Sharknado just finished airing on SyFy for the second time. It is a made for TV B (type) movie, cheaply made for a specific audience. I say B (type) because it's not the second half of a double feature.
Once upon a time Hollywood was obsessed with giant blockbuster type movies, huge sets, giant stars, huge budgets.... think Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments. HUGE stuff. But there were writers out there writing smaller things who were being turned down by the Paramounts and Universals of the time. Money was being left on the table. It was either go big or go home! Some of that was the impact of television. Why go see something small when you could watch small on television.
But what if you made a cheap movie quickly that was bigger than something that could be on television and fun to watch? And probably wouldn't be able to be aired on television? What if it was at a drive in on a big screen? What if your audience was late teens & early 20s? Those are the questions Samuel Z. Arkoff, born here in Fort Dodge, Iowa asked. He helped form American International Pictures and B movies took off. Beach Blanket Bingo? Girls in Prison? I Was a Teenage Cave Man? Journey to the Seventh Planet? All thanks to Mr. Arkoff born here in Fort Dodge, IA.
I just reviewed Pacific Rim and Mr. Arkoff was even part of the dakaiju movement when it first happened here in the US back in the day with Uchû daikaijû Dogora. A man ahead of his time I tell you!
He knew that sometimes a movie can be for fun. It can be for entertainment. It can exist just to make you smile, laugh, or clutch at the person next to you and gasp in fear. They don't have to be epic or brain-bending all the time. Sometimes a movie can just be fun... and profit!