Every year, most popular websites and magazines compile a list of the BEST and WORST movies of the year, and if you’re a hardcore horror fan, you know that most of the films you considered the “best” are most likely going to be shafted. In fact, in most cases the best of horror usually finds itself on the “worst” list of the year. Yes, it’s been a tough year to be a horror fan. This year the public was obsessed about the critical failures of horror (a.k.a. anything with torture porn) this year, that most forgot about the gems that Hollywood and Independent films had to offer. So I’m compiling this list for you guys who are horror aficionados like myself. This is for the horror fan who can’t understand why your favorite movies are always given a green splat on rotten tomatoes. So I hope you enjoy my list of movies I got to see in theatres and through festival circuits and feel free to list of a few of your own suggestions!
1. Hatchet-Hatchet is not by any means something that will change the horror genre. It is a movie with cheesy dialogue and very little character development. However, it is by far the most fun I had at the movies this year! This movie is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. I highly recommend watching this at a party and watching the guest reactions when the murderous Victor Crowley hits the screen with his trusty hatchet. This movie has special appearances by Robert Englund, Tony Todd, and has the one and only Kane Hodder playing Victor Crowley. It’s a must-see for horror fans!
2. 30 Days of Night– This movie was something I was waiting for since the beginning of the year. In my review (which you could read here) I mentioned how this movie was far from perfect, but it was still the best vampire movie I had seen this decade. As far as mainstream horror movies go, this one definitely pushed the limit in terms of gore and style. Its eerily quiet and somber score was something I appreciated and welcomed more than the classic “BOO” scares that pollute many other films. If you enjoy watching vampire movies, then you will definitely LOVE ’30 Days of Night.’
3. Vacancy– This is a movie that I wish got more love at the box office. Unfortunately because it was released a week before a couple of huge summer blockbusters hit the screen, most people forgot about this horror film. Another reason why people skipped out on it was because a lot of people couldn’t get over Luke Wilson being in a horror movie. (This is a shame, because he was awesome in it.) Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale did a tremendous job in this fast paced horror movie as a recently separated couple trying to stay alive at a motel inhabited by psychos who make a living off making snuff films. Despite having a rushed and cop-out ending, it definitely met my expectations, which is rare for any movie to do now these days.
4. Rob Zombie’s Halloween– Yes, I liked ‘Halloween’ and I’m not afraid to admit it. In fact a few months ago I had reviewed this movie and practically had my head torn apart just because I gave it a positive review. (Ironically most of the people were people who had yet to see the movie.) However, I did get many apologies days after when people had finally seen the movie. As far as horror remakes go, ‘Halloween’ was definitely superior to the crap horror fans have witnessed in the past few years. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there weren’t willing to give this movie a chance. Sure, this movie is not superior to ‘Halloween.’ However, it doesn’t try to be. I highly commend Rob Zombie for taking the chance and making this film his own.
5. Severance-‘Severance’ was a movie I had heard great things about and when I first viewed the movie, it was nothing like I expected it was going to be. (This is not a bad thing.) This movie was able to successfully poke fun at the conventions of the horror genre and yet embrace as well. It is not until the half way point until the audience knows what kind of horror movie they are in for. (I honestly didn’t know if I was in for a supernatural movie or a straight slasher) Also, unlike most horror comedies, this one knew when to play it for laughs and when to scare the living sh*t out of its audience.
6. Grindhouse– Even though I didn’t enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof’ half as much as I had enjoyed Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Planet Terror,’ there’s no denying that the collaborative double bill was a remarkable experience at the theatres or drive in. The look and feel of both films were amazing and I felt like I had transported back into the seventies. Too bad it didn’t do that well theatrically. If it had done well, maybe we wouldn’t be subjected to the bullshit of buying both films separately without the great fake trailers. (At least we get ‘Machete’ in the ‘Planet Terror’ DVD)
7. Fido– Every year there is one or two horror movies that actually get great reviews from people other than horror movie critics. This year, Fido was one of them. This Canadian Rom Zom Com was definitely had a unique take on the zombie genre and was definitely a film I recommend to movie fans in GENERAL. There are a few key performances that made this movie quite memorable for me. Billy Connelly as ‘Fido’ was pure gold and so was Tim Blake Nelson as the kick-ass necrophiliac neighbour. (Yup..the man is in love with his zombie) The film is ‘Shaun of the Dead’ meets ‘Pleasantville.’ Go and see this!
8. Mulberry Street-When I had first heard about the premise of Mulberry Street, and found it is a movie about killer were rats running rabid in New York city, I was expecting a cheesy and goofy horror movie. Instead, I got a great movie that wasn’t afraid of potentially boring its audience for the first half by getting to know its characters, before the horror began. Like I had said in my review,
“Mulberry Street may take longer to start than it takes a insecure and drunken male virgin to find a woman’s G-spot, but when it finally “finds that spot” it is a very satisfying (and more importantly, relieving) experience from then on in, and ends with an unexpected climax. (hehehe) I recommend you all see this horror indie (well directed by Jim Mickle) and I hope you guys enjoy as much as I did.”
9. Rec-I was lucky enough to watch this Spanish horror movie earlier this year about a news reporter and her cameraman stuck in building with zombies. It has been a big hit in the Festival Circuit, but unfortunately American audiences will probably view the upcoming premature remake to the movie, ‘Quarantined’ (starring ‘Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter and ‘Hostel’s’ Jay Hernandez) before they are able to check this creepy horror movie out. Like ‘The Blair Witch Project’ everything the audience sees is through the cameraman’s lenses. Unlike, The Blair Witch Project that relied strictly on your imagination for the horror, this one shows you the horror and the gore, which to me I found extremely terrifying. I wish they would just release this film with subtitles!
10. The Mist– ‘The Mist’ was probably the most surprising movie for me this year, because I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. In fact, I found myself intrigued by the characters more than the horror elements that were in the film. I cared about a good number of these characters, (minus the crazy religious chick) and hoped that all of them would make it to the end, but because of the drab and dark tone of the movie, I knew that that wasn’t going to be possible. This movie has probably the most shocking ending I’ve ever seen in a mainstream horror movie and it will have (and has already had) people talking.
Honorable Mentions: Inside, (*Hadn’t seen it, but from what I hear it’s going to be a classic!) I am Legend, The Girl Next Door, (*Very hard to watch) All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Alone, 28 Weeks Later, Shrooms, The Tripper, and Mr. Brooks