MCS Prof. Davis Discusses the History of the B-Movie

In the considerable wake of that small-screen cinematic triumph known as Sharknado, Asylum Studios, a knock-off factory riding on Hollywood's coattails, has been receiving a lot of press. Where an intentionally cheesy film like Snakes on a Plane (2006) tried to leverage social media's snark factor to grab a theatrical hit at the box office, Asylum's obviously cheesy Sharknado caught on organically with tongue-in-cheek webizens who tweeted about it to the point of making the TV movie a trending topic on Twitter. Unlike Snakes, that organic buzz on social media actually equated to eyeballs for the film itself.

Asylum's rise in the world of low-budget and (more often than not) derivative filmmaking is examined in "Escaped from the Asylum!", an article published in The Pacific Standard. Our own B-movie expert, Media and Cinema Studies (MCS) Assistant Professor Blair Davis​, gave the Standard his thoughts on the history of the second-tier pictures in Hollywood history, and how such films are playing in the modern era of streaming and home video viewing.

Davis previously published a book-length examination of the history of B-movies in The Battle for the Bs. You can read about his book here in this interview we conducted with Prof. Davis.