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Best & Worst of ’10: DAVID HARLEY’S BOTTOM 5 OF 2010

Writing this year’s worst-of list was a lot easier than its counterpart; as pure luck would have it, I was only brought to a boiling rage by eight horror films this year! My lowest recommendations of 2010 fail for a variety of reasons, ranging from a clear lack of vision and funds (my biggest pet peeve) to worst use of music ever to shameless capitalization of a name brand. One entry is so bat shit ridiculous and unintelligible that it gave me one of the biggest laughs I had this year, which makes me wonder whether or not we’ll all see it as a big joke in another five or ten years (wait, my future self just informed me that’ll never happen, but it was fun to think about for all of two seconds).

Mr. Disgusting (Best/Worst) | Ryan Daley (Best/Worst) | David Harley (Best/Worst)
BC (Best/Worst) | Micah (Best/Worst) | Keenan (Best/Worst) | Theo (Best/Worst)
Best One Sheets | Worst One Sheets
Most Memorable Moments | Top Trailers | Memorable Quotes


5. Frozen (February 05; Anchor Bay)

After Hatchet and Spiral, I have to admit I was sipping on the Adam Green Kool-Aid, but Frozen was the first of two giant disappointments from the director this year. Right from the beginning, you have three unlikable characters in a ski lift; the girl is way too passive aggressive, and the guys are obnoxious and total meatheads. Granted, Green presents a tense situation, and the verbal sparring is welcome between the frazzled friends, but talk about some convenient wolves! After a character bites the dust, we have two people left, blurting out past situations and emotions that will make them sympathetic to the audience, but by that point, who cares? I can see why people might like this, and I’m sure some will see this entry as my cashing in my “I know everyone else likes this, but I really hate it” card this year, but tell me this: did you guys laugh when the score swelled as quickly as Parker’s pants as she pissed herself? Lord knows I did.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (April 30; New Line Cinema)

Despite a cool scene or three and the fact that it’s infinitely less frustrating than Friday The 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street never reaches the plateau that it so earnestly tries to reach. It’s chock-full of interesting ideas and it looks nice thanks to Samuel Bayer’s grunge aesthetic, but a worthy trip to Slumberland it is not. It also features the biggest wasted opportunity of the year, which is the question of whether he really was a child molester or not. It’s brought up later on in the film and presents a very interesting dilemma; unfortunately it’s answered 15 minutes later. For a question that’s as significant as that, there should be more doubt and discussion about the idea in the film, but sadly, it’s not.

3. Legion (January 22; Sony Screen Gems)

At some point, having an angel walk around with a machine gun probably seemed like a good idea. But it wasn’t, and neither was this movie. Why would god wipe out civilization with a haunted ice cream truck, and not something on a cataclysmic level like a flood? When I was on set, Tyrese talked about how unstereotypical the role was, and then come to find out, he recites a monologue about when he was a “shawty.” If I was an angel, there’s no way I would give up armor and crazy looking weapons so that I could possess a mortal and grow sharp teeth; that’s idiotic. I liked Legion better when it was The Terminator.

2. Parasomnia (July 13; E1 Entertainment)

I can’t say I’ve ever really liked a William Malone film – though, his ‘Only Skin Deep’ episode of Tales From The Crypt is pretty dang creepy – and his visual style always made him seen like an all-too-eager film-school graduate, but Parasomnia‘s Nightmare On Elm Street meets Alice In Wonderland premise intrigued me, especially with Jeffrey Combs hamming it up in the trailer. Even considering my modest expectations, Parasomnia was hard to watch. Everyone involved in this film should be ashamed of themselves, and the Ed Wood homage in the third act is about as cringe worthy as they come. The quirky, oddball Tim Burton visuals seen in the trailer occupy about fifteen minutes of the flick, with the rest of it looking as lazy as Malone’s other films. It’s a sad state of affairs when the House On Haunted Hill remake is your best film, and I wish Malone would stick to the television format, which he excels at much more.

1. 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams (May 4; First Look Studios)

2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams is easiy one of the worst movies I’ve ever had to review for the site. It never manages to strike a balance between being menacing and campy, and features some of the most head-scratchingly stupid racist jokes I’ve ever heard. Aside from including the barrel death from the original movie and having one other quasi-inspired moment, it falls flat in every single department. Hell, even the sound design appears to have been mastered by a five-year-old. I didn’t exactly hate Tim Sullivan’s first love letter to H.G. Lewis (at least it had Giuseppe Andrews in it) , but everything from the unlikable protagonists to the hastily prepared gore set pieces makes this sequel one of the most unintelligible, infuriating movies around. I love over-the-top stuff, but Field Of Screams is just too much.

Dishonorable Mentions:
Cabin Fever 2 (February 16; Lionsgate)

I’ve been told that because I was born in 1985, I can’t have a full appreciation of the 80s cheese on display in Cabin Fever 2. I love me some camp, and there aren’t many things that brings a smile to my face faster than popping in my C.H.U.D. or Deadly Friend DVDs, but if this movie is supposed to be a proper representation of the average 80s horror flick, I’ve clearly been missing out of some truly awful shit (not to mention subpar flash animation), and I’m really grateful. If you still laugh at herpes and blow job jokes, and think that peeing in the punch bowl at a school dance is a brilliant inciting incident, then this is the movie for you! If I were Ti West, I would’ve taken my name off it too.

The Wolfman (February 12; Universal Pictures)

Once again, Universal has failed in reviving their classic monsters, and while Joe Johnston’s The Wolfman is still not as bad as Van Helsing (few things are), it’s still pretty awful. Anthony Hopkins’ scenery chewing and Hugo Weaving’s comedic moments are highlights, but lackluster CGI, one of the worst Danny Elfman scores this decade, and a confusing relation between Benicio del Toro and Emily Blunt that has little basis makes it a muddled affair; nothing gels together. It’s a shame there’s not an alternate reality where Mark Romanek and Tangerine Dream worked on the film together. I was hoping for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, and I got Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein.

My Soul To Take (October 8; Rogue Pictures)

The idea for My Soul To Take is actually pretty cool, but it’s execution and script are so frustrating. I read an early draft about a year or so before the film came out, and I could honestly not tell anyone what it was about after I was done; it was THAT confusing. Things change from first drafts, and the idea was cool, but it was just as bad, and maybe a little worse in some parts, when it hit the big screen. Everything was terrible, and yet, it has a sort of charm I can’t quite put my finger on. Not one that would make me watch it again, but one that makes me laugh uncontrollably when a sister unexpectedly beats her younger brother to a pulp, or when there’s a handful of kids left and someone actually suspects the blind kid did it. It’s like Wes Craven jumped in his DeLorean, visited a future where there’s nothing but really shitty horror movies being made, and then came back and made a post-modern parody of something that doesn’t exist yet. It’s really excruciating to watch now, but I think in five or ten years, it has the potential to be a camp staple.



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