Death Proof | 50 B Movies To See Before You Die

This week on the B movie docket is Death Proof

B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.

Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.

Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.

WEEK 47 – Death Proof (2007)

Another movie to add to the list for all you B movies fans out there. This week’s film is a homage to B movies. But it is not just any old homage. This B movie is from Hollywood auteur, Quentin Tarantino.

B Movie Renaissance

There was a time about 10 years ago. Suddenly Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez decided to try their hand at making B movies. More specifically, they tried their hand at making grindhouse films for today’s audiences. Two films to come from that timeframe were the double feature, Planet Terror and Death Proof. Both films were packaged together on one bill. And you got to see two movies for the price of one ticket.

While Planet Terror was helmed by Desperado maverick filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez. The man who made the most amazing bonus DVD content with recipes on cooking Puerco Pibil. The man at the reigns of Death Proof is the #1 auteur Quentin Tarantino.

You may know him as the guy that introduced the world to Harvey Keitel as Mr. White. Today we are talking about why Death Proof belongs on this list of 50 B Movies.


Long story short. A stunt man named Stuntman Mike cruises around in his death-proofed stunt car like a Barracuda swimming through a stream and treating all the hot young ladies with pretty feet like guppies. Oh, and boy does he find some guppies. And it is not pretty when he does.

You may lose your lunch when you see what Stuntman Mike can do with a death-proof stunt car. Tarantino leaves little to the imagination.


Tarantino flicks are well known for their formula of injecting classic talent into new films. By that I mean the director loves to reframe a familiar talent in a new light. For instance, here in Death Proof, Tarantino takes Kurt Russell who has historically played the hero and he presents him here as the villain. Stuntman Mike and Jack Burton are as different as night and day.

Tarantino’s cast of heroes is full of women and people of color. And that is a huge plus as they provide feminine colorful characters that stand in stark contrast to Russell’s rugged sociopathic stunt man. Opposite of Russell we have Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, with stuntwoman Zoë Bell.


Death Proof’s plot is very linear. There are two groups of heroines in this story. Both groups are on mini road trips. Their trip is dotted with interesting locales. The first half of Death Proof takes us through a ride through Austin, Texas.

We get introduced to a group of protagonists. They are the three friends: Sydney Tamiia Poitier as radio Disc Jockey Jungle Julia, Jordan Ladd’s Shanna, and Vanessa Ferlito’s Arlene. They make a pit stop on the way to a cabin getaway to celebrate Julia’s birthday.

RELATED: Darkman | 50 B Movies To See Before You Die

Their visit to a local dive bar includes a meeting with not one but two Hollywood directors making cameos. Both Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth share a decent amount of screen time engaging with the other characters present. These scenes offer a great introduction for the tempo of the film. So, strap in and get ready for the wild ride Tarantino has in store.

The second half of the movie follows hair and makeup artist Abernathy “Abby” Ross, stuntwoman Kim Mathis, and up-and-coming actress Lee Montgomery. The setting is Lebanon, Tennessee. And Stuntman Mike has set his sights on a new set of manicured feet. This far into the film it is clear Stuntman Mike has a thing for feet.

The second group engages in a thrilling bare-knuckled game of vehicular cat and mouse with Stuntman Mike. But this time, he has critically misjudged his prey.

Close up

There are lots of shots of feet. I guess it is an aesthetic choice. We’ve seen it in several Tarantino films. It’s an unofficial rule. There are shots of feet. But at least they are framed amazingly well and are presented with fine pedicures.

Killer Charisma

Stuntman Mike, despite having a very nasty gash on his face is a charismatic guy. He seems very trustworthy. But Russell’s Stuntman Mike is not the only affable character on screen. Tarantino fills the rest of the cast out with a bevy of actresses including Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, with stuntwoman Zoë Bell.


As you know, Tarantino’s characters speak in his trademark one-of-a-kind dialogue. So, get ready for great delivery of lines from a cast of colorful characters. There is about a ratio of thirty percent action and seventy percent talking. Thankfully, the dialogue is a treat here in Death Proof.


One thing is for certain, Tarantino can direct some revenge flicks. Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2, and Django Unchained. Each is a thrillingly unique narrative addition for any moviegoer to enjoy. And now I am pleased to say that we have our first Tarantino flick joining the 50 B Movies column.


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