It's not the most visualized holiday in the motion picture canon. Perhaps it has something to do with the bifurcated nature of the celebration. On the one hand, you've got the solemn grace of the Christian conceit, a moving proclamation of faith and forgiveness as best illustrated by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then, for some perfectly pagan reason, this honorarium for the dead turned into a brightly colored pastel puke fest, as baskets laden with all manner of glucose grotesqueries became the annual endowment to dentists and dieticians everywhere. Even worse, the King of Kings was cast aside for some oversized animal with a tendency toward rapid preproduction and raisin pellet feces. Trying to explain this all to an impressionable youth has got to be one of the greatest challenges in all of parenting. No wonder they saddle their bratlings with all kinds of caffeine and caramels instead.
Hollywood's been no help. They've treated Easter like a leper in the motion picture punchbowl, sticking with either the saintly (The Robe) or the silly (Easter Parade) to illustrate their interest. Of course, kids catch the brunt of it, with all manner of egg and eye candy creations used to keep their attention off the obvious death and dying subtext. Between standard animated offal (It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown) and the unusual ersatz religious revamps (the Veggies Tales take on Dickens called An Easter Carol) it's no wonder children choke down sweets. But here's a way of avoiding all this conceptual contradiction. As part of our cinematic service to the planet's populace, SE&L suggests tossing out the typical and trying a few new entertainment entries this holiday. While they probably won't fill you with much spring spirit, they will definitely make the time period more tolerable. Divided into the recognizable symbols of the season, let's begin with:
Rabbits – Night of the Lepus (1972)
Runner-Up: Evil Anthony conjures up a horrifying rabbit of Hate in Joe Dante's entry from Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Eggs – Aliens (1986)
Runner-Up: Chad Everett takes on an underwater mutant hatched from a prehistoric omelet in The Intruder Within.
Sweets: The Ice Cream Man (1995)
Runner Up: The sickly sweet killer cream at the center of Larry Cohen's satiric The Stuff.
The Passion: Dead Alive (1992)
Runner Up: The Japanese argue for the title of most depraved fright fans around thanks to the callous corpse grinding of the Guinea Pig series.
The Resurrection: Deathdream (1974)
Runner Up: The black zombie "redeemer" leading his fellow ghouls out of bondage in George Romero's Land of the Dead.
The Redemption: The Omega Man (1971)
Runner Up: An international team of scientists, military men, and hack actors all try to save the planet from a Virus that threatens to turn everything into one big Japanese disaster movie.
And there you have it – six films guaranteed to get that nasty taste of bargain basement discount department store pseudo-milk chocolate bunny out of your mouth once and for all. No matter your denomination, or beleaguered belief system, everyone could use a break from tried and true tradition. So give the MGM musicals a rest, and try not to subject yourself to another helping of James Caviezel's snuff film style scourging at the hands of some psycho-Italianos. Nothing beats the boredom of another mindless spring fling better than something that smotes it right in the repetitive ribcage. With this sly sextet of offerings, it may be a halfway Happy Easter after all.