Son of Frankenstein (1939)/The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Directed by: Rowland V. Lee/Erle C. Kenton
Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein are both nearly perfect films, but the next two films in the series, are extremely fun to watch, as they add Bela Lugosi to the mix. Lugosi is most famous in the Universal world as Dracula, but he’s most entertaining to watch as Igor, who reawakens the monster in Son, and has his brain switched with him in Ghost.
Boris Karloff, who played the Monster in the original film, as well as in Bride, plays him for the last time in Son, but his performance lacks the emotional resonance that it had, mostly because of its juxtaposition with the increasing goofiness of the stories. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the Monster in Ghost and while he lacks the gaunt presence that Karloff had, it’s Chaney’s portrayal, that of a lumbering, thick idiot that can’t stop moaning at everything that surrounds him, that pop culture most remembers. Son of Frankenstein takes a while to get going, but these two films make a great double feature, or a great quadruple feature, if you want to start from the first film and are feeling badass that day.
The Hitcher (1986)
Directed by: Robert Harmon
Every few days I wonder why Rutger Hauer wasn’t the most famous villain in the ’80s. Everyone remembers him from his role in Blade Runner, but I find his portrayal of John Ryder in The Hitcher to be equally interesting. He has this soft-spoken, intimidating nature, and he dominates every scene that he’s in. Also, the climax of the film, in which Ryder escapes the police van and confronts the protagonist for the final time is incredibly underrated.
Panic Room (2002)
Panic Room isn’t a horror film, but that only matters if getting into an argument over why The Silence of the Lambs is actually a counts to you as foreplay. It’s probably my favorite David Fincher film, and I don’t say that just to be contrary to everyone who enjoys . It’s intense, driven, and it has one of the most surprising performances I’ve ever seen – that of Dwight Yoakam as Raoul.
Wearing a black mask for the first half of the film, Dwight remains the most entrancing of the trio of villains, the other two being a manic Jared Leto and a normally stern Forest Whitaker. His shift from the most level-headed of the three to the most wild, a change that occurs when he gets his hand stuck in a door, is awesome, and he is the most unpredictable part of an extremely measured film.