Since I watch an ungodly amount of horror (around 275 films viewed and reviewed so far in 2010), the bulk of which is DVD/Blu-rays, I opted to put together a list of the best films that had disc releases this year. What that means is you won’t see any films on this list that had a wide release (The Crazies, NOES) or didn’t have a disc release at all (Hatchet II), but you will see several films that had releases in other countries, appeared in festivals or limited engagements AND had a 2010 U.S. disc release.
Now that we are clear, let me say that this was a tough list to put together. I didn’t feel there were any runaway winners like Trick ‘r Treat, Martyrs or Let The Right One In from last year. There were, however, plenty of fine efforts that made for a well-rounded and enjoyable year in home viewing.
Without further ado, my top 10 disc releases of 2010.
My immediate reaction to this film was I didn’t like it that much (hence my not-so-glowing BD review). But I watched it again and realized this is the film that the fans wished Lost Boys: The Tribe would have been. It’s full of homages, throwbacks and skydiving vampires. And what’s not to like about that? Corey Feldman nails his return as Edgar Frog with his hilariously low, Christian Bale-like Batman voice, complete with one-liners and random grunts galore. This film is better than a host of pictures with much bigger budgets. Death to all vampires!
There weren’t a lot of horror films released this year with as disturbing a premise. That said, the film’s buzz led to some being disappointed. But considering I personally know people who threw up during their first viewing, the film was onto something. Besides what I already mentioned, I put this film in my top 10 DVD releases for one other reason: crazy German guy. Well, him and the fact that I take way too much pleasure in doing my creepy impersonation of crazy German guy (“Is Rohypnol. Is date-rape drug.”) Here’s to the 12-person sequel, which sounds like a whole lot of middles to me.
The first of a few films that were made a few years ago but finally received a proper DVD release in the U.S. in 2010. Parasomnia has its own unique voice – an absolute rarity these days. An almost-surreal fairytale darkness surrounds the film, including a haunting score that will send chills down your spine. William Malone (FeardotCom, House on Haunted Hill) manages, for the first time in his career, to create something that is both visually stunning and unnerving at the same time
Picking up moments after the American ending of Neil Marshall’s original film certainly didn’t help this sequel in the horror community. Heck, even making a sequel seemed an exercise in futility. But somebody somewhere needed to make money, so – little surprise – a sequel to one of the best horror films of the 2000s was ordered. Funny thing, while it doesn’t come close to capturing the hopelessness and near-unbelievable tension of the original, it does hold up very well as a direct-to-disc sequel. It is plenty claustrophobic and manages to successfully continue what Marshall started.
In the tradition of Shaun of The Dead, Doghouse is an above-par horror comedy from the U.K. Call it misogynistic. Call it dumb. Call it whatever you will, but this is a fun, bloody romp of a she-zombie movie. Doghouse features piles of gooey special effects, exceptional zombie makeup and just enough dry Brit humor to make this a really enjoyable effort. Director Jake West (Evil Aliens) is coming into his own and is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the horror comedy circles.
Adam Gierasch’s throwback tribute to the horror classic comes across as fresh, twisted and boob-centric. One of the few remakes that actually honors (read: doesn’t disgrace) the original material. Channeling 1988 perfectly, the film captures all that was good with low-budget ‘80s horror: punk rock, over-the-top gore and nudity on levels that rival early ‘90s Cinemax (or should I say Skinemax?) after midnight. Gierasch even manages to update the infamous lipstick scene to a rather astounding and noteworthy level. Night of the Demons is an impressive remake that belongs on any ‘80s horror lover’s DVD/Blu-ray shelf.
This French love story just so happens to take place during a zombie infestation. This is exactly the kind of chick flick I can get behind. What makes this film stand out is the heartbreaking relationship between the girlfriend and her infected lover. The slow, methodical and incredibly painful transformation the boyfriend endures directs a human eye toward the suffering and, in doing so, captures emotions rarely explored in this genre. Of course, it’s not all about the love — there are plenty of splattertastic kills and bandits, as expected in a zombie flick. Mutants has set a new standard for RomZom (if someone hasn’t yet, I’m going to trademark the term) films.
Easily one of the highest-concept horror flicks of the past few years. I mean, c’mon. An evil stepdad locks a hottie teen, her autistic brother AND a blood-thirsty tiger in their house … during a hurricane. As ridiculous as it sounds, this film is actually a well-executed and taught thriller. Director Carlos Brooks delivers suspense in spades, ratcheting up the tension to near-unbearable heights. Top-notch directing combined with the excellent performance from Briana Evigan and a top-notch cameo from Meatloaf make Burning Bright one of the biggest and best surprises of the year.
It seems fitting to select a nearly five-year-old festival film, which FINALLY received a DVD release, as one of this year’s best disc releases. Writer/director J.T. Petty takes a deconstructionist look into why we watch horror and at the same time forces the audience into a voyeuristic peek at some of the most perverse underground horror in existence. S&Man manages to do something very rare — it strikes a nerve close to home and undoubtedly will make even the most seasoned horror veterans pause to think.
Simply put, Adam Green created one of the best films within the survival horror genre. It’s perfectly paced, plausible (mostly) and absolutely terrifying. By playing on all-too-real fears of isolation and being trapped, Green delivers a film that is incredibly stressful to watch. The last film that left me as emotionally drained as Frozen was the phenomenal The Descent.
Tormented, 2010: Moby Dick, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Best Worst Movie, Sea of Dust, The Roommate (Japan), Bad Biology, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre