For WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, we interviewed tons of experts aboutthe struggle of good vs evil in film, comics, pop culture, world myth, literature, and the real world. Here’s what some of them have to say about their favorite good vs. evil filmor book.
ROBERT GREGORY BROWNE: On a flat out, visceral level, my favorite good vs. evil film has to be THE EXORCIST. Here good and evil are defined as the ultimate good versus the ultimate evil—or the ultimate serial killer, if you will—and we have many flawed characters at the center, battling their own weakness to overcome the kind of evil no human being should ever be faced with. And, in the end, the hero—a deeply flawed human being—makes the ultimate (there’s that word again) sacrifice and, in the process, rediscovers his lost faith.
JT ELLISON: I loved SILENCE OF THE LAMBS because of the acting. I AM LEGEND completely freaked me out – I have the Matheson book here and haven’t gotten the courage to read it because the movie so eloquently captured the fear I would feel if I were in the same situation. (I know some major liberties were taken with that film.) But in both of these movies, the evil was manipulative, purposeful, and ultimately scarred the protagonist. Which I think is it’s main purpose in the fictional realm. That said, I tend to shy away from scary movies. I spook too easily.
RICHARD MYLES: I thought THE OMEN was a masterfully written piece of cinema due to its’ biblical tenets and credibility. It was the type of film that made me think and question the coming of the Beast. I felt that this movie real in many profound ways, as though the forces around us found a host (through the movie) to promulgate the message to the world. Whenever I watch a movie that is real and credible, it affects me to the point of dominating my thoughts. When this happens, I know the movie represents something more than just cinema. This is what THE OMEN did for me. I started to ask myself what forces are responsible for depraved human behavior to cause such adversity in this world? Many people have a direct and/or indirect connection to a divine entity whether it is good or evil. Some folk believe that evil is ubiquitous, while others believe the polar opposite. THE OMEN represented the infinite clash between good and evil, in essence, the one who stands on higher grounds is the one who reap and reign the earth. The score was equally brilliant because it told you how to feel. I am a music composer myself, and have a strong interest in Gregorian chant, and the score in THE OMEN had a very spiritual and dark ambient flavor that will never grow old. It also influenced my music compositions to the level of adding Gregorian chant to most of my sound tracks.
JERRY ALAN JOHNSON: CONSTANTINE. I like the plot, acting, and the action.
AMBER BENSON: Definitely the work that I did with Chris Golden on The Ghosts of Albion books embodies a very thematic battle between good and evil. We have characters (ghosts and demons) that wholly represent both ends of the good/evil spectrum and then we temper them with our flawed human protagonists.
DR. WILSON YOUNG: I actually had several favorite good vs evil horror film however the most nostalgic would be the acclaimed film based on the true story of NANG NAK from Thailand. There is even a shrine dedicated to her in Bangkok which is supposed to be her burial place. In the end her soul was appeased by a monk (good vs evil) to remind her that life is impermanent, she shouldn’t be attached to mundane affairs. The ending strives to elicit several emotions i.e. sadness (regret that she can’t be with his beloved spouse), joy and happiness (triumph of good) she’s finally resting peacefully.
MONIQUE GATA DUPREE: I think you can find [good vs evil] in almost any film no matter how subtle or overt. One of my films in particular called SPIRIT is a film about darkness and light.
MELISSA BACELAR: When it comes to the Good vs Evil the fiction stuff doesn’t get me. I mean I like it and enjoy watching it. But the true Good vs Evil. Watch documentaries on Puppy Mills, Training Circus Animals, Hunting Wild Animals that are tame! The Fur Trade. That is EVIL. The people who buy the puppies and the Fur Coats and the products tested in labs! That is what scares me. Horror movies are for fun. The things real human beings do in real life…That is truly the evil we need to overcome. I think Good will win. Humans just need to stop making excuses for the evil they do.
