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FAVORITE (AKA – THAT THING IN LIFE THAT ABOVE ALL OTHERS IN THAT CATEGORY, IT IS THE ONE YOU LOVE THE MOST. FOR EXAMPLE – I LOVE “FROM THE HIP” IMMENSELY, BUT “THE BREAKFAST CLUB” IS MY FAVORITE JUDD NELSON MOVIE)

January 3, 2012

Damn, I gotta say it – 2011 was one very kickass year for movies in every genre I partook in; from action to comic books to drama to comedy, and especially for our beloved horror.  It truly feels as though I watched more movies this year than possibly any year in at least the last five and while some truly beyond any shadow of any doubt sucked a cherry-frosted goat’s posterior, I don’t even want to mention those here.  Why bother?  This blog be all about the positive!  Besides, I have no doubt in my mind that all the hacks behind all those overbaked, overpriced turkeys are too busy drinking themselves into depressed stupors to read my drivel anyway.  But like I said, we’re here to focus on the positive, and the horror. The positive horror, if you will – my absolute favorite horror movie of 2011.  Drum roll, if you please…

Kevin Smith, thank you so, so very much for convincing the studio to let you film RED STATE.  Since 1994, your movies have been making me laugh so flippin’ hard that I truly believe now that a person can get muscular abs from laughter.  But then out of nowhere, you hear rumblings that Kevin has written a “Horror” movie.  Not necessarily horror, per se, but a tense dramatic action flick based on the horrific lunatics at the Westboro Baptist “Church” right here in my beloved Kansas.  A flick that contained absolutely zero characters – everyone from church flock to victims to cops to federal agents – not one single character had one single fiber of morality in them to persuade us to cheer them on.  None of them.  And you know what?  That’s how I like to roll.

    So how was it so damned entertaining? How could it top my list of BEST HORROR FLICKS OF 2011?  Simple…Mr. Smith has always had a perfect knack for characters and character dialogue and making long, intricate diatribes very funny and interesting.  Here, he switches gears to make the same enormous diatribes not only interesting, but shiver-inducing as well.  Then when the action kicks in out of nowhere, it doesn’t let up until the last eight or so minutes for the winding down and wrapping up.  And since it is loosely based on something very real and only a mere 70 miles away from where I currently live not only did it hit home, it was hit way out of the park.  And let’s face it…truth, even loosely-based truth, is way more messed up than fiction could ever hope to be.  But while yes, I truly loved RED STATE above all other horror flicks this year, we all know me and my movies are like Lay’s Potato Chips – no one can eat just one, and there’s no way that I can pick or write about just one.  Which brings us to…

HONORABLE MENTIONS (AKA – THE ONES I LOVED VERY MUCH ALSO, BUT CAME IN JUST UNDER MY PERSONAL FAVORITE…FOR EXAMPLE – JUDD NELSON IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR FROM THE 80s, BUT EMILIO ESTEVEZ, VAL KILMER, AND KEVIN BACON ARE MY HONORABLE MENTIONS)

    I would be very remiss if I didn’t mention my other favorites of 2011 and yes, somehow I’ve narrowed it down to only four which I suppose if I do the math right, would round out my Top Five, and that’s good enough for me.

    The big boy studios gave us two very excellent and hugely budgeted flicks, both of which have been the subject of past blogs of mine here for Mr. Frights.  First up, FRIGHT NIGHT, a remake that actually got it right on every level for me from writing to directing to a very well-placed cameo by Chris Sarandon (the O.J. – Original Jerry) to Colin Ferrell nailing it to the garlic-covered cross as next door neighbor/psycho vampire, Jerry Dandridge.  I was very critical of this one going in not only for being yet another remake, but also because the original is still one of my favorite vampire movies.  Thankfully, my worries quickly diminished once I saw this was no lovestruck sap of a vamp – this dude was, in fact, a charismatic yet soulless killing machine, and I ate up every second of this movie.

    The second flick to come to us from a major studio that simply blew me away – SCREAM 4, or SCRE4M, to geeks like us.  It wasn’t a remake or reboot, it was a continuation with a reunion of the same three major players from the original trilogy updated to the modern age of texting and Facebook, among other things, and I again praise the suits with money for taking the huge chance to continue the storyline rather than bandwagon jump and remake the original for a quick buck.  Kevin Williamson is one of my screenwriting idols and once again, he did not disappoint.  While I love them all very much, even Part 3 which was trite and iffy in many ways, this entry in the series was my favorite since the original and I honestly hope they keep going with it.

    Given the amount of independent/low, lower, and frayed shoestrings budgeted horror that I review over on Horrornews.net, I can’t leave out the little guys with the testicular fortitude to stick it to The Man and give the guys with tons of money a run for their…well…money.  First up we have a very talky yet somehow incredibly entertaining, intelligent, well-written, awesomely acted, skewering satire – NOT ANOTHER B MOVIE.  Don’t believe a movie about three guys sitting around a restaurant table arguing over how to write their current horror project while being bothered by a young beautiful actress waiting on their table who just wants her big break while being interspersed with scenes from the movie they’re arguing over how to write can actually be entertaining?  Rent it or buy it and see – you won’t be sorry.

    The second indie flick to blow me away was also my second favorite horror movie of 2011 – TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL.  Horror comedies can be extremely hit or miss, but this one was a hit all the way.  They took the backwoods rednecks vs. snotty college kids scenario that’s been done waaay past to death (we’re talking JASON TAKES MANHATTAN territory), did a total 180 degree turn with it, and gave us something very original, entertaining, bloody as all hell, and absolutely hi-freakin-larious.  This movie deserves to be in every single horror fan’s DVD collection. Every year there’s at least one movie I see that I love so much that I instantly become incredibly envious and pissed off that I’m not the one who came up with the idea first…TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL is that movie.

    So there you have it – my own personal favorite Best Of for 2011.  With some awesome looking horror coming to us in 2012, it looks to be yet another banner year for our beloved genre and I cannot wait to see every single one of these offerings coming to theaters near me.  If you haven’t seen my Top Five movies, I highly recommend you check them out as soon as possible.  I must leave you for now, but I will be back with a die hard with a vengeance in 2012 so until then – everyone have a very prosperous & happy but above all else, BLOODY NEW YEAR!!!!!

   

– Craig McGee

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