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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

VAULTCAST: Talking with Meir Zarchi, Steven Monroe & Sarah Butler of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE!

One of the privileges I've been afforded since launching The Vault of Horror is being able to interact with those individuals directly involved with the films that have affected me over the years. I had just such an experience earlier this week when, after catching the remake of I Spit on Your Grave at a screening in Manhattan, I was afforded the opportunity to speak about it with the film's director, Steven Monroe; the star, Sarah Butler, who plays Jennifer Hill; and of course, the one and only Meir Zarchi himself--both producer of the remake and director of the still-controversial 1978 original.

It's my distinct pleasure to be able to share this with you, and I'm grateful to all participants for pulling no punches and expecting nothing less in return, especially Mr. Zarchi in our discussion of the much-debated issues of misogyny. Also, thanks to Alexis Hoyt and the rest of the fine people at Falco Ink for reaching out and making these interviews possible. You can listen in on the embedded player below, or proceed to the official Vaultcast page for download...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Ramblings from the Vault...

  • You know, during the 1960s and 1970s, the Italians proved quite proficient at making westerns and zombie movies. So why, I ask, did we never see a spaghetti western/zombie flick? And how cool would one have been? Of course, this is the part where I'm inundated with a million comments informing me of all the Italian western/zombie movies of which I was unaware...
  • So as many of you know, Richard Dreyfuss appears at the beginning of Piranha 3-D in a cameo that may just be the highlight of the movie. He's also fishing, and singing, "Show Me the Way to Go Home," the same tune he sings in Jaws. My dad postulated that we may be meant to understand that Dreyfuss is actually supposed to be Hooper, the same character he played in Spielberg's classic. What do you folks think? Possible? Or is my pops delusional?
  • I always found it so bizarre that the final film of Hollywood legend Fred Astaire was the 1981 chiller Ghost Story. I kept expecting him to break out into song and dance, but instead we kept flashing back to full frontal nudity from future Borg Queen Alice Krige. If only Ginger had been so bold...
  • I happen to be of the opinion that you should still be able to have your pudding, even if you don't eat your meat. But that's just me.
  • Not only will I admit to watching Sharktopus on Saturday night, but I will proclaim it from the highest mountain. I even gave my boy a special treat and let him stay up late with me to catch it on SyFy. We made it about 75 minutes through, before I had to be a good daddy and switch it off due to copious bloodletting, but it was fun while it lasted. And exactly what one might expect from a SyFy Channel movie in which a shark/octopus hybrid is pursued by Eric Roberts. And by the way, were you aware that Sharktopus has his own theme song? Well, allow me to enlighten:

"This twisted fish/Eats surfers as a side dish/When you see that frenzied feeding,/You will be the next bleeding." Who said Tin Pan Alley was no more?
  • Important question: Was the SyFy Channel Man-Thing movie that "jump the shark" moment for Marvel Comics adaptations? Not sure, it might have been "Don't Make Me" Ang Lee's Hulk movie. Of course, there will always be those bitter naysayers who hated them even going back to the first X-Men--to whom I say, "Bah!"--or those overly forgiving souls who adored watching an emo Peter Parker jive-walk the streets of Manhattan in Spider-Man 3.
  • So I'm going vampire for Halloween. Even got me some fancy fangs and everything. Tried them on for size just yesterday in fact, and proudly scared the blue blazes out of my daughter and her friends practicing for chorus in the living room. It's good to be the king.
  • Just as a heads-up, there will be an amazing 12-hour horror film festival happening in Poughkeepsie, New York on November 6. Evil Dead II; Demons; The Gates of Hell; Cannibal Ferox and more, all showing in 35mm. Yours truly will be on hand, and so should you. Expect further coverage of the Hudson Horror Show in the days to come...
  • Congratulations to fellow LoTT-D member Steve Jencks of The Lost Highway, who recently celebrated his blog's fourth anniversary with a special poster giveaway. The posters, each one dedicated to a classic horror flick, were created by Jencks himself--and even though the giveaway is over, you can still head over to Lost Highway and pick up one, or even two. You'll have to pay, though. Suck it up, kid, things are tough all around.
  • And speaking of anniversaries, The Vault's third is fast approaching (October 14, y'all), and I've got an interesting proposition in place to help me celebrate. What is it, you ask? Well, just keep your greasy eyeballs plastered to the VoH Facebook page in the coming weeks, and you'll see what I mean. VoH Facebook page, you ask? Why yes, surely you knew there was one? If not, feel free to have a look. I mean, come on now, what else are you going to do? Work? Yeah, I thought so.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

VAULTCAST: Conversations in the Dark... w/Christine Hadden

I'm thrilled about this week's edition of Conversations in the Dark, because Italian horror is one of my favorite topics to discuss. And if there's anyone whose name is synonymous with Italian horror, it would be Dario Argento. Suspiria is one of my all-time favorite horror films, and Argento's signature style in other movies like Deep Red and Tenebrae have long fascinated me.

