Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Films

Yes, it's another edition of missed movies, but focused on Halloween. However, since I already did a horror example, I figured I'd focus on something else this time: Films that might not be horror films but have some connection to horror or a similar vibe.

Ed Wood

I could stock this entire list with Tim Burton films, because he rarely does direct horror but so many of his films have that vibe. However, since Ed Wood is his best film I figured I'd draw everyone's attention to it. Anyway, how many of you have heard of Plan 9 From Outer Space? The original terrible but hilarious film, Plan 9 is a staple of any worse-ever list, and Ed Wood is a biopic about it's director, Edward D Wood Jr.

This sounds like a setup for a cruel joke at the expense of the lead character, but the film never takes that route. Indeed, one of the greatest parts about this film is it never seems to want to be cruel to it's lead, despite his obvious lack of talent. It regards him as an inhumanly optimistic, naive film geek who just happens to lack anything resembling talent.

From there it's an incredibly well made film, with a great screenplay and incredible performances from everyone from Johnny Depp to Martin Landau to Juliet Landau (aka Drusilla from Buffy). It even manages to have all the good things about Tim Burton's direction without ever falling into the traps that bring his work down.  It garnered great reviews at the time and even managed to pull in a couple Oscars, but was a HUGE commercial failure at the time, so not a lot of people have heard of it. So if you're looking for a forgotten gem of a movie, you should definitely seek this one out.

A Boy and His Dog

How many of you like the Fallout games? Well this is pretty much Fallout the movie. It's the future, things have gone to shit, etc. You've seen this kind of movie in the Mad Max but one thing that Mad Max didn't have was a sarcastic telepathic dog. No really, this movie has a telepathic dog.

This one comes with a tentative recommendation, as it can get quite nasty (I'm talking nasty enough to make Eli Roth flinch) and occasionally veers into what seems to be sexism. But if you can suffer through the gore, the really icky aspects and more than few jarring shifts in tone, it's a brave and original film with a lot going on under the surface.

Little Shop of Horrors

Based on a well received off-broadway show (which itself was based on a not-terrible Roger Corman film), Little Shop of Horrors is a fun little comedy musical. The story is about a 20 year old living in a shitty neighborhood who finds a strange plant in a local shop and proceeds to use it to make the flower shop where he works a success, but finds that it only grows when it's fed blood. And you can pretty much guess where it's going from there.

It's directed by Frank Oz (in his first break from the Muppets as a director), and while it might lack the polish of some of his later films, when it works it really works, and there's a lot of fun with the three ladies acting as Greek Chorus. So if you're in the mood for a well made and amusing musical, definitely seek this one out.

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