HOW FUCKING SHITTY ARE END OF THE YEAR LISTS?! Ugh. I fucking hate them. Although, as the year comes to a close, I do still enjoy the opportunity to point out some shit that really stuck with me over the year. I think my problem with end of the year lists is that this is MY site and I review what I’VE seen. I went to some festivals this year and got to see movies that aren’t out yet, so am I a dick for saying it was a favorite? Yeah, probably, but this is my site so fuck off. I haven’t seen every movie that was released in 2013, because who the fuck has? I’ve also seen more than just horror movies this year that I enjoyed more than genre stuff, so there will be some of those on here. As per tradition, instead of including a specific number of films to include, I’m just going to list a bunch of my favorites. I think ultimately, 2013 was a year that had a lot of GOOD movies, but only a handful that I could say were “great”. Some movies weren’t included that were good, but I felt weird calling them my favorite. Also, make sure to check out my top ten films that I saw at festivals over at Bloody Disgusting.
Best Movie to feature Animal Masks that I’ve been using for Years
Who would’ve thought I would support a movie featuring killers wearing creepy plastic animal masks?! Before You’re Next had gotten a wider released, I interviewed director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett about V/H/S and, due to my use of a creepy animal mask as my Twitter avatar, they suggested I replace my picture with an animal mask from You’re Next. When I interviewed Wingard and Barrett around the release of You’re Next, they mentioned a strong connection to the animal masks from 1973’s The Wicker Man being an inspiration for the film, which is also where my affinity for animal masks came from. Even though You’re Next didn’t make a huge dent at the box office, the marketing campaign was pretty awesome and everywhere you turned there was some creep in an animal mask. Now I guess I’m still the creep who hasn’t taken his animal mask off yet.
Best symbolism where a Cave kind of looks like a Vagina
I try to take most movies at face value and try not to dig too deeply into them, especially while doing reviews, because I feel like so much of film, and art in general, is incredibly subjective. Two people can watch the same movie and take away two completely different meanings and interpretations, which is one of the reasons why I love film so much. There were a lot of different tones and themes going on in Here Comes the Devil, from creepy kids and innocence lost to Satan and how big of a dickhead he is. In the film, two kids enter a cave and go missing, and when they reappear, it’s quite obvious that they’ll never be the same. There are flashbacks to the kids about to enter the cave, and considering they went missing while their dad was fingerbanging their mom, it’s pretty obvious that the cave was a vagina, right? I mean, it had to mean that, didn’t it? Oh boy, I’m in over my head, I’ve never actually seen a vagina before so I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to explain myself. Anyways, Here Comes the Devil was awesome.
Best “Holy shit, what the fuck is happening?!” Movie
I have a hard enough time trying to remember how much insane shit happens in the first ten minutes of the movie that I completely forget about all of the insane shit that happens throughout the entirety of Witching & Bitching. It’s just…it’s fucking nuts. Just the opening scene alone has Jesus wielding a shotgun while a child helps him rob a pawn shop and a bunch of people in costumes are running around bumping into shit and hurting themselves while cops shoot at them and a car chase breaks out. Guys…this movie is nuts. I don’t even want to describe it anymore because I don’t think I’ve done enough drugs to accurately describe all that madness that ensues. Just fucking watch it and lose your mind.
Best “Holy shit, what the fuck is happening?!” Anthology Segment
V/H/S/2 – “Safe Haven”
If you’ve seen this movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about and know that this segment, brought to you by the people who brought us The Raid: Redemption, is possibly the craziest segment in either of the two V/H/S films. There are demons and cults and devil worship and people crawling on the ceiling and heads being blown off and, well, I just, whoa what the fuck. With all anthology movies, people will enjoy some more than others, and I think that this is the only segment in any of the recent anthology movies that seems to be universally praised. Good job, Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans!
