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Dread Central's Best & Worst of 2009





Nomad's Picks

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2009

ZombielandZombieland – The zombie apocalypse comes low on drama, low on meat, and high on comedy. I don’t need a half-hour back story to care about each character, and Zombieland takes us through their intros with due haste while retaining their essential sensitivity and, more importantly, their humanity. Just a great time all around with Bill Murray in a show-stopping role. My most anticipated DVD of 2010!!

Orphan – Vera Farmiga has a bad track record with creepy little kids. Can’t catch a break, can you? Not your typical “cute little kid turned spawn of Satan” tale with a delicious twist that is chilling and disturbing all at once. An awesome Saturday night thriller with a room full of friends looking for fun and a screen to scream at.

The Collector – People in a house are systematically offed by an almost supernatural master of traps??!! To be sure, it's a supremely flawed story, but The Collector is saved by excellent execution, a killer soundtrack, awesome actors, and a slick style. The rooms full of traps are extremely over-the-top, unlikely, and at times laughable, but inexplicably, it doesn’t stop the fun! A slinking creeper of a film with very effective tension, jumps, and a baddie who doesn’t quit … or get lame after 20 minutes.

Infestation – A hidden gem in the giant steaming pile that is generally the Syfy Channel's original movie lineup. The human race blacks out and wakes up to … INSECT ARMAGHEDDON!! Witty dialogue, impressive FX make-ups, and original designs for human/insect hybrids make this an awesome Saturday afternoon monster movie you won’t mind watching multiple times.

Sweatshop – I think the theme of 2009 was “don’t over-think it.” Sweatshop is the perfect example of this. Take a bunch of hot raver kids, put them in a rundown warehouse space, add a 2-ton monster with a giant hammer named “The Beast”, and smush till everyone is pulp. No origin explanations … no long-winded drama. Just a tiny sub-story for the slightest bit of depth (if prostitution counts as depth) swimming in a tranquil ocean of blood and gore. She ain’t too pretty, but she sure does horror real well!

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2009

The Stepfather (2009) ReviewThe Stepfather – A yawn of a film that takes the initial theme of the crazy stepdad trying to create his perfect family at all costs and turns it into tiresome, sub-standard soap opera devoid of even the slightest of jump scares. If this movie were a little kid performing at a recital, it would have had a big introduction before it took the stage and made fart noises until his teacher smacked him off the head. That’s probably what this movie needed. A swift and mighty backhand.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – I’m sure everyone will list this movie, or at least those of us who had to eat it and sit through the mind-numbing moments of mental anguish, both on screen and in our own craniums. What does New Moon teach us? Heartache is an anorexic girl screaming into a pillow … the older vampires get, the more ridiculous they act … and most importantly, you can always spot a werewolf clan by their lack of shirts. Not horror, not decent drama or sound love story … just not good at all. Pain, thy name is Twilight. See you again next year.

Knowing – After watching this film, I had to research Scientology to make sure I didn’t just see a recruitment video. Thrill as Nic Cage unravels the secrets behind the end of the world, while drunk, and then runs around doing a whole lot of nothing while things blow up real good. Granted, the carnage moments are spectacular, but two seconds later we are back into the muck and mire of bad writing, horrific dialogue, and a storyline that seems ripped from M. Night Shyamalan’s back pocket. He could sue if this one made any money.

Gothkill – It’s probably bad karma to pick on a movie with such a small budget, but this horror fiasco doesn’t have one redeemable moment. I couldn’t even say it was so bad I laughed out loud. A flimsy premise, catastrophic pacing, zero scares, an earsplitting soundtrack, and 16 miles of exposition make this straight to DVD release unwatchable.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto – The juvenile dream of three overly horny 13-year-old boys with a love of Ren and Stimpy and a wish to see animated boobs on the screen every five minutes. Follow the adventures of former wrestler turned pornographer Superbeasto and his nails on a chalkboard voiced sister as they fight zombie Nazis, Doctor Satan, and good taste. I’m no paragon of decency, but the creators of this mess packed it so full of foul language, nudity, immature songs, and disgusting premises that it all becomes boring as hell. Probably the biggest waste of premium animation ever put on a screen. It’s like asking Dali to ditch the watches in favor of floppy nipples. When does it end?

