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Weekend Discussion Thread: Your First B Movie

Alert reader Stacy suggests:

Being a fan of MST3K means being a fan of b-movies. Can anyone remember their first b-movie? I have hazy memories of a movie called “Empire of the Ants” that “starred” Joan Collins. Channel 6 out of Portland, Maine would air science fiction films on Sunday afternoons every so often.

The Bala Theater in the Philly suburbs had regular Saturday matinees when I was a kid, and “Red Plant Mars” is the movie I remember most clearly.

Your memories?

48 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Your First B Movie”

  1. Pemmican
    Ignored
    says:

    I have on VHS a film titled “Future Hunters,” starring a young Robert Patrick (aka the T-1000 Liquid Terminator). My friends and I knew it was cinematic refuse from our very first viewing, mid 90s. It changes genres every 15 minutes, and goes from Mad Max, kung-fu, 70’s car chase flick, and even Indiana Jones.

    In 1998 or -9, I actually e-mailed the Brains to suggest this film for the show, and received a reply from Barb Tebben, who very graciously and politely informed me that they couldn’t accept fan picks, and that they had a slew of movies to chose from. She thanked me for being a fan though! Wish I could still get to this e-mail, but that account is long gone.

       3 likes

  2. Torque the Dorque
    Ignored
    says:

    “HERCULES” 1959 Valencia Theater South Jamacia, NYC.

       2 likes

  3. Kenneth Morgan
    Ignored
    says:

    My memory isn’t that good, but it’s very likely that it was during either “Creature Features” on Channel 5 (WNEW-TV) or “Chiller Theater” on Channel 11 (WPIX-TV).

       4 likes

  4. AlbuquerqueTurkey
    Ignored
    says:

    I grew up in Houston, and in the late 60s/early 70s KHOU channel 11 would have a Saturday morning science fiction movie feature at 11:00 am. At that time they would show many of the classic 1950s B-movies. I can’t say for sure which was the first, but I do remember seeing The Mole People, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (maybe Revenge, too, but I’m not sure), and The Attack of the Giant Leeches, along with some of the better ones like It Came From Outer Space and some of the space adventure flicks, and some of the Ray Harryhausen B&W movies.

       3 likes

  5. Scott Strong
    Ignored
    says:

    At the drive-in 1978. A double feature, Star Wars, followed by Laserblast.

    I think I fell asleep in the back of our old station wagon after about 10 minutes of the latter.

       5 likes

  6. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes –

    Every Friday night after the late news, station KENS in San Antonio would play PROJECT TERROR … “Where the scientific and the terrifying emerge!” With The blaring sound of a klaxon horn, which my mother did NOT appreciate at 10:30 at night, a third run scifi/horror movie would begin. I particularly remember The Man With The X-Ray Eyes because about that time my mother was dabbling with a little evangelical church and would drag my brother and I there most Sundays. As you know the end of X was set in a tent revival meeting and it impressed me. The next Sunday instead of listening to the ingenuous preacher trying to talk the poor little old ladies out of their social security money I would think about Project Terror and let the scientific and the terrifying emerge. It made me the heathen I am today.

       6 likes

  7. Yeti of Great Danger
    Ignored
    says:

    Ah, the old 1960s Saturday afternoon b&w B movies broadcast by a small town TV station. Don’t know which one was first, but I remember watching The Mole People, Teenagers from Outer Space, Them!, and Mothra. My sister and I weren’t big on scifi back in the day; we preferred old movies like those of The Marx Brothers.

       2 likes

  8. DarkGrandmaofDeath
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember seeing lots of cheesy movies airing on the local channels (The Shuttered Room, Teenagers from Outer Space, The Crawling Hand), but I don’t think I really started to have a special warm feeling for B movies until I started to go to the movies with my friends. We saw The Time Machine, The Legend of Boggy Creek (still a favorite!), and The Abominable* Dr. Phibes. I was in lasting like!

