Love is one hell of an emotion.
Everyone has their own “number one fan”. But did you ever notice in the 90s’ how obsessive- stalker-psychodrama films seemed to pop up one right after the other? Stalkersploitation was all the rage in this era and pretty much almost defined the decade in films. Hell even the biggest movies of the 90s’ like Titanic has some stalker tendencies with that asswipe Hockley and the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Albeit slightly different than the ones mentioned here, still the same ballpark.
Sorry Hockley, your money is no good here.
I truly am fascinated by just how many really GREAT stalker films there were in the 90s’. And the fact that so many of these are just brushed aside in passing in the horror community is quite astounding. Of course, horror is what you make of it, but the thought of someone infiltrating your very vulnerable space whether it be by an abusive/violent relationship with a significant other; or a serious traumatic event triggering an antagonist toward a selected victim, the case remains the same as far as the root of the issue: That is fucking terrifying and happens WAY more than anyone of us care to want to know about. That being said, these stalker psychodramas are right up there in terms of realistic true horror films as far as mentally screwing with you into paranoia; watching your back at every turn. So let’s celebrate with what I consider the best the decade has to offer.
10. Poison Ivy
Gonna kick off this 90s nostalgic journey with the first step into insanity with Drew Barrymore in Poison Ivy. It sure is a guilty pleasure on a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Summer and precursor to a slew of psychodrama teenage films that mimicked this formula soon after.
Ivy (Barrymore) covets her best friend Sylvie’s (Sara Gilbert) life and manipulates her way into her friend’s family; along with seducing the shit out of Sylvie’s father in an attempt to take her mother’s place- as her mother is basically knocking on death’s door with a harsh battle of emphysema. The film emphasizes on intense mood and character building as opposed to jumping right into the thills. However, the build-up is worth it. Poison Ivy is a necessity when talking about the infamous 90s obsession films, as it truly broke ground for some fan-favorites to come along in later years. It doesn’t get enough credit. I’m here for you psycho Ivy.
9. Cape Fear
Let’s dive deeper down stalker street with a movie I’ve talked about before here on NN, Martin Scorsese’s reimagining Cape Fear. The all-star cast of a film follows lawyer (Nick Nolte), his wife (Jessica Lange), and daughter (Juliette Lewis) through hell and back as De Niro toys and stalks each one after his lengthy prison sentence of which he blames his lawyer (Nolte) for. Most notably, De Niro’s scenes with a young Lewis is goddamn skeevy, especially when he shows up at her school, and can be a hard watch as it heads straight into pedophile territory as he tries to manipulate the girl in playing the game with Nolte to rustle some father feathers. It works. It rustled ALL our feathers.
:Shudders: Pick up your copy here!
8. The Cable Guy
This might be an unconventional choice; but fuck it. It’s my list and I do what I want. And quite frankly, Jim Carrey as a mentally disturbed friend obsessed with Matthew Broderick’s character really cracked open the door for the actor’s range capabilities. Sure he was still hilarious (the password is nipple), but in a much darker tone as the movie trenched forward.
Chip, the cable guy (Carrey) makes Steven (Broderick) one of his preferred customers after Steven asks for a cable hook up on the condition they hang out every so often. That “every so often” turns into a very intrusive, comical, and then sort of really disturbing type of relationship where things get a little dangerous for Steven and those who are close to him.
Fun Fact: The role of Chip was originally written for Chris Farley!
7. Sleeping With The Enemy
Patrick Bergin is the goddamn devil and no one can convince me otherwise with those piercing eyes. A handsome devil? YES. But his character of Martin Burney is one hell of a nasty one.
Laura (Julia Roberts) and Martin (Bergin) seem to have the picture-perfect marriage. A beach house. High society parties. Black eyes for the wife. Oh wait.. Yeah. It’s that type of marriage. Things get so violent for poor Laura that she fakes her own death just to get away from this monster. Of course, there’s no movie without him finding out and then tracks her down to her new life she’s made- and new love interest to boot. And boy oh boy, if you thought Symphonie Fantastique was creepy in The Shining, just wait for it.
