In April this year, before an official announcement about S7, Bob Singer described their concept for season 7:
Next year may have the boys being Butch and Sundance, or the Wild Bunch. Basically, it’d be telling a story of the last of the cowboys, gone modern. That’s just a jumping-off point… there’s an idea of, “The world is closing in around you.”
Since then we've heard this theme repeated and developed. But there's another influence on the season that's been mentioned which people don't seem to have picked up on, one which I think will be the major genre influence on the season. Both Sera and Ben have talked about this season being influenced by B-movies.
B-movie is the name given to cheaper films made to support the big feature movies in a double bill (as movies were shown in the middle of last century). Sci-fi, horror, Westerns are all staples for B-Movies. And B-movie 's themselves came to embody its own style of movie. It's often used as a pejorative to imply something of low quality - but they are so much more than that.
B-movies above all else are fun. They are the monster movies, and splatter flicks, and the disaster movies, exploitation and blaxploitation movies of the 70s. If you look at a list of B movies you'll see films now regarded as influential classics – Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead and Easy Rider.
More recently filmmakers like the Coen Brothers, Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have made films that revel in what makes us love B movies.
This quote I think sums it up:
".. b-movies broke the rules and proved that you could make fun and enjoyable pictures without a ton of money and flashy CGI effects. It was this philosophy that made b-movies the special films they are. B-movie directors took microbudgets and made some of the greatest films in history. Were they great because they had great acting, great special effects or great storylines? No. They're great because they touched a part of us that allowed our child-like innocence to take over, and these are the movies that have stuck with us throughout the years. We don't always know what they were called, and we don't always remember what they were about, but the images from these classic b-movies are images that have stayed with many of us throughout our adult lives."
Sound like Supernatural?
Like noir, the B-movie is something that Supernatural already fits comfortably within. So how will this play out in Season 7?
Well B movies also encompass what are known as the body genres – those genres (horror, melodrama, and yes pornography!) that elicit intense emotion and physical reaction in the viewer. They make us scream with terror and delight. I'd be expecting more gore and gross outs, more violence, action and emotion. Pinning down a particularly visual style in B movies, if harder than for say noir, but still I think of it as vivid and intense with a big focus on the money shot.
We can't talk B movies without mentioning the concept of cheesy and camp – again words often taken as pejoratives, but they also signify things that can be hugely enjoyable. Camp can broadly mean valuing something ironically. A good definition of camp is that it takes something, analyses it and then represents it in an exaggerated and humorous way.
Ben Edlund also has hinted at how this may play out this season (avowing that it's not camp, while sort of capturing its essence) :
“Seven seasons of these characters going through all this stuff, at this point — it’s not camp, but you know, it’s going to be a little funnier, because how many times have they died? How many times have they been to hell, both?" And he added – their friend became God!
This sensibility can play out in a number of ways – humorously of course, but also in a darker way as well.
So I'll finish with Edlund:
" It’s going to be scarier and in a weird way lighter, because they’ve been through so many different pitfalls and valleys and shadows of many deaths. It’ll be scary and fun. We’re going to turn all the dials up and see what happens. Hopefully the machine doesn’t explode.”
Sera has already said she still holds hopes for working in Nazi zombies this season and hey it gives me hope for the tentacles…