In honor of that weird and wacky thing that some parts of the world call "Daylight Savings Time," I decided to have a Timey Wimey horror marathon. Can you tell I'm missing Doctor Who already?
My love of sci-fi doubles if any sort of time travel is involved, because I find it so fascinating. I grew up watching things like Quantum Leap with my dad, and I love having long, deep conversations with people about the notion of time and space, parallel universes, and the implications and logic of them. Which shows you why I fell in love with Doctor Who in the first place. Keep in mind, I'm terrible at physics. I think it's all really interesting and try very hard to follow it, but sometimes my eyes glaze over. I'm much better with the philosophy than the mechanics.
That said, there isn't a lot of time travel in the horror genre. At least, not the same way it exists in sci-fi. Occasionally it's used as a one-time plot device to get the ball rolling on some action, but it's not typically used as the theme of the entire story. There are thrillers that you could interpret to have horror-ish undertones, but that gets us into "What is horror, really?" territory and I hoped to avoid that.
So I scrounged up four films that according to my research (or experience) used time travel in their story. Truth be told, not all of them were exactly what I had thought they were, so the theme is a bit wobbly this time around.
In TRIANGLE, a group out sailing for the day are caught off-guard by a freak storm, and left adrift. An ocean liner passes by so they jump aboard, but find it abandoned except for one masked killer who begins picking them off one by one. This might spoil the plot for you-- so look away if that's a problem-- but the time travel in this case is more like a time loop that one member of the group gets caught in. The irony is, I realized I had seen this before, once I started watching it. It's a great movie, a fascinating story that gets your gears turning and says a lot about the flawed, but genuine love the main character has for her son. They also have a fun Shining reference to room 237, and use the story of Sisyphus as an obvious, but nonetheless appropriate, metaphor for what the looping character is going through. Fun Random Fact: This stars Melissa George, who also stars in 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, which was part of my last marathon!
Oh, the joy of 80's horror films! I don't think there's a decade that put so many terrible, yet fun, entries into the genre. In WAXWORK, a group of friends are lured to a local waxwork museum. They're drawn to approach different exhibits, but when they do, a barrier transports them to the world of whatever horror story the exhibit was telling. When they die, they become part of it! The main character, Mark, is played by Zach Galligan, who you'd remember as Billy in GREMLINS. WAXWORK is extremely campy and nonsensical-- never mind that it's technically void of time travel. These are more like alternate dimensions, although some of them take place in different time periods. I spent a lot of time in this film either laughing, shouting "WHAT?" or "How does he think hypnotism WORKS?" The practical effects are nice to see, if not always well done. I'm still trying to figure out how a person's body could be pierced by a wine bottle. But the characters are way too stupid for their own good, I didn't really give a lick about any of them. Except for John Rhys-Davies, because Sallah is awesome, and I'm sorry he was a werewolf. My overall feeling about WAXWORK could be summed up in response to the line, "Mark you're very sweet, but you just don't get it." I don't get it either. Any of it.
What's that? More 80's horror? Okay! In WARLOCK Julian Sands plays the titular character, who is sentenced to death in 1691 Boston for witchcraft. He escapes, travelling into the future, where he hopes to put together the three parts of the Devil's Bible, which will help him destroy the world. A witch-hunter follows him there to stop him with the help of Kassandra, whose house the warlock landed in. Woohoo, some real time travel! It's by magic rather than science, but I'll take what I can get. There's a great Mary Woronov cameo, in which she plays a channeler the warlock uses to help him on his quest. WARLOCK is a cross-genre story, not straight horror but a mix with fantasy and action. It's like TERMINATOR, but with magic, basically. And the time travel is the other way around. My favorite part, naturally, was when the witch-hunter and Kassandra try to track down the last bit of the Bible in a Boston cemetery. I'm pretty sure it was just a set, but it's the thought that counts.
I could not have a time travel themed horror marathon without this film. What can I say about it that hasn't been said thousands of times before? It's a surreal, bizarre, campy, hilarious final chapter to the EVIL DEAD series, just jam-packed with one-liners. In it, the evil entity Ash battled in EVIL DEAD 1 & 2 transports him to 1300 AD where he must battle the undead and find the Necronomicon in order to return home. Do I even need to say that Bruce Campbell is amazing? Klaatu Verata Nic-*cough*
I really wanted to try to watch 100 MILLION BC (Netflix) but didn't have time. It looks TERRIBLE. But that's never stopped me from watching a movie before. Time travel and dinosaurs sounds like a winner of a loser to me.