Monday, August 29, 2011
Don't forget your goat-leggings
Every now and again, horror elements appear in decidedly non-horror movies. And, believe it or not, there are times when I watch non-horror movies. It happens. But when my preferred genre creeps into my non-genre viewing, my hearts goes all a-flutter.
Which is why I am nominating P.A.G.A.N. from 1987's "Dragnet" as best satanic cult in a non-horror film.
P.A.G.A.N. stands for People Against Goodness And Normalcy. Which, really, is just ridiculous. The cult's leader is a televangelist played by Christopher Plummer. Naturally, his public persona is of the pious, good-natured preacher but he's really a goat-head wearing nutjob.
The cult holds a ritual at the zoo in which everyone, including Joe Friday (Dan Aykroyd) and his partner Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks) don goat leggings.
P.A.G.A.N., as a cult group, isn't that much different than cults in real horror movies. This cult is meant to reflect the situations in the old "Dragnet" TV show. Back in the 1960s, Jack Webb as Joe Friday was constantly battling the demons of hippies and drug abuse. P.A.G.A.N. advocates the free use of recreational drugs and polyamorous loving. You know, like all dirty hippies do.
(Sorry about that hippie thing. Some of my best friends are dirty hippies.)
"Dragnet" is notable for a few other things. Aykroyd and Hanks were at the top of their games as far as Hollywood comedies go. Aykroyd wasn't fat and old yet and Hanks wouldn't discover Oscar gold for another six years. Aykroyd is spot on as the monotone Friday and Hanks (who would play his own straight-laced cop in "Turner & Hooch") takes the sidekick job and runs with it.
With that said, I must ask you, the readers, what are your favorite horror moments in non-horror movies?