Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Top 10 BEST Horror Films of 2012

This year was another solid one for our beloved genre. A giddy ol' good time awaited us at the multiplex with The Cabin in The Woods and many of us soiled our knickers while taking in the creeptastic Sinister. Oh there were some stinkers alright (as evidenced in the post right below this one). But by and large, there was a lot to be proud of as filmmakers (indie in particular) continued to push the boundaries of the genre by way of really unique and intelligent storytelling.

Never mind the bollocks, here's the list of 2012's cream o' the horror film crop! 

Please note: some of these films were not released in 2012 but were made available to purchase or rent this year and some are still making the festival rounds. Some bloggers and critics hold off on including films that are still being shown at festivals because they are not available for viewing by a wider audience. But I do and my hope is that you bookmark this post and check out these films once they do become available.  

Kill List is one of the craziest genre films I've seen all year. Part noir-ish thriller, part cult horror, the film focuses on a contract killer who has to grapple with some serious moral dilemmas. Things blur when real life gets in the way and our story climaxes with one of the most gut punching, 'WHAT THE FUCK?' endings I've ever seen. 

Phobias can be really nasty things. No horror film that I've seen in recent memory captures the affliction of a phobia as brilliantly as Citadel. The film focuses on a young man who has to raise his infant child alone after witnessing the random murder of his wife at the hands of some hoodlum kids who live near his slummy apartment complex. Compromising things, is his contracting of a severe case of agoraphobia. When the kids come back to the scene of the crime looking for more than just to finish the job, the young man has to deal with his fears in a very real way. But these are no ordinary kids.....

Another total 'What the fuck?' experience, Lovely Molly is a part found footage, all psycho crazy, character study. Molly has recently moved back into her childhood home along with her truck driving husband. What at first appears to be your standard run-of-the-mill haunted house story, soon turns into an examination of a fractured psyche as Molly is revealed to have many a demon hiding in her closet. But has daddy come back to roost, is she demonically possessed, or is she just flat-out, batshit insane? Kudos to Lovely Molly for having one of the most unnerving scenes in a genre film this year. 

Totally not the direction I thought this series would take, [REC] 3 is a perfect blend of camp and splatter. While it does add a little to the mythos that was revealed in part 2, you can tell the change in direction was purposeful. Props to filmmaker Paco Plaza: this was risky and boy do I think it paid off. It has a very Dead Alive vibe about it and the wacky hijinks within the film will certainly remind you of it.

Another return back to your childhood home horror feature, The Pact is all kinds of supernatural craziness as a young woman struggles to find out what's haunting her home which was recently occupied by her now deceased mother. Creepy, atmospheric, and just downright terrifying, The Pact gets my vote for most inventive scare of the year. You'll shit your pants and if you don't, you don't have a pulse. You'll know it when you see it.

The most well-written, heartfelt horror film of the year, this indie gem is all kinds of gallows humor funny. Ken is a loner, a 30's something guy who's fresh out of the nut house and living at home with his wise cracking mother. Life is about to find some meaning for him when he connects with a daughter he never knew he had. But when his childhood bullies start getting killed one by one, the locals start to suspect our lovable loner and Ken just so happens to be spotted in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fantastic performances by all those involved including Barry Bostwick who plays the goofy local sheriff.

The film that reminds you to never push aside or ignore that loner at your school or you just might regret it, The Loved Ones is one of the more uncomfortable films I've watched this year. When a young girl's invitation to the school dance is rejected by a boy she admires, her father takes matters into his own hands. But the father and daughter get a lot more than they bargained for when they bring him back home, thinking that he'll just be another boy for her 'scrapbook.' You see, this boy is just as messed up as they are. Really gruesome, curl you up in the fetal position stuff in this one.

I think it's safe to say that 2012 is the Year of Whedon. If you haven't seen this one, WHAT ARE YOU, CRAZY??? The last 20 min or so of the film is a horror fan's wet dream. This ode to the genre film will be in heavy rotation for years to come.

A brilliant film with a brilliant premise: a young woman is stuck in an endless loop, a Ground Hog's day of sorts, as she wanders about her Victorian style home doing daily tasks. As you can guess, she has to come to grips with the fact that she's a ghost. Not only does she have to contend with this, but also another aimless spirit that has taken up residence in her home. Anchored by great performances and some really terrifying moments, I Am A Ghost is a prime example of minimalist filmmaking at its finest. 

