Films whose low budgets contribute to their greatness.

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I finished Vinterberg's The Celebration this evening and, while I'm still letting it sink in, it got me thinking. What are some films whose low budgets don't act as detriments, but actually contribute to their greatness?

And to clarify, I'm not looking for films like The Usual Suspects which look like they were made on a much larger budget than they actually were. I'm referring to films whose low budgets are clearly noticeable (grainy camera quality, over/undersaturated lighting, poor sound quality, unprofessional actors, etc.), yet their low budget actually improves the film. The original The Evil Dead is another example of what I'm looking for.



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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (they wanted horses; they got stuck with coconuts)



Mad Max (raw, stripped down, gritty, stunts happening in camera)


Blair Witch (I hate the film, personally, but the found footage thing made 1st run audiences think they were watching a

documentary)



The Terminator (Cameron being a magician of the Corman school on a shoe-string)



The Duelists (Scott can get carried away with a big budget - the small budgets keeps the film intimate, personal, on the inside with our characters -- we don't get lost in epic battlefield moments with 10,000 extras).



Shallow Grave. They spent so much money on building the set for their flat in Scotland that the cast had to do their own fight stunts as stunt men were out of the budget.
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Man, I think so many. I think really good directors getting big budgets is how most of them go wrong. When they gotta stick to the script and be creative in how they do things, I think that's when they shine.
That said, Rocky has to be one of the big ones, right? $1M budget and a movie that freakin' good.
Halloween would be way up there for me too, at a purported $300k. They had to gather up the dried leaves every day so they could re-use them the next.



Shane Carruth may be a scumbag but Primer really makes a virtue of its low-tech budget.



Shane Carruth may be a scumbag but Primer really makes a virtue of its low-tech budget.
Him being such a creep was very upsetting for me, as Upstream Color is one of my favorite films. But knowing it stars him and the woman he abused makes me feel like I may never get to really enjoy it again.

As for the thread topic, I'll throw Wanda out there.

I also think that God Told Me To and a lot of Hennenlotter's work fits the bill. There's a way of wrangling the rough edges to the advantage of the film.



As for the thread topic, I'll throw Wanda out there.
Not clear if Barbara Bodenís movie was low budget. (How do we even know this anyway?) Is it because it looks low-budget? Boden, the eponymous star & director of the movie, was married to Elia Kazan who surely would have been amenable to helping her with financing if she needed any.

(Note: Wiki calls it a ďmeager budget movie.Ē)



Not clear if Barbara Bodenís movie was low budget. (How do we even know this anyway?) Is it because it looks low-budget? Boden, the eponymous star & director of the movie, was married to Elia Kazan who surely would have been amenable to helping her with financing if she needed any.

(Note: Wiki calls it a ďmeager budget movie.Ē)
The film was made for ~$100,000, and according to Wikipedia, was made with 4 crew members, and only two of the actors used were professionals (including Loden).

I mean, I suppose that "low-budget" is a relative term. But Wanda includes several elements that I associate with low budget (extensive on-location shooting, non-professional actors, small crew, crew members doing multiple roles, etc). I think that many of these elements add to the film.



The film was made for ~$100,000, and according to Wikipedia, was made with 4 crew members, and only two of the actors used were professionals (including Loden).

I mean, I suppose that "low-budget" is a relative term. But Wanda includes several elements that I associate with low budget (extensive on-location shooting, non-professional actors, small crew, crew members doing multiple roles, etc). I think that many of these elements add to the film.
Itís a terrific movie. Seen it twice.



Count me as a fan of Wanda...and it seemed like a low budget cost/indie type film. It was the only feature lenght film Barbara Loden directed, though she did do two short films after it.



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Kung Fury - 700,000

Turbo Kid - 60,000

Both films were great and have that low budget charm.

Still looking forward to Kung Fury 2



I think a lot of great horror films apply (SpellingError already cited The Evil Dead for its low budget ingenuity), but I think first wave slashers especially derive a lot of their character from their marginal production values. There's a sense of texture I associate with these movies that is harder to achieve on a bigger budget, and they sometimes take on an almost documentary quality (you feel like you're seeing a group of characters truly isolated in the woods for real). The original Friday the 13th feels like an especially potent example.


And because somebody made a thread about erotic cinema, I think of the roughies of Phil Prince (The Story of Prunella, The Taming of Rebecca). These are almost unrelentingly cruel and unpleasant, by virtue of being set in the same ****ty rooms and the recycled (or stolen, in the case of John Carpenter's Halloween theme) music, they have enough of an aesthetic to shape the proceedings interestingly. But yeah, cannot stress the "unpleasant" enough. Watch at your own risk.



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Yeah, I like the grainy quality of a lot of horror films from the 70's and 80's. It gives them a documentary texture which is hard to achieve with a higher budget. Funnily enough, in fact, I try to avoid watching high definition versions of grainy horror films. I want to feel their low budget.

Also, I know this thread is about movies, but if anyone here enjoys horror games, I recommend Puppet Combo's stuff. Their games are stylized like PS1 games and have the grainy feel that a lot of low budget horror films do. Here's a longplay of one of their most well known titles:




Welcome to the human race...
Clerks being shot on a budget of about $27,000 using black-and-white film adds a proper visual style that simulates the look of convenience store cameras in a way that complements its mundane setting and premise.

Who Killed Captain Alex is an action movie that was allegedly made in Uganda on a budget of USD$200 but the self-taught DIY style of doing special effects to make it into a blockbuster lend it a genuine charm.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre being shot on 16mm during a heatwave that made unpleasant conditions even worse really adds to the insanity of the film proper.
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I think a lot of great horror films apply
I agree, though I might be more partial to the 60s and such lo-fi gems as Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Spider Baby, Dementia 13, as well as international fare like At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, The Blood Drinkers, El Baron del Terror and of course kooky stuff like World's Greatest Sinner and Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies. In the case of all of the above, I think that the budget limitations, and the ingenuity required from that, are essential to what makes each of them enjoyable.



I agree, though I might be more partial to the 60s and such lo-fi gems as Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Spider Baby, Dementia 13...
I agree, I think all of those are great and honestly the low-budget suits the material in my opinion. You throw more money at those movies you don't get as good o'movies, IMO.