6. Single White Female
This movie may be the sole responsible factor for the downfall in advertising for roommates they don’t know. And with good reason nowadays.
Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda, Single White Female became a pillar for stalker thrillers of the 90s’, concocting the perfect formula for films that tried to duplicate this masterpiece years after. The roommate from Hell that basically takes over your identity, tries to screw your boyfriend, and kills your fucking dog is enough of a nightmare for anyone to even fathom. Truly one of the best here.
5. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Peyton is such a dirty bitch that I love to hate.
Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay) had it all, until it was taken from her under some seriously tragic circumstances. Her husband, a gynecologist with “traveling hands” is called out by protagonist Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) which sets off a series of events leading Miss Peyton into revenge mode by posing as a nanny for the Bartel family. Peyton is clearly suffering a psychotic break brought on by PTSD, and while I’m a massive advocate for mental health, it certainly doesn’t excuse the atrocities of her behavior. I’d almost feel bad for her if like, murder and shit wasn’t involved. Although I admit that I, and I think most parents did everywhere, cracked a smile when she told that kid bully she was “gonna rip his fuckin’ head off. “
4. One Hour Photo
EDIT: I for some reason had it in my mind this movie came out in 1998- when it was actually released in 2002. I fucked up. But we’re gonna keep it in here because it’s Robin Williams and eh, close enough to the 90s’.
Oh how I miss Robin Williams and writing this piece only perpetuates that feeling even more as I recall this being the first film I saw as our childhood funny man in that really sort of disturbed the fuck out of us.
Sy the friendly neighborhood photo guy seems nice enough. He’s super friendly, helpful, and can generate one hell of a roll of film to perfection. However, he also has kind of an unhealthy obsession with a certain family he’s been developing pictures for 10 years. So much so he often fantasizes about being apart of it. Which wouldn’t be so creepy if he didn’t have an entire room in his apartment covered in pictures of them. And when something goes a little awry within this family that compromises his picture-perfect fantasy, Sy isn’t having this shit- which leads to a very dangerous situation for everyone involved in his twisted, and highly illegal fetish.
3. The Crush
Before she was “clueless”, Alicia Silverstone turned heads in this teenage angst psychodrama where she just couldn’t take no for an answer from Cary Elwes. The Crush is basically a more fun, Fatal Attraction for younger viewers and Adrian is right up with Glenn Close in her role as psycho woman- except she’s only 14 in the film. Which just ups the creep factor even higher.
Cary Elwes rents a guest house from a wealthy family with a strong-head daughter Adrian (Silverstone). It’s clear from the start Adrian has some odd tendencies; but that becomes more clear as she seduces the much older Elwes over and over again in some really cringe worthy ways. When she is rejected, enter stalker level psycho Adrian who is pretty much going to make this guy’s life hell because she’s in love with him?! It’s a lot man. And it is so damn good.
Ahh, Annie Wilkes. The poster-child for the obsessive fan in all of us. Well, except she takes it just a little too far.
Misery is the magnum opus in the horror community as far as obsessive stalkers are concerned and without a doubt, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) is top-notch terrifying as she stalked her prey, author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). Wilkes staged an accident, and held the guy hostage torturing him all along the way in the name of love. Well, whatever love means to a cockadoody brain like Wilkes. Which I suppose means imprisoning her obsession and forcing a narrative in her mind under her supervision. It’s fan servicing taken to a literal extreme. And I love it.
When anyone thinks of 90s’ stalker lovies, FEAR is the one that almost always comes up and with good reason- it is goddamn insane and has every film trope done right a movie like this warrants: and ok, Marky Mark showing off his umm, skillful hands on a roller coaster is a nice added bonus.
This chest-pounding treasure of our childhoods was a stern warning to young female adolescents who are becoming impatient in their very normal sexual frustrations and needing to feel loved. Poor Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) fell hook, line, and sinker for David’s (Mark Wahlberg) charm and Boston accent. Only later to reveal he’s an extremely dangerous, and unstable individual. Pretty much like everyone else on this list. Except he kills a dog. And not just kills it, but beheads it. And that my friends, is the true epitome of evil. So congrats David, you piece of shit! You made it to number one!
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