As the Halloween season approaches, many malls are slowly awash with the familiar sight of the Spirit Halloween store, and movie theaters will soon be overrun by the same cultural phenomenon. Bringing a retail store to life on the big screen is an unusual concept for a movie, but Halloween spirit is far from the strangest.
Meta-narratives such as Being John Malkovich to quirky horror movies like Banana Splits movie information, many movies have gone out of bounds when developing a unique premise. Although many have tried, only a few capture the same goofy spirit as the new film.
The movie Garbage Pail Kids (1987)
The growing popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls in the early 1980s led to a clever series of parody stickers called Garbage Pail Kids, and inexplicably these were quickly developed into a feature film. Young Dodger struggles with his teenage life, but a chance encounter with the Garbage Pail Kids helps him deal with his bullies.
On the surface, The Children of the Garbage Bucket Film isn’t too different from the usual 80s kids movies, but the inclusion of the gruesome characters completely changed its tone. What was funny on collectible stickers had become nightmarish as live action puppets that had children and parents fleeing theaters in droves. Although it was a far from successful film, its overwhelming weirdness made it a piece of curiosity in the decades since its release.
The Banana Splits movie (2019)
The popular children’s show of the 1960s and 1970s turns horror in Banana Splits movie information, and nostalgia turned to dread for an unsuspecting audience. While attending the taping of a children’s show, a family must flee the mascots who have gone haywire and are out for blood.
Obviously intended to shock, Banana Splits movie information had very few advantages apart from its strange concept. Even so, fans of the series had a mixed reaction seeing the beloved characters go bad, and the indie horror flick was nothing if not memorable for that fact alone.
My Name is Bruce (2007)
Being one of the best horror actors of all time has its perks, and Bruce Campbell has made a career out of classic horror. My name is Bruce follows the titular actor as he is kidnapped and taken to a remote Oregon town to battle a demon.
Playing himself, Campbell was right in his hilarious wheelhouse, and the film cleverly uses his concept for comedy gold. The film has a lot to say about the nature of fandom in general, and it pokes fun at the kind of typing that plagues actors like Campbell throughout their careers.
Martian attacks! (1996)
Movies have been based on books, TV shows, comics, and a host of other media, but Martian attacks! was the first to be based on a trading card. Bringing the classic Topps series to life, the film follows several groups of earthlings as the Martians violently invade the earth.
From the creative mind of director Tim Burton, the film far exceeds the source material on which it is based. While not generally considered one of Tim Burton’s best films, it certainly packed a hilarious punch and had a retro-futuristic aesthetic that no film has been able to match since.
Last Action Hero (1993)
The movies are all an escape from reality, and Last Action Hero allowed its main character to literally do that. A magical movie ticket transports a young fan into the world of his favorite action movie, and he must help its star, Jack Slater, stop the dastardly villain.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast perfectly for Slater, and he’s essentially playing a parody of some of his most famous roles. Effortlessly blending action, comedy, and fantasy, the film took a leap from the over-the-top action movies of the ’80s and did so with a clever, self-aware premise.
Real Life (1979)
Although Albert Brooks may be known for his roles in News broadcast and The world of Nemothe veteran comedian has also done his fair share of irreverent comedies. Real life casts Brooks as a fictionalized version of himself as he attempts to make a documentary about a real family. Along the way, he can’t help but become more and more involved in the lives of his subjects and thus taint the documentary.
Generally considered one of the best mockumentaries of all time, Real life was unique because it explores the very essence of documentary and asks questions about the foundations of this art form. Brooks is more hilarious than ever, and his ability to effortlessly mimic reality was a masterful touch as an actor and director.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
Longtime Nicolas Cage fans have seen him star in some of his best films, but also in a whole host of stinkers. The unbearable weight of massive talent frames his story through the idea of Nic Cage playing himself and becoming embroiled in a crime lord’s organization when he turns out to be a huge fan of the actor’s work.
Poking fun at Cage’s over-the-top career, the film is also a love letter to the veteran actor who has had his ups and downs. He’s become something of a living meme, and the film is well aware of his meta-celebrity status that somehow transcends the usual divide between actor and role.
F for False (1973)
Some of the best documentaries play with the idea of storytelling and often ask questions about the nature of reality and lies. F for false tells the story of several notable art forgers, and the film begins to make the audience wonder what is real and what is fake.
Essentially the swan song of Orson Welles, the pseudo-documentary was one of the most astute uses of the medium in history. The viewer quickly learns to take everything with a grain of salt in the film, and they are not afraid to play with the mind until the very last frames of the film.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
When it comes to some of the best directorial debuts of all time, Spike Jonze’s efforts on Being John Malkovich is certainly a notable example. The film follows a lone puppeteer who discovers a portal that allows him to take over the body of famous actor John Malkovich.
Its strange premise would have been enough to make it a memorable film, but it goes so much further in exploring the concepts of identity and celebrity. Choosing to use John Malkovich in the lead role adds another layer of intrigue to the film as few actors are as unique as Malkovich. The film is also notable for helping to introduce writer Charlie Kaufman to the world, and it hasn’t stopped surpassing itself ever since.
Halloween Spirit (2022)
In the era of nostalgia for the perceived past, Halloween spirit manages to ride this wave of popularity and advertise his retail empire. Tired of trick-or-treating, a group of young friends conspire to spend the night at a newly arrived Spirit Halloween store at their local mall.
Veteran actor Christopher Lloyd is on hand to add gravitas to the film, and the eerie premise is matched with a spooky, playful atmosphere. The chain store has become a holiday staple, and since Halloween is so closely tied to the movies, it was only natural that the two would eventually collide.
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