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B級片

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1963年由“B级片之王”罗杰·科曼美国国际影业英语American International Pictures拍摄的《魔鸦英语The Raven (1963 film)》,担任制片与导演。文森特·普莱斯领衔主演;多名性格演员英语Character actor参演,其中包括年轻的杰克·尼科尔森

B级片(英語:B movieB film)是指低成本英语Low-budget film制作的商业电影,而非文艺片。在最初定义裏,B级片指在好莱坞黄金时代双片连映英语Double feature形式发行的电影中相对鮮为人知的電影,类似唱片行业里的B面歌。现今美国电影产业中,双片连映的制作发行方式在1950年代末逐步消失,但B级片却有了更广泛的定义。在后黄金时代,B級片的定义出現歧义:一方面,B级片被认为是剥削电影,特色為淫秽內容;另一方面,B级片被认为展示出电影的高工藝水準與美学创造力。

在这两种解釋中,大多数B级片被认为代表一种特定的电影类型西部片是B级片的黄金时代,而低成本科幻片恐怖片则在1950年代开始受欢迎。早期的系列B级片里,相同演员會重覆饰演相同角色。然而,B级片片长总是短于顶级制作的电影[1],大多在70分钟以内,导致当时观众认为B级片不如大制作电影,也让很多影评人忽略个别B级片。

现代B级片虽会激发多部续集电影,但已很少出現系列电影。随着大制作电影平均放映时长增加,B级片片长也开始增加。如今,B级片定义依旧存在矛盾:现代B级片可能是缺乏艺术野心的类型电影,也可能是既不像大製作電影被綁手綁腳、也不拘泥於“严肃独立电影”的活泼歡快的电影。同时,这个术语也可指某些高预算且带剥削性质的主流电影,它们通常与传统B级片相关类型片有关。

一直以來,B级片为很多電影從業人員和其他事業不順遂的人提供机会。安东尼·曼乔纳森·戴米等知名电影人都是从B级片开始锻炼製作電影的能力;约翰·韦恩杰克·尼科尔森等著名影星亦以B級片為职涯開端;同时也給前电影明星文森特·普莱斯凯伦·布莱克继续發展的机遇。有些演员,像贝拉·卢戈西布鲁斯·坎贝尔帕姆·格里尔英语Pam Grier等,则将他们大部分電影生涯贡献给B级片。B级演员B actor)有时指主要或專門拍摄B级片的电影演员。

发展历史[编辑]

好萊塢黃金年代[编辑]

1930年代[编辑]

1940年代[编辑]

1950年代的轉型[编辑]

黃金年代的剝削[编辑]

1960年代[编辑]

1970年代[编辑]

衰落[编辑]

1980年代[编辑]

1990年代[编辑]

到了1990年,美國電影的平均成本已超過2500萬美元。[153]當年上映的九部美國票房收入超過1億美元的電影中,有兩部在1970年代後期之前嚴格來說屬於B級片:《忍者龜》和《狄克崔西》。另外三部——科幻驚悚片《魔鬼總動員》、充滿動作的警匪驚悚片《終極警探2》和當年最受歡迎的兒童喜劇《小鬼當家》——也更接近傳統的B級片,而非經典的A級片主題。[154]家庭電影的日益普及、有線電視和衛星電視上得以收看未經剪輯的電影、以及與日俱增的房地產壓力,使得作為獨立電影主要發源地的那種小型或非連鎖影院的生存更加困難。[155]汽車戲院也迅速從美國景觀中消失。[156]

倖存的B電影以各種方式適應著。特羅馬娛樂製作的電影現在經常直接跳過院線發行新線影業在成立最初十年中,幾乎完全是低成本獨立電影和外國類型片的分銷商;隨著剝削片老手衛斯·克萊文原創的《半夜鬼上床》(1984)取得巨大成功(新線影業直接投入近200萬美元的成本),該公司開始穩步轉向更高預算的類型片製作。1994年,新線影業被出售給透納廣播公司;它很快成為一個中型工作室,並與華納兄弟一起在時代華納集團內運營。[157]次年,Showtime電視網推出了《羅傑·科曼作品英语Roger Corman Presents》,這是由New Concorde英语New Concorde製作的13部有線電視首映系列電影。《紐約時報》的一位評論家發現,一開始的作品被稱為“復古的科曼......從裸露的女性乳房到令人興奮的湯瑪斯·曼在《魂斷威尼斯》的引述都含在內”。[158]

