December 28, 2009
2009 was a surprisingly weak year for theatrical horror -- but a surprisingly strong one for horror overall, when you include all the quality direct-to-video offerings that came our way. The stuff sent to theaters was often quite bad -- from "Sorority Row" to "The Final Destination." I didn't hate "Halloween II" as much as many people did, but it boggles the mind that it came to theaters while "Trick R Treat" went straight to DVD.
We'll be launching a contest for readers to select their own Top 10 of the year shortly. In the meantime, here's ESplatter editor Lucius' roundup of his picks for the best of 2009.
10. Black Devil Doll. The funniest horror comedy in a long time, this film screened across the nation before it made its way into stores as a self-released DVD. An excellent party horror movie. A sequel set in space is apparently already in the works.
9. Book of Blood. The best Clive Barker horror film in a while, probably better than "Midnight Meat Train," this got dumped onto DVD without any promotion. Rent it. Good flick.
8. Trick R Treat. Overrated as a masterpiece, this film was on the festival circuit for years. It finally got released on DVD in 2009. Great movie for sure, and a "Halloween" classic that did deserve a theatrical run. Who knows why it didn't get one.
7. The Children. The best "children are evil" horror film since the '70s, this was released in the UK in '08 and hit DVD shelves in the U.S. in '09. Great movie.
6. My Bloody Valentine 3D. The best R-rated 3D horror film since Andy Warhol's "Frankenstein" (which actually was rated X), Patrick Lussier's slasher remake is actually better than the original. Tautly written, well directed, well acted and gory, it still delivers plenty of punch in 2D. Hopefully it will see some kind of theatrical rerelease some Valentine's Day.
5. Zombieland. America's take on "Shaun of the Dead" was similarly light hearted and successful.
4. Deadgirl. A really disturbing, edgy horror film -- the kind they should make more of.
3. Orphan. A lot of people criticized this movie without actually having seen it. Then, when they see it, they realize it's quite good. An amazing performance from the girl who plays the title character.
2. Paranormal Activity. I saw this at a film fest two years ago, and was completely devastated when I heard Paramount was going to "remake" it. Well, they didn't remake it -- and made a ton of money in the process. In fact, it hits DVD and Blu-Ray this week.
and the top movie of 2009 according to Lucius Gore is ...
1. Eden Lake. This didn't hit U.S. shores until '09. Genuinely terrifying and criminally overlooked, "Eden Lake" is a positive must see. Very scary British horror film. It was an outrage that this unceremoniously went to DVD in the U.S. without any kind of theatrical release.
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