Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do You Feel It in thr Air? It's... It's...


That's right. Halloween is no longer just a holiday, but an entire holiday season. And I say if stores are already putting out their All Hallow's Eve paraphernalia, then I can start celebrating right now.

And what better way to celebrate than with a month-long blogfest? But I'm thinking that if I hit the Halloweeny movies too early, I might suffer a touch of burnout. That being the case, I'm going to take the lesson that the Top Ten of the Past Ten liststravaganza taught me to heart: European horror is where it's at.

So, I hereby declare that September 2011 is European Horror Month at Marvin's Mancave. I'm making it my goal to watch and blog about at least two European Horror Films per week. Not an insane goal, so I might even be able to stick with it. I'll be watching some new films and reviewing some old favorites. I'm also taking requests, so if you've got any suggestions, fling 'em my way.

I'm also taking that other lesson of the liststravaganza to heart: collaboration with other horror bloggers is where it's at. So here's the deal: if you've got any posts that you're particularly proud of that deal with European horror films, shoot me a link. I'll post it, tell you how cool you are (and mean it), and hopefully send some traffic your way. "But wait," you say, "I don't want to recycle an old post. I want to feel the warm glow of full participation in European Horror Month." Alternately, you might be saying, "Dude, I don't even have a blog." That's fine. Write something, send it my way, and I'll post it. Even if it sucks (but it won't, because my readers have highly refined taste and a razor-sharp wit). "But wait," you say, "I don't want to participate. In fact, I don't even read your blog." That's okay, most don't.

Anyhow, that's my latest gimmick. Let's see how it all plays out. 

P.S. - 50 Eurohorror Points if you can name the movie the picture comes from

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Top Ten of the Past Ten: The Super-Nerdy Number-Crunching Wrap-up

Not only was the Top Ten Horror Films of the Past Ten Years Liststravanganza great fun, it was also a statistically unbiased, completely accurate survey that scientifically proves how awesome horror has been in the last decade. I've compiled the results into a fascinating fact sheet for your perusal:

Number of contributors: 18

Number of films chosen: 78

Number of films chosen that I haven't seen: 20

Most popular films:
[REC] - picked 10 times
The Descent - picked 10 times
Shaun of the Dead - picked 9 times
Let the Right One In - picked 8 times
The Mist - picked 6 times
28 Days Later - picked 6 times
Drag Me to Hell - picked 6 times
The Orphanage - picked 5 times
Martyrs - picked 5 times
Paranormal Activity - picked 4 times
Trick r' Treat - picked 4 times

So there they are, the official top, uh eleven, horror films of the last ten years. This is no longer a matter of opinion, but a scientific fact from which we can deduce the single best year in horror of the last decade. Any guesses? No, 2000 doesn't count. Because that was the previous decade. Yes it was. No, actually it wasn't the new millenium; that didn't officially start until 2001. Yeah-huh. Look, you're the only one who thinks 2000 should count, so be quiet and listen up. Sorry guys, there's always that one reader who just has to win every argument, you know.

Anyway, by one measure, you could say that 2007 and 2008 tied, but you'd be wrong. You see, while they tied for most films chosen from each year (12 each), this doesn't account for popularity. Instead it is necessary to weight the films by the number of times they were chosen. See the uber-geeky graph below to see the clear winner:

That's right, 2007. The year that brought us [REC], The Mist, The Orphanage, Inside, Hostel 2, Grindhouse, Funny Games, Trick r' Treat, and Paranormal Activity was King Shit here at the Triple M. 2007 movies were picked a grand total of 42 times, leaving the next highest year, 2008, in the dust with a mere 25 points.

You may also notice that of the top eleven films, seven of them were European. That's right. The 80's belonged to America, the 90's were dominated by Asia, and the last decade has been all about Europe. Who knows what the next decade will bring, but I'm thinking Canada needs to step up.  I'd provide more stats on country of origin, but it seems nearly everything these days is an international co-production. I will say that Asia's star has certainly fallen, with only 6 Asian films chosen.

As for directors, the one with the most films chosen was Alexandre Aja, with 3 films (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, and Pirhana). However, each of his films were only chosen by one person, meaning only 3 people chose an Aja film. Therefore, the most popular director goes to Neil Marshall, whose The Descent was chosen 10 times, and Dog Soldiers was picked by 3, for a grand total of lucky 13. Hot on his heels was Jaume Balaguero who picked up 10 points for [REC] (since he co-directed, do we have to cut this score in half), and one for Darkness. I should also note that only one female director was chosen, and she didn't even count because the film was from 2000 (Mary Herron, American Psycho). Shame on us, sexist pigs that we are.

So, of our contributors, whose tastes align the most closely with the official top eleven list? And whose picks were the most original? The contributor who chose the most films that no one else picked was none other than Mrs. Macabre herself, my wife Chelle, whose original choices were:

Vanishing on 7th Street
Van Helsing
Wind Chill

Every other contributor had at least one film choice that was unique to them. But I went a step further and calculated originality scores by assigning a value to each film coinciding with the number of times it was chosen. The more original the choices, the lower the score; the closer to the official top eleven, the higher the score. (Please note that those who submitted incomplete lists, namely my sisters, were not included in this tabulation) Here are the scores:

56 - James Van Fleet
53 - Vetch
51 - Marvin the Macabre
45 - Liam Underwood
44 - BROWN!
44 - Kweeny Todd
43 - Chuck
42 - Ashley
42 - Banned in Queensland
38 - Noel
37 - Andreas
37 - Chelle
36 - The Mike
35 - Tucker
32 - She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named
29 - John Bem

I prefer to think that those of us near the top of the list aren't necessarily unoriginal, we simply have impeccable taste, right? Anyhow, those were all the pointless stats I could think to report. I don't know if they were interesting to anybody but me, but nerd that I am, I couldn't not plug the numbers into a spreadsheet and geek out over them.