So of course, I had to bring in one of my favorite Argento fanatics, Ms. Christine Hadden of Fascination with Fear. Christine is more well-versed in Argento than myself--and so, seeking, as always, to make myself look good by surrounding myself with talented individuals, I invited Christine to join me this week. By listening in on the embedded player below, you can hear us wistfully sing the praises of Italy's ambassador of terror, as well as veer into Hitchcock, Deodato and all points in between.

You can also proceed directly to the official Vaultcast page and download the audio!

Fascination with Fear: http://fascinationwithfear.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/slewfan77
Blood Sprayer: http://www.bloodsprayer.com/author/christine/

The Many Faces of Adrienne Barbeau

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Spit on Your Grave, Version 2.0: All the Depravity, with Half the Misogyny!

If you were one of those who were concerned that Cinetel Films' remake of Meir Zarchi's infamous grindhouse "classic" I Spit on Your Grave was going to be a tame, watered-down, "safe" affair--well, allow me to inform you that you need not be concerned. Steven R. Monroe's much-debated new version, I'm here to announce, is not at all afraid to shock, disturb, and thoroughly get inside your head. In a time when horror film seems to be devolving more and more into self-parody, I Spit on Your Grave is a raw, unflinching, grueling experience, lacking even an ounce of post-ironic camp. And dare I say it, a superior film to the original.

Granted, many might point out that this isn't really saying much, considering that the original I Spit on Your Grave isn't exactly Suspiria or The Shining. What it did have going for it, however, was that raw power to deeply disturb, and I can honestly say that, despite a few choices that reflect a different mindset at work than 30 years ago, on the whole the film manages to pack a similar punch to the original, while at the same time giving us a better-made and more engaging motion picture.

One of the biggest problems I always had about the original was the way in which it was angled as some sort of pro-feminist ode to the empowerment of women, when if you come down to it, it is more a shamelessly misogynistic attempt to titillate through the gratuitous depiction of rape and dehumanization of women. This time around, Monroe and company manage to create a work that doesn't cop out, yet chooses to take a higher moral ground, if that makes any sense at all. Don't get me wrong, the film isn't without a certain element of sordid titillation, but one never gets the sense of over-the-top sleaziness one gets from the original.

For those not aware, I Spit on Your Grave (or ISOYG) tells the story of one Jennifer Hill (played here by Sarah Butler), a beautiful young writer who is brutally raped by a gang of backwoods hooligans while staying at a secluded cabin, only to escape and later wreak a bloody vengeance upon all of them. This time around, those same basic elements are still in place, and in fact there is even a certain attempt to duplicate the gritty, washed out look of '70s-era grindhouse cinema, for which kudos go to British cinematographer Neil Lisk. This technical aspect is just another area in which this remake trumps the original.

I would be loathe to say that I "enjoyed" the film more than I "enjoyed" the original, since I can't feel comfortable using that word in relation whatsoever to either version. This is grim, cringe-inducing film-making of the highest order, and rest assured that there were more than a few hoity-toity reviewers at the sneak preview I attended uttering exclamations of disgust and glancing around the room in disbelief that we were all actually witnessing what was happening on screen. Nevertheless, what I will say is that I was able to appreciate the quality of the finished product, and the way it took me back to my younger days, in which my ironic, angsty self would actively push the envelope to seek out the most disturbing cinematic experiences possible. I don't do that so much anymore, and I admit a movie like ISOYG is no longer really my cup of tea. But one cannot help but be impressed with the chances it takes, and the bold manner in which Stuart Morse's script embraces the material head-on.

