It seems like the only things Hollywood announces these days are new superhero movies, reboots of classic franchises, or the umpteenth Transformers sequel -- we're pretty sure the next one is literally the umpteenth. They straight up ran out of numbers. But while it might feel like show business gets more desperate every day, the truth is that it's always been this way. In fact, it may have once even been worse. Consider how ...

Halloween Spawned Endless Holiday-Themed Slasher Movies

John Carpenter's Halloween was inspired by the weird proto-slasher Black Christmas, a film about a mysterious killer murdering sorority babes during the holiday break. But relatively few people remember Black Christmas, while Halloween grossed $47 million on a budget of $325,000. That's because A) John Carpenter is a genius and B) Halloween is the only holiday that makes sense for a horror movie.

HALLOWEEN The Night He Came Home! 1O 812 1 GC 1 DFR 6 1071 5500 AUCINIL RIACTH RRGHE ISTE
Compass International Pictures
Until Hallmark decides to try to market Chainsaw Appreciation Day, at least.

But because of the movie's commercial success, every studio was dying to make their own holiday slasher movie. Unfortunately, after Friday The 13th, they ran out of scary dates.

They wr warned... They ar doomed... And on Friday the 13th. nothing WIRl Srve them. CocA th FRIDAYT THE. TH
Paramount Pictures
Too bad Flaming Viking Riot Day has yet to spread outside of Scotland. That’s a nine-film franchise right there.

First came the obvious big holidays, like Christmas:

1ST CAME HALLOWEEN'... THEN FRIDAY 13TH. NOW and THES CHERISTMAS yO AETTER BELEVE IN SANTA ORM'LL SLAY YOU GhristmeasEvil e nialt he rapoed I 10N
Pan American Pictures

You've made It through Hallownen. now try and gurvlwe Christrmas. Wl STEENT NIGH IT UCHULY huin Un Me kno 00 TAH
TriStar Pictures
Couldn't even give the man a candy cane for a weapon, that's how lazy these movies are.

Then there were slashers set during Valentine's Day. It's not a particularly scary holiday (unless you're very, very lonely), but at least it provides a good excuse to focus on that classic slasher trope of teenagers getting naked.

Therelk Ere than o wenY 10 ose yoir beart.. MY BIODYVALENTINE VALENTNE R
Paramount Pictures
This Valentine's Day, Dad will have to clean more than one bodily fluid off the back seat!

But then, with the good holidays taken, writers were forced to branch out to slightly less eerie days on the calendar, like ... April Fool's Day?

Guess whoiseoi to be the We o the party APRIL FOOlS DAY Act ao the 2 3
Paramount Pictures
That whoopee cushion will be the last thing you'll ever hear!

And everyone's least-favorite holiday, New Year's Eve:

DONT DARE MAKE NEW YEARS RESOLUTONS UNLESS you PLAN TO LIVEI DECEMBER 2 3 4 9 10 11 12 17 18 19) 24 25 31 VEARS NEW EWIL 5 026 ho S Sore 90 LBC B 01 2
Cannon Film Distributors
That ball isn't the only thing that will drop tonight!

Of course, random holidays aren't the only thing hapless teens mark on their calendars, so hacky writers then moved on to birthdays ...

Happy MINWTENIVR BAT 48 AGAIN Birthday to me Siv of he mnoot nlre nors o -
Columbia Pictures

THE VIGHIMARE BEGIA'S WTIH THEKIDS ETIOR Bloedy birinday TLBNS PSESNNES OVIWY 112141341 Savvir LOrTx cree - 554 41 T Fo 00 >
Rearguard Productions
This year, the candles will snuff out YOU!

... graduation day ...

There are 200 seniors at Midvale High. And days seven 'til graduation. DAWTON The Class of '81 is running out of time. CAAATKNEA CTORON CCE MCNTI BANY
Troma Entertainment
Summer school has never seemed more tempting!

... and the ever awkward prom night:

you're not back by midnight.. you won't be coming home! PROM NOEN P AMN aSe 21 CIA B NIGA'T 0 -200
AVCO Embassy Pictures
"Son, when we said you should always wear protection, we meant body armor."

