I know what you’re thinking, how can you possibly create a decent list of Irish-themed horror without mentioning that series!? The answer is that you can’t and I’ll now be listing all eight films in order of….
While definitely not as verbose a lineup as let’s say Christmas, this ever-expanding niche has some pretty great films already, and some I didn’t even know about until sitting down to compile this list. So while carefully avoiding that franchise, here are 5 holiday-appropriate films for you this St. Patrick’s Day!
Maniac Cop (1988)
The streets of New York City are not safe in the Spring of ’88 thanks to undead officer Matt Cordell (Richard Z’dar) in William Lustig’s Maniac Cop.
From the mind of screenwriter Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Stuff) comes the story of a homicidal ex-cop recently returned from the dead seeking revenge on the precinct and the city-at-large. Imprisoned and murdered for sticking his nose into local government corruption, Cordell, now the maniac, rampages through the city, creating panic and giving the real cops a bad image.
Starring genre heavyweights like Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) and Tom Atkins (Halloween III: Season of the Witch) as well as Richard Roundtree (Shaft) this film is a cult classic nowadays. One of the films most iconic sequences takes place on St. Patrick’s Day during NYC’s parade and included actual footage from the real parade. There’s a long, intertwined history in America of Irish heritage and law enforcement, which combine here with horror to create a pretty good and unique slasher film.
Muck sees a group of friends surviving an unknown and unnamed horror from the marshes of the Cape Cod area only to take refuge in an abandoned vacation house containing something far worse. On St. Patrick’s Day no less! The story drops the viewers off in the middle of the action, it was planned to be the middle part of a trilogy, but sadly it was canceled due to the film’s lackluster performance. Which is unfortunate as more storytelling could enhance some of the failures of this film. That being said, the movie does have a decent amount going for it.
Partially funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign it can also boast the legendary Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Franchise) amongst its cast as the leader of the albino Creepers, even if it’s only for a handful of minutes. The practical effects in the movie are pretty good and the acting is not completely awful so I can’t see why you shouldn’t add it to your viewing list this holiday!
Red Clover (2012)
Taking a more “traditional” approach to this holiday horror gem, Red Clover is another leprechaun tale, just not that leprechaun.
You see, in the town of Keening, Massachusetts, residents haven’t celebrated St. Patrick’s Day for 66 years ever since banishing an evil leprechaun from their midst, but now it has been released once more to tear up the townsfolk. You know, that old chestnut. Spinning a bit the more well-traversed story, this Luchorpan (the Old Irish word for leprechaun) is as evil as they come and puts a more serious face to the fabled creature. As opposed that other one. Part of the After Dark series of films and directed by children’s book author(!?) Drew Daywalt, this dark and twisted story features Billy Zane (Demon Knight), William Devane (Hollow Man) and Courtney Halverson (Unfriended) and in my opinion does the Irish legend bloody justice for once.
As opposed to that other one.
In this anthology film from 2016 each chapter is dedicated to one of the major holidays throughout the year, but for this articles agenda one is of particular note; St. Patrick’s Day.
Directed by Gary Shore, whose directorial debut was a little film called Dracula Untold (2014), the short recaps the story of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland but what follows is a dark, twisted and yet hilarious journey of one’s wish for children gone horribly and disturbingly wrong. Following school teacher Elizabeth Cullen, who learns she is pregnant much to her delight….but all is not as it seems. Think Rosemary’s Baby (1968) meets Anaconda (1997) maybe? As her excitement dwindles, that of her strange student Grainne increases as it heads to its twisted conclusion. Definitely watch this one first, given the holiday, but don’t forget the rest as the year continues.
Part of Hulu’s Into The Dark series, Crawlers is a nod to films of the eighties with a smart, modern aesthetic overlaid on top. While delving into the very real trope of people getting waaaaaay too drunk in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and adds a town being overrun by alien doppelgangers as the plot twist. Narrated by Shauna (Giorgia Whigham) recounting the previous years extraterrestrial event of a St. Patty’s themed pub-crawl with all the booze, drugs and sex that normally entails. But once you throw in an invasion of aliens that look like humans it leads to a wild ride of a film and for sure the craziest one on this list.
The aliens inhabiting human bodies gives off MAJOR Invasion of the Body-Snatcher (1956/1978) vibes but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a solid entry into a small, but expanding roster of green-tinged horror movies.
Will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer and horror films!? Let us know over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.