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Friday, October 27, 2006

Scary monster chiller horror theatre movie time.

Ok, maybe a few of you will be going to Halloween parties this weekend or over the next few days. Losers like me will be home watching scary flicks like The Dukes of Hazard remake. So for lost souls likely to rent The Break-Up because everything else at Blockbuster is gone, here’s a list of alternates in the horror category you may not have ever heard of that are worth a look.

(Now I could just do a Top 10 list and leave it at that, but that just wouldn’t be me now would it? Kürze ist heute verboten.)

Most of what you find among today’s horror genre seems to fall into several categories that range from freaky (The Ring, White Noise), to sadistic gorefests like (Saw, Hostel and High Tension, and so forth). I’ve seen these and 99.999% of everything else out there. That’s my job. Most are intense, have great effects and have definitely eclipsed anything from the Halloween, Jason and Chuckie franchises.

Barring The Grudge and all the films like it, there are some that are stylish as well as some that are just cool to look at if you’re an AD, or if you have ADD. Your choice. Hopefully, you won’t TP my house if you hate any of them, and just maybe you’ll even go “Hey, that didn’t suck as bad as I thought.”

Start with vampire flicks, because well, there’s a lot of them out there. The art crowd always picks Tony Scott’s The Hunger with David Bowie. Ok, he’s cool in everything, but just as cool is Christopher Walken and Annabella Sciorra in Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction shot in B&W. Check out a pre-tax problem Wesley Snipes in a pre-TV show version Blade that has a very cool intro.

For funky gore and and over the top pulpitude? Nothing beats Robert Rodriguez’s original From Dusk Til Dawn, with George Clooney and the always crazy ‘like - a - bag - of - wild - ferrets - with - my - head - inside - it crazy’ Juliette Lewis.

Going back, back, back against the wall is another funky little vampire flick with a wiseass Bill Paxton in Near Dark, also with Lance Henriksen of Millenium fame. (A horror-freak TV show rivaling any flick listed here and worth renting.)

There’s one more recent one that was pretty cool: Nochnoy Dozor, aka Night Watch, a kinda Mystery Men meets Blade. (Have to warn you that it’s dubbed in English from the Russian version, still, it may be the first flick where you really don’t notice it like you do in other foreign films.)

Moving on to general terror that would be the basis for TheRingTheGrudgeTheWhatever, there’s Se7en with Brad Pitt. Forget anything Morgan Freeman has done in the horror genre since, it really doesn’t compare. For designers, here’s the clichéd but true phrase you always hear: ‘see it for the groundbreaking title sequences by Kyle Cooper of Imaginary Forces’. Yep.

For Brad Pitt fans, there’s also a funky little turn he did as a mental patient in Terry Gilliam’s futuristic sci-fi 12 Monkeys, also with Bruce Willis. (And, for the evil Brad as serial killer, check out Kalifornia with a second appearance in this list by Juliette Lewis.)

The Silence of the Lambs.

There’s always the original Alien by the other Scott brother Ridley. (The sequel and it’s title ain’t bad either, Aliens.) For a journey into darkness though, you have to see Jacob’s Ladder with Tim Robbins, director’s cut. (I put that in my Top 5, if of course, I had a Top-anything list.)

Getting more modern, I really liked Shaun of the Dead (from 2004). Think Ricky Gervais meets Dawn of the Dead. (And to beat a dead horse even more, this is the humor-horror flick SoaP should’ve been.)

And, if you’re hosting a party, check out Danny Elfman’s Music For A Darkened Theatre Vol. 1. (Vol. II’s ok as well.) Dude scored a lot of movies, from Beetlejuice to Batman, and the collection is just whacky enough to work on Halloween.

Feel free to add your own suggestions to the list.

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Jetpacks said...

Twelve Monkeys was Pitt's last good turn as an actor, back before he started playing Brad Pitt in all his movies. Good call.

John Wagner said...

Hey, is that a SCTV reference in the title? I'm always saying that when I see a commercial for a scary movie and people look at me like I'm crazy!

Make the logo bigger said...

That it is. I was going to throw out the ‘Chiller’ opening, a six-fingered hand from the late-night horror movies on WPIX in NY in the 70’s, but Count Floyd holds a special place in my staked heart.

Ouch, sorry.

For anyone who wants to see it though,go here.