Unfortunately for 1992, the list of horror movies released is underwhelming at best. While doing research for this series I saw that IMDB had french film Man Bites Dog listed as horror. MBD is a movie I find infinitely fascinating but cannot classify as horror. Therefore, my list is pretty shallow. It’s not all bad though. One of my favorites from this year was the adaptation of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers. (unfortunately, not Marvel Comics’ Sleepwalker) In the interest of fairness, as a reporter, this movie is terrible. The special effects aren’t all that special, the acting is ham-fisted, and the direction is wonky. However, the overall story, weird cat people taking over a town by feeding on a virgin, was one I really loved when I read it and I wasn’t discerning enough to realize the movie was crap as a kid. So, I liked it then and still (kinda) do. It’s the same with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The movie is a silly teenage horror-comedy that doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. It’s campy to a fault. The acting is goofy, even when it should be serious, and the special effects and creature design are merely average. But, there was an underlying cool to the movie that resonated with teenagers then and probably still would now.
My favorite movie from ’92, (not the best though, that’s below), was The Lawnmower Man. Similar to Sleepwalkers, Lawnmower Man is a Stephen King adaptation that struggles a bit in its presentation. The story here is that a scientist decides to experiment on his mentally handicapped neighbor, Job, through Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence (which isn’t how any of that works, but I digress). Throughout the course of the film Job becomes more and more intelligent and more and more machine. He transforms into the ultimate realization of pragmatism, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world. Watching this movie now, there are certainly problems with the overall science behind what they are trying to do. The message though, the danger of the digital age, is still there and worthy of consideration. I truly love this movie and watch it more frequently than is advisable.
The best movie from 1992 however, was Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This movie is incredibly well made and acted. It is gorgeous just to look at it in its set design and costuming. Everything here is top notch, but what really steals the show is Oldman’s performance. There is just so much going on with his portrayal of Dracula. He is tragic and vicious, broken and whole, all encompassing and lacking in basic structure. It is my favorite performance of his which is saying something considering the man’s record. The rest of the work done in this film, hi Cary Elwes, is perfect for the story they are trying to tell. Everything works. It is by far the best version of Dracula ever put to film and the best horror flick of 1992.