Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Guest List: The Lightning Bug's Favorite Underrated Horror ""

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guest List: The Lightning Bug's Favorite Underrated Horror

Lots of films blogs and websites to recommend this week. Next up I have to call out the excellent Lightning Bug's Lair for your perusal. Remarkable site. Great resource. You must read! Thanks to T.L. Bugg for a great list!

T.L. Bugg’s Top 10 Underrated and Obscure Horrors

Hey everyone. First off, I'd like to thank Rupert for asking me to take part in his Halloween festivities. As I consider his 'Top' lists some of the best and most informative around, I felt like I had my work cut out for me. I tried to come up with a good cross section of flicks that were obscure, underrated, or both, but mostly I just pulled together a list of some of my offbeat favorites. I hope you enjoy,and Happy Halloween to everyone.

10. The Evictors (1979) This is a film I only recently discovered when it popped up on Netflix Instant Watch. I am normally no kind of fan of Charles B. Pierce, and I’ve referred to his best known films as ‘The Movie That I Dead Seeing’ many times. However, this time the balance of documentary style, great performances from Michael Parks and Jessica Harper, and a nice pseudo-supernatural set-up combine to make a very entertaining film. I don’t know how well known this one is. Before I stumbled across it on Netflix, I had never heard of it, making it seem like the definition obscure and underrated.

9. The Horror Show (1989) Lance Henrickson, Brion James, and a vast improvement over Wes Craven’s similar film Shocker are but three things this flick has going for it. It doesn’t hurt that in Europe it was called House III. This was a real favorite of mine when I was a kid and it still holds up for me now. Plus if you can hate on a film where Brion James gets to appear as a crazy possessed turkey, well, you’re a better person than I is all I’m saying.

8.Crawlspace (1986) You take future Puppetmaster director David Schomoller and give him a film about Klaus Kinski as a cross dressing ex-Nazi psycho, and I have to say that you’re going to come up with a gem time and time again. Schomoller came up with more than that when he recounted his experience working with Kinski in the short film, “Please Kill Mr. Kinski” Not only is this film tense and wonderful, but it seems old Klaus came as close to death on this production as anything by Werner Herzog.

7. Cat in the Brain (1990) Sure Fulci’s late era meta film may not be that obscure, but it sure as hell is underrated. For my money this flick goes in my top two or three films of his, and the more I watch it, the more I enjoy it. While Zombi, The Beyond, The New York Ripper, and Don’t Torture a Ducking constantly give it competition, Cat in the Brain was Fulci’s last really good film. Sure it is kind of rough around the edges, but Lucio’s self examination is worth the bumpy ride. It also has the bonus of being the best way to see Ghosts of Sodom without having to sit through Ghosts of Sodom.

6. Burnt Offerings (1976) I love a ghost story, and when I see lists of them, this never seems to be among them. With a cast consisting of Betty Davis, Karen Black, and Olive Reed, there were so many ways this picture could have gone wrong. Instead it remains a reserved tale of the supernatural that manages to get good, solid, believable performances out of both Reed and Black. That in and of itself is underrated.

5. Living Hell a.k.a The Japanese Chainsaw Massacre (2000) I usually don’t go in for Japanese horror, but I will admit that the title was what drew me into this one to begin with. When a strange grandmother and granddaughter come to live with distant relatives after a terrible accident leaves the pair with no other family, the family’s son is instantly suspicious of them. His fears turn out to be right, and the last half of the film is full of creepy, chilling, tortuous visuals that caused me, and extremely jaded viewer, to have a nightmare or two after watching it.

4. Damned in Venice (1978) Here’s an Omen rip-off that gets it right. Directed by Italian Ugo Liberatore, the flick centers on a kid who, try as he might, can’t stop his mom from humping the devil and bringing about the coming of the Antichrist and the end of the world. That is a lot of pressure to put on a kid! Damned in Venice is filled with great visuals, some gruesome gore, and that problematic relationship with the Church that Italian filmmakers love so well. While it would have liked to be The Omen, I would sooner watch this again than see another second of Damien.

3. Madman (1982) Here’s another rip-off that I always find entertaining. Riding on the wave of slasher films in the early ‘80’s, Madman had everything you needed, camp, dumbass kids, and a crazy slasher out for blood. This time out it’s Madman Marz, and not only does he look like Victor Crowley’s grandpa, he kills like it took. No matter if he’s stringing up people by a rope or planting an axe in their head, this run of the mill slasher gets a boost by executing all the necessary slasher expectations with great ease. Plus the fact that Paul Ehlers who played Marz went on to be a custom fantasy knife maker is just icing on the cake.

2. Hide and Creep (2004) Fans of The Lightning Bug’s Lair have heard me prattle on endlessly about this indie horror comedy, and now if they are reading this, they get to hear it all over again. Chance Shirley and Chuck Hartsell made a hilarious film that shows a lot of love for the zombie genre, and their flair for Southern characters that extends beyond the stereotype. Oh, and don’t let me forget that there are aliens too. Imagine if Ed Wood grew up in the ‘80’s a developed a wicked wit and you’re not too far off. Hide and Creep has been on Netflix Instant for some time now, and if you’re looking for something fun to watch with a group of friends for Halloween, I can’t recommend this film enough. Or if you don't have Netflix, here's the whole film on YouTube.

1. Madhouse (1974) Of all the classic Vincent Price films, Madhouse will undoubtedly remain my favorite. Price stars as Paul Toombes, an actor known for his role as the dastardly Doctor Death. When murders in the style of his character begin to befall those around him, Toombes naturally becomes the main suspect. Terrorized by his own creation, he even begins to question his innocence. Playing out like a reserved giallo, (there is blood and black gloves but no boobs) Madhouse gave Price a chance to ruminate on his career (and that of co-star Peter Cushing) while delivering a stylish horror thriller.


deadlydolls said...

I totally echo the nod for Burnt Offerings. Not only does Oliver Reed give a good performance, but the guy comes off as a normal, good dad! THAT's a feat!

Cinema Du Meep said...

Ooh, I love Madhouse. That is an EXCELLENT choice.

Stephen Langlois said...

Great list. Glad to see Madman get a nod. This has always been one of my favorite cheesy 80s slasher movies. I've been known to break out in the "Madman Marz" song they sing around the campfire. Thanks for the youtube clip of the real Madman Marz, too. That was priceless. If they ever want to do a sequel, they need look no further than that guy for inspiration.

JoeyBanks said...

Love Burnt Offerings. Thanks for adding the clips. Makes the whole thing very entertaining. Now, if you could just get me popcorn...

Graygrrrl said...

I just wish more of these were available outside of Instant Netflix!

Zachary Kelley said...

Thanks for all the comments folks. I had a great time doing the list, and was kicking myself for days later about things I left off. Glad you folks enjoyed!