I'm happy to report that the film-makers did make the decision to somewhat truncate the original's infamous 30-minute rape scene (nearly one third of the entire running time of the movie). Nevertheless, just because it is cut short from the longest rape scene in movie history, doesn't exactly make it a walk in the park, or anything short of thoroughly unsettling. And frankly, if you're the kind of person who's going to find fault with less rapiness in your I Spit on Your Grave, well, I don't feel a really compelling need to know you. Also, Morse's script makes the wise choice of removing all the contemptible nonsense about Jennifer seducing the man who raped her just so she could punish him. That little bit of high-grade woman-hating was thankfully excised, but make no mistake--retribution is still handily meted out.

Which brings me to my next observation, having very much to do with the revenge aspect of the film. In general, I'm all about revenge movies. Give me Death Wish, Braveheart, or any number of cheesy Steven Segal flicks, and I'm instantly and perversely happy. Hell, you're listening to someone who watched Mel Gibson's Payback on his wedding night, while eating from a gigantic bowl of hot wings. There's just something that appeals to me deep inside about watching despicable wrong-doers get what they have coming to them, in gratuitous fashion.

And yet, this movie seemed to taunt me, to toy with the fascination many seem to have with that kind of movie. Because although I may be tarred and feathered for saying it, I couldn't help but feel that in the context of the story, there's no way these guys deserved what she did to them, heinous though their crime was. And that's not to say they didn't deserve death, which they most assuredly did; just not the biblically epic series of elaborate, sadistic tortures visited upon them by Jennifer. It is almost as if the film-makers are glutting us with the notion of vengeance, testing us to see how much we can handle--"Oh yeah, you want to see some payback. Want these guys to get what they have coming to them? OK, well how about this? Can you handle this? What's wrong, too much for you?"

The feeling of grim satisfaction that usually attends these kinds of films here quickly evaporates, due to the simple fact that Jennifer has become a far worse monster than any of her attackers ever were. This is even more the case than in the original; here, Jennifer has several weeks to plot her revenge, and comes up with a series of horrific set-pieces that make much of the Camille Keaton's revenge in the original seem like Elmo's World.

The influence of the torture porn movement, and Saw in particular, is evident in the manner in which Jennifer exacts her cold and calculated vengeance, depicted in far more elaborate and sadistic fashion than in the Camille Keaton original. Aside from one unforgivably bad CGI shot, this stuff is about as rough to sit through as anything witnessed in the heyday of grindhouse horror.

Granted, much of it is far-fetched in its overly choreographed nature, but that's simply one of the feats of suspension of disbelief expected of the viewer, much like the mysterious ability of this waifish girl to physically overpower her attackers. I could've also done without the endless stream of corny one-liners that pour from Sarah Butler's lips during the film's final act. Her character's descent into lame Schwarzenegger-style quips really took me out of it, and felt out of place in a movie like this.

From a dramatic standpoint, matters are salvaged via the efforts of our gang of thugs, led by Jeff Branson in the role of Johnny. Unlike anyone portrayed in the original, Branson takes us on an emotional journey here; we can see the wheels turning in his head, the processes that lead him to such dark places. It's a very strong performance, as is that of Chad Lindberg as the mentally handicapped Matthew, a highly controversial character from the original that was thankfully not sacrificed at the altar of political correctness this time out. Also impressive is Welsh actor Andrew Howard in a downright chilling turn as the morally bankrupt Sheriff Storch.

The addition of this character, in fact, is one of the ways the films actually ups the ante from the original in terms of head games it seeks to play with the viewer. Even those thoroughly familiar with the original will be pretty much caught off guard by this new character, an addition to the which brings along with it quite a bit of baggage. Unlike his young and dumb cohorts, the Sherrif is an authority figure and family man, making his actions all the more unthinkably reprehensible. As a family man myself, there were certain moments in this film that nearly made me physically ill. A dear friend of mine, who had the privilege of being shown the script before filming even began, let me know all about this fresh, warped twist, yet it still did nothing prepare me for it.

I have a lot of respect for the always on-point Anchor Bay Films for having the gumption to theatrically release the unrated cut of this film--the version I witnessed Wednesday night--despite the fact that an R-rated cut does exist. In the age of PG-13 slasher films, and cop-out unrated DVD releases, that truly is a rarity. Much like the Last House on the Left remake, which I also thought was quite good, though not as good as this, this is a movie that bucks the trend of much of modern horror, which is to either go the route of tongue-in-cheek or give us a stylized, "isn't this cool" version of horror violence. I Spit on Your Grave is like a kick to the gut, and impressively derives its shock value without going the easier route of traditional exploitation cinema.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Tuesday Top 10: Favorite Bad-Ass Robots!

