This week on Psychotronic Netflix, we’ve got ten more flicks based on true events, or at least based on “true” events!
10. Party Monster (2003)
I wish Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s narrative film about the story of club kid Michael Alig’s murder of his friend Angel Melendez was better (the documentary they made on the subject certainly is), but it features some inspired casting, especially Seth Green as an excellent James St. James. (Macauley Culkin’s Michael Alig seems sheepish.) With Diana Scarwid, Chloe Sevigny, Marilyn Manson, Dylan McDermott, Wilmer Valderrama, NAtasha Lyonne and Wilson Cruz.
9. Victim of Beauty (1991)
Aka “Nightmare in Columbia County,” this TV-movie about a young woman whose sister is kidnapped by a man who keeps taunting her over the phone when the cops can’t track him down, is about as solid a standard made-for-TV true crime flick as you’ll find, featuring William Devane and Jeri Ryan.
8. The Snowtown Murders (2011)
Based on a series of murders in a small Australian town, Justin Kurzel’s hypnotically vicious film packs more of an emotional punch than just about anything I’ve seen in the past year. Taking the tact of showing snippets of events rather than an easily coherent storyline, SNOWTOWN delves deeply into the relationship between a psychopath who murders those whom he’s morally repulsed by, and the teenage boy he takes under his wing. It’s not for all tastes by any means, but anyone who can walk out of SNOWTOWN without some reaction is probably someone to stay away from.
7. Shakedown (1988)
Based on a true story? Sure, whatever. The point is, Peter Weller is an attorney! Sam Elliott is a cop! They team up to break up corruption within the force! Directed by James Glickenhaus. They don’t make fun action flicks like this nearly enough.
6. The Explosive Generation (1961)
Buzz (BAD RONALD) Kulik’s flick is probably more “based on a headline he read somewhere” than a “true story,” but you can’t deny the cinematic power of William Shatner as a teacher who tries to instruct his high school class (including Patty McCormack) in sex education, causing a ruckus in a small town.
5. Bernie (2012)
Jack Black gets the best role of his career as a mild-mannered, effeminate mortician who ends up murdering an older woman he befriends, even though the town doesn’t care. Richard Linklater directs this flick just just missed the top 10 of at least three of our DG writers.
4. The Brink’s Job (1978)
William Friedkin’s 1978 comedy caper, based on a true(ish) story, has a bad rep, but it’s an entertainingly fun little flick with a great cast, including Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands and Paul Sorvino.
3. Let Him Have It (1991)
Peter (THE CHANGELING) Medak’s true crime drama about a mentally disabled young man who ends up going on trial for a crime committed after being influenced by a group of petty criminals features a great performance by Christopher Eccleston and an impressively riveting climax, even if you know how it all turns out.
2. Compliance (2012)
The premise, that a prank caller could convince a fast food restaurant manager to intimately interrogate one of their workers, seems unbelievable, but Craig Zobel’s film is based on fact, making the proceedings all the more unsettling.
1. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Peter Jackson branched out of gorehound notoriety with his beautifully creepy flick about two girls with a fantasy life that gets taken a bit too far, starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet.
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