Must See Unpopular Movie Genres!

14 Aug

Unpopular styles or genres often become cult films. Cult films are known for their dedicated fanbase, an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation. Every month LIH’s staff will put in their vote for a “must see” film as an exercise to hone our cinephile senses. Today our focus and discussion will be on “unpopular film genres.” We hope you enjoy!  

Mermaid Movies-by Comic Relief

Though always a unique fascination, mermaids earn the distinction of being an unpopular genre due to, though having at least decent stories; the films tend to earn a very mixed box office returns. One specific film being the popularity queen of them all, “The Little Mermaid,” had phenomenal success.   Technicolor hand drawn animation, show tunes, and earnings of $111,543,479; the business departments of most studios probably aspire to be that fortunate with their mermaid movies.

If that movie wasn’t so appreciated, the second largest film dedicated to these characters would likely be 1984’s “Splash.” Unlike so many of the other films in this genre, this Tom Hanks and Darryl Hanna film was fully live action. The uniqueness of using live actors, helped that Ron Howard film reel in a hefty $69,821,334 at the box office.

Something of an anomaly, the obsession with these long fabled sea creatures even inspired a faux documentary, on the discovery channel titled “Mermaids: The Body Found.”  Though one might have assumed all adults would receive this tongue-n-cheek presentation cheerfully there were a few reviewers who were clearly angered by the TV shows documentary styling’s.  Then again we’re talking and the only reason this television show was relevant is it reminds us how popular the characters are?

But of course if you really want discuss a film whose financial fate was similar to those events in disaster movies, then we have to account for Kevin Costner’s mega bomb “Water World.”  Just to be clear all film characters of this genre don’t have fish tails; many walk around when they are on dry land.

So what can we expect of the genre in the future?  Some time ago Stephanie Meyers suggested she was working on a mermaid story. No telling whether mermaids are still on her schedule.  Typical rivals, DC and Marvel entertainment film studios have both threatened to bring their ocean based super heroes to the big screen yet it’s unlikely Aquaman will be gracing theatres in anything other than “Entourage” TV reruns. Then again the Olga Kurylenko vehicle “Empires of the Deep,” opens in 2014, and it might score.

Musicals by Littlebells

Since 2000, there have been over 100 films labeled “musical”. Most seem to have gone straight to DVD, but there are several that have been very successful.  In 2001, Baz Luhrman brought us Moulin Rouge.  2002 gave us the great Chicago.  From 2004-2013, each year brought us a major musical (or two): Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Dream Girls, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Mama Mia!, Nine,  Rock of Ages, and Les Miserables.  Of course there were more, but nothing that seemed to be noteworthy as they were either straight to DVD or bombed at the theaters.  When looking at box office hits and misses, the worst musicals on our list would be The Producers with a loss of $26 million, Rock of Ages at a -$36.5 million, and the worst of the worst, Nine: $61 million in the hole.  OUCH!  On the flip side, some of the most successful films were Les Miserables, Mama Mia! and Chicago.  Les Mis made a profit of $87 million, followed by Mama Mia! At $92 million.  Chicago takes a standing ovation at $125 million profit!  It’s hard to say exactly why some films bomb and others are a run-away hit.  It can range from the acting and story to the direction and music.  Regardless of popularity, it seems there is an appetite for this genre of film.

The Worst:

Click here to watch

The Best:

Click here to watch

Natural History or Wildlife by Open Book

This genre started alongside television and rarely makes it into the cinema and has been largely ignored by film and television critics and scholars. “Well-known nature documentary makers and presenters include Oscar-winning Bernhard Grzimek, Sir David Attenborough, Richard Brock, Jacques Cousteau, Marlin Perkins, Heinz Sielmann, Hugo van Lawick, Jeff Corwin, Mark Strickson, Neil Harraway, Steve Irwin, Nigel Marven, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente and Marty Stouffer.”[1]  Here are a few that are a must see.

Planet Earth

Grizzly Man

The Deep Blue

Horror by Parisienne

The unpopular genre I chose is Horror.  Why? The Horror genre in particular has too many sequels.  For example the Nightmare on Elm Street films. How many does one need?

Also, the Child’s Play films…..a murderous talking doll can only go so far.

According to Steve Bennett Definition Horror Film Genre he states,

Horror films often deal with the viewer’s nightmares, hidden fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, into the everyday world. Prevalent elements include ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, demons, vicious animals, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers.[2]

In essence, I do enjoy the Horror genre, yet I feel there are too many sequels that are made strictly to get money from people.

How can this unpopular genre evolve?