在放映B級片的戲院消失的同時,獨立電影運動興起;結果就是低預算類型電影和“精緻”藝術電影之間的各種交叉。導演阿貝爾·費拉拉以暴力B級片(如《電鑽殺手英语The Driller Killer》(1979)和《45女士英语Ms. 45》(1981))聞名,他在90年代初拍了兩部電影,將剝削電影常見的的性、毒品和一般猥褻描寫與對榮譽和救贖的複雜審查相結合:《紐約之王英语King of New York》(1990)得到了一群主要為小型製作公司的支持,《流氓幹探英语Bad Lieutenant》(1992)的180萬美元成本則完全獨立出資。[159]賴瑞·費森登英语Larry Fessenden的小預算怪獸電影,如《No Telling》(1991)和《Habit英语Habit (1997 film)》(1997),分別重構經典類型主題——科學怪人吸血鬼——以探索與當代相關的議題。[160]大衛·柯能堡的《慾望號快車英语Crash (1996 film)》(1996)預算為1000萬美元,雖然不算A級,但也算不上B級。這部電影的意像是另一回事:“大衛·柯能堡的《慾望號快車英语Crash (1996 film)》在其令人震驚的表面上暗示了剝削片最令人不安的病態”評論家珍妮特·馬斯林英语Janet Maslin寫道。[161]如同《紐約之王英语King of New York》由一個製作公司財團資助,它由佳線電影公司英语Fine Line Features在美國發行。此結果反映了電影對定義的混亂:佳線影業英语Fine Line Features新線影業的子公司,最近併入華納媒體——具體來說,它是舊剝削片發行商的藝術部門。[162]昆汀·塔倫提諾以850萬美元預算執導的《黑色追緝令》(1994),藉由非線性敘事英语Nonlinear narrative成為極具影響力的大片,正如詹姆斯·莫特拉姆(James Mottram)所描述:“憑藉其實驗電影的敘事結構、B級片主題和好萊塢演員陣容,這部電影是三種不同電影傳統相交的軸心。”[163]

21世紀以降的轉型[编辑]

到千禧年之際,製作一部美國電影已平均需耗時三年並花費超過5000萬美元成本。[153]2005年,美國票房前十的電影中,包含三部改編自兒童奇幻小說、一部延續及一部開啟系列電影(分別是《哈利波特:火盃的考驗》和《納尼亞傳奇:獅子·女巫·魔衣櫥》)、兒童動畫片(《馬達加斯加》)、漫改電影(《蝙蝠俠:開戰時刻》)、科幻系列電影續集(《星際大戰三部曲:西斯大帝的復仇》)、科幻改編電影(《世界大戰》),以及翻拍電影《金剛》。[164]對科曼來說,這是漫長的一年:他只製作了一部電影,還沒有在美國上映,而過去十年他參與的大多數電影亦是如此。[165]隨著高成本製作的好萊塢電影進一步取代傳統低預算類型片,B級片品牌的生存能力受到嚴重質疑。《紐約時報》評論家A·O·史考特英语A. O. Scott警告說,B級片的“俗氣、野蠻、罪惡的樂趣”即將“滅絕”。[166]

另一方面,最近的行業趨勢表明,傳統的“A-B分裂”在主要工作室的製作中重新出現,儘管有更少的“程式設計師”彌合差距。根據行業分析師阿方索·馬龍2006年的一份報告,“目前好萊塢電影的平均預算約為6000萬美元,如果將國內上映的行銷成本(僅限美國)考慮在內,則上升到1億美元。然而,我們現在正在目睹電影預算兩極分化成兩個層次:大型製作(1.2到1.5億美元)和小眾電影(500到2000萬美元)。……預計製作成本3000到7000萬美元的電影發行量將減少。”[167]福斯於2006年成立了一個新的子公司——福斯原子能(Fox Atomic),專注於青少年面向的類型片。經濟模式為刻意的低成本,至少按照主要工作室的標準。根據《綜藝》的一份報告,“福斯原子能的許多電影預算都保持在不高於1000萬美元。它還鼓勵電影製作人以數位方式拍攝——這是一種更便宜的流程,能產生更堅韌、更適合青少年的結果。並忘記明星。福斯原子能公布的九部電影中,沒有一部是鼎鼎大名的”。[168]新奇的B級片部門於2009年關閉。[169]

