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NOTE: STUCK & INSIDE were included in my Top 10 of 2007

And its the end of the year and to be honest, I can't say I'm eleated. 2008 in horror for me was pretty damn weak. Movies that I loved made no money (like DOOMSDAY), the PG 13 stuff was meh in quality but raked in the dough (PROM NIGHT anyone?) while the remake craze got so out of hand that I now officially feel like I'm going around in circles, being subjected to films that I've already seen over and over again.

Now I am aware that some of the new generation of gore fiends aren't affected by what I stated above much, cause it's all new to them. But for guys like me, its pretty f*cking bleak. I mean what I am in for next year? Lets see, remakes of: HELLRAISER, HALLOWEEN 2, STEPFATHER, THE BIRDS, PIRANHA, FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and the list goes on. Now of course some of these films might wind up being badass good but at the same time I be craving original material like a son of a bitch looking for twat at a Chippendales show.

On the upside this year's foreign filmmakers have THANKFULLY been supplying the originality, gapping to some degree the void Hollywood created in my dead beat heart. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, TIME CRIMES, MARTYRS and THE SUBSTITUTE were all fine films and them tagged with indies like SPLINTER and low key Studio chillers like THE STRANGERS and THE RUINS helped wash down the recycling frenzy..

Now 2009 promises some original American horror that I'm looking forward to. Films like UNBORN, AVATAR, the forever delayed CASE 39, ORPHAN and WHITEOUT. And being that the we're in a recession and that yes it has affected the film industry gangbusters, the middle budget films are being nixed out - so all we'll be left with is big studio movies and indie pictures. Hopefully the latter will provide more ass kickers than monkey cachou suckers for us to dig in. So that's it. I'm done rambling! Here are the 10 FILMS that rocked my cock out of its pants in 2008! Agree, disagree, no matter, opinions are like psychotic exes, we all have em!

10 - Frontier(s)
> Buy This Film
Yet another take no prisoners, don't push the envelope, BURN IT, French horror effort. The flick had me from the get-go and didn't let up till the bitter and bloody end.
9 - The Substitute
> Buy This Film
Take a handful of THE GOONIES and a pinch of THE FACULTY, slap them in the Danish mixer, then add heart, laughs, smarts, wit, superb actors and groovy special effects and you get a VIVAKEN straight up, no water.
8 - Doomsday
> Buy This Film
The Studio obviously didn’t get DOOMSDAY (can we spell under-marketed) and today’s teens or/and general public probably won’t either. But if like me you boogie to the genre films of the 70s/80s, the B Movies that took no prisoners and that reveled in being what they were with no apologies - then this loud, brash, gleefully brutal and often bleakly hilarious opus might be for you.
7 - Wanted
> Buy This Film
What can I say! I loved WANTED! My kind of movie! It reminded of DOOMSDAY’s, slicker and more polite cousin. Both films flew out in a relentless fashion with a strong axis on audio/visual excess and pure enjoyment! ENJOYMENT DAMMIT! Do people remember that shite!
6 - Martyrs
> Buy This Film
For its two thirds, MARTYRS was a gripping, moving and red wet revenge/mystery. For its last block, well, it became something else. Something existential, outside the norm and mucho hard to watch. I wasn’t totally sold on the last act and what it set out to accomplish but I did respect it highly. To go that far with that “intent”… nice!
5 - The Ruins
> Buy This Film
THE RUINS reminded me of CABIN FEVER without the humor and the movie references. Think a bleak situational horror film that took itself very seriously. I respected how it superseded its semi stocks-characters and déjà vu set up to uppercut me with a visceral chain of events and unflinching punishment onto its heroes.
4 - REC
> Buy This Film
Within the “horror verite” subgenre; once it kicked in [REC] had to be the most relentless of them all. Once “on”, it wouldn’t stop smacking me up till its refreshingly horrific, brrr inducing and go f*ck yourself conclusion.
3 - Surveillance
SURVEILLANCE was a breath of dead air for this mook. Although the suject matter is one we've seen done a bazillion times before, the arresting audio/visual approach, the stellar actors, the "I should feel guilty for laughing" chuckles and the F*CK YOU attitude of the picture drove it all home with gusto.
2 - The Dark Knight
> Buy This Film
Forget comic books for a second, as an action/crime/drama alone, THE DARK KNIGHT was a superior effort on every plane. And toss BATMAN, THE JOKER and TWO-FACE into the mix - all played for real - managing to WORK within such a grounded setting - and you get a superhero film to be reckoned with. It hasn’t been done like this before!
1 - Rambo
> Buy This Film
At a certain point in the film John Rambo says: “F*ck the world” and I felt the same way walking out of the theatre. RAMBO was an anti-war film with HUGE balls first, showing me how foul it can get with no apology. It was a rousing action film second, dragging me onto a battle field and putting me through the "pow-pow" ringer for better and for worse. And it was a character study last. The Rambo character was brought home with class and the conflict between what is "right" and what “is” totally engulfed me.


DEATH RACE: Think THE RUNNING MAN with cars and a F*CK YOU attitude! My kind of movie! DEATH RACE was what it was and proud of it at that!

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN:  A touching blend of drama and horror that spanked hard due to its incredibly competent young lead actors, hypnotizing visuals and a handful of clever and hard hitting “horror” bits.

THE FLOCK:  It opened with this sad fact: There are over half a million registered sex offenders in the United States, and for every thousand, a single person is assigned to monitor them. And then went on to take me on a multifaceted ride.

THE STRANGERS: Had a bang-on cast, genuine tension, solemn visuals, an unsettling mood, a genius use of sound and an effortless pace.

TRICK R TREAT: Was THE definitive Halloween movie in the sense of celebrating the Holiday via celluloid. Carpenter's HALLOWEEN tapped into the bleakness of the holiday, TRICK R TREAT conveyed its morbid beauty and fun!


SHUTTER REMAKE: Was a SHUTTER remake made? I wouldn’t know! I already forgot that I just saw a movie. This wretched excuse for a horror film was as dreary as they come! It missed the banana boat on all fronts. Story, characters, mystery, pacing, suspense – NO DICE! And scares? Shit man, I’ve had STD clinic visits that were more frightening than this garbage.

PROM NIGHT REMAKE: A shoddily put together chain of events plus vacuous stick characters, minus gore, minus TNA, divided by lack of originality and absence of basic common sense equals: stale and moronic garbage.

LOST BOYS 2: As a film on its own, it was occasionally entertaining, mostly for the wrong reasons. As a sequel to THE LOST BOYS… it was either an insult or a joke – not sure yet.

YOUR NAME HERE: A dull, dull and dull film that rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it could've worked as a short but as a feature, even 10 hits of acid couldn’t bring this glorified student film back to life.

THE MUMMY 3: It’s like they say, if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all. I don’t call doing a MUMMNY 3 with a toilet paper thin script, no Rachel Weisz, a punching in Brendan Fraser, an underused Jet Li and no mummies…doing it right.

© 2004 John Fallon All Rights Reserved