10 Years Release Video For The Song “Novacaine”.

10 Years presents lead video for the song “Novacaine” in front of new album “(how to live) AS GHOSTS” coming October 27.

Pre-Order Link:
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/10yearsmusic

ABOUT 10 YEARS
10 Years has come a long way since their inception in 1999. The band landed a deal with Universal/Republic Records on the strength of their two independent releases, 2001’s Into the Half Moon and 2004’s Killing All That Holds You. Their major label debut, 2005’s The Autumn Effect, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart thanks to their breakthrough hit, “Wasteland,” which topped Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart, and “Through the Iris,” which hit No. 20 on Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The band followed that success with 2008’s Division, featuring co-production work from Rick Parashar (Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam). The album peaked at No. 12 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the hit “Beautiful,” which reached No. 6 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The momentum continued with 2010’s Feeding the Wolves, which was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, 3 Doors Down) and bowed at No. 17 on The Billboard 200, while the single, “Shoot It Out,” peaked at No. 6 on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and spent 25 weeks on the chart. The group, which toured the world with such rock greats at Linkin Park, Korn, and Deftones, went back to their indie roots with 2012’s Minus the Machine on their own Palehorse Records, which was part of Warner Music Label Group. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Hard Rock Albums chart, No. 8 on the Top Rock Albums chart, and No. 26 on The Billboard 200.

Dates:
10/13 Knoxville, TN Mill & Mine, +
10/14 Winchester, VA Blue Fox Billiards <
10/15 Morgantown, WV Schmitt’s <
10/17 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel *
10/19 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club *
10/20 Lynchburg, VA Phase 2 *
10/21 New York, NY Highline Ballroom *
10/23 Greensboro, NC The Blind Tiger *
10/25 Darlington, SC Carolina Night Live *
10/26 Atlanta, GA Masquerade *
10/27 Destin, FL Club LA 99 Rock show w/ Pop Evil *
10/28 Cape Coral, FL Dixie Roadhouse – 93X show w/ Pop Evil *
10/29 Orlando, FL House of Blues *
10/31 Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre *
11/02 Lexington, KY Manchester Music Hall *
11/03 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s *
11/04 Sauget, IL Pop’s *
11/05 Joliet, IL The Forge *
11/07 Kansasville, WI 1175 *
11/08 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall *
11/10 Ft. Wayne, IN Piere’s *
11/11 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue *
11/28 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works =
11/29 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen =
12/01 Dallas, TX Southside Ballroom =
12/02 Houston, TX Revention Music Center =
12/04 Birmingham, AL Iron City =
12/05 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte =
12/06 Raleigh, NC The Ritz =
12/11 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live =
12/14 St. Paul, MN Palace Theatre =
12/17 Chicago, IL House of Blues =

* Co-Headline dates with RED
< Headline w/ Otherwise supporting
+ 10 Years headline
= Supporting Chevelle

Links:
http://10yearsmusic.com
https://www.facebook.com/10yearsmusic/

Top 10 Casino and Gambling-Themed Movies

People have always regarded gambling as one of the favourite activities, and it is not surprising that this interest also translates into the world of movies. A number of gambling and casino themed movies come out on a regular basis, but there are movies that capture the hearts and minds of viewers more than others. Here are some of the top 10 casino and gambling themed movies:

  1. Rounders (1998)

The movie features a young Matt Damon, in one of his best roles ever, and Edward Norton as two friends who are addicted to gambling. Damon plays a youngster who excels at poker and uses this skill in order to pay off the loan sharks and help his friend in the process. It may not be a big budget film, but it has all the essentials for a slick poker inspiration.

  1. Casino (1995)

A classic casino-themed movie, it features Robert De Niro as a Las Vegas mobster who is involved in the world of casinos. Yet, he tries to go about his business in a respectable way while his mobster friend is overtaken by greed. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese, widely regarded as one of the best directors. The film goes into several details of owning and running a casino in its 178-minute runtime.

  1. 21 (2008)

A recent entrant in the world of casino themed movies, 21 is a story of MIT students being coached by their professor – played by Kevin Spacey – in order to win big at Las Vegas casinos. The students set off to Las Vegas and use card counting technique to amass huge sums of money before being eventually caught. The 123-minute runtime will reveal if there is a happy ending or not.

