Originally Posted by cctvtech
I would disagree. 1951's The Thing from Another World
was a B movie, as defined by the credited director, actors, budget, etc. The status of John Carpenter's version is debatable. By some definitions, it is also a B movie (director, actors, etc.). By other definitions (including a budget of $15,000,000 ), it could be considered as an A movie.
The key here is the definition (murky as it is) of a B movie, not the artistic or entertainment value of the movies themselves. Lots of B movies are far better written, directed and acted and far more entertaining than most A movies.
You're spot on for much of this. Carpenter is definitely a B-movie director, which is the best I think. However, I think the biggest criteria for determining this is the budget. This budget for 1982 @ 15 million is totally an A-movie budget.
Usually, when I think of B-movies, I think of fun. Movies that are self aware, and they just intend on entertaining audiences. Limited in budget. The Thing is totally not that...it doesn't try to be funny, and it doesn't look like the actors are having that much fun shooting the movie out there in the cold. Grade A acting all around with a grade A cast.
Also, maybe most importantly, is that B movies tend to allow for more creative control by the directors. Directors usually have their hand in everything (think of Sam Raimi, Carpenter, etc). The Thing was a collaboration effort for Carpenter, which doesn't happen often with him. He didn't do the soundtrack, and he didn't write the story. He just directed it with his vision, much like what he did with Starman. With Carpenter's other movies, he usually has full reign in everything down to the story, writing, etc.
B-movies are usually independent, too. The Thing is definitely a studio movie.
I'd totally argue The Thing being an A movie, much like Scott's Alien. Prince of Darkness on the other hand, B movie. It doesn't necessarily go for "entertaining" or "campy" quality, but it's budget is nil (3 million), produced by an independent studio, and Carpenter had his hand in everything.
I've also believed that anything that has a "cult following" is definitely a B movie. I don't think it's possible to have a "cult following" with an "A" movie.