Even though we're wrapping this list love-in, I encourage those who haven't contributed yet to do so. I'll post them all, and if there are enough, I may even re-crunchify the numbers and update the results.

But the fun's not over yet. I, Marvin the Macabre, vow to watch every movie that ya'll listed and that I haven't seen yet, and to blog about them all. Here are the 20 films I've missed out on:

Funny Games
Rammbock: Berlin Undead
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Seed of Chucky
Skeleton Key
Snakes on a Plane
The Host
Vanishing on 7th Street
We Are What We Are
Wolf Creek
Zombie Strippers

I own copies of 8 of these films, so I'll probably start there. I have no firm time frame for this latest project, but my goal is to blog about them all by the end of the year.

One last order of business. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have made my singing/guitaring debut over at the If We Made It podcast. The song is a Marvin the Macabre original entitled "Days of the Dinosaurs." The song is at the tail-end of the podcast for The Other Sister, but you'll probably want to check out the whole podcast, in which Tucker and BROWN! rip The Other Sister a new one. They compare actors playing retarded people to white people acting in blackface (which would make The Other Sister a double-dose of Tardface). Here's the link:

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Liststravaganza a success. We'll have to do this again soon... stay tuned.

P.S. Here's a photo of Marvin the Spider Monkey to make your life worthwhile:

Friday, August 26, 2011

At Long Last, Marvin the Macabre's Top 10 of the Past 10

As we wrap up the Top Ten of the Past Ten Liststravanganza, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute a list. This sense of community is what got me into the whole horror blogging game, and you’ve all made it a blast.  Before a present my own list, however, there have been a few more guest entries to present.
First up, we’ve got Ashley at Pussy Goes Grrr. Here's the link:
Fantastic list Ashley. It's good to see The Others represented. I was really impressed with that one and have often wondered why I don't hear more about it from horror bloggers. I also see you have an affinity for French horror. Virtual high five! Hell yeah. I enjoyed both Ils and Inside, although Frontier(s) ranks higher on my personal list (yet still didn't crack the top ten). The final shot of Grace just kills me. While I really enjoyed the film, I'm thinking you need to be female to have it really hit you at that gut level (strange that it was directed by a man). Anyway, great list, great taste, and great website. I'm so glad you participated, just so I could check out the cool shit going on at your site.

Nextly, we’ve got three tenths of a list from my big sis, who actually submitted a top ten, but didn’t quite grasp that it was restricted to the last decade. However, three of her picks do meet the criteria.  They are:
 The Strangers
The Descent

If there’s one thing I learned from this project, it’s that horror fans are awesome. Oh wait, I already knew that.  It was that this past decade has been full of some of the best horror films ever. Wait, I already knew that too. Okay, try this: I learned that if you’re going to ask for guests to submit lists, you should really present yours first if you don’t want to look like an unoriginal D-bag (D is for doggy, btw. Get your head out the gutter.) In fact, only one film on my top ten wasn’t listed by one of you first. Since we all know the only reason to start a blog is to give people the illusion that your opinion somehow matters, originality counts for a lot. Having undermined this illusion, I’d better dispense with further ado and present the list we’ve all (by “we’ve all” I mean “I’ve”) been waiting for:
Marvin the Macabre’s Top Ten of the Past Ten:
#10 – Hostel Part 2

I put off seeing this one for a couple of years, because although I liked Hostel, I didn’t want to see more of the same. Oooh, it’s girls this time instead of guys; that’s supposed to make it original? Then I watched the documentary on American horror called Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue, which showed a clip of the bloodbath scene, but didn’t identify the movie. The imagery was so striking that I knew I had to see it, and searched for months for the twisted film the scene came from. To my mind, it is one of the most powerful kill scenes in horror, because while it’s horrific, it’s also disturbingly sexy. Watching it, I felt simultaneously turned on and disgusted that I was turned on. These conflicting emotions make for a very uncomfortable viewing experience, and one that haunted me long afterward. This scene alone qualifies Hostel 2 for my top ten, but there’s so much else going on.
I loved the focus on the clients and all the political implications of the cell phone bidding wars, as well as the role reversal of the two American killers. I also love the manner in which the final girl survives. There were all manner of shocking scenes in the film, yet it seemed less focused on the torture than its predecessor. It seems that Eli Roth chose to improve the characterization and the emotional connection with the audience rather than merely boosting the body count.

#9 – The Ring

The premise of The Ring seems kind of dumb. Deathtape: the VHS that Kills. But every time that phone rings after someone watches the tape, my heart pounds like crazy and the movie beats my disbelief into submission. The whole film exudes an atmosphere so thick with despair that it sells the iffy premise and makes every little detail chilling.
I thought the fake-out ending was great, because after a great build-up, it had me believing that it was going to turn out to be another “solve the mystery and find the body so the spirit can rest” type of ghost story. I was extremely disappointed. But everything after the “You  weren ‘t supposed to help her,” line was balls-to-the-wall freaky. The Ring deserves a place on my list simply for how long it made me afraid to walk from one end of my house to the other in the dark.

#8 – Let Me In

Let me just get this out of the way: Yes, I have seen the original, and yes, I prefer the remake, and no, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. When I first watched Let the Right One In, I had been told repeatedly that it was the greatest vampire movie ever, so I was expecting a completely different movie. I thought it was going to be, I don’t know… scary?  It was really good, and I recognized that, but the disconnect between expectation and reality was just a bit jolting, like when you’re expecting water and take a sip of Pepsi.
When I watched the American remake, I knew exactly what to expect, and it didn’t disappoint a bit. I thought Matt Reeves created some great scenes, especially ones involving Elle’s companion, that beat anything in the original. I also thought Chloe Moretz and Kody Smit-McPhee were excellent, living up to the performances of their predecessors admirably.
I’ve written about this one before at LINK, so I won’t say too much more, except that I need to give the original another look, so don’t pile on me too hard y’all.

