Creature Feature: VAMPIRES

Happy Halloween! In honour of this holiday (barely celebrated in my country leaving me little to do but watch a horror marathon and dress my dog up in a bumble bee costume) I present another one of... these things. Following up my werewolf blog with a vampire one. Bet you didn't see that coming. ;)

Note: This is a really big subgenre. Please bear in mind, it's going to be missing at least one thing you like. Including the Twilight series in the Top 10 movies would've automatically eaten up five whole spots... Be fair.

Artist: Frederico Musetti
Artist: Frederico Musetti

Origins

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Back in older, more plague-ridden Europe, people had a tendency to suddenly wither and die and villagers looking for answers that didn't involve self-flagellation decided to exhume some of the deceased only to find, to their shock and horror, bloated and decidedly non-decomposed corpses! Obviously it didn't take a genius to figure out what was happening: the corpses were exiting their graves at night and stealing life from the living which never would've happened if they were all more Catholic (or in other parts - weren't so Catholic). Of course in boring-old-nowadays this would most likely be attributed to bodily gasses causing a swollen appearance while pressurizing within, forcing blood to emerge from the mouth while the victim's sudden deaths could possibly be because the village populace were throwing their feces out the window. In any event, the solution was simple: stake them through the chest. Although back in the day it did not need to be a wooden stake as the purpose was not to destroy the vampire's heart - it was to pin him to the ground so he couldn't get back up... Which to me, personally, brings up the hilarious image of a pissed off vampire failing his limbs around like a turtle on it's back...

In the 19th century the vampire received something of a make-over thanks to the birth of the vampire novels, no longer random undead peasants coming after their former loved ones the vampires had now infiltrated the famously decadent aristocracy. Books like "The Vampyre" by John Polidori, Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" and James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest's "Varney the Vampire" penny dreadful series to name a few. Also a guy named Bram Stoker wrote something more or less concerned with the subject... This is a trend that is still going today.

The new bourgeois blood-suckers did not rise from the dirty ground like some common zombie, they secluded themselves in old castles or fancy estates and preyed upon the innocent proletariat. Some notable historical figures were influential in shaping this image:

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Vlad the Impaler: Vlad III is by far the most obvious real world icon of this genre. The 1400's most notorious Wallachian Prince has become synonymous with vampirism due to Bram Stoker using him as an inspiration for the vampyric villain in his novel Dracula, Vlad being the "son of Dracul" ("The Dragon"). Stories of his cruelty are quite morbid from nailing turbans to the skulls of Turkish diplomats who wouldn't take them off in his presence to impaling the bodies of boyars to create a forest of them, enjoying a meal while watching them twitch.

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Countess Bathory: Obessed with youth, Elizabeth Bathory is said to have bathed in the blood of virgins to maintain her own so she's a clear link in this case. The Countess had many servile maidens she just adored torturing in some very creative ways: sewing their mouths shut, smothering them in honey and feeding them to the wasps, deflowering them with burning-hot irons, forcing them to eat flesh cut from their own rear etc. Just gonna stop writing, I don't know how to follow that.

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Gilles de Rais: A former ally of Joan of Arc, Gilles is remembered in a slightly different light to her - a medieval Jeffery Dahmer. A decorated nobleman his public persona was that of national hero until his preferred hobbies came to light: kidnapping, murdering, raping and eating children to quench an ever-growing thirst for brutality and apparent desire to please the demon, Barron. Some speculate his body count may be upward of 600.

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Lord Byron: Not a serial killer but a legendary poet of the Romantic Movement. His scandalous personal life served as the inspiration for his physician Polidori's 1819 novel The Vampyre so he was pretty influential. One of these things is not like the others.

Black Wreath's Top Ten Favourite Vampire Movies

Please note there are some popular vampire movies excluded from this list, if your favourite is missing then I probably did not get the chance to watch/re-watch them. Obviously doing this by Halloween was more important to me than doing it... you know... good.

10. The Addiction (1995)

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This movie is even more 90's than my wardrobe, it's like the Clerks of vampyric arthouse movies. Philosophy student Kathleen (Lili Taylor) gets bitten and becomes a vampire amongst racial turmoil of early 90's New York. Fellow vampire Peina (Christopher Walken) shows up and informs her of what she now is, an addict and that he has beaten his own addiction and is now almost human - teaching her that this is an option. Ponderings over the nature of addiction and the responsibility of her own prey to resist her, Kathleen philosophizes herself into a thoroughly gruesome conclusion. It's... exactly as pretentious as it sounds.

9. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

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The cult following of Nosferatu is inspired by, in no small part, the unnerving performance of Max Shreck. Unlike, say, Bela Lugosi much-publicized private life we don't know a great deal about the man under the make-up when it comes to Count Orlock (he was an odd, obscure character actor before this film and remained one after) which gave rise to a popular fan joke that the reason Shreck was so convincing as a vampire was because he secretly was one... Which gave rise to this movie. A fictionalized version (...or is it??) of the making of Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire follows F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) as he takes his crew to the Carpathians in order film his unsanctioned adaptation of Dracula. Murnau is apparently an auteur obsessed with authenticity so he secretly makes a deal with Max Shreck (really Count Orlock) whom only he knows is really a vampire to be in his movie in exchange for actress Greta Schröder. Naturally, having a vampire working on your movie leads to zany hijinks and this quickly becomes a problem. Willem Dafoe is pretty creepy as Shreck and Malkovich is perfectly pompous as Murnau, I also found it fascinating to see a 1920's silent film get made.

