2.6.2008

Mockbusters vs. Blockbusters

If you’ve ever browsed the aisles at your local video store and stumbled upon a film you’ve never heard of that’s markedly similar in plot to a current theatrical blockbuster, chances are it was produced by a small film production company called The Asylum. The 10 year-old company started out making low budget horror films, but eventually dovetailed into making “mockbusters” after a perfectly timed straight-to-video “War of the Worlds” release prompted the Blockbuster video chain to purchase nearly 8 times as many copies of that release as it did of their standard low budget horror flicks. And thus, a new business was born.

“We’re a studio making product,” David Michael Latt, one of The Asylum’s co-founders, told Cinematical. “We do copycats as much as the big guys do. They just rape from within their own library (remakes, re-dos, re-issues, re-mastered). All of our shows are original, and some have studio ties. It doesn’t make them misfits, or ugly, or bad, or schlocky, or crap.”

The films, which aren’t parodies in the same way “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs are, but rather well-timed tie-ins hoping to capitalize on peaking public interest in a genre. “I’m not trying to dupe anybody,” he told the New York Times. “I’m just trying to get my films watched. Other people do tie-ins all the time; they’re just better at being subtle about it. Another studio might make a giant robot movie that ties into the ‘Transformers’ release and call it ‘Robot Wars.’ We’ll call ours ‘Transmorphers.’”

Take a look at some of The Asylum’s notable mockbusters below — nestled beside the blockbuster they’re attempting to piggyback off of. And if you think you’ve got what it takes to write one of these suckers, rumor has it they take unsolicited material.

Alien vs. Hunter vs. Alien vs. Predator
This one is so well executed, it’s hard to tell which one is the theatrical flick and which one is the straight-to-DVD job.

Dragon vs Eragon
Change the “E” to a “D,” use a similar font on the poster, and the mockbuster becomes available at Blockbuster the same week the blockbuster is out in theaters.

DaVinci Treasure vs. DaVinci Code
No mysteries here — in one you can see Thomas Hanks, the other has C. Thomas Howell.
Hi, I'm a mockumentary

King of the Lost World vs. King Kong
Whether blockbuster or mockbuster, people go ape for giant gorilla flicks.


Halloween Night
vs. Halloween
Not to be out done, the straight-to-DVD mockbuster also comes in an unrated director’s edition.

Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers vs. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Exorcism in big font + a girl’s name in smaller font = the battle of these two horror flicks.

Transmorphers vs. Transformers
We wonder if The Asylum was able to transmorph the rentals of their straight-to-DVD robot flick into big profits.

When a Killer Calls vs. When a Stranger Calls
Illustrated poster? Check. Female lead talking on a cell phone? Check. Female lead on her cell phone being cut off by the left edge of the poster while something ominous lurks behind her? Checkmate.

Monster vs. Cloverfield
Hand-held cameras document disasters worsened by monsters.

I Am Omega vs. I Am Legend
Tagline for the mockbuster: “The last man alive must battle a planet of the dead.” Tagline for the blockbuster: “The last man on Earth is not alone.” Tagline for both posters: WRITTEN IN A SIMILAR FONT IN ALL CAPS.

Pirates of Treasure Island vs. Pirates of the Caribbean
Three words: Skulls and scrolls.

Snakes on a Train vs. Snakes on a Plane
We applaud the moxie of a mockbuster that can disregarding the already slathered in irony original and make a film equally as ridiculously scripted.

Related: A (Not So) Complete History of Rejected Movie Posters | Emma Watson’s IMAX Boob Job | A (Not So) Complete History of Cinematic Tattoos

.........................................................................................................................................

46 comments:

  1. Some jerk says:

    LEAST. USEFUL. COMMENTS. EVER.

  2. Chronus says:

    It’s about damn time somebody else noticed this.
    I saw I am Omega and just hung my head in shame….

  3. marley says:

    Snakes on a Train vs. Snakes on a Train??? nice one

  4. YuppiePunk World HQ says:

    Oopies — thanks for your copy editing eyes, marley. We fixed this.

  5. mac says:

    i can’t wait to see transmorphers.

  6. deusdiabolus says:

    The primary thing this proves is that people need to pay more attention.

  7. Dave says:

    Are these movies any good?

  8. Steve says:

    I’ve seen The DaVinci Treasure and Monster. Treasure was good, but it’s been a while. I give it a slight cheese factor. Cloverfield was definitely better than Monster, but Monster was watchable.

  9. aznboy says:

    i am omega isn’t a mockbuster, it was the original of i am legend both based off the same book…just fyi.

  10. nfk says:

    I think it’s Omega Man not I am Omega was based off the book. The first one has Charlton Heston and is from the 1970s.

  11. Andrew says:

    LOL. I love low budget horror. I think this is a great alternative to the crap we get from the big studios.

  12. Tye says:

    Dig how the mockbuster Exorcism cover also includes an Amityville-esque house w/ the creepy attic windows…

  13. Monkey Man says:

    The porn folks are better at it:

    Black Cock Down
    Pissing in Action
    The Omega Load
    A Fuckwork Orange
    Sex Trek

  14. Bruce A says:

    I actually added Transmorphers to my Netflix queue just now. It sounds AWFUL. Can’t wait to see it!

  15. kirby says:

    it’s good someone brought this up, i worked at a video store when two of the most confusing, in my opinion, came out trans morphers and AVH: alie vs hunter and i would have to tell people that when they rented them they werent the movie they were renting.

  16. Scott says:

    I am Omega isn’t a “mockbuster”.

    It’s just another adaptation of the novel.

  17. Andrew says:

    >I am Omega isn’t a “mockbuster”.
    >
    >It’s just another adaptation of the novel.