A heavy character piece, It's In The Blood features a father and son trying to reconnect after a long and strained relationship. Their weekend away in the woods goes awry after an accident occurs and they become stranded. As the day progresses, the surrounding area begins to come alive. The monsters that lurk within make it apparent that they don't want both men to leave. But are the monsters actually real or are they symbolic of the evils that lurk within the hearts and minds of both men? Another film filled with great performances, It's In The Blood might just be genre vet Lance Henriksen's best work ever

Honorable Mentions:

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Top 10 WORST Horror Films of 2012

It's that time of year again kiddos. Time to reflect, spend time with family, eat an assload of food, drink yourself into a stupor, and hit on that cute, young cousin of yours. OK, maybe not that last part. Depending on what part of the country you live in of course.

ANYWAYS, in the horror blog-o-sphere, this time of year means that it's year end list time. YAY!! And what better way to kick things off than to celebrate (read: don't watch these at any cost) the crap crap crappiest of shit sandwiches. And without further adieu....

10. V/H/S:

Considering the level of talent involved, this found footage anthology was a monumental let down. Never mind the severe logic gaps (how the hell are Skype conversations captured on VHS tapes?), the stories themselves were devoid of any genuine tension or scares. By the 3rd story, you want to dial up your local cable provider and ask for a refund.

9. The Fields:

Really the only thing going for this scare-less, pointless, and ultimately frustrating home invasion flick, is the one and only Cloris Leachman playing the part of a foul mouthed, badass granny. But even she's not enough to carry this absolute shit heap of a film.

8. Dead Weight:

An unfortunate film with an unfortunate title. This hollow post apocalyptic thriller is long, tedious, and just flat out boring. There is no rhyme or reason for any of the character's actions and the thin characterizations of each makes it really difficult to feel any true empathy. So when the proverbial shit hits the fan, it's a big ol' 'meh.'

7. ATM:

I don't think any film caused a more verbal rash of diarrhea than this one. OK, that's not true (see #1). BUT this film is loaded with stupid characters doing stupid things. And who the fuck goes to ATMs anymore? A stupid, ill-conceived film with one absolutely terrible ending.  

6. The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol:

Jesus, I don't think I saw a more painfully trying to be funny and clever and failing on all levels horror comedy as this one. Terrible racist jokes, annoying over the top celebrity impersonations that just aren't funny, and really really really awful acting to boot. There is absolutely no merit to this story of an aspiring actor turned crazy for snuff. None. What. So. Ever.

5. Area 407:

I saw a fair share of shitty found footage flicks this year but Area 407 takes the poop frosted cake. This isn't spoiler-y at all as the trailer (and film art) reveal that this is a dinos gone wild found footage feature (alliteration TWICE in two sentences, BOOM). Filled with annoying characters and unexplained situations (why was there a mysterious dinosaur preserve?) and one hell of a laugh out loud, ridiculous ending, Area 407 is the cream of the found footage crop of crap (alliteration 3 times beotch!).

I didn't write on this screen capture but I found it on the interwebs and thought it was funny.

4. The Tortured:

Another unfortunately titled flick, it features poor acting and another paycheck, phoned in performance from Bill Moseley. 'Look into the camera Bill. Now give me creepy. No no, more Devil's Rejects creepy.' Actually he's not the worst part of the film. The film is a revenge tale and the father and mother duo are the most improbable onscreen couple ever to pull off some SAW-esque hijinks. Tortured viewing indeed.

3. Entrance:

Ugh. Long and drawn out, Entrance is supposed to be a slow burn character piece but the characters aren't all that interesting. Unless you consider whiney, hispter, coffee house working, good looking white people interesting. By the time our 'shocking' ending comes around, it's much too little too late. Incredibly boring in every way.

2. Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical

I love heavy metal. It rarely (if ever) goes well with horror. I don't know why filmmakers insist on combining the two. But a musical? Gotta say that's pretty ambitious. But this doesn't work at all. Terrible songs, singing, and loaded with a completely nonsensical plot and CGI gore, you've got yourself one epic disaster of a film. So at least the filmmakers got that part right. And never, in the history of this blog, has more insane comments been posted to a review. Just click on the title and see for yourself.

1. Munger Road:

This film gets the number one spot for a whole slew of reasons. As a matter of fact, I can dedicate an entire blog post to it. But this ghost tale, slasher flick, I-don't-know-what-I-want-to-be-at-all horror film, is one of the most insulting flicks I've ever seen. Not only does it not go anywhere, but it assumes that the viewer will like the film. Yes kiddies, this one ends with the dreaded 'To Be Continued....' If that wasn't enough, the director has reacted very poorly to bad reviews. Bad form. Bad form.

(Dis)honorable mentions:

- Apartment 143 -- AKA Emergo
- 6 Degrees of Hell
- Detention
- Found
- Pretty Dead

Cortez the Killer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bedevilled (2010)

Fear 2/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 2/5

My Lordy, what is it about the Far East and their tales of revenge? Because they do it like no other. Bedevilled is no exception. While a slow build at first, it's no less brutal and unrelenting and the last act ends in a very painful and bittersweet way. This isn't a happy one folks.