Best Movie featuring Sexy as Shit Vampires even though I don’t really like Vampires
Who would have thought that a movie I saw through an online screener featuring vampires, which I hate, would end up being one of my favorite movies of the year? To reduce Kiss of the Damned to just a “vampire movie” would be doing the filmmakers a disservice. Yeah, there’s fucking vampires, but it’s also about the sacrifices people make for love, whether it be a romantic love or the love of a family. Writer/director Xan Cassavetes clearly had her shit together by ignoring most of the shitty vampire films of the last few decades and took her influences from films from the 60’s and 70’s featuring sexy vampires doing sexy vampire stuff. What did she do? Well, she got some sexy actors and actresses and put them in a gothic setting and it reminded me that there are still cool stories to be told with vampires in them that don’t feel like clichés as much as they do homages while also bringing in some really cool contemporary themes to them.
Best use of “Heartbeats” by The Knife
Writer/director Ti West used The Greg Kihn Band’s “The Breakup Song” in The House of the Devil and one character in The Innkeepers had a Bad Brains shirt. Clearly he has musical tastes that aren’t driven by any sort of studio trying to push a pop song, so it came as no surprise when the opening credit sequence of The Sacrament featured “Heartbeats”, a ten year old Swedish synth pop song. More than just a catchy tune, anyone familiar with the song was that much more quickly immersed in the tone of the “hipster journalism” vibe of The Sacrament and the fact that the main characters probably ironically had it on their iPod or genuinely attended some Brooklyn dance parties where that song would be playing on repeat. Oh yeah, this movie was also one of my favorites of the year, but I mean, how good is this song?
Best Remake that could have been Dogshit but wasn’t that bad
I KNOW! I was just as hesitant as everyone to see that Evil Dead was getting a remake. When I sat down to think about what made the original so special, I couldn’t really pinpoint it. When I asked writer/director Fede Alvarez the same thing, he said that the thing both he and producer Sam Raimi wanted to accomplish with the films was the feelings of a nightmare. The surreal, twisted, and fucking evil nature of violence and possession was what was important to both filmmakers and I really feel like Alvarez captured that feeling. Was it as good as the original? Fuck no. Was it a gruesome, blood-soaked annihilation of our senses that showed no mercy to the characters or the audience? Fuck yes.
Runner Up: We Are What We Are
I’m not too big of a fan of the original film, and I wasn’t too big a fan of director Jim Mickle’s previous film Stake Land, but with this remake he brought some American gothic to the idea of a family isolating themselves because of their religious beliefs. Definitely a pleasant surprise.
Best Horror that isn’t Horror but actually Kind of is Horror
A lot of people don’t know the difference between something “presented” by Guillermo del Toro and something “directed” by Guillermo del Toro, and a lot of people thought this film was the latter. They couldn’t be more wrong. MORE DEAD WRONG. More dead? Whatever. Marketing for a film sometimes helps and sometimes hurts a film, and with Mama being marketed as a creepy feral children movie with ghostly elements, it’s easy to see why people were disappointed with it. It has a lot of del Toro’s style that fans have grown to love, including approaching a fairy tale from a more horrific perspective. Even if it was a little more magical than horror mans might have expected, it was an original ghost story with some genuinely creepy moments and a titular character who was frightening to look at. Mama herself was disturbing to see on-screen and was treated as a supernatural, tormented character as opposed to existing just for shock value. And did I mention it wasn’t a remake or a sequel?
Best use of Dubstep and Slow Motion
I went into Spring Breakers knowing very little about it, was seated with over 1,000 people for its US premiere, and HOLY FUCK WAS MY MIND BLOWN. I’m not necessarily a Harmony Korine “fan”, although I’ve definitely enjoyed lots of segments of his different films. With Spring Breakers, I felt like we were seeing a criticism of the vapid, shallow existence of the current “YOLO” generation by showing us a group of girls who are so detached from reality that a fun spring break romp turns into drugs and violence in the search of doing something “cool”. In addition to see such awful humans living such a pointless existence, the movie was also well shot and had a perfect soundtrack to fit the tone of the movie. AND HOLY SHIT, JAMES FRANCO. DID YOU SEE HIM IN THIS MOVIE!? HOLY FUCK, JAMES FRANCO. Oh yeah, and the opening is just Skrillex playing over boobs flopping around in slow motion. Good job, Harmony!
