In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about an overlooked and neglected horror comedy with a fantastic cast – The Vagrant (1992).
Directed by Chris Walas (who is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-winning makeup FX on The Fly (1986), and for creating the creature effects for Gremlins (1984) as well as many other 80s classics) The Vagrant stars Bill Paxton, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mitzi Kapture, Colleen Camp, Marc McClure and Stuart Pankin.
The inventive screenplay was penned by Richard Jefferies, and the quirky score was composed by master horror film composer Christopher Young. Honestly, I could almost recommend this movie on the strength of the score alone. It’s quite memorable!
Paxton plays Graham Krakowski, a high strung yuppie who moves into a new house only to be repeatedly terrorized by a disgusting homeless man. When his next door neighbor is brutally murdered, Krakowski convinces himself that the vagrant must be to blame, even as nightly fits of sleepwalking call into question his own culpability. Is the vagrant killing people and trying to pin it on the increasingly unhinged yuppie? Or is Krakowski projecting his own depraved actions on the object of his paranoid obsession?
Halloween Horror Picks
The Vagrant is a goofy, absurdist horror comedy that benefits from a talented cast of wonderful character actors. Paxton is given plenty of room to bounce off the walls here, and Ironside is deliciously bent as the bumbling lieutenant Ralph Barfuss.
If you like Joe Dante’s The ‘burbs (1989), or if you’re a fan of Bill Paxton, you’ll surely enjoy The Vagrant. It’s a neglected oddity that really deserves to be rediscovered this Halloween. I rate it 7/10.
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October! You can watch past episodes HERE.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.