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Best B-movie docs
December 23, 2009 12:00 PM   Subscribe

What are the best documentaries about b-movies, fandoms, and weird or niche interests which often involve a widespread community, such as zombies?

I'm looking to fill in the gaps of my knowledge while also watching the original films...or at least the MST3K versions.

Stuff like Trekkies (fandom-related), a non-fiction Shadow of the Vampire perhaps (film-specific), or documentaries such as The Boy from Out of This World or Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (neither of which I've yet seen, but which appear to deal with the history of b-movie productions as well as specific films).

Also great would be stuff like Zombie Girl (though not about the making of a b-movie per se, there's still the fandom and weirdness elements).

Thanks!
posted by lhall to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Achievers is a neat documentary about obsessive Big Lebowski fans.
posted by Perplexity at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's also King of Kong about high-scoring players of King Kong.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:19 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


nthing King of Kong. Incredible film.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2009


One of the best documentaries I've ever seen is slated for a DVD release early next year: Every Other Day Is Halloween. It's about the career of Dick Dyszel, aka Count Gore De Vol, a local horror host and all-around nice guy. It's hilarious and inspiring.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2009


Cinemania about film obsessives
Word Wars about pro-Scrabble players
American Movie about low-budget film making
Best Worst Movie (which I've not seen, but I've heard good things about) about Troll 2 and it's fandom
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:41 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Darkon is an excellent documentary about a community of LARPers.
posted by unsub at 12:52 PM on December 23, 2009


Otaku no Video
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:54 PM on December 23, 2009


spellbound - documentary about kids trying to win the 1999 spelling bee. beautifully nerdy.
posted by nadawi at 1:05 PM on December 23, 2009


Vinyl, about record collectors. Because the director is himself a collector, a lot of the film is him reflecting on how collecting has affected his own life (a lot of it is him wondering about why he isn't more successful with women or able to form relationships).

Definitely seconding American Movie and King of Kong. Overlapping with King of Kong is Chasing Ghosts, a more general documentary on early/classic videogamers, with some of the same characters appearing.

Not Quite Hollywood is a documentary about Australian b-movies. I haven't seen it, but it had good reviews.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:23 PM on December 23, 2009


Seconding Darkon
posted by Think_Long at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2009


Another vote for King of Kong. (Trailer)
posted by bradly at 1:41 PM on December 23, 2009


Haven't actually seen it, but have been meaning to, this chiptune documentary fits your subculture criteria pretty well though. Reformat the Planet Also nthing King of Kong. Also my cousins recommended Monster Camp as a good nerds who are too committted genre type movie to me.
posted by edbles at 1:55 PM on December 23, 2009


Seconding Best Worst Movie.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:23 PM on December 23, 2009


There's also King of Kong about high-scoring players of King Kong.

You mean the game Donkey Kong.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:58 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years -- about 80s metal titans like Motorhead and WASP as well as some fantastically entertaining also-rans -- is pretty awesome. It's not entirely unlike a doc version of Spinal Tap.
posted by blapst at 5:32 PM on December 23, 2009


Zombiemania? I've never seen it but it's in my netflix queue and I've heard it's pretty good.
posted by kro at 5:50 PM on December 23, 2009


The Decline of Western Civilization Part 1 is about punk. Part of it is about Black Flag, which is good, part of it is about some other band which is completely fucking awful (the band not the doc). I haven't seen part 3, though I have it. I assume it's about ska or something.
posted by cmoj at 8:27 PM on December 23, 2009


Oh, totally forgot: Audience of One is brilliant. It's about an American Minister who decides that God has told him to make a full-length feature film, a science-fiction re-telling of one of the Biblical stories (Daniel?). So he tries to make this film, with members of his congregation. None of them have any film experience at all, but they raise millions of dollars to do this. They end up travelling to Italy to film scenes, all sorts of things. Very good.

Which reminds me of Jesus Camp: documentary about kids at a fundamentalist Christian youth camp (all anti-evolution, anti-non-Charismatics for being too boring at Church, etc). Maybe outside the scope of your question, but interesting.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:28 AM on December 24, 2009


It's a pseudo-documentary, but how about Tim Burton's Ed Wood? It's a hilarious biopic about the director of B-horror bombs like "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Johnny Depp, Bela Lugosi and the whole cast are fab.
posted by Paris Elk at 2:04 AM on December 24, 2009


Oops, I mean Martin Landau playing the part of Bela Lugosi...
posted by Paris Elk at 2:05 AM on December 24, 2009


Oh, this might not be QUITE related, but they each have the weird "obsessed with something" theme - Grizzly Man and Project Grizzly. The first is about a man who is, uh, really into grizzlies and lives amongst them in Alaska. The second is about a guy who builds a suit of armour so as to be able to observe grizzly bears up close. Both were entertaining.

You mean the game Donkey Kong.

Indeed I do - I had a nap in the middle of that comment I think. Thanks :)
posted by urbanlenny at 7:30 AM on December 24, 2009


Heavy Metal Parking Lot and its successors offer brief, but hilarious insights into certain fandoms.
posted by beerbajay at 8:24 AM on December 30, 2009


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