Some people eat sauerkraut to begin the New Year, but if weather predictions hold true, we may be looking at snowbound isolation, even power outages. How long will your provisions hold out?! After enough time homebound and desperate, you might find yourself contemplating roasting a leg of neighbor over an open fire.
Should you find yourself in such a state, here are a few films you can think of as how-to’s.
7. Motel Hell (1980)
Super cheese director Kevin Connor teamed up with low rent 80s staple Nancy Parsons and 50s heartthrob Rory Calhoun – not to mention Elaine Joyce and John Ratzenberger – to create one of the best bad horror films ever made. So gloriously bad! Farmer Vincent (Calhoun) makes the county’s tastiest sausage, and runs the Motel Hello as well. Now if swingers (note: cannibals are always eating swingers) keep disappearing from the motel, and mysterious, bubbly moans are coming from those sacks out back, that does not necessarily mean anything is amiss. Motel Hell is a deeply disturbed, inspired little low budget jewel.
It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.
6. Eating Raoul (1982)
This bone-dry black comedy plays like an early John Waters film made with less money and more irony. The sexually repressed Mary and Paul Bland need to generate capital to open a restaurant and get away from the customers, patients, and neighbors constantly trying to have sex with them. They team up with a scam artist and thief named Raoul, played with almost shocking aptitude, considering the film itself, by Robert Beltran. Together the threesome knock off perverts and swingers, rob them, and sell their bodies for dog food. But when Raoul gets a little too ambitious, not to mention lucky with Mary, well, the couple is forced to eat him. And live happily ever after.
It’s amazing what you can do with a cheap piece of meat if you know how to treat it.
5. Soylent Green (1973)
Soylent Green may not be the most famous of Charlton Heston’s sci-fi cult classics, but his granite-jawed overacting is so perfect for this melodramatic examination of human nature, greed and desperation that it is still an amusing genre study. Heston is a cop in this urban nightmare of an overpopulated future where the elderly are wooed into euthanasia by the same company that produces the only food available. You do the math. You’ll undoubtedly do it faster than Heston does, but that doesn’t undermine the fun.
You’ve got to tell them! Soylent Green is people!
4. Titus (1999)
Director Julie Taymor glories in the spectacle of Shakespeare’s bloodiest play. Considered a pot boiler when it was written, it compares favorably in this century’s ultra-violent landscape. Titus, (Anthony Hopkins, perennial man eater), returns victorious from war, but the violence he wrought revisits him when he becomes entangled with a diabolical widow/war spoil (the ever-luminous Jessica Lange). Cannibalism, incest, rape, mutilation, infanticide, and an enormity of assorted carnage take on a surreal beauty under Taymor’s artistic direction.
Hark, villains, I shall grind your bones to dust, and of your blood I shall make a paste.
3. Delicatessen (1991)
Equal parts Eraserhead, Motel Hell and Amelie, Delicatessen is a weird, wild film. Set in the apartment building around a macabre butcher shop in a surreal, post-apocalyptic France, the film addresses the same cannibalism catalyst explored in many films: a human race that destroys everything required to sustain life and must turn to the only nourishment left. The carnival funhouse approach to cinematography predicts the absurdly funny take this black comedy has on humanity and its future.
Answer me meathead.
2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The action in this granddaddy of all cult films turns on one dinner scene. (Now you yell “Meatloaf again?!”) Creator Richard O’Brien’s raucous, once-controversial film about a sweet transvestite, a slut, an asshole and a couple of domestics who sing, time warp, throw rice, animate monsters, swap partners, and finally put on a show is still as much fun as it ever was. Once a subversive take on the classic musicals and sci-fi films of the 30s and 40s, Rocky Horror is now a high-camp icon of its own.
I’m afraid you’ve touched on a rather tender subject there, Dr. Scott. Another slice, anyone?
1. Silence of The Lambs (1991)
Why miss any opportunity to watch one of the most perfect horror films ever made? The fact that a movie about a man who eats human flesh tracking down a man who wears human flesh could win all five major Academy awards is itself a testament to how impeccably this film is put together. From the muted colors, haunting score, and meticulous cinematography to the shockingly authentic performances from Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster and Ted Levine, Silence of the Lambs is a stunning achievement in any film genre.
I do wish we could chat longer but I’m having an old friend for dinner.