8. The Lost Boys (1987)

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The Lost Boys is interesting to me, it's before my time so it's hard for me tell if it's a legitimate portrayal of 80's counterculture or some old studio executive's idea of "cool" at the time (I mean there are kids headbanging to a saxophone but then, I don't know, maybe that really was a thing at one point?), nonetheless it remains iconic to the decade. One part gang movie, one part teen movie and another part horror- the movie is notable for being one of most effective films in selling the idea of being a vampire as an awesome experience - the Lost Boys are young forever and they do whatever they feel like because no-one can stop them. Some feel it is a metaphor for coming out of the closet but personally I see it as more reflective of society's youth obsession and the temptation to remain man-children always. Growing up is shit, who wouldn't join them?

7. Blade (1998) and Blade II (2002)

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The idea that Blade started the superhero movie trend still going today to me is fraudulent since Blade itself takes clear inspiration from another comic book movie The Crow just a couple of years earlier (and that movie took inspiration from the likes of Batman, Highlander and Blade Runner and so forth... Then The Matrix and Underworld continued this style - trends begat trends) and the fact the movie wasn't even really sold as a superhero movie but as an action-horror. However it definitely kicked the Marvel adaptation craze into gear by being their first watchable film and it has aged pretty good considering most other blockbuster action movies from the late 90's have not. What I like best about both movies is how little time they waste, knowing what the audience came for giving it to them - exceptional style (particularly Del Toro's sequel) with zero pretentiousness. Let's just forget Trinity, a movie clearly trying to ice skate uphill.

Blade: I really love the performances of Wesley Snipes (eschewing source-accuracy and playing Blade more like... Wesley Snipes), Stephen Dorff (Deacon Frost, who understood a truly great villain is one you don't like) and Donal Logue (Quinn, understood the same). N'Bushe Wright's Dr. Karen Jenson is a kind bland everyperson but considering her usefulness and the fact she is not a love interest/eye candy is a major step up from typical female leads from the era. Also nice to see Udo Kier turn up, a staple of all good vampire movies.

Blade II: This movie seems to take place during a Powerpuff Girls marathon... Guillermo Del Toro takes over and brings a welcome focus on art design while still making it feel like a Blade movie. Awesome new cast members join too giving early exposure to gifts like Ron Perlman, Norman Reedus and Donnie Yen in their careers while also creating some kick-ass new creature effects. It has all the pieces to be a superior follow-up yet I still prefer the original, though I still include this one because it does deserve it.

6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

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An artsy indie romance about the immortal relationship between a vampyric Tom Hiddleston (Adam) and Tilda Swinton (Eve) and how they've lasted centuries as an item. Pretty different for a vampire movie - what it lacks in horror, it makes up for in... err Taoist philosophy as Eve (perky, spirited, extroverted, avid consumer, wears white) and Adam (brooding, melancholic, introverted, compulsive creator, wears black) are frequently framed in Yin Yang symbolism as the movie explores their opposites-attract dynamic and how important they are to each other's continued survival (the younger Adam more so as he has contemplated suicide). Other vampire characters like John Hurt's Marlowe and Mia Wasikowska's Ava turn up with their own approaches to eternal life (though Ava's seems destined to end in epic self-destruction) but the movie makes it clear if you going to live forever, find a soul mate. Preferably a hipster.

5. Near Dark (1987)

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Katherine Bigelow's Near Dark was originally intended to be a western but when it became apparent she wouldn't get funding, she altered it from a dead genre to an undead one thereby ensuring I would actually watch it. The film is slightly similar to The Lost Boys in that both center around a vampire gang recruiting/abducting a reluctant new member but Near Dark is just a little bit darker and grittier. Bill Paxton definitely steals the movie as the violent, out of control Severen and the film's cinematography and action scenes are masterfully shot. When someone bleeds - you feel it, when someone burns - you feel it. Platinum Dunes had a remake planned but shelved it on account of its similarities to Twilight (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), that information should make a Twi-hard out of anyone.

4. Nosferatu (1922)

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A movie (that is nearing its 100th birthday) is basically a requirement of any vampire movie list regardless of whether the writer has actually sat down and watched it or not, I assure you that I have and that this movie makes my list on its merits and not on my craving for cinema snob cred. I also genuinely recommend modern viewers do take the time to view this silent film in its entirety as I really do believe it still has a lot to offer and we should all be thankful F.W. Murnau's masterpiece of German expressionism still exists at all as he adapted Dracula without legal permission to do so while merely changing the names and enough details to escape an infringement case. This failed as Bram's widow Florence Stoker took action against the movie (and by the way she had right to) and subsequently all copies of the film were ordered to be destroyed, thankfully some survived to be discovered later. Scenes in this movie legitimately give me chills, something I did not expect to be possible - but Shreck's Orlock lives up to the hype and I find the bittersweet climax to be genuinely affecting.

