Everyone loves a good genre movie – Western? You betcha, cowboy! Sci-fi? Beam us up! But we all know it’s when genres collide that the fun really begins – playing with conventions, subverting expectations and twisting tropes. The amazingly eclectic vampire/ gangster/ martial arts movie Yakuza Apocalypse is a perfect example with its intertwining horror, comedy and crime plotlines and it’s drop-kicking its way to the UK on May 2nd so, to mark the occasion, we’re listing our greatest genre-mash up movies!
From Dusk till Dawn (1996) – Robert Rodriguez Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney star as hardened criminals the Gecko brothers, who are on the run after committing a bank robbery and murdering several police officers. When they kidnap preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and family and commandeer his RV in order to cross the border into Mexico, we’re firmly in crime movie territory… up until things suddenly take a turn for the horrific. Holed up in a Mexican strip club waiting for morning to come, the Geckos and Fullers find themselves joining forces against the coven of vampires that runs the joint. The movie pivots from crime thriller to horror in no time at all, and does a great job of both. Tarantino’s unnerving and and obnoxious Richie Gecko and Salma Hayek’s vampiric exotic dancer Santanico Pandemonium both highlight their respective genres with ease, and are ultimately a great lesson in slick genre bending.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1996) – Hanry Selick/ Tim Burton The clue’s in the name! Pitting the gruesome inhabitants of Halloween Town against the joyful Christmas Towners, Nightmare Before Christmas is a deliciously funny mixture of Christmas tropes and Horror motifs – from twinkling lights to cackling witches. Pumpkin King Jack Skellington feels that something is missing in his ghoulish life, so sets out in search for something to fill the void and stumbles across a quaint and welcoming winter wonderland. Desperate to bring some Christmas cheer to his hometown, he dons a ‘Sandy Claws’ suit and enlists the help of his ghastly townsfolk who can’t quite seem to get the hang of the idea…
Back to the Future Part III (1990) – Robert Zemeckis You know the drill – Marty McFly and Doc Brown are the ultimate sci-fi duo, cavorting through time in their souped up DeLorean – except this time it’s not only the future meeting the past, it’s Science Fiction meeting the Western. When Doc gets stuck in 1885, Marty has to find a way to travel back to him from 1955 and bring him home. As you’d expect, the arrival of a 1980s sports car in an 1880s small town causes a few problems – like being chased through the desert by native Americans on horseback. Marty and Doc must work out how to power up their time machine without modern materials, all whilst keeping their time traveller status hidden – it’s a bumpy road back to the future!
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Edgar Wright Now, there are plenty of great comedy-horrors out there, but very few come close to the brilliance of Shaun of the Dead and its well-deserved cult status. Electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) leads a pretty average life. Well, he did before the zombies invaded. Featuring some great gore, impressive kills and actually pretty gruesome zombies, Shaun has all the trappings of a great horror set alongside some brilliant one-liners. If you’re looking for a great comedy with genuine bite, this is the one for you.
By Darcy Giles