ROBERT BRANCATELLI: I’m not sure about favorite films, but I can tell you that I do not really like STAR WARS or THE MATRIX beyond their special effects. For me, they are too simplistic in their rendering of good and evil, as if it were all black and white. That is precisely what the Church tries to recognize: that evil is not so obvious and good not so easy. In other words, the Church is concerned with forming disciples who are mature and adult in their faith, capable of accepting ambiguity and paradox in their lives. Is there a film that expresses this? Honestly, I don’t know. If I think of one, I’ll let you know.
SCOTT NEUMYER: My list could go on for days and days, but some of the most significant and influential in my life include THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, THE EXORCIST, THE MONSTER SQUAD, SUSPIRIA. Even many of the Whedonverse projects (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, etc.) have had an enormous impact on me as a viewer, critic, and marketer. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, in particular, has been a great influence in my passion and interest in film, fiction, and criticism. So much so that I actually have three Hannibal Lecter related tattoos.
My favorite good vs. evil film is also my favorite film of all time: THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Sweeping the Academy Awards was no fluke for one of the greatest horror films of all time. There’s just so much to chew on here; Lecter, Starling, Buffalo Bill, Crawford, Chilton… The list goes on and on. I’ve seen the film too many times to count and, yet, there’s always something new I find on every viewing. For me, at least, the lambs will never stop screaming
In the end, though, isn’t just about every film about the theme of good vs. evil? When you really break film and fiction down to the bare bones, you can always come back with some form of conflict between good and evil, which is probably what makes all types of stories (and particularly horror stories) so compelling.
Meet the Experts:
Robert Gregory Browne is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter and novelist, the author of four thrillers with a supernatural twist published in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria and Denmark. He’s a member of MWA, ITW, RWA and is a regular columnist for the Anthony Award nominated writer’s blog, Murderati. His latest book, DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN, was published in July of 2010. He’s currently at work on his next novel.
JT Ellison is the bestselling author of the Taylor Jackson thriller series, including THE COLD ROOM and the forthcoming thriller THE IMMORTALS (9/2010). She is a former White House staffer who moved to Nashville and began research on a passion: forensics and crime. She worked extensively with the Metro Nashville Police, the FBI and various other law enforcement organizations to research her novels.
Richard Myles is Co-Executive Producer for Viper Productions, LLC , Mental Scars, LLC, and Viper Productions’ DEADZONE Magazine. His classic horror film Mental Scars was released in 2009.
Professor Jerry Alan Johnson, Ph.D., D.T.C.M. is a grandmaster in several schools of Chinese Martial Arts, Medicine, and Daoist Magic, having studied and taught for over 35 years. He is trained in esoteric alchemy and mysticism from both the Shang Qing (Mao Shan) and Tian Shi (Lung Hu Shan) Daoist sects, and is ordained as a senior priest in Zheng Yi Daoism.
Dr. Wilson Young is a recognized expert in the field of taoist mysticism, feng shui, paranormal researcher, and Chinese astrology. He is the founder of www.taoistsecret.com
Melissa Bacelar is an actress, model, producer and animal activist. You can see her pictorials and film credits at www.MelissaBacelar.com.
Robert Brancatelli, Ph.D. is as a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University in the Bronx. He taught in the Graduate School of Education, Counseling Psychology, and Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University from 1998-2008 and is an adjunct professor at The Catholic University of America. He has written on Hispanic popular religiosity and the psychotherapeutic basis of catechesis. Currently, he is working on a book about marriage and relationships and a trilogy of novels entitled The Gringo, Laura, and Mia.
Scott Neumyer is a writer, photographer, and self-confessed pop culture geek with experience in online marketing and publicity and as a media buyer for a major national film distributor. You can check out more of Scott’s work here and here.
For more on the struggle between good vs. evil, check out WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker award winning author Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman. It includes interviews with folks like Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jason Aaron, Fred Van Lente, Peter Straub, Charlaine Harris and many more; and the book is fully illustrated by top horror, comics & fantasy artists