Two things I hate: nostalgia for the past and the seasonal fixation on horror films. My hate is so real that I’m about to tickle both of my non-existent fancies simultaneously. Why this exercise in punishment? Well because I love Matthew, I love Liam, but I’m also highly susceptible to suggestion and peer pressure. I still have my scruples though; I’ll be damned if I’m going to give my art away for free without it being on my own terms. I could wax poetic about great horror films, directors, or actors, but when it comes to the genre my tastes are more singular, you wouldn’t understand. I love, more than anything, the uninspired, the shallow, and the usually predictable, wide-release horror films. Their chief design: to do just enough to convince you to spend $10-$15 on an idea you’ve heard before. Coincidentally my tastes in acting are on par.
The marriage of these two tastes led to one place, the inspiration for this piece of time murder, Matthew Lillard. You may know Matthew primarily as the guy they always cast to play Freddy Prinze Jr’s film BFF (Wing Commander, She’s All That, Summer Catch), but you most likely know him from his ground breaking role as “Stevo”, the protagonist of SLC Punk and coincidentally the inspiration behind the Cinepunx empire. Like many actors, Matthew’s humble beginnings can be traced back to several titular roles in classic horror films. If you hate yourself like I do, and view time as a thing you only possess to ultimately waste, then I’d like to take you on a journey through Matthew Lillard’s most notable contributions to the genre we love.
Easily Lillard’s finest foray into Horror came in the film Thir13een Ghosts. Lillard plays Dennis Rafkin, the psychic assistant to a scheming Ghost Hunter. Rafkin helps capture and imprison ghosts while unknowingly making himself complicit in an oddly convoluted plot to murder the Ghost Hunter’s brother and his family. I won’t bore you with plot details but one of the film’s highlights is Lillard being snapped in half by the guy who played Lurch on the failed Addams Family sitcom. Also, Rah Digga plays a nanny! So if you’ve recently asked yourself “I wonder what Rah Digga is up to?” ….She played a nanny in Thir13een Ghosts in 2001. All-in-all, Thir13een Ghosts is a great movie whose title isn’t condescending to young people at all, and was definitely a classic horror remake that needed to happen.
The Curve (aka Dead Man’s Curve)
Before I watched this film I assumed that is was just a rip off of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Upon further review, it sort of isn’t! It’s packaging is just designed to remind you of I Know What You Did Last Summer, and trick you into watching or buying it! See: Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train, Atlantic Rim, etc. This movie is basically Dead Man on Campus, the only discernible difference being that one is actually funny and the other was written to be funny… I wish I could phrase this more eloquently, but this movie sucks. I most likely would never have watched this had it not been for Matthew.
By now you’ve picked up on the tone of this whole thing, and are either enjoying it or not reading anymore. It seems like as good a time as any to talk about a movie that I actually really enjoy. Serial Mom is a John Waters classic and my personal favorite film in his catalog. The reason being because If I could choose any fictional family to belong to, I don’t think it gets much better than Sam Waterston, Matthew Lillard, Ricki Lake, and homicidal Kathleen Turner. While Matthew is sort of forgettable in this movie, it’s a classic nonetheless.
Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College
Mathew can be seen in the background of several scenes.
P.S. The Ghoulies went to college, why haven’t you?
Another fucking Freddy Prinze Jr. sidekick role. Typecasting aside, Lillard’s portrayal of Shaggy was so convincing that he’s gone on to reprise the role in not only a sequel, but but several direct-to-video cartoon films! Eat shit Casey Kasem! This was really Lillard’s legacy piece.
In this cartoon come to life, Matthew gets to sink his teeth into the role of Shaggy, the stoned but not stoned goofball of the teenage ghostbusting gang. The cast is pretty much perfect, and the budget was very high, but all-in-all this film really could have been scarier. The effects are pretty campy and its dependence on CGI is actually pretty lazy. Sadly a lot of horror films nowadays use CGI as a crutch, and as a result there has been some hesitance sparking a return to the practical effects we attribute to many horror and sci-fi classics. Also the M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist ending of Scrappy-Doo as the main villain was weak. The obvious highlights of this film are Rowan Atkinson and the live performance by So-Cal rock powerhouse, Sugar Ray.
Matthew Lillard, a true craftsman, and acting god, icon in our times, has clearly left an indelible mark on not just the horror genre, but film itself. These films represent his hands-down greatest and most notable contributions to the genre and will thus live on forever. You read all of this. Zoinks.