    ___

    *Or, as I once saw it captioned on TCM, “The Abdominal Dr. Phibes” which made me almost as happy as the movie.

       3 likes

  9. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    Ah, my childhood and youth were a veritable smorgasbord of B-movies: in the little theater in the neighboring town, on TV . . . They all kind of meld together in my memory, like sludge or clam flowage, so I can’t recall which was actually the first one I watched. Did see a lot of future MST3K fodder on a Chicago TV station, though: “Killer Shrews”, “Gamera”, “Terror from the Year 5000”, and even (gasp!) “The Starfighters”! Among the B-movies I actually saw in a theater were a comedy called “Zotz” (with a faux Khrushchev) and “The Colossus of Rhodes” (sword-and-sandal magic). For the most part, my friends and I all kind of knew that these films were really . . . well, not particularly good.

       2 likes

  10. pirengle
    Ignored
    says:

    Doc Savage. It’s off the wall, it hasn’t aged all that well, but I still have fond memories of it.

    During a short term in college, I took a class on 1950s B movies. Watched 20-25 different movies, one per day, and discussed the film making techniques and historical content and whatnot. I remember it started with a “hooray for the atomic bomb!” sort of movie, and ended with On the Beach. In between, I remember seeing THEM!, Forbidden Planet, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature. I still have the project I did on all the films somewhere.

       3 likes

  11. TheAngryBanjo
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember staying up way past my bedtime to watch a double feature of Billy The Kid Versus Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter on TCM. Even then I thought it was weird that they turned the two most famous wild west outlaws into typical western-style heroes.

       2 likes

  12. skrag2112
    Ignored
    says:

    Probably something I watched as a kid on either Channel 11 or Channel 30 in St Louis, back in the 1970s. Channel 30 played lots of Japanese monster movies, along with TV shows like ‘Johnny Sokko and Flying Robot’ and ‘Ultraman’. Channel 11 played a lot of sci-fis from the 50s and 60s. Ray Harryhausen monster movies seem to stick out in my earliest movie memories.

       2 likes

  13. Thad Boyd
    Ignored
    says:

    Masters of the Universe. I’d have been 4 when it came out. Saw it in the theater with my dad, four times.

    For all that’s wrong with it, I loved it. I imagine that must be how my nephew feels about Batman v Superman — he’s not old enough to think about tone, plotting, pacing, characterization, any of that stuff; he just knows Batman and Superman are in it and that’s good enough for him. I was the same way with He-Man.

    I still enjoy it, mostly unironically. Frank Langella as Skeletor is one of my favorite examples of a great actor giving his all to a silly role in a ridiculous film; to this day he still lists it as one of his favorite roles. (I do kind of love how his career progression went Dracula, Skeletor, Nixon.)

    It’s also interesting to look at as a prototype for the Marvel films. Yes, it had He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Skeletor, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn, and Beast-Man in it (plus, inexplicably, a bunch of new characters instead of established ones from the cartoon or toy line; part of the reason it always felt weird as an adaptation), but as much as anything it was an adaptation of the works of Jack Kirby — sure, there was a bit more emphasis on his DC work than his Marvel there, but you can certainly take a look at the sets and costumes and realize that they’re what the Thor movies would look like if they had a fraction of the budget.

    Hell, it even had a post-credits sequence.

       1 likes

  14. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    The movie that is most deeply embedded in my conscious was some Saturday afternoon B&W horror picture where some guys come down in a flying saucer, zap some animals with their death ray leaving behind just a skeleton, then unleash giant lobsters on southern California, only to be thwarted when one of the aliens goes over to the other side. I missed the beginning, so i had no idea what it was called.

    It was the start of a long love affair, but I didn’t even know the name of my first encounter.

    Decades later I shared an office with a guy who was also a bad movie fan. The description didn’t ring a bell for him, but he had a book that had capsule summaries of monster movies. (Yes, it was actually a processed dead tree. This was in the days when usenet was a new-fangled novelty.) After an exhaustive search I found it. The title was something I would have never been able to guess, because even when I was six years old it didn’t seem that it had any teenagers in it.

