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The Best and Worst of 2007







Johnny Butane's Picks

Please note: My list consists of films I've seen this year, not necessarily films that were released yet. And they're in no particular order either.

The Best and Worst of 2007

The Last Winter The Last Winter - Though I'd never been a huge fan of Fessenden's work in the past, I had heard enough positive buzz about this one to actively seek it out. It didn't hurt that Ron Perlman stared in it either.

A gorgeously desolate setting, fantastic performances all around, and a director who knows when to show you something and when to merely hint at it (save for the questionable CG bests) make The Last Winter one of the most original and terrifying films I saw all year.

Fido - This one sort of flew under a lot of radars, mainly due to Lionsgate's poor treatment of it by releasing it straight to DVD, first and foremost, and giving it a horrible cover to boot.

Currie's tale of an alternate 1950's society in which the dead are an everyday part of life is both fun and original, and really unlike anything I had seen before it. While you'd be hard-pressed to call it straight-up horror, it's got just enough elements to fit nicely into our genre and re-define it at the same time.

Mulberry Street – The film that made me think After Dark Films knew what they were doing with this year's 8 Films to Dire For (look for to the Worst of list for the reasons they didn't). Though the premise may sound ridiculous, the film is anything but.

Most people who took the time to get out and see Mulberry Street during its week long theatrical run agreed it was the best of the lot. Mickle and writer/star Nick Damaci (interview here) did a fantastic job making a movie about mutated rat creatures with a minimal budget and an incredibly strong cast.

The Mist – Believe it or not this one almost made my list of Top 5 Worst, but there was just too much other crap I saw this year to fit it in. And why would it have been there? The fucking ending.

But the rest of the film is just flat-out brilliant, so it deserves its place among the best. It took Darabont years to finally get this one out of his system but man was it ever worth the wait. Great performances, great monsters (well, aside for those tentacles at the beginning) and a dedication to the source material pushed this one above most monster movie entries in 2007.

The Signal – Man, just wait till you guy see this one. Push all comparisons to Stephen King's Cell out of your head right now; though the basic premise is the same (a strange transmission causes anyone who hears it to go insane), the execution couldn't be more different.

There are three directors; each did his own segment of the film, and while you can feel the tonal shifts, especially between the first and second parts, on a whole the movie works like a well-oiled machine. Funny, scary, and touching all at the same time, The Signal is not what you'd expect.

The Best and Worst of 2007

Lake Dead – It really doesn't get any worse than this, so I guess to a point this particular list is in order. Lake Dead not only made me question how the hell After Dark Films picks their 8 Films to Die For, but whether or not Courtney Solomon is absolutely batshit insane for thinking this piece of shit deserved any screen time whatsoever.

The story is about kids who go to a cabin inherited by one of their numbers, and the killings that go on there because of some family bullshit or another, complete with incest and beatings. Horrible performances, editing, sound … pretty much everything that can be wrong with a film is found in Lake Dead. AVOID IT

Skinwalkers – Even if the film had been just a little bit better, it still would've made this list because Issac let me down in a big way. The man who didn't take himself too seriously when he made Jason X, still one of my favorites of the franchise, decided to put on the most serious face possible for this werewolf tale.

Another After Dark fumble, as it turns out. The multiple release delays and terrible early word of mouth should have been indication enough, but no; I had to go and watch it, too. If Issacs had maybe decided to make the werewolves fight each other with, I don't know, teeth and claws instead of shotguns, maybe this wouldn't have been so boring to sit through.

Creepshow III – A bad movie is painful enough just because it's bad; when said bad movie is trying to be a sequel to one of the most respected horror anthologies of all time well… that's just inexcusably bad.

It's almost difficult to point out how bad Creepshow 3 is without resorting to questioning the mental capacities of those involved in its creation. I've seen some people with little to no budget pull off some pretty amazing stuff; these people did the exact opposite. Someone needs to stop these people from ever making anything ever again.

Rob Zombie's Halloween – Just like a bad movie being worse as a sequel to a good one, Zombie's reinvention of John Carpenter's classic character was not as bad as I expected, but nowhere near anyone's definition of "good".