    Funny then how it came out at the same time, and their co-founder just admitted that this is exactly what they do…

  18. NO NAME... says:

    You’re Gay!

  19. Felix says:

    I saw Doomsday: 2012 yesterday. Add christian cheesyness to low-cost CGI and your movie will still be better than Doomsday, a featured movie from their site.

  20. Meat says:

    You forgot Twister and Tornado.

  21. I Am Legend says:

    Omega Man was a movie adaptation from the 70’s, the first was titled The Last Man on Earth was released much earlier and stared Vincent Price. I Am Omega is definitely a mockbuster.

  22. sir jorge says:

    i used to work at a video store, the mockblusters make a TON of money for video store owners

  23. chea says:

    i am legend was terrible, watched it because of the novel. they didnt explain anything, why was just one zombie so smart, why did these things have super powers all of a sudden. also why did they have to animate the zombies. everything was decent except the cartoon zombies.

  24. Jim - Just a Guy says:

    I watched Transmorphers only because I am the sefl proclaimed Movie Whore and will watch anything. I believe this movie gave me gonorrhea of the eye. I used to work at Block buster and noticed this trend over a year ago. I like it. while some of the movies are total crap it gives fans of the B-Movie a chance to see some new material.

  25. You Do says:

    I watched Snakes on a Train and it was amazing…ly bad. It was hilarious though. My favorite line from the movie was, “Your mother’s cunt smells like carpet cleaner!”

  26. peter says:

    snakes on a plane sounds a lot more compelling then snakes on a train because this is porobabaly how snakes on a train ends. STOP THE TRAIN

  27. Dear God Why? says:

    Transmorphers is patently terrible. I mean it. Seriously, I bought it for five dollars and I would kill for that money back. KILL. I would eat a live king cobra in order to remove that movie from my head. As a matter of fact, I have hired a team of ninjas to kill me at an inopportune moment, just because I have s

  28. Deathnutz says:

    Is Komodo vs. Cobra in the same category as these mockbusters… I don’t think it copied anything, but I imagine that it lives up to mockbuster quality.

  29. Steve says:

    Bruce and Jim – Just a Guy,

    I’m glad I’m not the only connoisseur of bad movies, which a lot of times are so bad they’re good. Have any of you seen these?

    Earthstorm (2006) (TV) – This was like Armageddon meets The Day After Tomorrow. I think I could link it to another movie when I saw it, but I forget which one. The CGI in some scenes is awful.

    Absolute Zero (2005) (TV) – Definitely The Day After Tomorrow knock off.

    The Black Hole (2006) (TV) – A black hole, you say? In a nucular laboratory? Aliens from another dimension? Judd Nelson to the rescue!

  30. Jenny says:

    i’m gonna have to see monster. cause i saw cloverfield and i thought it sucked. so monster has to be a million times worse.

  31. lucas says:

    gotta admit… anything is going to be better than snakes on a plane. train, toast. that movie sucked.

  32. Steve says:

    lucas, you for automobiles.

  33. Elliot says:

    i’m pretty sure snakes on a train was an adaptation of a mexican film and actually it was filmed years before ’snakes on a plane’ began filming.

  34. J-Dog says:

    haha, the mockbusters tend to be funny to me. Much like Dragon wars was funny.

  35. sir jorge says:

    I’ve seen this many times, and it never gets old.

  36. cKHAVIKk says:

    c’mon guys… it’s not as if this is a new concept.
    mockbusters, indeed.

  37. only problem is.... says:

    Well, snakes on a train was actually out BEFORE snakes on a plane, so that’s a little unfair, but yeah these are hilarious

  38. Brunez says:

    Hi! I’ve just created a “fan club” of The Asylum movies on Ning!
    you can find it there: http://theasylumfans.ning.com
    if you are interested, join us!!! :)

  39. Scott says:

    ive seen the transmorphers its quite boring and ive notice the car they use after the accident and try to watch carefully when they arrived it change to nice car. and the girl with curly hair has nothing to do in the scene but gud thing she dead killed by the robot…

  40. TomTom says:

    Me and my buddies felt like watching some terrible movies from Netflix, including Transmophers. The movie was ONLY worth it for a 10 second sequence where they combined terrible dramatic acting with their weak, and in this certain scene, cheesy, special effects.

    I would suggest the porn industry for parodies, if you can handle that stuff.

  41. Punxxor says:

    you forgot megashark versus giant octopus

  42. BlackWolfe says:

    Knowing full well it was an Asylum knock-off, my roomies and I rented “Death Racers,” mainly hoping that the cheese factor would make it almost as good as the original Death Race 2000.

    Not even the near-constant presence of the Insane Clown Posse – as themselves in a dystopian future – could make this movie entertaining. There was an almost amusing bit at the end where ICP heroically sacrifice themselves “for all the juggalos,” but otherwise, it shared the signature Asylum style of being too bland to be so-bad-it’s-good.

  43. Bunnycorn says:

    I have had the misfortune of watching I Am Omega, where the secret ingredient (get it?) is bad acting and an antagonist who is too dumb to realize his friend is dead.

    (If I really need to explain the secret ingredient part, the guy who stars in I Am Omega is also the host of Iron Chef America.)

  44. Dantheman says:

    Recently I watched “Mega Piranha” and it was without a doubt the funniest thing I had watched in ages. It was so intentionally poor that you couldn’t help but laugh at it.

  45. Devi says:

    It might look dreadful, but have you seen these films? They’re great, hilarious wooden acting, scripts written by monkeys, and the whole thing is made on £10. I’d rather watch Asylum films than most of the so called blockbusters.

  46. The Asylum – Världens kallaste filmbolag | Onyanserat en blogg om film och tv says:

    [...] ni vill läsa mer om The Asylum så kolla in Yuppiepunk.org där jag även lånat några [...]