Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Last Halloween-related post (For Now)

I kept meaning to put up this post since about Sunday night, when it was actually still Halloween, but I was not only still tired from the Halloween party the night before, but also, you know, lazy. Then I meant to do it yesterday...and yadda yadda yadda. Fascinating to peak into my mind for a few moments, I'm sure. I did end up cramming in a few more horror movies this weekend, I didn't write about them because, for the most part, I had already seen them. But what they got me thinking about was horror movies, in particular horror movies from the aughts, the last ten years. People that are into horror are pretty much like people that are into anything else, they are quick to point out that horror movies from the old days were much better than modern/contemporary horror movies. I mean, to an extent they are right, most horror movies, but then again most movies, aren't really great. But, like I always say, just like any other human endeavor there is always good nestled with the bad. Unfortunately a lot of times the bad is what makes more money. I originally was going to do a general rundown of my favorite horror movies, but thats been done to death. So then I figured I would just do a top ten of my favorite horror movies of the 00's or the aughts, just to narrow it down a bit. Here they are:

10) American Psycho (2000)
This is one of those grey areas where I am not sure what is considered horror or not. Because this could just as easily be seen as pitch black comedy, and you would probably be right. But, to me, it seems as much a horror movie about an insane yuppie from the eighties, as a social commentary about the mad pursuit of wealth and status in the same time period. Whatever you want to call it, it's good, one of the few times a movie is better than the book, and Christian Bale (who apparently based his performance on Tom Cruise!) is awesome. 

9) [Rec] (2007)
Ultra-creepy Spanish horror movie (It was remade as Quarantine in the U.S.-but stick with the original). It takes the handheld approach that would be co-opted by Cloverfield a year later. It revolves around a zombie outbreak that is basically contained in one big apartment building. Its really creepy in its simplicity, using the handheld home video camera approach to maximum effect.

8) Session 9 (2001)
A creepy little haunted house movie thats set here in Massachusetts at the old Danvers State Mental Institution. Here we have some men trying to complete an asbestos removal job quickly for extra money, as the old demons of the Institution start popping up, figuratively and literally, and start driving the men a little nutty. Good, atmospheric stuff.

7) The Strangers (2008)
This is one of the movies I watched again this weekend. Saturday night actually as I put my costume together for our party. I have to admit, upon rewatching it, the first hour is a bit better then the rest, just because the characters start doing too much stupid horror character stuff, if that makes sense. But it's still good. And just the idea that people would screw with people just because they happened to be around, randomly, makes it even more unsettling to me.

6) The Ring (2002)
Now this one horror hit that actually delivers the goods. Man, its unsettling. And there is one of the all-time great one shot shock cuts stuck right there in the beginning. I also like the fact that its also partially a detective story as well. 

5) The Devil's Rejects (2005)
If you had ever told me before that a Rob Zombie movie would ever make it on a list like this I would have told you you were nuts. But here we are. A completely sleazy throwback to 70's exploitation movies about a family of serial killers. I have no idea what it is about it, but this is some good sleaze. Roger Ebert agrees with me. It opens and closes with two pretty amazing musical setpieces, even though I hate one of the songs used, it's used to good effect here.
And the opening, which I couldn't embed is amazing. (Here it is in Spanish!)

4) Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Usually remakes aren't supposed to be this good. And while it does away with (sort of) a lot of the social commentary of the original Dawn Of The Dead it still retains a certain power, and the idea of people in this situation trying to survive together. I have to admit there is some really good stuff there. This also has another one of the best credits-opening sequences, probably of the aughts. I think it's really good:

3) Joshua (2007)
I don't feel like anyone has seen this. But they should! It's a portrait of a family thats falling apart and really the son that is instrumental in hastening that falling apart. I don't know about you, but sometimes kids can be creepy. And whats creepy here, slight spoiler, is that the kid in question, the eldest son Joshua, isn't haunted or possessed, he's a smart kid who seems to have picked up a sociopathic gene or two from somewhere. And what do you do with that? Sam Rockwell is really good here.

2) 28 Days Later (2002)
I'm not sure which came first, The Walking Dead graphic novels or 28 Days Later because they both use the same device: protagonist goes into a coma and wakes up in a zombie-infested world. That scene where Cillian Murphy wakes up to a deserted London is just amazing. 

(A small aside: the first episode of The Walking Dead is also really good.)

1) The Descent (2005)
I just wrote about this, so I won't bore you again. Any movie that's this unnerving before the monsters even shows up is doing something right, though.

The Best in Horror-Comedy:
Honestly, a genre not usually done very well, but, like anything else, when it's good, it's really good. Here are two fine examples:

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
What's even nuttier than the a story that posits that Elvis is still alive, and battling an undead demon with a black man who claims to be John F. Kennedy, in an East Texas nursing home. Is that even with all that crazy is that there is some pretty poignant commentary here about aging and getting older.

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
It was quite the zombie-filled weekend this weekend. The reigning champ of funny zombie movies (Sorry Zombieland, besides the awesome opening credits and the Bill Murray cameo, it just doesn't stack up) But I mean who could with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright?


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