#7 – High Tension

What I love about High Tension is how after a bare bones, minimal set-up, the full-bore terror begins and doesn’t let up ‘til the credits roll. The violence is spectacular, and even when it’s over-the-top it seems all too real. But forget the violence, Alexandre Aja is a master of suspense.  The scene where Marie is trying to find a place to hide while she can hear the family being murdered elsewhere in the house is nerve-wracking. I felt like I’d run a marathon after 91 minutes of High Tension.
And okay critics, the ending nearly ruins the film. All the momentum comes to a screeching halt as you say, “Wait, that don’t make no sense.” But just go with it. Believe me, you’ll be thinking about this movie for days… and looking for that fucking car (shiver).
#6 – Trick r’ Treat
I’m going to go out on a limb here and boldly state that Trick ‘r Treat kicks Creepshow’s sorry ass. And I’ve loved Creepshow since I was a kid. Admittedly, the thing in the crate could rip Sam into itty bitty bits, but overall Trick ‘r Treat wins the coveted Marvin Award for best horror anthology film ever.
My favorite sequence is the one with the kids staging a cruel prank that goes wonderfully right (well, not for them). It’s got that fun, fog-machine-spooky atmosphere that I’m a total sucker for, and it captures the spirit of Halloween perfectly. This is one movie I know I’ll be watching at least once a year for the rest of my life.
#5 – Shaun of the Dead

Do I even have to explain this one?  Let me hit the high points. Genuinely funny. Genuinely scary. Great love story. Real drama. Check out Bill Nighy’s death scene; it’s absolutely touching. I’ve seen several zombie horror-comedies since this one, but none is as balanced, charming, or emotionally engaging.
#4 – The Descent
 Again, this was such a popular pick that I scarcely feel the need to explain myself. This is one of those films where the location is central to the horror. The only spelunking I’m likely to do is here in the mancave, and I’d have a hard time choosing between exploring caves and driving fishhooks into my gonads as the worse hobby. Which is to say that this movie completely scared the piss out of me well before the cave crawlers shoved their pasty-white snouts into the screen. I actually didn’t know about the cave crawlers in advance, so their appearance was a huge shock to me, and made the film a truly powerful experience. This is one of those movies I buy extra copies of at the pawn shop to give to people who haven’t seen it.

#3 – Session 9
You know what I love most about Session 9? No partying teens at the lake. No frat boys or sorority babes on vacation in a foreign land. It’s a horror movie starring middle aged asbestos removal workers, which I’m sure is why I never heard of it until I starting reading horror blogs. These are honest-to-god characters rather than walking stereotypes.
The best character in the film, however, might just be the location. The abandoned mental hospital they are removing the asbestos from tops my list of all-time creepiest locations in a horror film. It uncannily resembles the location of a recurring nightmare I have where I’m in this huge building, and the deeper I go into it, the more dilapidated it becomes until it is barely even a building, but more of a ruin. The mental hospital in Session 9 goes straight to my subconscious mind and throttles the shot out of it. Every time I watch the movie, without exception, I get convulsive chills before anything creepy even happens, when they’re just getting the tour of the building.
Aside from the building, the scariest part of the film is Jurian Hughes’s performance as the recorded voice of former patient Mary, who suffers from multiple personality disorder. The really freaky thing is, you get the feeling that only two of Mary’s personalities come from her mind. The third, Simon, seems to an entity unto himself, who speaks and acts through Mary.
Session 9 probably tops my list of current movie obsessions. I can’t think of a single flaw in the film. And it’s still only number 3. The last 10 years of horror rule!
#2 – [REC]
I’ve tried not to mention [REC] too much lately, because when I started blogging, I couldn’t shut up about it. I try to get everyone I know to watch it, and no one yet has been disappointed (unless they’re lying to me).  That’s because:
A – It is the most masterful example of POV horror in existence.
B – It is a sincerely frightening zombie/outbreak film, in which the afflicted humans are so vicious that they make Romero zombies look like mildly irritated special ed students.
C – That goddamned thing at the end! Jesus effing Christos!
D – Satan inhabits the actual cellulose of the film, seriously.
I still haven’t the heart to watch the American remake, Quarantine. I like Jennifer Carpenter and all, but when is anyone in the mood to view a mediocre rehash of a classic? That’s right. I declare [REC] to be a classic of the genre. Anyone care to argue the point?
#1 – Martyrs

Watching Martyrs isn’t really much like watching a movie at all. You generally watch a movie to have a good time, maybe talk about it with friends for an hour or so, and move on with your day. Watching Martyrs is more akin to fasting for a week, or pushing your body to the point of exhaustion, or… I don’t know. It’s an experience more than a movie, one that affects a profound change in the viewer’s state of mind. Okay, I may be overselling the thing, but I seriously left this film in a daze, unable to talk about it except to say, “Wow.”
The thing I love most about Martyrs is how it starts out as a solid horror movie, becomes an excruciating horror movie, and ends up becoming a philosophical meditation (without ever becoming boring). I’ve seen lots of angry reviewers online calling Martyrs pseudo-intellectual. Bullshit. They just don’t like to think very deeply. And they are probably covering for the fact that the film disturbed them to the core. It is disturbing, no doubt about that, but if you look with the right frame of mind, you can see the film is actually quite beautiful.
I realize I’ve said virtually nothing specific about Martyrs and what it might be about. Good. This is truly one film where you should approach it knowing as little about it as possible. Just know this: it is not a pleasant viewing experience, it is extremely brutal, and if you think you can handle it, it is one of the best films of the past decade.

