The Influence and Evolution of the B-level Horror Flick

Although B-movies have been around since the early years of cinema, they’ve taken on different connotations with audiences over the decades, even becoming their own respected genre. One might argue that Val Lewton, a writer-producer who worked in the 1940s-50s, is the tipping point in low budget horror. Films like Cat People (1942) and its sequel The Curse of the Cat People (1944) took financial restrictions and turned them into an advantage. Their use of sound is particularly effective in creating a psychologically disturbing atmosphere. Instead of the make-up and costume blockbusters that profited Universal (Dracula, Frankenstein, and their respective franchises), Lewton and director Jacques Tourner reinvented the genre. Use Lewton’s work as the fulcrum to describe how B-horror came to be a modern-day cult favourite.

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