3. Interview with the Vampire (1994)

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Louis bitches so much about drinking blood because he doesn't want kill people... Umm, you know what else kills people, Louis? Starting fires. Seriously, the amount of buildings that burn down as a result of Louis' actions may put his body count even higher than Lestat's - strange that he never angsts over that...

So Interview... is the beloved story of sexy brooding vampire Louis (Brad Pitt) meeting his life partner the sexy badboy vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise) and settling down to raise their adopted vampire daughter Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Also features sexy stage actor vampire Armand (Antonio Banderas) who wants to have Louis all for himself. It's... super gay but doesn't want it to realize that, yet the movie is much better when you do. I haven't read Anne Rice's book and am aware Armand is far from source-accurate but his sinister, seductive performance makes him a strong candidate to play Dracula and that's not a conclusion I would've naturally come to so I thank the movie for that and it has my favourite Cruise and Dunst performance. An easy film to recommend (although you've probably already seen this one) and to my knowledge the first to be completely from the vampire point of view, making humans nothing more than scenery/snacks - redundant to the dysfunctional family drama. Also the aesthetic is the perfect representation of the aforementioned vampyric aristocracy.

2. What We Do in the Shadows (2011)

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This Kiwi film is the final word on vampire parody, not some half-assed hodge-podge of references to the current trend but a magnificent winking look at the genre as a whole and a labour of love for amazing duo Taika Waititi and Germaine Clement that was 9 years in the making. This movie is so brilliant it actually took me more than one viewing to grasp the scope of satire, a mockumentary following the exploits of vampire roommates: Viago (Waititi): an almost-maternal Victorian era dandy with a tragically romantic past straight from an Anne Rice book, Vladislav (Clement) the Impaler Poker: a Gary Oldman/Vlad Tepes-inspired medieval despot longing for his glory days before his defeat at the hands of "The Beast" (I definitely will not spoil this particular arc), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh): a rebellious younger badboy vampire in the vein of a Lestat or Spike or at least that's how he sees himself - in reality his attempts to be cool result only in douchebaggery and Petyr (Ben Fransham): an ancient Count Orlock type/actual scary vampire shut away beneath the house while the younger (more pathetic) vampires take center stage... have I mentioned yet that this is brilliant? They are then finally joined by a new modern hipster vampire whom they have turned named Nick (Cori Gonzales-Macuer) who upsets the group dynamic and mostly fails to adapt to the established vampire tropes, you already know who he is based on. There's actually too many great nods to mention in detail so here's some great ones: Jackie (Jackie Van Beek), Deacon's Renfield-like servant, working in exchange for being made a vampire which Deacon continuously puts off, a rival werewolf pack headed by Anton (Rhys Darby) and quite possibly best of all Stu (Stu Rutherford), an ordinary human with no discernable character or personality traits that the vampires inexplicably adore.

1. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

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This was not only the first vampire movie I ever saw but also the first horror movie I ever saw so I genuinely feel indebted to it. A strange movie, it is somehow so many things at once: sophisticated, erotic, hammy, gruesome, trashy, romantic, eccentric... And I love it for this, this is to date still closest adaptation of Dracula to date - though I dream of, one day, a Netflix series that manages to be even closer. Everyone knows about Keanu Reeves' amusingly incapable performance as Johnathan Harker but I don't think that should diminish the rest of the cast's good work Gary Oldman is, of course, magnificent, Anthony Hopkins' Van Helsing is comically unhinged and Winona Ryder is the definitive Mina (Google "Mina Harker" and there's a picture of her) but the supporting cast is also exceptional: Sadie Frost, Cary Elwes and Richard E. Grant are all underrated and damn-near perfect in their roles but the biggest scene-stealer is musician Tom Waits' beautifully deranged Renfield. This movie also features one of my all-time favourite movie scores courtesy of Wojciech Kilar, which is suitable one part prestige picture and one part B-movie and like the title character a timeless, iconic monster. I watch this movie once a year, this one is special to me. Oh, and Winona forever.

Honourable mentions:

