Friday, December 5, 2014

Eric's Top Ten Movies of 2014

By Eric Polk-
Over time, I've never had a problem coming up with my favorite horror movie watched in the current year. There always seemed to be one movie towering over the rest of the celluloid thoroughbreds. This year, it was a helluva lot different. Three contenders(two disturbing, one an animated classic) each had a legit claim to my #1 Horror Movie of 2014. Before you read my top ten horror movies in 2014, understand in order to qualify for a spot, I've had to have watched the movie for the first time during the year not when it was originally released. Disclaimer out of the way, here we go...

#10-The Mist(2007)
Movies adapted from Stephen King's horror novels are hit and miss. For every Carrie and Misery, you have Firestarter and Graveyard Shift. With The Mist, Frank Darabont spins his magic in the pre-Walking Dead era, giving us an enjoyable take on King's novella. The strength of this movie lies, of course, in its WTF ending. No wonder Stephen King was in awe. If it weren't for the cheesy SFX, this movie would have ranked higher.

#9-The Girl Who Played With The Dead(2014)
If this is Wisconsin director Cory Udler's swan song, he goes out a champ! The spirit of Russ Meyer and Lloyd Kaufman(who appears in a...ummm...rather interesting cameo) is strong in this low-budget independent movie. Serial killers, cannibals, satanic lesbians. What is not to like about this movie? It's Troma by way of the land of diary!

#8-The Bay(2012)
As you may or may not know, I'm not a huge fan of  many found footage movies. If I'm watching them in the theater, I usually become sick because of all the shaky camera work. At home, they're just way too pristine too really indulge me.What sets this movie apart from others is the suspense which builds and builds. There is a despair in this film that tugs at your emotions because you know help will not becoming the citizens' way. For a low-budget movie, the effort is there from acting to makeup to monster.

This movie is a bit maligned but,in my opinion, this is a great haunted house movie. Genuine hair-raising moment best watched in the dark. The dynamic between the two teens in this movie is surprisingly good. They don't sound like a couple of empty-headed idiots. I like the history of the house along with its flashbacks. Worth a look.

Here is a movie that my horror pals kept telling me to watch. Finally, I get the chance, and I wasn't disappointed. The low-budget of this movie forces it to be character-driven. The dread as Canadian Don Imus broadcasts the destruction of a small Canadian town due to a virus is palpable. The fear, the reality we aren't seeing much of what is going adds to suspense.

#5-Jacob's Ladder(1990)
I truly love these kind of movies, the kind that are trippy, symbolic, and make you pay attention. You do have to watch this multiple times to get the entire meaning of what is going on. If you like you movies straight, non-linear, you won't like this movie. Don't let the mainstream casting and appearance by a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin fool you, this is a horror movie. Albeit, one that is grounded in reality(PTSD and what the United States government did to solders during the war). There are some rather gruesome scenes that augment Jacob's journey into...well...I won't give it away here. If you haven't seen this, I highly recommend this to you.

#4-The Hills Run Red(2009)
This movie should have been a hardcore horror fan's dream. Three ubergeeks searching for the people behind perhaps the most controversial horror movie of all-time. What they get is a twisty-turny ride aboard the proverbial crazy train. This is a perfect blend of gore and psychological suspense worth repeat viewings! Unfortunately, this movie falls into the undiscovered treasures category.

#3-The Nightmare Before Christmas(1993)
It took me 21 years, but I finally was able to watch this movie that apparently is much beloved by all of my fellow horror pals. I can see why. This movie makes you laugh, feel sad. The visuals are just unbelievable. The songs, the characters. If I'd seen this movie in any other year, it would have topped my list. 

From the cuddly fuzzies of Jack Skellington and his crew into the brutality and disturbance of this critically-acclaimed gore fest that does what so few horror movies can do:It disturbed me. It brought out my emotions, it made me cheer for the little boy as he faced his bullies and did what we wanted to do at his age. It made scream WTF as the numbing gore flowed in my screen. And then the climax and ending. I don't wish to see this movie again for quite a long time. A testament to its success.

It was so damn difficult choosing this movie over Found. The previously mentioned movie had all my feel buttons. But what separated these two fine films was Bill Paxton's performance as a father of two kids that is called upon by God to kill demons in human disguise(at least that is what he is told in his head). He is so damn convincing, it's a shame he never received even an Oscar nomination. Whereas Found goes overboard, Frailty holds back a fraction, letting the story and characters be the leaders. That is what I like in thrillers and horror movies these days. Thus, Frailty wins!

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