So there you have it. Liststravaganza completed. Or is it?
Not quite. Look for a wrap-up post where we do some super-nerdy number crunching and find out which films were the highest rated, which contributors were the most original, and where to find your host, Marvin the Macabre, making his singing debut. Exciting shit, that.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Just a quick note to thank the people who found my site with the search terms, "bat junk" and "bigfoot penis." I'm honored to have been able to provide you with an honest-to-goodness photograph of bat junk. From Disney's Animal Kingdom, no less. But alas, bigfoot penis is more elusive. If I happen upon some bigfoot penis pics, please believe I'll post them posthaste.

Marvin the Macabre

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Top Ten of the Past Ten: The Liststravanganza Rages On!

In the next few days, I'm going to be tallying up the lists to determine which horror films of the past ten years have earned the right to urinate all over the Saw sequels (full disclosure: I haven't actually seen the Saw sequels, but since no one has included them on their list, I figure they're a safe pee-pee target).  I'll also be revealing my own personal list, which will prove to be a wholly anticlimactic affair.

And now, on with the countdown.

Today's first list comes from another high school friend of mine, who we'll be calling "Vetch."

Vetch's Top Ten of the Past Ten:

These are in no particular order (otherwise Frailty would be closer to the top).

1) Drag Me to Hell- Starts with a little kid getting dragged to the warm place. Sold.

2) Shaun of the Dead- The guys don’t realize they’re in a horror movie for the first half hour or so. And a hipster is convincingly torn to pieces.

3) Let the Right One In- The vampire is a monster by necessity, those bastard children do it by choice. We’ll add that public pools and bullies were easily the two worst things from my childhood.

4) 28 days later- It’s refreshing to see a horror protagonist go savagely batshit crazy in order to make it out of a bad situation and save the girl.

5) The Ring- I watched this movie in a pitch black apartment that I shared with no one, then fell asleep to the dvd menu screen. Terrible.

6) [REC]- Frantic running and hiding like in a bad dream. I’d have broken the camera over somebody’s head about 5 seconds after the shit started going down.

7) Teeth- This barely qualifies as horror, but the female lead successfully sells this improbable premise.

8) Frailty- Bill Paxton wears a look of total belief when he says an angel wants him to kill people, and to bring his kids along for the ride.

9) Silent Hill- Despite a ton of flaws, this looked incredible.

10) The Mist- The effects weren’t great, but the people made it easier to believe. The ending was a nice kick in the nuts.

It's about time a vagina dentata movie showed up on this thing. I haven't actually seen Teeth, but I'm stunned that there is no thriving vagina dentata subgenre of horror. Soon we'd have sub-subgenres with giant mutated vaginas that swallow up men whole.  But then, someone like Stephanie Myers would come along and ruin it by having characters with sparkly vaginal teeth that would only bite carrot sticks and corn dogs. But I digress...

Killer picks Vetch. It's also good to see Silent Hill get some love. Agreed about the flaws, but well worth watching just for the guy getting his skin torn of with one tug from Pyramid-Head.

And Frailty is one movie I try to get everyone to watch. It seems like almost no one has heard of it, which is a crime considering how good it is.

Next up we've got a couple of linked lists. The first is a two-for-one special from the immortal Chuck and Noel whose blog, Midnight Cheese, was new to me, but well worth checking out. Here's the link:

Chuck's Top Ten of the Past Ten

Something tells me you've got a thing for zombie movies. The past decade has really brought back the genre in a big way, and you've recognized the cream of the crop. The only one I haven't seen is Rammbock, which I'll have to check out now.

Freddy vs. Jason is a guilty pleasure of mine that I throw in whenever I'm in the mood for some good 1980s-style slasher goofiness.

I also didn't know that Trick 'R Treat was supposed to be a yearly release. That would have kicked ass beyond words. Anyone for starting an online petition to at least get a sequel?

Noel's Top Ten of the Past Ten:

Now this is what this project is all about. It's about speading the word about the best of what's new and earn some converts. Plenty of people have come up with films I haven't seen (or even heard of in some cases). I had never heard of Primer, but the premise sounds intriguing and I'll definitely look for it soon.

You're also the first to recognize Hostel. I was pretty amazed when I first started reading horror blogs at how many horror fans despise Eli Roth and dismiss the Hostel movies as "torture-porn." The gore was pretty excruciating, but it was nothing compared to the tension Roth builds. Bottom-line, if you can't do tension, you can't do horror.

All your other picks sucked, though. Joking, only joking. No, I love them all except for The Host, which I haven't seen... yet.

Moving right along, we have another linked post, this time from James Van Fleet of Horror Films 101. Again, I wasn't familiar with his blog, but have since checked it out and was thoroughly impressed.

James Van Fleet's Top Ten of the Past Ten

Dear James,

Fuck you. Not only did you steal a good number of my picks, you also made your commentary so spot-on and insightful that mine will just be redundant. So thanks for that.

Okay then, Pulse. Haven't seen it. I always try to watch the original foreign versions of films before (or just instead of) their American remakes, but in this case I didn't realize the American version was a remake. Aside from a few crappy CG effects, I thoroughly enjoyed the remake, so I can't wait to see the original (okay, I say that, but my DVD copy has been sitting on my shelf for like 5 months waiting for me to get around to it).

