5 Ridiculous Movie Genres We Used To Be Obsessed With

In a hundred years, our descendants are going to look back at the movies we made and wonder why we were so inordinately preoccupied with superpowered maniacs and the other superpowered maniacs who fought them. But that won’t be a new phenomenon. If you look back, Hollywood history is littered with the corpses of some truly bizarre trends. Like how …


Evil Cars Were Once All The Rage

Before Steven Spielberg persuaded America that nothing was more terrifying than a rampaging shark, he wanted to prove that there was nothing more scaring than a rampaging, uh … truck. Yes, there was a time when horror movies featured a parade of cars possessed by the devil, aliens, or simply the ghost of bad screenwriting. Spielberg’s first feature film, 1971’s Duel , was technically about a truck with an actual human driver, but we never see that driver.

Universal Pictures And if the truck doesn’t kill you, the tetanus certainly will.

The truck is hellbent on running a middle-aged salesman off the road for reasons, but that’s not important now. It’s only important that the cinema kicked off an entire subgenre which lasted over a decade before audiences ultimately woke up and realized that being scared of vehicles was a bit silly. Highlightings include 1974’s Killdozer and 1977’s The Car , which both feature vehicles possessed by … badness? It’s never made clear.


A few brave movies did attempt to explain how and why a vehicle could turn evil. 1983’s Christine centered around a 1958 Plymouth Fury that goes on a rampage because it has serious co-dependency issues with its owner, and the title vehicle of 1980’s The Hearse went bad because it once transported the corpse of a Satanist.

Crown International Pictures It merely takes one .

The final fingernail in the tire was Stephen King’s directorial debut and parting, 1986’s Maximum Overdrive . In it, all of the world’s vehicles and machines turn evil because of a passing comet, but also maybe aliens? Whatever, King was swimming in cocaine for most of that decade anyway.


The ‘8 0s Were All About Body-Swapping

Every kid dreams of the day when they’re ultimately old enough to buy a tiger that only fees algebra educators. And every adult dreams of those halcyon days when they were young enough to run naked through the rain without having to attend sexual harassment meetings afterward. When Freaky Friday came out in 1977, Hollywood unwittingly tapped into one of humanity’s most primal recommends — to fully switch bodies with person from a different generation and inherit their supposedly easy life.

Walt Disney Pictures And now you have several generations to choose from for your generational swap.

Freaky Friday ‘s plot revolves around a harried homemaker and her petulant daughter switching bodies, and eventually learning that they both have equally difficult lives and are worthy of respect. It constructed five times its budget, prompting a mad rush of producers hoping to capitalize on the premise. First came a Tv series, Turnabout , wherein a husband and wife swap bodies thanks to a gypsy statue. Then there was 1984’s All Of Me , in which a man and a woman cohabitate Steve Martin’s body. Four more body-swapping films came out between ‘8 7 and ‘8 9, a stern reminder that Hollywood has always had issues with originality.

Universal Pictures They started with the standard Steve Martin poster and wrote the movie from there.

In Like Father Like Son , a magical Native American switchings the minds of a father and son. 18 Again ! was totally different; in that one, a man and his grandson switch bodies due to “an accident.” Then Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage switched bodies in Vice Versa , which was our high water mark.

Columbia Pictures In body-swap movies and Judge Reinhold’s career.

But Dream A Little Dream pushed the body-swapping genre too far, like the Manhattan Project of hack screenwriting. In this movie, a yoga mishap results in four characters switching bodies and learning important life lessons. 1992 ‘s Prelude To A Kiss spelled the end. Alec Baldwin’s fiancee decides to make out with a lecherous old man, which naturally causes their souls to switch. Baldwin then has to learn how to love his previously sexy fiancee for her beautiful soul alone, even if it is now housed inside a pervy senior citizen. And since that was about as existentially terrifying as the genre could get, Hollywood called it a day.

20 th Century Fox Later, Tina Fey would teach us to love Alec Baldwin regardless of his appears or his soul.


Former Female Sex Symbols Became Murderous Hags In The ‘6 0s

As Hollywood entered the 1960 s, they realise they had a problem: The gorgeous leading actresses of the day were, gasp, aging . It was out of the question to present females over 35 as attractive, because no one would buy that madnes. But Hollywood also didn’t want to cast aside some of their biggest names, so they devised a brand-new genre befitting these exceptionally talented actresses: “hag-horror, ” aka “psycho-biddy.”

It was … not an ideal solution.

The first and most famous of these cinemas was Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ? It revolves around two washed-up child stars, played by aging sex symbols Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who go crazy with jealousy and become embroiled in a bitter, murderous conflict. So … pretty much what happened in real life. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, so of course we got a slew of hasty ripoffs.

Warner Bros. Pictures The ‘6 0s: when you could lose track of a baby and not think about it until years later.

