Look what I left to basically the last minute – my list of top shit from this past year. This year’s list is movie heavy (the only ting that isn’t a movie could basically be considered a movie anyways), and includes some pretty mainstream choices that surprised even me. I admittedly didn’t listen to a lot of new metal in 2017 (chalk it up to launching the podcast and diving really deep into weird movies) at least not enough that I could assemble an honest year end list, so you won’t find any on mine. Thankfully, we have Jenna, Voidhanger and Cult all recommending some powerful and varied albums I’ve finally found the time to dig in here at the end of the year. This isn’t a “best of all horror” list or anything like that either, just what made an impact on me this year as it drifted through my corner of existence.
I almost can’t believe I’m writing this, given my general not giving a too much of a shit about Stephen King stories (I know, terrible person right?) but I’ve always liked the IT and this years movie really struck a chord. So much so that, like I said, even I’m on this particular bandwagon. IT’s a rare day when i’m doubling down on both somethings mainstream AND from a source i’m not huge on to begin with, but that day has come. I thought IT updated the admittedly kinda dated (except for Tim Curry of course) made-for-TV movie everyone loved into a blockbuster theatre filler. The spoopiest Skarsgard, Bill, really brought Pennywise to life in a different way than Curry did, embodying the creature behind the clown mask rather than the clown itself. Obviously, everyone has a different opinion about the portrayal of such a legendary character but I’ll put my hat in the ring and say Skarsgard’s is at least almost on par with Curry’s. Obviously there’s CG involved now and he benefits from that greatly, but there you have it. How I’ll feel about this movie in five years time may change (I don’t see some of the scares lasting the test of time), but if nothing else it’s encouraging for the genre as a whole when one of our own tops the mainstream charts.
If IT was the cool kid everyone wanted to hang out and ride bikes with this year, Bladerunner 2049 was the nerd in a literal trenchcoat sitting alone in the dark and reading creepy sci-fi novels. Directed By Denis Villeneuve (who, despite my inability to say his name out loud properly is my current favourite director working right now) Bladerunner 2049 managed to not only do justice to the original Ridley Scott film, but actually expanded the world in a way that didn’t feel forced and teased just a bit more of the universe these characters inhabit without stripping away all of the mystery. Not everyone liked it but the original wasn’t a darling either when it was released way back when, so I’m sure given time people will come around to this one as well.
Eibon Press Comic Releases
The team behind Eibon Press have spent 2017 putting out an assortment of truly unique and high-quality comics that any gore or schlock fan needs to have in their collection. Starting out by diving into into the world of Fulci, Eibon laid everything out that they intended to do and proved they meant business when they released Zombie, a four part series that re-tells the story from the movie we are all familiar with, while adding in additional backstory that expands on the world. This four-part series end leads into a new series that continues the story past the end of the film, and tosses some pretty wild imagery and cameo’s at you. Gates of Hell, Maniac, Laserblast and their first completely original story, Bottomfeeder, all followed and they all hold up to the same high standard that they have set for themselves. The extras that are included along with the books also help these releases stand out (as if the over the top cover art didn’t already do that), including things you’d expect like stickers and bookmarks but also vinyl, VHS slipcases with custom art and exclusive signed posters. I’m excited to see what they do in 2018, continuing the stories they only started this year. I’m sure if they are even half as wild as Zombie’s second series, everyone is in for something twisted.
Mother! Was one of the few movies this year that truly made me squirm, and I think everyone who saw the film knows exactly what scene did it for me. The movie as a whole was a beautiful, if confusing, story of creation that allowed an incredible amount of interpritation on the audiences part. Some people loved this, some people really hated it but at least it got people talking right? People were doing so much talking in fact that issued a statement in support of the movie and it’s not-palatable-to-all style. And then the director got on reddit to explain it, Jennifer Lawrence chimed in, they even went so far as to release a new more explicit poster; things just got weird in general. Divise movies are always fun to debate your stance on (what else is Twitter for anyway?) and at least gave us something to talk about this year that wasn’t related to orange buffoons.
People might come around to the new installment in the Bladerunner story eventually, but I’m less certain they’ll be coming around to this one. Covenant was Ridley Scott trying to give people what they’ve been asking for since he released his first Alien prequel Prometheus in 2014. People complained there weren’t enough familiar creatures in that film, so Scott decided to saturate this one with them, a decision I enjoyed (let’s be real, this is a popcorn movie series by now) because at the end of the day it was just fun to watch. No, it didn’t tell a moralistic story about the darkness that hides in all men’s hearts but I don’t think you should be looking to a series this long in the tooth and one with a name already so muddied (AvP anyone?) for stuff like that. For me, Alien Covenant succeeded in being an entertaining visit back to the Alien universe, even if it does mean that Ridley Scott just sort of up and abandoned the planned Prometheus trilogy, though this may get dropped as well if recent rumours are anything to go on. Whatever, as long as I get some killer bugs from space I’m happy.
Astron-6 have always been favourites of mine, from the ultra-cheap B-movie Manborg to the slightly less ultra cheap giallo sendup The Editor. The Void, a much more serious Lovecraft-by-way-of-Carpenter monster movie, saw two of the members (Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski)split off to take this project on. Released in 2017 to wide praise from the horror community, the movie utilized very prominent practical effects to bring to life the Lovecraftian horrors that assault the characters. Tentacles, slime, some limbs in places they shouldn’t be – this movie really has it all in the monster department. The story is by necessity, kept pretty simple but I never really saw this as a particularly bad thing. If they had fucked up and done a poor job on what they did have for a story then I’d be saying something else, but keeping it minimal worked in this case. We all know why we’re here – the aforementioned Lovecraft tentacle monsters – and that’s where The Void truly delivers.
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