Dance by Ozzie

The dance film genre tends to be looked down upon for many reasons and misconceptions. Some see them as being out dated; others see them as for not having much substance. One of my recent favourites is Black Swan, which apart from ballet or the story of Swan Lake, is neither out dated or lacks substance. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film tells the story of Nina (played by Natalie Portman), a ballerina at prestigious New York company, whose whole life is consumed by ballet. The company’s next production is Swan Lake and the lead role requires someone who can play both the White Swan and the Black Swan. Nina perfectly fits the White Swan role but finds it hard to play the Black Swan. However, a new ballerina named Lily (played by Mila Kunis) fits the role of the Black Swan perfectly. As the pressure builds and the harder Nina tries to keep the role, the more she loses grip on reality. While the plot is similar to the 1948 movie The Red Shoes, Black Swan starts off the psychological horror from the beginning and doesn’t stop until the closing credits. The film is beautifully shot and along with a great script and a talented cast and crew, another layer is added. Black Swan is full of hidden images forewarning of Nina’s descent into madness. At the box office it has made a fortune. Its budget was 13 million Dollars and went on to make $106,954,678 worldwide making it the second most successful dance movie since the 1970’s! Not to mention all the awards it was nominated for, with Natalie Portman winning almost every major award she was nominated for. So while this film deals with ballet, and at first glance, a fight to win a coveted role it goes much deeper than the polished performance expected with ballet. It’s about the struggle between perfection and spontaneity, between discipline and liberation, between someone else’s expectations and your own, between innocence and sexuality and of course the old being replaced by the new. That’s why it is one of my favourite dance movies of all time.

16 Responses to “Must See Unpopular Movie Genres!”

  1. ComicRelief August 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM #


    I have to admit. This category drives me crazy, because I haven’t seen all of the movies on your list. Yet I really hate musicals when they are bad and I can’t get the show tunes out of head when there great.

    Can you make any predictions about their development in the near future?

    • littlebells August 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

      Hi CR!

      I feel the same way. I HAAAAATE it when they are bad, especially if it’s a great musical but the direction and acting is horrible, and LOVE it when they are great. Chicago is one of my favorites. Nine sucked the life out of me and I thought the cast was wonderful. The story was just blah and I thought an usher might have to carry my almost lifeless body out of the theater.

      It seems that with the hits, the story has a more realistic approach. I think the actors are more honest and less of a caricature. Musicals are known to be more over the top acting, but I’ve been impressed with the serious approach as of late. And by serious, I mean taking the story and giving us the best possible product.

      I think as long as we have directors, talented actors, choreographers, vocal coaches, and production teams who want this genre to be successful, it will always have a place in theaters and with audiences. As long as the musical isn’t gimmicky and ultra cheesy, there will be a love for it.

  2. ComicRelief August 15, 2013 at 5:57 PM #


    I have some sort of documentary addiction, yet I think the genre frequently gets looked over? I know Europe has found a way to side-step this problem? Since these films don’t have Cinema celebrities to help us keep track of their development, can you fill us in on how Europe avoids these critical and creative oversights (in audience reception)?

    • Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:11 PM #

      Hahaha! Yeah! I like them too. Anyway to answer your question. IDK! Let me think about it and get back to u.

  3. ComicRelief August 15, 2013 at 6:25 PM #


    I agree, the goal to have sequel can be a fast or reckless way to side step necessary story development? Though unconventional, I have a problem in that I think some dramatic movies easily fit this genre. Do you think there’s a way to get these films any respect; in this category?

    • Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:08 PM #

      Hi CR,

      If I may add my two cents. I really love films like “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” that mix horror and comedy. Although not a comedy, another favorite “Let The Right One In.” These films seem to be trying to update the genre. What do u think Paris?

  4. Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:13 PM #


    What made u select Mermaids for your genre? Do u like watching these films?

  5. Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM #

    LB- Why do u think musicals are going straight to DVD? Do u think musicals really require more development for them to really be successful? Also, why do u think NINE did so poorly?

    • littlebells August 17, 2013 at 8:02 PM #

      I think it has to do with the lack of musical education. Unless you are educated in the arts or have friends and family who introduce you to it, one isn’t going to just think, “hmmm, I would like to see a musical.” We aren’t bombarded with it in the media like sex, drugs, and violence. That’s what I think anyway. Yes, I do think musicals require more development and that was seen in Chicago and Les Mis. See above answer as well.

      Nine just was a boring story. i didn’t find it fun or intelligent. I didn’t see the reason for the musical numbers. Not that Les Mis is all rainbows and unicorns, but it had an amazing story with incredible score and lyrics. just sayin’…Nine didn’t catch my attention for singing, score, or story.

      • Open Book August 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM #

        “Nine just was a boring story. i didn’t find it fun or intelligent. I didn’t see the reason for the musical numbers.”

        Hahaha! Yes! I actually worked on the stage play and found it equally boring. Although, u would think it would be fun to design the costumes the story left little to be desired so the costumes just ended up feeling like Frosty the Snowman without his magical hat. LOL!!

  6. Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM #


    Do u think they will make more dance films like Black Swan given its success? Also, would u consider this a mixed genre of Dance & Thriller?

  7. Open Book August 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM #


    Have there been any successful Mermen films?

    • littlebells August 17, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

      I love Mermaid films and my daughter wishes she could BE a mermaid. I remember SPLASH coming out and being mesmerized!

      • Open Book August 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM #

        Gosh! I still want to be a Mermaid. Hahaha!

        What’s your favorite Mermen film?

  8. Open Book August 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM #


    Given Horror often consist of “ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, demons, vicious animals, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers.” Of these subjects what’s the most horrific to u and why?

    • Open Book August 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM #

      For me it’s vicious animals, zombies and cannibals. Also, add serial killers. Silence of the Lambs and Jaws still scare me today. Mainly its the music in Jaws that’s scary. See this is where being a Mermaid might come in handy so I can get away quickly. Hahaha!

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