A while ago, yours truly and MEEP of CINEMA DUMEEP did a post called 40 Non-Horror Flicks for Horror Fans (HERE). I always swore we’d do a sequel because it was such a fun subject but we never did. Truth is, I suffer from a debilitating disorder called sheer laziness so I avoided the idea of tackling 40 more movies like the plague. But now I figured out a cure! Why don’t I just do 15 at a time!? How hard is that? So here ya go! Here’s 15 MORE Non-Horror Movies for Horror Fans!
MULHOLAND DRIVE (2001)
I got some mild grief for not including DAVID LYNCHin our last list but I swear I thought he went without saying! Everybody knows DAVID LYNCH is a horror-happy mo-fo. His output of material that can bitch slap your very soul is legendary. Allow me to put MULHOLLAND DRIVE up here to represent ALL of LYNCH’s work. There are moments in this movie that are ten times scarier than entire horror franchises put together and I’m not even remotely kidding. After taking to task the heartless Hollywood dream-machine, this psycho-tsunami also rips into rubble nearly every brick in the wall that separates fluffy wishful delusion and screaming, rotting reality. If I should ever neglect to mention LYNCH again, please note that it may be due to my sanity’s desire to protect itself and allow me to remain blissfully in denial.
BARTON FINK (1991)
The big question here is how did I miss this Kafka-esque COEN BROTHERS nightmare in our first list? Luckily JON GOODMAN’s excellent recent turn in 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE reminded me of this here magnificent portrait of steadily decreasing mental health. I’ve always felt that BARTON pairs up incredibly well with our pal CRONENBERG’s NAKED LUNCH! Both movies feature the incomparable JUDY DAVIS, interchangeable wardrobes and luscious decrepit wallpaper! Oh boy, I’ve sufficiently sold just such a double feature to my own self!
STREETS OF FIRE (1984)
Every horror fan worth their salt is a fan of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and rightly so. But do you know what makes a fine companion to EFNY, even perhaps more so than the flick’s legit sequel ESCAPE FROM L.A.? I say, STREETS OF FIRE! Think about it, both jams contain gruff rebel tough guys of few words who must navigate a dangerous and dilapidated urban environment to rescue someone while accumulated a rag tag group of eccentric allies along the way. Furthermore both movies showcase musical numbers! Watch ‘em back to back; you’ll see what I mean.
JOHNNY HANDSOME (1989)
Back in the day MICKEY ROURKE was my favorite actor and in this film he stars with a bunch of my other favorite actors like LANCE HENRIKSEN, ELIZABETH McGOVERN, MORGAN FREEMAN, FOREST WHITAKER and the worship-worthy ELLEN BARKIN. ROURKE plays a facially deformed gangster who gets a brand new mug and sets out for revenge on those who double-crossed him. Like many a horror flick, JOHNNY HANDSOME concerns itself with the anguish felt by those who don’t fit in and the cathartic thrill experienced when they find retribution against the forces that alienate them. This fine film comes courtesy of the great WALTER HILL, the same guy responsible for the aforementioned STREETS OF FIRE. If he’s not a household name in your house, you live in a dump!
SECRET CEREMONY (1968)
I’ll never forget the day back when I was in college when I turned on my TV and randomly found this hauntingly bizarre movie I’d somehow never heard of. Obviously I had to skip all of my morning classes to see how things worked out. In this psychological nesting flick a child-like waif (MIA FARROW) pretends an opportunistic prostitute (ELIZABETH TAYLOR) is her long lost mother while her sleazy stepfather (ROBERT MITCHUM) threatens to tear their fantasy playhouse down. It’s not exactly action packed but it’s gloomy and goth-y enough to weave a spell. Many people find this flick to be a campy howler but as usual I genuinely love it and have no idea what they are talking about.
UNDER THE SKIN (2013)
I see you A24! I’m on to you and your sneaky mission to make me feel as square as an Amish grandmother at a Damien Hirst exhibit. It just so happens I’m artsier than you think! Luckily I was still spinning from A24’s more recent abstruse opus THE WITCH when I checked out UNDER THE SKIN so that I was ever so slightly prepared for its too clever ways. Both flicks play with being frustratingly pretentious, lull you to near boredom and then slam with you with something you’ll never forget. There’s at least one scene in UNDER THE SKIN that sent a lightning bolt of ice down my poor spine. I know I shouldn’t like SCARLETT JOHANSSON because she’s so popular but I just do and I always will. She takes chances and then there’s that voice. Anyway, I double dare you to watch this in a double feature with XTRO (1983).
IN HER SKIN (2009)
As long as we’re on the subject of films with SKIN in the title, remember this one from Australia? I sure do. The damned thing is based on a true story and it worked the miracle of somehow plunging my faith in humanity to a new impossible low. The sad thing is that when I think of this movie I can never remember the title because it’s frustratingly vague and vaporous to the point of nonexistence. They should have just called it “Caroline” after the crazy lunatic main character! Please read my fuller review HERE and only watch this if you want to be truly disturbed.
INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA (1996)
I’m at a loss for words when it comes to this movie. I used to play it over and over again at the video store I worked at and so I must have seen it a zillion times but I’m still not sure what happens in it. I guess the plot is not the point anyway. It’s like opening a dark closet stuffed with morose emotions that come crashing down on top of you in slow motion. The soundtrack is the saddest thing in the world and paired up with the ethereal beauty of ALICE KRIGE, it’s almost too much. If you can’t find this, find anything created by THE BROTHERS QUAY. They are geniuses.
