10 Scary Things of 2010

From the Horror Blogger Alliance, the first of our end-of-year special list things

10. Human Centipedes: For many people, 2010 is the year of The Human Centipede. Not a very good movie but a beautifully disgusting concept to be sure. The Human Centipede combines grisly torture guff with scat porn. I first sawCentipede advertised as a porno, actually ("2 GIRLS ONE GUY GO ASS-TO-MOUTH"). And now there is actually a Human Sexipede. It ne ver could quite live up to that reputation, but Director Tom Six gives it a helluva shot. Bring on the Full Sequence.

9. A Horse: A ha ha ha ha haaa, look, the 24-year-old man's scared of My Little Pony. Shut up and think about it. Last week I had the misfortune of being packed away to a works' weekend in the country. This involved barbeque, camping and orienteering excercises. Being an idiot, yours truly was quickly quite lost. Much of it resembled an episode of L O S T. I wandered around the woods for a good two hours, drenched by rain and under attack from smoke monsters (well, chain smoking idiot colleagues). And then there were the horses. During our misadventures, we ended up traipsing through a big empty field. Well, empty save for the fucking horses. Lots of horses with big horsey penises. I'm not ashamed to admit that the thought of death by horse rape crossed my mind. Until you've had the thousand-yard-stare from a horse, you don't know fear. One of them whinnied and I shat myself.

7. This Is England 86: Shane Meadows' TV sequel to his seminal This Is England movie, England 86 picks up the story ten years later and, episode by episode, emotionally devastates his audience. A man with an evil beard commits two of the most horrible rape sequences I've ever seen. Johnny Harris' Mick is, for my money, the best villain of 2010, and decidedly not in a good way. As much as it adds to the plot and aids Combo's eventual redemption arc, it's a little too overpowering and threatens to derail the whole thing. I actually feel dirty even thinking about it.

6. 2012: Not the movie, which was shitty, but the year. I read Lawrence E. Joseph's Apocalypse 2012 in September, and it actually terrified me. Until I realised that I don't believe in that sort of thing, closed the book and read something about superheroes instead. Still, I'm an idiot and I think I'm going to keep expecting the world to end all the way until 2013. Then I'll find something else to worry about instead.

5. Shitty movies: 2010 has been a bad year for horror. Take a bow Eclipse, 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams, Nightmare 2010, Vampires Suck and news of a Buffy remake. Even scarier is the amount of money (most of) those movies made. Really, humanity? This is just like that documentary I watched... Idiocracy.

4. My own mortality: My 2010 kicked off on a bit of a bummer with the tragic death of my brother (too tragic to joke about that one line there nearly rhyming, so don't) and the following funeral. Sorry to bring the mood down, but this site sucks anyway so it's not as if you're here for the shits and giggles. In fact, I don't think there is anyone actually here. Anyway, prior to losing my kid brother, I think I'd sort of assumed that I'd live forever. This year, I learned that I won't. Scary stuff. This one should be #1 on the list actually, but I'd rather not end it on such a downer....

3. The Taint: Simply put, ew. Every bit as disgusting and horrible as The Human Centipede should have been. Hands down my favourite bit of independent horror this year. And I'm not just saying that because they sent me a DVD.

2. Not Freddy Kreuger: So not-scary that it made #2 on my list of the scariest things of 2010. Did we need to see Fred Krueger wailing like a big girl's blouse as the vengeful parents of Springwood immolate him? No we did not. Furthermore, I could've done without that crappy makeup, unimaginative dream sequence and drippy blanket of a final fight. Nightmare 2010: so not scary that it's actually scary.

1. JUSTIN BIEBER: A Lovecraftian little fuck if ever there was one, Justin Bieber represents to me the dumbing down of pop, the mass stupiddening of teenage girls worldwide and the rise of a hairstyle phenomenon known as "the Bieber". And yes, the child does actually, physically scare me. Literally the only good things to have come from JB in 2010 are (1) That South Park skit (2) Someone throwing a bottle at his head (3) Him walking into a door and saying "ow". The scariest moment of the Bieber zeitgeist? When I heard a Galaxy FM presenter compare JB playing Manhattan to Elvis in Vegas. Fuck humanity.