  1. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

A star cast featuring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, and many others, decide to rob Las Vegas casinos. The film gives an incredible insight into the behind-the-scenes action at a super casino, like those found in Australia and featured at https://pokiestar.com/online-casino-in-australia/. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie is not about robbing just one, but three Las Vegas casinos.

  1. Casino Royale (2006)

One of the first James Bond movies to heavily feature casino games, Casino Royale sees the debut of Daniel Craig as James Bond. His mission is to beat a top weapons dealer in a high-stakes game. The movie is set in Monaco, which has some of the oldest and most popular casinos in the world. Eva Green plays the love interest for Bond in the movie, which takes focus away from technology and moves it to Bond himself.

  1. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

A British crime movie, the plot follows a youngster who is indebted to the powerful crime lord to the tune of £500,000. The huge debt is created as a result of a fixed card game. In order to pay off this debt, the youngster goes on about every possible option and there is a huge amount of killing along the way. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie also features young Jason Statham.

  1. Owning Mahowny(2003)

A movie about gambling addiction, this Canadian film features Phillips Seymour Hoffman and John Hurt. A bank employee and gambling addiction certainly do not go along well. Large number of bank money being skimmed to fuel the gambling addiction results in everything falling apart. Just like a stack of cards, the movie shows gambling addiction destroying a life. The movie was directed by Richard Kwietniowski.

  1. Maverick (1994)

Starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, Maverick is a movie about a young poker player trying to come up with a huge amount of money in order to enter a major poker tournament. Numerous challenges and comic mishaps happen along the way. The movie was directed by Richard Donner with Jodie Foster playing the love interest of Gibson, and someone who is also a gambler.

  1. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

This movie depicts the equivalent of a David versus Goliath contest, but in the world of poker. A young and upcoming poker player is pitted against one of the best in the business. Directed by Norman Jewison, the movie features some of the best-known stars of the time like Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson. A high-stakes poker game forms the fulcrum of the movie.

  1. The Gambler (1974)

Depicting the life of a literature professor who has become addicted to gambling, this movie shows some of the pitfalls of becoming addicted to gambling. Even after going through various stages of losing money, the lead character – played by James Caan – cannot stop gambling.

10 TV Series That Started Out as Feature Films

Some of the most beloved television series of all time revisited their characters and storylines in feature film style long after their small screen run was over. Shows like “The X-Files,” “Entourage,” and “Veronica Mars” all introduced feature film installments years after their run on television ended. Shows like “South Park” and “The Simpsons” were able to release movies during their run on television. Finally, there are shows that are based on previously successful movies. These shows usually have a lot to live up to, and here are 10 of the best TV series based on films.

  1. Friday Night Lights

In 2004, the film “Friday Night Lights” was released. Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw, the film followed a Texas high school football team. Based on the book of the same name, the story had its share of ups and downs during the course of the football season. Two years later, the producers of the film decided to further adapt the book into a television series. While the TV show never was a huge hit in the ratings department, it was beloved by fans and critics.

  1. Bates Motel

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 revelation Psycho was a classic among film historians. The story of Norman Bates and his mother was renewed with a prequel of sorts in 2013 with the A&E network’s “Bates Motel.” This series had also been embraced by critics with Vera Farmiga’s Norma Bates’ portrayal earning her an Emmy nomination in 2013.

  1. Westworld

Successful science fiction writer Michael Crichton, of “Jurassic Park” fame, wrote and directed a movie in 1973, “Westworld.” The movie that depicted a future robotic theme park gone astray starred Yul Brynner in one of the key roles. In 2016, HBO brought the story to the small screen along with a new spin on the story. This time, stars Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Ed Harris brought an increased amount of intrigue and mystery to the familiar story.

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” started out as a 1992 tongue-in-cheek film with Luke Perry and Kristy Swanson showing viewers the dark side of California. In 1997, the story was reworked for television and brought Sarah Michelle Gellar to the iconic role of Buffy. This cult classic spawned a spin-off show as well called “Angel.”

  1. Fargo

Joel and Ethan Coen brought Fargo, North Dakota to the public’s vision with their 1996 quirky thriller, “Fargo.” This much-loved picture earned Oscars for best actress Frances McDormand and best screenplay for the Coens. In 2014, when the television series premiered, it was also praised for its stellar cast and writing.

