NOW THAT THE LORD OF THE RINGS is complete, we have nothing in life to look forward to (except endless DVD repackagings)... but while Christmas won’t be the same without Orcs getting hacked into Lunchables, here are some substitutes to help you get through the rest of your gray, empty life:

Heavenly Creatures Peter Jackson’s early splatter comedies (Dead Alive, Meet the Feebles, Bad Taste) can’t be recommended without knowing how funny you think a herd of zombies being puréed by a lawn mower is, but his one serious drama—based on the true story of two obsessive girls in the 50s—can be, for getting deeply inside the head of adolescent fantasies.

Die Nibelungen A two-part, 5-hour epic from the same Nordic legends Wagner made even longer operas out of, this is truly the Lord of the Rings of 1924, with state-of-the-pre-digital-art special effects (including a charming life-size dragon).

Zulu The Two Towers’ climactic battle drew inspiration from this 1966 war film about a small band of Brits (led by Michael Caine) who hold off a massive army of Zulu warriors. Fine blend of stiff upper lip heroics and 60s cynicism, with a great score by John Barry (who did all the best Bond movies).

The Devil Rides Out If you liked Christopher Lee (above) as an evil wizard, dig him as the good guy battling one in one of the best films from the 60s-era Hammer horror studio...

The Bride With White Hair ...And if, like me, you felt the Rings movies really kicked into gear once the hobbits stepped aside and white-haired guys started doing airborne wizard fu on each other, here’s the wild Hong Kong supernatural action movie that Peter Jackson was surely thinking of.

(See also:
Jason and the Argonauts, recommended earlier here.)

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