I’m running through my favorite horror films of the past decade or so, in honor of October and Halloween. These next two films both involve psychotic killers, but they couldn’t be more different.
“American Psycho,” directed by Mary Harron, came out in 2000. This film is, of course, based on the notorious Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. The star of this movie is Christian Bale, who never fails to sculpt his body for a role (have you seen “The Machinist”?). Beyond the physical, of course, Bale is a great actor, and he thoroughly chomps the scenery in this movie. Bale is Patrick Bateman, a man who has it all – a great job on Wall Street, money coming out of his ears, and a beautiful fiancée. And yet, when business rivals or prostitutes stop by, he just can’t help putting on a little Huey Lewis and the News, dancing about a bit, and then lethally swinging a golf club at his prey. Set in 1987, this movie is not only a great horror film, it’s a biting commentary on the excesses of the ‘80’s. There’s also a passel of recognizable actors in this – Justin Theroux, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, and Jared Leto, among others.
For a completely different change of pace, there’s “Wolf Creek,” an Australian film that came out in 2005. Written and directed by Greg Mclean, this movie follows three young folks who set out to hike through Wolf Creek National Park in the Australian Outback. When they have some car trouble, a local helps them out…and you can probably guess what happens after that. The local bushman turned killer is played by John Jarratt, and he is truly menacing – all the more so for seeming such a folksy, helpful guy in the beginning. The Outback landscape is both beautiful and desolate. When these hikers need help, there’s nowhere to turn. The plot of this movie is also stellar – you probably won’t be able to predict how it turns.
Next time, two takes on the latest trend du jour: zombies…