A young woman who's life has recently grown complicated due to being witness to an attempted murder, decides to leave town and head out to a secluded island that she used to frequent as a child. As a child, she befriended a young girl and she hopes to reconnect with her during her time away from the city. What hope she has to reconnect and get away from it all is almost quickly dashed as she learns of the life that her poor friend now leads.

Pretty much the whole of the rest of our film centers on this woman as the seeking to escape city life friend exits the picture (for the most part) and takes refuge in a nearby home once she learns of the life that her friend now leads. She can't be bothered with the lives of others. Her intent to escape the harsh realities of life and ignore the awful circumstances of her friend almost leads to her own comeuppance. But that doesn't come into play until much later.

Anyways, our focus turns to this woman who's despised, spat on, and constantly belittled by her husband. Worse yet, he has no qualms about paying hookers to have his way with even when his wife is just right outside preparing dinner. Can things be any worse? Well his brother who also lives with them routinely has drunken, degrading sex with her and the other island inhabitants all look down upon her as well. This woman has absolutely nothing to live for save for one thing: her young daughter.

As you can imagine, her breaking point comes when her daughter falls victim to the actions of her 
absolutely despicable husband. There's no one that's safe from her wrath: her husband, his brother, and all those who call the island home. And as mentioned, she turns her vengeful sights to the terrible friend who did nothing to stop the actions of those who cursed her existence. But our film ends in heartbreaking fashion and on one serious downer of a note.

If you like your tales of revenge bloody and brutal, you will find none better. Just don't expect to walk away from this one with some sort of satisfaction.

Cortez the Killer

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Silent Night (2012)

Fear 2/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepinesss 2/5

A loose remake of the infamous 1984 slasher film, Silent Night captures the spirit of that film while being it's own beast. And a beast it is. The crazed, Santa outfit sporting lunatic in this one, is much more brutal and intimidating. And the story itself attempts to be something different without rehashing what was done before. Throw in some fantastic kills and random nudity, what more could you ask for?

The always beautiful Jaime King plays the deputy of a small town that looks like it lept off a Norman Rockwell painting. Along with her sarcastic and always smart alecky chief (Malcolm McDowell), they're running mad through town just a few days before Christmas, trying to track down the Jolly Fat Bastard suited man who's leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. Who's he taking down exactly? Only naughty people (sorry, couldn't resist): adulterers, smut peddlers, drug dealers, and bratty little fucktard kids.

As she's on the trail, our deputy learns more about the back story behind this multiple weapons wielding lunatic who's fucking shit up in her town during the merriest time of year. This backstory combined  with our 'surprise' ending makes this a bit more of an inspired effort and not your run of the mill horror remake. I found it to be a bit refreshing and not the same ol' same ol'.

That's not to say you won't find all of the hallmarks of a good slasher in abundance. The kills are memorable (wood chipper anyone?) and the random boobage just right. But what really makes the film for me are the references to the series and to classic Christmas themed horror flicks. This combination of the old and new is what made the film work and again, not your run of the mill remake.

You can check out Silent Night now via various VOD platforms and it's available to purchase on Amazon.

Cortez the Killer

Monday, December 3, 2012

6 Degrees of Hell (2012)

Fear 0/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 0/5
Creepiness 0/5

Oh boy, I'm not sure where to start with this one. Yes I do: this is one of the worst horror films I've seen this year. Good luck trying to make sense of this scare-less, snoozefest that is long on incoherent dialogue and short on action. It'll make your head hurt. Trust me, this isn't one to take a chance on folks.

The film has no less than 4 different sub plots that jump around during the course of the film: a group of paranormal investigators are spooked by some sort of ancient evil that's invading their town; a local horror attraction owner is worried that the evil is going to kill his business; a local family is concerned that their loved one is possessed by this evil; and an expert in the paranormal is there to help the local authorities sort it all out. Got that?

So our expert in the paranormal is played by Corey 'I'm showing up sporting a dumb haircut and spewing some nonsensical dialogue for a paycheck' Feldman slogs through the proceedings and acts as a sort of narrator. Except his relaying of what's going on to the cops doesn't make a lick of sense.

All of these dumb sub plots are supposed to converge and they kind of do but how the evil came to be and why it's decided to invade this small town, well that's anyone's guess really. This confusing, riddled with vague and terrible dialogue, and devoid of any scares horror flick, is awful in every way imaginable.

Avoid. At. All. Costs.

Cortez the Killer