Back in my military days, one of my fellow soldiers was a young lady from the depths of Louisiana. I've never been there, but the area has a reputation of being overrun with voodoo practitioners. That's immediately where my mind went when I discovered her native land. It didn't help matters much that she had pale white skin, jet black hair, and her hand was cold in mine when I shook it. I hung with her and the guy who would eventually become her husband on occasion so I got to know her well enough to joke with her. Whenever something strange happened in her presence I playfully told her to stop all that witchcraft. She laughed, but I could never be sure if it was because I was actually funny, or was it a knowing laugh. In any event, we drank a few beers together, had a few other laughs, and I haven't been turned into a frog. If she's reading this, and she knows who she is, I want to thank her for sparing me the life of an amphibian.
The reason I went off on that tangent is because of this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. In Wanderer's infinite wisdom, she made all of the topics for October Halloween themed. We're kicking things off with witches and warlocks. Let's see what I can conjure up, shall we? By the way, if you've actually read this far I've given you a hint on what it is, but there is a theme within the theme.
(1987)Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is a private detective from New York who has been hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find a guy known as Johnny Favorite. His search leads him down to New Orleans where he runs into some very interesting people. Chief among them is Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) who happens to be Favorite's love-child. Let's just say that, from there, things get really weird, really fast. Truth told, it's as much neo-noir as it is horror, but it works really well in either case. The irony that has arisen nearly 30 years after the film's release is that it cost Lisa Bonet her regular gig as Denise on The Cosby Show because her nudity and rather bizarre love scene were at odds with the show's wholesome image. Hahahahahahaha!
(1997)Eve (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is just a 10 year old girl who lives in...dun dun DUN...New Orleans. She accidentally sees her dad Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) getting it on with a woman who is not her mother. As you might guess, dad gets the lies going in a heartbeat. Thus begins what eventually becomes a labyrinthine tale of betrayal, denial, and yup, voodoo. The cast here is amazing. Aside from Smollett-Bell, and the seemingly omnipotent Samuel L. Jackson, it also includes Diahann Carroll, Lynn Whitfield, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Debbi Morgan. It is the least 'horror' movie here and is truly more drama, but it's so good I had to include it.
The Skeleton Key
(2005)Caroline (Kate Hudson) is a hospice worker taking care of an invalid at a plantation house in...you guessed it...New Orleans. Early on it seems this might actually be a haunted house flick. However, we soon find out lots of the goings on have to do with the house's previous occupants who were heavily into Hoodoo. The cast includes John Hurt, Gena Rowlands, and Peter Sarsgaard, but it's Kate Hudson who holds it all together, surprisingly. The real treat here is the movie's twist. It would make M. Night Shyamalan green with envy.