[Andrew Kasch]

[Matt Fini]

[Morgan Elektra]

[Nomad]

[The Buz]

[The Foywonder]

[The Woman in Black]

[Uncle Creepy]

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Matt Serafini's picture

Thanks El Regio, that was definitely one of the most enjoyable films I've seen in a while.

I've been tracking down movies since I saw the thing in July.


Submitted by Matt Serafini on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 3:14pm.
El Regio Dude's picture

Yeah, after watching it, i want desperately to take
a look on every movie that appears there.
That movie it´s a must see!

"Santo llamando a Blue Demon..."


Submitted by El Regio Dude on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 4:31pm.
frank_dracman's picture

Watchmen is hands down my favorite movie of the year. Not horror movie, that belongs to Drag Me To Hell.


Submitted by frank_dracman on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 12:09pm.
DavidFullam's picture

You're not Andrew Kasch. Andrew Kasch would have named Funny Games in all the top spots. It breaks the 4th wall you know.


Submitted by DavidFullam on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 12:10pm.
Foywonder's picture

Okay, I'll be the one to ask. Watchmen? I know we tend to cross genres a little but how exactly does Watchmen make it onto a horror list?


Submitted by Foywonder on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 11:38am.
Terminal's picture

I'm also wondering why District 9 made it on some lists. It's clearly science fiction. I also disagree it's a horror/sci-fi hybrid.

Oh well.


Submitted by Terminal on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:14pm.
RingoJ's picture

District 9 makes sense, because it at least had the whole transformation thing going on, but I also don't understand the inclusion of Watchmen on so many lists.


Submitted by RingoJ on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:28pm.
Terminal's picture

Sure it had the transformation bit but that wasn't specifically horror oriented. The film is clearly science fiction based around themes not related to the genre. District 9 shouldn't even be on a horror list.

Watchmen is a puzzler as well. It's a fantasy sure but it's a superhero movie first and foremost. It can't possibly be on a list of best horror movies. There must have been more horror movies this year that warranted a spot on Morgan Elektra's list.

Try harder next time.


Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:59am.
Morgan Elektra's picture

I'd disagree that Watchmen is a superhero movie "first and foremost". For one, I consider "superhero" to be a sub-genre of fantasy the same way I consider "zombie" to be a subgenre of horror. Only superhero would be a much broader subgenre, because it would include movies like My Super Ex-Girlfriend... which in my mind is very, very different than Watchmen.

Watchmen was very dark, thematically and tonally. The main story revolves around a man who is plotting to murder thousands of people in order to, in his estimation, better the world. He's willing to kill his own friends in order to do so. It explores, even embraces, the idea that people are hideously flawed and often terribly brutal and awful... but possibly worth saving.

Yes, there are superheroes in it, and what Ozymandius does is more mass murder than serial killing but it reminded me more of Seven than anything else.

Classifying genre can be a slippery thing, and definition often changes from one person to the next... but I honestly didn't consider this as anything of a stretch, and it was one of the best movies I saw this year, so I thought it deserved a place.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:02pm.
Terminal's picture

Boy that's a lot of rationalizing Morgan.

"what Ozymandius does is more mass murder than serial killing but it reminded me more of Seven than anything else."

Are you kidding me? Well you'd be the first person I've read say that, that's for sure.

"Classifying genre can be a slippery thing, and definition often changes from one person to the next..."

You're right. I've heard people describe "Speed" as science fiction.

"but I honestly didn't consider this as anything of a stretch, and it was one of the best movies I saw this year, so I thought it deserved a place."

But I have to keep asking: It may be the best movie you saw this year, but is it a horror film?

You have to admit that you're pretty much stretching and reaching for reasons for the inclusion. If you think about it it seems more like a desperate place holder. Sorry but it's the truth.

At the end of the day everyone but you seems to know what kind of movie Watchmen is. Hell Star Trek had themes of Genocide, had some mean creatures and aliens too, so does that mean it should be on the list too?

But hey whatever helps.


Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 7:52pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

No, it's not a horror film. I'm pretty sure I said already that I consider it a dark fantasy film. I don't see you complaining about me including Ink on my list, which is also a dark fantasy film.