    Around the same time as the first movie I also saw one about a guy stranded on an alter-earth on the other side of the sun. No clue what that was called, either. I thought it was pretty cool, though I now know how implausible it is: L3 is an unstable equilibrium point.

       4 likes

  15. Jeremy Long
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d have to say The Greenstone (if that counts, I don’t know if it would). I watched it after renting it at Blockbuster and I was utterly baffled. I didn’t understand a damn thing. I came into MST3K pretty early so it might have been one of their episode. My first episode was with the host segment where Joel makes the “Aquarium Effect” where he puts the fishtank in front of Cambot so he looks like he’s swimming. I can’t recall the title of that one. Aside from those two…The Monster Squad!

       1 likes

  16. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    BEGINNING OF THE END, actually. Late one night on WGN.

       3 likes

  17. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    The movie that is most deeply embedded in my conscious was some Saturday afternoon B&W horror picture where some guys come down in a flying saucer, zap some animals with their death ray leaving behind just a skeleton, then unleash giant lobsters on southern California, only to be thwarted when one of the aliens goes over to the other side. I missed the beginning, so i had no idea what it was called.

    It was the start of a long love affair, but I didn’t even know the name of my first encounter.

    Well, don’t TOR-CHA! yourself over it.

    —-
    For me, when J&tB are playing Movie Tagline Twenty Questions (#405, Being From Another Planet), I had a momentary DNA-memory cringe at “Is it the most fantastic undersea odyssey ever filmed?”
    Somehow, at a very early age, I had been roped into seeing “The Neptune Factor” expecting it would be something more than a little plastic bath-toy submarine in a normal-sized aquarium tank. Oh, thank you, Joel, for sharing my same generation of memories, I love having old wounds picked open.

    Any reason to go see “Starship Invasions” in a theater was already covered in the appropriate Rifftrax thread, but that was one of the first early times I was able to distinguish a B-movie from an A-movie, in that one was actually CHEAP.

    (Otherwise, didn’t get to grow up seeing many actually cheap B-movies in the hometown theater except for the Unholy Trinity of Christmas kiddie-matinees–The good cheap thrills were rated R, and the foreign-import kiddie-movies like “Super Fuzz” and “Mr. Superinvisible” were all out of town.
    We had local independent theaters back then, and in an off week, ours might show old public-domain 30’s comedy, like WC Fields and the Marxes. To this day, I still stare at adults who claim they “don’t get” The Fatal Glass of Beer.)

       0 likes

  18. Sitting Duck
    Ignored
    says:

    Truth be told, prior to MST3K I can’t really recall having much exposure to B-movies. Just about any contact with such films while growing up was secondhand, such as clips used on Muppet Babies. It didn’t help that the nearest first run movie theater was an hour’s drive and excessive TV watching was discouraged in our household. However, our school library did have those classic monster movie books by Ian Thorne (the ones with the orange spines).

    Thad Boyd:
    Masters of the Universe. I’d have been 4 when it came out. Saw it in the theater with my dad, four times.

    Okay, that one I have seen prior to MST3K and liked it at the time.

       2 likes

  19. jjk50
    Ignored
    says:

    Growing up in Cleveland in the early 60’s I saw a number of the same B Movies MST3K did that were shown by Ghoulardi(Ernie Anderson)on Ch 8 Friday nights.

       3 likes

  20. (((R.A. Roth)))
    Ignored
    says:

    Oddly enough, The Green Slime counts as my first B movie. As a pre-schooler, I saw it at a long since defunct Illinois drive-in back in 1971, with my parents of course. We had a brown shopping bag full of popcorn, the bottom lined with tinfoil. I remember the green creatures screeching through the tinny speaker hanging from the window were kind of annoying. This also marks my first can of beer, Old Style, which my father gave me to put me to sleep and, after about half the can, had the desired effect. Parenting was different back then. Today, they would put you in jail for that. Serving cheap American beer, the nerve!

