Name your favourite reference to anything horror-related in a non-horror setting.
I always loved the mention of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the 1987 Mark Harmon classic Summer School. How cool would it be to be able to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre during summer school? I have to admit that the character of Chainsaw always made me laugh. Does this make me a dork? Maybe.
Once upon a time, circa 1995 or something, I came across a picture of trip-hop artist Tricky made up as Pinhead. At the time I simply could not imagine anything cooler. Talk about two great tastes that taste great together!
Well, recently the DTV Ad with Kathy Bates in “Misery” really cracked me up. She lifts the hammer to swing and then turns her head towards the screen and starts pimping DirecTV. That was pretty sweet. I just love in general when horror films have become so ubiquitous in culture
that they begin to be referenced like this. Another one that comes to mind was a Family Guy non-sequitur that showed what it was like at Pinhead’s dinner table. (needless to say, not very fun). That was pretty priceless, too.
Damn, that’s tough… after thinking about it… stumped!!!
Personally, I always liked the movie within the movie used in Matinee. John Goodman plays a movie director in the vein of William Castle who is bringing his latest movie, MANT, to Key West during the Cuban Missile Crisis. While the movie as a whole isn’t a horror movie, the MANT film clips we see most definitely fit the bill for the classic B-movie style.
There are so many great examples, like that crack in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE about Raymond Massey’s character looking like Boris Karloff (because Karloff had played the part on Broadway), but the first one that comes to my mind is from the old sitcom BARNEY MILLER. They had a recurring character on there, Bruno Binder, who was a local vigilante, a really loathsome type played to perfection by the late character actor Stanley Brock, who was probably born with a wet cigar butt stuck in the corner of his mouth. In one episode, Binder gets into a conversation with Harris, the black cop played by Ron Glass, who was always a natty dresser and who always fancied himself a sophisticate, and Binder name drops THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE… to which Harris says something haughty like “Let me guess… Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers?” Without catching on that he’s being dissed Binder says “No, no big names… just a helluva good picture.”
I wish I could remember the actual dialogue (and it might even have been NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD that was mentioned – hey, it was over 30 years ago) but what I thought then was cool about the reference was that it was made by a prime time sitcom years before popular entertainment got so intertextual and self-referential.
Easy as pie! It’s the repeated lyric “This is really happening…” in the Radiohead song “Idioteque” which is, of course, a line from Rosemary’s Baby. Chills every damned time.
Far and away, the Monster Cereals, of course!!!
I love a good fake movie, don’t you? We’d all love to watch “The Bloodening,” and we all know there’s no way that “Thanksgiving” and “Don’t” could ever be as good as their trailers make them seem. But there is one fake movie I wish I could see: 1962’s “MANT,” by Lawrence Woolsey.
“MANT” was the centerpiece of “Matinee,” an underrated 1993 period comedy by Joe Dante that desperately deserves a DVD release. Woolsey, played by John Goodman, is a pitch-perfect tribute/caricature of the great showman William Castle, and he’s come to Key West for an exclusive engagement of his latest horror masterpiece, featuring a dreadful human-ant hybrid creature. (Man + ant = MANT! Get it?) Of course, this is October of 1962, and President Kennedy is having some problems with a bunch of missiles that have just been discovered in Cuba. As a whole, “Matinee” is a charming slice-of-life coming-of-age film and a loving tribute to the golden age of atomic horror film, all under the darkest shadows of the Cold War.
The scenes we get to see from “MANT”… well, it’s Joe Dante doing William Castle, isn’t it? It’s a truly beautiful thing, and it hits all the right notes. I was talking about “Matinee” with a friend the other day, and I remarked on how sad it was that (SPOILER ALERT) we never get to actually see the end of “MANT.” But then I stopped, and realized that it doesn’t matter that the ending is never shown in “Matinee,” because I know how “MANT” ends. It ends with stock footage of an enormous explosion, and as the dust settles, the words “THE END” appear, appended a few seconds later with the fade-in of a menacing question mark. How else could it end?
My mind immediately goes to the 1982-1990 NEWHART sitcom on which it was stated several times that Peter Scolari’s character Michael’s favorite movie was THE BOOGENS! It’s particularly funny when you consider that THE BOOGENS was a relatively recent release at that time. Plus let’s face it, “THE BOOGENS” is just one of the best and funniest titles of all time. It’s particularly great it you haven’t seen the movie because what you imagine is far worse than what they actually turn out to be.
I think the answer here would be obvious: the trio of Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Booberry. I have long been an opponent of children, so I think that we should inject as much terror as humanly (or inhumanly) possible into their daily balanced breakfasts. Usually that just involves making them eat Special K, but I think it’s even better to include MURDEROUS CREATURES FROM BEYOND THE VEIL OF DEATH. And marshmallows.
Also: The only time I really watch television is during late September/early October, because ad agencies absolutely cannot resist the lure of putting monsters into marketing schemes no matter what the product is. Duracel batteries? Battery-powered Dracula. McDonald’s? Ghost McNuggets. Radio Shack? Teri Hatcher. This is my personal favorite.
I guess it’s very fresh in mind because I just saw it last night, but I’d have to say it was the inclusion of a scene from The Wizard of Gore and the ensuing horror movie discussion between Jason Bateman and Ellen Page in Juno. Although I didn’t particularly care for the movie for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into for fear of getting off topic, I was tickled by the inclusion of this scene. It was a genuine moment of coolness in a movie that too often tried too hard to be cool, showing two characters in a serious discussion of a genre which is very rarely taken seriously in the mainstream. When’s the last time you heard a debate over the work of Dario Argento in an Oscar-nominated movie?
I’m not sure if Takashi Miike’s bloody yakuza crime/horror film Ichi the Killer is considered to be a typical horror movie by a lot of horror fans, but I love the film and I think it has plenty of horrific moments. The star of Ichi the Killer is one of my favorite working actors (Tadanobu Asano) and he’s also appeared in many Asian arthouse dramas. One of his best and more recent films was Last Life in the Universe where he plays a timid librarian. In the library where Asano’s character works he casually walks past a movie poster from Ichi the Killer which sort of foreshadows some events in the film in a subtle but very creative way – Takashi Miike later shows up in Last Life in the Universe as a yakuza thug!
I thought this was going to be a tough one, then immediately after sending out the question I came up with dozens of examples. It’s kind of sad. Thanks to all of this week’s contributors, and if you have any horror references you’d like to share with the class, please do so below.