Also good to see Session 9 on your list. A lot of directors talk about the settings of their films as being a character, but in this case, it's really true. It's one of the most effective uses of setting I've ever come across.  I also like your intro. Your enthusiasm for modern horror is apparent, and that's really what I'm trying to do with this Listfest: to get people thinking about how many great horror films have come out in the last decade. And yeah, I could have done a top fifty pretty easily as well.

Alrighty then, one last list to finish off the day. This time it's from a very special guest, Chelle of the infrequently updated blog, Films My Spouse Made Me Watch (full disclosure: she's my spouse, and I made her watch most of these films).

Chelle’s Top Ten of the Past Ten
(In no particular order)
1. Van Helsing
That’s right.  This movie is fun.  Cling to pretention all you like, but life is too dumb to be serious.

2.  Let Me In
You can’t escape love; regardless of what some people think, love is the 5th element.

3.  Trick ‘r Treat
Sam is adorable, so you better celebrate Halloween proper-like, motherfuckers.

4.  The Orphanage
It’s scary, tragic, and sweet all in one twisty story.  It might be the best horror movie in the last decade.

5.  [Rec]
This is the only movie that ever forced me to sleep with the lights on for two weeks. What the fuck is that thing!

6.  Vanishing on 7th Street
Hayden isn’t a bad actor, Lucas is just not very good at that directing thingy. And never knowing what the hell is going on actually makes it scarier.

7.  Sean of the Dead
Remember mate, it’s all about fun.

8.  Wind Chill
Ghost stories are my favorite sub genre within horror, and this one is a great love story too.

9.  Nightwatch
Watching moives in Russian is fun; watching awesome moives in Russian is even better.

10.  Darkness
Your most evil relations will always be your kids, but your parents come in a close second.

Movies of Note (because of who is in them mostly)

Day Breakers
Willem Defoe delivers as usual, and I’ve finally come around to Ethan Hawk.

White Noise II
Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff… sigh.

Resident Evil – Extinction
Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, and Oded Fehr… sigh times three.

You go Chelle! A full half of her list is films that haven't appeared on any of the other lists (mine will have one, if I'm lucky). Lots of horror fans hate on Van Helsing, and I'll admit to being underwhelmed on my first viewing. But Chelle's enthusiasm for it soon won me over and now it's one of those films that I could watch any time. This and Stephen Sommer's Mummy movies are what finally led me to embrace my love for big, dumb summer-blockbuster movies.

I also loved Wind Chill, though I think the horror aspect of the movie is its weakest point. I'm far more interested in the arc of the relationship between the two leads (though I wish the characters had been given names). Emily Blunt starts the movie off as a totally aloof and dismissive beeotch, and still my unyielding love for her was turned up to 11.

Here's the cool thing about my wife: she hates chick flicks and she joins in when I'm going off about how hot this or that actress is. And she'll watch practically anything I force on her. Even if she has no interest in something, I'll just throw it on and wait for her to pass through the room. 4 out of 5 times, she'll watch the whole flick. Sometimes she'll stand through an entire movie. I'll say, "Have a seat," and she'll be like, "No, I'm not really watching this," and then watch until the credits roll. I still have trouble getting her to watch slashers, but I'm working on it.

So there you have it.  If you're planning on submitting a list, try to do it within the next few days, as I'm trying to wrap this up and make a list of the totals. That said, if you come to this post late and want to write your own list, I'll totally post it or link to it, you just won't be included in the final tally.

Stay tuned for more madness...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Top 10 of the Past 10: The Continuing

Well color me pleased as shit at the response I'm getting to the Top 10 of the Past 10 Liststravaganza. Y'all are stepping up and showing the love in a big way.

If you've been following this topic, you'll have noticed many bloggers have contributed with posts on their own sites, then added a link to the comments section. I've been adding them to my posts just to make sure they don't get overlooked in the comments section, and so I can comment on their lists. I'll present these bloggers first:

First up is John Bem of I Will Devour Your Content:

John Bems's Top Ten of the Past Ten

Lots of surprise picks here. I'm mildly amused every time I see the Zombie Strippers trailer, but have never considered actually watching it. That has all changed now.  John, you and your blog have made a difference.  I'm also delighted to see House of 1,000 Corpses getting some love. It didn't quite make my cut, but I love it to death. I'm kind of surprised that no one else has mentioned Zombieland yet. And Snakes On a Plane? You may have won the prize for oddball pick of the week, my friend. I haven't seen it, but it comes highly recommended by my brother-in-law as a so-bad-its-good classic.

Please give a warm Mancave Massacre welcome to our next Liststravaganza contributor: Queenie Tirone of the endlessly inventive blog, Kweeny Todd:

Queenie Tirone's Top Ten of the Past Ten
More surprises here. In particular I was intrigued by Repo! The Genetic Opera. I've heard mixed things about this one, but a recommend from you means I should probably see it.  I tend to like oddball movies anyway. I'm also intrigued by Dead Girl, which I've heard horrible things about, but always wanted to see for myself. I can't help it, I've been fascinated by necrophilia ever since my best friend in college wrote a binder full of Necro poems including the classic: Pulse-Free Handjob. Then there's Midnight Meat Train, which is based on one of my favorite stomach-turning Clive Barker stories. I thought the adaptation was pretty good, though the over-the-top CG gore effects in the very beginning turned me off. Still, the acting was really good, I liked the story, and the gore got much better and realistic later on. Still, first impressions are hard to shake.

Next up: the mind-blowingly prolific El Miguel of everyone's favorite horror blog - From Midnight with Love:

The Mike's Top Ten of the Past Ten

Nice picks, L'Mike. Great to see Coscarelli getting his due. I too completely dug Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. Remember when Mr. Asshole Survivalist was but a wee lad mugging alongside Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation?  I think his association with that role made him even more effective in this one since it was such a departure. And yes, it was awesome to see a new final girl in the vein of Nancy thompson who's going to take the fight to the psycho, all the while setting MacGuyveresque booby-traps.

