March 26, 2012

What Is Your Favorite Urban Fantasy Movie?

Urban fantasy is a popular genre when it comes to books, but what about movies? Leading up to this month of all things UF, I had a heckuva time trying to list some movies that could be classified urban fantasy, let alone movies that blatantly promoted themselves as such. I suppose the easiest example would be the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I'm not going to bother with that movie, since I really never liked it all that much--and I'm not even sure there was any mention of "urban fantasy" at any point by anyone during it's release. Instead, I've five films that aren't expressly UF, but I think there's a case to be made for each. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know just how wrong I am.

Underworld - This one is pretty easy to sling into the UF category. It's got vampires, werewolves, a sprawling city scape, and a boatload of action and intrigue. It's a movie that relies more on style than substance, but the whole notion of a longstanding war between Vampires and Lycans offered some great bits of drama. And considering the franchise saw the likes of Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy going for broke as a werewolf and vampire respectively, the movies were a treat to watch--even at their worst.

Hellboy - Guillermo Del Toro's visually captivating style, couple with Mike Mignola's unique blending of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror make Hellboy an easy pick. The second movie might even be better, at least in the visual department. It was like they gave Del Toro carte blanche to whip up whatever fantastical creature that popped into his head. And seeing Ron Perlman as Hellboy stomping around the city rooftops and sewers while bemoaning his relationship with Selma Blair.

The Craft - This movie established two things when I saw it with a group of friends at the drive-in--Hey! Remember drive-ins?--and that was Robin Tunney was a little cutie and Fairuza Balk knew how to play crazy. It's not a movie with any real sense of city as character, so far as I recall, but the dynamic among characters and using high school life as the backdrop gives this movie enough of a UF vibe for it to count in my book.

Big Trouble in Little China - Oh god, The Thing is my absolute favorite horror movie, and the best collaborative effort between John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, but this pulpy gem ranks a very close second. This action-packed smorgasbord of one-liners might be one of the best things to ever come out of the 80s. Kurt plays Jack Burton, the cocksure braggart who stumbles into a turf war between Chinese street gangs only to find himself battling ancient gods and demons. Love. This. Movie.

American Werewolf in London - Okay, I may be blaspheming by trying to fit this film into the UF genre, but it does have a couple key elements: werewolves and London as a character. The movie really is a horror movie, and a very fun one at that, but if you took out the gorier elements of the film, it'd be really easy to call this a UF movie. I mean, a young man falls in love in London after being bitten by a werewolf, and struggles with the idea that he is either going insane or really is a werewolf.

There are probably some movies out there that are better suited for the urban fantasy label, but I'll leave it up to you to name them. So, leave a comment and tell me which of these movies do not belong on this list, and which ones do.


  1. Big Trouble in Little China! Haha. That was a stellar movie. I loved The Craft, too.

    I think my favorite UF movie may be Sam Raimi's Spiderman.

  2. I looooooooove Big Trouble in Little China. I have no idea if it's urban fantasy (I certainly never thought of it in those terms), but out of the list you provided this is my favorite. Hellboy might be second.

  3. I love movies like Mannequin, Simply Irresistable, and others along those lines. I like my uf movies to be a little light and fun.

    Though I love Underworld, Blade, and all those movies as well.