This is just what one would expect from a music video director; a soulless, empty piece of exploitation cinema that focuses too much on a ridiculous plot element (Myers tracking down his long-lost sister) rather than try and create a genuinely scary experience like the original did. It was disappointing but in no way, shape or form surprising.

I Am Legend – Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate I Am Legend. Indeed I thought Will Smith did a much better job than I ever expected him to as the possible last man on earth, scientist Robert Neville. I hated what was changed from the original story for no discernable reasons and the use of CG.

Oh, God, the CG. Seriously, how could you look at the CG creatures at the end of the day and actually be happy with when you see? It was just terrible from beginning to end; if they had just used it as enhancement rather than the entire characters…man it was bad. But worse was the lack of anything to make the title make any sense, instead making Will Smith a big fan of the Bob Marley CD "Legend". Can you say lame?

All in all 2007 was a pretty shit year, full of disappointments for films that I had foolishly held out hope for. But when it was right, it was really, really right, like The Mist (except for that goddamn ending) and Mulberry Street, so I guess we'll just be happy with what worked and leave the rest for the next generation to deal with.

Here's to a horrific 2008!


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Tristan Sinns's picture

I totally forgot about Tooth and Nail until late last night, that horrible piece of crap. I think it was a repressed memory. Please consider it the sixth worst film of the year. Or the first. It deserves both. Ugh!


Submitted by Tristan Sinns on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 1:03pm.
DW Bostaph Jr's picture

Let me know what you think when u see them. Completely different films, but both as cerebral as you can get.


Submitted by DW Bostaph Jr on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 1:00pm.

DWBJr, based on how similar our lists were (i hadn't seen AVPR when i wrote my list, and i didn't think to include the brilliant Sweeney Todd) i'm going to be checking out Cthuhlu and Death Note first chance I get.


Submitted by plagiarize on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 9:48am.
admin moderator Cinematic Socialism? You
Jon Condit's picture

Cinematic Socialism? You can be a film commie if you want to, leave me out.


Submitted by Jon Condit on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 12:25am.

There's no mistery about it Terminal... Johnny was mistified at to why people keep talking about The Mist, because he mist the start of the mist-cussion where people were mist-cussing their favourite mist-vies from last mist, and it seems mist people here had mist-ues with The Fog... err... sorry... The Mist!


Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 7:33pm.
Terminal's picture

I mist was Johnny was talking about, I was very mistifyed by his misterious anger toward miscussing the mist.


Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 7:15pm.
Terminal's picture

Have either of your schmucks seen the "Death Note" series? If you think the movies rocked, wait till you get a load of the series. Wow.


Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 7:13pm.
Melissa Bostaph's picture

WOW...I'm in trouble and didn't even know it... haha!

Honestly I could have filled a dozen WORST lists with the crap that I get from Foy, Kryten, and even Steve! Hello! He's the one that pawned Microwave Massacre off on me! LOL!

One reason I didn't include that and other titles like it are because they were not actually released in 2007.

Another reason is because I wanted to let people know that there are those of us out there who don't like every film that Hollywood puts out even if everyone else seems to.

I'd rather just talk up films that deserve it...and not give free press to those that don't.


Submitted by Melissa Bostaph on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:54pm.
DW Bostaph Jr's picture

There is SO much shit out thee, and being involved with the Horror Fest and judging and all, it gets old. I could compile a list of shit a mile long, but what is the point of bashing something like Microwave Massacre? No body cares about that type of crap, and going into the film I was not expecting anything but a shitfest.

Movies like 30 Days of Night, Halloween lead us to believe that they are going to be good. We got promises and sneak peeks and jerked off all day long, but in the end thy are just shit. And people need to know that they are so, IT IS OUR responsibility to do so. Why? Because these are the films on eveyone's minds. When there is a breakaway such as Cthulhu or Netherbeast or Blood Car then it is our responsibility to tell people about it so THEY see it. It is kind of lopsided that way but we are about quality. When it is promised but not delivered on, we point it out. And when we find a nice goldmine, we scream it to the heavens so all can enjoy...

Call it Cinematic Socialism.


Submitted by DW Bostaph Jr on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:49pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

You hush up, Johnny Butane... or I will call you up and leave you long Mist-related voicemail messages. I can do it too. I am the Queen of long voicemail messages. :-P


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:33pm.

