Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Low Budget, yes. But it'll cost All your Self Respect

I recently ran across a NY Times article about a certain breed of parasitic film. I couldn't believe the cover art they were showing for these blatant rip-offs. Like I said, straight to DVD isn't really my favorite, but this was just comical. They're produced for next to no budget in a few short months and intentionally hit the shelves at Blockbuster at the same time as their respective "inspirations". I'm serious, next time you're renting a DVD, take a look on the shelves, you'll see these in there. The following examples are all from the same company.

When you're done laughing at this, I'll continue. What is interesting about this one, was the original Snakes movie was meant to be a really bad B-movie. So the rip-off is what, a C-movie? I'd give it a D minus.

The Asylum wasn't the only one to capitalize from DaVinci-mania, but I can't think of any more glaring.

I suppose if you can't get enough of giant space robots invading earth, Transmorphers might be just the thing. This makes me wonder, what does it take to get an IMDB credit? If these guys can do it...

According to the NY Times article, this is what kicked it all off. The el-cheapo version of War of the Worlds just happened to come out at about the same time as the multi-million dollar special effects extravaganza by Stephen Spielberg with Tom Cruise. The el-cheapo company got ten times the normal order. Time to rework the business plan.

Their most recent and heavily touted work, Alien vs. Hunter, is planed for a simultaneous release on video with Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. And I thought the actual franchise had hit rock bottom. Count on The Asylum to start digging.

Again, this is a movie that was patently bad. Everybody, especially the fans of the book, were sorely disappointed. Turns out you don't need good source material to make a bad copy. Honestly, though, if you're dying to see a low-budget dragon movie, rent Dragon Hunter.

When I started looking at the credits for The Asylum, I realized I'd been to their website before. When I wrote my review for I Am Legend, I mentioned that the story had been adapted a few times before. I'll point out one more time, that the Robert Neville character in I Am Omega is played by none other than Mark Dracascos, the Chairman from Iron Chef America.

Monster seemed to have trouble with copying a beast we haven't yet seen in Cloverfield. The good folks at The Asylum managed to take care of this by copying yet another recent monster movie, The Host. That is far and away, the most originality this studio has expended in ages. "I know! We'll rip-off two monster movies at ONCE! And we'll call it...MONSTER!" Genius.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Lance Henriksen has actually done some good stuff before. He was in the previously mentioned Aliens movies; it's a wonder he wasn't recruited for Alien vs. Hunter. That may have been too much, even for The Asylum. There may have been legal ramifications to that, studios suing and such. "Wait, you ripped off our whole movie, and you're using the same actors?!" So instead, cast him as Long John Silver. And a few other roles, he is in several of their movies.

My dad made an interesting point as I shook my head at dear Lance.
"I suppose it just depends on how hungry you get."
I don't think he meant metaphorically. All of these movies make a profit (they're made for almost nothing in a film budget sense) and I'm sure the actors are happy to get a paycheck. Ol' Lance just wants to do pottery, from what I understand, and if doing a really, really bad B-movie rip-off on occasion facilitates that, then I guess we can just laugh along with him and let it slide.

1 comment:

D Smith said...

these are the movies your grandma gets you for Christmas, and you begrudgingly accept them with a smile