Friday, 27 December 2013

The 10 Worst Horror Films of 2013

(l-r Miley Cyrus; Ronda Rousey; Amanda Bynes) white girl twerks; white girl attitude; white girl crazy: these were bad but not as bad as the 10 worst horror film
The number 13 is unlucky for the superstitious. It is iconic to the Horror film industry. It was a once in a century opportunity. It was a chance to brand a banner year.

The Masters of Horror could have returned for at least one last film. The second generation of new Masters1 should have released their magna opera. Neophyte directors would have premiered their bloody offerings. It would have been Horror’s greatest year. It would have lasted a hundred years.

Alas no one noticed. 2013 has come and will soon be gone. Only one movie released this year is worthy of nomination into Thrill Fiction’s Top 100 Horror Films. As such this ‘worst’ list should be able to write itself but au contraire; it’s like dredging a cesspool looking for material that hasn’t dissolved.

10 SOLO       CAN
In October this year Shock Till You Drop became film distributors. Solo, a camper-in-peril story, is their first effort. It’s also their worst effort. Lead actress Annie Clark hints at future possibilities but she cannot lift up Olympus. The camera focuses on her for too long. It reveals a plain Jane made to look somewhat pretty being asked to distract the audience from the farce of this hollow shell. Julia Roberts in her magic youth didn’t try this at home.

There is a certain type of distinguished thespian who consistently brings gravitas to the motion picture. The British call him Michael Caine. The Americans call him Morgan Freeman. Christopher Nolan calls them whenever he wants to. In horror films they are called Robert Englund and Tony Todd. There are others. For example Laurence Fishburne is an actor of gravitas.

At the first sight of snow the viewer is alerted that this is a The Thing 1982 rip off. As soon as Fishburne dies (in act 2) the audience is advised to ask for their money back (the producers should to take the writers to small claims court).

Overnight 2003 chronicles the events from script to first screening of The Boondock Saints 1999. The documentary shows how Harvey Weinstein can destroy careers – and by extension lives. Mandy Lane had an international release in 2006 but a US limited release last September. Harvey can waste dump his genre films as and when he pleases but the true story of Mandy Lane is waiting to be made into another documentary.  In the meantime the cinema release has a reveal that could have been horror’s answer to Planet of the Apes 1968. Alas it was botched. Further Amber Heard plays the titular character.

Right again Harvey.

7 TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D             US
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 stunned the world. It still stuns. What’s equally stunning is Lionsgate’s capacity for exploitation. Tobe Hooper’s fable could have been written by Aesop. It is a self contained complete story. There is no narrative latitude for sequels or prequels. Post 9/11 there is no cultural rational for a remake.

Addendum: This isn’t a remake; this is 3D.

6 EVIL DEAD          US
Here is a perfect display of fandom. The original trilogy soared from no-budget to low-budget to wide release. 20 years later and the franchise never really went away (unlike the Candyman and Jeepers Creepers series). The fans demanded a reboot. They deserved more than a remake (of a film about demons) that has no soul.

5 DARK SKIES         US
It’s always good news when a studio announces a horror film. It’s usually bad news when the studio releases that horror film. However there is precedent for greatness: Rosemary’s Baby 1968; The Exorcist 1973; Scream 1996. There is precedent for good films eg Final Destination 2000. There is no excuse for Dark Skies - and how on earth did it make a profit?2

The Weinstein Company should rename itself Weinstein & Son the way they make money from junk.

It’s a bad day for horror when the Political Correct faction wants to see our papers. In this film three white women (on their way to domestic-soccer-mom-bliss) play the leads. This is not The Craft 1996 or even The Descent 2005. This is gaggle-babble feminazi white-victim fantasy with the expected dose of civil rights contradictory racist appropriations.


This found-footage feature is set during World War 2 and is about a Captain America type program gone wrong. The concept isn’t terrible but how much footage can be found in a 1940s era camera? The ‘terrible’ comes with the budget:

Attention aspiring filmmakers! If you’ve got no money – make a film noir.

2 THE DEMENTED           US
This is no name/no talent camcorder teen cinema. It is indicative of the genre’s current torpor. The mere idea that one human being would charge another to watch this is proof there is evil. Civilians use condoms; the Hollywood system uses a filter to guard against STDs (Straight-to-DVD).

There is a new generation of horror film fans. They elevated the mediocre Insidious 2011 to a smash hit hence this sequel. They watched The Purge 2013 and The Conjuring 2013 the way their parents watch American Idol. There is only craft. There is no art.

Congratulations James (Wan). You crafty bastard. You sold out. Now you can cash in. Why don't you direct a mainstream action flick? They'll give you $160million to play with - but they'll want their pound of flesh James. You sold out. You will pay up. They demand it. Should anyone ever nominate you for a Master of Horror1 I will remind them of Insidious Chapter 2.

For unrelated reasons I stopped watching soccer in 2012. It was a lifelong habit. Friends didn’t believe me. They do now. This year in horror was as bad as last year and next year doesn’t look scary at all. I don’t know how much longer I can watch camcorder cinema and corporate horror but at some point I’m going to have to detox. Gonzo porn is better than this (and I don’t watch that anymore). What will happen to the industry if Thrill Fiction withdraws its support? You’ll be left with punters who think Idle Hands 1999 is classic cinema.

That’s a threat.
Read more Thrill Fiction: Attack the Block
1 Masters of Horror (Origin)       Wikipedia
2 Dark Skies                                        BoxOffice Mojo
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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Top 10 Coming Soon Horror Films of 2013

Each New Year brings hope. This year ought to bring more.

