Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Movies with “vs.” in the title

The upcoming release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” got me thinking about the many movies that have “vs.” or the like in the title.
While there have been some good movies with “vs.” in the title (legal dramas such as “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” for instance), most such movies are schlock.
Having “versus” or “vs.” or now “v.” in the title is shorthand for an epic showdown between two formidable competitors. Like a heavyweight prizefight, these matchups promise a lot of action between two well-known opponents.
I recently put together a list of “vs.” movies on the Internet Movie Database. IMDb lists no fewer than 114 such movies.
The first was “Wife vs. Secretary,” a 1936 comedy starring Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy.
The next was comic-book film “Atom Man vs. Superman” in 1950. It was followed by science-fiction films “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers” (1956) and “Earth vs. the Spider” (1958).
It wasn’t until the fifth such “vs.” movie that the genre really took off. That flick was “King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1962). To date, lizard monster Godzilla has appeared in 13 such “vs.” movies, squaring off against foes like Mothra, Megalon and King Ghidorah.
The “vs.” category of movies really soared with low-budget direct-to-video and cable TV movies. Schlocky movie studio the Asylum has made its fortune off crummy flicks like “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus” and “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.”
Last year, there were nine “vs.” movies released. This year, at least 13 have been released or are scheduled for release, including “MILFs vs. Zombies,” “Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves” and “Lake Placid vs. Anaconda.”

Photos: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper.”

See also: Vs. TV series.

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