Welcome to “Another Movie Guy?”! Normally I review recent new releases, and then mention similar movies worth checking out. I’ve just spent the past weekend in Texas for a bachelor party, which means I never had the opportunity to review a recent new release (State of Play, based on a BBC miniseries, is probably pretty good, as is The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, based on the eponymous Chabon novel). In lieu of a normal column, I’m dedicating this post to my buddy Phillip, the Man of the Hour. He’s an unabashed horror nut – he does not care about quality, and (much to my chagrin) will watch anything as long it’s violent and grisly. To ameliorate such bad habits, I’m going to suggest some quality horror that’s perfect for the hours in which drunken male revelers recover from the previous night’s debauchery.
The Skinny: Years after The Shawshank Redemption, a truly uplifting masterpiece that’s ranked #1 on IMdB’s top movies, director Frank Darabont made The Mist, a B-movie that will assuredly call one’s faith in humanity into question. As with many other Stephen King adaptations, it focuses on a small group of eccentrics in a Maine town. This time the residents are visited by bizarre, ghoulish creatures who want nothing more than delicious human flesh.
Shocker: The townsfolk prove more monstrous than the terrifying creatures. It’s social commentary at its most ham-fisted!
Why it’s good for a bachelor party: Mrs. Carmody, a shrill Bible-thumper who no doubt resembles many mother-in-laws, gets her head blown off in the most cathartic way possible. Oh, and a new wife would certainly be appalled when her husband laughs at the movie’s hilariously bleak conclusion.
What lessons the movie has for a husband-to-be: At the end, our hero David Drayton faces an impossible choice. There are five in his party, and only four bullets. Like any decent father, Drayton reserves the first round for his unsuspecting child. Now that’s good parenting!
The Skinny: A blockbuster in its 1968 release, Roman Polanski’s horror masterpiece focuses on Rosemary Woodhouse, the wife of a semi-successful actor who moves into a new Manhattan apartment. She has strange neighbors and gets pregnant. Soon Rosemary comes to believe that her neighbors are evil witches. Naturally, her husband Guy and her doctors convince the increasingly paranoid woman that she’s just imagining things.
Shocker: She isn’t.
Why it’s good for a bachelor party: The concluding scenes, when Rosemary finds out the depths of the evil that were surrounding her, are over-the-top in a way that will appeal to inebriated horror fans. Oh, and the kinky sex dreams may provide inspiration if the partiers are later headed to a strip club.
What lessons the movie has for a husband-to-be: This movie is like a go-to manual if a husband ever wants to trick his wife into spawning the antichrist. Not that I’d think Phillip would sell his fiancée’s womb to the Dark Lord or anything. Though I suppose Guy’s subterfuge would also be apropos for adorable anniversary gifts.
The Call of Cthulhu
The Skinny: Based on the ubiquitous HP Lovecraft story of the same name, this recent adaptation does a decent job with material that scholars thought unfilmable. Rather than give the movie a modern sheen, director Andrew Leman opts to make his movie silent, with the look of truly classic horror. The story concerns the grand-nephew of a Brown University professor, and his quest to find cultists who worship the titular monster that seems “instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy.”
Shocker: Chtulu worshipers, in a fearsome bellow, would repeatedly chant, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” Perhaps it was indeed wise to make the movie silent.
Why it’s good for a bachelor party: Many men agree that it’s bad news bears when women are too familiar with HP Lovecraft and his unfathomed mountains of madness. Oh, and for particularly nasty hangovers, the relative quiet of The Call of Cthulu will prove a welcome reprieve from the LOUD sound effects of modern horror movies.
What lessons the movie has for a husband-to-be: None. It’s hard to comprehend a massive creature of pure malevolence. One thing is for sure – when the stars are right, Cthulu will rise again. Best Phillip learn that now than have an unpleasant surprise later.
The Skinny: Directed my Michael “I will ruin your afternoon*” Haneke, this movie focuses on an educated, bourgeois family that receives an unusual package. It contains a video tape, several hours long, of the family’s front yard (see above). There is nothing particularly threatening about the tape – except, of course, the knowledge that they’re being watched. The family begins to unravel.
Shocker: The English translation of the title is “Hidden,” so it goes without saying that disturbing secrets bubble to the surface.
Why it’s good for a bachelor party: About two-thirds of the way through, there’s an abrupt moment of brutal violence that will send most running for the stop button. Around a bunch of young men, however, the reaction would likely be “Holy shit, dude! Fucking awesome!”
What lessons the movie has for a husband-to-be: Cache’s most memorable scenes revolve around a husband’s secrets, and the implication they have for his marriage. Here is a textbook example of why you should tell your fiancée all the dirty embarrassments of your past. You never know when a disgruntled immigrant will terrorize your family as comeuppance for past transgressions.
* For a truly horrifying experience, rent The Piano Teacher. I assure you that after it’s over, you’ll always think twice about putting your hands into your pockets.
The Skinny: Aliens are invading the planet! Ace the leather-clad rock fan saves his favorite band, Guitar Wolf, from the oncoming horde. As a token of his appreciation, Wild Zero front man (also named Guitar Wolf) gives Ace a whistle – a magic one that Ace should blow during times of crisis.
Shocker: Turns out the gift will come in handy as zombies descend upon Japan. Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, and Drum Wolf come to the rescue!
Why it’s good for a bachelor party: Do you really have to ask why a Japanese punk rock zombie movie would be a good choice for a bunch of dudes? As icing on the cake, the DVD comes with its own on-screen drinking game. For example, players must drink every time a character shouts “ROCK N ROLL” or when a head explodes. It’ll get you sauced quickly.
What lessons the movie has for a husband-to-be: “Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!”
That’s it for this week’s “Another Movie Guy?”! Tune in next week when I go to the DC Film Fest! And, Phillip, thanks for a great weekend. Shotguns are the best.