-shaking event, you could have just said “Oh you haven’t seen it?! Well you should definitely watch it because it’s good!” If you politely share your movie knowledge with me, then I wouldn’t have to telepathically beam a hearty “F*CK YOU” at you with my mind.

Like I'm doing right now.

Like I’m doing right now.

And if you really think it is something I should watch, give me a quick synopsis. Just try and tell me the plot of the film in two or three sentences, and avoid spoilers! If you reveal the plot twists and/or the fates of the main characters, then why the HELL would I bother watching it?!

Finally, to conclude my ranting, let us go back to the nostalgic beginning of this post. As I stated above, I saw a lot of weird movies, monster flicks, and creature features during my formative years. The films I watched in my youth and early adolescence built a foundation for my preference in movies. As I’ve gotten older, my taste in movies has evolved, but I’ll always lean more towards the genres that captured my imagination when I was growing up.

With that said, everyone’s taste in film is subjective. We all like different things, though sometimes we can (or can’t) agree on what designates a good or bad movie. But in the end, we cannot ever pick ONE movie that is perfect, or one that is 100% awful! People find issues with even the best of films, and conversely find successes hidden within films that appear to be total failures. There simply are no absolutes.

Thinking that there absolutes means you're full of Sith.

Besides, thinking that there absolutes means you’re full of Sith.

Taking this into consideration, can you imagine how pissed off I get when someone accuses of me of not liking “good movies?” Just because I run a website that revels in low budget, cult, horror, exploitation, and b-cinema, my taste in film automatically becomes suspect? Well f*ck you!

Yes I have missed out on many films that are considered legendary classics (e.g. CASABLANCA, GONE WITH THE WIND, et al.), and yes, I own quite a few movies that many would consider bad (e.g. TROLL 2, FRANKENHOOKER, et al.), but again it’s all subjective and comes down to everyone’s personal preferences!

Just because I can rejoice in the ineptitude of an Ed Wood film, or fully embrace the cheesiness of a Japanese monster movie, doesn’t mean I can’t watch an Oscar-winning film and not thoroughly enjoy it!

When it comes to movies, I like what I like, and if it’s wrong for me to prefer watching EVIL DEAD II over CITIZEN KANE, then I don’t want to be right!

Thanks for reading fellow b-movie fans! Do you find your taste in film under attack? Are you constantly bugged by others to answer their vague movie inquiries? Vent your frustrations below in the comments section! Share your tales of woe, and let us begin your healing process today!