5 Cool Things - Hybrid Horror Movie Edition
To celebrate our new release Bad Ass Bitch Extraordinaire - Hell Book 2 (B,A,B.E for short) by Bodie Myers (something of a hybrid himself) we are again talking about, something that is not books. B.A.B.E. like it predecessor The Walking Funeral is a genre jumping novel with elements of the supernatural, some hard boiled noir, a touch of horror and loads of flat out action. Even a bit of humor is mixed in there. Just make things fun B.A.B.E throws in a little Western flavor and some Mad Max road trip fun, all with a feminist touch. So, we are busting out our semi-regular five cool things column looking at some hybrid horror movies. We’ve left out comedies, just because, so sorry Shawn of the Dead and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. Maybe we will get to you next time.
- From Dusk till Dawn - Crime/Horror - Even the Tarantino (wrote it) and Robert Rodriguez (directed it) combo is something of a hybrid, since both are outstanding film makers with their own distinct styles. In a way not a hybrid at all, but two different films. For the first half it’s a crime movie about the Gecko brothers making a run for the border and kidnapping a family on the way. The opening sequence at Benny’s World of Liquor is a classic. At no point during the first half is there any foreshadowing or even a little hint of what’s coming. It takes a sharp turn into a vampire/survival horror story when Selma Hayek (Santiago Pandemonium) decides to bite Quentin Tarantino (Richie Gecko) in the neck during a PG rated lap dance*. If this was not marketed as a horror movie this could have been one of the most jarring moments in film history as the movie shifts from Reservoir Dogs to Night of the Living Dead with vampires in an instant. The reason the hard turn is effective is both ‘movies’ completely work. The first half is an outstanding crime film, George Clooney as Seth Gecko makes a great ‘Parker’ like anti-hero. Seth Geko might actually be a better ‘Parker’ than the last two attempts at adapting Richard Stark’s classic character. When the movie flips into horror territory we have a bunch of interesting characters we care about caught up in one of the most gory action packed forty five minutes in film history.
- Aliens - Action/Sci-Fi/Horror - In a list featuring Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wesley Snipes the biggest bad-ass is probably SIgourney Weaver’s Ripley. No hard turns from one genre to another in this one. It manages to be all three at almost all times, even working in a few shots at 80’s yuppie culture, and works from start to finish. The audacity of ditching the straight horror movie in space of the excellent Alien and make it more a balls to the wall action picture in space with scary monsters completely kicks ass. Keeping the xenomorphs in the shadows and letting the viewer get only a piece here and there until the end was great in the first one, but with everyone having seen the monster in the first one there was no reason to tease the thing anymore and James Cameron and company wisely went the other way, giving us bad ass space marines vs. bad ass space monsters instead. Like From Dusk till Dawn this is not just one of the best hybrid horror movies of all time but one of the best movies period.
- Predator - 80’s Military Porn/Action/Sci-Fi/Horror - Much like From Dusk till Dawn this is kind of two films. The first third is the pro military Ramboesque action picture they loved to make in the 80’s. Someone who somehow managed to see this one without catching the marketing might think they were watching Commando 2 - Sully’s Revenge. It plays like the kids from Red Dawn ran into a monster while hiding out in the Colorado mountains.* The turn into monster movie is not quite as extreme as Dusk till Dawn, there is some foreshadowing making it more a long turn into horror than a blind jump. The key is, Like FDTD, it works on both sides (the first third is not as strong, but it certainly is not dull and introduces us to the characters we get to watch get stalked and dropped later) Arnold is at his pumped up best, using his brains as well as his brawn as he takes what would be the scream queen if it were a regular 80's horror movie role as the last survivor* (I’d like to think Predator followed Slasher movie zoning regulations and pre-mission while the others were partying and getting laid Arnold was studying for a test or something). They throw in a nice science fiction angle to the monster, giving it a reason for the mayhem that actually makes the thing scarier (nothing like finding out you’ve dropped a notch on the food chain).
- Blade - Martial Arts/Horror - A Marvel comic book movie that never plays like a comic book movie. Like From Dusk till Dawn the vampires here are monsters and are never played as anything but. Snipes plays the half human vampire Blade* much the same way. On the edge of being a monster himself but struggling to maintain his humanity (by violently killing things mostly, but hey, you do what you can). While except for the excellent blood soaked opening sequence it is never really scary, like Silent Rage (see below) this is a horror movie with a healthy dose of martial arts, Unlike Chuck Norris, Snipes actually has some acting chops and while he is not a martial artist on Chuck’s level he is good enough to play it effectively on screen.
- Silent Rage - Martial Arts/Action/Slasher - Sometime in the 80’s fueled by cocaine and red power ties a couple of movie producer types got together and said:
“You know what the kids love? Martial arts pictures. Especially ones with white guys dressed like cowboys. You know what else they love? Slasher movies.” The other replied, “What if we had a slasher movie where instead of chasing down a screaming teenage girl the killer hunts, say Chuck Norris?”“Sounds awesome, throw in Flounder from Animal House and I smell a hit*.”
Thus Silent Rage was born. It was literally marketed as Chuck Norris vs. Michael Myers, and yes Stephen Furst, Flounder from Animal House plays Chuck’s side kick and, I guess, Jar Jar Binks like comic relief*. Like just about all Chuck Norris movies it works when he delivering roundhouse kicks but doesn’t when he isn’t. The ‘horror’ parts are mediocre at best, the killer is bland and the time spent explaining why the quiet psychopath is an unstoppable killing machine don’t help. However the scene where the Chuckster takes down a dozen or so bikers is seriously one of his best action sequences ever. When he gets down to using those martial arts skills to try and stop the bland killer it becomes good fun. This is not one of the great movies of all time, but, if they could have given the killer a good name or nickname (Chucky, Freddie, Jason, ect.) this could have been a franchise. In the age of reboots this one is due, it seems rebooting flawed flicks with potential would be a much better use of time and money than fucking up classics. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Jason Statham* vs. Jason Voorhese or Freddie vs. Fat Steven Seagal?
Disagree? Well you're wrong, but feel free to tell us about it. Also, during Halloween season remember the knife wielding psycho killer never kills the kid who reads. Be that kid.
*Strangely perhaps the longest stretch of PG rated film in FDTD takes place right here, during a striptease.
* From Dusk till Dawn 2 kind of took the Parker vs, Vampires concept on by having the vampires show up during a heist.
* I would totally watch this movie and have not doubts it would be better than the Red Dawn reboot.
* I’d like to think Arniold and Jamie Lee Curtis bonded over this on the set of True Lies.
* He’s, wait for it... a hybrid.
“ Not a hit.
* If only Jar Jar had met the same fate as Deputy Flounder.
* By rule we must mention Jason Statham. Also, it is part of the 10th Rule drinking game. Everyone take a shot, do it. Now.