Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back At 2010 - In The Helicopter Bay Special Edition

"Special edition" - yeah, don't make a huge deal out of that. This is just going to be me reflecting back on the year here at The WGON Helicopter.

The first thing I want to do is thank everyone for reading. I check the stats of the blog every so often, and it's nice to know I've got people checking out my brain-flares now and then, and from all over the world. Welcome to the blog if you're new, thanks for staying if you're not.

I also wanted to thank members of the horror blogging community who have been supportive and just plain awesome people to read and with whom to share ideas. I'm going to add more blogs over there to the right in my blogroll because seriously, there are so many to recommend if you haven't checked them out. Maybe a new future feature for the Helicopter would be to pick one blog and give a big ol' thumbs-up to them every now and again. Hm...

Looking back, I see Sleepaway Camp was the film I began the year with, and I watched it before and after midnight on January 1, 2010, hence the "clever" title I gave that article. Sleepaway Camp was definitely big fun, but what would be my list for the top five movies I watched in 2010? I saw a lot of really good movies, a couple not-so-good, and a few in between. Now watch: I'll make a top five list, publish it, then remember I liked another movie that I should've included and facepalm myself. Ah, well. I'll make it a top SEVEN then. So there. Let's take a look:

My 7 Favorite Movies I Wrote About In 2010 That I Hadn't Seen Before (in no particular order):

The Monster Squad - I finally had a chance to see this movie from start to finish after watching it piecemeal over the course of 20 years. It's a true cult classic with snappy characters, menacing monsters, lines of dialogue that are quoted to this day, and the awesome Tom Noonan as Frankenstein's Monster. Movies that stir a reaction in me are ones I like to write about, and The Monster Squad evoked pure joy.

Triangle - The most-read article on the blog, this turn-your-mind-into-tapioca movie still has elements that haunt me to this day. The "what-if's" and the "what we don't sees" are effectively used as weapons to assault our tender brainpans in this intelligent, loopy thriller.

I Sell The Dead - I expected it to be fun, but not as much fun as I had watching this little gem. Full of lively, kinetic energy, this film features a fresh new take on the grave robber genre, a popular subsection of horror many years back. The movie crackles with motion and dialogue, but most especially wild ideas.

[REC]2 - In my opinion, the [REC] series is currently the most terrifying horror movie series going. It takes the first-person perspective (or gimmick, as some might say) and does it right, creating a frantic, horrifying atmosphere. I like where the series is going, and I hope the next in the sequence will top the first two in terms of sheer horror. It's a high bar that's been set.

Ink - Although not technically a horror movie, this independent beauty held me tight to the screen. I couldn't look away, the creativity and the emotional beats still resonate to me right now as I think of it. An example of what kind of film can be made without studio restrictions and, well, fear, Ink brings the use of the fable back to life.

Lake Mungo - I know I said "no particular order," but Lake Mungo is the number one on this list. Not since I was a child have I needed to turn on the lights during a movie. This one did that to me, and I love it for that. You don't need garish special effects, big-name or "pretty" stars direct from The CW, or a sly fourth-wall "wink" to the audience to make an effective, emotional horror movie. Like a passionate wrestling fan once said regarding his emotional fandom, "It's still real to me, dammit!"

(Honorable mentions: Inside, Inferno, The Children, The Crazies remake, and Sleepaway Camp)

2010 was also the year I started attending the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, New Jersey. Lost in throngs of fellow horror fans, it's a bit overwhelming. But I did get to meet David Crawford of Dawn of the Dead as well as the great Zacherley, once the host of the original Chiller Theater TV show. I plan on being there again in April (when it's far less crowded), ready to get some nice pictures and memorabilia.

This past year, my comic book and zombie thrills were made "flesh" when The Walking Dead finally hit the small screen, thanks to AMC. I've been reading the book for years (just got Volume 12 for Christmas) and to see Rick Grimes and all the great characters of Robert Kirkman's comic series come to life was truly something to see.

In 2010, I was also honored to join some fellow horror bloggers over at Cinema-Geek, writing about films out of the horror genre. Finally, I get to write an article about Woody Allen's Radio Days or Christopher Guest's A Mighty Wind (two I have planned for the coming year).

Oh, yeah, and The WGON Helicopter turned one year old in March (how fitting) of 2010!

I look ahead to 2011 and think about what I can do with the blog. I'm going to write more articles about non-film horror vehicles, such as books and games, plus I'll continue to write about things from my past that contributed to my love of the genre. Hey, I'll even do more lists.

That's it for now, my friends. 2010 ends - as of this writing - in about 10 1/2 hours. I wish a fantastic 2011 for all of you - stay safe, don't stray too far from the shelter, and keep limber.

But really, have a HAPPY New Year and I hope your festivities are wild and/or memorable for all the right reasons.

See you next year!

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