I am conflicted about Bubba Ho-Tep though. I thought all the ancient Egyptian spirits stuff was unnecessary.  Bruce Campbell is fricking brilliant as a decrepit Elvis-in-hiding, and Ossie Davis is every inch his equal. I honestly would have preferred a quirky buddy-comedy tinged with moments of raw drama about two deluded old-timers doing their damnedest to break out of the nursing home. Maybe that's just me though...

Moving right along we come to an excellent blogger who I hadn't checked out until she responded to my call for top 10 lists. Andreas from Pussy Goes Grrr has posted a wonderful and insightful list, and promises another from her co-blogger in the coming days. Do check it out:

Andreas's Top 10 of the Past 10

Hell yeah Coraline! I didn't even consider that one. Not exactly wet-yourself scary, but creepy as all get-out. Lots of surprises here, including two I've never heard of (The Host and Cache).  Good to see my beloved [REC] getting all kinds of love, as well as the innovative Pontypool and the unbelievably good May. I haven't seen Seed of Chucky yet, though it is waiting on my shelf. Bride was pretty funny. Anyway, some great, original picks here.

Now, you may have already seen this list in the comments, but I wanted to make it more prominent, so here is the top ten from the indefatigable Banned In Queensland:

 Banned in Queensland's Top 10 of the Past 10

10. Eden Lake (2008) – Young punks can be seriously scary dudes and this movie rams home why very effectively.

9. Paranormal Activity (2007) – Proof that things that go bump in the night can still be damn scary.

8. Saw (2004) – It’s easily to forget how awesome the original was given all the crappy sequels, but the original was indeed quite awesome.

7. Skeleton Key, The (2005) – Suspenseful and atmospheric with an absolute cracker of an ending. Definitely needs more love.

6. Descent, The (2005) – Pipped only by Buried as the most claustrophobic movie I’ve endured in recent times.

5. Funny Games (2007) – Gets right under your skin despite its seemingly innocuous elements.

4. Buried (2010) – Easily the best “true life” horror movie made in the past decade.

3. Rec (2007) – Scariest horror movie finale ever.

2. Orphanage, The (2007) – Gorgeous looking film with a suspenseful story and a brilliant ending.

1. Ring, The (2002) – I’m still trying to get the stains out of my undies that resulted after watching this.

Alright, I'm baffled. First, why did I think The Ring was from 2000? But more troubling than that, why is this the first mention of The Ring?  BIQ, I must revise my list because of you. This was one of those rare movies that stuck with me for a month, freaking me out every time I'd turn off the lights at the far end of the house. Great pick.

I haven't checked out Buried yet, and I've heard nothing good (until now) about The Skeleton Key, so now I'll obviously have to give it go. This also marks the first appearence of Eden Lake among these lists, which is a little surprising. A very effective little film, and one that had me fuming with rage throughout. If there's one thing I can't stand, it is disrespectful punk teenagers (check out BIQ's blog for the chronicles of a real-life Eden Lake stand-off). A fine list, and nary a one I can argue against.

And last, but certainly not least, is BROWN! from the If We Made It podcast and the blog This Coleslaw Makes Me Sick. Give him some love, or at the very least, check out his Friday the 13th podcast, in which his band, The Wham Bam Thank You Band, performs a musical tribute to the series. I'm not sure about the title, but the chorus goes: "Bush in the lake, bush in the lake, bush in the lake, and there's a head in the tree." Good shit, that.

BROWN!'s Top 10 of the Past 10

10. 28 Days Later (2002) Danny Boyle directs this great zombie thriller. Stylish, but not overdone, Boyle reinvents the zombie movie.

9. Grindhouse (2007) Tarantino and Rodriguez created one of the greatest theater experiences of recent memory. Trashy and fun homage.

8. Drag Me to Hell (2009) Nobody makes horror movies as fun as Sam Raimi. I was so glad he came back to the genre he owns.

7. Bug (2006) Exorcist director William Friedkin directs this creepy psychological thriller. Not a conventional horror movie, but disturbing none the less.

6. The Orphanage (2007) Juan Antionio Bayona directs this Spanish ghost story. Great story, and fantastic directing. One of the best ghost stories in years.

5. Triangle (2009) I love it when a film sneaks up on you. This movie is nothing like what I expected in a great way. Directed by Christopher Smith. Mysterious and twisted.

4. The Descent (2005) This story of some female cave explorers getting terrorized by cave mutants was the scariest movie of the decade. Directed by Neil Marshall.

3. Piranha 3D (2010) I can't remember having more fun than seeing this in the theaters. Delivers in every way. More gore and nudity than I could ever wish for. A dream come true.

2. House of the Devil (2009) Director Ti West creates this throwback film that looks and feels remarkably like a late 70's early 80's horror movie. West plays it completely straight and succeeds. Truly remarkable.

1. Let the Right One In (2008) Tomas Alfredson directs not only the best horror movie but in my opinion best movie period of the past decade. This Swedish film at it's heart is a tender love story between a 12 year old boy and a forever young female vampire. Unique, horrific and magical.

I can't believe I had to leave out so many films such as Devil's Rejects, Hatchet, The Mist, Freddy vs. Jason, Jason X, Cabin Fever, Slither and on and on. Every decade is a great decade for horror. Can't wait for the next.

Nice picks, man!  I was so glad to see Triangle on someone's list. That movie pulls off an impressive mindfuck, and does so seamlessly. Also great to see Piranha 3D represented. Some horror movies are scary, revolting, and disturbing, while others are just great fun. Top-notch carnage in this one, and what an ending!  Bug also makes its first appearance among the lists. Just watched this one the other day and was impressed by the caliber of the performances. There was something about it that didn't sit quite right with me until I checked out the special features and realized it was initially written and performed as a play. Then I was like, okay, that scene makes sense is that context.