  • Byzantium (2013): This is a divisive film it seems, some see it as a beautiful film while others see it as pointless and forgettable - I'm the former. It looks pretty, has compelling characters, I love the score and especially the flashback scenes even if I'm not sure why fangs needed to be replaced with a thumbnail... Uri Gavriel just has this amazing face for horror movies, I want to wear it as a mask!
  • Brides of Dracula (1960): Hammer Studio's Brides of Dracula is the first of many sequels to their 1958 Horror of Dracula. On the one hand I love the image of Brides from the the book and would love to see their roles expanded upon since they don't even have names, on the other hand this movie does not feature them. Or really any character who qualify for that title. Or Dracula. On the other, other hand it's easily one of the best movies in Hammer's Dracula series with one of best "everything catches fire" climaxs I've seen and is vastly far superior to its predecessor's ending. No Christopher Lee this time but Peter Cushing is more than capable of carrying the film alone as Van Helsing.
  • Fright Night (2011): Heretically I am placing the remake on my list instead of the original. I believe it is easily one of the best horror remakes, its cast is amazing and I love Colin Farrell's toxic-masculine take on Jerry, the new vampire next door. Another movie whose score I have to praise and I love its visual style.
  • Daybreakers (2009): In the future vampires have become the dominant species milking humans for blood like cattle, unfortunately a blood shortage is causing many to become rabid monsters leading to an impending dystopian nightmare. An Australian movie masquerading as an American one (more common than you might think) starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil. As a local I'm always proud to see one of our films scrape together enough to look this professional even if this one would be improved simply by taking itself a little less seriously.
  • Dracula (1931): The original Dracula has aged pretty badly, it was adapted from a stage play and it definitely feels more like one than a movie, it suffers particularly when compared to that other big early Universal film and eternal bedfellow Frankenstein which was released the same year. Bela Lugosi's performance shines mostly because everyone elses is way worse, with the exception of Dwight Frye - who is the second best part of the film (I'll get to the best in a moment). However, for a movie that lacks the balls to show Dracula getting out of his coffin, having fangs or even his climactic death (which incredibly takes place off-screen in the definition of "anti-climactic") there is one thing this movie has yet to be upstaged on and that's the Castle Dracula set - unburdened by colour, it is still positively the grimmest, bleakest version of the iconic location I've seen. Its aesthetic is pure gothic horror, even the cobwebs have cobwebs. The stuff afterwards is milquetoast but this movie will always have its opening.
  • Queen of the Damned (2003): Queen of the Damned isn't a great movie and huge step down from Interview but it has a personal sentimental value for me as my partner was on the make up team for it (the movie was filmed in my city). Also Jonathan Davis put together a pretty amazing soundtrack proving that not all nu metal aged like a turd.

Comics

I don't do these in any order. For some reason...

I, Vampire (Reboot) by Joshua Hale Fialkov

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My favourite New 52 series, I, Vampire begins focused on the age-old feud/affair between vampire couple/enemies Andrew Bennett and Mary Seward or at least that is its most engaging aspect. Andrew and Mary already had a complicated relationship as it was what with Mary being a servent of the wealthy Bennett family and Andrew passing his vampyric curse onto Mary only complicates matters being that while his conscience and humanity remains relatively unchanged by it, her curse makes a monster out of her - albeit one with delighfully irreverent sense of humour that only makes her 10 times more entertaining than the morose hero of the story. She also wishes to destroy human civilization and replace it with a vampire autocracy while basically farming humanity, always with compelling arguments for why like any good insurgent leader. Also features some cool side characters: Tig, Professor Troghton, Cain, The Van Helsings, Justice League Dark, some Batman guy etc. and Andrea Sorrentino's art is just... the best, I can't praise that aspect enough, the use of shadow makes everything look so haunting. But seriously, read it - you complete me, Queen of Blood.

American Vampire by Scott Snyder

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I'm probably not the right cat to talk about this Eisner Award-winning series since I confess I am still only up to volume five, but I have to say that it's been a killer series so far and have every intention on following it through to the end. Basically following the exploits of vampires and their role in American history starting with the first of the new American species of vamp whom is a superior breed to the old European one (haha, oh you guys! :P) with none of the vulnerabilities of the old guard and powered by the sun beginning notorious Old West outlaw Skinner Sweet. Though there are frequent flashbacks, each part appears on a new decade so the setting is always fresh and the characters are memorable and/or likeable. Plus I'm pretty sure Ryan Murphy is a fan since American Horror Story: Hotel totally steals Pearl Jones' origin for Lady Gaga's Countess character...

Sea of Red by Rick Remender

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Sea of Red is about vampire pirates (admirably the term "vampirates" is only used once, exercising more restraint than I'd be capable of) but the story continually changes direction the only thing you can expect is that you won't know what to expect. I don't want write too much about the plot because while I bought it wanting a vampire swashbuckler, being surprised ended up being half the fun and being a fan of Remender's work had no problem going along with the ride. Colour is scarce, cursing is not.

Graveyard Shift by Jay Faerber

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Graveyard Shift features one of my favourite horror openings in a comic, I have to give it special mention, I love the tension in it. This book is part horror, part crime thriller and part romance and all three elements are handled surprisingly well - even the latter, the vampyric curse is what brings a husband and wife closer together. The noir-inspired art for me was the higlight though, vibrant colour and intense shadow is used throughout which is total eye candy for me.

Curse of Dracula by Marv Wolfman

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Wolfman writing Dracula - there's a joke there somewhere. While this is the same team that worked on Marvel's Tomb of Dracula series but it is unconnected (I have not read Tomb, I will one day and then my life will be complete). So in modern day the Count has infiltrated power players while his hordes enjoy sadistically preying on humans on the street. The story follows a team of vampire hunters trying to stop Drac before his ascent to power is complete led by a descendent of Van Helsing from very different backgrounds united by two things: a hatred of vampires and tragic backstories... each one more tragic than the last. Families dead, blindness, vocal chords ripped out - the usual Wolfman pleasantness. I wish this series had gone longer as I found it very engaging and it has a particularly charming Dracula.

