Marine Corpse – Chapter 1, Strip 68

As villains are wont to do, Rutentuten still had an ace up his sleeve. Someday, somebody should tell the villains that aces are supposed to be played all at the same time…

When the villain utters his ultimate threat, he just HAS to be lighted from below, ideally by flickering flames…add some unearthly glowing to his eyes, and you can just feel the menace emanating for him. (Or is that the heat from the fire?)
Off course, for a b-movie, you will have to make do with any shooting location you can get, that’s the problem if your location scout is a 12-year-old on a bicycle.

Another typical b-movie hardship is the need to save on props, often forcing productions to simply reuse props left over from older movies. In that vein, the alien god Emperor Ming worships in the ‘Flash Gordon’ serial was originally an Egyptian deity created for the first ‘Mummy’ picture. A good prop can be many things to many people, over the years…

Period costumes are a touchy subject, anyway. Even if a production has sufficient funds, historical accuracy is often abandoned to meet viewers’ expectations. An authentic ‘King Arthur’ outfit would likely include a fur coat worn over various odds and ends of old, dented Roman Imperial armour, but imagine how audiences would react if you depict the ‘First Knight’ as some kind of bum.

In the age of Ctrl-C/ Ctrl-V, b-movies can make a handful of extras go a long way, just not as inconspicuously as a-movies. In ‘Gladiator’, the Coliseum holds several thousand spectators, which are actually also only a handful of extras – and if you watch out for it, it’s even glaringly obvious. But in the background, you can get away with a lot – in close-ups, that’s where the problem begins.

By the way, the song the soldier mummies are singing is the U.S. Marine Corps hymn, adapted a bit to Egyptian realities. I mean, these guys were around before Montezuma even built his halls, so I couldn’t let it stand unmodified. Don’t ask me why Rutentuten first send his standard mummies to get slaughtered before bothering to wake his bandagenecks – it’s just standard villain behaviour: they always commit their weapons/ troops in ascending order of effectiveness.

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