Every year in every century ends with the numbers 0-99. The most important year to the world ends with ‘00’. The most important to the horror film fan ends with ‘13’. A 100 years ago cinema was nascent. Today the internet is mainstream. It is the fanbase and support structure for the genre. Today is 2013. It is the year of horror. We won’t live to see the next.


This is what the industry has in cinema for us.

[Only films with confirmed release dates are included. All dates are UK and North America only and are subject to change (see Carrie). Releases are wide unless otherwise stated. The criterion is big budget, buzz and expectation. My expectation.]

Texas Chainsaw 3D  (January 4th US & UK)
Before everyone goes back to work and the kids go back to school Hollywood decided to capitalise on the January Open. This week last year Paramount released The Devil Inside. By the end of the month it had grossed $53million1. . That film was risible.

Fool me once.

Mama  (Jan 18th US/Feb 22nd UK)
Foreign horror films are the flesh and bone to Hollywood’s new clothes. The best movies come from Spain. They are the most literate and they are the most lyrical – when filmed in Spanish.
Mama is an English language film. When the Spanish script English it can result in The Others 2001 or Darkness 2002. This film, however, has promising pedigree. It is based on a short and produced by the only Master of Horror at work today; Guillermo del Toro.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (Feb 1st US VOD and Limited)
Virginia Madsen squeezed blood drops from the driest period in horror (since the modern era began) in Candyman 1992. Her last visit to the genre was The Haunting in Connecticut 2009. That film was mediocre. Perhaps lessons have been learnt for this subtitled sequel.

As noted by Grace in the video review below the American holocaust of African slaves features in the storyline of this film. What she didn’t mention is that it featured in Candyman too.
Stoker (Mar 1st  US & UK)
The Others 2001 is a great horror film. Nicole Kidman is in almost every scene thus a horror film starring Kidman cannot be ignored. 
The director of Stoker is Park Chan-wook. He directed Oldboy 2003. It won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film 2004. As his name suggests Park is Korean. Directing actors in English may turn out to be a faux pas for him. Especially since one of those actors is Dermott Mulroney..

The jury is out.

The Last Exorcism Part 2  (Mar 1st US & Mar 15th UK)
The original is one of the better found footage films (for those who can’t stand the genre that’s an accusation of being the smartest idiot). This sequel retains the lead actress from the former but not the writer-director team. The good news is the three year gap between films. The gestation suggests adequate time was spent on the script and the edit.

The Evil Dead  (Apr 12th US & Mar 15th UK)
After a year’s reprieve the remake is back.
The tagline is a whore’s pillow talk. It’s superfluous as the title alone will attract the middle aged Gen-Xers looking for their lost teenage years. Perhaps they (but not me) will Facebook the chicks they were seeing in high school when the original came out. Those hot chick are now grandmothers fighting hot flush menopause with medication.

Sam Raimi has moved on. He left the fanboys behind in their mother’s basements.

Carrie  (Apr 5th UK & Oct 18th US)
Ask anyone in Britain who Sir Bob Geldof is and they’ll tell you he’s the man behind Live Aid (We Are the World to you Americans). Ask again and they’ll say he’s the lead singer of the defunct Boomtown Rats.

Q: What is The ‘Rats biggest single?
A: I Don’t Like Mondays.
The title is a direct quote from then 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer. She was answering a reporter’s question as to why she had perpetrated in the Cleveland Elementary School massacre. The day was 29 January 1979.

The original Carrie was released in 1976 – when the schoolyard massacre was an anomaly. Don’t expect Carrie 2013 to be released theatrically in America. Today the schoolyard massacre is a regularity. There will be a lot of school shootings before the projected release date.

World War Z  (June 21st US & UK)
I listened to the audio book – or rather I listened to as much as I could before I washed my ears out in repugnance. The story is nothing more than white supremacist wishful delusions; in the middle of the zombie apocalypse even Nelson Mandela wants to worship whitey.

This racist masturbation was written by Max Brooks – as in son of Mel. It proves that no matter how much money you throw at the problem, how much education you bestow upon a racist there is no cure for evil.

Of course Hollywood is going to screw it up by taking out all the trash and leaving the action set pieces.

Thank you Hollywood.

The Conjuring (July 19th US & UK)
Vera Farmiga has proved she can play support in action films (Source Code 2011 and Safe House 2012). In The Conjuring she plays the lead role in a horror film.
Vera Farmiga: Old Spice
Liv Tyler attempted the same and failed in The Strangers 2008. Jennifer Connolly tried this and stumbled in Dark Water 2005.It’s a tailor made role for a middle aged woman (see Virginia Madsen in The Haunting in Connecticut). Vera gets to play mother hen to a family haunted by ghosts.

Horror doesn’t have to be original – it just has to be good.

You’re Next  (Aug 23rd US & UK)
The fans of Ti West continue to congregate around their computers and wait for news of his next venture. You’re Next is a home invasion flick a la Secuestrados 2010. This is the first Ti West film to have a wide/international release – but it’s not a Ti West film. He neither wrote nor directed this picture. He’s the second billed actor.
written and directed by Ti West
That makes it a Ti West film.

There are better films on the horizon but Maniac and [REC]4 Apocalypse haven’t received release dates yet. The genre waits for a game changer à la Scream 1996, Halloween 1978 and Night of the Living Dead 1968. In the meantime remakes are fine in theory but horror is best practiced with originality.

Antiviral directed by Brandon Cronenberg: coming soon.

I’d like to wish a belated happy new year to all those who visited the blog in 2012. We read. We write. The culture is safe in our hands. Filip I want to hear your Exorcist 3 review; Steupz you still the man; Nisar keep watching those stats; Ricky Sprague – you are a writer. To all those who regularly read my blog and I didn’t mention you by name – let’s get acquainted this year.

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