正如《綜藝》的報導,近來的技術進步大大促進真正低預算電影的製作。雖然拍攝電影一直有經濟實惠的方式,包括超8毫米16毫米英语16 mm film底片,以及錄製到模擬录像带上的摄像机,但都無法與35毫米膠片的畫面品質相媲美。如今數位相機和後製技術的發展,使電影製作者即便低預算也能作出亮眼的、而非必然“蒙上一層灰”的畫面品質與剪輯效果的電影。正如馬龍觀察到的,“數位拍攝所需的設備預算(攝影機、技術)大約為膠片的1/10,大大降低獨立電影的製作預算。同時,(自2000年代初)數位電影的製作已顯著改善。”[167]獨立電影製作人,不論拍攝類型電影還是藝術追求,發現儘管數位端對端的發行方法提供了新的機會,依然很難進入發行管道。以類似的方式,YouTube等網站為展示低預算電影開闢了全新途徑。[170]

同樣地,從2000年起,计算机生成圖像技術的加速和應用以前所未有的速度持續著。[171]這有助於做出以傳統手法成本過高的效果,特別是某些電影類型,例如使用越來越多CGI的災難片怪獸電影。因此,這一趨勢刺激了面向大眾的B級片的增長。在這種情況下,瘋人院影業等電影公司或Syfy等頻道齊心協力開發B級片,有些公司甚至將此類電影作為其商業模式的關鍵部分。[172]然而,許多此類電影的製作通常是為了利用更成熟的功能的成功。 此外,這一新方向同樣獲得羅傑·科曼吉姆·懷諾斯基等資深B級片製片人的參與。

衍生术语[编辑]

C級片及更常見的Z級片指涉B級片裡逐漸降低的等級。與特定歷史現象相關的“汽車電影”和“午夜電影英语Midnight movie”這兩個術語現在常被視為B級片的同義詞。

C級片[编辑]

C級片C movie)指品質比B級片更差的電影類型;在某些電影分類法中,C級片指僅次於B級片的低等電影類型[173]。1980年代,隨有線電視興起,C級片漸漸被視為低品質類型電影的代名詞,而這些電影大多進入有線電視市場。此後,C級片中的“C”有了雙重含義:一方面指該類影片品質低於B級片,另一方面指有線電視英語“Cable Television”的首字母。電視劇《神秘科學劇院3000英语Mystery Science Theater 3000》(1988-99)C級片的概念家喻戶曉,該劇第一年就在全國有線頻道播出(先是Comedy Central頻道,然後是Syfy頻道)。該劇更新了電視女主持人邁拉·魯米英语Maila Nurmi30多年前提出的概念,展示廉價、低等級的電影,主要是1950年代和1960年代的科幻題材及點出電影缺陷的配音評論。導演艾德·伍德在這個意義上被稱為“C級片大師”,儘管Z級片可能更適用於他的作品。[174]1990年代和2000年代,諸如Sci Fi(及其Sci Fi Pictures製片公司)和 HBO的類型節目頻道等利基有線和衛星頻道的迅速擴張,意味著當代C級片的市場,其中許多是直接在有線電視發行的電影——低預算類型電影從未在戲院上映。[175]

Z级片[编辑]

艾德·伍德的超低預算電影《外太空九號計劃》(1959)經常被稱為“史上最糟電影”

Z級片Z moviegrade-Z movie)被用來描述品質遠低於大多數B級片甚至C級片的低預算電影。大多數被稱為Z級片的電影都是由電影界的邊緣運營商以極低預算製作的。1930年代貧困行英语Poverty Row製作的微預算電影被認為可能是Z級片的前衛(avant la lettre)。[176]導演艾德·伍德的電影,例如《忽男忽女》(1953)和《外太空九號計劃》(1959)——後者經常被認為是史上最糟電影之一英语List of films considered the worst[177]——是經典Z級片的例子。後來的Z級片往往以暴力、血腥或色情內容為主打特色,幾乎沒有藝術追求,使得其中多數電影注定只能收費頻道上發行。[178]

