Few have bridged the fantasy-comedy-horror chasms like the master, Eddie Murphy. With his dynamic and impressive breadth of performance, we pay homage to him and to some of his most cult-worthy works.
The Golden Child
If you weren’t around in 80s, that is, before America and the world knew the lovable goof, Murphy, in his comedy classics, Beverly Hills Cop, Shrek, and so on, you have to be aware that Murphy loved the nasty and profane. The Golden Child represented a departure from his raunchier ways and qualifies as one of his more family-friendly endeavors.
The Golden Child is a 1986 fantasy-comedy film. Murphy plays a detective with a specialty for finding lost children and gets designated as “The Chosen One.” As “The Chosen One,” Murphy’s mission is to save “The Golden Child,” a Buddhist mystic who was kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. The film takes us on a journey to the depths of Asia and exposes our more-progressive modern sensibilities to the, ah-hem, colorful language and cultural attitudes towards women and Asians in 1980s Hollywood.
Murphy, himself, was one of the few African-American actors who enjoyed mainstream Hollywood leading man status in films that were geared to appeal across racial lines. For its time, The Golden Child was considered progressive, in that Murphy’s character, Chandler Jerrell, is black, yet the characters in the film never acknowledged nor made a point of it.
Thus, while The Golden Child was not one of Murphy’s greater successes, it remains one of his strongest works of the time and offers contemporary viewers a peak-a-boo into the past, but not distant past, racial and gender attitudes.
The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion is a 2003 fantasy-comedy-horror film based on the Disneyland ride. Murphy plays a workaholic realtor, Jim Evers, who brings his family to an irksome mansion that the owner wants to sell. In classic horror fashion, the family gets trapped at the mansion because of a torrential rainstorm. During their stay, the family experiences the paranormal and Murphy’s character learns a valuable lesson about the value of spending time with loved ones.
Many compare the movie to Pirates of the Caribbean, of course, another Disney film based on a ride. And while less acclaimed than Pirates, The Haunted Mansion is a fun Murphy film that holds its own. Enjoy.
Vampire In Brooklyn
Vampire In Brooklyn is Murphy’s 1995 comedy-horror film featuring a centuries-old vampire from the Caribbean who is sent to Brooklyn in search for the child of a fellow vampire. Vampire In Brooklyn represents one of Murphy’s most underrated films. Critics seemed unable to appreciate how the darkness and gore of film lulled the audience into a state of suspense only to punch them in the gut with the comedic shenanigans of Murphy’s vampire character, Maximillian.
In one scene, Maximillian is disguised as a pastor as he stalks through the streets of New York. As he passes a church, he is unwittingly dragged inside where he immediately begins to burn. These moments and others like it catch you by surprise and tickle you before throwing you back into the suspense of the film. Few comedy-horror films manage to be this funny while keeping true to the horror genre. That’s what makes this film so damn great, and worthy of a heavy cult following.
Not to mention the kudos that should be given: The film breaks with the normal Eastern-European white vampire trope in favor of a predominantly black cast of characters who infuse the movie with elements of West Indian zombie lore. Just go watch it.