As for my being the only person that was reminded of Seven, that may well be. Doesn't mean it's not true. Tonally, Watchmen is very bleak and dark, but with that same sliver of hope. The line regarding the Ernest Hemingway quote that is the closing line of Seven ("Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part) came very much to my mind when I saw Watchmen. It very nearly perfectly summed up what it made me think of and how it made me feel.

Desperate place holder? Last year, I included The Dark Knight on my list of bests. It was also an honorable mention on Buz's list. The Incredible Hulk got an honorable mention on Debi's list. Uncle Creepy included Hellboy II: The Golden Army on his list, and Andrew gave it an honorable mention.

In 2007 Foy included Dragon Wars on his best list. Plagiarize mentioned The Invasion on his worst list that year, as did Andrew. Nomad gave Sunshine a nod on his best, and so did Debi. Ghost Rider made Buz's worst. So, if I'm stretching by including a film that's not strictly horror (which I said in my first post), there seems to be some decent precedent for my doing so because none of those picks raised a comment from anyone before.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:25am.
NO U BUTTFACE
RingoJ's picture

NO U BUTTFACE


Submitted by RingoJ on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 6:52am.
Styling Shatner's picture

Well, I remember that in 2008, The Dark Knight was at least an honorable mention on one or two lists, so there's that.

Anyhow, I'd also love to see The Foycast return; if the next episode is about the worst direct to DVD movies in 2009, that would be even better, as the episodes talking about the worst in 2007 and 2008 were pretty great.


Submitted by Styling Shatner on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 5:57pm.
moderator We're recording a new
Steve Barton's picture

We're recording a new Foycast this week. Not to worry!


Submitted by Steve Barton on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 6:36pm.
Styling Shatner's picture

Awesome. That is good to hear.

As for last year's Friday the 13th, I saw it at its midnight debut and while I knew it wasn't the same as the other flicks in the franchise, I ended up enjoying it, but it was mainly due to by far the rowdiest theatre crowd I've ever been a part of. They were really into the film and were flipping their shit at the most basic of scares. But, then I listened to the Dinner for Fiends podcast about the movie and agreed with most of it and then I realized that I should never watch the movie ever again as if I did, it'd be ruined and the fun I had that night would be ruined too.


Submitted by Styling Shatner on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 12:38pm.
LifeMi's picture

Great. Can't wait to hear a new Foycast.


Submitted by LifeMi on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 9:24pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

I'd say we cover horror and dark fantasy, and I consider Watchmen dark fantasy. It certainly doesn't fit well, in my mind, into any other genre. What genre would you consider it?


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 1:36pm.

I'd call it a superhero film.

For that matter, Moon is a hard sci-fi film, and whoever described it as a horror hybrid provided the most hilarious bit of fake rationalization on this list.


Submitted by Raygun on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:11am.
moderator Glad I could inject some
Debi Moore's picture

Glad I could inject some humor into your day since you obviously are starving for it.

As for Moon not being a horror film, without giving too much away for those who haven't watched it, I see it as a spin on the Frankenstein tale with Lunar Industries standing in for the good doctor and Sam, of course, representing the Monster. The whole situation is beyond horrific. I'd say that more than qualifies it for our lists.


Submitted by Debi Moore on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:20pm.

And I see a film that deals with the moral issues of very real science, a film that never plays the situation in a horrific way, but rather deals with it in a thoughtful (and sometimes poignantly sad) manner that explores ideas.

The director himself has described it as hard sci-fi. No less esteemed a critic than Roger Ebert has described it as hard sci-fi. There's no hybridization here (whereas something like Alien is clearly a hybrid, one that leans toward horror, in fact) and even on an atmospheric level, it stays far away from horror and traffics instead in provocative sci-fi ideas based in reality (it's no surprise that Duncan Jones consulted with NASA). On an emotional level, it plays the situation for loneliness and sadness, more than anything else.

A Frankenstein tale? Not really. A tale of hard science and morals with an uplifting ending? Yep. You're spackling and rationalizing and misrepresenting.

Moon is a terrific film, no doubt. But it isn't remotely a horror film. Its ancestors are things like 2001, Silent Running and the works of Robert Heinlein, not Alien or Event Horizon. Classifying it as a horror hybrid would seem to devalue the fact that it's a sterling example of the type of hard science fiction that is all too rare in cinema these days.