精神病電影[编辑]

精神病電影Psychotronic movie)是影評人邁克爾·J·韋爾登創造的術語——他被同行影評人稱為“邊緣電影歷史學家”——代表那些常被評論機構鄙視或完全忽略的低成本類型片。[179]該詞源於1980年的芝加哥邪典電影《The Psychotronic Man英语The Psychotronic Man》,該片主角為理髮師,他開發了以精神能量殺人的能力。根據韋爾登的說法,“我一開始對這個詞的想法是它是由兩個部分組成的詞。‘Psycho’代表恐怖電影,而‘tronic’代表科幻電影。我很快地將這個詞的含義延伸為包括任何形式的剝削電影或B級片。”[180]該詞在1980年代開始流行,隨著韋爾登的著作相繼出版,如《精神病電影百科全書》(The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film)、《精神病影片指南》(The Psychotronic Video Guide)和《精神病影片英语Psychotronic Video》(Psychotronic Video)雜誌,該詞陸續被粉絲和其他評論家引用。若遇到能作為坎普風欣賞的B級片,通常會以此術語強調對這些電影的關注與喜愛。[181]

B级剧[编辑]

B級劇B-television)是德國媒體學者海德瑪麗·舒馬赫德语Heidemarie Schumacher在她的文章《從真、善、美到真正美的商品》(From the True, the Good, the Beautiful to the Truly Beautiful Goods)中使用的術語——德國“B-Television”節目的觀眾識別策略,用B級片來比喻德國商業電視的發展,採用“廣告美學”、“每個參與者都散發著空虛的積極性,包含剪輯、柔焦和朗朗上口的音樂”,以及“通過置入性行銷宣傳商品”。[182]舒馬赫指出,在1984年放鬆管制後,德國公共電視正要從巔峰滑落並逐漸被邊緣化,而新成立且在沒有社會合法性負擔的情況下運營的商業電視台只關注盈利能力。為了建立和維持觀眾的忠誠度,這些電視台播放真人秀、聳動新聞、每日肥皂劇資訊娛樂節目、脫口秀遊戲節目軟調色情片。舒馬赫還在文中提及美國文化評論家尼爾·波茲曼的著作《娛樂至死》,作者將電視節目比喻為廣告衍生品,並會形成“一種應被假訊息的訊息——錯置、無關、破碎或膚淺的訊息讓人以為自己懂了,實際上卻更加不懂”。

與波茲曼一樣,舒馬赫指出,當代電視廣告通常是為了加強品牌忠誠度而非宣傳產品。電視廣播公司使用這種逆向行銷方法來宣傳電視臺自己。舒馬赫列舉三大具體原則:博觀眾眼球、使觀眾共情及抓住觀眾胃口來作為爭取市佔率的基石。RTL電視台以正面的方式描述建立觀眾忠誠度:“RTL為電視發現一個新東西:觀眾”。[182]

舒馬赫認為,觀眾忠誠度主要透過對熟悉的情感經歷及觀眾日常的問題來建立,這意味著私人電視臺主要播放私人的內容。這種方法的進一步發展促成真人秀問世,這類節目通過直接干預參與者實際生活來創造現實。用理查德·森尼特英语Richard Sennett的話來說,這種電視節目的個性化和戲劇化促成了“公眾人物的墮落”。

通過情感感受建立觀眾忠誠度的策略反映在可恥的“特別新聞”中,即“偏愛性和犯罪主題,採用高度情緒化的評論風格、剪輯美學及從犯罪片學來的配樂”。[182]例如,舒馬赫提到了《極度私密英语Real Personal (TV series)》,一個關於人類性行為的脫口秀,在1990年代由NBC一週播五次。“標題本身包含了‘B級劇’的訊息:真實的人和他們‘真實’的問題是這裡的焦點”[182]舒馬赫認為。

提到大衛·萊特曼傑·雷諾非常成功的娛樂節目,舒馬赫宣稱,每天在電視上看到脫口秀主持人幾乎成為家庭的一部分。“不僅散播虛無,還散播安全感”,主持人“提供我們日常生活一塊固定的部分”以及每日肥皂劇、每日資訊娛樂節目或每日遊戲節目。

