Halloween wouldn't be complete without a scary movie marathon, but most of the flicks running on TV these days don't really cut the macabre mustard. There are plenty of slashers and vampires. Lots of chain saws whining and supernatural things going bump in the night, all of which can certainly summon a shiver or two. But when it comes to seriously spooky, consider these 5 eco-themed horror shows:
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006). If there's anything spookier than an entire planet in slow motion meltdown, I haven't seen it. Al Gore's science lesson on just what happens when billions of people burn hydrocarbons for a hundred years still stands as the must-see documentary of the decade. Watch it and then go weatherstrip your house.
- The Corporation (2003). The dark humor that infuses this remarkable look at the monster we call the corporation does little to ameliorate its fear factor. Filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott take a no-holds-barred look at the real ghouls of modern life, drawing startling parallels between corporate behavior and the clinical definition of a psychopath. The result is a film that makes a strong case for no more business-as-usual. That isn't the devil coming for your soul...it's the knife-wielding conglomerate next door. (Hide the kids and buy local, quick!)
- The Birds (1963). Alfred Hitchcock's seminal portrait of inexplicably vengeful birds terrorizing a peaceful hamlet on the California coast remains perhaps the most seriously spooky movie about nature gone berserk. Don't screen it until you've taken in the birdfeeders.
- Silent Running (1971). In a devastated future, what's left of nature has been sent into space on giant glass ships that keep Earth's last forests safe from harm. When the orders come to jettison these massive orbital greenhouses and return the ships to military service, one tree-hugging botanist rebels. What comes next is a haunting rumination on how much nature means to the human soul.
- Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972). This unflinching tale of Spanish conquistadors struggling through the Andean jungle in search of El Dorado is as spooky as it gets. Werner Herzog produced this brilliant meditation on human hubris and the nightmares that come when we dare to think we can actually conquer nature. This movie isn't for everyone as it gets a little raw now and then, but it's a bona fide masterpiece drenched in all kinds of eco-madness that still have me thinking 35 years after I first saw it. It's literally a jungle out there. And the best thing to do is leave it alone.
These are five of my favorite "spooky" movies with environmental themes. But since I've already seen them repeatedly, I'm could use a few new eco-horror suggestions this Halloween season. Anyone got some?
The Inkslinger has written about environmental issues for over 20 years and is a freelance writer for some of America's most iconoclastic companies and non-profits. His true loves include nature, music of the Americana/rock and roll variety, interior design, books, old things, good stories, pagan rituals, and his wife of 24 years, with whom he lives in an undisclosed chemical-free rural Vermont location along with his teenage daughter and two infinitely hilarious Australian shepherds!