Film

Excited about Cocaine Bear? Here are 10 more ridiculous, high concept movies to try

Cocaine Bear is the latest in a series of thoroughly silly, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin modern B-movies. Here are a few more to go with your popcorn.

Keri Russell as Sari in Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks.

Keri Russell as Sari in Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks. Photo: Universal Studios

A few months ago I didn’t know how badly I needed a movie called Cocaine Bear. Then the trailer hit and suddenly it’s all I could think about. It’s a BEAR. ON COCAINE. A COCAINE BEAR. The film, based (I swear) on a true-life incident, is directed by Elizabeth ‘Pitch Perfect’ Banks, and has a trailer that looks ridiculous, gory and quite satisfyingly, er, grizzly.

Now we’re here though, I’m not sure I actually want to see it. Can Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear compete with the one in my head? It’s one of those titles and concepts that is just too perfect. Maybe we shouldn’t let an actual movie spoil it?

To mark the occasion, here’s a run-down of some other films whose titles and elevator pitch concepts alone justify their existence, each marked in our own patented ‘Cocaine Bears out of five’ rating system.

https://youtu.be/DuWEEKeJLMI

Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Snakes on a Plane is the daddy of the modern schlocky high-concept movie, and it generated excitement as soon as word got out that it was coming. It’s about SNAKES ON A PLANE. At one point there was an attempt to rename it something more sensible, but Samuel L Jackson point-bank refused. And no-one is going to argue with Samuel L Jackson on this. The success of the movie, or at least the success of the early viral buzz it created, revived the 50s B-movie concept of title-led, cheaply made, thoroughly silly genre movies. If anything, the promise of the title over-hyped the flick. It’s fine, but it was never going to be as good as the Snakes on a Plane people had imagined.
FOUR COCAINE BEARS OUT OF FIVE

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Zombie Strippers (2008)
Zombie Strippers knows exactly what its audience wants – flesh. Lots of it. Some of it dead. Some of it very, very much alive. Directed by Jay Lee and starring Jenna Jameson (a genuinely big star in her day) and Robert ‘Freddie Kruger’ Englund, the plot is simple: a virus turns a group of strippers into zombies, and they start feasting on their customers. The movie takes that idea and runs with it, delivering a non-stop barrage of blood, guts, and gratuitous nudity. At one point Jameson’s character, Kat, rips off her own nipple and throws it at a customer, which is probably a pointed metaphor for… something or other.
THREE COCAINE BEARS

ThanksKilling (2009)
It’s Thanksgiving and a psychotic turkey wants revenge. It cracks wise. It has sex. It says, “Gobble gobble motherf*cker.” It’s the kind of puppet 1980s children’s TV would reject as cheap-looking, and the whole thing looks like it was shot on a Nokia 7650. It might be the worst thing to ever happen to cinema. There’s a ThanksKilling 3 but, novelly, not a ThanksGiving 2. A musical adaptation is also, apparently, a thing.
ONE COCAINE BEAR

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009)
Directed by Ace Hannah and starring Lorenzo Lamas, Deborah Gibson (yes, that one), and Vic Chao, it’s got a giant shark, a giant octopus, and they’re both out to destroy the world. Unlike the quite-respectable Snakes on a Plane, MSvsGO doesn’t try to convince us it’s a well-made film, although it’s Apocalypse Now compared to ThanksKilling. VX, acting and dialogue are all appalling, but they’re a slightly more acceptable level of appalling, and that’s all part of the fun. At one point [below] the mega shark leaps out of the ocean and bites a commercial airliner out of the sky, and I’m just glad that a movie where that happens exists. There are three sequels. Three!
THREE COCAINE BEARS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I16_8l0yS-g

Titanic II (2010)
How did they get away with making a sequel to Titanic, you might ask? Simple – they didn’t. This is the story of a present-day vessel literally called the Titanic II, a new luxury mega-liner built to mark the 100th anniversary of the original’s voyage. You will never guess what happens. Directed by Shane Van Dyke (always a mark of quality) who also stars (ditto), it is quite astonishingly stupid. Exterior scenes of the docked Titanic II were shot on the Queen Mary, now a permanent tourist attraction in Long Beach California and quite obviously open to the public during filming. It also means the ‘state of the art’ new ship looks suspiciously like a pretty well-lived-in and permanently-moored 1930s liner when its passengers embark. You have to admire the audacity.
THREE COCAINE BEARS

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Sharknado (2013)
Anthony C Ferrante’s wilfully ridiculous too-many-motherf*cking-sharks-in-this-motherf*cking-tornado movie leans into its title so much that some posters carried the strapline “enough said”. Starring Ian Ziering and modern B-movie legend Tara Reid, the premise is simple: a freak tornado picks up a bunch of sharks and drops them on Los Angeles. Sharknado spawned five sequels and two spin offs, meaning there are now eight films in what I’m going to insist on calling the SCU. In its own way, it created a cultural moment.
FOUR COCAINE BEARS

Zombeavers (2014)
A group of college students go on a weekend trip to a remote cabin and are attacked by… go on, take a guess? YES. Zombie beavers. Beavers that are zombies. Over-the-top gore, ridiculous one-liners, and, lest ye forget, zombie beavers abound. It could be improved by adding a second joke at some point, but all in all it’s a good time.
THREE COCAINE BEARS

Killer Sofa (2019)
A film that, I promise, exists. Directed by Bernie Rao and starring Piimio Mei and Nathalie Morris, this is the tale of a Lazy Boy recliner chair (notably not a sofa, by the way) possessed by a vengeful, blood thirsty spirit. It’s a hoot, I promise.
THREE COCAINE BEARS

Slaxx (2020)
It’s as high concept as it comes, but loses points for having a title that is not completely self-explanatory. The plot however? *Chef’s kiss*. A pair of haunted high-waisted jeans kill the wearer in quite horrible ways. It’s grizzly, it’s clever and it has a surprisingly amount to say about consumerism and labour exploitation in the developing world.
FOUR COCAINE BEARS

David Harbour in Violent Night
David Harbour’s Santa is no saint in Violent Night. Photo: Allen Fraser / Universal Pictures

Violent Night (2022)
Did you know you needed a gratuitously violent Christmas movie where Santa takes down a team of would-be robbers menacing an obnoxiously rich family? Well you do. Oh, and Santa is played by David Harbour. It’s satisfyingly splattery and surprisingly wholesome – one of the absolute delights of last year, and hopefully a new festive perennial. A sequel is on the way!
FIVE COCAINE BEARS

Cocaine Bear is in cinemas from Friday February 24

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