       4 likes

  21. Say No To Yes
    Ignored
    says:

    Kenneth Morgan:
    My memory isn’t that good, but it’s very likely that it was during either “Creature Features” on Channel 5 (WNEW-TV) or “Chiller Theater” on Channel 11 (WPIX-TV).

    Growing up in NY during the Seventies, I also used to watch “Creature Features” and “Chiller Theater”, but the 1982 film “It Came From Hollywood” was my first exposure to people making comments on these types of films. Then, about 10 years later, I’m home sick from work one morning, and happened to flip to Comedy Central, and saw some silhouettes watching “Pod People” and making funny comments / observations. The rest is history.

       7 likes

  22. sol-survivor
    Ignored
    says:

    Probably the Mexican Santa Claus, which I remember seeing in a local theater when I was about 4. I was unknowingly haunted by it for years until the episode premiered.

       8 likes

  23. Lupe Vallejo
    Ignored
    says:

    First B movie I can remember was The Horror of Party Beach in the early 70’s on the bay area “Creature Feature” show hosted by Bob Wilkins.

       5 likes

  24. Torgover
    Ignored
    says:

    I saw Alien From LA as a regular movie, when I was a kid, since my Mom loved it. She also loved the MST3K version of it.

       5 likes

  25. radioman970
    Ignored
    says:

    Born in 1966. 1972 mom let us watch “Who Slew Auntie Roo?” if it qualifies. I think it’s a pretty decent movie and happily own the DVD, will upgrade to the blu someday. Otherwise, late night horror show in the mid 70s I saw all kind of things, including The Creeping Terror. Also all the Doug McClure flicks, Land that time Forgot, etc at the movie theater with family when they came out.

       2 likes

  26. radioman970
    Ignored
    says:

    Say No To Yes: Growing up in NY during the Seventies, I also used to watch “Creature Features” and “Chiller Theater”, but the 1982 film “It Came From Hollywood” was my first exposure to people making comments on these types of films. Then, about 10 years later, I’m home sick from work one morning, and happened to flip to Comedy Central, and saw some silhouettes watching “Pod People” and making funny comments / observations. The rest is history.

    Love “It Came from Hollywood”. I have a pretty good download of that. A blu ray would be welcomed in my house!

       3 likes

  27. mst3kme
    Ignored
    says:

    In the early 1980s, 3-D pictures were making a comeback.

    I saw a film called “Comin’ at Ya!” I saw it for its gimmick and those dopey paper and cheap plastic glasses.

    I hadn’t known at the time what the movie was about.

    From what I recall, it was about blood, bullets, and live rats being thrown at the camera. (There was a “plot” there somewhere, too.)

    Needless to say, I was quite queasy afterwards. :-(

    So was my poor grandmother who had gone with me to the theater.

       1 likes

  28. Ray Dunakin
    Ignored
    says:

    We didn’t go to the movies when I was a kid, so all of my early exposure to B movies was on TV. I recall seeing some very late at night, when I was the only one up. I was maybe five or six, and I remember being both fascinated and terrified. I’m not sure which one was my first B movie, but one that stands out is “X: The Unknown”, a British movie about a radioactive blob that oozes out of a crack in the ground at night and goes around melting people’s faces.

    Of all the B movies I was exposed to at an early age, my favorite was “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Classic Ray Harryhausen stop-motion effects!

       0 likes

  29. courteous martians
    Ignored
    says:

    Attack of the Mushroom People a/k/a Matango on Dimension 16 in SE KS which actually exists on DVD. My wife and I still use the last line from the “surprise” ending: “And then…. I ate them!”

       0 likes

  30. Mibbitmaker
    Ignored
    says:

    I didn’t have any real exposure to classic B movies growing up in the ’60s and ’70s. I certainly knew that Gomer Pyle went to a lot of them! The only thing from MST3K I saw back then was the Gumby short (and maybe The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t). I did know about the drive-in theater in town that showed less than reputable films, but many of them were X rated.

