(Editor’s Note: Now that Michael and I have had our say, we asked each of our regular contributors to assemble a Best of 2010 list, too. So here’s Nick Cato to kick them off ~ LLS)
NICK’S 2010 PICKS
By Nick Cato
While I went on a huge retro-kick this past year (seeing many midnight classics AT midnight in New York City, including re-releases of PINK FLAMINGOS, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE WARRIORS, ERASERHEAD and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN), I only managed to see 11 new films in the theater, and two new ones on DVD. So, instead of a typical Top Ten list (being I can’t do one!), here’s the eleven films I caught this past year at my local cinema…with a quick review (full reviews can be seen on the monthly archives).
-THE CRAZIES remake was a lot better than I expected. While it didn’t capture the tone of George Romero’s 1973 original, it was quite an entertaining film.
-I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of SLIME CITY MASSACRE, the long-awaited sequel to Greg Lamberson’s 1989 SLIME CITY. If you like gooey, trashy films a’ la Troma, make sure to catch this one on DVD or if it hits your town.
-The Brooklyn Academy of Music was the scene for a screening of SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, the sixth Romero zombie outing. While I enjoyed it better than DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007), the film suffers from ridiculous dialogue. I’m hoping George is done with the undead now (although at a Q&A after the film he said they might be doing two more zombie films based on characters from DIARY. I’m not too thrilled).
-CROSPEY was a very well done documentary about a true crime case on Staten Island, New York, that took place in the late 70s / early 80s. The film includes disturbing footage of a former mental institution (taken from an old Geraldo Rivera special report) and some in-depth interviews with those who knew the alleged kidnapper/killer in focus.
-Sage Stallone’s Grindhouse Releasing has been getting some great films into theaters over the past several years, but this time they delivered a real treat: a never-before-released sequel to a little gem titled MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE (also known as THE EXECUTIONER from 1978), titled GONE WITH THE POPE. While I think four people in the packed theater even saw the first one, POPE is a stand-alone gangster epic with an absurd plot: the mob kidnaps the Pope and holds him ransom until every Catholic in the world sends them 50 cents! (Or a dollar—I forgot). Make sure to check the DVD when it’s released. Gangster fans will laugh till it hurts.
-ALL ABOUT EVIL was the directorial debut of drag queen Peaches Christ. It’s a fun little horror/gore comedy about a female theater owner who becomes a snuff film director by accident. Natasha Leonne is amazing as psycho director Deborah Tennis, and John Waters regular Mink Stole makes an appearance along with a nice, psychotronic cast. Some of us got to see this with an opening stage show that was like the bastard child of Rocky Horror. Easily the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.
-I was thrilled to see a real film version of MACHETE (a fake trailer for it was part of the GRINDHOUSE double feature in 2007). There’s a lot of great gore scenes and Danny Trejo is to-die-for as the title character, but the ending fight between him and Steven Seagal was just SO ridiculous I felt like the director went out of his way to insult the audience. It’s fun with that one major flaw.
-Surprisingly intense for a PG-13 rated film, THE LAST EXORCISM is a must-see for fans of exorcism films. This time everything is seen from the point of view of a Protestant minister who openly admits he’s not a genuine exorcist…but when he confronts a girl who might actually be possessed, he begins to take his life-long, traditional faith seriously. A refreshing Christian character and some well-done spook-outs made this one of my favorites of the year.
-PIRANHA 3-D was gory, silly, and had more boobs per square inch than a wet t-shirt contest in a closet. It’s all goofy fun, but I think it would’ve been just as fun in 2-D (the film had a couple of 3-D effects added after the film was completed). Richard Dreyfus has a cameo that’ll make JAWS fans squeak in geek glory, and Ving Rhames is a small town cop who puts an outboard motor to good, bloody use. At least it was better than your standard SyFy channel killer animal flick…
-The remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE featured some truly brutal revenge/kill sequences, but the tone that made the 1978 original so hard to watch is nowhere to be found. Star Sarah Butler does a fine job in Camille Keaton’s iconic role, but the audience is expected to accept a little TOO much here. Bottom line: ENOUGH with the remakes!
-Love it or hate it, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 delivered everything the original did, and this time the ending was perfect. I can’t understand why so many horror fans hate these two films…they play on your imagination and if you allow yourself to go with it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a blast (and even get a little creeped-out, too). GREAT job here.
-I’m very happy I rented Dario Argento’s latest film, GIALLO, on cable Pay Per View, as the film was pulled after its star Adrien Brody decided to sue the producers! (Google the story for more info. I’m sure it’ll eventually be re-released on DVD). This is no masterpiece, but if you take it as a spoof of the whole “giallo” thing (which apparently Argento himself did), you might enjoy yourself. I did.
-THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE earned this year’s reputation as the “sickest” film to see, and while it is quite grim (especially the ultra-dark ending), there’s plenty worse out there. It’s a decent take on the mad scientist thing, and I’m looking forward to the sequel (which last I heard had a 12-person ‘pede!).
© Copyright 2011 by Nick Cato