And that's to say nothing about all the sequels made for some of these. Over the span of one decade, there were eight Friday The 13th movies and four Halloweens. Hell, even Silent Night, Deadly Night got two sequels. We're just glad they ran out of steam before we got Labor Day: The Devil's Work.

Studios Hired Charlie Chaplin Clones To Make Even More Tramp Movies

Do you have a hard time distinguishing between all the buff blond witty Chrises on today's movie scene? Do you find it difficult to track all 37 Hemsworth brothers currently working in Hollywood? It seems that studios not only like movie rehashes, but they'd also prefer to keep copies of the same actor too. Just ask Charlie Chaplin.

By 1918, Chaplin was the most famous person in the world, and the Tramp was the most beloved fictional character since whatever religious deity you don't believe in. But although he was making as many as six movies a year (check that work ethic, Tom Cruise), distributors felt like there wasn't enough of the man with a small mustache to go around. And since they couldn't make Chaplin do more movies, they decided to simply make more Chaplins.

LOUIS BURSTEIN PRES. L.L. HILLER TREAS. pprsinTIN BLLY ST ORS WE.SI COMEDIES EOKE CANOUS SILM THE WNSTERS IHE AND ALE HATADWAN KING KING SALES MG'R NH
King Bee Films
Not enough actors are described as “funsters” anymore.

Given Chaplin's incredible stardom, there was no shortage of impersonators touring the vaudeville circuit. So instead of negotiating with the real Chaplin, studios would hire these fake Chaplins to make fake Tramp movies. And by far the most successful of those was Billy West, an impersonator whom Chaplin himself supposedly said was almost as good as the real deal. By 1919, West was making up to 15 fake Chaplin movies a year, because it's a lot easier and quicker to shoot a movie someone else had basically done before you.

But that doesn't mean West was some a lazy hack. He was dedicated, going so far as to wear curlers and learn to use his less-dominant left hand to more closely resemble the star. He also hired Chaplin's own cast and crew whenever they were available, and gave Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) his first Hollywood break. West's films were such quality homages to Chaplin that many of them still get wrongly listed as actual Chaplin movies.

Jaws Unleashed A Whole Aquarium's Worth Of Marine Murder Movies

Barely a year after Jaws came the blatant copycat The Jaws Of Death, a movie about a telepathic serial killer that clearly hoped you stopped reading the poster after the first two words.

SHEER TERROR! FiImed without the benofit of COLOS mechanioal sharles other proteetive devices. or Tihe Jaws of Death JAREWL NTESIEA HANOL S. NEANSE ee
Canon Films
Also that you’d see this poster and still somehow be cool with a movie about sharks as misunderstood victims.

In 1977, directors started asking "What else is in water and scary?" A dumb question that brought us movies like Tentacles, a hack job which amazingly stars John Huston and Henry Fonda.

IOHN HUSTON HRLEYWONTERS . NODCC TENTACLES HENTOD 00oe 4000
American International Pictures
Made back in the days before you’d see that title and automatically assume it was anime porn.

That same year came Orca, which is totally different from Jaws because ... this killer aquatic predator has ... lungs?

orca CAM BANA CIAILOTIE LAMPLING 0 DCRE THE KILCER WHALE NIWALL PG
Universal Pictures
It’s the Free Willy prequel we’ve all been waiting for.

Next came Piranha (which gave way to Piranha II: The Spawning, the debut feature from James Cameron):

Last River Lake w2s 2 trivieg resert D 40700 MANIN
United Artists
Before going from bad to so, so much worse.

And then there was Barracuda, a movie thief so bold that it even taunts Jaws in its tagline:

SOMETHING DEADLY IN THE WATER.. MORE DANGEROUS THAN ANY SHARK OR KILLER WHALE! BARRACUDA AA MAREBED MEN7 BOCO WAYNE DAVO SSIMRDEN IACONEVERE BOBERTAIR
Republic Pictures
Even the fish looks bored.

