Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Let's Get 2013 Rolling Here

You know, one of my New Year's resolutions was to pay more attention this poor blog and to my other blog about comics, Born In The Silver Age.

Now - 15 whole days after 2013 starts - I finally get around to writing my annual year-end entry.  Ah, well.  Guess I'll have to practice being a little more timely.

First and foremost:  thank you to all of you who read, enjoy, are entertained, and don't steal my words.  I write this blog for fun and to keep the writing wheels juiced and I hope you get some fun out of it as well.

I had the pleasure of watching some really crazy, really insane, and in some cases, really great horror films in 2012.  Every year, I like to make a list of the ten movies I enjoyed reviewing.  They don't have to be films that were made that year, just ones that I reviewed. during the year.  I also like to throw in some classics and short films as extras just to spread the love.

But hey, let's get to my list.  Here they are, in no particular order, the horror films I enjoyed reviewing the most in 2012:

The Inkeepers - Atmospheric to the point where the setting is a character in itself, a Ti West specialty.  A great little closed-door haunted mystery with some solid acting and chills.  It's a quiet, slow burn that leaves you clues to how you see the ending.

The Cabin In The Woods - The horror movie equivalent to riding a rollercoaster backward after drinking five Red Bulls and staying up all night. Like I say in my review, I can't begin to get into this utterly insane, madcap love letter to the horror genre without revealing a lot, so just see it and try to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

Behind The Mask:  The Rise of Leslie Vernon - Another in the "insane" category, this leaps from fake documentary to get-out-of-the-house classic horror with expert delicacy.  You really can't take your eyes off this story of an up-and-comer in a world where all the classic slasher villains exist as inspiration to young Leslie.  Funny, clever, and scary, just like Mr. Vernon.

The Pact - I'm a huge fan of atmosphere and, if you want to get technical, the use of space in the frame of the movie screen.  The Pact delivers on those in a big way.  Twists and turns, and a stellar performance by Caity Lotz (and a really good showing from Casper Van Dien), made this quiet little film a favorite among some of us humble horror folk.

[REC]3: Genesis - As well as being a fan of atmosphere, I love a little insanity, as you can tell.  A real departure from the other installments in one of my favorite franchises, this chapter leans more of the wacky as we're privy to what happens when the disease ravages a wedding party and what the lovers will do to reunite.

The Loved Ones - Probably one of my favorites this past year was this Australian gem.  Utterly outstanding performances and a plot that dances like that slick kid that wasn't from your school but knew all the "big city" moves.  I haven't cheered this hard for a horror protagonist in ages, and that speaks to the cast and crew of this wild flick.

Vampires - I'm not huge on vampires, but this Belgian horror-comedy about a dysfunctional vampire family trying to maintain its status among the elite of its neighborhood really grew on me.  Another fake documentary, it had interesting characters who forge their own paths through an odd and sometimes goofy dynamic laced with real scenes of horror.

Kill List - Oh, this one had both of those things I mentioned:  atmosphere and copious amounts of crazy, albeit on a more "slow burn" level.  And then some.  What starts as a "hitman out for one final job" road picture turns into something entirely different.  By the end, you're saying "What.  The.  Hell?"  A great buildup of tension leads to that "did I just see that?" ending.

Lovely Molly - Gretchen Lodge is so good in this movie, you're then surprised to learn how little acting she had done before it.  She carries this movie like a Heisman Trophy winner as a young woman left to her own devices in her childhood home, haunted by memories and...something else?  Very strange, with that performance by Lodge making one hope she gets more roles.

Rare Imports: A Christmas Tale - The last movie I reviewed in 2012 turned out to be a real treat.  An import from Finland, it explores a more pagan Santa Claus myth with gorgeous scenery and one of the smartest and bravest kids ever in a horror film.  The movie is strange and spooky, but with a nod and a wink...just like old Saint Nick.

And one classic film that I must mention:

The Thing (1982) - It was about time that I reviewed this wonderful John Carpenter film.   Claustrophobic, stark, and utterly terrifying, it's got so many levels and stories within stories.  It bears repeat viewings.  And honestly, I didn't dislike the prequel of the same name.

And one short film:

Exit 7A - What a simple, straightforward, entertaining short in the same vein as Twilight Zone and with a kind of ongoing story potential that could sustain a series based on the premise and certain characters.  I like being sent short films that I really enjoy, and this was definitely one of them.

And one so-incredibly-bad-it's-incredibly tremendous-film:

Troll 2 - Yep, I finally saw  It is EVERYTHING I wanted it to be and more.  It's something that truly must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.  It also led to one of my favorite reviews to write.

Some honorable mentions: Absentia, The Woman In Black, We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Caller, and V/H/S.

Again, I thank everyone for reading as this little blog heads towards its fourth year.  Hopefully, I'll have some new things to spice up the old place and provide some more of my words and thoughts.

Happy New Year!