Z movie

Z movies are low-budget films that have qualities lower than B movies.

History and terminology

The term Z movie (or grade-Z movie) arose in the mid-1960s as an informal description of certain unequivocally non-A films. It was soon adopted to characterize low-budget pictures with quality standards well below those of most B movies and even so-called C movies. While B movies may have mediocre scripts and actors who are relatively unknown or past their prime, they are for the most part competently lit, shot, and edited.

The economizing shortcuts of films identified as C movies tend to be evident throughout; nonetheless, films to which the C label is applied are generally the products of relatively stable entities within the commercial film industry and thus still adhere to certain production norms. In contrast, most films referred to as Z movies are made for very little money on the fringes of the organized film industry or entirely outside it. As a result, scripts are often poorly written, continuity errors tend to arise during shooting, and nonprofessional actors are frequently cast. Many Z movies are also poorly lit and edited. The micro-budget "quickies" of 1930s fly-by-night Poverty Row production houses may be thought of as Z movies avant la lettre.[1] Later Zs may not evidence the same degree of technical incompetence; in addition to bargain-basement scripts and acting, they are often characterized by violent, gory, and/or sexual content and a minimum of artistic interest, readily falling into the category of exploitation, or "grindhouse" films. Additionally, with the popularity of Internet media such as YouTube low-budget films are having a resurgence due to the easy access low budget filmmakers have to publish their films. In 2014 Raindance Film Festival published an article naming YouTube as a primary venue for low-budget filmmakers.[2] While the abilities of some of these filmmakers has varied, the average quality of many of these films remains on the z-grade. One of the best examples of this is The Melonheads which was originally released on YouTube, and gained a large following after being featured in an article on cracked.com.[3][4] The movie shows many of the technical imperfections that were visible on earlier films considered to be grade-Z.

Examples

Plan 9 Alternative poster
Ed Wood's ultra-low-budget Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) has become one of the most famous Z movies.

Director Ed Wood is often described as the quintessential maker of Z movies. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) is often labeled the worst film ever made.[5] It features an incoherent plot, bizarre dialogue, inept acting, intrusive narration, the cheapest conceivable special effects, and cardboard sets that the actors occasionally bump into and knock over. Stock footage is used throughout, whole sequences are used multiple times, boom mics are visible, and actors frequently appear to be reading from cue cards. Outdoor sequences contain parts filmed during both day and night in the same scene. The movie stars Maila Nurmi, in her Vampira persona, and Béla Lugosi, who died before it was completed. Test footage of Lugosi shot for a different project is inter-cut with shots of a double with a different physique, height, and hair color, who covers his face with a cape in every scene. The narrator refers to the film by its pre-production name, "Grave Robbers from Outer Space".[6]

The Creeping Terror (1964), directed by Vic Savage (under the pseudonym A. J. Nelson), uses some memorable bargain-basement effects: Stock footage of a rocket launch is played in reverse to depict the landing of an alien spacecraft. What appears to be shag carpet is draped over several actors shambling about at a snail's pace, thus bringing the monstrous "creeping terror" to the screen. The movie also employs a technique that has come to be synonymous with Z-movie horror: voiceover narration that paraphrases dialogue being silently enacted onscreen.[7]

Harold P. Warren, a fertilizer and insurance salesman who never worked in film before or since, wrote and directed Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) after making a bet with a professional screenwriter that he could make a movie on his own. The film is famous for its incompetent production, which included the use of a camera that could not record sound, disjointed dialogue, and seemingly random editing. The entire soundtrack was recorded by just three people, who provide the voices for every character. The film features a character named Torgo, who is intended to be a satyr. The actor wore his prosthetics incorrectly, making it look like he simply has very large knees. In one scene, the clapboard is clearly visible. Like Plan 9, it frequently tops lists of the worst movies ever made. However, while Plan 9 is renowned for its poor production, Manos remained very obscure until being featured on a 1993 episode of the movie-mocking series Mystery Science Theater 3000, giving it cult status.[8]

The latter-day Z movie is typified by such pictures as Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold (1995) and Bikini Cavegirl (2004), both directed by Fred Olen Ray, that combine traditional genre themes with extensive nudity or softcore pornography.[9] Such pictures, often after going straight to video, are fodder for late-night airing on subscription TV services such as HBO Zone or Cinemax.

The Ugandan action-comedy movie Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010), became notable worldwide for being produced under a $200 USD budget.

