Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we get our feet wet with some underappreciated horrors on the open water!)
Horror can unfold anywhere, but there’s something especially unnerving about nightmares at sea. Traveling by boat can be a lonely affair under even the best conditions as you’re cut off physically from the outside world, and that can be the case whether or not you’re alone. Add natural threats like sharks, sunstroke, and the disorienting effect of thirst and things get even worse. But toss in horror elements and it becomes something altogether more frightening. There’s nowhere to run when you’re surrounded by water.
Jaws (1975) is the best the genre has to offer, but there are plenty of other examples delivering thrills and chills. Virus (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), and even Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) are all varying degrees of fun, but they’re just the tip of the offshore horror iceberg.
Keep reading for a look at six good to great movies you’ve probably never seen about boat-set horrors.
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Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go time-hopping with some underappreciated movies about time travel!)
Time travel is a peculiar thing. In movies, I mean, not real life where we all do it every single day from one second to the next. The story ideas built on its back have resulted in several of our favorite films over the years including Back to the Future, Predestination, Edge of Tomorrow, Time Bandits, Primer, Edge of Tomorrow, The Terminator, Looper, and Edge of Tomorrow. The very concept, though, is prone to all manner of inconsistencies, plot holes, and head-scratchers, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an example of a time travel movie without at least a single frustrating paradox.
So why bother trying? Instead, we’re going to take a look at six more great time travel movies that entertain despite not catching on with the general public. They’re lesser known but not less worthy of your time. See what I did there? You’re welcome.
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Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies.)
Ocean’s 8 hits home video next week, and while I’m not the biggest fan of the film I’m always happy to see another heist movie. (I’ve even done one of these on oddball heist films!) They’re typically organized by charismatic criminals who make elaborate plans and try to avoid violence, and while they’re still crooks they’re usually the film’s protagonists. Audiences actively root for the crime to be a success, and that’s an attitude you just don’t see enough of in this country.
There are plenty of beloved examples in the subgenre from classics like To Catch a Thief (1955) and Rififi (1974) to more modern gems like A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and Snatch (2000), but there are also plenty of entertaining ones that haven’t quite found an audience. So how about I steal some of your time to share some examples of those diamonds in the rough?
Keep reading for a look at six good to great diamond heist movies you’ve probably never seen (but should).
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Posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we go swimming in bad milk. Not like, evil milk, but milk that’s gone bad at the hands of man. More specifically, it’s… milk… poisoning!)
If you’re like me, you spend a few minutes each day thinking about Joan Fontaine. Not in a weird way, of course, but with a respectful appreciation for her acting talents, her wit (as evidenced in her autobiography No Bed of Roses), and the playful look in her eyes teasing the curious intelligence behind. From her star-making turn in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) to her battle with the supernatural in The Witches (1966), she was an unforgettable talent.
So what does she have to do with milk?
Fontaine won an Oscar for her performance in Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941) – the only nomination for acting his films ever received – and one of the film’s most famous scenes involves poisoned milk. Well, she suspects it’s poisoned anyway, and Hitchcock shoots the hell out of it with ominous angles, increasing tension, and a small light hidden in the glass to make it glow against the black & white photography. It’s a nerve-wracking scene as we wonder and worry that her suspicions may be correct, but while it’s the most well-known sequence involving milk poisoning, it’s not the only one.
See? That wasn’t a convoluted journey at all. Now let’s take a look at some other good to great movies featuring poisoned milk.
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we mix it up with a look at movies featuring people who cross their DNA streams with non-people, with typically unfortunate results.)
I’m always eyeballs deep in genre movies, but with The Meg opening this weekend I’ve been digging into animal-related horror films a bit more. One of the best mentioned throughout my online travels is David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) starring Jeff Goldblum as a scientist turned Brundlefly. It’s a phenomenal movie – horrifying, emotional grim, and utterly disgusting at times – and it got me thinking about other movies featuring some manner of human/? hybrids. The hybrid element can be anything from animal to vegetable to mineral, and it can be accomplished genetically (Splice), surgically (Tusk), through good old-fashioned fornication (Species), or even via a bite ,as werewolves and vampires are technically hybrids too.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977, 1996) is probably the most well-known with its island of lost souls howling their half human/half animal hearts out through the jungle, but plenty more have appeared on screen with decidedly less fanfare and staying power. The premise of people being enhanced, lessened, or changed altogether with the addition of some other form of life is an intriguing one, but I’m also the guy who enjoys Manimal and Automan – both short-lived TV series from 1983 featuring hybrid heroes – so maybe it’s just my own questionable tastes. Let’s find out together, shall we?
Keep reading for a look at some of the best movies you haven’t seen featuring human/something hybrids!
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we explore movies that pretend to be true despite clearly not being true unless they’re actually true?!)
