It is hard to deny that some of the best cinematic thrills come in the form of black humor that stuns and shocks almost as much as it delights. With this thought in mind, if you are looking for a good cult classic to curl up with at night that will leave you sleeping with the lights on at night, or at least with your mind turning in twenty different graphic directions you may want to check out the following top seven film noir classics.
You cannot kick off a film noir list without including a few of the classics that helped inspire and launched the genre into its current status today. Among those featured is In A Lonely Place which stars Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart. The basic plot involves the possibly violent Humphrey sought after for murder until the seductive neighbor Grahame clears him; the only trouble is that after she vouches for him she begins to have second thoughts as the rest of the story takes shape.
Possibly the best modern film noir to ever be produced, this pop culture classic is full of its own pop culture classics and packed full of its own references to society. Director Quentin Tarantino is definitely the KING OF COOL! Dark, twisted, and full of dry humor Pulp Fiction has won itself a cult following that seems to grow stronger every year. With great performances by Uma Thurman and surprisingly John Travolta you cannot truly be considered a movie fan without viewing this film.
Adding to the list of classic dark noir films is without a doubt The Maltese Falcon given the fact that it stars Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George, and Mary Astor in this story of a private detective that ends up on a case that places him at the hands of a seductive temptress known to lie, three criminals with a crazy streak, and the entire groups hapless quest to take home a statuette that is basically priceless. The journey is fun, but the dark humor is the real masterpiece.
Although Russell Crowe was not a known name at the time of LA Confidential’s release, it is hard to deny that this film does not deserve a place on the list of best film noir releases. Not only did the film win plenty of Academy Award acclaim, but it also introduced Guy Pearce as a director to mainstream audiences and also shocked and thrilled many due to the brilliant performances by the stunning Kim Bassinger and much younger Kevin Spacey back in his heyday.
The most notable scene in Mulholland Drive is no doubt when Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts end up naked together in bed, but the rest of the film is also worth viewing. The rest of the film is the tail of suburban life and the hidden secrets behind each house. Shocking to say the very least, the drive offers plenty of shocks and thrills, along with of course the blazingly naked scenes that should stimulate every sense that the plot cannot.
It is hard to make a list of noir films without including Tarantino’s modern contribution to black noir culture in the form of the Kill Bill volumes. Originally created as one film, the five hour feature was split into two different features both of which quickly became block buster hits. Both volumes made such a large splash onto the scene that they were lauded as epic pieces of film history before they even made it onto DVD making Kill Bill possibly one of the most well known dark noir features of all time.
Sin City is a glorified film about violence, death, and a little bit of romance in the fictitious comic book world created by Frank Miller. What makes Sin City stand out is the fact that the film is a mix of comic reality and reality itself as the characters turn into animated character pages and then back into the actors and actresses. Spicy and intermittently confusing but thrilling, it is a film to dedicate a few hours to.