Let's face it: Is there anything cooler than robots? I vote no. As old and wise as I get, there is still a part of me that will never cease to be floored by the concept of robots, like all little boys invariably are. Hell, I wanted to actually build one as a kid--had the blueprints drawn up and everything.

And if there is one thing cooler than a robot, it would be a killer robot. You can keep all your Datas, Number Fives and Small Wonders--give me a robot on a rampage every time (I'll make an exception for Paulie's robot from Rocky IV, she can stick around.) The idea of a mechanical creation wreaking havoc, turning on its creators--or on other living things--and using its cold, amoral intellect and steely musculature to maim, crush and pulverize is both terrifying and fascinating. And in the world we live in today, more close to reality than ever. I mean, have you seen those creepy Japanese android things?

So on that note, I've brought back the Tuesday Top 10 (alright, I know it's technically Wednesday, calm down) to catalog my all-time favorite mechanical monsters. Domo origato, Mr. Roboto...

10. The Gunslinger
Some vacationing softies get more than they bargained for at a futuristic theme park in Michael Crichton's Westworld, in the form of a cybernetic Yul Brynner dressed as a cowboy. And unlike in The King and I, here Brynner is far less interested in "Getting to Know You" than he is in "Getting to Kill You". I don't know when the follically challenged Russian was more bad-ass, as a robot cowboy here, or a real one in The Magnificent Seven.

9. The Sentinels
From the world of Marvel Comics come everyone's favorite mutant-hunting giant machines. Programmed with one mission and one mission alone--to hunt down and destroy all specimens of homo sapiens superior--the sentinels are cold, calculating and horrifying, and do it all while painted pink and burgundy. You have to give them points for that. They desperately need a big-screen appearance--and no, I don't count that throwaway cameo in X-Men 3.

8. Maria
She doesn't actually cause any of the damage directly, but this iconic robot from Fritz Lang's Metropolis is the veritable hand that rocks the cradle, using the womanly wiles instilled in her by sorcerer/scientist Rotwang to incite hapless men to absolute riot. Played by the sublime Brigitte Helm, Maria's design also inspired a far-less threatening, and nearly as feminine movie robot, C-3PO.

7. ED-209
It may not have been the state of the art in urban pacification, but old Ed sure was one hell of a killing machine, wasn't he? Rumor has it that that sicko Paul Verhoeven had to significantly cut out portions of the already dizzyingly gruesome boardroom scene in order to avoid the once-dreaded X rating. This stop-motion menace is one of the highlights of Robocop, even if Officer Murphy dispatches the big guy without much effort.

6. Gort
Apparently, you just need to say the words "klaatu barada nikto" to keep this towering silver behemoth at bay in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Unfortunately, matters aren't always as simple as that (as Ash discovers in Army of Darkness, incidentally). Although technically a force for good, Gort is just intimidating enough to warrant inclusion here, even if he does look like a professional wrestler wrapped in tin foil.

5. Ash
Speaking of Ash, I simply couldn't forget Ian Holm as the milk-blooded homicidal android who shares a name with Bruce Campbell's signature character. Holm's performance as Ash might be the very best one in Alien, a film that includes one of the finest dramatic ensembles ever assembled for a genre film. Plus, his head appears to be filled with condoms, which one would think must come in handy, even for a robot.

4. Maximilian
I'm firmly convinced that I was the only little boy in Brooklyn in 1980 in possession of a Maximilian model kit. Needless to say, The Black Hole--Disney's often-misunderstood response to Star Wars--had a strong effect on me, in large part due to Max Schell's crimson, faceless, floating Cuisinart. This robot is the most memorable thing in the picture, and for a film featuring Tony Perkins, Robert Forster and a flying garbage can voiced by Slim Pickens, that's saying a lot.

3. Cylons
The revamped Sci-Fi Channel version may have been far superior as drama, but give me the Darth Vader-esque centurions of the kitschy 1970s original any day over the completely non-robotic toasters of the new show--or even over the CGI centurions who serve as nothing more than lackeys. And this choice has nothing at all to do with the 12-inch posable Cylon action figure with moving red eyelight which I owned during the Carter administration.

2. Mechagodzilla
Call me biased, but who isn't floored by the notion of a 300-foot-tall robot Godzilla? Best of all, in his original appearance, in Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster, Mechagodzilla first shows up as a perfect replica of Big G, only to have his prickly green hide shorn away to reveal the metallic hull underneath. Bristling with weaponry and awesomeness, Mechagodzilla is easily the finest Godzilla foe of the 1970s.

