What does B-Horror
Lexicon of film terms
also: B-movie, B-picture; German earlier sometimes: Double strike system
In order to cope with the falling audience figures in the years of the American Depression after 1929, the Hollywood studios ran the in the mid-1930s double billScreenings in their cinemas. The elaborately produced and costly A-film with well-known stars and highs was the first production value shown, followed by the cheap B-movie, mostly made and shown by strangers. When the two cinema chains RKO and Loew’s, which belong to MGM, introduced the double show in their New York cinemas in October 1935, the heyday of the B-film began. Within a year, double screening was common in 75% of American cinemas. Only the rural south of the United States was largely unaffected. Smaller, independent studios without their own playhouses emerged, such as Monogram and Republic, which specialized in the production of B-films and were particularly at home in the western, horror and science fiction genre. Typically, B-films were relatively short (55-75 min.). While A-films were billed as a percentage based on audience numbers, B-films were available for fixed prices. The heyday of the B-Movies lasted until 1948, when the five major studios had to part with their cinema chains following an antitrust lawsuit, with prominent directors including Jacques Tourneur, Curt Siodmak and Roger Corman.
After the loss of the studio system, the term became a (not always justified) qualitative description category. Some qualities of B-film production were later transferred to television production, which small studios had focused on after 1950. The need for low costs and little shooting effort, routines of presentation with simultaneous openness to innovation and experiment: the B-film turns economic requirements into an aesthetic program.
Literature: Cross, Robin: The Big Book of B Movies or How Low Was My Budget. London: Muller 1981. - MacClelland, Doug: The Golden Age of "B" Movies. New York: Bonanza Books 1981.
Article last changed on 09.03.2014
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