And finally, by 1981, we went full circle back to sharks with Great White:

Inail the oceans of the world nothingi is more feared than... GREAT WHITE T TENOBEOANST MANCA ST
Film Ventures International
"We’re gonna need a bigger copyright defense team."

But Universal blocked it from appearing in American cinemas due to all the shameless plagiarism. And in a universe where Orca could go around un-sued, that's saying a lot.

Hollywood Made Dozens Of Movies About Street Kids

Movies have sold us on a lot of weird team-ups: a gang of motley superheroes in The Avengers, a troop of old mercenaries in The Expendables, a litany of dying careers in Mamma Mia, etc.

And it all started with underage New York street toughs.

5 Times Hollywood Ruthlessly Beat A Profitable Idea To Death
United Artists
This was in the days when poor kids had to wrestle all their clothing away from packs of wild dogs.

In 1937, United Artists adapted the hit Broadway play Dead End, about a tough band of city punks who got kicked out of the school of hard knocks for being too rowdy. The studio hired the original Broadway cast, but sold their contracts before the movie was released because the young ruffians method-acted too hard and drove a truck through a soundstage. But it turned out that United Artists were the ones who trucked this deal up, because Dead End was a massive hit. After its box office success, Warner Brothers snapped up the cast, branded them "the Dead End Kids," and launched their own dirty-faced franchise.

en
Warner Bros. Pictures
Seen here marking the last time when the “kids” part of the title seemed even remotely plausible.

The Dead End Kids starred in seven movies between 1937 and 1939. And they were mostly quite good! Humphrey Bogart gave an acclaimed performance as an evil Bugs Bunny in the original Dead End. Another Dead End movie, Angels With Dirty Faces, turned out to be career-defining for James Cagney, who was nominated for an Oscar for his sensational turn as a gangster who tries to save the kids from following in his footsteps (it's a terrible fate to grow up to be James Cagney).

The films gradually dropped in quality, but instead of scrapping the franchise, Warner Bros. started passing their boys around to other studios for money. After their first Dead End movie, the actors were loaned out to Universal Pictures, where they became the Little Tough Guys and featured in 15 movies between 1938 and 1943. By the end of their grueling contract, these scamps looked like they were 15 going on 50.

ESAA
Universal Pictures
In the '40s, this photo said "intimidating street gang" and not "police lineup to catch the Subway Masturbator."

Then the gang was sent over to Monogram Pictures, which reassembled them as the East Side Kids and released another 22 movies between 1940 and 1945.

THE EAST SIDE KIDS LEO GORCEY HUNTZ HALL BOBBY JORDAN LOOSE THE GHOSTSON BELA LUGOSI AVA GARDNER hy SAM KATZMAN AAOK DETE s
Monogram Pictures
Don't let the racism distract you from Ava Gardner getting fifth billing down there.

Meanwhile, a new group of ragamuffins, the Gas House Kids, failed to take off over at Producers Releasing Corporation, releasing a pathetic three movies in two years. Welp, back to the streets with those punks.

TEN GALLON HATS . AND TEN THOUSAND LAUGHS 'GAS HOUSE KIDS GO WEST 0 -1 NIE - SWUIER BARTUETY WICSIER RNS
Producers Releasing Corporation
We're reasonably sure this movie was nothing but an excuse to dump the actors in the desert and drive away.

After a while, the gangs started swirling into each other like the Great Annual Boy Band Orgy. After Universal "borrowed" several of the Dead End Kids for the first Little Tough Guys movie, they hired an all-new cast as the New Little Tough Guys for the next three movies. But then they rehired some of the Dead Ends back, and started billing the movies as "the Dead End Kids And Little Tough Guys," with many of the discarded Little Tough Guys leaving to join the East Side Kids, and Original Dead End heartthrob Billy Halop even joined the Gas House Kids. Honestly, there were Deep South serials less incestuous than these movies.

The Ces Meest Kits seas BOI-OFFICE! Eollrwood mnt BOX-OFFICE! lido Gas House HOLLYWOOD IS In BOX-OFFICEL CAD SAIUZER RDY WIOSER- BENNY BARTLETTOTOMMY
Producers Releasing Corporation
We get the feeling the “street gang” angle might have been a wee bit diluted by this point.

