1992 - A horror icon is introduced and studios deep dive Steven King.
So 1991 was pretty much a garbage year for horror movies, and while 1992 is better, it's not by much. I drew the line at 10 for this year but there will be an honorable mention at the end. With 1991 showing us how sparse the landscape would be without all the big names, it is refreshing to see a few movies pop up to give us hope. However, we also see how narrow-minded the people in charge can be when many of them decided the way out of the horror drought was to dig deep into King's library and scare up some new ideas. Fingers crossed 1993 is better.
A little backstory - 1991 & 1992 were strange years for me. My mother remarried and I went from my home in Alabama to an Air Force base in Panama, and then to live with close friends in Texas. This covered my Junior and Senior year in High School. So I say many of 1991's movies in 1992 in Panama and a ton-of-straight to video movies also. Everything is 6-12 months behind on a military base, and Panama proper was not really safe for Americans at the time so we rarely went anywhere off base. That said, I will attach certain memories or situations with the movies I saw at or around the time. This makes many of the movies stand out during these years because of all the upheaval in my life.
My #1 movie for 1992 is Candyman. I remembered it for being a violent, scary, and very fun horror movie. I rewatched it recently and while it is all that, it is so much more. The film is a time capsule of the early 1990s, the attitudes, beliefs, and the distinctive look of the time. If you want to deep dive and look for hidden meanings, you can. Or you can watch it as a horror movie, and leave all the rest behind. Either way, when you are finished you will have watched one of the best movies of 1992. Stream it on tubi.
Blurb - The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth.
Should Bram Stoker's Dracula be #1, maybe but truth be told, I'm more of a Team Jacob kind of horror fan than a Team Edward. That said, this movie pulls no punches as it finished #9 on the Box Office list of Highest Grossing Films. Francis Ford Coppola directs an all-star cast and while everything is great there is one sticking point - Keanu Reeves. He's so miscast in the role of Jonathan Harker. FFC remarks about it later in reviews and Reeves admits that he was so drained coming off a number of pictures back-to-back that he hates his performance in this film. Truth be told, I'm not sure if there's any amount of rest that would have helped him at the time. Stream it on Netflix to see for yourself.
Blurb - The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
The 2nd Clive Barker-inspired movie of 1992, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is the first of the series to refer to the title villain as Pinhead. Tony Randal was removed from the director's chair as his vision was thought too bleak and while Peter Jackson was offered the chance, the final choice became Anthony Hickox, the director of the WaxWork series. Clive Barker was worried about the choice since he thought Hickox was more of a comedy/horror director but the 2 met and hashed out their differences.
Peter Jackson remarked he would never have been able to do a serious horror film, like the series demanded, and gave it as the reason why he passed. Stream it on Paramount +.
Blurb - An investigative reporter must send the newly unbound Pinhead and his legions back to Hell.
So I consider the 1st one a horror movie, and the 2nd one a science fiction action movie, but I'm not sure what to make of Alien 3. No one hates this movie more than the first-time director David Fincher. Many people believed this movie would end his movie-making career before it ever got a chance to begin, but Weaver let everyone know just how heavy-handed the studio was in the making of this movie. Many people like the newer cut released decades later, but it's not a director's cut as Fincher refused to come back to work on it. They used his original cut as a guide and went from there for the newer version. All that said, the movie is a part of the Alien Franchise and it's not the worst one. Stream it on Prime or get the Blu-Ray with the updated cut.
Blurb - After her last encounter, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina 161, a maximum security prison. When a series of strange and deadly events occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she has brought along an unwelcome visitor.
Brain De Palma returns to his horror movie roots to give us Raising Cain. This may be more like 1991's Silence of the Lamb or Cape Fear - movies I never thought of as horror films - but something about John Lithgow's performance drags it into the realm of horror for me. He plays 5 personalities/roles within the film and it's an amazing performance. Check it out if you have Starz.
Blurb - The oncologist wife of a prominent child psychologist suspects her husband has an unhealthy scientific obsession with their child, unaware of what - or who - is really going on inside his head.
Braindead or Dead Alive as it was known in the U.S. is only on here because it's important to Peter Jackson's development as a director in his journey from New Zealand Horror Director to the creative genius behind The Lord of the Rings. It's considered the goriest/bloodiest movie of all time (taking the crown away from Hellraiser 2) but it's so campy and fun that some rating boards thought about not giving it an R-rating. In the end, the amount of blood won out and they went with more restrictive ratings. It's classic silly Peter Jackson and while I don't find the movie as fun as I once did, it still has its moments. I could only find it on youtube to stream.
Blurb - A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.
When I was a kid I loved L.A. Law on TV, and one of the characters on the show was a mentally challenged man played by Larry Drake. He was so convincing that I always assumed he was the same in real life until he showed up as the bad guy in Darkman. 2 years later he got the starring role as Doctor Evan Rendell in Dr. Giggles. I tell ya, Drake is a great actor and this is a fun (& funny) horror movie. This one is a rent/buy to watch movie.
Blurb - A madman who believes he's a doctor comes to the town where his crazy father was killed, and soon begins murdering people and becoming infatuated with a teenage girl who has a heart condition.
We are now entering the Stephen King Zone ...
First up we have Pet Sematary Two. Mary Lambert returns to direct the sequel to her hit from 1989, but her idea of centering the movie around Ellie, the only survivor from the original, was scraped and turned to a new character played by Terminator 2's rising star Edward Furlong. You can stream it on Netflix.
Blurb - A teenage boy and his father move to his recently-deceased mother's hometown, where they encounter the ancient Native American cemetery with the power to raise the dead.
I saw The Lawnmower Man in theaters with a friend and we walked out unimpressed. If I recall correctly, we were downright disappointed. I don't think I ever saw it again, so I may need to revisit this film. While I am including this in the "King" group in truth, it is in title only. New Line Cinema had the rights to King's short story The Lawnmower Man and they had a script for a cyber movie they wanted to make. They slapped the title on their new movie and King was forced to sue to have it removed from the promotional material. They refused and ended up paying him a bunch of money. So every time I heard or saw an ad for this movie, Stephen King's name was used. It's on HBOMax to stream so let's check it out and see if the movie holds up or is as terrible as I remember.
Blurb - A simple man is turned into a genius through the application of computer science.
We end with Sleepwalkers, written for the screen by Stephen King. It's the only movie to have King and Barker on the screen at the same time (both had cameo roles). This is another one I saw in the theater and left feeling indifferent about. Since you have to rent/buy-to-stream, I'm probably just going to go on living my life.
Blurb - A mother-and-son team of strange supernatural creatures move to a small town to seek out a young virgin to feed on.
The original script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a much darker version than the comedy we got in 1992. That said, I believe this is the beginning of the High School/college horror movie run we will soon be seeing in the 90s. It's a rent/buy-to-stream, but it's worth it to see Paul Reubens play something other than Pee-Wee Herman.
Blurb - Flighty teenage girl Buffy Summers learns that she is her generation's destined battler of vampires.
As always here are some of the "didn't make it to the top of the box office that you need to see" movie I loved from 1992. These movies helped my love for cinema and story telling to grow and I enjoy revisiting them for inspiration and entertainment.