The Complete Dracula by Bram Stoker (adapted by Leah Moore & John Reppion)

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An impulse item I jumped on and actually regretted having to read due to my noted familiarity with the story... However this adaptation quickly reminded me of just why I love the story so much! Though the painted art isn't perfect in every panel, it is more often than not strikingly beautiful and the book perfectly captures the gothic atmosphere of the source showing restraint in keeping the Count operating in the shadows until it is the right time for him to take the spotlight. I understand that Bram Stoker's original novel isn't the easiest thing to read but if you are still interested this is a really good, easily digestable version.

NosferaTunes

  • Adam Ant: Vampires
  • Alice Cooper: Fresh Blood
  • Alkaline Trio: Burn
  • Ash: Vampire Love
  • Avenged Sevenfold: Bat Country
  • Bauhaus: Bela Lugosi's Dead
  • Bif Naked: Vampire
  • The Birthday Massacre: Red Stars
  • Blitzkid: Return to the Living
  • Blue Öyster Cult: Nosferatu
  • Blue Öyster Cult: Tattoo Vampire
  • Burning Brides: Vampire Waltz
  • Calabrese: Vampires Don't Exist
  • Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)
  • The Creepshow: Take My Hand
  • The Cure: Blood
  • Dead Can Dance: Beyond the Realm of a Dying Sun
  • Def Leppard: Love Bites
  • Emilie Autumn: Dead is the New Alive
  • Genesis: Blood on the Rooftops
  • Gerard McMann: Cry Little Sister
  • Godsmack: Vampires
  • Gorillaz: Dracula
  • HIM: Vampire Heart
  • Ian Hunter: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
  • Iced Earth: Dracula
  • Iron Maiden: Transylvania
  • Lacuna Coil: Die & Rise
  • Marilyn Manson: If I Was Your Vampire
  • Moonspell: Vampiria
  • My Chemical Romance: Vampires Will Never Hurt You
  • Neil Young: Vampire Blues
  • Nine Inch Nails: Suck
  • Outkast: Dracula’s Wedding
  • Paul Simon: The Vampires
  • Radiohead: We Suck Young Blood
  • The Rasmus: In the Shadows
  • Roky Erickson: Night of the Vampire
  • Rush: Fly by Night
  • Sam Harris: Sugar Don't Bite
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees: We Hunger
  • Six Feet Under: Vampire Apocalypse
  • Slayer: At Dawn They Sleep
  • Smashing Pumpkins: We Only Come Out At Night
  • The Smithereens: Blood & Roses
  • Static-X: Cold
  • Testament: Cold Embrace
  • Tiger Army: Santa Carla Twilight
  • Venom: Bloodlust
  • Voltaire: Vampire Club
  • Most any song by Theatres Des Vampires

Obligatory Cat Picture

One Cat... Two Cats! Ah. Ah. Aah!
One Cat... Two Cats! Ah. Ah. Aah!

Previous:

And if you really just... cannot get enough of my take on the subject... then here's two lists... >.>

To Impurest_Cheese. Rest in Peace.

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Creature Feature: WEREWOLF

Just something I wrote to take my mind of some personal issues, I don't know if anyone here is interested in reading it but I hope so. I enjoyed writing it and I'd love to give other classic monsters similar treatments, if anyone is interested in that (please be interested in that).

Artist: Bob Kehl
Artist: Bob Kehl

Werewolves have always been my favourite monster, I was recently challenged to justify this by a hater questioning the actual quality of their contributions to pop culture. Maybe I went a tiny bit overboard but whatever... This is for you, Person From Another Site...

Why do I like them? I guess I'm fascinated by the idea of a feral, savage beast hiding inside even the meekest among us - and all it needs is something to push it out... all it needs is the right recipe of circumstances: being in the wrong place, being bit by the wrong animal and a full moon (something you can't run from) and then right there your body changes as does your life. Also, I like wolves. ^_^

Origins

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It's hard to tell just how old the werewolf legend is as stories of humans turning into animals seem to have been around as long as stories themselves and peoples past have frequently sought to mimic animal behaviour as a survival/fighting advantage like the Viking Cult of Odin better known as the Berzerkers - skinwalkers who sought a level of supernatural savagery in battle they believed the hides or wolves (or bears) possessed. But as far as modern relevance goes let's look at when belief in them appears to have peaked - the Middle Ages. Some theories to explain the rise of the legend include superstitious folk looking for answers for people infected by rabies or perhaps finding mysteriously slaughtered livestock and looking inward rather outward naturally leading to, naturally, the Werewolf Trials.