By 1945, the boyish street gang craze passed, but that didn't stop one poverty row studio from making a final offer to the original gang to pump out a ridiculous 48 comedies as the Bowery Boys. Though the only joke in any of those movies is that everyone kept calling the characters "boys," even though the actors are clearly riffing with the grim reaper by this point.

5 Times Hollywood Ruthlessly Beat A Profitable Idea To Death
Monogram Pictures
Boyz II (Old) Men

Every '30s Studio Had To Have A Singing Cowboy Movie

In 1934, while being pumped full of laughing gas at the dentist, writer/producer Wallace McDonald had the idea for Phantom Empire, a 12-part movie serial about a cowboy, played by professional yodeling hillbilly (yes, that was a thing) Gene Autry, who has to sing on the radio every day or he'll lose his ranch. But his broadcasts risk disruption when he discovers a secret underground civilization containing the lost tribe of Mu, complete with ray guns, a sexy evil queen, and a nefarious professor who wants to conquer everything. You know, your typical '30s movie plot.

I. Nat Levine he PHANTOM EMPIRE A NATION 20000 FFET UNDERGROUND Gene aberiy AuTRY Fankie DARRO Beby Kaing BOSS MASCOT MASTER SERIAL
Mascot Pictures
"It has the two best Star Wars movie titles in the name. How can it go wrong?"

Phantom Empire was somehow a huge hit, and thus started the incredibly unlikely fad of the wild west musical, which saw all of Hollywood scrambling to get a singing cowboy of their own. After Autry, who signed with Republic Pictures Corp., there was Dick Smith (Warner Bros.), Bob Baker (Universal), Smith Ballew (Fox), Tex Ritter (Columbia), and George Houston (PRC). There was even a series aimed at African American audiences starring Herb Jeffrey as the "Bronze Buckaroo."

ROARING ROUND-UPOF SONG-STUDDED THRILLS! HouYwOGO I0EC HERBERT JEFFREY tke BRONZE BUCKAROO WILLIAMO OAEY BROOKS E wR ATIE OUNG LDOUK RROOKS uE CALMES
Sack Amusements
Back in the days when the lead of an all-black cast still needed to be unmistakably white.

The singing cowboy craze lasted 20 entire years, and boy howdy did they pump them out fast. RPC (not to be confused with PRC, keep up now) alone released over 90 movies in that era, which means writers had to figure out dozens of stories about a guy in a Stetson who can yodel each year. Luckily, like Phantom Empire, these flicks had a license to be weird as hell. Often the stars were traditional cowboys -- riding horses and fighting injustice with their six-shooters -- but the movies were set in modern America, featuring cars and electricity. No effort was made to explain this. In one movie, a covered wagon full of uranium is robbed by quick-drawing Soviet agents on horseback, who have to be stopped by Roy Rogers, who took over from Autry after a contract dispute. In fact, the uranium-stealing plot was such a hit that they did it twice.

eoy ROGERS A N COors TRIGGER EMLLDET 0GA e OVTE Belsof Cororado ucar DALE EVANS PAT BDADY GRANT MITHERS LIN ERE E EB A A REDURLIC TRAAEYN
Republic Pictures
Pictured: a spy thriller, apparently.

Since the movies were made quick and cheap, they often latched onto whatever trend was popular. When Tarzan was a big hit, Autry played a rancher who has to drive a herd through Africa, conveniently reusing stock footage from the Tarzan films. When movies set in Hawaii were popular, they released Hawaiian Buckaroo, starring Smith Ballew as a cowboy on a pineapple plantation. And if you're wondering why a cowboy is needed on a pineapple plantation, you're really overthinking this genre.

THE 00OMAND- -RFAOYWESTAMS INTO ROMANTICAAWAI HAWAIIAN BUCKAROO BALLEW KNAPP Ce d OBRIEN- Re WOODS Aane
20th Century Fox
We dare you to spot a single detail that doesn't scream "Hawaii."

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