Dark City dir. Alex Proyas (1998) 1940s noir in a SF/Halloween setting. Director Alex Proyas delivers Dark City’s scenario like a knife thrower, hurling mystery elements in quickfire until the plot takes shape. More accessible than Kafka; more coherent than Gilliam. Intelligent, atmospheric dystopia at its cinematic best.
Donnie Darko dir. Richard Kelly (2001) Set in the lead-up to Halloween 1988, Donnie Darko is an intelligent, at times disturbing, cult SF classic, made on a $4 million budget and easily outshining its more Hollywood-hyped rivals. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a teen unhinged by prescient doomsday visions.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas dir. Henry Selick (1993) Cue the skeleton: “If Christmas fills your heart with woe, a schmaltz-fest souring your December maybe you’ll prefer macabre stop-motion Halloween adventures (but) Disney brings the curse of singing, rhymes so trying, Walt’s will lurking Elfman’s lyrics don’t deliver Burton’s dark disturbance.”