1. The Terminator
And speaking of shearing away skin, what better example of the cinematic killer robot than the Terminator, a humanoid machine constructed for the sole purpose of murdering human beings? Arnold Schwarzenegger brings Termy to life--at least as much as someone with the acting ability of a dining room chair can be expected to do. The beauty of it is that this was one of the few roles in which Arnold's lack of convincing emotional range was actually an advantage--another one being the governor of California.

*Honorable Mention* The Daleks
I had to be a stickler here, since these unforgettable Dr. Who baddies are technically not robots but living organisms residing within a mechanical shell. But really, who cares? These malicious, single-minded, computerized tyrants inspired true terror, even as they glided around like floor buffers with plunger attachments. "Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

TRAILER TRASH: Alien Edition!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Random Ramblings from the Vault...

  • I had a chance to re-watch Poltergeist, and I have to say: JoBeth Williams gives one hell of a performance in that picture. I had never quite noticed it before, distracted as I was by the campy greatness of Zelda Rubinstein, James Karen's cameo and that vomit-astic face-ripping scene. But she really is terrific. And for the record, there's no way Spielberg didn't direct the lion's share of that movie. Let the riotous debate begin!
  • Question: Who would you say was the standout horror director of 2000-2009? Not an easy one to answer, is it? Very interested to see some of the possible selections...
  • Pet peeve: Film zombies that are made to look overly evil. I like my zombies vacant, staring and mindless--not demonic. Call me crazy, but I think they should look simply like walking, rotting corpses. You can keep the cro-magnon brows and crazy contact lenses.
  • So I shall be attending a sneak preview of the I Spit on Your Grave remake down in NYC later this week. Comments/thoughts/opinions to follow shortly thereafter. This should be interesting...
  • Just so you all don't think I unconditionally and automatically adore all pre-modern horror movies, I'd like to inform you that I just had an opportunity to see The Screaming Skull (1958) over the weekend and was bored to tears. Despite the movie's 75-minute running length. It was kind of neat, though, that it uses the same Berlioz theme employed by Stanley Kubrick for the opening of The Shining.
  • If you have a minute, or even if you don't, please be so kind as to check out Ocean of Storms, an online novel currently being published in blog form by two old, dear friends of mine. These boys can write just a little bit, and this tense, psychological sci-fi epic of alien invasion is the evidence. They're only on chapter three, so jump on board nice and early.
  • Wanna talk about under-used movie monsters? How about the cyclops? You just don't see many good cyclops movies out there. I mean, Harryhausen really set the standard with 7th Voyage of Sinbad; but come on people, don't be so intimidated. If Kennedy could call for a man on the moon by 1969, then I can call for a cyclops on the big screen by 2019. Someone make it happen.
  • I'm thinking it's high time there was a new Lon Chaney Sr. biopic. Yes, Jimmy Cagney's Man of 1,000 Faces was a good movie, but it was also largely fantasy. Horror's first megastar needs the proper big screen treatment. But who should play him?
  • I'm honored to have been enlisted to provide the official banner for the Village Invasion zombie crawl happening in Saugerties, New York on October 16. I've mocked up three banner possibilities, and would like you--yes, you; stand still, laddy--to help pick which one is chosen. Jump over to the VOH Facebook page (all the cool kids are fans) and click "like" for the one you, well, like. The voting continues till Monday night at 9pm Eastern. And, oh yeah, one of the lucky voters will receive a special prize. Not that I have to bait any of you with cheap promotional tactics...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

21st Century Terrors, Part 9: 2008

Welcome back, after quite a long hiatus, to the Vault's rather exhaustive look back at the decade of horror cinema that ended last December. It's probably for the best anyway, since the more distance that accumulates, the easier it is to properly judge exactly what it was that went down, and exactly what it all meant. When last we left off, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the late '00s, right at the moment when the remake craze had truly strapped the horror genre to the speedboat like Fonzie...

One of the decade's most egregious remake offenses occurred this year, when American filmmakers took what had been one of the most talked about foreign films of the previous year, [REC], and turned it into Quarantine, a virtual scene-for-scene English translation of the Spanish original, with Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter in the lead role. It was a very cynical affair, too, with the Spanish version being purposely withheld from home video or theatrical release in America until the inferior remake had had a chance to run its course with a public who generally believed it to be an original work.