    Awareness of them built up slowly. There was the “Monster Chiller Horror Theater” sketches on SCTV, then later the shows where comedians would offer alternate “soundtracks” to cheesy movies. It was the late ’80s and early ’90s where I started showing interest in the whole B movie thing. Somewhere in that time there was a movie (loosely, I think) based on William Castle’s career that I saw and really enjoyed. Otherwise, I just couldn’t find anywhere, pre-internet access, to actively get into the whole thing.

    Until I finally got cable with Comedy Central on it exactly 2 weeks before the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon…

       0 likes

  31. mst3kme
    Ignored
    says:

    The film loosely based on William Castle’s career is called “Matinee.”

    It stars John Goodman and was directed by Joe Dante.

    Mibbitmaker:
    I didn’t have any real exposure to classic B movies growing up in the ’60s and ’70s. I certainly knew that Gomer Pyle went to a lot of them! The only thing from MST3K I saw back then was the Gumby short (and maybe The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t). I did know about the drive-in theater in town that showed less than reputable films, but many of them were X rated.

    Awareness of them built up slowly. There was the “Monster Chiller Horror Theater” sketches on SCTV, then later the shows where comedians would offer alternate “soundtracks” to cheesy movies. It was the late ’80s and early ’90s where I started showing interest in the whole B movie thing. Somewhere in that time there was a movie (loosely, I think) based on William Castle’s career that I saw and really enjoyed. Otherwise, I just couldn’t find anywhere, pre-internet access, to actively get into the whole thing.

    Until I finally got cable with Comedy Central on it exactly 2 weeks before the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon…

       2 likes

  32. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    GODZILLA (the Raymond Burr version) –

    When I was in first grade the local theater showed Godzilla as some sort of kids matinee. My buddy Jim May and I got dropped off with a quarter to get in and a dime for candy. I got a Black Cow because they took a whole movie to eat. That movie scared the bejeezus out of us and we took turns running out to the lobby and then running back. We weren’t the only ones.
    After high school Jim went on to work for a big Union Carbide plant where the chemicals made his shoes stink so bad his wife made him leave them on the porch when he got home. Jim is dead now. RIP

       1 likes

  33. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    I just thought of another great movie I saw as a kid. For my best buddy’s sixth birthday we went to the local cinema. We picked that movie because we heard it had dinosaurs! All the dads wanted to go, too, which we took as a sure sign that it must be really great. I’m telling you, it didn’t disappoint. We talked about that movie for months. It was called “One Million Years B.C.”

    It was many years before I understood that film’s appeal to a wider audience.

       4 likes

  34. Buster
    Ignored
    says:

    No way I could remember the FIRST, I would watch anything remotely Sci-Fi from a very early age. But I remember The Mole People being one of my early favorites along anything with Godzilla in it.

       2 likes

  35. Son of Gorgo
    Ignored
    says:

    My Dad was into Sci-Fi so saw a lot as a kid. Donivan’s Bran and The Day the Earth Stood Still stand out in my memory.

       1 likes

  36. Colossus Prime
    Ignored
    says:

    I can’t for the life of me remember what my first B-Movie was. My parents realized early on that I just loved goofy sci-fi so they’d rent me things like Condorman and Warriors of the Wind over and over again. But I do very specifically remember in grade school, finding a section of our library that had a bunch of books about B&W creature features (Tarantula, Beginning of the End, etc) and just becoming obsessed with them. So books actually grew my love for cheesy movies.

       2 likes

  37. George Orwell
    Ignored
    says:

    On New Orleans they used to have “Science Fiction Theater”, a real treat. The one movie I remember first was Kronos, a real nail-biter when you’re a kid. What I remember most of all is that giant foot coming up and down and missing the villagers by inches. Scared me.

    Now what really scared me in the movie theater was King Kong versus Godzilla. Couldn’t sleep that night.

