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10 cult film characters to be for halloween

Drop those Eggos! There will be enough Elevens this Halloween to levitate Hawkins County police officers off their asses long enough to do some real detective work (#justiceforbarb). We’ve selected the most stylish characters from a few of our favorite...

by Emily Manning
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Oct 28 2016, 4:50pm

Dot, Gummo: Pretty much anyone in any Harmony Korine character is a walking Halloween costume (although I can tell you from first-hand experience if you go as Spring Breakers, many people will mistake you for Pussy Riot). But Korine's directorial debut, 1997's Gummo, is perhaps his biggest source of off-kilter wardrobe inspiration. This is likely because, in addition to acting in the film, Chloë Sevigny was its costume designer (she still has the pink wire bunny ears in her closet). Her own character, Dot, is a pretty easy Halloween option: take your pick between a tiger bathing suit or Poison t-shirt, then bleach all the hair on your body. Who knows, you might get cast for Alexander Wang's next show in the process.

Frankenstein, Death Race 2000: Here's how Rotten Tomatoes describes this campy 1975 flick: "Cult hero Paul Bartel directed this low-budget satire in which America's passion for cars, violence, and sporting events are finally brought together in one convenient package." Let's put the emphasis on "satire" and "violence." In a dystopian future, a totalitarian ruler creates a new sport to satiate his people's lust for action-packed entertainment: the Death Race. It's a cross-country road rally that's sort of a cross between Mad Max and Natural Born Killers; its winner isn't the driver who finishes first, but who mows over the most pedestrians in the process. The deadliest (and best dressed) racer is Frankenstein, a mysterious man created by scientists to be the top driver in the world. Though Frankenstein's whip is hella extra (it looks like a Transformer had a baby with a Ninja Turtle), he keeps it pretty chic in an all-black, Thierry Mugler-esque look.

Marietta Fortune, Wild at Heart: Sure, Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage's characters in this 1990 David Lynch crime thriller are more typical costume inspo: their outfits are simpler and far sexier than our suggestion. Diane Ladd positively nails Lula's overbearing, increasingly unhinged mother Marietta (probably because Dern is her real-life daughter). But we'll give Marietta one thing: she really commits to a strong beauty look when she's plotting a hit job. Another Wild at Heart psycho you might consider dressing up as — Bobby Peru, Willem Dafoe's slobbering maniac whose choice of bank robbery disguise isn't terribly unlike the masks found on Hood by Air's fall/winter 15 runway.

Ruby Rhod, The Fifth Element: David Lynch didn't enlist Shayne Oliver to dress Wild at Heart's menacing monsters (the designer was only two-years-old, after all). But for his 1997 journey to infinity and beyond, Luc Besson tapped another of fashion's favorite enfant terribles: Jean-Paul Gaultier. The Parisian master outfitted each member of the The Fifth Element's enormous cast, from flight attendants to fast food employees and, most memorably, the outrageous Ruby Rhod. Chris Tucker's commanding performance of the over-the-top radio host (a role apparently offered to Prince) saw him don two of The Fifth Element's strongest looks: a full leopard print catsuit and rose-spangled collar situation we're still lusting over nearly 20 years later.

Donna and Donald Dasher, Female Trouble: Any dynamic duos still on the hunt for a couple's costume should look no further than 1974's Female Trouble, the final film in John Waters's hallowed "Trash Trilogy." While its leading lady, Divine's Dawn Davenport, feels she's, "so fucking beautiful I can't stand it myself," Female Trouble's ultimate style props go to its duplicitous antagonists, Donald and Donna Dasher. The Dashers convince Dawn that pursuing a life of violent crime is the only way to make herself more beautiful. Van Smith's creative costume designs make the Dashers among Waters's most style savvy characters ever: in an early scene, Donna looks as though she's outfitted in one of Rei Kawakubo's sculptural creations, while Donald's brightly colored blouses belong on Alessandro Michele's maximalist Gucci runway.

Andre, But I'm a Cheerleader: Jamie Babbit assembled an all star cast for her 2000 directorial debut, a satirical crusade against stifling heteronormativity: RuPaul Charles, Michelle Williams, Mink Stole, Clea DuVall, and, of course, Natasha Lyonne. Equally as memorable was the film's production design; Babbit says the sterile cotton candy pink and baby blue universe was inspired by John Waters, Edward Scissorhands, David LaChapelle, Barbie, and, fascinatingly, AIDS paranoia. The film's plastic-y polyester and PVC costumes play into this artificiality, and honestly, any True Directions conversion camper makes for an epic Halloween costume — take your pick between a pink PVC trench or a bright blue tuxedo jacket. But if you ask us, shiiiiiiit, you might as well go with Andre, True Directions's most fashionable, fabulous ho-mo-sexual.

Queen Katrina, Vamp: This 1986 comedy horror flick features two dopey fraternity pledges tasked with finding a stripper for their brotherhood's big campus bash. They enlist Queen Katrina — a surreal seductress played by avant-pop royalty Grace Jones — without knowing she's actually a very thirsty vampire. Vamp didn't exactly kill with critics (though Roger Ebert's thoughts on Jones's mid-80s acting turn are worth the read) but Jones's costume undeniably slays. Katrina's full body paint comes courtesy of Keith Haring, the beloved NYC artist who Jones worked with off stage, too (see her "I'm Not Perfect" video or any number of her live performances at The Paradise Garage). But Katrina's Ronald McDonald-red wig, piercing blue contact lenses, and chalk white face paint push Jones's Vamp performance into another, far more sinister, place entirely.

Sick Boy, Trainspotting: "Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking...costume." We couldn't be more excited that 20 years after Danny Boyle's sobering sketch of the Edinburgh drug scene hit (or should we say, smacked) theaters in 1996, the British director has announced a forthcoming follow up, T2. Get in the spirit by dressing up as one of the film's lovable local junkies. Ewan McGregor's Renton should be a pretty easy one for any buzz cut bois who already look like they live inside a Wolfgang Tillmans photograph: bomber jackets, acid washed jeans, and thrashed up Chucks should do the job (though approach toilets with serious caution on Hallow's Eve). If you want to snazz it up a little, Spud's yellow square frames are a retro-chic move. But if you're sitting on a collection of technicolor acid-washed tees, have a fondness for camo, and a better looking peroxide mop than ol' Dot, might as well be Sick Boy.

Gorgeous, Hausu: "How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi's indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)?" asks The Criterion Collection. "As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet." Couldn't have put it better. The trippy film's basic plot: seven Japanese school girls and their rainbow of bucket hats trek to the main character's, Gorgeous, sick aunt's house in the countryside where a series of supernatural, bizarre, and at points hilarious happenings result in their downfall. In addition to its flying decapitated heads, haunted mirrors, piano playing severed fingers, and hearty helpings of watermelon, Hausu also has some pretty excellent style moments. The aforementioned bucket hat parade is one option, as is the Sailor Moon-style school girl uniforms the girls sport before they're eaten alive by a gnarly house. What more could you want from a movie? 

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Text Emily Manning