As early as the mid-1950s, teenagers were emerging as a significant percentage of the movie going market. Popular teen-geared genres included juvenile delinquent films (JD), horror, and rock-and-roll films. Many of these films were B films, but not in the strict sense of the term. These were not the “second features” or the short films of the 1930s and 1940s. Instead, many were low-budget productions, which successfully exploited this new and burgeoning segment of the population.
American International Pictures (AIP) was one the earliest studios to capitalize on the exploding teen market. In Reform School Girl a teenage girl is sent to reform school after being framed by her boyfriend who ends up in a hit-and-run accident after stealing a car.
T-Bird Gang was part of a double-bill teenage package which also included the film High School Big Shot. Roger Corman (King of the B’s) co-produced this film. It tells the story of a teen-aged boy who joins a gang to avenge his father’s death.
This low-budget exploitation film combines melodrama with a semi-documentary style. It sought to tap the burgeoning youth market with its story of three teenaged boys who discover a stolen canister of heroin. The final scene features a chilling and disturbing execution in a gas chamber. The film was produced and directed by Philadelphia-born Irvin Kirschner (1923–2010), who was best known for directing Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).