This weekend, the grown-up versions of Hansel and Gretel become witch-hunters. They join Abraham Lincoln, who hunted vampires on the big screen a while back. But why stop there? Our historical and cultural landscape is crammed with amazing figures, who could be out there getting some monster fighting done.
Here are our extremely earnest suggestions for the next legends who should become monster-slayers.
Top image: Apocalypse Hydra by Jason Chan
If you can raise your spear gun high when all about have let theirs drop, if you can live when sherpas die and strive to reach the mountaintop, if you can carry England's name in foreign realms that welcome no man... then you, my son, can hunt big game, and kill the Abominable Snowman! Look, we're not saying that Kipling actually did hunt the Yeti — but if you want to think that, we're not going to talk you out of it. In this film, Kipling is already a famous author, in line for the Nobel Prize in Literature, when Queen Victoria summons him to take up the White Man's Burden and deal with a creature that is savaging her Himalayan tea convoys. Kipling assembles a squad of fearsome monster hunters, including Charles Dickens and Henry James, armed with steampunk spear guns. But one thing's for sure — there's going to be one hell of a Gunga Din in those mountains!
Wait, hear us out. So the Deuce Bigalow franchise sort of stalled out after Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigalo, and Deuce Bigalo, European Gigalo, leaving many of us wondering how they'll ever be able to lay another Deuce. So obviously, changing the job description after his name is the shot in the arm the franchise really needs — and it's easy to see how Deuce Bigalow could go from filling in as a replacement sex worker who never actually has sex to being an Orc Hunter. Obviously, the fact that Deuce is already in Europe is a good start, because Europe is where the Orcs are. Deuce's whole schtick is that he's a bumbling, vaguely sensitive guy who satisfies these crazy and/or insecure ladies where other, more manly men cannot — so you can see how he would be the perfect secret weapon to send out against the Orcs. Deuce goes deep inside the Black Forest, where he has to stalk the Orc King armed only with his golden dildo award. And then he realizes the Orcs all just really want to be loved. It's got mega-hit written all over it!
Yes, it's the ballet smackdown that absolutely nobody demanded. And yet, it would be so good. The plot practically writes itself: Coppélia, the dancing wind-up doll girl, actually has come to life as a result of that weird blood magic spell that her creator did. And she's been traveling across Europe, dancing with different dance companies, for years, but always fearing that people would find her wind-up key. Meanwhile, the Nutcracker has been fighting his hopeless war against the Mouse King for decades, and it has driven him mad — to the point where he sees every problem as a nut to be cracked. He just goes around cracking everything in his path, and he can't be stopped. Eventually, the Nutcracker is heading for Paris, where he's going to crack the entire city. (He's gotten giant. He has size-changing powers, okay?) The only one who can stop him is Coppélia the dancing girl, whose mechanical limbs are almost crack-proof. But first, she has to learn to be the master of seven deadly martial arts from a team of senseis including Giselle and the Black Swan (maybe Portman can cameo). Coppélia will learn to strike like the swan at dusk! Caaaaaaw! (That's supposed to be a swan call.)
The original Rough Rider is in for an uncommonly bumpy ride when he finds himself on the back of a giant lobster. It all starts because Teddy R. is concerned about nature and conservation and stuff, so when he hears that there's a Land of the Lost-style thing going on somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, where there are megafauna and crazy sideways waterfalls and stuff, he's determined that it will become one of the first National Parks. But some unscrupulous steampark developers are trying to create a massive steam-powered mustache-wax factory by turning the sideways waterfalls into sideways steam. It's up to Teddy to go down there and throw them a real Bull Moose Party. Unfortunately, in the process, a gang of giant lobsters are released — and they're heading for Albuquerque. Time to lasso some arthropods!
He's been searching for decades for the infamous Virtue Gang — Dowell, Dobet, and the most notorious of all, Dobest. And in the meantime, he's become the fastest sword in Europe, cutting down armies in the service of the King. There's a reason they call him the Plowman — he will plow right through you, while alliterating like a fiend. When Piers starts to alliterate, you know you only have about thirty seconds to get out of the way before the plowing starts. But then Piers gets a call from his old friend Beowulf, who's been mortally injured after a run-in with a multi-headed serpent creature that escaped from a Greek sex garden. The Hydra is on the loose, and it's making its way across Europe faster than you can say "þeór-wyrt." Piers Plowman has to train with the Knight from Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain from The Green Knight, to become the best monster-fighter in medieval times. When he catches up with that monster, he's going to Do(his)best to burn its heads off!
The movie begins with Gertrude Stein holding one of her famous literary salons in Paris. All of the great writers are there, swapping tall stories about their exploits — Hemingway is like "blah blah bullfighting blah blah," and Sherwood Anderson is saying "I put a Wing Biddlebaum on the Loch Ness Monster," and Ezra Pound is gnawing on a chair leg and claiming to have disembowled a hundred werewolves with his fingernails. And Gertrude Stein finally raises her glass and says she has a story that can top all of theirs, and every word of it is true. With Alice B. Toklas at her side, the famous bohemian writer begins to talk, in a hushed tone, of the time she went into the dungeon-like tunnels beneath Paris and met the Gelatinous Cube. Explains Stein: "The Cube what was the point you can call it a block a square a hat a pigeon, would you tea the dog? You would, you did, and call it Monday it calls a heavy bucket down. Sandcastle? Worry dumps a dreg whistle, it can it can't, the stuck hand the blunt hand. You carnation it but it doesn't carnation you. A dreadful lack of dread full, lacking dead it doesn't make a snapper ant." The voiceover continues as the room fades until we see the scene she's describing.