One of the things I love to talk about, be it on a date or with a dear friend, is our passions. As a genre geek, I tend towards talking about horror stuff more often than not, but I have loves that reach outside of horror. A lot of those loves have darker undertones, I will admit. I am not one for the lighter faire. I love books, movies, art, all sorts of things. Movies just tend to be the easiest to talk about with folks for some reason.
I have a pretty strange taste in movies when it's not horror related. While horror will always be my main love, I am more forgiving to it than other genres. For instance, I hate badly done sci-fi, but I will watch a badly done horror movie. I will also tear apart said badly done horror movie, but sci-fi doesn't even get my interest at all if it's bad. I have some movies I enjoy that I love because they are weird, or silly, or remind me of my childhood. Things other people might consider low brow. We all have our own tastes and reasons for why we love something.
So here a list of my top ten, ranging anywhere from soul shatteringly beautiful to just down right, “Are you for real? You LOVE this movie?” Because hey, sometimes I need a movie that feels like junk food.
A stunning dark fairy tale. I love the tragedy and the beauty of this film, and how interwoven everything is. Plus, it's by Guillermo del Toro, who knows how to tell a dark fantasy story. But it isn't just that. Pan's Labyrinth is also a movie about the horror's of war. Our main heroine is a poor, dreamy little girl who's adopted father is a sadistic army officer in Spain 1944. That means we have these two worlds colliding: fantastical dream and real life horror. These are two things Guillermo del Toro does well. He doesn't shy away from some pretty awful scenes, but also, he doesn't hold back when creating magical atmosphere and creatures. The whole movie pulls at your feels, but I think it is a work of art.
I love this movie for it's multi-layered messages and great story. It both spits in the face of misogyny and revels in it, spits in the face of society and then goes and builds it's own that is everything they rebelled against. Lots of interesting things in this movie, from amazing cinematography, interesting characters, and moment's that really have some deep things to say. This is one of those movies I find fun to debate with friends after watching it, because everyone has their own theories on what's going on. And the fact the book was written by a gay man adds another layer to the debate. First rule of Fight Club, DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!
V for Vendetta
This is a story about corrupt governments and how one man inspires a nation to take it down. The Guye Fox mask means so much more than what it has come to mean, but this film made it popular. The character of V is inspired by what Guye Fox was trying to do. V for Vendetta is based of the comic by Alan Moore, which I also adore, but I can tell you there are significant changes to the story in the movie. To me, these were good changes. This movie has a lot of powerful messages, like how ideas are bullet proof. Ideas are more important than the people who inspire them, and will live on even after that person dies.
This is one of those awesome silly movies I enjoy because it captured a moment in time for me. Both Wayne's World and Wayne's World 2 came out when I was hitting puberty, and well, that was quite the crazy time. Movies like Wayne's World were the right mix of utter stupid, but spoke to my kind of teenage-stupid. Which if you look deep in your dark hearts you will admit you had your own stupid teenage moment too. I personally don't think there is anything wrong with having a favorite movie that is kinda stupid and just brings you joy to watch it. Anything that brings you joy should be inflicted upon yourself as much as possible, and who hasn't had a car ride that broken out into BOHEMIEN RAPSODY? If you haven't, you are missing out.
“Daylight come and me wanna goooooo home!” If you follow my blog at all, then you know by now I am a HUGE fan of this movie. So huge, I cosplayed as a female Beetlejuice I called Kweenyjuice two Halloweens ago. I love this movie. This movie was made in the years of awesome Tim Burton madness such as Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, and thus, holds a special place in my heart. Out of the three, I think this one is my most favorite, because all the characters great and small are just so interesting and quirky. But none can overpower the sheer oddball weirdness of the man himself, Beetlejuice. Seriously, he's the ghost with the most babe! And now I have said his name three times in this post, so I hope he comes visit me...
