Various lists indicate that – even leaving remakes, re-titlings, translations and straight-out rip-offs out of the equation – there have been something like 150 recorded instances of two films carrying the same title.

So that’s not so rare. What is rare, however, is both films in any given pairing achieving the same measure of ongoing success. Almost always, in the end one of the two will position itself in the public consciousness as “the” film of that name. Mention Independence Day to someone, for example, and “small-town drama” probably isn’t the first thing that will spring to mind.

Here at the B-Masters, however, “obvious” is a dirty word. So join us as we take a look at some films that live in the shadow of their title-twins—and which tend to cause confusion, cross-purpose conversation, and finally a cry of—


1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Scream (1981) The weird, arty pre-credits sequence is intelligible only if you know that the first of Scream’s several successive working titles was The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker— which itself has nothing to do with the main body of the story. The camera pans from a painting of a sailing ship across a set of figurines representing the aforementioned nursery rhyme characters, and thence to a mantelpiece clock showing midnight. (Well, I suppose it could just as well be noon, but this is a horror movie, right?) Then it pans back the way it came, revealing that the Butcher figurine has evidently decapitated both of its companions while we were looking at the clock. It’s a neat gag in its way, but it would have been neater if it were in any way relevant to anything else in the film.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Crash! (1976) It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to pad out a film so shamelessly, and at the same time with such disregard for narrative coherence. I may say that I was utterly confused when the tow-truck turned up with the convertible—last seen causing the blowing up of a garage before speeding off. When it dawned on me that about 50% of the film I’d been watching hadn’t actually happened yet—that it is only now that the convertible begins its destructive journey towards San Cecilia, as marked by the constant mile-signs—my indignation knew no bounds.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Project X (1968)  Yet serious as the film’s core certainly is, it is almost possible to completely lose sight of the fact thanks to the level of visual distraction provided by the production’s costuming, art direction and special effects. It is impossible not to see the fingerprints of Star Trek all over Project X, from its parti-coloured but completely impractical design to the world’s most uncomfortable leisure-wear to the endless techno-babble via which the story’s science is conveyed to the viewer. It’s difficult to focus on a terrifying vision of the future when this requires dragging your attention away from the see-through plastic helmets favoured by the military. And as with the original Trek, whether or not you enjoy Project X may depend upon your capacity to see past the surface tackiness to the ideas working beyond.
Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension
Mezzanotte The Invisible Man (1954)  The film delivers only its second invisibility effect at roughly the 45 minute mark, with the film more than half way over and with nothing in between but some very dull talk and a clown walking around with a sign. Even Universal’s Invisible Man series quickly moved from horror and science fiction to something more like crime films. Invisible Man Appears retained some elements of science fiction but was largely a crime drama. This Invisible Man dispenses entirely with any attempt at all to be science fiction or horror, playing entirely like a melodrama with some elements of a gangster film thrown in to give it a reason for happening.
Mezzanotte King Kong (1962) King Kong begins by giving us a good look at the fearsome beast of its title. However, there’s a high likelihood that this particular King Kong will not be the one that you expect. To backtrack: Just as in lucha libre, Dara Singh’s brand of wrestling depended for its drama on the presence of established good guys and bad guys, as well as on the ongoing, often epic rivalries between them. In Dara’s case, one of his most legendary rivalries was with a Hungarian wrestler by the name of Emile Czaja, who went by the name King Kong in the ring. King Kong was what would have been called a rudo, or bad guy, in lucha libre. It’s easy enough to guess upon seeing him how he came to have that in-ring monicker. Not only is the man both hirsute and imposingly big in all directions, but he also has a tendency to demonstrate some markedly bestial behavior when engaged in battle, exemplified in particular by the way he accompanies his moves with a surfeit of distressingly loud grunts and explosions of guttural, incoherent jabbering.
The Unknown Movies Screamers (1979 / 1981) It’s always amusing to see Cameron Mitchell make a fool out of himself as he often did in low budget movies of this period. Naturally, he does get slaughtered, and that just adds to the amusement of his presence. Speaking of slaughter, this opening does boast some pretty good gruesome material, such as rotting corpses and bloody killings (including a head being ripped off.) All of this stuff is indeed fun to watch. But at the same time, all this entertaining material does not hide the fact that this twelve minute new opening has absolutely no bearing on what is to follow. As you watch the rest of the movie, likely you will eventually realize that this opening was essentially just gratuitous padding.
The Unknown Movies Slither (1973) In the end, I learned one other thing about treasure hunting – stick to watching movies about it instead of doing it for yourself. Sometimes you can find real gems – “real gems” of course meaning well done enough cinematic efforts. That’s what I found with Slither

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