Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

The Movies That Made The Industry Part II: 1960’s – 1990’s

by  |  April 4th, 2011  |  Blog

Welcome back folks.  Being a history nut, as well as a huge movie fan, I have really been looking forward to getting back to this one, and I hope you guys have enjoyed the ride so far.

Now on with the show…

The swingin 60’s saw the creation of many truly great movies such as Duel Of The Titans (1961) with Steve Reeves (Hercules) and Gordon Scott (Tarzan) or Panic In Year Zero! (1962) with Ray Miland (The Sea Serpent) and Frankie Avalon (Casino). But for the movie that  I would like to talk about, a movie that is a legendary in its own right, but helped pave the way for alot of other great movies is: Psycho (1960)

Now in my opinion Psycho may actually be the best of Hitchcock’s work. As well as I believe the first movie to feature a costumed serial killer!

Norman Bates (Perkins) dressed as Mother.

Written by: Joseph Stefano and Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock and starring: Anthony Perkins (Edge Of Sanity), Vera Miles (The Searchers), John Gavin (Spartacus), and Janet Leigh (Halloween: H20)

The movie which is based on a book by Robert Bloch, tells the story of Norman Bates.  Norman Bates seems for the most part to be your average Innkeeper. Happy, pleasant, and kind to all of his customers, except his female ones of course! You see during one dark and stormy night, Marion Crane (A woman who had stolen a large sum of cash so that she could run away with her boy friend), shows up at the Motel.

Now at first everything seems to be normal… That is until Norman offers to make her some food, and has to fight with his mother over it. When he comes back down to give Marion the food, they both start up a very weird conversation, and at one point Norman freaks out when Marion mentions maybe putting his mother some place.

Later on that evening while Marion is taking a shower she is killed by a woman in what would become one of the most famous murders in a shower ever to occur, due to the violent nature of the scene, yet with out ever portraying the knife penetrating Marion’s body!

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) nearing the end of the most famous shower scene of all time.

After this, Lila (Marion’s sister) and Sam Loomis (Marion’s boyfriend) start up an investigation that will ultimately open the world up to the deep dark secret of the Bates Motel, and to the madness that is Norman Bates!

There are a couple of more reason that I should mention as to why this movie was a very influential film in the 1960s.

1. First off this movie catapulted Anthony Perkins in to superstardom in the Horror Movie genre.

2. This was also Alfred Hitchcock’s last black and white film and probably one of the last black and white films in general. The reason for this is that over the next decade, Television would almost completely transfer to color.

3. Also this movie is I believe at least partly the inspiration or entirely the inspirations for such movies as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) which is about a serial killing family. Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986) which is different mostly in one area.  Instead of a boy who after he kills his mother dresses up like her and kills people at their Motel. This one actually is about the Mother who after she kills her daughter ends up going on a killing spree.  And lastly I believe that Norman Bates in some ways was the inspiration for Dr. Hannibal Lecter from the movies, Manhunter (1986) with the always cool, Tom Noonan (Heat) and William Petersen (CSI: Las Vegas), the Academy award winning film, Silence Of the Lambs (1991) with Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver) and Anthony Hopkins (The Elephant Man), Hannibal (2001) with Julianne Moore (The Big Lebowski), the remake to the 1986 movie Manhunter called Red Dragon (2002) with Edward Norton (Rounders) and Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardner) and the latest one Hannibal Rising (2007)

For more information on Alfred Hitchcock, click here. Otherwise check out the trailer for Psycho (1960)


The 1970s saw the advent of a style of films that all though general speaking were made for pretty cheap were actually quite brilliant, and one that you could say is a sub-genre of just about all of the genres.  These are Exploitation Films.  These types of films were and still are popular among grind house fans, B Movie junkies, and those like us here at Awesome B Movies that celebrate the forgotten gems of movies!