  1. Highlander

“Highlander,” which was released in 1986, gave audiences a combination of Scottish warriors, the supernatural, and the ultimate exploration of good versus evil. The film’s star, Christopher Lambert, would go on to have a successful career. A few years later in 1992, the story was developed for television using an alternate hero played by Adrian Paul.

  1. Marvel Cinematic Universe

One of the most popular film franchises of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has propelled superhero stories to the next level. Characters like Ironman, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America have all been the stars of a series of movies that started in 2008. The popularity has continued with the TV shows “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and “Agent Carter.” Each of these shows has its own identity and following, which has helped make this franchise even more successful.

  1. Stargate

In 1994, the film “Stargate” was released to positive reviews. Its unique story about aliens and time travel and a strong ensemble of actors led it to success at the box office. A sequel was written as a television series, “Stargate SG-1” in 1997. The show started its run on Showtime, but it eventually moved to the Sci Fi channel later on. With the treasure trove of time travel possibilities, the series had a huge following of fans.

  1. Limitless

Another TV show that got its start on the big screen was “Limitless.” Bradley Cooper led the feature film of the same name to box office success in 2011. In 2015, Executive Ryan Kavanaugh helped bring the story to television, with Bradley Cooper starring in the pilot episode about a drug that gave users incredible abilities.

  1. The Terminator

The Terminator film series was one of the more successful stories of the past few decades. The film “The Terminator” started the story of John and Sarah Conner in 1984. After a hugely successful sequel in 1991 and additional installments in 2003 and 2009, the premise was brought to the small screen as “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.” The television series told the story of John Conner as a teenager on the run along with his mother.
Some of the most successful movies in history had more stories to tell in the form of a television show series. Many of these shows have also found their own levels of success beyond the small screen.

Film Review “10 Cloverfield Lane”

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr.
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 43 mins
Paramount

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It’s happened to all of us.

You have a fight with your significant other, grab a bottle of the good stuff and drive off into the night, unsure of where you’re going. Next thing you know, you’re waking up in a small room chained to your bed. OK, it probably hasn’t happened to a lot of people but it does happen to Michelle (Winstead). Thus begins “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

Less a “member” of the “Cloverfield” family than a straight sequel, “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a tight little film featuring three very strong performances. After some confused moments, Michelle meets Howard (Goodman), who informs her that he pulled her from an auto accident and brought her to his home. Home happens to be an underground bunker, which conspiracy theorist Howard built and filled some time ago with the help of the other person in the bunker, Emmett (Gallagher) a drifter who found work with Howard. Unsure of Howard’s intentions, Michelle tells him that her boyfriend is probably looking for her. “No one is looking for you,” Howard replies. He then goes on to explain that “something” has happened in the world. He suspects an attack, though he can’t be sure if it was the Russians or the Martians. He has plenty of ideas on how to defeat both.

What is intriguing about the story here is that we are never sure what the truth is really. Was there an attack? Is Howard just a nice guy with some weird rules (the table in the kitchen is an heirloom, so coasters and placemats will be used at all times) or is he a kidnapper and, possibly, a murderer? You never really know. Goodman is so reliable in supporting work that you sometimes forget what a fine actor he is. Here he gives a full and fleshed out performance and you can’t help but feel sorry about his station in life. Winstead and Gallagher also have some chemistry, though more friendly than romantic.

A word to the wise; if you go into this film looking for the monsters from J.J. Abrams film “Cloverfield” you may be disappointed. However, if you are in the mood for a small and satisfying thriller, then brave the bunker at “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

DVD Review “Ben 10: Omniverse – Galactic Monsters”

Created by: Man of Action Studios
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Cartoon Network
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Run Time: 110 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Ben 10: Omniverse” is the fourth installment in the “Ben 10” franchise. “Galactic Monsters” is the setting for the shows fifth season, which just recently completed airing. I have never really watched much of this show in the past…an episode here and there maybe. But this is definitely a solid show with some great action and humor mixed. For those “Ben 10” fans, get ready cause besides the more volumes from this season coming up, this October also brings the new season “The Evil Rooters”.

Official Premise: Sometimes it takes a real monster to defeat a real monster. So Ben is transforming into some awesome monster heroes in the latest DVD release “Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters.” Watch for almost 2 action packed hours as Ben transforms into heroes like Frankenstrike and Whampire as he battles the most vile villains in the galaxy including the evil Lord Transyl on Monster Planet. It’s spooky! It’s kooky! It’s “Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters”.

