More Underrated Horror
Jeepers Creepers 1&2
The first demonstrated a master class in tension building for forty plus minutes before turning into all out creature feature for the remainder. The second movie followed this well, getting straight back into the action while also daring to break a potential formula. The Creeper itself is a spectacular horror creation and one that deserves to be revered alongside the likes of Jason, Freddy etc.
Bring on the third.
I’m not alone here, legendary critic Mark Kermode is a fan of this attempt at bringing Shelley’s creation to life and rightly so. Initially snorted at as a vanity project upon release (lots of focus on a sweaty, topless Branagh, incidentally the movie’s director) a small contingent now appreciate it as a cautionary tale on the nature of vanity itself. De Niro’s monster is as gruesome as he is tragic and from his first appearance onward the film really hits its stride, intermittently tugging on your heart strings before punching you in the gut-or through the chest.
If you saw it then and weren’t impressed, it might be time to take another look.
The Wolfman (2010)
Unfairly maligned, this movie does exactly what it says on the tin. a gothic, tragic romance, monster feature with lashings of gore, inventive action and a deliciously hammy Hopkins.
Another period horror, set during the Mexican-American war, with Guy Pearce as a traumatized “war hero” sent to man a remote outpost where mysterious stranger Robert Carlyle soon appears with reports of murder and cannibalism in the hills. Tense with occasional stabs of black humor and boasting a truly unique soundtrack from Blur frontman Damon Albarn which you can listen to here.
Perennially underrated character actor Elias Koteas is former priest turned Detective trying to prevent Christopher Walken’s jealous Archangel Gabriel from bringing about the end of the world. A witty script, clever use of religious mythology, and some great performances, What more could you want?
Land of the Dead
So it’s not as groundbreaking as Night, doesn’t quite pack the satirical bite of Dawn and fails to match the nihilistic splatter of Day, but there is plenty of fun to be found in Romero’s fourth zombie saga installment. Dennis Hopper is panto eeevil as the face of the 1%, while John Leguizamo does “sweaty desperation” and Asia Argento smolders. But it’s the zombies who are the real stars this time.
Let’s just not talk about the two movies that followed-ever.
Perhaps not underrated, but this british genre mash gem deserves a hell of a lot more attention than it gets. Wheatley induces Lynchian levels of creepiness, between stretches of Shane Meadows-like gritty realism, all shot clinically through an almost Kubrickian lens. Comparisons aside, this is the best horror I’ve seen in years.
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