Asylum Mockbusters

Anyone else been watching Asylum mockbusters recently? Been watching a couple these past days…for some reason.

Ones I’ve seen so far:

-Hercules Reborn
-Hansel And Gretel (2013)
-Adventures Of Aladdin
-Grimm’s Snow White
-Sleeping Beauty (2014)

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Our local indie theater chain has actually been showing a few in the past months.

I ask myself, “Are they really any different from Roger Corman, just making a product that people will by tickets to see, with the barest minimum of artistic intent possible?”

I invariably answer “Yes” though I wouldn’t want to take it to court.


I think they ARE different. The difference is, Asylum films, the campy b movie IS the aesthetic they are going for. The “Sci Fi Original” look and feel. They set out to do that and succeed. If they had 1M extra budget, the film would come out exactly the same.

For Roger Corman, the goal was to make the best possible movie on a crappy budget. I don’t think they are anything alike really. Corman wouldn’t intentionally put in bad dialog or cast bad actors simply because it fits with the “camp” the audience is expecting.


Indeed, the audience would not be expecting “camp”.

“Camp” would probably piss them off, actually.


Except for Sharknado, The Asylum isn’t going for any aesthetic whatsoever. They spend $200000 on a movie that has guaranteed distribution and they get it out as fast as they can, regardless of quality. They get what they get in ten days shooting, maximum, then throw the rest of the budget at the CGI. The crew gets sub standard pay and the production assistants get nothing (with rare exceptions). They probably are getting 1M to make their movies. They just aren’t spending that much on them.

Another example of getting more to make a movie than you spend on it is Larry Levinson. He wheels and deals on those Hallmark movies and, as the rumor goes, gets 10M to make a movie and then only spends 1M on it. That’s Hollywood for ya.

Example 2 is the movie Star Quest: The Odyssey. The producers were given $10000 to make a Star Trek knockoff back when the new Star Trek movies were starting to come out. They took $5000 off the top for themselves and the rest was on the movie (though nobody else got paid).

You can tell when something is camp on purpose. With the Asylum, they aren’t spending that much effort worrying about how it looks in the end. As long as the guys giving them the money see the right title or the right monster, there’s no need to even “fix it in post”.

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I thought they made them to fill up Redbox kiosks targeting unsuspecting customers who thought they were getting the real thing. Grandpa is watching the kids for an afternoon so he goes and rents a copy of Transmorphers when he hits the dollar store. Kids love Transmorphers!

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I don’t think Asylum have ever made a loss on any of their releases. And when you watch them, you can see why.
I own Sharknado as part of a RiffTrax bundle and the conceit just about holds up in that one, but give me the Corman approach every time. Even his grimier stuff.
The Roger Corman rules:

  1. No, that’s not the catering budget. That’s the budget.
  2. Whatever you make, it could be 20 minutes shorter and all the better for it.
  3. You can afford a helicopter scene or a boobs scene. Not both, unless I really schmooze the backers for you.

Rumor has it that for the second season of “Roger Corman Presents” on Showtime, he kept most of the money. (There was certainly a drop in quality in Season 2.)


I’m asking myself the same question…

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