With everyone compiling their "Best horror films of '09" lists, I thought I'd do my usual one-upsmanship routine and take it one step further - offering you my "Favorite horror films of the oughts." That's right, I've taken the time to put together not one - but two (the next appears tomorrow) - Top 10 lists covering my favorite horror, suspense, and splatter since the dawn of the new millennium.
And before you start having multiple crygasms over the titles I've chosen, please try to remember whose blog you're reading. I don't cream jeans when I catch a great performance or a cinematic treasure that chills me to the bone. For this guy, its all about firehose-like fountains of blood and multiple bad puns. If that ain't your bag, feel free to go jerk off whatever garbage Lisa Schwarzbaum is currently praising.
So, without further ado, my ten favorite theatrical wide-releases (U.S.) since 2000:
Narrowly beating out DOG SOLDIERS as my favorite Neil Marshall film, THE DESCENT managed to take a guy who wasn't afraid of enclosed spaces or crazy blind albino mutants and somehow scare the precious life out of him. The first time you see one of those critters, I dare you not to leap out of your skin.
Two brothers play a prank over a CB radio, and turn a faceless, gravelly-voiced trucker into a murderous sociopath. There should have been a lot more love for JOYRIDE - a totally unrelenting thriller in the vein of Hitchcock, with great performances from the entire cast and truly gasp-inducing tension.
There's not much to say that hasn't already been said... SHAUN OF THE DEAD is a spot-on brilliant homage to Romero's zombie films, filled with lovable characters, amazingly quotable dialogue, hilarious laughs, and (as a bonus) some truly disturbing moments of genuine horror.
Eat it. This movie has flaws, but I think BLAIR WITCH 2 is a wonderful mindfuck of a film that was brave enough to avoid the trappings of a traditional sequel while taking on the unavoidable pratfall of the first film's celebrity status. And its got great boobs... and spooky dead kids.
College kids. South America. Me actually looking away from the screen. The less you know about it, the better... but the best part is that real gross-out shock moments aren't from the "monster" - but from man. Had this movie come out at the height of torture porn's popularity, it would have been a blockbuster.
Forget THE MIST's gut-wrenching finale (I always do) and you've still got one of the best monster movies ever made - period. If THEM! had a baby with H.P. Lovecraft's brain, it might look something like this beautiful, character-driven creature feature... And Mrs. Carmody? Its been a long time since I've begged that desperately to see a character get what's coming to them.
This movie embodies everything I love about cinema, from the bad puns and disembodied genitals to unbelievable celebrity cameos and gratuitous, improbable gore. But the very best part? Writer/director Robert Rodriguez never, ever forgets that its all just supposed to be fun.
I bitched and bitched (and bitched) about DAWN OF THE DEAD '04. Every part of me was ready to hate this action/horror remake of one of my favorite films... but after its breathtaking intro and the opening credits rolled to When the Man Comes Around, I leaned over to my wife, smiled, and said, "Okay. I'll kindly shut the fuck up now."
Angry about BLAIR WITCH 2 being on this list? Well, prepare to fume even harder. A zombie-filled 9/11 political drama starring Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, and Asia Argento?! Romero, like me, was never subtle about his political beliefs, and this is his big, unapologetic "fuck you" to conservative ideals. I love it.
Say what you will about Eli Roth, but CABIN FEVER is an all-out riot. It is the kind of film I would love to make, and the only movie that has actually driven my wife to drink. I could watch it once a month and always find something to laugh at or gag upon.
Honorable mentions go to HOSTEL (I loved it), THE RING (but I loved the original more), THE DEVIL'S REJECTS (wherefore art thou, Rob Zombie's talent?), JEEPERS CREEPERS (and its TREMORS-eque sequel), DOOM (its ALIENS - only retarded!), 28 DAYS LATER/28 WEEKS LATER (they kicked my ass), THE ORPHANAGE (made me cry), ZOMBIELAND (total fun), and dozens more.
Tune in tomorrow for my top ten favorite direct-to-DVD (and video, remember those?) horror, suspense, and splatter movies of the oughts! I expect you to both laugh (at my picks) and cry (for my taste in film).
And if you've made it this far, please comment and complain about my picks, make some of your own, and tell me what I obviously forgot!
Happy 2010! ...Feels kinda futuristic, doesn't it?