The number 13 is unlucky for the superstitious. It is iconic to the Horror film industry. It was a once in a century opportunity. It was a chance to brand a banner year.
The Masters of Horror could have returned for at least one last film. The second generation of new Masters1 should have released their magna opera. Neophyte directors would have premiered their bloody offerings. It would have been Horror’s greatest year. It would have lasted a hundred years.
Alas no one noticed. 2013 has come and will soon be gone. Only one movie released this year is worthy of nomination into Thrill Fiction’s Top 100 Horror Films. As such this ‘worst’ list should be able to write itself but au contraire; it’s like dredging a cesspool looking for material that hasn’t dissolved.
10 SOLO In October this year Shock Till You Drop became film distributors. Solo, a camper-in-peril story, is their first effort. It’s also their worst effort. Lead actress Annie Clark hints at future possibilities but she cannot lift up Olympus. The camera focuses on her for too long. It reveals a plain Jane made to look somewhat pretty being asked to distract the audience from the farce of this hollow shell. Julia Roberts in her magic youth didn’t try this at home.
- 9 THE COLONY There is a certain type of distinguished thespian who consistently brings gravitas to the motion picture. The British call him Michael Caine. The Americans call him Morgan Freeman. Christopher Nolan calls them whenever he wants to. In horror films they are called Robert Englund and Tony Todd. There are others. For example Laurence Fishburne is an actor of gravitas. At the first sight of snow the viewer is alerted that this is a The Thing 1981 rip off. As soon as Fishburne dies (in act 2) the audience is advised to ask for their money back (the producers should to take the writers to small claims court).
8 ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE Overnight 2003 chronicles the events from script to first screening of The Boondock Saints 1999. The documentary shows how Harvey Weinstein can destroy careers – and by extension lives. Mandy Lane had an international release in 2006 but a US limited release last September. Harvey can waste dump his genre films as and when he pleases but the true story of Mandy Lane is waiting to be made into another documentary. In the meantime the cinema release has a reveal that could have been horror’s answer to Planet of the Apes 1968. Alas it was botched. Further Amber Heard plays the titular character.
Right again Harvey.
7 TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 stunned the world. It still stuns. What’s equally stunning is Lionsgate’s capacity for exploitation. Tobe Hooper’s fable could have been written by Aesop. It is a self contained complete story. There is no narrative latitude for sequels or prequels. Post 9/11 there is no cultural rational for a remake.
Addendum: This isn’t a remake; this is 3D.
6 EVIL DEAD Here is a perfect display of fandom. The original trilogy soared from no-budget to low-budget to wide release. 20 years later and the franchise never really went away (unlike the Candyman and Jeepers Creepers series). The fans demanded a reboot. They deserved more than a remake (of a film about demons) that has no soul.
5 DARK SKIES It’s always good news when a studio announces a horror film. It’s usually bad news when the studio releases that horror film. However there is precedent for greatness: Rosemary’s Baby 1968; The Exorcist 1973; Scream 1996. There is precedent for good films eg Final Destination 2000. There is no excuse for Dark Skies - and how on earth did it make a profit?
The Weinstein Company should rename itself Weinstein & Son the way they make money from junk.
4 BLACK ROCK It’s a bad day for horror when the Political Correct faction wants to see our papers. In this film three white women (on their way to domestic-soccer-mom-bliss) play the leads. This is not The Craft 1996 or even The Descent 2005. This is gaggle-babble feminazi white-victim fantasy with the expected dose of civil rights contradictory racist appropriations.
- 3 FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY This found-footage feature is set during World War 2 and is about a Captain America type program gone wrong. The concept isn’t terrible but how much footage can be found in a 1940s era camera? The ‘terrible’ comes with the budget: Attention aspiring filmmakers! If you’ve got no money – make a film noir.
2 THE DEMENTED This is no name/no talent camcorder teen cinema. It is indicative of the genre’s current torpor. The mere idea that one human being would charge another to watch this is proof there is evil. Civilians use condoms; the Hollywood system uses a filter to guard against STDs (Straight-to-DVD).
1 INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 There is a new generation of horror film fans. They elevated the mediocre Insidious 2011 to a smash hit hence this sequel. They watched The Purge 2013 and The Conjuring 2013 the way their parents watch American Idol. There is only craft. There is no art.
Congratulations James (Wan). You crafty bastard. You sold out. You cashed in. Now you make a mainstream action flick with a $100million budget - but they’ll want their pound of flesh James. And should anyone ever nominate you for a Master of Horror I will remind them of Insidious Chapter 2.
For unrelated reasons I stopped watching soccer in 2012. It was a lifelong habit. Friends didn’t believe me. They do now. This year in horror was as bad as last year and next year doesn’t look scary at all. I don’t know how much longer I can watch camcorder cinema and corporate horror but at some point I’m going to have to detox. Gonzo porn is better than this (and I don’t watch that anymore). What will happen to the industry if Thrill Fiction withdraws its support? You’ll be left with punters who think Idle Hands 1999 is classic cinema.
That’s a threat.