Mist? Mist, Mist, Mist, Mist, Mistity Mist!


Submitted by Kryten Syxx on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:19pm.
Johnny Butane's picture

Oh my God, stop talking about The Mist.


Submitted by Johnny Butane on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:05pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

WIB, lucky for me I didn't see any of those films you mentioned. ;)

Of the films I saw this year, Halloween was definitely one of the worst.... decent production quality doesn't save a bad story in my book.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:54pm.

"or any number of other movies people listed in their Bottom 5 as being the ultimate in "bad" movies when there's stuff like Captivity, The Hitcher, Microwave Massacre (Melissa, I'm talking to you!), and other real garbage to choose from."

simply put, i didn't see those movies. not being a movie reviewer around this parts, i'm only subjected to the bad movies i choose to watch. if something is slammed by someone i trust like The Hitcher uniformly was, i'm not going to go see it.


Submitted by plagiarize on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:45pm.

My problem with The Mist was that, we get the escape, then we get five minutes of crossfades on driving, driving, driving, then bam! (um..literally, I guess) and then he reacts, then BAM! again. To me, the movie needed a good at LEAST five, ten minutes more for the ending to work.

I think it's a terrific idea and I commend Darabont for thinking it up and actually using it, I just don't think it was well executed. I understand that it was not a tacked on thing or a reshoot, but it definitely FELT like that to me.

As for Hatchet, in the 80s it's a shitty, straight-to-video slasher that isn't funny or scary, and has boring, stupid cardboard characters, but somehow 20 years later it's some amazing old-school classic? If it was made in the 80s it would be one of those movies like The Burning that is remembered fondly, mostly for the gore effects, and then when it's finally released on DVD 20 years later, everyone buys it or rents it and when they watch it they realize why it's remembered almost exclusively for the gore effects.

I am a HUGE slasher fan and am absolutely down for a cool, old school slasher flick to come out and kick my ass with suspense, gore and nudity. This movie just sucked. It's possible I saw movies that were worse, but this had all the build up and it's being championed by horror fans, horror websites, horror magazines...and it's just a boring, unfunny, unscary piece of shit. Most disappointing moviegoing experience of the year for me. And to me, when a movie like that turns out to be crap, it's far worse than something like the Hitcher remake, which sucked, but we all KNEW it was going to suck, so who cares?


Submitted by G.D. on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:39pm.
moderator For me, just not liking
Debi Moore's picture

For me, just not liking something doesn't make it one of the year's worst. I think you have to take into account the whole picture -- writing, acting, effects, cinematography, etc., etc. I can't stand Swank and didn't much care for The Reaping, but it had enough redeeming qualities to make me realize putting it on my worst list would have meant I was taking it too personally rather than judging it on its overall merits. Which is, again, why I can't understand how anyone could consider The Mist, RZ's Halloween, or any number of other movies people listed in their Bottom 5 as being the ultimate in "bad" movies when there's stuff like Captivity, The Hitcher, Microwave Massacre (Melissa, I'm talking to you!), and other real garbage to choose from.

------------------------------------
Can you feel the thirst?

I'll see you on the other side . . .


Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:28pm.
Blockbuster's picture

I'M going to go on record and say that I liked the Unrated Director's Cut of Halloween and the way IT ended...much better than the original version of that movie that I saw...and Hatchet was fucking awesome. There. I said it.


Submitted by Blockbuster on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:05pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

I saw the end coming too... that 'Promise me you won't let the monsters get me, no matter what' line was a pretty dead give away. But I don't think it was conveyed at all that those characters thought there escape was a last ditch effort. Yes, David expressed doubts with his plan, but the whole point of doing it anyway was that he felt he had to do SOMETHING. That they couldn't just stay there. Amanda even says 'I'd rather die out there trying than in here waiting.' But then they don't. They die out there giving up. After not even going very far. Without any further discussion. And they thought enough ahead to sneak food and pack it, and plan a before dawn departure to avoid Ms. Carmody's people and the monsters, but not what was going to be done when they ran out of gas? It was sloppy writing. THAT'S what made me angry.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:55pm.

