9 Surprising Movies Shaun of the Dead Director Edgar Wright Loves
By Rudie Obias
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright recently compiled a list of his 1000 favorite movies of all-time, a majority of which are perfectly in line with the films one might expect a passionate cinephile and filmmaker to enjoy. Although most of the British moviemaker’s picks are highly influential (Buster Keaton’s The General), cinematically revolutionary (Citizen Kane), and artistically brilliant (Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo), some of his choices—including the nine below—are, well, interesting surprises.
1. BATMAN: THE MOVIE (1966)
In 1966, Batman: The Movie was made to generate international interest in the campy TV series, on which it was based. The movie was released two months after the first season of Batman ended to bridge the gap between seasons one and two. It’s a really campy take on the Caped Crusader and fun to see that it’s one of Wright’s favorites.
2. DARK STAR (1974)
Dark Star is John Carpenter’s debut film, which he co-wrote with Dan O’Bannon while they were both film students at USC during the early 1970s. It’s very, very low-budget, but it works as a genre film about space truckers. O’Bannon went on to work on Star Wars and write the original Alien movie, while Carpenter went on to make genre classics, such as Halloween, Escape From New York, and The Thing—which are also on Wright’s list.
3. STREETS OF FIRE (1984)
Streets of Fire begins with the title card “A Rock & Roll Fable in Another Time, Another Place” and features rival biker gangs and street toughs fighting over the lead singer of Ellen Aim and The Attackers, played by Diane Lane. While the film is really pulpy and fun, it’s surprising to see a movie like Streets of Fire on anyone’s favorite movie list. It also inspired many “Beat 'em Up” video games during the 1980s, including Double Dragon.
4. THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN (1987)
Danny DeVito directed and co-starred in Throw Momma From The Train with Billy Crystal and the late Anne Ramsey, who played the titular Momma. The movie was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, which also appears on Edgar Wright’s favorite movies list.
5. RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY (1991)
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is probably the schlockiestly movie on Wright’s list. It’s a wonderfully gory martial arts-thriller from Hong Kong that features some of the most awesomely hilarious fight and death scenes in movies. Be warned: It’s not for the faint of heart.
6. STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)
Starship Troopers is one of director Paul Verhoeven’s most underrated movies. It’s often placed in the “it’s so bad, it’s good” or “guilty pleasure” categories, but some might say it's a ferquently misunderstood satire on war, fascism, and nationalism.
7. HOT ROD (2007)
When Hot Rod was released in theaters during the summer of 2007, it received a lot of mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and general audiences alike. Over the years, it has built a small cult following, based largely on the growing popularity of The Lonely Island. It looks like Wright was ahead of the curve on this one.
8. CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE (2009)
Crank: High Voltage also received mixed reviews when it was released in theaters in 2009. Although the sequel featured the same crazy antics for its lead character to stay alive, it didn’t exactly top the thrills and excitement from the original movie. Despite that, it’s still a fun ride with Chev Chelios (Jason Statham).
9. THE COUNSELOR (2013)
In 2013, director Ridley Scott made a film based on a screenplay from writer Cormac McCarthy. The Counselor featured an all-star cast including Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt, but somehow it appeared on many critics' worst movies of the year lists, including TIME Magazine's. Maybe Wright knows something about The Counselor that film critics missed.