From 1520 to 1630 many men were tried for Lycanthropy, there is no reliable number for how many as they were often combined with Witch Trials (often with their wives). Some notable historical "werewolves":

  • "The Werewolf of Bedburg" Peter Stumpp murdered and ate 14 children (including his own son) and 2 pregnant women, he confessed to being a werewolf and practicing black magic since the age of 12. Having his flesh stripped with red-hot pokers, his limbs broken before being dismembered and beheaded, his execution is particularly brutal and tragic as his daughter was also flayed and executed - sadly, her only crime was being raped by him...
  • Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdun confessed to Lycanthropy in France 1521, Burgot claimed to meet 3 hooded figures during who coerced him into a life being a servent of the Devil with the ability to shapeshift into wolves, the serial killer team tore to pieces a young boy, a young girl and a woman (or at least that's just as much as I could find). A third man Philibert Montot was also named by Burgot but it is unknown whether or not he too confessed. All three were burned at the stake.
  • “The Werewolf of Dole” Gilles Garnier in France 1573, a hermetic, cannibalistic serial killer murdered and ate at least 4 children (likely) raw. In addition to being psychotic cannibal, he was also a devoted husband and often brought home left-overs for his wife. Garnier testified that it was a spectre gave him an ointment to acheive his wolf-form. Burned at the stake.
  • "The Werewolf of Angers"/"The Werewolf of Caud" Jacques Roulet in 1598 was found naked and bloody near the body of mutilated, partly eaten teenage boy which he confessed to have been responsible for among others. Notably his confession does not appear to have extracted via torture nor does he mention any deal with the Devil. Later judged to actually be insane he was not executed and instead sentenced to an asylum - times were changing, this is perhaps a special case of lycanthropy recognized as a mental illness and not a supernatural curse.
  • "The Wolf of Ansbach" is a peculiar case and my personal favourite, a legitimate wolf began preying on livestock in Ansbach (now Germany) in 1685 and later humans too. The townsfolk were adamant it was their deeply unpopular former Mayor (name unknown) in werewolf form... Interesting, but what's even more interesting is the fact that said Mayor was already dead... When the wolf was eventually hunted down and killed he was then dressed in human clothes, given a human mask made of human skin and hung from a pole no doubt as a warning to other dead former-Mayors in case they too were planning to come back from the dead in wolf-form.

Belief in werewolves seems to have evolved as an explanation for cannibalism. Those in history who popularized the legend were guilty of some truly heinous crimes, they murdered and ate their own kind, tortured and raped children - so we attributed wolf-like characteristics to these monsters to separate them from us, from people, as we couldn't possibly be capable of such atrocities - the grand irony being that in the wild, wolves do not do these things... It's people who do these things.

Black Wreath's Top Ten Favourite Werewolf Movies

Note: I decided not to include cross-overs. (Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Underworld, umm Twilight etc...)

10. Bad Moon (1996)

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This movie is very odd to me, the opening scene is like something from a Friday the 13th film with bewbs, blood and premarital sex and then suddenly turns into something remiscent of a child-friendly "boy and his dog" style movie... The story revolves around a heroic German Shepard's (named "Thor") mission to protect his human family from an invading werewolf who is, unknown to the family, the visiting uncle. It's surprising how well the film works considering an argument that the family dog himself is the actual main protagonist of the story but the movie is very enjoyable: I like the expressive, animatronic werewolf head and the tone has the perfect amount of cheese. The kicker? It also ends like Friday the 13th...

9. Wolf Cop (2014)

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Wolf Cop is like Teen Wolf, only with more balls and is a fantastically entertaining low budget whose sequel this year I can't wait to see. The main thing it has in common with Teen Wolf is that the werewolf curse actually improves the life of the victim: Lou Garou (nice pun on loup-garou) is an alcoholic loser and an apathetic and incapable cop until (during one of his frequent benders) he is cursed with lycanthropy - not bitten, the curse is the result of a secret cult's black magic ritual. However, werewolf Lou basically ends up becoming a wolflike Dirty Harry (Dirty Hairy?) making him a kick-ass crime-fighter. Over the decades werewolf movies have shown transformation sequences focusing on the face, the back, the hands and the feet... This is the first time I remember seeing an upclose visual of a wolfman's pecker shapeshifting.

8. Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

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One of the most beloved Hammer Studios films and, if my facts are indeed correct, first colour werewolf film (and shockingly, the only werewolf movie Hammer ever made). Based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris... even though the movie never leaves Spain... and features the most English "Spanish" people I've ever seen (but whatever, it's Hammer... "I swear I'm from Transylvania, old chap!") The Curse of the Werewolf follows the typical Hammer formula of hamminess, neon blood and a lot of talking before an epic, monsterrific finale (although personally I felt this one could've used a few more flaming torches). I love the werewolf design, especially its take on the ears even though that old Spanish shirt makes him look like a bit of a man-whore.

7. The Howling (1981)

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To be fair, not all of The Howling has aged particularly well but I like seeing the mystery unravel and the third act is utterly awesome. This isn't Joe Dante's greatest horror movie but it still has his B-movie charm and the wolves look great in it in my opinion, plus you get to see a werewolf transform while hosting the news. One example of a horror movie I actually would love to see get a flashy remake today.

