Minnie and Roman Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby
Secret Satanists Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) appear to be a harmless (albeit nosey) elderly couple, but their wicked schemes against neighbor Rosemary Woodhouse are anything but benign. The devil-worshiping duo lives an eccentric life at the Bramford apartment in New York City — a cover for the creepy cult they have pledged loyalty to. Minnie tricks Rosemary with tannis root, drugged chocolate mousse, and strange “health drinks” to make her a pliable victim for the daddy of all demons, Satan.
Beverly Sutphin in Serial Mom
John Waters makes homicidal mothers seem super cool in 1994’s Serial Mom, but we’re not sure we could tolerate all that gore — you know, the kind that “hangs there like a runny nose.” Kathleen Turner’s Beverly Sutphin takes suburban angst to new heights as she maims her way through the neighborhood. Beverly collects serial killer memorabilia, but she’s never late for her son’s PTA meeting and wouldn’t dare to wear white after Labor Day. Those who don’t live up to Beverly’s strict standards get axed.
Lars Thorwald in Rear Window
Hitchcock’s tale of urban paranoia was one of the earliest movies that brought our fears about the strangers living amongst us to life. The mysterious and menacing Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) becomes the object of his neighbor’s (Jimmy Stewart’s L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies) obsession as Thorwald’s invalid wife suddenly disappears. When the neighborhood dog turns up dead and other strange goings-on are spotted in Thorwald’s window by Jeff, a wheelchair-bound photographer, the deadly mystery spirals out of control.
The Griswolds in the Vacation series
The Griswold family appears to be harmless, but bad luck seems to follow everywhere they go. The misadventures of the jinxed clan are further aggravated by the oblivious family patriarch, Clark (Chevy Chase) whose determination to create picture-perfect memories for his brood results in disaster. While the family drama follows the Griswolds to a California theme park in National Lampoon’s Vacation and across Europe in National Lampoon’s European Vacation, 1989’s Christmas Vacation takes place at the Griswold abode. We wouldn’t want to live near dysfunctional Clark and company while they prepare for the “the most fun-filled, old-fashioned family Christmas ever.” Clark’s ball o’ twinkle lights and fresh-cut Christmas tree shenanigans will make you swear off family holiday gatherings for life. The Griswolds’ yuppie neighbors, Todd (Nicholas Guest) and Margo (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), can attest to that.
Frank Fitts in American Beauty
Crises abound in Alan Ball’s American Beauty. For mid-life loser Lester (Kevin Spacey), his infatuation with his daughter’s friend (Mena Suvari) is laughable at best. But there’s a darker storm brewing at the Fitts household next door, where Marine lifer Colonel Fitts (Chris Cooper) uses abusive and bizarre tactics to rule his roost. His repressed homosexuality goes from ugly to horrifying, devastating those around him — including neighbor Lester.
Jerry Dandrige in Fright Night
One day you’re a horny teenaged boy who just wants to make out his girlfriend, and the next day you’re battling it out with your vampire neighbor who wants to kill you and all your pals. Puberty is hard. Fright Night’s Jerry Dandrige sports some terrible, feathered hair and questionable knitwear, but his animal lust and vampiric charm is all it takes to woo young Charley Brewster’s ladylove away from him.
Everyone in Stepford, Connecticut in The Stepford Wives
If docile robots who are trained to cook, clean, and yield to their husband’s will are your thing, pack your bags and move to Stepford, Connecticut, where the women are impossibly perfect. The rest of us will remain living in the year 2014.
The Bumpus Family in A Christmas Story
Referred to simply as “the hillbilly neighbors,” the Bumpus family in A Christmas Story is never seen, but their pack of wild dogs makes an unforgettable appearance. The Bumpus hounds, who are often heard barking in the backyard next door, muck up Christmas for the Parker family when the dogs launch total war on their holiday turkey and gobble it up.
Jame Gumb/Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs
We pity anyone who lives in close proximity to serial killer Buffalo Bill (aka Jame Gumb) — the self-loathing serial killer who skins his female victims in order to create his own woman suit. His labyrinthine basement where he sews his morbid fashions, collects Death’s-head moths, and traps his victims in a well really brought down the property value of the neighborhood.
The Residents of Twin Peaks in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
David Lynch is an expert at peeling back the skin of suburbia to reveal a shadowy side, where all is not what it seems. Twin Peaks is the pinnacle of Lynch’s obsession with middle-class horror. The story of a promiscuous, drug-addicted teen who is found murdered leads investigators to some startling conclusions. Laura Palmer appeared to be the perfect high school student, but others ignored and demonized her when they should have offered to help the troubled teen. “Love thy neighbor” doesn’t mean anything in Twin Peaks, where corrupt businessmen, drug dealers, and pimps rule the town — and probably live next door.