Etymology

The earliest usage of the term (as grade-Z movie, and without the full derogatory meaning now usually intended) so far located is in a January 1965 newspaper review by critic Kevin Thomas of The Tomb of Ligeia (1964), an American International Pictures film directed by Roger Corman.[10] The earliest clear use of Z movie so far located in its now prevalent sense is by Todd McCarthy in the introduction to the 1975 book Kings of the Bs.[11] Though Z movie is most commonly used to describe films of the overtly low-grade sort described above, some critics use the term more broadly to describe any inexpensively produced movie that defies the norms of mainstream filmmaking in some significant way.[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See, e.g., Taves (1995), p. 323.
  2. ^ "Top 13 Sites For Independent Filmmakers - Raindance". 25 July 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  3. ^ "5 Monster Movie Ideas Hollywood Should Be Making Next". Cracked.com. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  4. ^ "The Melonheads". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
  5. ^ See, e.g., Sarkhosh and Menninghaus (2016), doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2016.04.002.
  6. ^ For more on Wood in this industrial context, see Schaefer (1999), p. 212.
  7. ^ Conner (2002), pp. 221–22.
  8. ^ Conner (2002), p. 221.
  9. ^ See, e.g., Quarles (2001), pp. 79–84.
  10. ^ Thomas (1965). See also a short story by George P. Elliott, "Into the Cone of Cold," in Elliott, An Hour of Last Things and Other Stories (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 7–55; p. 27.
  11. ^ McCarthy and Flynn (1975), p. xii.
  12. ^ See, e.g., David James (Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties), quoted in Heffernan (2004), p. 224.

Sources

  • Connor, Floyd (2002). Hollywood's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Lucky Breaks, Prima Donnas, Box Office Bombs, and Other Oddities. Dulles, Virg.: Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-480-8
  • Heffernan, Kevin (2004). Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953–1968. Durham, N.C., and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3215-9
  • McCarthy, Todd, and Charles Flynn, eds. (1975). Kings of the Bs: Working Within the Hollywood System—An Anthology of Film History and Criticism. New York: E.P. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-47378-5
  • Peary, Danny (1988). Cult Movies 3. New York: Fireside. ISBN 0-671-64810-1
  • Quarles, Mike (2001 [1993]). Down and Dirty: Hollywood's Exploitation Filmmakers and Their Movies. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1142-2
  • Sarkhosh, Keyvan, and Winfried Menninghaus (2016). "Enjoying trash films: Underlying features, viewing stances, and experiential response dimensions", Poetics, 57 (2016), 40–54. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2016.04.002.
  • Schaefer, Eric (1999). "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!": A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1959. Durham, N.C., and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2374-5
  • Taves, Brian (1995 [1993]). "The B Film: Hollywood's Other Half", in Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930–1939, ed. Tino Balio. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, pp. 313–50. ISBN 0-520-20334-8
  • Thomas, Kevin (1965). "Poe 'Tomb' Is Stylish Scare Film", Los Angeles Times, January 22.
Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball (Japanese: ドラゴンボール, Hepburn: Doragon Bōru), sometimes styled as Dragonball, is a Japanese media franchise created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. The initial manga, written and illustrated by Toriyama, was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995, with the 519 individual chapters collected into 42 tankōbon volumes by its publisher Shueisha. Dragon Ball was initially inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West, as well as Hong Kong martial arts films. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist, Son Goku, from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls.

Toriyama's manga was adapted and divided into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1996. Additionally, the studio has developed 20 animated feature films and three television specials, as well as two anime sequel series titled Dragon Ball GT (1996–1997) and Dragon Ball Super (2015–2018). From 2009 to 2015, a revised version of Dragon Ball Z aired in Japan under the title Dragon Ball Kai, as a recut that follows the manga's story more faithfully by removing most of the material featured exclusively in the anime. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising based on the series leading to a large media franchise that includes films, both animated and live-action, collectible trading card games, numerous action figures, along with several collections of soundtracks and a large number of video games. Dragon Ball is one of the top twenty highest-grossing media franchises of all time, having generated more than $20 billion in total franchise revenue as of 2018.Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time, with the manga sold in over 40 countries and the anime broadcast in more than 80 countries. The manga's 42 collected tankōbon volumes have sold over 160 million copies in Japan, and are estimated to have sold more 250–300 million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling manga series in history, behind only One Piece. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humour of the story. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential manga series ever made, with many manga artists citing Dragon Ball as a source of inspiration for their own now popular works. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular across the world and is considered one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture. It has had a considerable impact on global popular culture, referenced by and inspiring numerous artists, athletes, celebrities, filmmakers, musicians and writers across the world.