This volume five DVD comes with the following “Galactic Monsters” Episodes: “Rad Monster Party”; “Charmed, I’m Sure” and “The Vampire Strikes Back”. There are also two bonus episodes including “Something Zombozo This Way Comes” and “Mystery, Incorporeal” from the fifth season as well. I do not know why Cartoon Network  didn’t just included the remaining three episodes to make this a complete season. This is a little bit of a letdown for sure. But don’t worry parents since I doubt that kids will even notice, this is more a concern for the show’s older audience.

Quentin Tarantino picks his Top 10 films of 2013…so far

Director Quentin Tarantino recently revealed his “Top 10 films of 2013 so far” with fan site The Quentin Tarantino Archives and some might be surprised by his taste in movies. Although many of his releases include highly (and deliberately superficial) violent sequences with sometimes unconventional story lines, his list illustrates that he appreciates movies of various genres. I guess it isn’t a surprise then that Woody Allen’s celebrated film Blue Jasmine is featured. More surprising however, is his choice to add Disney’s flop blockbuster The Lone Ranger featuring Johnny Depp. Below is the complete list of Tarantino’s Top 10:

  • ‘Afternoon Delight’ (Jill Soloway)
  • ‘Before Midnight’ (Richard Linklater)
  • Blue Jasmine‘ (Woody Allen)
  • The Conjuring‘ (James Wan)
  • ‘Drinking Buddies’ (Joe Swanberg)
  • ‘Frances Ha’ (Noah Baumbach)
  • Gravity‘ (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Kick-Ass 2‘ (Jeff Wadlow)
  • The Lone Ranger‘ (Gore Verbinski)
  • This Is The End‘ (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg)

As the rankings are in alphabetical order and not order of preference, it is hard to determine which film has made the ultimate #1 spot. Nonetheless, his selection will have an impact on film buffs and Tarantino fans all over the world. There are only a number of other directors like Tarantino that have influenced the cult and pop culture film scene like he has, with masterpieces like Pulp Fiction or his latest, Django Unchained. Iconic images and movie posters to his classics can be spotted at myriad retailers from online stores like posterlounge.co.uk to local video stores.

Quentin Tarantino’s next project still has not been confirmed but with public appearances at the Huading Awards in Macau, there may be a chance that he reveals something in a few days. A third part of Kill Bill is possible or a spin-off mix of Inglorious Bastards and Django. Sounds unfathomable, as have many of his story lines, so maybe it’s wise not to write off this rumor just yet.

Film Review “10 Years”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Justin Long and Rosario Dawson
Directed by: Jamie Linden
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 40 mins
Anchor Bay

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In what is sure to be remembered as “the year of Channing Tatum,” a smaller budgeted film he did last year (it played the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival) is finally seeing the light of day. That film is “10 Years” and it is, surprisingly, an intimate look at a group of young adults who return to their home town for their 10th Anniversary high school reunion.

The plot is fairly simple, if not occasionally clichéd. There is the big man on campus (Tatum) with his new girl (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Channing’s real life wife) in tow. One of the gang has become a famous singer while another boasts of his cool life in New York City. And then there’s the former bully who is determined to make amends to all he picked on in the past Of course the BMOC is just there to see if his old flame, the former Big Girl on Campus, has shown up. The singer is encouraged to sing his hit song, which alerts the girl he wrote it for of his true feelings for her…apparently she’d never heard the song when it was a hit. And the bully (Chris Pratt)… no matter how hard he tries to make amends the old adage is true – once an ass always an ass. This tale and other similar stories are quickly brought to the forefront. Thank goodness for young and talented actors.

Most of the cast are unknowns making a small independent film. But the talented ones in “10 Years” are the names and faces you know. This is another in a string of bravura performances from Channing Tatum. Coupled with “the one that got away,” he says a quick hello to the others while worrying himself sick if he’s made the right choice with his latest lady friend. Solid work also by Long, Pratt and, most notably, Lynn Collins, whose Anna is the most deeply explored character in the film.

The Top 10 Albums of 2011

2011 brought a plethora of good and bad music releases to the masses and we here at Media Mikes had quite a pile of releases to choose from for our top 10 of 2011. However after great thought and debate our writers have come up with the lists below.