And let me just second the motion, in all caps to indicate that I'm screaming maniacally, EVERY DECADE IS A GREAT DECADE FOR HORROR!!! Except maybe for 1870-1880. That one kind of sucked.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enigmatic Deezyne Presents: Cartoony Kiefer

Hey y'all,

The Top 10 of the Past 10 Liststravaganza still rages on, and will continue shortly. In the meantime I wanted to note the new page I've added to the blog. Check out the tabs at the top of the page and you'll find one marked Enigmatic Deezyne. This is where I'll be dumping any horror-related illustrations and design projects I've been working on.

I was particularly proud of my cartoony take on Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys, so I turned him into a wine bottle label. Nay, two wine bottle labels. Enjoy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ten Best Horror Movies of the Past Ten Years - The First 3 and 7-10ths Lists

I came up with the idea for this Liststravaganza when I first started this blog and personally asked three of my friends to guest blog. I didn't get any responses right away, so I shelved the idea for a little while. Then, earlier this week I was finally getting around to clearing out my inbox and found that I'd actually gotten the first list back in February, but it had been buried in a deluge of junk emails. Then I felt like an ass, so I vowed to post it ASAP, which for me means several days later.

So without further ado, I present the first list by Tucker of This Coleslaw Makes Me Sick and the If We Made It Podcast.

Tucker's Top Ten of the Last Ten:

This list would be different if I compiled the damn thing tomorrow or yesterday or next week. I feel sick leaving off Grindhouse, The House of the Devil, The Last Exorcism, 28 Days Later, Slither and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. On other days not only would those films make the list, some of them may find themselves perched on top. I also feel that the order is almost arbitrary. I really love all these movies in different ways. Unfortunately, the parameters of the list allow only ten to represent ten years. I hope I have chosen well. Here goes…

10.  Wrong Turn (2003)

Not exactly a film classic, but endlessly watchable and re-watchable. Lifts many elements directly from the brilliant unproduced screenplay Grossface. Kids get stranded in the backwoods of West Virginia and proceed to be hunted by cannibalistic inbred retards. Y’know, West Virginians. Take that, West Virginia.

9.  The Strangers (2008)

It’s a rarity for a movie to unsettle a jaded horror fan like myself, but this tale of senseless brutality and home invasion did the trick. It is also a rarity in today’s horror films to build to the terror, but this film takes its time establishing an emotional connection with the characters before they are terrorized and murdered by a Manson-inspired team of killers.

8.  The Orphanage aka El Orfanato (2007)

This film sets a great mood and builds incredible tension without a whole lot of bells and whistles. I’m a sucker for creepy kids so this tale of a haunted orphanage for handicapped children really hit the spot.

7.  Let the Right One In (2008)
This is a beautiful horror/love story about a bullied kid and his relationship with a young (in appearance at least) vampire girl. A great film that emphasizes character and emotion over cheap thrills.

6.  May (2002)
May is a character study about a damaged woman struggling with her inability to find a human connection and the lengths to which she will go to create a companion. In a landscape populated with remakes and sequels director Lucky McKee brings a strikingly original vision to the genre.

5.  Hostel II (2007)
Eli Roth’s Hostel films do what great horror always does: projects society’s fears back to us. I chose this film over the original because it truly continues where the first left off and delves even deeper into the ideas set up by the first film. The original relied on our xenophobia to produce terror, but in the sequel Roth deepens the discussion by placing more emphasis on another horror: privileged Americans on the hunt for new thrills.

4.  Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Jason won. This is a no-brainer for me. Hilarious and gory, and booby, and it almost got me and Levi killed by an African-American weightlifter which is always the mark of a good film. And I don’t care that Freddy still had some twitching nerves after Jason ripped his fucking head off. Jason won. Don’t tell my wife.

3.  The Descent (2005)
This movie had me claustrophobic and terrified before it even introduced the cave-dwelling nasties. Had I seen the American version with the stupid-fuck ending originally I may have a slightly different view on this one, but I didn’t.

2.  The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Rob Zombie nailed the sleazy mood of 70s horror with this quasi-sequel to his less successful House of 1000 Corpses. It’s funny and more original than the original, oddly enough. Seeing this on opening night in L.A. with a house full of raving lunatics really added to the experience. I suddenly realized I may be in one of those news stories you hear about where someone gets stabbed at a movie theatre. Great ambiance.

1.  Drag Me To Hell (2008)
I’ve revisited this film several times in the last couple years. It never disappoints. Fun, silly, gross without being gory, and most importantly it remembers that a fucking goat demon with hooves and horns can still be frightening. And it has that talking sheep. This is the only talking animal movie I will allow my child to see. Other films on my list are arguably more impressive, but none were quite this much fun.

Thank you Uncle Tucker. All solid picks (though they would have been more solid had Freddy won - I can't argue that he didn't lose, just that he should have won). BTW, Tucker and BROWN!'s most recent podcast discusses the original Fright Night, so check it on out. And BROWN!, I'll expect your list forthwith.

Next up is the inimitable Liam Underwood of All Films Considered, who was the first online responder and whose list I won't post here because it's on his blog, and y'all need to give it some hits. 

