#5 Ginger Snaps
The title says it all – Ginger and little sister Brigitte are morbid goth chicks proud to be outsiders. Ginger gets bitten by a “dog” and changes, blossoming into a hot and sexually aggressive grrrrl, leaving her sister behind. In this unusually honest and darkly humourous depiction of adolescent girlhood, Katherine Isabel is particularly charismatic portraying Ginger’s shift from sullen and sarcastic girl to fierce woman.
#4 Eight Legged Freaks
A toxic waste spill results in impossibly large spiders. Spiders, meet the townspeople. Townspeople, spiders. The whole thing moves along at a brisk pace with lot of gags and skin-crawling moments with swarming spiders. The tone is more comedic than horrific – its clear that they needed to add the comic element – to have treated the spiders seriously would have been way too much. A great cast, including a teenaged Scarlett Johansson who has never looked better and is a first-class screamer.
Re-Animator is the king of the low-budget black humor films of the 1980s. Very loosely based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the film involves decapitations, autopsies, and the bringing back to life of mangled cats and severed heads – and that’s just the first ten minutes. Filled with classic scenes of hilarious morbidity, Re-animator is a must-see for any fan of horror comedy. Jeffrey Combs’s performance as mad scientist Herbert West lends the film much of its punch as he plows through the most shocking scenarios with a determined nonchalance – nothing will deter him from his mission of conquering death.
Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are handymen in Perfection, Nevada, a town with a handful of people and rickety buildings – their big dream is to get the hell out of there. Perfection has worms – giant mutant worms which travel underground and pull their prey under like sharks. The only road out of the valley is bottled up by a landslide, leaving the residents trapped in with the worms. This charming little movie spawned three (weak, weaker, weakest) sequels because the original is such an excellent blend of the right actors, director, script, and overall tone. The fuel/air mixture of horror to comedy is, well, perfection.
This is a movie that really fell through the cracks. Made two years before Reese Witherspoon achieved fame with Pleasantville, she has never had a role so perfect for her unique personality. She is a sweet country girl with an edge. Kiefer Sutherland plays an oily serial killer who chooses the wrong victim and pays for it, in spades. A Red-Riding Hood variation in which the Big Bag Wolf gets his comeuppance. A sad side-note and mystery: writer-director Matthew Bright never made another good movie – what happened?