Quarantine may have been the most obvious and most cynical of the bunch, but it was far from the only. Alexandre Aja, who had previously given us the admittedly well-made redo of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, this time dished up the Keifer-Sutherland vehicle Mirrors, a remake of the 2003 South Korean film Into the Mirror. Jessica Alba headlined The Eye, a vastly inferior rehash of a 2002 flick out of Hong Kong. And the utterly inane One Missed Call, taken from a 2003 Japanese movie, assaulted our senses as well. The bankruptcy of ideas was reaching epic proportions.

But it didn't end there. Cult classics and long-time favorites of American horror cinema continued to be liberally raped, as well. Take the PG-13 version of Prom Night, which took an enjoyable little Jamie Lee Curtis slasher of the early 1980s and turned it into something that could've aired in prime time on Nickelodeon. And then, although it pains me to even bring it up, there was the tragically wrong-headed remake of George Romero's Day of the Dead, undertaken by '80s veteran Steve Miner, who should've known better. The less said about that abortion, the better.

But although the heyday of the early-to-mid portion of the decade was decidedly over, there was still enough original, engaging material out there to keep the die-hard fans entertained, even while the masses were being spoon-fed Hollywood's easily digestible pap. For example, for those savvy enough to seek it out, there was The Midnight Meat Train, a grim and unrelenting adaptation of one of Clive Barker's classic short stories that stands as possibly the finest Barker screen adaptation since Hellraiser (superior in fact, if you ask this blogger.)

And although they divided fans--as most horror films of the recent past always seem to do--films like The Strangers and The Ruins were fresh and interesting enough to provide some relief from the onslaught of garbage. The former, borrowing liberally from the grand tradition of home invasion cinema, was a taut psychological thriller that threw in a sprinkling of torture porn sensibility for good measure. And the latter, an adaptation of the wildly successful 2006 novel by Scott B. Smith (author of A Simple Plan, brilliantly adapted by Sam Raimi in 1998), took the painfully trite teen horror sub-genre and gave it a much-needed supernatural kick in the ass.

On its last legs, the zombie subgenre offered up Dance of the Dead, an endearing take on some well-worn territory that managed to succeed by grafting familiar tropes into a high school setting, resulting in something like a John Hughes-esque response to Shaun of the Dead. And although nowhere even approaching the sublimity that rom-zom-com achieved, this one at least gave us some hot zombie sex, and cemented Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night" as one of the most memorable rock songs ever featured in a horror film.

But of course, no discussion of horror film in 2008 would be complete without bringing up Darren Lynn Bousman's Repo! The Genetic Opera, one of the most unique, confounding, and possibly ingenious movies to hit the genre in some time. A bold rock opera with a star-studded cast, it scores major points for effort and originality, even if the finished product is admittedly not without significant flaws. Most impressively of all, however, is the way the film managed to become more of a cultural event than most horror films do these days--even if that status was achieved in a much more carefully orchestrated and less organic manner than with such films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for example.

And then, there was Let the Right One In. The film, which for my money, was the most memorable, best-made and most evocative the horror genre gave us for the entire decade. Yes, it was not entirely a horror movie, but whatever it was, this unique Swedish adaptation of the vampire novel of the same name was a damn fine motion picture. Standing out head and shoulders in the crowd of mediocrity that was 2008, Let the Right One In was the kind of film that reminded many--this blogger included--of not only why they love horror film in the first place, but why they love film, period.

The touching tale of Oskar and Eli, the young mortal boy and the otherwordly vampire girl with whom he falls charmingly and platonically in love, LTROI was the finest of all the foreign horror that washed ashore during this period. It may also very well be one of, if not the best vampire film ever made. If the 2000s in horror is remembered for nothing else at all, it will always be remembered for giving us Let the Right One In.

With the decade creaking to a close, the horror genre was stumbling toward the '10s with all the grace of an unraveling mummy. There were gems to be found, no question--it was just taking more and more effort to look for them. But for those willing to trudge through the muck spewed forth by the remake machine, it was still a pretty decent time to be a horror fan. And fans certainly had more than enough movies over to which argue vociferously--and if that's not what being a fanboy is all about, I don't know what is.

Also in 2008:
  • Saw V
  • Shutter
  • Splinter
  • Teeth
  • Zombie Strippers
Part 1: 2000
Part 2: 2001
Part 3: 2002
Part 4: 2003
Part 5: 2004
Part 6: 2005
Part 7: 2006
Part 8: 2007
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