Director: Jonas Akerlund (2009)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon

There's a reason Se7en stars Kevin Spacey as the killer and not a bunch of teenagers. One, because Kevin Spacey can act and (most) teenager's can't. And two, because whingeing teenagers fucking suck. Horsemen fucking sucks, despite the best efforts of Dennis Quaid and a character called 'Stingray'. It's a stupid movie, from its Se7en-lite aesthetics to its predictable and banal use of torture. There's not a convincing or scary villain in the whole movie and it builds to a dull, highly forseeable 'climax' which is in no way apocalyptic, scary, thrilling or even interesting. Dennis Quaid looks tired and the movie's attempt at creating a teenage female Hannibal Lecter (Ziyi Zhang) is laughable. Or it would be if it wasn't so depressingly ridiculous.

It's the sort of cliched cop movie that stars professional 'that guy' Barry Shabaka Henley as a cop boss and wastes Peter Stormare as its signposted red herring. As soon as you see Quaid's hunched, depressed looking cop you can tell that he's probably suffering a dead wife (which he is) and struggling to bring up kids that hate him (he does and they do). As the thing stumbles on and on, its outcome becomes more and more predictable, more inconsequential and more stupid. It's an impressive 'thriller' that makes its villains less scary as the movie goes on. Actually, no, Horsemen is not an impressive thriller; not even in an ironic sense.

"Come and see", the movie's villains taunt, repeatedly. "Come and see." No, don't.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

Director: Samuel Bayer (2010)
Starring: Jackie Earle Hayley, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon

Not quite as bad as everyone says it is. But still pretty bad. A Nightmare On Elm Street is a remake of, well, do I really need to say any more? I will a bit, just so's you know where I stand. Wes Craven's 1984 piece is arguably one of the finest slasher movies in cinema history. And this remake isn't. At all. It gets some things right but most things wrong. Behold.

The characters that aren't Freddy Krueger all suck. Freddy Krueger kinda sucks. There's no John Saxon. There's no Robert Englund. New Nancy is incredibly bland. The did-he-or-didn't-he subplot is stupid (he did). The dream sequences are unimaginitive. The kill sequences are too reminiscent of those from Craven's original. There aren't enough kills. Freddy looks like ET crossed with a puppy. His voice is stupid. He's very rarely menacing. The pacing is off. For the first half, there's a sense of disconnection between the scenes; there's no flow and the introduction of Nancy is hashed. There's no subtext - it's just Freddy growling like Batman and acting like some torture-guff reject. Wes Craven had his Nightmare represent Nancy's awakening as a sexual being. When Freddy's glove emerges from the bathwater, it's heading for her Vajayjay for a reason - Bayer has it happen simply because Craven did it.

And this is the movie's biggest mistake: it tries far too hard to distance itself from previous Nightmares (the casting of Jackie - new makeup for Freddy) but uses too much of Craven's original material to defy comparison. It's not a re-imagining - bar the finale and a few bits and pieces inbetween, much of it is scene-for-scene copying.

The students' reaction to finding Twilight on the semester's reading list wasn't a happy one

There are good bits too, and a few more of them than one might expect given the movie's reputation. The use of the Everly Brothers is stunning. The redo of the flying bed death thing is technically very good. There's plenty of grue. The showdown between Freddy and Nancy is brutal. For all his new faults, it's good to see Freddy again and it's nice to see an attempt to make him properly scary. I liked the return of the "...my world, bitch" line. And the final bit (a homage to the 'pulling-mom-through-the-window-door' shot) is amusing, if only because it looks as shit as it did the first time around. Given the years of improvement in CGI and filmmaking technology, why couldn't they give us some Inception style nightmares? Surely we've seen enough boiler rooms and smelly teenage bedrooms?

Ultimately, it's not quite as bad as many will say, although it does pale into insignificance next to its mighty predecessor. This is Nightmare for people who've never actually had a real Nightmare.