Yes, boils and ghouls, it’s that time of year again! When we stock up on alcohol and snacks and sacrificial babies, and force ourselves to write the correct year on those blackmail cheques to that Russian lap dancer who has pictures of us in the Donald Duck costume…
Anyway, 2013! We made it past the so-called Mayan Apocalypse! Now preacher Ronald Weinland, who predicted previously that the world would end last May and back in 2011, has stated categorically that it would definitely end May 19, 2013. Third time’s the charm, Ronald, but I hope nobody gave away their goods or lost their virginity to a hobo because they listened to you.
Of course, 2013 is the year in which the following movies are set: ESCAPE FROM L.A., THE POSTMAN, and THE BOOK OF ELI. All apocalyptic. I’m sure there’s nothing to that, though.
Screw this, I want a Jack Daniels!!
But first it’s time to look back on the horror movies of 2012 I consider the best that the genre had to offer. There will be differences between my list and Scott’s, not just because of taste but because living in the UK I may get movies released at different times, if at all. Some you might disagree with my choices. That, of course, is your opinion, and you are perfectly entitled to your opinions.
Expect to be sleeping on the couch tonight, however here is …
Deggsy’s 10 Best Horror Movies of 2012 (in alphabetical order):
ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER (Deggsy’s review): I try to avoid vampires like Steven Seagal avoids emoting and diet food, but couldn’t let this one pass by, partly because it’s a fast-paced and original take on bloodsuckers that aren’t sparkly, partly because it looks very good and doesn’t skimp on the blood. Based on a best-selling novel, LINCOLN charts the hidden history of one of America’s greatest Presidents, as he fights both slavery and the undead, the two being far more intertwined than you might have imagined. Though some of the action scenes fear almost into VAN HELSING levels of ludicrousness, overall I liked what I saw, and have had worse times watching stuff (I’ll get to you soon enough, Asylum).
THE BAY (Anything Horror Scott’s review): Sometimes when a big name director dips his toe into the pool of horror, he falls in, cracks his head and floats there in a slowly growing pool of blood and embarrassment. Fortunately Barry Levinson, better known for such far as RAIN MAN, TOYS and BUGSY, proved he can successfully manage to create a creepy and disgusting horror movie, especially with the found footage genre, as a small coastal town is stricken with an ecological disaster that the government tries to cover up. While not flawless or even particularly original (Cronenberg’s ears must have been burning while the script was being written) it delivers some pretty decent creeps – unless the notion of parasites entering your body and burrowing into your brain doesn’t scare you. It does me.
CABIN IN THE WOODS (Anything Horror Scott’s review): As if his work on THE AVENGERS wasn’t enough to show he has chops, Joss Whedon took all the collected tropes about horror movies and offered a meta explanation for them, in this tale of a group of familiar-seeming young people going to the titular location and finding themselves attacked by unknown forces – and manipulated by the even more deadly forces of bureaucracy. To give away much more would be like feeling up a nun, and not in a good way either, so I’ll finish up by saying that there is a wonderfully bloody and violent climax that packs more in ten minutes than the average ten movies I’ve seen this year, and there’s a delicious streak of black humour throughout.
COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (Deggsy’s review): Since SHAUN OF THE DEAD, many have attempted to successfully blend horror and comedy, and few have succeeded, but this little number from the UK managed, at least for me, to approach its more famous antecedent. A gang of East End London bank robbers find themselves facing more than the police, as zombies swarm out from an ancient pit. There’s plenty of juicy gore to be had, as well as some funny gags (my favourite being the slowest chase scene on film, between a zombie and a pensioner), and I’m hoping my Colonial cousins will discover this in time.
EXCISION (Deggsy’s review): Richard Bates’ examination of teenage rebellion and psychological breakdown is at times beautiful, poetic, absurd, amusing and horrifying, as AnnaLynne McCord’s sardonic, surgery-obsessed Pauline, trapped in a dreamy suburban nightmare worthy of David Lynch, undergoes numerous bloody and disturbing hallucinations as her beloved younger sister slowly dies from a lung disease. Filled with a strong cast (including Traci Lords and Malcolm McDowell), EXCISION was previously a celebrated short film successfully expanded into a full-length feature deserving of equal acclaim.
GRABBERS (Deggsy’s review): One from the Emerald Isle, often described as the Irish TREMORS, this is a straightforward monster movie, with a fine blend of horror and humour, as a meteor off the Irish coast brings with it a plague of tentacled blood-drinking creatures, and as the body count rises, the creatures’ weakness – they die if they drink alcohol-poisoned blood – makes the only course of action clear: everyone gets drunk. This is another movie that works on all levels, is well-acted, and has some decent creature FX.
PARANORMAN: One for the kids – and the grown-ups, too, and I’m sorry I haven’t reviewed this in more detail sooner. A small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead, to the bemusement and derision of family and friends. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches, and worst of all, moronic grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. There’s a lot more depth and subtlety to this homage to the horror movies of old, the animation is decent, and it deserves a lot of the attention that usually gets eaten up by Disney and Pixar.
PROMETHEUS (Anything Horror Scott’s review): Ahh, Ridley, you know how to get people talking. There was so much buzz on the Internet for this apparent prequel to ALIEN that you’d think it included beaver shots from Emma Watson. Raising more questions than it probably answers, PROMETHEUS works best if you go in not expecting any answers, as a team of scientists and explorers search for possible clues to man’s origins on a distant planet, finding instead death and destruction. I most enjoyed this because it felt like a throwback to the intelligent sci-fi movies of the 50s and 60s that focused on the wonders of exploration – while also giving us gooey monsters! This is one that will be talked about for years.
SINISTER (Deggsy’s review): From the makers of INSIDIOUS came this late gem, a film that tries and succeeds in being scary without going over the top, it stars Ethan Hawke as a crime writer who moves into a house where multiple murders have occurred, only to find a box of film reels which link the murders to others over the decades, and all to a shadowy creature known only as Mr Boogie, one who is awakened the more the film reels are viewed… This is a perfect example of a low budget movie compensating with atmosphere, implicit rather than explicit horror, and believable acting.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK (Anything Horror Scott’s review): Hammer Films has a long and fine pedigree for classy, atmospheric period horror, turning Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing into horror gods. They slumbered for decades, but have now resurfaced with this adaptation of a classic story, with ex-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe as a widowed lawyer at a spooky isolated a hundred years or so ago. This is a perfect throwback to those great Hammer films of yesteryear, one that won’t age as badly as many contemporary horror films will, and with some very effective jumps and scares and overall creepiness throughout.
And there you have it. What do the rest of you think, True Believers? Any you agree or disagree with, or would like to add to the list?
Stay Bloody in 2013!!!