Moving swiftly to capitalize on Baby Jane ‘s success, Crawford returned with Strait-Jacket in 1964. The film follows a convicted ax-murderer who, after being released from an asylum, immediately picks up her trusty ax and starts decapitating people again. It was nominated for no Academy Awards, because it sucked.

Columbia Pictures Dude, spoilers.

1964 also considered the release of Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte — starring Davis and directed by the same guy who did Baby Jane — in which four old women go around murdering people for a variety of reasons. That cinema was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and the race was on. What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice ? follows an old lady who hires maids for the sole purpose of killing them and maintaining their shit. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo ? features an evil old lady who tortures orphans. And What’s The Matter With Helen ? considers two old dames trying to avenge their sons’ murder convictions by — you guessed it — murdering a bunch of people. It’s not a great plan.

American International Pictures They really leaned on attaining the titles questions for free marketing.

Note that while these were the only roles many aging actresses could procure, male superstars continued on as normal, apparently immune to the ravages of time. Thankfully, Hollywood has long since sorted out all of its issues with older girls.


The ‘7 0s Were All About Plane Hijackings

1970s America had a big problem: airplane hijackings. While modern airport security is so paranoid that TSA agents have to register as sex offenders in 16 countries, the primary sort of security in the ‘7 0s was hoping for the best. Cue the film industry’s decade-long love affair with airliner hijacks. The first was 1971’s Airport , a bona fide prestige movie with big names and a slew of Oscar nominations. It revolves around an airport administrator struggling to keep Chicago’s airport open during a snowstorm while also dealing with this guy ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND

Universal Pictures Seen here, caught halfway into his toad animorph.

As you’ve probably deduced from his expres, that human is threatening a passenger plane. That’s what the rest of the industry latched onto. In 1972’s Skyjacked , a different crazed white dude with a bomb threatens an aeroplane. Several premier leathery overactors volunteer to stop him — among them Charlton Heston and James Brolin. The movie even ripped off the Airport poster.

Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Nowadays, get skyjacked is just the lonely version of joining the Mile-High Club.

The formula was repeated in 1973 with This Is A Hijack ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND

Fanfare Films Though for maximum effectiveness, you generally want the hijackers in the plane.

Once again, a neatly garmented middle-aged white guy hijacks an aeroplane. While many real-life hijackings were motivated by politics, Hollywood was most comfortable portraying midair terrorists as dumpy Caucasian bank managers. How times change. 1976 ‘s Mayday At 40,000 Feet ! also features a hijack, SST: Death Flight has an onboard saboteur, and 1977’s The Night They Took Miss Beautiful includes both a kidnapped beauty queen and a nerve toxin.

NBCUniversal Productions “I’ve had it with these motherfuckin’ beauty queens on this motherfuckin’ plane! “

Then the Airport franchise came rising back with Airport ‘7 7 , in which the hijacker is once again a conservative talk radio fan. There were four Airport movies, by the way. The entire decade was pretty much dedicated to airplanes put in peril by the managers of used vehicle lots.


There Were So Many “Cool” Dinosaurs In The ‘9 0s

Jurassic Park was only one part of a huge pop culture motion which posited “What if dinosaurs … but now? ” The Land Before Time got the ball rolling, but it was Denver, The Last Dinosaur that really brought prehistory into the ‘9 0s. Its superstar teaches human infants a variety of important life lessons whenever he isn’t skateboarding or rocking out on his electric guitar. As you’ve probably already guessed, the demonstrate aired from 1988 to 1990.

World Event Production This image contains so much concentrated 90 s that prolonged exposure could cause a terminal Zack Attack.

Next came 1993’s Prehysteria ! , In which a museum curator sneaks into a forbidden South American temple like a second-rate Indiana Jones( or a current-rate Indiana Jones) to steal a bunch of eggs and hatch dinosaurs from them. These dinos can’t talk, but they still like partying and rock music, because that was all the ‘9 0s had.

Paramount Pictures Well, that and Laserdisc.

A month before Jurassic Park was released, audiences were subjected to Carnosaur . Its killer dinosaurs are resurrected with chicken DNA, so clearly it was a totally different film.

New Horizon Pictures Could they not afford teeth for their T-rex?

A few months after Jurassic Park , there was We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story . Three guess as to what it’s about.

Universal Pictures Whatever you guessed, the reality is dumber.

Two year later, studio executives wanted to see how far they could push this thing before the public revolted and tarred and feathered them in protest. To that objective, they created Theodore Rex , a movie so bad that even Whoopi Goldberg had to be legally forced to participate in it.

New Line Cinema You don’t say …

Tiago Svn would like to attain vampire friends on Twitter. Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes there. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs. Jordan Breeding also writes for Paste Magazine, the Twitter, himself, and with a dirty, dirty spray can in various back alleys . Dinosaurs are still best experienced in LEGO form — even the Indominus Rex . Support Cracked’s journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you . For more bizarre film trends, check out 5 Extremely Specific Movie Trends That Nobody Remembers and 6 Once-Popular Movie Genres Hollywood Doesn’t Make Anymore .

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