Leaving aside the current world situation, the era of big budget films isn’t quite over, but in the the past few years a large number of people working on shoestring budgets have churned out a vast quantity of films which vary from absolute rubbish to absolute gems. Some of these films are released mostly or only on-line, usually YouTube.
One of the first was the 1999 atmospheric horror film The Blair Witch Project which was released at the Sundance Film Festival. While no actual figures are available, its budget may have been as high as half a million dollars, and it is said to have grossed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office.
In 2010, Snoopy Green released Spacebong Beach Babes, which really is as bad as it sounds. One reviewer who gave it 1/10 only because IMDb does not allow a zero rating commented: “Saw it for free and I still want my money back”.
Green is arguably the worst director and script writer in the world, but has no self-awareness. His other films are cut from the same cloth.
Spacebong Beach Babes is said to have been made on a budget of $13,000. It remains to be seen where it was released, but like most other low budget and no budget films, it can be found on YouTube.
In an entirely different league from Snoopy Green is Joe Leone, a jobbing actor who has also written, produced and starred in his own films. Two of them stand out: the 2017 Parched – which is not to be confused with a slightly earlier film similarly titled; and Reap, which was released last year. Leone worked with some of the same cast on these films, which have absolutely nothing in common. Parched is trash, it appears initially to have a supernatural angle, but the horror turns out to be purely human. Reap on the other hand is a truly superb supernatural effort, one that takes place almost entirely in one room, yet scores in every way possible.
All the above films are American, but people all over the world are making their own low budget/no budget films and uploading them. The 2015 Irish film The Pigman Murders by Stephen Patrick Kenny has nothing to recommend it, but there are, surprisingly, some interesting films coming of Nigeria of late. Interesting, not necessarily good.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.