The good cheapo movies.

I just watched a little movie called “Dead End.

A minescule budget but IMHO a good movie. Sure you could see the end from about the third scene but it was fun getting there.

Great acting, witty…shows you can do a lot without spending a lot.

Any more good cheapies?

I really enjoyed a low-budget science fiction movie called Cube. It’s imaginative and clever, and it beats the heck out of a lot of Hollywood blockbuster sci-fi snoozers.

If ‘Super Troopers’ was a cheapie then I nominate that. I’ve seen it three times now and I’ve been hooked all three times. I love the camaraderie (yes I had to spell-check that, but I was only one vowel out) between the troopers. It seems on the surface like a cheapie made-for-tv movie but it has charm.

Return of the Secaucus Seven – first class drama with a nothing cast (though Gordon Clapp and David Straitharm went on to success later).
Hollywood Shuffle – made for $100,000, most on director Robert Townsend’s credit cards.
El Mariachi – Cost $7000 to make. A really fine film overall. Robert Rodriguez parleyed it into a successful career.

Bad Taste Peter Jackson’s first flick. WAY over the top SF/horror. Total cost =about US$5,000 over 4 years.

El Mariachi This is much better than the bigger budget remake, Desperado, although I admit I’ll watch Salma Hayek in damn near anything.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space Great fun.

Bubba Ho-Tep Come on, who doesn’t want to see Bruce Campbell as a drug-addled Elvis fighting a soul-sucking zombie with the help of Jack Kennedy (as played by Ossie Davis)?

Toxic Avenger GO Team Troma!

I like low budget movies, so I could come up with a pretty extensive list, but then there would be less for others to post. But there’s five off the top of my head.

If you liked Dead End, including Lin Shaye, you may also enjoy the upcoming 2001 Maniacs, which also stars Shaye, this time as a fading Southern belle. And a cannibal. And a killer. In a Civil War village whose inhabitants prey on Yankee outsiders. It’s so ridiculously offensive and politically incorrect, it must be seen by all. Also, there’s a great remix of “The South Will Rise Again.”

Aside from those already mentioned, there’s

Night of the Living Dead
Dark Star
She’s Gotta Have It

Bubba Ho-Tep doesn’t belong in this list. It cost $1,000,000 to produce. Neither does Super Troopers. It cost $3,000,000 to produce. Cube is marginal, since it cost $365,000 to make.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space doesn’t belong on this list either, since it cost $2,000,000.

Cannibal! The Musical couldn’t have cost that much.

Ok, I’ll withdraw Killer Klowns and Bubba Ho-Tep, if y’all wanna keep the budget at under a million bucks.

Can I replace them in my list with

The American Astronaut



I really like Peter Hedges’s Pieces of April, made for $200,000 and starring the now infamous Katie Holmes. But she’s pretty good in it. And Patricia Clarkson, as Katie’s mother, is brilliant!

It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving movie. We liked it so much, we bought the DVD and it’s already a Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

If you haven’t seen Last Night yet, you really should. It’s a little gem from Canada showing the things people do on the night the world is going to end.

I thought Open Water was pretty good, and it was very low budget. That’s the one about the scuba divers who were left behind by their boat. Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

My tastes are fairly broad, but I’ve always liked the old TV movie Gargoyles.

And in the realm of sex comedies, The Key To Sex is a Skinamax film, which is to say very raunchy, but which also maintains a genial bedroom farce air to it, as a young assistant gets the key to his boss’ bachelor pad while the guy is on vacation, and he and all of his buddies start angling to bring their dates to it for some fun. It’s not a great movie by any means, but for Skinamax it’s … not bad. Kinda lighthearted. (OK, it’s faint praise, but better than the outright condemnation a lot of these films deserve.)


I never knew that. I knew it was low budget, but not that low. The production values were pretty decent, ISTM, for the money.

It’s already been mentioned, but I’d have to say Clerks is one of the brightest examples of the OP.

Also, Blair Witch Project, which people either love or hate, seems to fit the description.

While it’s probably not in the spirit of what the OP was after, you can’t discount documentaries like Michael Moore’s stuff, especially Roger and Me and others like Supersize Me. The Corporation was quite good too, but I don’t know what the cost was so it may or may qualifty as “cheapo”.

the B&W 1962 “Carnival of Souls”

B&W 1960s “Mask of the Demon” aka “Black Sunday”

any Hammer studios Dracula or Frankenstein film

I don’t imagine “The Wicker Man” cost a lot.

the original “Left Behind” series- “A Thief In the Night” and its three
sequels “A Distant Thunder” (the best of the bunch), “Image of the Beast”,
and “Prodigal Planet”.

David Lynch’s Eraserhead

a remake of H.G. Lewis’s “Blood Feast” (which I’ve never seen)- BLOOD DINER.


the BASKET CASE series

the Corman-Price-Poe pictures

Try this site and go to the reviews section. They even have some downloadable clips.

Maniac Cop and the even better Maniac Cop 2
Super Fuzz (Poliziotto superpiù) c’mon, who doesn’t like at least one Terrence Hill flick?

The Brother from Another Planet. John Sayles and his wife made this in 1984 for a tiny budget; I can’t remember the figure right now, but it was something like $20,000, or maybe $2,000. The special effects are extremely simple, but used so well that you’re never distracted by the cheap production. When I took a film course in undergrad, we watched it as an example of how to make a great film for no money. THe key, of course, is good writing, and this one’s got it in spades.