With that said, I really had a hard time thinking of  the movie that I really think embodies a lot of the elements that analogized the 1970s, so I decided on two movies for this one for two reasons, 1. I think these movies both compliment each other really nicely as they are both from director Walter Hill, and 2. Because I also think they both give a pretty fair contrast to the Disco Dancing Afro having symbolism that a lot of movies from back then seem to have.

These movies are Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978) and The Warriors (1979).  To really get a full understanding of these movies, I highly recommend checking out ABM’s Matthew Dowling’s recommendation for The Warriors and my recommendation for The Driver

The 1980s saw a bit of a shift from the grind house films of the 1970s and the more (I guess the best way I can say it is clean cut image of the horror movies of the 1960s) to a time period in movies that saw the creation of a lot of the current franchises (at least in horror) to a time when a lot of the treasured Comedians such as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin and people like that were really starting to come in to their own…

With that said the movie that for me summed up the 1980s real nicely, and which I do believe set the standards for good parents in movies for years to come, and which was a part of a series, was National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), with Chevy Chase (Fletch), Beverly D’Angelo (American History X), Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) and Dana Barron (Pucked) and Imogene Coca (Papa Was A Preacher)

National Lampoon’s Vacation tells the story of the Griswold family.  A seemingly very average, very blue collar family, that has the father being the man of the house and holding down a job, and the wife being the home maker of the family and taking care of the house and the kids and what not.

At some point, both Clark (The Father: Played by Chevy Chase) and the Mother ‘Ellen’ (Played by Beverly D’Angelo) plan a trip where the whole family will drive out to Wally World (A theme park similar to Disney Land).

When they actually get started on the trip though, they get more and more problems on their way out to the Theme Park! Stuff like in the beginning of the movie Clark and Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) go to pick up their new sleek sporty car that will take the family out to Wally World, only to find out that the car sales man (Eugene Levy) decides to screw them out of that car, and actually ends up giving them a real lemon of a station wagon! Another example is that after driving for a day, Clark ends up falling asleep at the wheel, which nearly gets them in to several car accidents! And much, much more!

The Griswolds on one of their many misadventures with John Candy along the way for this one!

With that said, if your looking for a fun bit of nostalgia, then I highly recommend checking out this trailer for National Lampoon’s Vacation:

Now we come to the last portion of this series: The 1990s.

The 1990s in my opinion was a real golden age of movies, I mean this was the decade that I spent a lot of time at the theater (Of course this was when tickets at a theater in Hollywood were still in the 5 – 6 dollar range.) But I personally have a lot of fun memories of going either by myself or with friends to the local theater on a Saturday afternoon to watch what ever was on the big screen!

For this one I thought long and hard, and I know I am hitting up horror movies again, but in this case I gotta say that it was the Wes Craven directed Scream franchise.

Now you might be wondering why I am mentioning this movie.  Well to understand it, let me preface what I am about to say with this.  The 1980s saw a real solid run of horror movies, with a lot of the great classic horror movie franchises such as Halloween, Friday The 13th, along with many others have their beginning then, and had a real solid run during that time.

With that said, the 1990s saw a major drop in the horror movie genre, and the movies that were coming out, a lot of them were not bad, but not up to par with their predecessors from the 1980s.  But with the success of such series as the I Know What You Did Last Summer series, and notably the Scream franchise… The 2000s have seen the relaunching of a lot of the old horror movie franchises, as well as the creation of a lot of other great horror movie!

With that said, and for more information about the Scream franchise here is the movie that helped re-energize a flagging horror movie industry.

Here is a trailer for the upcoming movie as well!

With that said folks, Since the new decade isn’t really old enough yet to really say that much in the beginning of the new millennium really influenced anything else, I decided to skip it for now…

There are many more movies out there that have have been influential on other films, but I do believe that these movies in both part 1 and this one helped pave the way for future generations of movies to come out, and thus should never be forgotten for their contributions to their genres.

And that does it for this series, I hope you enjoyed this series on movies that have helped mold what movies are today as much as I have!

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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