Well 2017 was a real bitch. Glad to see it go. At least there were movies to help keep me sane. I watched a bunch of films in 2017. Some good, some bad. Among those were some great ones. So let’s get to the list.
Dead Silence (1989)- Not the killer dummy one This one is an ultra no-budget SOV slasher that’s sooo bad it’s amazing.
Shinjuku Triad Society (1995)- This is the kind of insanity I expect from Takashi Miike. Filled with the kind of crazy, over the top characters and situations you’d expect from him (for instance within the first few minutes of the film we see a cop hold up a severed head, grinning like a loon).
The Woman (2011)-Disgusting, Disturbing, Perverse look at a messed up family.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012)- This is the gritty Dark Knight epic to see. Amazing adaption of the classic 80’s graphic novel. Robocop makes for a hell of a Batman.
The Scribbler (2014)- Dark superhero tale with a brave staring performance by Katie Cassidy.
10) Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009)
Another year another Universal Soldier flick. Yeah I watched them out of order. Less of a head trip then Day of Reckoning, Regeneration is still a hell of a straight to DVD action film. There’s an fantastic opening car chase and brutal fight scenes throughout. There’s a great extended-tracking-shot set action piece. Topping it off are Van Damme and Lundgren both giving intense performances.
9) The Climber (1975)
A possible inspiration for Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake of Scarface, The Climber is the classic “rise and fall of a criminal” tale (made popular by such films as Little Cesar, The Public Enemy and the original Scarface and every Grand Theft Auto game.) Some times brutal, sometimes arty. The Climber is a topnotch Italian crime drama.
8) The Purge: Election Year (2016)
It’s not right. These films keep getting better. The Purge films feel like The Running Man crossed with Rockstar’s amazing stealth game Manhunt. Looking forward to where this series goes next.
7) Doberman Cop (1977)
Doberman Cop is all about the misadventures of yokel cop Joji Kano (“Sonny” Chiba), who arrives in Tokyo’s nightclub district wearing a straw hat and carrying a squealing pig under his arm. This film comes as a shock, as having seen my fair share of gritty yakuza tales as of late. I expected another grim, bloody (and a bit rapey) crime drama, which this refreshingly wasn’t…rather this is a lighthearted romp with a very glitzy, sparkly, ABBA feel that is magnificently ‘70’s…and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
6) The Galaxy Invader (1985)
Don Dohler never fails to entertain the hell out of me. The redneck and highly dysfunctional Montague family vs. a not so little green man from outer space. It’s just as kooky and fun as you think it would be. Like an Outer Limits episode done with zero the budget.
5) Exorcismo (1975)
Paul Naschy’s answer to a little horror film that came out in 1973. While it doesn’t have the deeper themes of that film, it’s a good ride. With plenty of 70’s Satanic action. I liked the giallo feel of bits of the film. With a masked killer offing a few folks during the goings on. I also really dug possessed Leila. Her crazy antics are great as is her makeup. Naschy’s Father Adrian. One of his cooler non monster roles. Hippies, possession, bad clothes, facial hair aplenty. Everything I want in a 70’s horror flick.
4) The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975)
Imagine if someone mixed The French Connection, Dirty Harry, and a giallo together with some zany comedy bits and you’ll get a feel for The Suspicious Death of a Minor. By all rights it shouldn't work, yet it does thanks in no small part to the combo of director Sergio Martino and writer Ernesto Gastaldi. The duo brought us three amazing gialli: The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (1971), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), and All the Colors of the Dark (1972), so they definitely know what their doing. The score by Luciano Michelini is a treat. It combines funky ‘70s cop music with Goblin’s Deep Red and is insanely entertaining!
3) Deadly Prey (1987)
Pure ‘80s action film low budget cheese. Mullets, a synth score and crazy action scenes. Deadly Prey is like First Blood crossed with The Most Dangerous Game. This is the type of film where a dude gets a grenade in his pants, blows up and only his boots are left. I loved every minute of it.
2) Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)
Another Naschy film! Hunchback is a crazy, disturbingly gory mad scientist film. It feels like an updated version of the old poverty row mad doctor films of the 30’s and 40’s. The blood flows in this sucker, with some graphic dismemberment scenes. The dungeon lab setting is classic mad scientist stuff, with vials of chemicals and a freaking vat of acid. Naschy has a meaty roll here. Carrying the film on his hunchback. Gotho is pitiable. Tormented by everybody in town. Devoted to his love. But at the same time he’s a crazed murder. Killing those that piss him off. Chopping off limbs and maiming at will. The only real downside to Hunchback is a scene involving rats being set on fire. Not cool movie.
1) Stoker (2013)
Wow. This film is a beautiful, sinister, hypnotic poem brought to life on celluloid. The whole thing lives and breathes thanks to an amazing performance by Mia Wasikowska and a fantastic script by Wentworth Miller. Then there’s director Chan-wook Park direction. He brings a stunning Hitchcock level of precision to this sucker. The film challenges you to pay attention to pick up all the little clues and symbolism. There are things left ambiguous. Encouraging the viewer to fill in the blanks. Stoker is one of the most unique and mysterious films I’ve seen in a long time.