6. The Wolfman (1941)

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The most iconic movie on here, no list would be complete without it. The Wolfman really cemented the werewolf condition as a tragic one, werewolf stories inspired by it almost always portrayed the victims infected as moral, decent human beings and unwilling participants in the transformation: poor Larry Talbot is already a sympathetic figure being in love with a woman who is taken and becomes a werewolf trying to defend her. The Wolfman to this day is still one of the best Universal Monster movies and is still worth a look, it's more sophisticated than people think: not only did establish much of werewolf mythology it also popularized the psychological explanation as the original ending even revealed Larry wasn't shapeshifter just a tortured psychopath with two mindsets: the gentle Man and the savage Wolf before it was decided audiences would prefer a literal Wolfman - but the possibility of lycanthropy being strictly a mental illness is discussed. The original horror icon and "Man of 1,000 Faces" Lon Chaney Sr. forbid his son from following in his footsteps and Jr. only took it up after his father had passed away, I always found it interesting whether the daddy issues prevalent in real life and on screen in this movie were coincidental or not.

5. Stephen King's Silver Bullet (1985)

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Silver Bullet is tons of fun featuring typical King tropes, hokey performances and a certain particularly endearing breed of cheese I find irresistible. The film has its flaws but, to be honest, they're the kind that actually make me like it more for example: the monster effects aren't bad but I've seen better and the narration disappears for so long you forget it was ever a thing. Surprisingly I like the kids and I love the villain reveal but the movie really belongs to Gary Busey, he gives this all-or-nothing performance which by itself makes the movie worth watching.

4. Dog Soldiers (2002)

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...I tend to assume if your intestines are hanging out, you're probably not going to make it but what do I know, I'm not a doctor. Dog Soldiers is a testosterone-fuelled British werewolf cousin of Predator and defintely one of the most cult-adored on the list, it's also cool to see a pre-Seaworth Liam Cunningham and a pre-Pennyworth Sean Pertwee as well as the always-great Kevin McKidd. The plot is thin but the execution is great.

3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

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The one that's supposed to number one. John Landis' benchmark film is probably the most universally-popular werewolf film out there and combines some amazing practical effects with humour and memorable use of popular songs. My favourite thing about the movie is the sharp twists in tone such as the opening at the Slaughtered Lamb, protagonists David Kessler and Jack Goodman seem to have gotten lost on their way to a college sex comedy ended up in a Hammer horror instead. The fish-out-of-water comedy plus the werewolf angst make it come off very original and essential viewing. Gotta love that ending.

2. The Company of Wolves (1984)

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I wish I'd seen this one when I was a kid, it would've f***ed me up nice and good. The Company of Wolves is a dream-like film sewn together of numerous short segments into a big whimsical nightmare, it reminds of that old TV show Jim Henson's The Storyteller with John Hurt (if anyone remembers that) only creepier (if memory serves me correctly, no mean feat), the wolves very much look like puppets but damn they're scary ass-looking puppets. For a film that, in some respects, resembles a children's film this is exceptionally eerie and does not shy from the gruesome, the opening scene I still today find quite unsettling and I really admire this film for its commitment to depicting truly nightmarish fairy tales unflinchingly, something I wish Red Riding Hood had been willing to do. My favourite thing however, is just how creative and varied it gets with its transformation sequences. A work of art.

1. Ginger Snaps & Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2000 & 2004)

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I'm counting them as one because I can't discuss the sequel without spoiling the original (and I wanted to put another movie on the list) but the fact I have to cheat to get all the movies I want on my list should be proof that this genre has plenty to offer and does not deserve to be the unloved child of horror some position it as. Ginger Snaps is not only the best werewolf movie but also the most creatively titled (though if you look above you'll realize that not really a difficult achievement), the film centers on two social outcast sisters Ginger and Bridgett Fitzgerald. Ginger is the rebellious leader, Bridgett is the awkward follower, both are morbid pariahs and and nothing can drive them apart until one night Ginger is attacked by a mysterious animal which just happens to coincide with her finally getting her first period. Ginger blossoms into becoming a woman the at same time she experiences a departure from humanity, leaving her younger sister Bridgett behind putting the once-inseparable siblings at odds with one another as Bridgett desperately tries to cure her sister, protector and best/only friend - who is becoming increasingly uninterested in remaining a part of the human race. The chemistry between Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins always feels real and the movie's one weakness (it's budget) is usually camouflaged expertly.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed is a movie I can't write about without spoiling the first one so continue at risk. The sequel follows Bridgett and her desperate attempts to stave off the werewolf infection while also haunted by the memory of her domineering sister. Placed on suicide watch in a facility Bridgette finds herself in the older sister role to the childlike Ghost. Emily Perkins' performance is awesome and the plot is unique within the subgenre my only complaint is the twist ending which I initially thought was cool but now feel Bridgette deserved a better ending after such compelling character development.

