If I had to list five of the quintessential nineties movies that basically defined the decade, “Can’t Hardly Wait” would be on the list. It’s not just a party movie, but a movie that takes every single element of the nineties and stacks it together in to a ninety minute teen comedy. “Can’t Hardly Wait” is a movie I’ve had a long history of loving and hating. I spent my teen years watching this movie on cable at least thirty times, then grew to loathe it, and then many years later, I’ve kind of grown fond of it, and its simplistic yet grand premise. It’s not a funny movie, but it’s one that’s recommended if you want to check out what the decade looked like without artifice–*cough*EmpireRecords*cough*.
After almost twenty years basically out of print, us “Critters” fans spent the better part of the digital age celebrating our favorite movie series on DVD. And not just any DVD, but a basically cheap transfer DVD that stuffed all four movies on to a few DVDs. Granted you could have done worse, but the movie series deserved so much better. The “Critters” series remains one of the more underrated creature features in horror, and it finally gets the royal treatment on Blu-Ray. With a hard shell casing, all four movies come packed, along with a humongous plethora of bells and whistles. This is the collection I as a hardcore fan, have been waiting for. It’s also a good thing that the “Critters” movies are a lot of good, gory, monstrous fun.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Ernie Kovacs stood out from his comedy peers who approached television with a vaudeville and Borscht Belt vibe. Kovacs’ ingenious use of visual sight sags and off-kilter sound effects created a new school of small-screen comedy, and his gallery of brilliantly warped characters – including the mincing poet Percy Dovetonsils, the hostile Hungarian cook Miklos Molnar and the musically violent derby-hatted simians of The Nairobi Trio – brought a subversive sense of humor to a comedy scene that was often a little too safe for its own good.
What we see in “Sisters” is the template for what would become the basic mold for most Brian De Palma films. So enamored is he with Hitchcock that he essentially pays tribute to the man’s filmmaking techniques and films consciously and sometimes sub-consciously. “Sisters” is rough around the edges, but an otherwise fascinating thriller about the perversion of voyeurism, and the suppression of sexuality and female independence in an often matriarchal society. De Palma unfolds an interesting murder mystery filled with psycho sexual overtones that almost feel like nods to the Giallos of the decade.
Stephen King is a pop culture entity that is guaranteed to stay in the public consciousness for a very long time. Every few years he fades in to the background for a while, and then re-emerges to take pop culture by storm. The last few years have been yet another Stephen King renaissance with the new popularity of classic novels, the smashing popularity of “It” and the re-release of a lot of his famous and infamous cinematic entries. Everything from “Christine” to “Maximum Overdrive” has been given a physical release, and it’s a lot of to see how much King has carved his way in to pop culture, with various hits and stumbles. “Sleepwalkers” is a stumble.
You can pretty much sense that by the time of the sequel, the whole urban legends gimmick had just about wore thin. There aren’t too many menacing urban legends that one can weaponize for a horror film. “Final Cut” pretty much feels like a copy of “Scream 2” where it’s all centered on a film school, film students, and a potential killer that may either be mimicking the movies they’ve seen, or have something so much more personal in mind when it comes to the canon fodder here.
While it’s important to note that Wes Craven’s 1995 horror entry “Scream” was a very influential horror movie that reinvigorated the slasher sub-genre, it’s also important to chronicle the films that it influenced. After the release of “Scream,” every studio far and wide began releasing their own slasher films, and many of them were whodunits, and or based around some kind of gimmick. While slasher movies are the breakdown of taboos and morality tales with the help of folklore, “Urban Legend” cuts right to the chase creating a slasher who uses urban folklore to dispense of hapless victims in a college. The results are, suffice to say, a mixed bag.
1992 seems like such a long time ago, and “Single White Female” is one of the more influential thrillers to come out of a decade filled with them. While the eighties had “Fatal Attraction,” the nineties had what is one of the more interesting films that inspired a number of copycats in the latter years. Director Barbet Schroeder’s drama thriller is by no means a masterpiece, but it’s a solid film that takes a few pages from “Fatal Attraction” while offering a villain that’s much more psychologically broken.