“吸引觀眾情緒和消費者的積極參與強化了‘B級劇’開拓市場的能力”舒馬赫總結道。

來自《波特蘭水星報英语Portland Mercury》的埃瑞克·亨利克森在評論電視劇《星際奇兵:亞特蘭提斯英语Stargate Atlantis》時用“B級劇”這個詞來描述那種不是“真的很棒”而是“剛好起作用的節目——儘管以有些尷尬且愚蠢的方式——成功娛樂觀眾,一週又一週地沿用相同角色,製作的模板情節擁有足夠原創性與獨特性來使它們變有趣並能分散注意力。”[183]

参考文獻[编辑]

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  15. ^ Taves (1995), p. 317. Taves (like this article) adopts the usage of "programmer" argued for by author Don Miller in his 1973 study B Movies (New York: Ballantine). As Taves notes, "the term programmer was used in a variety of different ways by reviewers" of the 1930s (p. 431, n. 8). Some present-day critics employ the Miller–Taves usage; others refer to any B movie from the Golden Age as a "programmer" or "program picture".
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  17. ^ Finler (2003), pp. 26, 111, 116.
  18. ^ Tuska (1999), pp. 183–84.
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  20. ^ Adapted from Finler (2003), p. 26.
  21. ^ See Taves (1995), p. 323; McCarthy and Flynn (1975), p. 20. In its peak year, 1937, Grand National did produce around twenty pictures of its own.
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  40. ^ Robert Smith ("Mann in the Dark," Bright Lights 2, no. 1 [fall 1976]), quoted in Ottoson (1981), p. 145.
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  129. ^ Hoberman and Rosenbaum (1983), p. 13.
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  133. ^ For the film's cost and worldwide gross: Harper (2004), pp. 12–13. For its influence and debt to Black Christmas: Rockoff (2002), pp. 42–44, 50–55; Paul (1994), p. 320.
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  143. ^ Lubasch (1979).
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  155. ^ Heffernan (2004), p. 225.
  156. ^ Finler (2003), p. 379.
  157. ^ Finler (2003), pp. 287, 290.
  158. ^ O'Connor (1995).
  159. ^ Johnstone (1999), p. 16.
  160. ^ King (2005), pp. 167, 170–75.
  161. ^ Maslin (1997).
  162. ^ Mottram (2006), pp. 197–98; Wyatt (1998), p. 78. For details of the film's distribution, see Lewis (2002), pp. 286–88.
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  166. ^ Scott (2005).
  167. ^ 167.0 167.1 Marone, Alfonso. One More Ride on the Hollywood Roller-coaster (PDF). Spectrum Strategy Consultants. 2006 [December 29, 2006]. (原始内容 (PDF)存档于February 3, 2007). 
  168. ^ Zeitchik and Laporte (2006).
  169. ^ Fleming, Michael. Fox Folding Atomic Label. Variety. April 19, 2009 [April 27, 2010]. (原始内容存档于2010-07-31). 
  170. ^ Rabiger (2008), pp. 7, 10; Davies and Wistreich (2007), p. 5.
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  172. ^ Suddath, Claire. Inventing 'Sharknado': Inside Syfy's Booming B-Movie Factory. Bloomberg. 12 July 2013 [January 7, 2021]. 
  173. ^ Megumi Komiya 2012
  174. ^ Oppermann (1996).
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  176. ^ See, e.g., Taves (1995), p. 323.
  177. ^ Coleman Francis: The Real Worst Director in Film History – Paste. [2022-04-01]. (原始内容存档于2022-04-24). 
  178. ^ See, e.g., Quarles (2001), pp. 79–84.
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  180. ^ Ignizio, Bob. The Psychotronic Man (interview with Michael Weldon). Utter Trash. April 20, 2006 [October 20, 2006]. (原始内容存档于September 11, 2006). 
  181. ^ See, e.g., Schneider and Williams (2005), pp. 2, 5; Syder and Tierney (2005), pp. 34–35, 50–53.
  182. ^ 182.0 182.1 182.2 182.3 Schumacher, Heidemarie. From the True, the Good, the Beautiful to the Truly Beautiful Goods—audience identification strategies on German "B-Television" programs (PDF). Schüren Verlag, Marburg. 1995 [2022-04-01]. (原始内容 (PDF)存档于2021-08-29). 
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