       1 likes

  38. Larry Ham
    Ignored
    says:

    Indestructible Man. “He tried to speak, but the voltage had burned out his vocal chords”. I was about seven years old, and that gave me nightmares!

       1 likes

  39. Cameron Bane
    Ignored
    says:

    The Cyclops (1957). I saw it with my dad when I was five years old, and although the story was idiotic, the monster’s makeup scared the living hell out of me (I wish I knew how to post a screen shot).

       0 likes

  40. Cameron Bane
    Ignored
    says:

    Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    The movie that is most deeply embedded in my conscious was some Saturday afternoon B&W horror picture where some guys come down in a flying saucer, zap some animals with their death ray leaving behind just a skeleton, then unleash giant lobsters on southern California, only to be thwarted when one of the aliens goes over to the other side. I missed the beginning, so i had no idea what it was called.

    It was the start of a long love affair, but I didn’t even know the name of my first encounter.

    Decades later I shared an office with a guy who was also a bad movie fan. The description didn’t ring a bell for him, but he had a book that had capsule summaries of monster movies. (Yes, it was actually a processed dead tree. This was in the days when usenet was a new-fangled novelty.) After an exhaustive search I found it. The title was something I would have never been able to guess, because even when I was six years old it didn’t seem that it had any teenagers in it.

    Around the same time as the first movie I also saw one about a guy stranded on an alter-earth on the other side of the sun. No clue what that was called, either. I thought it was pretty cool, though I now know how implausible it is: L3 is an unstable equilibrium point.

    That was Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, with Roy Thinnes. A Gerry Anderson production if memory serves.

       1 likes

  41. rvoyttbos
    Ignored
    says:

    KRONOS on late night TV sometime in 1959 or 60.

       1 likes

  42. Eddie J Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    It has to be the Godzilla movies. I remember staying up late to see Monster Zero when I was a kid on KTLA in the 70s. Loved the Godzilla / Gamera movies, although my parents thought I was nuts :)

       0 likes

  43. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    Cameron Bane: That was Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, with Roy Thinnes. A Gerry Anderson production if memory serves.

    I’m pretty sure it was “The Stranger” a.k.a. “Stranded in Space”, Episode 305. The IMDB synopsis matches my 40 year old memory of it. I’ve never seen the MST version.

       1 likes

  44. Basil
    Ignored
    says:

    No idea what my first “B” movie was, but the one I remember the most is “The Angry Red Planet” (which is available free on Amazon Prime right now: link)

       0 likes

  45. Jeremy Zharkov
    Ignored
    says:

    Endoplasmic Reticulum: I’m pretty sure it was “The Stranger” a.k.a. “Stranded in Space”, Episode 305. The IMDB synopsis matches my 40 year old memory of it. I’ve never seen the MST version.

    It’s weird though, there are two movies with almost he same plot. When I say the MST3K stranded in Space, it seemed familiar since I had seen the Roy Thinnes movie, so it kept confusing me.,

       0 likes

  46. Misfit4242
    Ignored
    says:

    ‘Seven Miles From Alcatraz’ that I saw in the middle of the night on TNT. This was when TNT showed older movies before switching to TCM. It’s a 1945 potboiler involving escapees from Alcatraz, a love story, Nazis, and all set on a lighthouse island. Super-cheesy, lurid and overly jingoistic, it’s hard to find. TCM shows it on occasion. Started my love for B-reel cinema! Hits all the sweet spots!!

       0 likes

  47. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    Basil:
    No idea what my first “B” movie was, but the one I remember the most is “The Angry Red Planet” (which is available free on Amazon Prime right now: link)

    Good suggestion! Although I have to say I’ve certainly seen worse.

       2 likes

  48. I am sure I saw movies earlier, but the two I can vividly remember are “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (Yes, I actually saw that in the theater as a first release) and “The Monolith Monsters.” Two films I STILL enjoy to this day.
    I also remember Snow White and the Three Stooges.

       0 likes

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