This is always very difficult, I mean come on! How the hell can anyone choose one great movie over another? For me it’s basically impossible and as usual I will share with you my favorites - without any specific order. That’s more fair. It’s interesting how almost every year people whine there’s no good modern genre movies, and at the end of the year the lists are packed of great titles. I’ve been trying to stay away from the biggest mainstream films for the top ten, just because they get so much attention anyway.
That doesn’t mean I dislike big mainstream movies! No Siree, among my faves this year in the Super Expensive Mega Blockbuster Hits (and flops) are Spectre (I never get tired of 007 and Daniel Craig is so damn good!), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (I mean, I’m not a huge fan of Star Wars but it was damn hard not liking this - and that final shot… woah, gave me goosebumps!), Mad Max: Fury Road (needs no explanation, it’s a unique work of art - and Richard Norton’s in it!!!), San Andreas (yeah, shame on me - but I happen to LOVE disasterporn! It’s so stupid and silly and so f**king spectacular!) and last but not least, the Wachowski Siblings Jupiter Ascending, an already criminally underrated sci-fi romp which hits the marks perfectly. Silly, but very aware of it. A feel-good flick everyone should take a look at again.
Almost on the top, but for individual reasons not on it are, for example, Tremors 5. I love the Tremors flicks and this might damn well be the best since the first one, carefully creating a similar bromance vs monsters-feeling we love so much. Even Jamie Kennedy seems to have a bit of fun in his part, but he never reaches the same levels of awesomeness like Kevin Bacon or Fred Ward. I really dug the Poltergeist remake, really. For real. I think it was very well-made, standing on it’s own two legs. Sam Rockwell is fine as the dad and the effects looks great, what I miss is the more gruesomeness Hooper and Spielberg had in their original. Stung is a co-production between Germany and the US, an old-school monster movie with really cool gore and creatures. If it just was a tad bit more original. Dyke Hard was the martial arts-cyborg-musical-lesbian-comedy that took the world by storm, a DIY masterpiece - total anarchy and 100% including. But I’m in it myself and I know many of the people who made it, so it would feel like cheating if I included it on the top ten! I understand the hype of It Follows, and it looks great and have a couple of brilliantly executed ideas, but it left me kinda cold and bored. But there’s something with it it, I know. I KNOW! Stop harassing me! ;) Parasyte: Part 2 could very well be in the top ten, but I feel you need to see it together with 2014’s Parasyte: Part 1 to really stand out. I know many people seems to dislike Sinister 2, but I really liked the different route it took and for once it didn’t feel like a rehash of the first movie.
I’ve never been a hater and I generally dislike to dislike movies. If I don’t like them I just tend to ignore them, but hey… I have three disappointments this year. Yeah, really. I have. Howl for example. How could they fail with that one? It’s about a bunch of passengers stuck on a train in the middle of nowhere surrounded by werewolves! Great, simple concept - and yet so damn boring and non-bloody! Sure, I like the monsters. They look cool, but they’re not in it long enough - and don’t even mention Sean Pertwee’s cameo, which is extremely pointless and boring. A waste of talent there. I heard a lot of good things about Ghoul, a co-production between Czech Republic and Ukraine, a found footage horror dealing with Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. Could have been SO good, and it looks fine and the locations is great - but instead of building some kind of mystery, something we haven’t seen before, it strays into the same old Paranormal Activity-style shenanigans! Last out is Harbinger Down. You know, I know this film was made with extremely good intentions. But it’s hard taking a movie seriously when the filmmakers brags about only using practical effects and in the movie everything, I mean everything darn thing, is enhanced with digital effects. It really doesn’t look that good either, and I can fully understand why the makers of The Thing prequel decided to fix these guys effects in post-production. It would have been fun if they also had written an interesting, fun script also. But I guess you can’t expect much nowadays.
Okay, on with Schmollywood Babylon’s Top Ten of 2015! Are you ready!? And remember; in no specific order...
- The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson)
I really don’t give a damn it’s a PG-13 movie, because (now I’m starting to sound like those besserwissers who comments on IMDB and always need to state that a movie doesn’t need graphic violence to be scary) I really don’t need graphic violence to be entertained. Instead it have a lot - and I mean a LOT - of heart. Together with Wet Hot American Summer this is a film I like to revisit from time to time just because when the credits roll you feel good, you feel satisfied. You feel happy. It’s one of those films that produce genuine belly laughs.
- The Editor (Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy)
After watching it the first time I wrote: it feels like this film was made just for me. You can argue if it’s not taking it’s concept too serious, putting the comedy in the background, but why so serious about that? For us Giallo aficionados it’s like a time machine, taking us back to a movie where every cliché and twist is celebrate like the beautiful things they are. Adam Brooks in the lead as Rey Ciso is also making one of my favorite performances this year, almost eerily realistic in his rendition of a dubbed, Italian actor from the 70’s.