Documentaries are snapshots of real life and narrative films tell stories (true or otherwise) in fictional form, but resting somewhere in between the two sits the faux-documentary. They come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and genres, but the overwhelming majority seem to be comedies. From This Is Spinal Tap (1984) to Best in Show (2000), reality gets mocked quite a bit – hence the term mockumentary – but there are serious ones too including Punishment Park (1971) and Death of a President (2006).
There are also horror-themed ones including Noroi: The Curse (2005) and The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) though they’re often lumped incorrectly in with found footage films. Incorrectly because while found footage is exactly that – footage that’s been supposedly discovered and presented as is (hence the usual long, dull build-up to the final minutes where something frightening actually happens) – fake docs are properly edited for official release, include interviews, and feature music scores.
Keep reading for a look at six great “documentaries” you probably haven’t seen.
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we’re stealing your time with a look at good movies about bad abductions.)
There are no “good” abductions, of course, but sometimes you’re compelled to use an adjective. It’s not fun, but as compulsions go there are far, far worse examples. Like being compelled by force to go with someone who plans on holding you prisoner until your loved ones pay a hefty ransom for your safe return. Kidnappings and abductions are horrifying to consider in the real world, but the trauma, suspense, and terror sure can make for some stellar cinema.
To clarify, we’re talking strictly about movies involving kidnappings for ransom, so while Misery (1990) is a brilliant movie (and too well-known for this column anyway), it doesn’t fit the category as Annie Wilkes wants no ransom and has no intention of returning Paul Sheldon back to his normal life. Think movies like High and Low (1963), Fargo (1996), and Taken (2009), and then think about the ones that aren’t already beloved by you and millions of other movie-lovers around the world.
Keep reading for a look at six good to great movies about kidnappings and abductions that you’ve probably never seen and that are ripe to steal a little bit of your time.
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we look towards our neighbors to the north for some chilly tales of terror.)
2018’s only half over, but it’s already been a pretty fantastic year at the movies for horror fans. One of the best and creepiest is Adam MacDonald’s Backcountry follow-up, Pyewacket, which is as terrifying a feature as you’re likely to find from an otherwise polite and kind-hearted Canadian filmmaker. Canadians are a humble people and don’t often brag about their accomplishments, but the country has gifted us with numerous horror gems over the years including acknowledged classics (Black Christmas, The Changeling), slasher favorites (Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine), early David Cronenberg flicks (The Brood, Shivers), and ridiculous cult favorites (Cathy’s Curse, The Pit).
There are plenty more where they came from – the country’s filmmakers didn’t earn the Canuxploitation label for nothing – and in the spirit of this very bi-weekly column, I thought I’d point you in the direction of a few films that aren’t talked about nearly enough. Keep reading for a look at six of the best Canadian horror movies you probably haven’t seen.
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we put our hands together, drop to our knees, and then realize that’s a terribly uncomfortable position in which to watch movies featuring men of God as lead characters.)
When it comes to priests (preachers, pastors, etc) in movies, they typically fall into just a handful of character types. There are exceptions, of course, but the majority of them seem to find life as casual guys (Mass Appeal), pervs (Spotlight), or the last line of defense against the devil Himself (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). As with most professions, though, people who choose this line of work are typically more complicated than those one-note descriptions suggest. They’re not all good or all bad and instead usually offer the same gray slate as the rest of us.
Keep reading for a look at six movies with memorably atypical lead portrayals of men of God.
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(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we whip out our passport and go looking for Spanish terrors deserving of more eyeballs.)
Spain is a beautiful nation filled with rich culture, wonderful people, and the abomination that is bullfighting, and like most countries, it’s also home to past sins and acts of government-sanctioned barbarism. It’s no surprise that Spanish (and Mexican) filmmakers often infuse their horror films and thrillers with that history, and that reflection on very real pain has resulted in some fantastically dark genre films from the grisly fun of Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) to the emotionally scarring loneliness of The Devil’s Backbone (2001). More recently, they’ve proven themselves capable of delivering kick-ass “zombie” films with REC (2007) and REC 2 (2009), the supernatural masterpiece that is The Orphanage (2007), and terrifying psychological horror movies including Julia’s Eyes (2010), Kidnapped (2010), and Sleep Tight (2011).
In addition to being well-known, though, most genre fans have already seen those movies. (Although if you haven’t, you should fix that sooner rather than later as they are all fantastic.) So in an effort to do what I do, I’m highlighting some other Spanish horror films this week that are a bit less recognizable despite being equally fantastic. All six are Spanish productions (despite two being in English), and while they lean heavily towards the horrors humans inflict upon each other, I made sure to toss in some hungry gastropods for good measure.
Keep reading for a look at some of the best Spanish horror movies you probably haven’t seen.
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