Here's the thing, if you had taken some of the religious nuts in the store, had them driving off in the jeep and then had that ending, you would have been cheering at the screen... it is only because it were them there descent folks who got stiffed which makes it so controversial.


Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:38pm.

i guess i just saw the escape from the store as those character's last hopes. heck, even David expressed doubts about his own plan before they left the store. they'd left with the belief that this was their last hope, and they found no hope, no other people, just beasts in the mist. the store became more dangerous than that outside it. so they took their chances, and ultimately ran out of options. i didn't see the decision as one of desperation, or madness. i saw it as a conscious choice under extreme circumstances that i'd seen coming since the kid asked his dad not to let the monsters get him.


Submitted by plagiarize on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:32pm.
Morgan Elektra's picture

"in that case it would be a fault of the ending but of him failing to convey well enough the emotional state of the characters to justify his planned ending."

Exactly. Which I feel is poor writing on his part. As someone on the forums said, if he had spent even just five or ten additional minutes chronicalling a downward spiral of despair for those characters once they left the supermarket, then the ending would have contextually made sense. As it stands, however, there is nothing to indicate that these characters have reached their limit and are hopeless... and in fact, several things that argue otherwise. Which is what pissed me, and I know many other people, off so much about that ending.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:18pm.
Sirand's picture

I can understand people falling into the hype about Hatchet and being underwhelmed...but WORST OF THE YEAR? C'mon...


Submitted by Sirand on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:01pm.

i can't and don't pretend to talk for why it made people angry. i know a lot of people that were angry about how bleak and upsetting it was. at the character for doing what he did. he's angry at himself (as i was with him) though, and it's meant to be bleak and upsetting.

i saw those characters as already starting to lose hope before they left the store. i saw those characters as preferring to take their chances with the monsters outside than stay with the other people.

darabont wanted that ending... he built to it... it wasn't a late idea or a reshoot. i don't know what you think he was building the characters towards, but it obviously isn't what he actually was building them towards. in that case it would be a fault of the ending but of him failing to convey well enough the emotional state of the characters to justify his planned ending.

the message i took away from The Mist was 'in times of crisis people can do inhuman things for what seems like valid reasons at the time, but they have to live with those actions afterwards'. i think that's pretty consistantly threaded all the way through, if being strongest at the end.


Submitted by plagiarize on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:58am.
moderator Here's my thing ... I know
Steve Barton's picture

Here's my thing ... I know opinions are opinions but when a year is riddled with so many cinematic abominations how a little flick like Hatchet makes it into the top 5 worst on anyone's list really boggles my mind.


Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:51am.

And I'd like to say that I really appreciate that a couple people put Hatchet on their worst list. What a fucking disappointment that was. Admittedly, some of the gore was nice, but what a bad movie.

Word to the wise, Mr Green. When you make a splatter comedy (whether the comedy is good or bad...and I personally thought it was pretty bad), please PLEASE don't try to tell me that it's "old school horror" because it most certainly is not.


Submitted by G.D. on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 10:29am.

I'll go on record as someone who liked the ending of The Mist is concept, but not so much in execution.

That said, how can the fact that so many people hated the movie be a testimony to how good it is? I don't understand...


Submitted by G.D. on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 10:09am.
Morgan Elektra's picture

I think you're off on WHY some of us are angry about the ending of The Mist, Ryan. It's not because it was bleak... it's because, like Melissa said, it went against everything Darabont had brilliantly established for those characters up to that point. I'm angry with what I consider a poorly written ending to a well written movie. And I really hope that wasn't done on purpose.


Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 9:27am.

i have to say i'm surprised so many of you guys didn't like the ending of The Mist. sure it's probably the bleakest ending ever... but the fact that it hurts and angers so many people is a testimony to how good it is, at least in my opinion. i think we're probably so used to only getting angry at bad movies, that when a film legitimately makes us angry we presume that it wasn't trying to.


Submitted by plagiarize on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 7:30am.
Terminal's picture

That's not fair, there's not much here I disagree with. Bastards. Hatchet good but overblown, Disturbia overrated as a mofo, and Halloween sucked, yep there's not much room here to disagree.


Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 1:57am.

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