Okay, so by now you can see I am a comic book junkie, and I love everything from the utter silly to the deep and thought provoking. Tank Girl is based off a comic, and I know it is a bad movie, but hey, I don't hate ALL bad movies. I am a self proclaimed Troma junkie after all! And it's fun! I get to see Lori Petty as Tank Girl, and she fucking OWNS the role. Watching her ride that tank with glee is almost like a panel straight out of the comic, and then they show some animated panels! So yay, wish granted! It's a weird little mess of a movie, but a fun one, and has some great scenes like Tank Girl singing, “Let's Fall in Love” on top of a white piano while she humiliates a bitch of a madam. This is not an intellectually stimulating movie. And that is fine by me. “Mother's, lock up your sons!”
I never thought I'd see the day when Hellboy would be done justice on the big screen. But when you get a talented fanboy like Guillermo del Toro behind the project, you know you will get quality. And when they casted Ron Perlman as Hellboy, it was like the man was chiseled from demon stone to be our horny hero! Seriously, Ron Perlman is forever Hellboy in my mind. I doubt anyone would argue with me if they read the comic books, because Ron gets Hellboy's personality, not just his look, spot on. The first one is my favorite and more closely resembles the comic books, with H.P. Lovecraft elements, evil nazi magicians, and some bad ass action scenes. Plus, every creature in this movie is a work of art, which is a staple of Guillermo del Toro movies.
Okay, time to get my musical sappy side on. This isn't my favorite musical of all time, but I wanted to pick one I liked that wasn't REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA or SWEENEY TODD. Because those two are actually my favorites. But I'm branching out here in this article. Moulin Rouge is a weird one that people either adore or hate, because it doesn't follow conventional musical formulas. There is music, sure, but the majority of the songs are redone songs you've heard before, not music written specifically for the film. It also is a film that kind of blind sides you as the tale goes from all this bright, energetic splendor, into utter darkness and sadness by the end. I won't give too much away, but the themes of revolution and bohemian ideals seem to be the downfall of a lot of the characters in this movie. You still root for them all and hope the bad guy gets his due and the good guys end up together, but the movie to me seems to purposely rip that apart before your eyes so you realize the real world doesn't actually work that way. It's still romantic though, even in it's tragedy, which is why I love it.
Out of all the movies on this list, this is probably the most powerful and soul-wrenching. It is a moving tale about love and death, rebirth and devotion. There is nothing political in this, nothing silly and distracting. This movie is personal, and hits you right in the core. Who among us hasn't watched helplessly someone we love die or been around someone who has? Who among us doesn't question our mortality, and if we could try to find a way to defeat death, would we attempt to? Lots of symbolism in this one, as with many on this list that I adore, but this one always makes me walk away balling my eyes out. It has such a powerful message, and is my favorite of all of Darren Aronofsky's work. I love a lot of his films.
And of course, my list would not be complete without my favorite creepy family! They were the family I'm pretty sure all goth kids would tell you they wanted to have, because they really did seem to have it all. But more than that, they were happy, and not in a cheesy sit-com way. They didn't follow society's rules and yet, they were happy. Morticia isn't forced to be the ideal of what a woman should be, but yet, she is an ideal, because she owns herself. While she has a loving and devoted husband, beautiful children and is wealthy, she isn't without agency. She was someone a young girl with a passionate soul like myself could look up to and be if she so choose. And Gomez was still a strong male presence, but he never let his ego overshadow his wife or children. He is kind as well as fierce, and I love the implications that he and his wife might be kinky. That always tickled me.
And that is pretty much my entire list! These are movies I can watch again and again and still be entertained, or moved, or find new things to enjoy. And in the end, that's what makes a movie a favorite for me. If I want to come back to their worlds, and enjoy whatever story, characters or rich setting is presented, then it's a win for me. And I become as devoted as Gomez is to Morticia to my favorite things.
Queenie Thayer has been an avid fan of horror all her life. She's a published author of both horror and fantasy. She currently writes for Living Dead Magazine, Darkmedia.com and is a Fright Meter Awards Committee Member. She also enjoys blogging, and is known in the crevices of the internet as Kweeny Todd, the Demon Blogger. There she shares her obsession with the macabre and the monstrous. She's also an aspiring filmmaker, and is trying to get her short film Red Handed off the ground.