- We Are Still Here (Ted Geoghegan)
If I had made this list in some kind order this would be THE best horror movie of 2015. Or at least my favorite film of the year. Trying to describe it makes it sound pretty plain and normal, but it is a Lucio Fulci tribute, both with an effective ghost story and great gore! And Larry Fassenden is my male role model after seeing him here as a laid back pot smoking university teacher (I have no idea what his character works with, but that’s what my intuition says). Add to this a rugged, cold winter location and it’s the perfect movie to cuddle to under a blanket.
- Montauk Chronicles (Christopher P. Garetano)
I’ve seen several interesting docs this years (including the good but kinda underwhelming The Search for Michael Rockefeller), but one that I can’t get out of my mind is Montauk Chronicles. Just like Room 237 and The Nightmare there’s not much analyze regarding the info told by the participants, it’s just lets them tell their story. And as mad and insane this fable seems to be it’s still a very fascinating and well-crafted trip into the unknown. What’s the truth? I have no idea, but obviously something happen to these men. Can’t wait for Garetano’s next project, which deals with the mysterious, beloved and feared… Bigfoot.
- Digging Up the Marrow (Adam Green)
Yeah, it’s more or less a mockumentary take on Nightbreed, but as always with movies pretending to be real there’s this excitement with “what if?”. In my opinion real docs who manages to create the same feeling is the best docs ever. One can discuss if it was a good choice to cast Ray Wise as a fictional character, mostly because he’s so well-known - but he’s also the perfect actor for the job and makes a fine performance together with Adam Green the rest of the cast who plays themselves. It’s one of those flicks you didn’t want to end, and I sure hope we will see some kind of continuation of it.
- Dude Bro Party Massacre III (Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet & Jon Salmon)
I’m always skeptical towards these retro-films, trying emulate the golden oldies. In this case it’s something so odd as eighties SOV (shot on video) movies, and of course the slasher genre. Even if the movie is a pure spoof, exaggerating everything - it’s also a convincing time capsule, made with what seems to be real passion. It would do well in a double feature in 2013’s similar masterpiece WNUF Halloween Special.
- The Voices (Marjane Satrapi)
This is basically exactly the form of movie I love; brutally dark and cynical, yet so warm and funny. It’s dark, very dark - so dark my boyfriend G wasn’t sure if it was meant to be funny at all, considering it both have cute talking animals AND a show stopping musical number. I’ve heard the opposite several times, but I consider the ending the only ending that could work. It’s so out there, but yet so perfect and absurd. And yes, I admit: I have a crush on Ryan Reynolds. So, now I’ve said it.
- Bone Tomahawk (S. Craig Zahler)
I’m always careful when it comes to hyped flicks, especially - for some reason - those in the horror genre, but Zahler’s revisionist western comes out as a unique, grim and still very normal western film. Imagine - literally - a western mixed with Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust, with a dash of The Hills Have Eyes. With Kurt Russell. Big art, from every darn gory decapitated head to cut off toes and at the same time a wonderfully constructed western drama. I’m in love.
- Tales of Halloween (Neil Marshall, Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Lucky McKee, Andrew Kasch, Paul Solet, John Skipp, Adam Gierasch & Jace Anderson, Mike Mendez, Ryan Schifrin & Dave Parker)
I’m never the one who says no to a good anthology movie and this is one of the best I’ve seen recently. The Halloween tradition itself means nothing to me, but I’m the first to admit there’s a special coziness in using it in a movie. Here there’s so many stories, often gory and hilarious, and I’m pretty sure everyone of them hits the mark - and if they don’t they’re saved by the stories before and after. A killer cast, gorgeous production design and nice gore. And to finally see something new from Neil Marshall and Ryan Schifrin was a blast! Please, come back soon again!
- Exeter (Michael Nispel)
I’m pretty sure I’m the only one having Marcus Nispel’s Exeter (aka Backmask) on my top ten list this year. I only gave it 3,5 stars on Letterboxd. So why? Because Nispel makes what basically is an eighties silly horror movie dead serious for a contemporary audience. The story is so simple, but it have plenty of fun moments and as usual when it comes to Nispel it looks gorgeous. So sue me.
And yes, Ash vs. Evil Dead might be the best thing that happen since I don’t know when! But that’s television and I don’t deal with TV series on this blog. But I’m pretty sure you agree with me!
So will Schmollywood Babylon raise from the dead? I have no idea, but it was kinda fun writing this little text. I’ll admit that ;)
Take care, friends.