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The Influential and Extremely Fun Horror/Monster Films of 1999

January 29, 2015

Deep  Blue Sea

1999 was loaded with fantastic horror/monster films that have stood the test of time, proved to be influential and feature some of the best cinematic deaths via shark attack ever.  I worked at a movie theater in 1999 and remember how swamped we were all year. The movies were selling out left and right and it boggles my mind how packed the The Sixth Sense and Blair Witch Project were.  Some of the films were phenomenons  (Blair Witch, Mummy , Sixth Sense) that pulled in a combined $1.3 billion internationally and were rented over 200 million times in 2000.

The 1999 horror/monster films featured  surprises and innovations that lifted them above the shlock slasher tropes. Several of them have become cult classics (Ravenous, ExistenZ, Audition, Idle Hands) while a couple were legit blockbusters (Sixth Sense, Blair Witch). What I love is that they took risks, went all out and were mostly original.

Without further ado here are my 10 favorite horror/monster films of 1999.

Deep Blue Sea Deepest Bluest my hat is like a shark fin! Deep Blue Sea is a miracle of awesomeness. We here at MFF love it and our readers are fans as well  (It was voted Best Worst Movie Monster). Deep Blue has one of the best surprise deaths of all time and is endlessly fun. Director Renny Harlin intentionally made the shark one foot bigger than Jaws and apparently doesn’t care about CGI.  While working at the movie theater I would sneak in for the finale and listen to the audience yell with delight. They formed a cohesive voice as they screamed for LL Cool J and Thomas Jane to kill the dastardly sharks. I love Deep Blue Sea and it has most certainly gained a massive following.   Here are 17 cool facts about the film.

Deep Blue Sea

 

The Sixth Sense – “I see dead people and a whole lot of money.” The Sixth Sense was a wunderkind sensation that freaked out millions. It was a neat little story of restraint and twist endings not wrecked by social media. It is one of four horror films (Silence of the Lambs, JawsThe Exorcist) to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and is on AFI’s top 100 film list. The film made M. Night Shyamalan a superstar and led to my favorite superhero film ever Unbreakable.

sixth sense

 

Idle Hands – Cheeky, bloody and kinda awesome. Idle Hands has slowly become recognized as a fun and insular horror film. There are many gleeful set pieces and I loved the combo of Seth Green and Elden Henson. It has a laid back charm that turned gore to 11 and didn’t take the lame sequel route.

Jessica alba idle hands

 

eXistenZ – David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrone, Scanners) is the king of thought-provoking horror. eXistenZ has become a cult classic and is adored for its interweaving plot that boggles the mind and doesn’t take it easy on you. The grotesque gore is suitably gross and the existentialism gives the horror buff something different. Cronenberg kinda rules.

 

exist

 

The Mummy – This creature feature was pure popcorn fun that blew away expectations. Whenever my shift ended at the movie theater I would watch The Mummy and love every second of it. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz had fantastic chemistry and the cast was very likable. The sandstorm scene blew my mind and I love how the humor/action/special effects were juggled. The film played fast and loose while creating memorable moments and characters (I am so happy Stallone turned down the lead role). I also love that The Mummy had two sequels and a prequel which spawned a prequel and two sequels.

The mummy

 

The Blair Witch Project The Blair Witch Project was a game changer in 1999. The found footage movie was a $20,000 experiment that ended up grossing $248 million worldwide. It was shot in eight days and the directors returned one of the cameras they used back to circuit city when the movie was over.  The result was a haunting final shot that shocked moviegoers who thought the movie was a documentary. The influence of Blair Witch is easy to see today and the marketing campaign was pure genius that occasionally went too far.

Sidenote: The movie was a pain for movie theater employees because of the walk outs, complaints and occasional puke that had to be cleaned up.

blair_Witch_Mikes_Last_Moments

 

Ravenous – Ravenous is an odd little film. Dismissed upon initial release in 1999 it has picked up a cult following that is very vocal today. The film is characterized by a quirky soundtrack, bonkers performances and the famous line “he was licking me!” It is clear to see why this film is so adored. Like most cult classics it has an off-kilter vibe that features performances with personality. Ravenous has a personality all its own and can stand alongside films like Evil Dead, The Warriors andDonnie Darko. Roger Ebert was one of the few critics to appreciate the film and he understood the vibe it was going for.

 Ravenous” is clever in the way it avoids most of the clichés of the vampire movie by using cannibalism, and most of the clichés of the cannibal movie by using vampirism. It serves both dishes with new sauces.

