Sam Raimi's wonderfully disgusting Drag Me To Hell is all about a vengeful demon whose wrath is invoked over mortgage payments. And it's not the only class-conscious horror movie that will gnaw your socks off. We've got 15 more.
Like any decent horror movie, Drag Me To Hell had a not-so-subtle subtext about the kind of people who deserve to have demons barf up cats on them. In this case, it's a bank loan officer who comes from humble origins but aspires to join the upper middle class. To prove herself deserving of a promotion, she denies a poor all old woman an extension on her mortgage payment. Wrong move: the old woman calls down the wrath of an ancient demon on her. And the moral of the story is about as red as it gets. When the rich screw the poor out of their property, the poor will rise up (even from beyond the grave) and smash them.
Here are 15 other movies with ruddy moral centers for you to chew on as the banks suck you dry and your company gets downsized for the third time this year.
Tales From The Hood
Plot: Three gang bangers from the hood try to rob a funeral home, and discover the undertaker is all lot more than they bargained for. He tells them the stories behind four people whose dead bodies are in his parlors, all of which are scary fables.
The moral: The oppressed will always rise up and fight back, whether against evil white racist politicians, evil racist cops, evil abusive parents, and (of course) evil gang bangers who oppress their own people.
Comeuppance? Yes. The last line of the movie is "Welcome to hell, motherfuckers!"
The People Under The Stairs
Plot: A family of rich white people live locked up in a giant mansion in the middle of the ghetto. There are rumors that they have piles of money hidden in the basement, so a group of local kids break in to get it. They discover that the family has a bunch of abused kids that they keep in the basement, and set them free.
The moral: Rich people are evil.
Comeuppance? Yes. The evil white people are defeated by a nice black kid from the ghetto, who teams up with the abused children under the stairs. And yes, they find the money – and use it only for good things.
Plot: It turns out that all those crazy homeless people that you see on the street and in the subway are not crazy at all. They can just see a magical underground world of spirits and demons that you don't have access to.
The moral: Don't judge people who seem less fortunate than you are.
Comeuppance? Sort of. The story is fairly complicated – it's a miniseries by Neil Gaiman – but one character does learn a lesson about how people he once considered beneath him are actually powerful figures whom he is lucky to know.
Plot: The ghost of a black man murdered for falling in love with a white woman in the 19th century haunts the housing projects of Chicago. Specifically, he haunts a white graduate student studying the legend of his ghost. Which of course turns out to be more than a legend (or is it just all in her head?). In a strange way, they rescue each other: she prevents his story from being forgotten, and he shows her what a bunch of privileged hypocrites her academic colleagues really are.
The moral: Bourgeois white anthropologists shouldn't fuck with ghosts in housing projects.
Comeuppance? Absolutely. In a seriously bloody way. Snotty academics get eviscerated.
I Walked With A Zombie
Plot: The remaining members of a white family that once ran a massive plantation on Saint Sebastian island suffer under voodoo curses from the children of their former slaves. This is an amazing movie from the 1940s which is far smarter and more beautiful than its cheesy title would suggest.
The moral: Just because they're no longer slaves, doesn't mean you're not still oppressing them. And they are really, really pissed at you.
Comeuppance? Zombiefied and ripped apart by their own dysfunction, the plantation owners are finally driven out.
Plot: In an unnamed eastern European country, ultra-wealthy people pay big bucks to fatally torture young, kidnapped tourists. Of course it costs a lot more money to torture an American than it does to torture an Armenian.
The moral: In the eyes of rich people, you are just meat to be flayed.
Comeuppance? Not really. One guy gets away, and you may have heard there is a sequel. Basically, the rich get away with murder.
Plot: The ghost of a kindly pimp (played by Snoop Dogg) wrecks revenge on two wealthy black families who rose up from the ghetto – but never try to use their money to help improve the old neighborhood where they grew up.
The moral: Don't for get where you came from, and always try to help a brother out.
Comeuppance? Fo shizzle.
Plot: The vampires are a ruling elite, and werewolves are their slaves and servants. While the vampires get rich and wear expensive goth clothing, the werewolves live imprisoned in rags. Also, the vampires fight among each other to become the wealthiest and most powerful.
The moral: The rich suck the blood out of everybody else. And the poor are in chains.
Comeuppance? The oldest and whitest and richest of the vampires gets slapped down by a biracial vampire-werewolf.
Plot: As is often the case, vampires are the ruling class. In this movie they're using crazy genetic engineering to cement their power. Only the biracial human-vampire Blade can stop them.
The moral: The rich suck the genetic material out of everybody else. And the poor are their experiments.
Comeuppance? Hell yes. With Wesley Snipes playing Blade, you have to ask?
The plot: White trash vampires driving an old RV kidnap a nice farm boy and try to turn him.
The moral: When you're down and out, it's like being a vampire in a crappy hotel room shot full of bullet holes in the middle of the day so that the if sun streams through in a million little places. Comeuppance? Dubious. Farm boy gets away, but later goes on to star as Nathan in Heroes. And the vamps get no respect.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1930s version)
The plot: Jekyll is a rising star doctor who wants to marry into a wealthy family. Unfortunately he gulps down a potion which unleashes his lower-class side, Hyde, who only wants to go to burlesque shows and molest dancing girls. Hyde also hates the mincing, bourgeois doctor.
The moral: Class division creates war, even within the same body.
Comeuppance? Nobody gets what they want. Everyone is destroyed.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The plot: Five suburban teens are stalked and killed by rural Texas cannibals.
The moral: Poverty turns people into psychopathic cannibals. Also, it is fun to watch dumb suburban kids get slaughtered.
House Of 1000 Corpses
The plot: Four snotty urban hipsters happen upon a roadside attraction, which they consume with indie-rock irony. Luckily, this flick is directed by redneck rocker Rob Zombie and the roadside attraction is run by a psychopathic family similar to the one in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The trash class anti-heroes carve those ironic sneers right off our urbanites' faces.
The moral: The locals don't appreciate it when you city kids look down on them.
Comeuppance? Let's just say those kids won't be looking down their noses at roadside attractions anytime soon.
The plot: Wealthy real estate developers decide to build a subdivision on an ancient Indian burial ground. The Indians, who have already suffered enough at the hands of wealthy real estate developers, are not amused. They torment the family of one of the real estate agents, and steal his daughter.
The moral: Genocide is always evil. Genocide which yields profit many generations later is also evil.
Comeuppance? Absolutely. Indian burial ground = 1; middle class subdivision = 0.
Dawn Of The Dead
The plot: Suburban zombies eat each other at the mall.
The moral: Middle class consumerist existence equals death.
Comeuppance? Middle class consumers are turned into zombies. So, yes.