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THE ARROW'S TOP 10 OF 2006

Man is time going by fast or what? Yup we're already saying goodbye to 2006 and saying on your knees and blow to 2007. Looking back at 2006 in terms of the genre, two words popped to my mind first and foremost: "remake" and "torture". The "torture" subgenre that was made popular by the original SAW hit an all new level in terms of quantity this year (the amount of torture films that came out on STD was ludicrous) and hit a definite low when it came to overall quality.

Same went for remakes, we got more of them with much less care put into them. The impotent PG-13 stigma also continued its trek; resulting in all kinds of watered down shite in theatres which made way for "unrated" DVD releases that I avoided like an STD ridden whore. What do I expect out of 2007? I think the torture subgenre will sing its sawn song after HOSTEL II comes out, brings it all home with gusto and there's nothing left to say. I sure hope so! I'm tired of seeing peeps getting tortured and crave more "suspense" inclined offerings.

I also expect more shitty PG -13 releases that blow the hard one and many more remakes, but lazier. Instead of taking the same initial premise and doing their own film with it a la DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, I anticipate further carbon copies remakes i.e. the same damn film as the original... "cough, cough THE OMEN REMAKE, cough, cough" but with minor tweaks in tow to justify its che-ching inclined existence. On a positive note amidst this red sea of garbage, I still managed to find all kinds of gems to keep the horror fan in me alive and satisfied. What I hope for the New Year horror wise? MORE ORIGINAL STAND ALONES AND MORE SEQUELS!

Who knew I would ever say the latter! But that way I look at it, I'd rather see a follow up to a film that retains its basic elements and does something fresh with then than have to sit through yet another film that I've already seen a zillion times (yup, remakes). To be honest; My Top 10 wasn't too hard to put together this year, the groovy films stuck out like sore clits; so here's what I boogied to in 2006. NOTE: Keep in mind that THE DESCENT, a film that used a quote from my review on its theatrical poster,  made my Top 10 last year, which is why its not on this year's list.


10 - Saw III
As the end credits for SAW III rolled, I half expected the words O-W-N-E-D to pop up on the screen as that's what the film did...IT OWNED ME. Cleverly written, packed with substance, strong characters, warped traps and hard to watch kills that made me their bitch, I couldn't have asked for a better way for this franchise to end.
9 - The Host
Its not everyday that you see a movie pull off such a juggling act; horror, comedy, drama but THE HOST made it work and by result was quite the memorable arm wrestling match. Although derivative of countless other genre films, it pulled in its elements in such a fresh way that it all felt incredibly original.
8 - The Hills Have Eyes
THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake was for me quite the improvement on its stepfather. It was bigger, badder and better when it came to acting, plot, visual style and straight for the jugular thrills/chills/kills. Granted, the pace could’ve been tightened and the characters made to be more likeable but all in all this superior bitter pill took me on a trip of chaos, monsters, gore, brutality and tension.
7 - Running Scared
Cynical, downbeat, visually arresting, wonderfully acted (Who knew Paul Walker had it in him?), moving and violent as Satan having a tantrum, this bitter pill hit the spot with muscle behind it! Think a 70's type movie but conveyed through modern day aesthetics!
6 - Hostel
Hostel had the “Arrow in the Head” checklist checked and then some! Hot babes showing off them knockers, vicious violence, graphic gore, frat boy humor and a last block that broke mucho rules in terms of political correctness and good taste. I LOVED IT!
5 - All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane took itself seriously and winged it via its realistic cast, cruel kills, grounded feel and gritty yet striking directing. The dame also whipped out a couple of cards that hadn't seen in a while and that resulted in more emotional weight than your average slasher and a riveting final act that gave the whole an all new toxic layer.
4 - Re-cycle
Incredibly creative, unpredictable, hypnotizing and daring, this movie was a feast on an aesthetic level and threw everything at us but the actual kitchen. IT BLEW MY MIND! It put on display the right dose of humanity to make me think, feel and even tear up near the end as well.
3 - Ils
A pure, masterfully executed and true horror film that nailed what it set out to do when it came to creeping me out, scaring the life out of me and having me sit up on the edge of my edge, even though the ludicrous amount of booze in my blood stream should've kept me down.
2 - The Fountain
Far from mainstream and definitely not for everybody (my parents would snooze on this one) THE FOUNTAIN hit me where it counts, right here (points at heart)…RIGHT HERE! Emotionally loaded, skillfully acted, outstandingly distinctive, visually back-handing with a soul piercing score to boot; this genius dissection of love and death had me the whole way.
1 - Pan's Labyrinth
PAN’S LABYRIYTH was an oppressive, mucho emotional, uber gloomy yet incredibly engaging sit down that didn’t give me much of a break when it came to being left -hooked with bleakness. I mean even when the flick went Fairy Tale on me; it was still an upsetting experience with solely a glimmer of hope sparking about.

HONORABLE MENTIONS


FEAST: Looks like I got a new genre flick to add to my "Watch on Halloween collection". FEAST was just that, a motherf*cking horror feast! Well cast/acted/written, side-splitting, always on the move, tension laced and red wet heavy, this one pushed all of my right buttons.

ISOLATION: Although derivative of ALIEN and countless other Sci-Fi/Horror flicks; this Cow Bran played the genre game so damn well, with so much heart and balls, that it felt novel. I guess setting it within a farm, with cows as culprits AND making it work added to that vibe.

HATCHET: HATCHET wore its title well as it was filled to the brim with hacks, slashs and red splats all around. The knee slapping dialogue, the furious pace, the tight acting and the countless number of breasts popping out kicked in to up the Arrow lovin too!


CORPSES OF THE YEAR


MORTUARY: I haven't given "half a star" to a horror film in eons but f*ck it, Mortuary, deserves it! I don’t know what they were aiming to accomplish with this mess (Did they even know?) nor do I care at this point but whatever they tried to achieve, they failed miserably at it.

STAY ALIVE: They're pulling another fast one on us with the sub par STAY ALIVE! Rating it PG-13 to get all the kiddies in the seats, releasing gory images online (that are not really in the film) to sway horror loving mooks like myself to go see it anyways, not screening it for critics in advance, hoping for a strong opening weekend (It worked! It opened third!) and then finishing it all off with a sure to be released unrated DVD that will make them more bread. That recipe is low man and I'm f*cking sick of it! I'm beyond fed up of getting screwed!

WHEN A STRANGER CALLS: When A Stranger Calls took the 20 minute opening and the 10 minute ending of the original and elongated them to a 90 minutes run time by padding the whole with "dead weight", hence posing as a feature film



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