The Evil Dead is one of the most iconic horror movies of the 1980s, but writer-director Sam Raimi has recently explained that the movie’s budget was brutal for him. The supernatural horror flick cost $375,000 to make, but no viewer could possibly tell, as Raimi stretched that number as far as he could, and the indie film looks like it cost millions.
The movie’s small budget encouraged the director to experiment more, so, if it had a higher production cost, it might not have been as entertaining. However, The Evil Dead isn’t the only movie that was made better by its limitations, and Redditors have given tons of examples. Whether it’s simply overcoming tiny budgets in creative ways or making an amazing shark movie without a working animatronic shark, these films fell backward into success.
Serdire explains that CGI not being fully developed in 1993 greatly benefitted Jurassic Park. The Redditor explains, “Spielberg knew what he had and what was still out of reach, so showing just enough CGI made the movie all the better.” If Spielberg and the studio had the recourses to digitally create a shot of a dinosaur, they probably would have done it, but it would have been nowhere near as effective as the actual result.
It’s the limited use of CGI that makes the blend of digital and practical effects in the movie so seamless. It’s often hard to tell the difference between the practical models of the dinosaurs and those that were digitally rendered. And that’s why it looks even more realistic than the much newer Jurassic World movies, which followed the original by more than 20 years.
While it’s an extremely niche subgenre, Jaws is easily the best shark movie, and second place doesn’t even come close, but the Spielberg film was originally meant to be a lot different. MsScarletWings notes, “There was originally meant to be way more screen time in the movie for the shark itself, but the animatronic kept malfunctioning and breaking down during production.”
The Redditor is right, as, according to The Atlantic, one of the animatronic sharks even sank. But the movie is all the better for it. Jaws keeps audiences on the edge of their seats because of how little the shark is shown, and when Bruce does briefly appear, it has way more impact. The scenes wouldn’t have been as effective if the shark was constantly onscreen.
Moon is criminally underlooked and one of the best sci-fi movies of the 2000s. It follows an astronaut who is mining for helium-3 on the far side of the Moon, only things aren’t as they seem, and a shocking mystery slowly unravels. NoHandBananaNo thinks the film excelled with a micro-budget of $5 million, and any more would have been totally unnecessary.
The Redditor explains, “It’s a way better film than it would have been with a budget like Gravity or something.” While director Duncan Jones would have pulled off some amazing visuals with a $130 million budget, the rough look of Moon is part of its charm. And given that when Jones has a blockbuster budget the result is Warcraft, giving the filmmaker more money could have been a huge risk.
One of the funniest gags in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the way that the knights pretend to gallop and are followed by servants clanging coconuts together to replicate the sound of horse hooves. But Jay_B04 points out that it wasn’t simply a joke that was written into the movie; it was a result of working around the cost of using real horses.
The Redditor explains, “In order to save money on a shoestring budget, they had an extra follow each character with coconut halves to simulate the sound of horse hooves.” According to Comic Book Resources, that’s exactly what happened, and it works perfectly within the realms of the comedy troupe’s absurdist humor.
Primer follows two friends who inadvertently build a time machine in their garage, and while it isn’t the most popular, it’s easily one of the most thought-provoking time travel movies. Reddit user Jpmoney2k1 thinks the film, which had a shockingly tiny budget of $7,000, turned out as well as it did because of how little it cost. The Redditor notes, “That meant the actual time machine couldn’t be a typical wires and LEDs contraption and was instead something that resembled a coffin, which was a great thing thematically.”
However, Primer could have also benefitted from a bigger budget, as the 77-minute time travel movie doesn’t fully flesh out all of its storylines. The whole subplot of the shooter at the party could have had a few more minutes spent on it, but that might have required a budget of more than a month’s salary.
Inoueninja94 thinks Deadpool was made better by its limitations. The 2016 movie had a rough development, as it was stuck in development hell for years, but the problems didn’t stop when it entered production. The Redditor notes, “Deadpool accidentally leaves the bag filled with guns in Dopinder’s taxi because the studio slashed some of the budget, so they had to revise the final battle for it.”
According to Comic Book Resources, right before production began, the studio cut $8 million from the film’s budget which was more than 10%. That meant that Reynolds and director Tim Miller were forced to cut out some big sequences. One of those sequences saw Deadpool using that huge bag of guns that he leaves behind in Dopinder’s taxi, but it made for a hilarious gag.
Saw was a huge phenomenon when it was first released, and it grew into a franchise that has grossed over a billion dollars. But the whole idea of Saw stemmed from filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell trying to make the easiest and most inexpensive movie ever.
SiliconAnthems notes, “They originally came up with the entire concept by limiting themselves to ‘what can we do with two guys in a room’ because they knew they had no money.” That’s exactly what Whannell told The AV Club in an interview in 2010. The screenwriter explained, “we were like, ‘How are we going to make a film when we had all these big ideas? Big ideas cost money.'”
SweetCosmicPope notes that Donnie Darko wouldn’t have had the same soundtrack if director Richard Kelly had a much bigger budget. The Redditor notes, “The original version is amazing but was limited in budget. When Richard Kelly went back for the director’s cut to redo CGI and add in scenes and music he originally wanted, the result was terrible.”
According to The Digital Fix, a lot of the music in the theatrical release was used because Kelly’s first choices were too expensive. The 2004 director’s cut of the movie proves that the limitations worked out in the movie’s favor, as Kelly’s first choice, INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” replaces Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” for the opening song, and the scene loses a lot of its value.
FondleGanoosh438 is another Redditor who believes that one specific film could have been worse if it was granted a larger budget. The Man from Earth is a wonderful sci-fi movie, but it’s mostly made up of philosophical conversations, as it followers a retiring college professor who believes he is a 14,000-year-old caveman.
The Redditor comments, “It’s completely dialogue driven and takes place in one room. I compare it to an excellent episode of The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone.” If the movie was full of spectacular effects, it may have taken away from the impact of the engaging and thought-provoking conversations.
Maverick57 points out that Back to the Future was originally meant to be much more ambitious but much less renowned. The Redditor explains, “The original intention was that the method of time travel was essentially the “nuke the fridge” scene from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was going to require a nuclear explosion in the Nevada desert.
According to Slash Film, that was exactly what was planned in the original screenplay, but because that was too complex to shoot, the time machine was changed into a car and was shot in the Universal back lot. As a result, the film is much more entertaining and the DeLorean has become an iconic movie vehicle.
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