The 12 Most Regrettable Living Situations in Movie History10
By Steven Novak
The 12 Most Regrettable Living Situations in Movie History
There’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch – and that itch just keeps spreading. Some people dread the doctor’s office or the DMV or Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws. But there’s nothing worse than wanting to run away from where you live. Whether it’s an evil roommate, a pesky ghost, or just your resentful, live-in ex-girlfriend, as we see in KoldCast TV’s comedy series Bunny Hug, there are a multitude of circumstances that can make your house the last place you want to live in.
Hollywood has long enjoyed telling the story of uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, living accommodations – and here are a dozen of some of the most regrettable living situations in movie history.
Bunny Hug, Episode 1, Hot Coffee
1. James Caan in Misery
Based on the novel of the same name, 1990’s Misery tells the story of a famed novelist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan), who is involved in a dangerous winter car crash in a small town and then rescued by a seemingly helpful woman named Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who recognizes Paul. It doesn’t take long for Paul to figure out that Annie is far more than a helpful stranger though – she’s also his “number one fan.” A dangerous fan. Annie never calls for help. She is so obsessed with Paul that she ties him up in her house and keeps him… prisoner. As she finishes reading his most recent novel, things go horribly wrong. Annie forces him to write a new novel (undoing the events of his last one) and brutally thwarts his repeated attempts to escape her insanity – eventually shattering his ankles to bits with a block of wood and a sledgehammer. No doubt Paul found himself in one hell of a regrettable living situation.
2. Alan Mann in Monkey Shines
Directed by George A. Romero of Night of the Living Dead fame, Monkey Shines is a weird little movie from 1988 that’s about an athlete who has been rendered a quadriplegic when he’s hit by a truck. A friend loans him one of his experimental “human brain tissue” helper monkeys, named Ella. While Ella proves to be helpful at first, it’s not long before she starts killing his friends and family, attempts to light his girlfriend on fire, and generally makes his life a living hell.
3. Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of Jack Nicholson’s best films – and we all now wherever Jack goes, creepiness follows. Nicholson stars as Patrick McMurphy, a sane criminal who is transferred to a mental institution for further evaluation. It’s here that McMurphy spends his days surrounded by bona fide wacko patients. Making his stay even more miserable is the fact that he’s stuck on a ward that’s run by the most infamous nurse in the history of cinema, the nasty, abusive psycho nurse, Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). McMurphy’s living situation in this cuckoo’s nest culminates with electro-shock therapy, and ultimately, a lobotomy, which renders him a vegetable. That’s one way out of the coup.
4. Harry Potter in the Harry Potter Series
Sure, things are actually pretty cool for the boy wizard Harry Potter when he’s hanging out at Hogwarts – he’s got friends, he can do his magic, and the ladies are more than a little intrigued by the fact that he’s the only wizard to survive a Voldemort attack. Things are good. His time with the bloated, eternally scowl-faced Dursley’s, however, is not as cushy. Vernon, Dudley and Petunia treat Harry like garbage, forbid magic of any kind, and feed him scraps. And if that isn’t bad enough, they force him to sleep under the stairs.
5. The Freeling Family in the Poltergeist Series
Released in 1982 and directed by Tobe Hooper, this first Poltergeist film tells the story of a family that unsuspectingly moves into a house built on an Indian burial ground. It turns out the dead don’t appreciate having tract housing built atop their graves, and they proceed to stir up all sorts of nastiness. The youngest member of the family is kidnapped and pulled into the television, and eventually flying chainsaws start tearing the place apart. Even after the Freeling family escapes, the ghosts decide to follow them around for two sequels.
6. The Jennings Family in Arachnophobia
1990’s Arachnophobia is a movie about an unsuspecting family that moves from San Francisco to small town middle America, only to discover that their home has become the breeding ground for a bevy of extremely rare, and very deadly Venezuelan spiders. It’s not long before the bodies start piling up and the man of the house, Ross Jennings, is throwing dukes in the basement with a spider the size of his head.
7. Seymour in Ghost World
Director Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes tells the story of a couple of girls trying to figure out what to do with their lives now that their high school years have come to an end. In a collection of weird happenings that summer, they befriend a weird, middle-aged, pouty-faced, loner named Seymour, played by equally weird Steve Buscemi. Seymour’s sad existence includes selling vintage records out of his garage, behaving like a pedophile, and living in a dusty old apartment with an uncaring roommate who responds to his serious ruminations on life by breaking wind.
8. Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters
In the Ivan Reitman-directed 1984 film Ghostbusters, Sigourney Weaver stars as Dana Barrett, a woman whose apartment – or more specifically her refrigerator – has been inhabited by a demonic spirit named Zuul. When Dana’s not watching eggs autonomously pop out of the carton and fry on her countertop, she spends her days scared out of her mind, ignored by the so-called ghost hunting “professionals,” while trying to avoid demonic possession. She also has to dodge the advances of Dr. Peter Venkman – which is no doubt a chore unto itself. Not quite Misery, by any measure, but a tough living environment nonetheless.
9. Ash Williams in Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
Director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series is considered one of the absolute classics of the genre – and with good reason. The first two films are about a guy named Ash who takes his girlfriend on a romantic vacation to a seemingly empty and harmless cabin in the woods. Soon afterward, he realizes the place is inhabited by demons. Dead bodies dance outside the window, the stuffed deer head on the wall laughs in his face, Ash gets into a fight with his own severed hand, and a giant bloated woman spins around on the ceiling.
10. The Eloi from The Time Machine
Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, George Pal’s The Time Machine tells the story of a scientist, played by Rod Taylor, who creates a time machine and uses it to travel to 802,701 A.D. It’s here that he discovers humanity has settled into a vast garden populated by an illiterate and pacifist race of humans called the Eloi. At first glance things seem pretty sweet for the Eloi. They’re well fed but slim. They live mostly problem-free lives. They even get to walk around in skimpy robes. The problem is that they are basically food for the mutant humans living below called the Morlocks.
11. The Torrance Family in The Shining
Stanley Kubrick’s loose adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining is a horror classic. In the film, a struggling writer named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) moves his family into a massive snowbound in-the-middle-of-nowhere hotel for the winter season. In no time at all, Jack has gone bat-sh*t insane, his youngest son is encountering dead twins in the hallways, and screaming “Red Rum!,” and his wife is avoiding the angry swing of his axe. A family that dies together stays together.
12. Dr. David Bowman in 2001 A Space Odyssey
In Stanley Kubrick’s epic science fiction classic, Keir Dullea stars as an astronaut aboard a ship, controlled by a super-computer, named HAL 9000, that’s bound for Jupiter. When he and his fellow astronaut realize that HAL is malfunctioning, they attempt to shut him down. HAL, of course, doesn’t appreciate this and fights back. Being stuck in space with a computer that wants you dead, with literally nowhere to go, trumps just about every other regrettable living situation on this list.
Bunny Hug, Episode 2, After Math
Bunny Hug, Episode 3, Resolute Bay
Steven Novak is a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and admitted lifelong nerd with an embarrassingly large DVD collection. He is currently working and living in the Southern California desert. His most recent fantasy/action adventure novel, “Forts: Fathers and Sons,” is available everywhere books are sold.