Shit's a'brewing at the old mancave. This month will bring the resurrection of Films My Spouse Made Me Watch, the film blog I write with my wife. I'll also continue contributing to From Midnight With Love starring The Mike, and I contributed a list of 5 Best Kills of 2013 to the 2013 Liststravanganzatacular Episode of the If We Made It Podcast.
But most importantly, I'm returning to my abandoned post here at the mancave. 2013 was a draining, tumultuous year, and I rarely poked out my head here on the old blog. Here's to hoping 2014 be a better and more productive year.
In that spirit, I'd like to announce a celebration of the juicy year in horror that I almost entirely neglected to cover. I know most peope made their best of 2013 list back in November, but out here in BFE we must wait until the DVD release to see late-year films. And of course there are plenty I haven't seen yet, but fuck 'em. If they're so damned good, why didn't they make more of an effort to attract my attention? (Okay, I regret not having seen Here Comes the Devil, Stoker, and Byzantium.)
I'm gonna be rollng out the nominees here every couple of days, and since February is known across this great internet as Women in Horror Month, I will kick things off with a celebration of the asswhippin' performances the ladies gave to the world of horror in 2013. You know how the Oscars bumped the nominees for best picture up to 10? Well, I'm doing it with the Best Actress category instead. Best picture? As good a year as it was, I've only got 5. Actresses? My list overfloweth.
So here they are in alphabetical order:
1. Nora Arnezeder in Maniac
2. Jessica Chastain in Mama
3. Meg Foster in The Lords of Salem
4. Judy Geeson, Dee Wallace, and Patricia Quinn in The Lords of Salem
While Lords of Salem might have 99 problems, a witch ain't one. In my original iteration of the Best Actress category, I had but 5 spots, and I gave them all to the women of Lords of Salem. However, I knew there were just too many great performances in 2013 to ignore the other ladies. So many other ladies, in fact, that I had to cheat and put these 3 actresses into the same nomination. It makes sense though, since they function as a unit and are rarely seen apart. Judy Geeson gets the juiciest role as the leader of the sisters. She comes off as this supremely confident, capable, older-but-still-lovely free spirit who is cooler at her age than you ever were. Then she's suddenly 100% pure grade A terrifying during her scene with Bruce Davidson when her demeanor turns on a dime. "Did I say something funny?" Patricia Quinn plays a great eccentric who, from the very beginning, seems dangerous and predatory. Then there's the perennial favorite Dee Wallace, who is hilarious as the bubbly Sonny, who practically skips around crooning about chocolate chip scones before she gets down to her true vocation of homicide. The scene where Whitey encounters the 3 sisters on the stairs is the dictionary definition of quietly terrifying.
5. Katherine Isabelle in American Mary
Excellent choice Soskas, excellent choice. Katherine Isabelle long since won the hearts of horror fans everywhere in her role as the lycanthropic Ginger in Ginger Snaps. I kind of thought she dropped off the face of the Earth after that, but a glimpse at her filmography shows that she's been working steadily ever since. But I was glad to see her return to horror, especially in a movie as hotly anticipated as American Mary. Just by virtue of being Katherine Isabelle, she's immediately likeable, and the nonjudgmental way she treats her clients makes her something of a saint. Just... don't cross her. She'll use her considerable surgical skills to put you in a great deal of pain. Both sides of her personality are underplayed perfectly. Whereas a lesser actress would ruin this role with histrionics, Isabelle keeps a cool distance between herself and her actions, which is perfectly fitting for the character.
6. Jane Levy in Evil Dead
7. Lily Taylor in The Conjuring
8. Juno Temple in Magic Magic
I didn't really know Juno Temple before I saw this movie, but you can count me as a fan now. She gives an incredibly realistic performance as a girl abroad who is having a mental breakdown in the worst possible circumstances. Her character, Alicia, just kind of lets things happen to her, never taking control when she needs to. She is meek and mousey most of the time, but as her mental state deteriorates, she gets more desperate and forceful. As an actress, Temple makes all the right choices, and really makes you care about this troubled girl.
9. Sharni Vinson in You're Next!SPOILER ALERT: My favorite newcomer of the year is a final girl for the ages. Imagine if Nancy Thompson racked up a body count bigger than Freddy and you have You're Next's Erin. She begins the movie as an instantly likable, charming grad student who is visibly excited to be meeting her boyfriends parents. Because of her own weird upbringing, she sees Crispian's as the ideal family, overlooking the many signs at all is not well at home. When the home invasion starts, however, she shows her survivalist side, which is more than a little brutal. She never goes full-on antihero though; we're solidly rooting for her the whole time. I'd love to see a sequel with her character, provided it's nothing like its predecessor.
10. Sherri Moon Zombie in The Lords of Salem
So them's the noms. I'll be announcing the winners on Oscar night, because why would a horror fan possibly watch the Oscars, right?