Dragonball Evolution

Dragonball Evolution is a 2009 American science fantasy action adventure film directed by James Wong, produced by Brett Ratner, and written by Ben Ramsey.

The film is based on the Japanese Dragon Ball manga created by Akira Toriyama, and stars Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Chow Yun-fat, Joon Park, and Eriko Tamura. In Dragonball: Evolution, the young Goku reveals his past and sets out to fight the evil alien warlord Lord Piccolo who wishes to gain the powerful Dragon Balls and use them to take over Earth. The film began development in 2002, and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the first official live-action adaptation of the Dragon Ball manga.

Dragonball: Evolution was released in Japan and several other Asian countries on March 13, 2009, and in the United States on April 10, 2009. The film received negative reviews by both critics and Dragon Ball fans, due to its unfaithfulness to the source material, and was a box office disappointment, grossing $58.2 million with a production budget of $30 million.

List of Dragon Ball anime

This is a list of anime based on the Dragon Ball franchise. Since the debut of the anime adaptation of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga in 1986, Toei Animation has produced three more television series based on the franchise as well as one web series. There has also been twenty theatrical films based on the franchise: four based on the original Dragon Ball anime, fifteen based on the sequel series Dragon Ball Z and one film based on the Dragon Ball Super series. No films were based on the Dragon Ball GT series but it did get a television special named Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy. There are also several more television specials that were broadcast on Fuji TV and two featurettes, which were shown at the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour and Jump Festa 2012 respectively. A two-part hour-long crossover TV special between Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and Toriko aired on Fuji TV in 2013. Additionally, there is a two-part original video animation created as strategy guides for the 1993 video game Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, which was remade in 2010 and included with the Raging Blast 2 video game.

As with the franchise's anime television series, all twenty films and the first three TV specials were licensed in North America by Funimation. Dragon Ball Z movies six and twelve received select theatrical presentations in the United States, as part of a double-feature on March 17, 2006, while movies fourteen and fifteen were given limited theatrical runs in August 2014 and August 2015 respectively. In Europe, AB Groupe licensed the second and third Dragon Ball movies, the first nine Z movies and the first two TV specials.

Dragon Ball is one of the most successful franchises in animation history. The anime series is broadcast in more than 80 countries worldwide. In the United States, the anime series has sold more than 30 million DVD and Blu-ray units as of 2017.

World War Z (film)

World War Z is a 2013 American apocalyptic action horror film. It was

directed by Marc Forster, with a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof, from a screen story by Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie pandemic. The ensemble supporting cast includes Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, Peter Capaldi, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ruth Negga, and David Andrews.

Pitt's Plan B Entertainment secured the film rights in 2007, and Forster was approached to direct. In 2009, Carnahan was hired to rewrite the script. Filming began in July 2011 in Malta, on an estimated $125 million budget, before moving to Glasgow in August 2011 and Budapest in October 2011. Originally set for a December 2012 release, the production suffered some setbacks. In June 2012, the film's release date was pushed back, and the crew returned to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting. Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act, but did not have time to finish the script, and Drew Goddard was hired to rewrite it. The reshoots took place between September and October 2012.

World War Z premiered in London on June 3, 2013, and was chosen to open the 35th Moscow International Film Festival. The film premiered in New York, and Los Angeles on June 14, 2013, and released everywhere on June 21, 2013, in the United States, in 2D and RealD 3D. The film received positive reviews for Brad Pitt's performance and as a realistic revival of the zombie genre, but received certain criticism for the anti-climax and outdated CGI. Regardless, the film was a commercial success, grossing over $540 million against a production budget of $190 million, becoming the highest-grossing zombie film of all time. A sequel was announced shortly after the film's release, but in February 2019 it was cancelled, reportedly, due to budget issues.

Z (1969 film)

Z is a 1969 Algerian-French epic political thriller film directed by Costa-Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its downbeat ending, the film captures the outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the investigating magistrate (an analogue of Christos Sartzetakis who later served as president of Greece from 1985 to 1990). International stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas also appear, but despite their star billing have very little screen time. Jacques Perrin, who co-produced, plays a key role as a photojournalist. The film's title refers to a popular Greek protest slogan (Greek: Ζει, IPA: [ˈzi]) meaning "he lives," in reference to Lambrakis.

The film had a total of 3,952,913 admissions in France and was the 4th highest grossing film of the year. It was also the 12th highest grossing film of 1969 in the U.S. Z is also the first film—and one of only a handful—to be nominated for both the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. It won the latter, as well as the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film; at the 27th Golden Globe Awards, the producers of Z refused the award to protest against the film's exclusion from the Best Motion Picture - Drama category.

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