Movie Watch: Real Estate Developers vs. Nature in 'Furry Vengeance'

What's worse: The destruction of a pristine nature preserve? Or a once-promising actor getting sprayed by a posse of skunks, hunted by a brown bear, and trapped inside a portable toilet and covered in poop.

That's the question, more or less, posed by the new movie "Furry Vengeance" which opens in theaters across the country today. The film stars Fraser, who made audiences feel his struggle in "School Ties," and Brooke Shields. Fraser plays an Oregon real estate developer who relocates his family from Chicago to build a shopping mall over a national forest.

With the investment dollars of environmentally insensitive businessmen already in motion, a war begins. It's man against beast. Fraser's character must battle a beast bigger than budget cuts -- a forest of slick and witty woodland creatures who exact revenge on him and the real estate venture in order to keep their home.

In the spirit of films about real estate, here's our list of the top five flicks that use "housing" as a central protagonist. As has previously discussed, real estate can play a variety of roles in the movies: as dream home, haunted house, financial drain ...
Check out their picks for the top five movies that use real estate as a motif:

1. "The Amityville Horror"
OK, we not talking about the schlocky 2005 remake with "scary" Ryan Reynolds. (You know he's supposed to be scary in this one cuz he sports a beard.) We're talking about the 1979 original with psycho James Brolin. The Amityville house, located in Long Island, was intended as the dream home for a young couple. They blow off the fact that a horrible mass murder occurred within the walls with a shrug of, "Houses don't have memories." Ha! Things run afoul when the walls start bleeding and the family runs fleeing from the premises. Get out!

2. "Pacific Heights"
A young couple (Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffith) have plans to fix up their newly acquired Victorian home. To help cover costs they rent out a converted apartment in their place to what seems like a "nice" man (Michael Keaton). Bottom line: Always remember to do a background check. The tenant has plans of his own. He never pays rent, drives out the other tenant, and makes his landlords' lives a living hell. A battle for the house ensues. Trivia: The house used in the movie is not located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco but is in the Potrero Hill District (Texas and 19th St). That home was used due to its strategic view of the downtown skyline.

3. "Poltergeist"
Okay, another real estate nightmare. A young family moves into a house in a pleasant, suburban neighborhood. One minor fact is overlooked by the real estate agent: The house was built on the site of a cemetery that was transplanted elsewhere. Whoops! Haunted spirits run amok. At first they seem playful and friendly. Then Carol Anne gets sucked into the TV set and only a dwarf woman can get her out with a bellowing scream of "Go towards the light." In the end, the house gets sucked back into the ground -- very symbolic in these days of home foreclosures.

4. "The Money Pit"
Not only does this movie star real estate, but it also stars young Tom Hanks (back in his funny-movie days). "The Money Pit" is actually a remake of another classic movie about real estate: The 1948 Cary Grant classic, "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." A young couple buys a mansion at a ridiculously low price. One problem, the minute they move in the whole building starts to fall apart. Highlights include the entire staircase collapsing and the bathtub crashing through the top floor. "The Money Pit" is every homeowner's nightmare. Look for a cameo by Russian funnyman Yakov Smirnoff.

5. "Neighbors"
This overlooked comedic gem boasts post-Blues-Brothers Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as stars. A quiet man's suburban life comes noisily crashing down when an obnoxious family moves next door. The situation escalates into all-out suburban warfare between neighbors. Another twist, the comedic pair are cast against type: The role of obnoxious neighbor goes to usually mild-mannered Ackroyd while crazy-man Belushi plays the quiet suburbanite. Not only was this movie Belushi's last film, it also was directed by John G. Avildsen whose other films include "Rocky" and "Karate Kid."
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