Adam Lawton:
1.) Wasting Light- Foo Fighters
2.) Heavy Worship- The Great Commission
3.) Worship Music- Anthrax
4.) The Truth Is…- Theory of a Deadman
5.) Set the World on Fire- Black Veil Brides
6.) Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes- Social Distortion
7.) Human Conditional- Fallon Bowman
8.) Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be- We Came as Romans
9.) Balls Out- Steel Panther
10.) A World Destroyer- Degradead

Mike Gencarelli:
1.) Anar – Marketa Irglova
2.) Chief – Eric Church
3.) Evanescence – Evanescence
4.)  Jeff Bridges – Jeff Bridges
5.) Original Sountrack – Janie Jones
6.) Original Sountrack – Midnight in Paris
7.) Original Sountrack – The Muppets
8.) Own The Night – Lady Antebellum
9.) Race Wars – mc chris
10.) Wasting Light- Foo Fighters

Chickenfoot III Debuts Top 10 as Band Announces Tour Dates

(LOS ANGELES, CA) – “CHICKENFOOT III”, the new album from the supergroup featuring guitarist Joe Satriani, drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and frontman Sammy Hagar – debuted on the Billboard album chart at #9. Tickets will be available Friday, October 7th for the recently announced “2011 Road Test Tour.” The new dates will take the the band through San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and New York in early November. European tour dates will also be announced this month.

The first single, “Big Foot,” debuted at #1 on the Mediabase Classic Rock Chart holding the position for seven weeks and earning over 1.85 million listeners and continues to receive critical acclaim:

“‘Big Foot’ is sinewy, muscular and abundantly familiar – but in a good way. As Hagar sings, ‘that s*** rocks.’” Billboard Magazine.

“Chickenfoot light a fire under rock ‘n’ roll’s collective ass, setting the pace for the genre as a whole. Chickenfoot III melds monstrous grooves and virtuoso playing in one of the year’s best rock records,” writes Rick Florino of ARTISTdirect.com.

Last week on release day, Chickenfoot offered fans a very special free Live Concert Webcast: Chickenfoot Presents “III,” performing tracks from the new album and hosting a 30-minute Q&A session with the fans. “CHICKENFOOT III”, produced by Mike Fraser, features an elaborately designed 3D package with optical illusions and special codes giving fans a fully immersed creative Chickenfoot experience, creating a spectacle with spectacles. With special “3D optical enhancers,” old-skool 3D glasses that come with each package, the cover and numberous inside photos feature artwork that trick the eye by looking through the two different red and blue lenses of the glasses. A look through the red lens even reveals a very special message on the CD itself.

“CHICKENFOOT III” features 10 tracks with so many moments of epiphany that one can barely take them all in on first listen. Colossal, stadium-shaking riffs abound on earth-movers such as “Alright, Alright,” “Last Temptation” and “Lighten Up.” Tradition meets innovation on the Nashville pop-tinged “Different Devil,” the Delta-blues flavored “Something Going Wrong” and the aching rock ballad “Come Closer.” Special video releases and more can be seen at the band’s webpage , as well as their podcast, YouTube, Facebook and Google+ pages. Chickenfoot III follows the band’s 2009 debut album, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 100 and was certified gold for sales of over 500,000 units by the Recording Industry Association of America.

THE 2011 ROAD TEST TOUR DATES:
11/1/11 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre
11/2/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Avalon Hollywood
11/4/11 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
11/5/11 – Chicago, IL – Metro
11/8/11 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

TCM’s 10 Favorite Low-Budget Science Fiction Films

Who Needs a Big-Budget Summer Blockbuster?
TCM Finds Just as Much Fun with 10 Favorite Low-Budget Science Fiction Films

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Blob (1958),
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) and The Terminator (1984) Included on TCM’s List

As summer blockbusters invade theaters across the country and fans descend upon San Diego for Comic-Con 2011, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has unveiled a list of movies that show how popular and critical success doesn’t require multi-million-dollar budgets. TCM’s 10 Favorite Low-Budget Science Fiction Films is a celebration of what can happen when minimal budgets spark maximum imagination.

