Do the names Rhonda Shear, Caroline Schlitt, and Gilbert Gottfried all mean something to you? What about two out of three? If you watched the USA Network between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the ’90s, you watched USA Up All Night. You were either too tired to go out on a Friday night or you were too young for your parents to let you watch grown-up movies, so you sneaked some basic cable once they were asleep.
The magic of USA Up All Night was the B-movie, that last bastion of low-budget genre action, where robots are made of dryer vents, blood is the color of a Slurpee, and camp counselors never wear bras. Thanks to Netflix’s awesome cult-movie streaming options, you can start hosting your own Up All Night, featuring some of their highest-rated B-movies. Bonus: You don’t have to deal with Gilbert Gottfried’s voice. So here are some of the best Netflix B-movies streaming now.
100 Bloody Acres
Australian brothers Reg and Lindsay run an organic fertilizer business, the success of which is based on their secret ingredient… mulched car-crash victims. What happens when drivers in the area get a whole lot safer? Ask the kids who just hitched a ride on the Morgan Brothers’ “Blood and Bone” fertilizer truck.
Sharknado: Enough Said!
A freak hurricane hits Los Angeles, and man-eating sharks are funneled (in very large numbers) into water spouts that flood the city and the sky with sharky goodness. Also noteworthy: This film proves that one small diamond stud earring was the kryptonite that kept Ian Ziering from showing his true acting chops. He was totally born to play an action hero (well, an action hero who uses a chain saw to fight the unholy union of a weather phenomenon and a gazillion underwater killers—it’s a niche market). Sharknado 2 is also streaming on Netflix.
The Avenging Eagle
This is a classic wuxia—literally “martial hero” in Mandarin—film with a lot to love. Eagle Chief Yoh Xi-Hung (Ku Feng), like a homicidal Fagin, gathers up orphans and trains them to be his personal army of raiding, slaughtering bandits. You’ve got to kill an opponent or two. When Chik Ming-sing (Ti Lung), the top killer, has second thoughts and teams up with a mysterious stranger, Xi-Hung is in big trouble.
It’s like She Spies and The Expendables had a baby and lacked the budget to raise it right. Vivica A. Fox (Set It Off), Nicole Bilderback (Bring It On), Kristanna Loken (Mortal Combat: Conquest), and Zoë E. Bell (Thurman’s fight and stunt double on Kill Bill) are a group of prisoners released by the CIA with the purpose of going into a former Soviet prison—nicknamed “The Citadel”—and rescuing the president’s daughter.
The Coed and the Zombie Stoner
From the amazing team that brought the world Sharknado comes this undead love story. Chrissy (Catherine Annette), a nerdy sorority girl, is given 24 hours to find a new boyfriend and he has to be in a fraternity. Enter Rigo (Grant O’Connell), a frat kid with a bit of a marijuana problem and a lot of a zombie problem. Before long, zombies are overrunning the campus, and Chrissy has to find a cure. Could that cure be weed? It might be. OK, it’s totally weed.
Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman
Life is pretty banal for slacker Santiago Fernández (Matías Oviedo). He plays video games and lives with his mom, until he is busted eavesdropping on gangster Che Longana (Jorge Alis). When he is caught, Santiago does the only thing he can: He offers to kill Che’s ex-girlfriend and rival, a woman known only as “Machine Gun Woman” (Fernanda Urrejola). He gears up for battle like he is playing a violent video game, so be prepared for nods to Grand Theft Auto.
Big Ass Spider!
Arachnophobia meets Eight-Legged Freaks. If the thought of that doesn’t make you lift your feet off of the ground so that spiders don’t get them, this movie will work for you. A massive military strike fails to stop the rampage of a giant alien spider that escaped from a military lab and onto the streets of L.A. What can be done? The hopes of the city rest in the hands of a team of scientists and one ballsy exterminator. They must kill the monster before Los Angeles is completely destroyed. Keep an eye out for character actor cameos and shots of L.A. landmarks.
Like the Godfather series, the second installment of the Troll series is considered the highest-rated, and that is literally the only quality comparison that can be made between these two, because Troll 2 is considered one of the worst films ever made. Firstly, there are no trolls in the movie, so let go of that expectation. Instead, there is a little boy, the ghost of his dead grandfather, and a vacation town inhabited by vegetarian goblins who want to turn the boy’s family into plants and to eat them. Yep. No. Really. The documentary of the film’s making is called Best Worst Movie, and it makes a nice follow-up to the film.
Lou Garou is an alcoholic, small-town, Canadian cop. When he catches occultists in the middle of a ceremony, he is knocked out and wakes up the next day in bed with a pentagram carved into his chest. Then, the fun starts. Based on its handy use of puns, this film is a treasure. For instance, the titular character is named Lou Garou, and a lougarou is a name for mythical people who turn into animals. Genius!
Toxic waste is responsible for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Alex Mack, Daredevil and zombeavers. Take the typical “hot kids at a lake house” formula and toss in a pile of double entendre and some reject hand puppets, and you have the film that Jim Henson spent his whole life trying not to make. It is so good and so bad. It’s also very aware of its genre, so expect it to be pretty savvy, even if it is a clear B-movie.