Friday, April 30, 2010

Because Sometimes, the World Needs More Glue

In honor of this weekend's Kentucky Derby, let's take a moment to honor a few genre films with terrifying, tragic, or just plain neat references to the horrors hiding in every equine eye.

The First Power

A rather unnotable entry into the temporary possession subgenre of horror, and while any film that makes Shocker look good has its issues, this Lou Diamond Philips/Melanie Griffith's younger sister starring thriller does boast a rather terrifying death scene via loose horse stompage. That's gotta hurt! (Seriously; it kills the guy, so I'm sure it does.)

28 Days Later

No infected Mr. Eds here (thankfully, because I don't see any of us surviving that), but Danny Boyle's hard working survivors do take a surprisingly poignant moment to observe a pack of wild stallions peacefully making their way across the English countryside in the face of not-zombie mayhem. A quiet reminder that human problems are never the sole concern of the world they live in.


So the apocalypse has hit and you've been raised in a crowded quarantined zone for the last 30 years. Naturally, when sent over the wall to a Mad Max-meets-King Arthur's court anarchy, you'll easily be able to hop on a passing horse and race through Sherwood-y Forests better than Calamity Jane. The future is indeed a wonderful place.

The Cell

Dripping in Dali references and gooey imagery, Tarsem's 2000 thriller is a visual feast that may boast a helping or two of equine meat. From the opeinng desert ride with a dreamy J-Lo to a spliced but preserved colt decorating a corner inside the mind of serial killer Vincent D'Onofrio, The Cell includes several horse heavy references of, as the mayor of Emerald City might say, a different color. Ethereal or evil, natural or bat shit crazy, it's an intriguing ride for jockeys with vision.

Cannibal! The Musical

A story of love, lunchmeat, and a little lady named Liane (who just happens to be something of a nag).  Actually, rumor has it Trey Parker named his lead character's pet horse after a former fiancee caught with another man, so it's fitting that in the case of this Troma songfest set during the fateful Donnor Party's travels, the action kicks off with the faithless Liane galloping away from our hero to start a more exciting life with some vertically challenged trappers. She may be cruel, but at least Liane can graze happily knowing she inspired one of the film's musical highlights, "When I Was On Top of You."

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Not a horror movie you say? When was the last time you tested your endurance with a 24 hour (minus a few 10 minute naps) dance marathon in Depression era America? This 1969  Syndney Pollack film disturbs on a different level than something like The Ring, but it's hard to walk away from the no-exit squalor Jane Fonda sleepwalks inside without feeling as though your heart has been stomped on by a 1000+ pound thoroughbred. Oh, and while there are no actual horses in the film, the point--plus race aspect--coincides just fine with Kentucky Derby inspired nightmares.

The Neverending Story

Also not your typical genre film, but what child of the '80s wasn't permanently scarred watching Atreyu's loyal companion Artax drown a slow (and assumedly painful) death in a patch of surprise quicksand? An early reminder to a young audience that life can sometimes be unforgiving. They don't just shoot horses; they also pull them underground to suffocate while you sit back with tears in your eyes.


  1. Thanks for sharing.

    I put my finger in a cow's mouth once. Nothing bad happened.

  2. Nice! I would include The Ring for sure. Poor horsey jumping off the boat....waaah.

  3. See Sarah: That's why there are no killer cow films. Yet.

    Andre: I totally meant to include The Ring, but realized I've only seen it one time and couldn't quite remember how the horses were used in the film. I know it was effective, but oddly enough, I'm much more comfortable discussing Lou Diamond Philips watching his friend get stomped in The First Power.

    Hm. Mayhaps I should revisit The Ring.

  4. Have you ever seen that movie about horse diving. Yes that is a person on a horse diving from a high dive into a pool while still on the horse. Anyways....the horse gets spooked and the girl ends up going deaf or something. Ugh what is it called? Someone will know.

  5. Want to really feel unclean about horses? Watch "Animal Passions." Insanely disturbing documentary. "Zoo" is an episode of "zoobilee zoo" in comparison. Oh wait...

  6. Oh gosh, I'm a big, big, HUGE horse (and horse racing) fan - love them. Sorry about your bad horse luck! Everyone has to fear something, right? (worms for me...sad but true.)
    Great column though:)

    And I can't believe Andre brought up The Ring... I've tried so hard to block that ferry scene from my life forever and someone always brings it back up and sucks me back into a helpless depression for hours. Boo:(

  7. I totally did, because it has Gabrielle Anwar from Body Snatchers/the ice skating girl on 90210!'s something about Wild and Hearts, but not Wild At Heart because that would be a different film...Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken? Or some lame overlong title like that? I actually caught the end of if once and was very confused, but it kind of seems fabulous. Must investigate.

    Stephen: Is Animal Passions about beastiality? And if so, is there horse rape or rape by horse? I can take the latter, but the first will make me sad.

  8. Chris: I have a weird relationship with horses. They're incredible creatures, but they just don't seem to like me. I'm vowing to overcome this though! I did it with spiders, I can do it with horses, and you can do it with worms! Caterpillars, on the other hand, remain unnatural and evil.

    And you have further convinced me that I should rewatch The Ring.