Liam Underwood's Top 10 of the Past 10:

Here's the link:

I'm seeing lots of my picks on these lists so far, plus some surprises. The only movie I haven't seen on Liam's list is Wolf Creek, which has been sitting on my shelf for about a year now, silently hating me for passing it over night after night. Soon, Wolf Creek, soon. I promise. And thanks to Liam for the excellent list.
Batting third is an old high school friend of mine who I hadn't heard from in years. Alas, the call of horror is too strong to ignore. Plus she had some time to kill on a train. Since she's shy about using her real name online, we'll call this formidable contributor "She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's Top 10 of the Past 10:
In order by year:

1. Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)

It’s no (original) Dawn of the Dead, but how can you have eyes and a soul and any familiarity at all with Pittsburgh and not love George Romero? In true form, there is wonderfully overt political allegory with Dennis Hopper as a decadent gazillionaire looking down on the other, entrapped, 99..9%. And the zombies have a nascent consciousness and a revolutionary one at that. Viva the Dead! Isn’t it incredible how Romero keeps inventing the genre?

2. Pan’s Labyrinth (Del Toro, 2006)

Fascists are indeed much scarier than monsters with eyes on their hands that eat people. But those monsters are scary as hell too. And, while it may be more fantasy or something, the horrific elements of this movie are what make it compelling and meaningful.

3. The Orphanage (Bayona, 2007)

In the end, I will admit that this movie is much more sad than scary, but up to that point it’s pretty damn scary and it uses things that are admittedly obvious—crawl spaces and whatnot—with jitter-inducing effect.

4. Funny Games (Haneke, 2007)

OK, so this is actually a mean-spirited slasher movie that Michael Haneke made to assault his bourgeois audience who, as my fiancé recently astutely pointed out, probably all have lake houses like the victims in the film.. It is almost totally unlikeable and irredeemable, and, unfortunately, brilliant. In order to play the same joke again, Haneke remade it from German into English pretty much exactly the same way. Just because it’s “art house” doesn’t mean it isn’t a slasher film, and probably one of the most intelligently, and purposefully, immoral ones at that.

5. The Strangers (Bertino, 2008)

This slasher film is wonderfully austere and carefully paced. It also deftly switches genres—from drama to horror—about 20 minutes in without being stupid or assuming its audience is stupid. It’s smart, and has been woefully ignored.

6. Let the Right One In (Alfredsen, 2008)

A smart reinterpretation of the tired vampire trope featuring the hellishness of adolescence, the hellishness of love, the drab beauty of a cold climate in a state with an adequate social safety net, and the hellishness of both aging and staying young forever.

7. Drag Me to Hell (Raimi, 2009)

One of the best, if not the best, American movies of all genres in 2009. The ending particularly defied expectation.

8. Antichrist (Von Trier, 2009)

Admittedly totally ridiculous, but nevertheless scary: An animatronic fox, eating its own entrails, turning to the screen and saying in a death metal guttural, “Chaos reigns!” And as for body horror, I had to keep my eyes closed through about half an hour of it. Lars von Trier is an asshole, but I grudgingly admire this film as a somewhat sociopathic horror-comedy.

9. Splice (Natali, 2009)

Arguably more science fiction that horror (but the same argument would discount The Fly and Alien from the genre) and actually not very scary, but this movie nevertheless blew my mind.

10. We Are What We Are (Grau, 2010)

Probably the best cannibal film, especially one with incestuous overtones, ever made. Discounting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, of course.

Oh She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, why don't you have your own horror blog? Excellent list and insightful commentary. Embarrassingly, I've only seen about half the films on her list. What are you trying to do, make me look bad on my own blog?

This just in: my little sis just contributed a list in the comments section of the original post. In case you missed it, I'll repost it here:

Anntastic's Top 7 of the Last 11:

OK, I didn't come up with ten but here is my list:

Although it was made in 2000 I had to add it, American Psycho: This movie didn't actually scare me but I thought it was fracking hilarious! Mainly when Christian Bale is screwing the two women and he's really making love to himself in the mirror ~ Anntastic!

The Descent: After I found out about creepers on Ghost Adventures this movie has scared me! Creepers are the spirits that crawl on all fours and move up walls and on ceilings.

The Hills Have Eyes: I don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of inbred Jed's EVER!

Planet Terror: I would actually say this is my husbands pick, he loved the blood.

Shaun of the Dead: OK, this is supposed to be a funny movie but the zombies actually freak me out, I think this is probably my favorite on the list.

Trick R Treat: The whole school bus thing freaked me the f*ck out! Other than that it was good fun.

Paranormal Activity: Nobody else mentions this movie but I had problems sleeping after I watched this movie so it made it on the list.

I have a lot of funny movies on my list because there aren't very many scary movies that really get to me anymore. I will admit I do not watch as many scary movies as my brother, Marvin the Macabre, or my sister so maybe I shouldn't even be making a list, but there it is.

Funny thing about Paranormal Activity - I only thought it was miderately scary while I was watching it, but I couldn't get to sleep for hours that night. It was almost like the movie had conditioned me to be afraid of sleeping - a sort of post-traumatic stress. With Anntastic's list, I've seen nearly every movie on my own list represented. People's got some taste!

That's it for the first installment of Top 10 of the Past 10. Keep those lists coming and I'll keep patting myself on the back for coming up with an audience participation gimmick that actually worked. Oh and my list will follow shortly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ten Best Horror Films of the Past Ten Years - Guest Posts Wanted

Hey Spelunkers,

People complain a lot about modern horror's suckiness, but I tend to disagree. There have been stinkers throughout the ages, we just tend to forget the bad stuff and celebrate the classics. I think the here and now is a great time for horror, so I've decided to start a Liststravaganza to celebrate all that is new in our beloved genre.

The best part is that you're all invited to submit your own personal lists. All I need is your top ten and a few sentences (or more if you're long-winded like me) about each film.

When all the lists are in, I'll tally up the totals and tell you all why I'm right and you're wrong.

Sound fun? Then let the lovefest begin!