Number fucking 5:
Turns out I'm not a fan of that ending (or the sequels), but anytime a true Horror film breaks through to the mainstream and goes on to make a buncha (shitty) sequels, you gotta give it some love. And how about that poster art from Tim Palen?
I'm so jealous that those effing guys who wrote FEAST have made a career out of writing the SAW series (also wrote & directed The Collector) and my sorry ass can't even get a read! They better be buying Matt Damon and Ben Affleck cars every Christmas, because without Project Greenlight..?
AND IN #4 WE HAVE A TIE:
HIGH TENSION (2005)
Prolly the most talked about, argued about, frustrating film of the decade for Horror Fans... because of that goddamn ending. Ahhh. But if you watched it a second time and paid close attention and didn't miss the first 30 seconds! It all made sense. She was lying! The whole movie was her bullshit story of the events that took place that eerie eve in the French sticks... And in the end?! They bust her with the gas station security camera showing her 'axe' the attendant.
Thank God for France and Alexandre Aja. Gregory Levasseur, too. And, I've since learned this having watched Haute Tension's special features; music by Francois Eudes (see my #1 on the list - he provided the music for that film too).
NOW TO OUR OTHER #4:
CABIN FEVER (2002)
The first post-9/11 horror film to bring the funny. And boy did we need to try and get back to normal.
Eli Roth knows how to direct a fucking movie... writing one, on the other hand... me thinks my bud Randy Pearlstein didn't get enough cred for the hilarious characters. Not that Eli didn't try, however. If anyone out there is AS generous with sharing the creative process as Eli, I don't know who that person is.
#3 ANOTHER G'DAMN TIE?!
DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
Zombies are made scary again. And enough of this hub-bub about running zombies, Dan O'Bannon (R.I.P) broke the mold long ago with the most excellent THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Which brings us to:
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2003)
Funny, funny, funny. What can you say? Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright started a whole industry of taking the piss out of horror. Well done you cheeky bastad's.
I saw this at the Fantasia Film Festival and out of the 700-odd people in attendance, I don't think there was a person in the place who DID NOT have their nails entrenched in the arm rests of their neighbours for the entire film.
Haven't been that scared since I was a kid.
AND THE #1 FUCKING HORROR FILM OF THE PAST DECADE IS:
Wow! How awesome is this film? I mean like Jeezus-Charist this movie is sick and twisted in its awesome-ness. I'm still twitching from having seen it. A great example of contained terror and WTF moments of what-are-they-gonna-go-with-this-next?
SPECIAL MENTION GOES TO:
Because it seems the rest of the world (almost) has been represented up top...
Props to New Zealand for BLACK SHEEP. Weta did a great job of making the were-sheep believable and frightening. A tight script and competent directing makes Black Sheep one for the shelf.
The Norwegians for COLD PREY (FRIT VIT), a stylish slasher set in a mini Overlook Hotel/Hostel-like chalet.
Australia for allowing Greg Mclean (WOLF CREEK, ROGUE) to continue to make genre pictures in your fine land. I used to live there you know? And for what looks like a killer picture, DAYBREAKERS -- coming soon to a theater near you.
Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and all those other Asia Pacific countries for bringing all that whacked-out, ghostly shit.
And finally the fucking Canadians of whom I am one, for seemingly coming around to support the genre with new 'acceptance' at the funding agency's (Telefilm, SODEC, etc). Providing support for little films like Bruce McDonald's recent PONTYPOOL, and early 2000's GINGER SNAPS and her sequels.
I'd also like to share the HATE I have for the following films: HATCHET (80's classic horror was NEVER about the funny, and that's all Hatchet had to offer - other than rip-offs of MADMAN, JASON LIVES, and that ending); LAID TO REST (great practical FX; everything, and I mean everything else sucked); and finally to all those filmmakers that refused to hire a professional screenwriter (when they really, really needed to) with a god-honest love for our genre, to Hell with ya!
Bring on 2010, baby!