TCM’s list spans from the 1953 monster-on-the-loose thriller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, featuring Ray Harryhausen’s memorable stop-motion model animation effects, to 2001’s offbeat The American Astronaut, a black-and-white western/sci-fi hybrid. The list includes such acclaimed masterpieces as Invaders from Mars (1953) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), cult classics like The Blob (1958) and I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) and independent hits like The Brother from Another Planet (1984) and The Terminator (1984), not to mention the film delightfully hailed as the worst ever made, Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).

TCM’s Favorite Low-Budget Science Fiction Movies is the network’s latest list highlighting the history of the movie industry. TCM’s previous lists have included 10 Great Overlooked Performances, 10 Favorite Baseball Films, 10 Great Comedy Lines and 15 Influential Soundtracks. Here, in chronological order, are the 10 films chosen as TCM’s Favorite Low-Budget Science Fiction Movies:

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) – Directed by Eugene Lourie
Warner Bros. brought the monster movie into the nuclear age when it bought this low-budget film and turned it into a box-office bonanza. It led the way for a parade of revived dinosaurs and mutated creatures despoiling cities of the world. The story of a prehistoric carnivore awakened from its frozen sleep by an A-bomb test at the North Pole was inspired by the successful reissue of King Kong (1933) in 1952. Producers Jack Dietz and Hal E. Chester thought that by combining nuclear paranoia and giant critters they could create a new kind of monster movie. They enlisted special effects genius Ray Harryhausen – who apprenticed with Kong’s creator, Willis O’Brien – to undertake his first solo job animating the creature. When he realized how low the budget was, Harryhausen dipped into his own pocket. The script set the basic plot structure for most future giant monster movies, moving from isolated incidents in remote locations to a full-scale attack on a major city. Warner Bros. bought the finished film for $450,000, about twice the original cost, and scored a $5 million gross. Monsters were now big business. Warner Bros. followed up with the giant ant movie Them! (1954), though without Harryhausen the effects were far from convincing. Before long, almost every studio was making its own creature features. The real impact was felt in Japan, where The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms inspired Godzilla (1954) and the whole daikaiju (giant monster) genre.

Invaders from Mars (1953) – Directed by William Cameron Menzies
Three years before Invasion of the Body Snatchers warned us about pod people from outer space, this 1953 feature poured on the paranoia with the tale of a child (Jimmy Hunt) who sees an alien ship land behind his house, then finds his parents turned into emotionless robots. Director-production designer William Cameron Menzies may not have had much money to work with (an estimated $290,000), but he put it to good use with surrealistic sets and a score dominated by pulsating choir music that upped the eeriness. The man who created the look of such classics as Gone With the Wind (1939) and The Pride of the Yankees (1942) was a master at visual storytelling. In this case, he used deep sets with unusually high walls to create a child’s perspective of a threatening world as Hunt discovers that the people he depends on are joining the enemy. Hunt, nearing the end of his days as a child star, gives the role the perfect sense of wounded innocence. Tobe Hooper remade Invaders from Mars (1986) to somewhat less effect, with Hunt coming out of retirement to play the local police chief and give the film its high point. When he arrives at the hill where the Martian ship has landed and says, “Gee, I haven’t been here since I was a kid,” the original’s many fans got an echo of the dreamlike paranoia that had delighted them for decades.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Directed by Don Siegel
When Kevin McCarthy shouted, “You’re next!” into the camera near the end of this classic sleeper, audiences around the world jumped, shaking at the prospect of being replaced by emotionless beings. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was shot for less than half a million dollars, and only $15,000 went to special effects, proving a small budget can be overcome by a big dose of imagination and a great story. Small-town doctor McCarthy returns from a medical convention to discover an epidemic of paranoia afflicting the town of Santa Mira. Suddenly, many feel their friends, neighbors and relations – the people they’ve known all their lives – are “not themselves.” As the sick miraculously cure themselves, he realizes everyone was right to be afraid; the town’s residents are being replaced by humanoid vegetables from outer space. Critics have argued over what the invaders symbolize. Is the film a metaphor for conformism, McCarthyism or communism? But the film’s makers didn’t have an agenda; they just wanted to scare the audience, and that’s exactly what they did. Invasion of the Body Snatchers earned five times its investment domestically and, even with a studio-imposed “frame” at the beginning and end that allows for a happy ending, it continues to shock audiences. It has inspired three official remakes, numerous parodies and rip-offs and even a Radiohead song, “Bodysnatchers.” It also helped resurrect producer Walter Wanger’s career after a prison sentence for a crime of passion and is often hailed as director Don Siegel’s best film. It added the phrase “pod people” to the vocabulary to describe those devoid of emotion and individuality.

