Horror Sommelier: May 2018
Every month join Brennan Klein, your horror sommelier, as he runs through the upcoming theatrical releases and pairs them with the perfect horror film for a killer double feature.
Every summer on my personal blog Popcorn Culture (link URL: jiffypopculture.blogspot.com), I run a weekly review of an 80’s slasher film that is thematically linked to an upcoming release. I’m folding those picks into this article, so if you want to join me over there every Wednesday for those reviews, get a sneak peek at the titles I’ll be choosing by checking out the movies marked with an asterisk in each weekend’s pairings.
Directed by: Bob Fisher & Rob Greenberg
Synopsis: Kate (Anna Faris) is a single, working-class mother of three who's hired to clean a luxury yacht that belongs to Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) -- a selfish, spoiled and wealthy Mexican playboy. After unjustly firing Kate, Leonardo falls off the boat and wakes up with no memory of who he is. To get payback, Kate shows up at the hospital and convinces the confused amnesiac that they're married. As Leonardo tries to get used to manual labor and his new family, Kate starts to wonder how long she can keep fooling her fake husband.
Pairing: THE CARPENTER (1988)*
Blue collar crime is the name of the game this weekend, and if a simple handywoman can create a web of lies around a wealthy aristocrat, then why shouldn’t we pair that with a French-Canadian Wings Hauser vehicle about a carpenter who may or may not be a ghost murdering the enemies of a depressed housewife? Seriously, this movie is insane. Check it out immediately.
Directed by: James McTeigue
Synopsis: A woman (Gabrielle Union) takes her two children on a weekend getaway to her late father's secluded, high-tech estate in the countryside. She soon finds herself in a desperate fight to save all of their lives when four men break into the house in search of something.
Pairing: NO GOOD DEED (2014)
Modern cinema has given us no small amount of chintzy thrillers starring African-American actresses who deserve better, so we don’t have to go too far into the past for this one? Also more or less a home invasion/erotic thriller, No Good Deed not only gives a badass Taraji P. Henson, but we also get a shirtless, showering Idris Elba. I don’t care what your sexuality is, we’re all fluid enough to be into that.
LIFE OF THE PARTY
Directed by: Ben Falcone
Synopsis: Dumped by her husband, longtime housewife Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) turns regret into reset by going back to college. Winding up at the same school as her daughter, Deanna plunges headlong into the campus experience -- embracing the fun, the freedom and the frat boys.
Pairing: RUSH WEEK (1988)*
This campus slasher is kind of a meta, personal pick, so forgive me. Both movies take place on college campuses, so that’s one thing to go on. But a professor at my alma mater worked on this film, so in a way, the thematic link is me getting to relive my college years. Does that count? Well I make the rules, so I say it does.
Directed by: David Leitch
Synopsis: Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) battles the evil and powerful Cable (Josh Brolin) and other bad guys to save a boy's life.
Pairing: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1989)*
Josh Brolin plays the villain in two separate Marvel movies this year (Cable and, of course, Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War), which feels totally bizarre and unprecedented. But it’s not quite as unprecedented as all that. You see, in the Elm Street heyday, Robert Englund was a hot horror commodity and also got the chance to play two major villains in the same genre within a single calendar year. The Phantom of the Opera was mostly just a rip-off of his Krueger role at that point, but you don’t get much more classic than that!
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Synopsis: A detective (Will Arnett) finds adventure with his unlikely partner -- a canine cop (Ludacris) who has to go under cover at the world's most exclusive dog show.
Pairing: DOG SOLDIERS (2002)
Because of course. In a dog-eat-dog world, some of those dogs have to be human and directed by Neil Marshall. Also a British werewolf thriller might be just what you need to forget the fact that you’re being dragged to Show Dogs.
Directed by: Bill Holderman
Synopsis: Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage, Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached, Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still working through her decades-old divorce, and Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. The lives of these four lifelong friends are turned upside down after reading the infamous "50 Shades of Grey," catapulting them into a series of outrageous life choices.
Pairing: I, MADMAN (1989)
If you’re looking for a movie where a book changes the lives of those who read it, you should never look further than I, Madman, a lurid, bonkers tale of a woman who becomes obsessed with a pulp horror novel about a killer who has cut off his own face and finds the most beautiful parts from his victims to make himself less ugly. Only, this killer might just be stalking her friends in real life! You’ve got Jenny Wright from Near Dark, Clayton Rohner from April Fool’s Day, and a crapton of makeup effects. What more could you want? If you really need corroboration, check out this piece from fellow Ghastly Grinning writer Ian West.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Directed by: Ron Howard
Rating: PG-13 (?)
Synopsis: Through a series of daring escapades, young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
Pairing: PHANTOM OF THE MALL: ERIC’S REVENGE (1989)*
If we’re going to be visiting younger versions of characters we already know, why not check out a movie that featured teenified versions of a movie that’s already on this list? You’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera… Now try Phantom of the Mall, a teen slasher reboot of the story that features Pauly Shore, Morgan Fairchild as a mayor, and Dawn of the Dead’s Ken Foree! Maybe nothing could possibly be better than the title, but you might as well give it a shot!