Best Movie that…well, it’s hard to describe…well, ya see…just fucking see it
“But technically Cheap Thrills is a 2014 release fart fart fart!!!” is what I hear from most people. I get it, but, as I mentioned earlier, this is my list with my rules so shut the hell up. Cheap Thrills is a tough sell because it falls under a few different genres, which might be what will alienate so many people while so many others embrace it. First time director Evan Katz got some fantastic performances from Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner and Sara Paxton that nobody will be able to forget anytime soon, for better or for worse. It’s funny, it’s morbid, and a shit ton of fun. That’s probably why I saw it three times over the course of two different festivals and I’m sure you guys will really dig.
Best Movie with Best Friends that will soon be My Friends
This is the End
A bunch of actors hanging out at someone’s house for two hours? Wow, that sounds dumb. Wait, it’s a half-dozen actors responsible for some of the funniest movies of the last 5 years hanging out together because the rapture is taking place outside their door? Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. AND WAIT, DANNY MCBRIDE IS IN IT?! Okay, sold. Not only was This is the End one of the funniest movies of the year, it was also one of the most heartfelt. The way friendships change over time and the growing resentment of seeing people you care about turn into something different is a theme a lot of people are familiar with, and This is the End managed to deal with that issue while also having Michael Cera get impaled by a streetlight and Jonah Hill get raped by a demon. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I’ll be in the sequel because all of these dudes love my hilarious jokes on the internet so that’s going to be cool too!
Best Movie that Makes You Happy and Sad About Halloween
It’s not often that a movie can make me feel anything at all, especially a feeling as specific as the one as the WNUF Halloween Special made me feel. Obviously I hold Halloween near and dear to my heart, despite not really celebrating the holiday for the last few years in some bombastic way. With the WNUF Halloween Special, it reminded me of those nights as a kid watching creepy shows about ghosts and the whole spooky vibe of the entire month culminating in that one day, but in turn reminded me of how sad you got when the clock struck midnight and then it was just shitty October. If you want to feel like Halloween, watch the WNUF Halloween Special, but if you watch it on Halloween, it’ll probably just make you sad.
Best Use of John Carpenter Credits
One of my favorite things about a select group of John Carpenter films would be his opening credit sequences. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? He uses that one specific white font on a black background. Might be stark and minimal, but I think it says a lot. It always conveys this feeling that all of those films take place in the same universe and that universe sure is fucked up. It’s clear that the filmmakers behind Almost Human felt the same way about those iconic, albeit minimal, opening credit sequences. If the opening credits wasn’t enough, the rest of the film looked and sounded like a Carpenter film while also felt like an homage to some of his science fiction themes. This isn’t meant to come off as to say it’s just a Carpenter ripoff, because it has plenty of fun, original stuff in there, but the opening credits definitely know you could trust the tastes of the filmmakers.
Best Movie that People Hated and are Wrong for Hating Because They’re Fucking Awesome
TIE: The Lords of Salem and Only God Forgives
Yes, maybe this category is self-serving, but isn’t this whole fucking list self-serving? I’m not saying that people can’t say that they didn’t like The Lords of Salem or Only God Forgives because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I can’t think of two better films to have been released in 2013 that acted as a barometer of how similar my tastes are to someone else’s. Point being, if you hated either of these two movies, we probably don’t have that similar of tastes and will have many other disagreements because I fucking loved them. Neither of these films are close to perfect, in fact, both films have plenty of flaws, but no other films this year made me so happy to talk about than these two. If you liked it, we had similar tastes, and if you hated it, I felt that much happier for liking it. In fact, these two films both helped inspire this long nonsense about how important it is to have an opinion.
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I know you put it on the BD list but Im curious to know your thoughts on Big Bad Wolves. I fucking loved it.
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