The Blob (1958) – Directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth
Who could resist the idea of people and even entire buildings being consumed by a mass of red gelatin from outer space? Not thousands of audience members, mostly at drive-ins, who made this film a hit and helped turn first-time leading man Steve McQueen into a star. Made by a Pennsylvania-based company specializing in educational and religious films, The Blob was created by people who didn’t know what not to do. As a result, they produced a winning combination of science fiction and juvenile delinquent drama in which the troubled teens of a small town fight to convince the authorities they’re under siege by the title monster. The writers gave the characters believable motivations, and even on a miniscule budget, director Irvin S. Yeaworth shot in widescreen and color. The producers claimed to have made The Blob for $240,000 (Yeaworth later admitted the budget was half that) and turned a profit when Paramount picked up distribution rights for $300,000. The studio originally intended to release it as the bottom half of a double bill with I Married a Monster from Outer Space, but when previews indicated the independent film was generating more interest, they switched the pictures’ positions. Now a movie legend, The Blob has inspired a sequel, two remakes (the next due in 2012) and Blobfest, a three-day annual celebration at the shooting location in Phoenixville, Pa., featuring original props and a re-creation of the scene in which moviegoers flee from a movie theater after the title creature eats the projectionist.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) – Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.
Though this sci-fi shocker’s plot matches the confessional tone of its title (inspired by the director’s 1957 I Was a Teenage Werewolf), the quality is far greater than that of a tawdry confessional. In fact, this story of a newlywed who realizes her husband and another man have been replaced by aliens hoping to breed with Earth women can withstand comparison to the more acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Writer Louis Vittes approached the project with a good deal of imagination, creating aliens who drop their disguises when startled (a creepy effect), can’t drink alcohol, die if given oxygen and repel dogs (an idea later writers would borrow). Gene Fowler Jr. shot it as though it were a film noir, with an impressive use of shadows and disturbing camera angles. Released on the bottom half of a double bill with The Blob, the $125,000 feature wasn’t taken very seriously by reviewers. But television screenings have brought it a devoted audience, while later critics have reappraised the film as an anti-Communist tract (the masquerading aliens lack emotion until they fall for their wives) or an early feminist dissection of marriage and gender roles.

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) – Directed by Ed Wood Jr.
With cardboard tombstones, wooden performances and a character who changes size and shape from shot to shot, this would be a bad film in anybody’s hands. But only Ed Wood Jr. could have made it so bad that it turned out to be loads of fun. Although widely hailed as the worst director in movie history, Wood is too entertainingly awful to really deserve the title – and managed to sneak too many ideas into his films. This film, often described as the world’s worst, is actually more watchable than some big-budget Hollywood epics. When friend and frequent co-star Bela Lugosi died while shooting another project, Wood put the footage to use by concocting this tale of aliens using reanimated corpses to alert humanity to their disarmament message. He fleshed out the late star’s scenes by putting a cape on his wife’s chiropractor, even though the man was at least a foot taller, and told him to keep his face covered. The result was a movie too cheerfully inept for anyone to hate. Long before it was hailed as the worst movie ever made, or immortalized in Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic Ed Wood, Plan 9 from Outer Space had developed a devoted following through frequent television screenings. It also triggered the re-discovery of other Wood classics like Glen or Glenda (1953), his semi-autobiographical tale of a transvestite in love. With two remakes and four stage versions in various states of development, it continues to be one of the most popular sci-fi films ever made, all for a budget of just $60,000.

La Jetée (1962) – Directed by Chris Marker
When you have vision you can work with little money, or in the case of this 28-minute film, little movement. While making another picture (1966’s Le jolie mai) pioneering documentary filmmaker Chris Marker composed this black-and-white short almost entirely from still images played against voiceover narration. Rather than calling it a film, he called it a “photo-roman” (literally “picture-novel”), alluding to a popular European genre of comic book made from photos. La Jetée tells of a man from a post-apocalyptic world who uses a traumatic memory of seeing a man killed at Orly Airport to travel to the past in search of salvation for the future. He finds it, along with love and the key to his memory. Throughout, Marker plays with concepts of time, making the audience watch a movie that seems not to move (except for one shot of the leading lady waking up after a night of romance). He even plays with that convention when the leads visit a natural history museum, where the use of still photos makes the stuffed creatures seem as animated as the living people. La Jetée was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), and Marker even copies a scene from that film by having the leading man point out his birth date in the cross section of an ancient tree trunk. It has, in turn, inspired other films, most notably Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995).

