Nicolas Cage is perhaps the most fascinating actor working today. The man started his career making obscure motion pictures, morphed into an Academy Award-winning dramatic actor, became a full-fledged action superstar, and then said f—it and went back to starring in obscure motion pictures. One constant throughout his career is that many of his defining roles can be found in the best Nicolas Cage horror movies like Renfield.
Movies are far too generic today, so it’s great to see an actor throw caution to the wind on occasion. Even if the results are typically too bizarre/weird to take seriously, there’s a certain charm sprinkled over every Cage flick that stems from his self-awareness. Check out the latest and greatest from the actor, the vampire horror/comedy Renfeld, in which the actor stars as a manipulative Dracula. Cage has a blast as the blood-sucking villain and single-handedly keeps the picture afloat.
Many may not realize that Cage has made movies like Renfeld throughout his career, so I thought it’d be fun to look back at the best Nicolas Cage horror movies in case you’re in the mood for more madness.
Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
First on the list is Willy’s Wonderland, a film almost too bizarre for its good. Cage stars as a janitor who spends his shift battling a group of animatronic animals in a Chuck E. Cheese-styled restaurant. More goofy than scary, but still a lot of weird fun in the vein of Killer Klowns From Outer Space; this is the type of film you either fully embrace or turn off after the first fifteen minutes. It works for me and stands as one of Cage’s more entertaining offerings in recent years. Don’t raise your expectations too much, and you’ll have a good time.
The Wicker Man (2006)
I’ve never been able to figure out if Cage is really trying with this one or hamming it up on purpose. sandwiched between Lord of War and Ghost Rider, the actor goes for broke with his performance as a police officer who stumbles upon a strange pagan society while searching for a missing girl. Cage screams a lot in this one and, in some versions, gets tortured by bees. Yeah, it’s pretty wild and sometimes quite effective. Mostly, The Wicker Man (an update of the far creepier 70s flick of the same name) is silly fun in a so bad it’s good kind of way. Despite what critics say, the pic is worth a look. So, check it out and try and determine if Cage gives a damn or is merely cashing a paycheck.
Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
If you’re looking for a movie that perfectly displays the best and worst of Nicolas Cage, take a gander at Vampire’s Kiss and then try to convince me the man wasn’t high on cocaine. Speaking in a weird accent that sounds like a cross between Keanu Reeves and Little Nicky, Cage shouts about 90% of his dialogue and delivers one of the battiest performances I’ve ever seen. Pun intended. Designed as a dark comedy, this hilarious but creepy bit of low-budget filmmaking overtakes the line between riotous and obnoxious. Nevertheless, it’s always fascinating and incredibly entertaining, even as it takes an incredibly dark turn in its last act. The film also serves as the birthplace of about a hundred memes and gifs, which is another reason it makes our list of the best Nicolas Cage horror movies.
Mom and Dad (2017)
Gruesome but fun in a morbid sort of way, Mom and Dad sees Cage and Selma Blair trying to kill their children after a strange static broadcast over the TV compels them to do so. There’s plenty of blood and guts for those who get a kick out of such things and enough madness to keep viewers on edge for an hour and a half. Cage is clearly having a ball playing against type and somehow manages to make you laugh while chasing children with a gun. Mom and Dad is not for the faint of heart — the pic opens with a mother abandoning their infant child on railroad tracks — but the film isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.
mandy is one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, a trippy nightmare in which Cage goes on a killing spree after cultists kill his girlfriend. That’s putting it mildly. During his journey, he bumps into Bill Duke, forges an axe, watches cheddar goblin commercials, burns and decapitates a bad guy, and uses his burning head to light a victory cigarette. There’s also a chainsaw fight. Again, this is one of those bonkers pics you love or hate. It’s gory, vile, and disgusting but… fascinating. I don’t know what any of it means or even if it’s worth watching, but mandy is definitely the craziest movie Cage has ever appeared in — and that’s saying something.