Ravenous Guy Pearce

 

Lake PlacidLake Placid is a weird hybrid that boasts an A-list cast, B-movie humor and a  30 foot crocodile. David Kelly’s (Ally McBeal) screenplay was a fun little thing that played like an R-rated screwball comedy met a creature feature and spawned something really weird. Steve Miner fresh of Halloween H20 (a guilty pleasure of minecaptured the tone really well and managed to give us a hammy creature feature full of cheeky moments and Betty White profanity. Lake Placid was never meant to be Jaws with a crocodile. It knew what it was and managed to be fun, plucky and fully aware of itself.

lake placid

Audition – Audition is considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made. It has one of the biggest shocks of all time and is a nasty delight. Rolling Stone called it “one of the best movies you’ve never seen” and The Guardian ranked it at 21 on its best horror films ever list. You kinda have to watch Audition.

Audition

Sleepy HollowTim Burton’s tale of the headless horseman is a sumptuous and beautifully designed horror film. Roger Ebert said it wasthe best looking horror film since Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and he is 100% correct. Sleepy Hollow’s visuals have been burnt into my memory and I remember being blown away by what I was watching.

ricci sleepy hollow

sleepy hollow

What 1999 horror films did you like?

 

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    January 29, 2015 12:10 pm

    I adored Lake Placid. My master’s thesis advisor (a biologist) considered it to be the most biologically accurate monstrous animal/monster movie he had ever seen. After simply accepting that this plus-sized crocodile ended up in a lake in Maine, everything was credible.

    • January 29, 2015 12:11 pm

      Whoa! I like that. That Croc made quite a journey. I like how cheeky it was. I think people weren’t expecting that.

      • johnleavengood permalink
        January 29, 2015 12:14 pm

        I’d like to see a short film depicting the mega-croc’s unlikely journey to Lake Placid in Maine. How could this go unnoticed unless the beast actually grew to adulthood in the lake?

      • January 29, 2015 12:16 pm

        Maybe it rode a turtle all the way to Maine.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    January 29, 2015 12:22 pm

    The Mummy (when I first saw it in ’99) was probably the most fun adventure movie I had since Indiana Jones and the last Crusade. LOVED IT! The unnecessarily carnivorous scarab beetle swarms, the partially undead and flesh-reviving Imhotep Mummy, Brendan Fraser’s snarky attitude…all solid gold.

    • January 29, 2015 12:34 pm

      I love the mummy! Did you know that Stallone turned down the lead role. How weird would have been if he was in it?

      • johnleavengood permalink
        January 29, 2015 12:42 pm

        That would have been bad. I’m thinking of his characters from Cliffhanger and Daylight facing off against a mummy. Yeah…that wouldn’t work.

      • January 29, 2015 12:47 pm

        I can’t imagine anyone but Brendan Frasier playing that role. He is underrated.

  3. January 29, 2015 5:14 pm

    Sharks swimming backwards! Love Deep Blue – have to watch it whenever it is on. Ravenous is great and a brilliant take wendigo lore. Now, Idle Hands.. That is one I havent see in a while. What an awesome year 1999 was.

    • January 30, 2015 9:56 am

      Deep Blue Sea is my favorite guilty pleasure! It never gets old. I love how weird Ravenous was. It had a unique personality which is rare nowadays.

  4. January 30, 2015 11:41 am

    Some people will bash The Sixth Sense these days but, after it came out, the horror genre had more respect for a little while and there were great new, original horror movies being made for a 5-6 year period following it. Instead or remakes and reboots, Hollywood and secondary studios were green-lighting new ideas and films. The Cell, Pitch Black, Dagon, Jeepers Creepers, The Others, Joyride, The Devil’s Backbone, Dog Soldiers, The Ring (technically a remake), Shaun of the Dead, Wrong Turn, The Mist, Planet Terror…and more. As far as 1999 I would choose Stigmata and Stir of Echoes along with many on your list 🙂

    • January 30, 2015 11:53 am

      I love a lot of those movies! Great point about the copious new horror we got. New post idea! I’ve had several people talk about Stir of Echoes and Stigmata. I need to watch them again.

  5. January 31, 2015 8:00 am

    Lake Placid for the win! Love that stupid film 😀

Trackbacks

  1. What is the Best Horror Movie of the 21st Century? An In-Depth Look Into Critical and Audience Ratings | Movies, Films & Flix

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