WALKING AND TALKING (1996) and MY MOTHER IS A WEREWOLF (1989)
I’m including these two not because there is anything remotely scary about them but because they both feature characters that horror fans can relate to! W&T is from director Nicole Holofcener and it stars CATHERINE KEENER as Amelia, a tightly wound woman who is adjusting to the upcoming marriage of her best friend. The cool thing is that Amelia spends a lot of time at the local video a store and dates a clerk named Bill (KEVIN CORRIGAN) who ends up being a Fangoria –loving horror fanatic. On their first date he even takes her to a horror convention where they view awesome effects created for BASKETCASE 2 (or 3?). The comedy MY MOTHER IS A WEREWOLF is probably less of a stretch for our horror loving readers because not only does it concern lycanthropy but it also features ELM STREET alum, JOHN SAXON. Better still the film’s young heroine’s best friend Stacie is played by FRIDAY THE 13th PART 7’s Maddy aka DIANA BARROWS. Like W&T’s Bill, Stacie is a huge horror hound who drags her pal to a convention and those with an eye for details are sure to find lots of cool horror related stuff lurking in the background.
BLADE RUNNER (1982)
I know I hardly need to bend over backwards to convince film fans about the plentiful merits of BLADE RUNNER but I’d like to point out how horror-lovers especially will feel right at home with its themes. I mean, the plight of the film’s man-made replicants to come to terms with their mortality and to confront their maker’s vanity spurred cruelty is right on par with the perils of Frankenstein’s creation. Truly, as much as folks try to complicate the matter, the processing of one’s inevitable death is the meat and potatoes of horror; everything else is garnish. It doesn’t hurt that BLADE RUNNER is often caught skipping rope with both ALIEN (they hang in a seemingly shared universe) and THE SHINING (JOE TURKEL plays an uncannily similar enigmatic character in both films and the theatrical cut of BLADE closes with extra footage from THE SHINING’s angel’s-eye view opening credits).
SPACE TRUCKERS (1996)
Let’s say we stick with sci-fi for a moment! If I happen to be the only person in the universe with a soft spot for SPACE TRUCKERS, I am absolutely OK with that. Although why any horror fan would ever choose to miss a STUART (RE-ANIMATOR) GORDON flick is beyond me. Sci-fi comedies are almost always a fun time and I’m thinking this one is good enough to double feature with THE ICE PIRATES! You get DENNIS HOPPER, STEPHEN DORFF, DEBI MAZAR, ALIEN 3‘s CHARLES DANCE and even some square space pigs! The CGI is dated but the physical effects stand up and I like how it all feels like a lost HEAVY METAL comic.
FIVE CORNERS (1987)
This is such a great film and I’m guessing the only reason it has fallen into the cracks is because it’s so difficult to categorize. It doesn’t help that audiences sometimes have a problem following multiple storylines and digesting dark themes and quirky humor at the same time. JOHN TURTORRO plays a recently released stalking psychopath named Heinz and ever-reliable JODIE FOSTER is the rightfully worried object of his obsession. Heinz’s interactions with his loopy head in the clouds mother are sad and chilling at the same time and keep an eye out for scene-stealing horror royalty ELIZABETH BERRIDGE of THE FUNHOUSE as a wacky glue-sniffing party girl.
In the comment section of our previous 40 NON-HORROR FLICKS post I promised to include two titles if ever we did a sequel and this is the first of the two! Look kids, life is not complete until you see TERRENCE MALICK’s take on the legendary murder spree of Charles Starkweather starring the impeccably cast MARTIN SHEEN and SISSY SPACEK. This movie is so beautiful and poetic you may have to put a post-it-note on your TV to remind you that something horrible is taking place.
THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (1982)
This is the second film I promised to cover if ever we should do a Part 2! I am sure you all know that my arm does not exactly have to be pulled to cover any film that stars the incredible DIANE FRANKLIN of AMITYVILLE 2, DEADLY LESSONS and SUMMER GIRL fame. Heck, she doesn’t even play a particularly nice person in LAST AMERICAN but I’m in awe of her anyway. Basically this film is like somebody stomping on your heart for 90 minutes to the beat of early eighties new wave. Why, the only thing as heartless and unfair as this teen comedy’s universe is life itself! Horror fans should dig the whole thing as all the action seems to be taking place about a block away from their favorite slasher flick and they’re sure to recognize FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 4’S LAWRENCE MONOSON in the lead role!
A FACE IN THE CROWD (1957)
Here’s the last one for now and it’s a doozy! An unrecognizable ANDY GRIFFITH portrays a drunken lout named Lonesome Larry Rhodes, who has a penchant for speaking his mind and is discovered by radio producer Marcia Jeffries (PATRICIA NEAL) sobering up in jail. Soon his homespun wisdom is taking the country by storm and he becomes a power hungry political figure with a talent for manipulating the public to do his biding. Eventually it becomes all to clear to Jeffries that if she has not created a monster, she has at least empowered one and set it loose upon the world. GRIFFITH’s goofy grinning sociopath is legitimately mortifying and most horrific of all is how terrifyingly timely this brilliant slice of cinema from the great ELIA KAZAN (ON THE WATERFRONT, EAST OF EDEN) is today.