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...


  1. These are some fantastic lists. Now I want to see Pulse even more than I did before! It sounds terrifying.

    I personally wouldn't call Primer horror, though it is occasionally scary. It's more mind-mending than anything, and in any case it's a fantastic movie.

    Finally, here's Ashley's long-delayed follow-up to my list! It's got a few movies that are familiar from other lists, and a few that are fairly unique on her part:

  2. Okay fine. I didn't think I had anything to offer to your post, but after reading "Vetch" (who I of course recognized immediately) and Chelle's lists, I have to comment.

    I have to agree with 28 Days Later. I really enjoyed that one.

    Thank you Chelle for reminding me about Van Helsing. The ex got that one in the divorce, I need another copy.

    So to prove that I don't completely ignore the genre, here's what I have on my DVD shelf:

    Alien v Predator 1 and 2
    Book of Eli (does this count? People get eaten in it!)
    Lost Boys (classic)
    The Reaping
    Resident Evil (I used to have all of them, but someone borrowed them and never returned them. One day I'll replace them.)
    Shaun of the Dead (I watch this one often. Love it!!)
    The Skeleton Key (I don't really consider this part of the genre, but it does seem like it was billed that way when it came out.)

    I don't buy movies unless I really enjoy them, so these are all ones I enjoy.

    I also lost the first two Underworld movies in my divorce. I'll replace those and add the 3rd one eventually as well.

    And I have to admit that I have Saw 1-5. I like the psychological nature of them.


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