Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is taking a spooky turn for Halloween, with a series of horror themed topics for the next few weeks. To begin, is the theme of unstable characters, or people that seem a bit off. Being a die-hard Lovecraft fan it should come as no surprise that I have a suitable arsenal of such films. I've even written a few pieces of my own that feature mental illnesses, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to full-on going mad from the revelation (and don't get me started on that one about the astronaut who got a little bit too attached to her probe...)
You might remember some of these from my "Halloween Horror" series last month. Let's begin.
The Haunting (1963)
From the moment we first meet the tragic heroine of Eleanor Lance, we can tell that she's not all there in the head. She feels neglected by her family, and has a strange longing to find some place where she feels she belongs. Unfortunately when she starts to find that in the form of a house seemingly occupied by... something, it becomes clear that she may be suffering from some form of mental illness. Her obsession with the house grows over time and just gets more and more unsettling.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
What better contribution for the theme of unstable characters than a film in which practically the entire cast is a little bit off in some way or another? It starts with smaller things such as Linda displaying some oddly sexual gestures in the workplace, and builds up to all kinds of messed-up horror (don't even get me started on what we see Linda do in later scenes) which includes a mad writer who may or may not have control over reality. The protagonist John Trent goes from an everyday man to an ax-wielding psycho... or is he a madman becoming saner? By the end of the movie you can't really tell the difference between sanity or insanity.
Inland Empire (2005)
There are a variety of strange characters to be found here, but the one I would bring up is Laura Dern's character of Nikki Grace. She is an actress making her name in a new movie, but the strain of her demanding role starts to get to her mind. Before long she starts to lose her grip on the difference between reality and the fictional world of the movie in which she is starring. At one point she even forgets she is acting and unwittingly breaks character.