Submitted by Raygun on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:54pm.
moderator You're certainly entitled to
Debi Moore's picture

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I still see it as a mixture of sci-fi and horror. Sure, it's more the former than the latter, but does that mean it's not worthy of mention on Dread Central? I think our readers are savvy enough to appreciate it when we expose them to things that might not be 100% pure horror but have ties to the genre. Somehow I don't think Duncan Jones would mind its inclusion on my list considering he gave interviews to *gasp* horror sites like B-D to help promote the film. And since when are loneliness and sadness not permitted to be components of a horror film? Not only that, but if I were to wake up and find that I'm a clone, I'd be pretty horrified at the situation.

From your comments, you're as bad as those filmmakers who refuse to concede their films have any horror elements, preferring to call them "supernatural thrillers" or some other nonsense. Injecting a bit of horror into "hard sci-fi" is hardly a detriment to a film -- on the contrary, to me, it just makes it even better.

And I still feel my Frankenstein analogy holds up. What else would you call Lunar Industries' actions other than playing god? And they did it for profit no less, even worse than what Victor did. They are the true monsters of the piece.


Submitted by Debi Moore on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:32pm.

Wow, so you're seriously comparing my notion that a science fiction film that was premiered to an audience of scientists and NASA workers isn't a horror film to that of a studio denying that a film a la The Sixth Sense has nothing to do with horror?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After your simplistic Frankenstein comparison, it's fairly clear that you're not well-versed at making analogies.

That's marvelous that you see horror in a film that decidedly contains none. Congratulations, you are the only reviewer on the planet to call Moon a sci-fi horror hybrid (even Bloody Disgusting, who clearly participated in a round-table interview, declare it "thinking man's science fiction"). And you're completely entitled to your opinion as well, as misguided and foolish as it may be.

Maybe next year you can put 2001 on your list as a latecomer. After all, it's as much a horror film as Moon or Watchmen. (g)

I think the real truth here is that you didn't see that many great horror films in 2009, so you decided to include a film that was 100% non-horror and come up with a rather goofy excuse. Good for you, but it's still bullshit. You can ramble on about how some of its core ideas are horrific until the cows come home, but the fact is that not one scene in the film is played horrifically.

Seriously, if you're going to review non-horror films (Moon, District 9, Terminator: Salvation, Watchmen, etc.) maybe you should think about changing your name to Film Central.


Submitted by Raygun on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:53am.
moderator Are you privy to some sort
Debi Moore's picture

Are you privy to some sort of mission statement on behalf of Dread Central that says we absolutely, positively refuse to ever, under any circumstances, stray from covering something that is not 100% pure, unadulterated horror? Because, if so, then you have every right to give us shit for including films like D9, Moon, T:S, etc., in our coverage. On the other hand, if you had been paying even the slightest bit of attention to what our editor-in-chief and the rest of the staff have said over and over again, you'd realize that we do sometimes report on, review, and yes, even include on our year-end lists, those films that we see as having ties to the genre in one way or another even if they are tinged with (or even contain primarily) sci-fi elements, superheroes, etc., and shut the fuck up already.


Submitted by Debi Moore on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:13pm.
moderator David. David. David. If only
Steve Barton's picture

David. David. David. If only you were writing screenplays that portrayed such passion, vigor, and theatrics.


Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 5:49am.

Do you think I'm David Koepp? If I was, I wouldn't have this crappy office job.


Submitted by Raygun on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:26pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

Kudos to the ladies for mentioning The Burrowers. What? Is it considered a chick flick?


Submitted by Floydian Trip on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 9:52am.
moderator I guess great minds just
Debi Moore's picture

I guess great minds just think alike, and in this case they happen to be female! :)


Submitted by Debi Moore on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 1:50pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

I knew you would mention it Debi but I didn't think Morgan would too but I've never seen her mention it before. It's better than PA that's for sure. Just a how to on making a monster movie imo.


Submitted by Floydian Trip on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 1:56pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

Debi and Morgan win!


Submitted by Floydian Trip on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 4:09pm.
Terminal's picture

One thing I did like about it was the closing credits. Loved that whole comeuppance angle in the end.


Submitted by Terminal on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 6:51am.

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