The Brother from Another Planet (1984) – Directed by John Sayles
Writer-director John Sayles has always made the most of low-budget limitations, nowhere moreso than in this fascinating mash-up of blaxploitation, science fiction, western and social satire. Joe Morton plays a mute, runaway alien who can pass for human as long as nobody notices that his feet have three over-sized toes. Because of his skin color, he ends up in Harlem, where he builds a new life, using his telekinetic powers to repair video games and his silence to become a sounding board to the city’s many troubled souls. Although Morton does not understand prejudice based on skin color, the bounty hunters pursuing him refer to him as “three toes,” suggesting that bigotry is universal. Sayles drew part of his $350,000 budget from a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and though the low budget sometimes shows in the special effects, the freedom Sayles enjoyed by refusing to sign with a major studio led to an innovative movie that overcomes all its limitations imaginatively. The result is a loosely plotted film that makes trenchant comments on race in America while also capturing the essence of immigrant spirit that built a nation. With its catchy title and low budget, The Brother from Another Planet had little trouble turning a modest profit. It also attracted champions like Roger Ebert, who compared Morton favorably to Buster Keaton, and a devoted fan following that has continued with Sayles through such films as Eight Men Out (1988) and Lone Star (1996).

The Terminator (1984) – Directed by James Cameron
When Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered one of his most famous lines, “I’ll be back,” in this action classic, nobody could have realized what a prophet he was. Not only would he return for two more sequels that transformed him from super-villain to superhero, but The Terminator made him a true superstar – with just 16 lines. Writer-director James Cameron and Schwarzenegger created the perfect combination of actor, role and story. Inspired by a nightmare in which a metal cyborg skeleton emerged from a fiery explosion, Cameron fashioned the story about a robot who travels from the future to destroy the mother of his greatest enemy. Originally Cameron interviewed Schwarzenegger to play the future rebel leader who follows the cyborg back in time to stop him. Intrigued by the former bodybuilder’s physical presence, Cameron reshaped his concept, eventually creating a dazzling, low-budget epic with Schwarzenegger as the cyborg. Distributor Orion Pictures didn’t seem to have high hopes for the picture; they didn’t even want to hold a press screening until the actors’ agents insisted. To their surprise, the picture won respectable reviews and went on to earn more than $38 million on a meager budget of just $6.5 million. Thanks to creative merchandizing tie-ins, Cameron’s persuasive direction and Schwarzenegger’s compelling presence, The Terminator became a cult favorite, inspiring three sequels (with a fourth scheduled for 2014), a TV series and numerous video games.

The American Astronaut (2001) – Directed by Cory McAbee
This cheerfully demented film doesn’t just mix genres; it explodes them. It’s sci-fi with still paintings as special effects, a Western with no shoot-outs and a musical in which the leading man dances his big number opposite another man. Inspired by Dennis Potter’s musicals (Pennies From Heaven, 1981), producer-director-writer-star Cory McAbee combined carefully integrated musical numbers (by his band, The Billy Nayer Show) with a decidedly iconoclastic plot. In McAbee’s Wild West vision of the universe, the sexes are segregated by planet, with the all-male workers on Jupiter worshiping The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman’s Breast and the all-female colony on Venus in need of someone to replace their deceased consort. McAbee’s title character tries to get rich with a series of trades between worlds, all the while followed by a mad scientist out to kill him for no clear reason. But then, little in this film makes sense or even tries to. Shot in black and white for between $1 million and $2 million, the picture features Southern belle dresses made from shower curtains, a spaceship only shown in still shots and interiors built in an abandoned dance hall in Queens. It’s all compulsively watchable thanks to the off-the-cuff acting, surrealistic dialogue and ironic score. With a cast that includes former rockers Annie Golden of The Shirts and James Ransone of Early Man, The American Astronaut captures the spirit of gritty, inexpensive films punk rockers produced in the ‘80s, before Sundance made the indie scene respectable.