Peter Jackson is best known as the cinematic emperor of all things Middle Earth: the man you turn to when you need to stage a battle between man and orc, or take a journey there (and back again) in the company of a nebbishy hobbit.
The thing is, because Jackson is so incredibly good at bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's stories to life onscreen, people tend to forget that he's made some other, equally awesome movies that don't have any orcs in 'em.
And in honor of his birthday today, we're digging back into Peter Jackson's early works to highlight the best of the bunch. The next time you're wondering if you should re-watch the extended cut of "Lord of the Rings" for the hundredth time, consider queuing up one of these instead.
Heavenly CreaturesWingnut Films
Tiny bb Kate Winslet starred in this movie about two best friends who form an intense bond, and then take homicidal revenge on their parents for attempting to separate them.
Jackson's take on the classic creature feature was a stylish homage -- and featured Jack Black wearing a truly incredible hat.
Starring Michael J. Fox as a bumbling ghost whisperer with a cadre of otherworldly friends, this straightforward horror story is perfect Halloween fare.
The Lovely BonesDreamworks
This adaptation of the bestselling novel is worth seeing for the beautiful fantasy landscapes alone.
Dead AliveWingnut Films
If you marveled at the restrained, elegant, occasional gore of the "Lord of the Rings" movies, just know that it's probably because Jackson got it all out of his system with this one -- which has a plot, of sorts, but more importantly has a scene in which the hero kills a dozen zombies with a lawnmower.