Halloween is almost here. What a better time to curl up on the couch and watch a scary movie. Each day this week we’re recommending some lesser-known horror films to keep you creeped out until the big night next Tuesday.
A mysterious meteor infected with a deadly alien plague brings chaos to a small hunting town in the feature-length directorial debut of screenwriter James Gunn. Booted out of bed by his young, trophy-wife Starla, and in desperate need of some female companionship, wealthy Grant Grant picks up bar local floozy Brenda and heads into the woods for a hedonistic night of extramarital excitement. When a flaming meteor lights up the sky before crashing to the ground nearby, Grant’s curiosity gets the best of him and he sets out to find the space rock. Subsequently infected with a rampaging space virus, which he passes along to Brenda, Grant transforms into a horrific, cow-munching monster and begins terrorizing the town. As thousands of squirmy space slugs burrow into the brains of the unsuspecting Wheelsy denizens creating an ever-amassing horde of mindless space zombies, panic grips the small town and it’s up to Starla, Sheriff Bill Pardy, and gung-ho mayor Jack MacReady to put an end to the infection and save the planet.
British director Neil Marshall’s directorial debut Dog Soldiers resurrects and embraces the low-budget horror-comedy. Sergeant Harry Wells leads a team of British soldiers on a routine expedition to the Scottish Highlands. The six men would rather be at home watching the game, but they are even more dismayed when a carcass lands on their campfire. The next morning, they happen upon a severely injured Captain Richard Ryan and the bloody remains of his squadron. Soon they are attacked by giant werewolf beasts and chased through the woods, only to be saved by zoologist Megan, who explains some of the truth about the creatures. They all take refuge in an old farmhouse while the threat of the monsters looms increasingly heavy.
Island of Lost Souls
This first film version of H.G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau stars Charles Laughton as Dr.Moreau, a dedicated but sadly misguided scientist who rules the roost on a remote island. Shipwrecked sailor Edward Parker Richard Arlen finds himself on Moreau’s island, agreeing to stick around until another boat can come along and take him home. But that’s not quite what Moreau has in mind: he’d rather Parker stay on the island and marry the exotic Lota, who curiously possesses the characteristics of the panther. In fact, all the island’s natives seem more animal than human, especially the hirsute Bela Lugosi. And why not? They are animals who’ve been transformed by Moreau into humanlike creatures via surgery. Moreau’s plans to mate Parker and Lota are complicated by the arrival of Parker’s fiancee Leila Hyams, who has been brought to the island by ship’s captain Stanley Fields, one of Moreau’s flunkies. When Moreau kills Fields for this insubordination, he makes the mistake of breaking one of the rules he himself has imposed on the island: That no creature shall kill another. Island of Lost Souls does its job of inducing goosebumps so well that one can forgive the cherubic excesses of Charles Laughton in his portrayal of Dr. Moreau.