Unoriginal films are nothing new. They’re so common, in fact, that the Razzies have a special category for them. But here I’m not just looking at big films that inspire a vague sense of deja vu. No, here I’m talking movies designed specifically to imitate another film. The kind of straight-to-DVD crap that pops up for 35p in CeX or finds its way onto supermarket shelves after a business deal gone wrong. Here are three I’ve seen in the last week.
Is the name of a main character enough to class a film as a rip off? If that character is called Django it might be, in which case Tarantino ripped off this film, which was actually made in 1968. Even though Django: Prepare a Coffin came first, this is clearly a DVD case designed to mislead people into buying it thinking they’re getting Tarantino’s recent gore fest. Just look how big “Django” is written, with no images from the actual film, and at £3.50 it’s not even that cheap. Interestingly (but irrelevant) the film’s epic main theme inspired, and was sampled in, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
If you want to compare it to Tarantino’s film but don’t want to fork out £3.50 it’s available free on YouTube under its alternate title Viva Django.
Why would you make a crap rip off of World War Z when the original was so bad? And why would you charge £5 for it second hand? Presumably because the staff at Cex know, as the movie’s producers did, that a lot of people will buy this thinking it’s the recent Brad Pitt snoozeathon. Charge any less for it and people might realise they’re not getting the actual film.
While reportedly planned since 2007, virus-zombie attack film Apocalypse Z was conveniently released, straight to DVD, on July 1 of this year.
You read that correctly. Atlantic Rim. Sorry for the bad photo, but this is my favourite rip off B movie I’ve seen all week for several reasons. Firstly it’s an awful title for a film. OK, so Pacific Rim isn’t great, but at least it’s an actual geographical concept. Secondly this film’s success is based solely on kids asking an elderly relative to get them Pacific Rim for their birthday and relying on that relative seeing this in a supermarket, not being able to remember the title and buying it because it “sounds about right”. It’s also annoying because I saw it in Sainsbury’s, who really shouldn’t be misleading people like this.
According to Wikipedia “Atlantic Rim is a mockbuster of the Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures film Pacific Rim” which is apparently what its makers, The Asylum, are known for. So they’re a business that rips off big films, sells them to people who buy them buy accident, and has the cheek to present it as some form of satire. Noble.
Their back catalogue reads like a list of Troy McClure films, including such titles as Alien Origin (the same year as Prometheus), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, The Amityville Haunting, Battle of Los Angeles, The Terminators, Transmorphers, The Da Vinci Treasure and Snakes on a Train. I wonder if there’s product placement in those films for Coca Zola, Bubweiser or Adidon’t.