Honorable mentions

  • Late Phases (2014): Late Phases is a wonderful film that surely would have made my Top Ten had I not already written it by the time I finally saw this, the highlight is Nick Damici's performance as Ambrose - a misanthropic, blind Vietnam veteran who realizes fairly quickly his new retirement village has werewolf lurking among it and the Lion-in-Winter prepares himself for one last fight in time for the next full moon. The father-son drama is compelling and the score is just beautiful, it also features one of the most epic transformation scenes I've seen outside of An American Werewolf in London. My only real complaint is the faces of the werewolves remind me of Gremlins.
  • Howl (2015): A train full of difficult archetype passengers breaks down at most inconvenient of locations during a full-mooned night and our group come to realize they're surrounded by a pack of werewolves closing in. I quite like this movie though it is frustrating for me as it features so much greatness amongst a few aspects I really didn't care for namely the designs of the wolves which look amazing from a distance but up close look like that mutant dog thing from Ninja Turtles II, not to mention the death of one character that should've been a more emotional moment is castrated by the ill-fitting music that accompanies it. What I liked: the premise is a simple yet awesome survival scenario and one scene in particular stands out as a favourite of mine - on board the train one character is suddenly pulled onto the roof by a wolf from above while the other passengers (and the viewer) are left to imagine in horror what is happening up there as the carriage starts shaking and blood begins pouring down the windows! Brilliant!
  • The Undying Monster (1942): A movie that definitely deserves to be on a higher pedestal, The Undying Monster is a gothic detective story that features some awesome atmospherics and haunting scenery that's right up there with what Universal were doing at the same time. It's about a detective duo trying to uncover a dark secret hiding within the Hammond estate, a Haunted Mansion-esque setting where everyone acts suspiciously. A surprising amount of spotlight is given to its female characters for a movie of this time period and in the opening scene Ms. Hammond grabs a gun in the opening scene with intent to shoot whatever is howling, she holds onto the weapon even when men (without guns, themselves) are in the scene and this is not portrayed as strange in anyway - refreshing to see in a Golden Age flick. I found the characters so compelling I didn't mind this has so little werewolf onscreen. Also features Marmarduke.

  • Wer (2013): Shot in a kind of documentary style, Wer is set in the French countryside when a large hairy man is accused of some fairly brutal murders - our protagonist is his lawyer wishing use the man's rare medical condition to prove his innonence until medical testing accidently unleashes his inner Wolfman (and this movie is very much paying homage to The Wolfman) upon the city. Wer kind of brings the werewolf myth into a more modernized grounded light (and on that note - there's a lot of light since they can change during the day time in this), focusing on it as genetic mutation similar to how zombies have been treated as something of a contagious virus in the likes of 28 Days Later etc. The movie succeeds in bringing initial sympathy for the afflicted and boasts some exciting sequences but found-footage style formats aren't for everyone (though this is well shot, not your typical shaky cam) and personally though I do like The Wolfman I like my werewolves to be more than just really hairy guys.
  • Teen Wolf (1985): I wonder how many kids got hurt van-surfing, the shit people did before the internet. Interesting in that the werewolf curse is portrayed as a heriditary condition with no infection needed and also Michael J. Fox can change at will and it doesn't ruin his life, he becomes extremely popular due to it. If you like 80's teen comedies (I do) this might be your favourite but if you like seeing werewolves slaughter people (again, I do) this is not that kind of monster movie. Michael J. Fox carries this movie well enough but the kid playing his arch-rival... really sucks. Oh and there's that puberty thing I mentioned earlier, I like that too. (I want that "Obnoxious" t-shirt, I think I could pull that off well and it would give people ample warning.)
  • Wolfen (1981): Wolfen has many fans and while I think it is an interesting movie, working as a gritty old-school crime thriller but with a supernatural edge paying homage the legend of the Native American skin-walkers (it is certainly better than the movie Skin Walkers - very much absent from this list :P). My disappointment comes as a monster movie fan, we get many scenes from the wolf's point of view before we get to see it for ourselves and they're in Predator Vision style which in my experience is a way hype the monster's appearance only the pay-off is... a wolf! Just an every day wolf, no bigger than... an every day wolf!
  • Werewolf of London (1935): Holding the distinction of being the first werewolf movie (other than 1913 silent short The Werewolf which no longer exists), it was also a re-adaption Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Some claim it actually better than it's more famous succesor (though they aren't connected) The Wolfman, while I wouldn't go that far (the afflicted protagonist Henry Hull's arrogant Dr. Glendon considerably less likeable than loveable oaf Larry Talbot) but I will say that I like the make up better in this. Interestingly the werewolf is not reduced to all-out savagery here (he even gets dressed) and his attacks are motivated by emotion not bloodlust.
  • Cry of the Werewolf (1944): Often over-looked, it's actually a pretty interesting mash-up of and old-school crime flick with some gothic horror scenes thrown in the mix. Some nice moody scenes almost Cat People-esque, I absolutely adore the use of shadow. Features a beret that is worn so tilted it's almost vertical, beauty was pain back then. Also, a cat repeatedly features.

Comics

In no particular order.

Wolf Moon by Cullen Bunn

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Wolf Moon is an exceptional Vertigo series about a werewolf hunter named Dillion Chase obsessively following the trail of a werewolf having previously suffered great tragedy because of it. The most notable appeal of Wolf Moon is what it introduces to the mythology: Dillion isn't hunting the monster, he's hunting the curse itself... The difference between this depiction and traditional ones is that no infection is required to become a wolf - the curse takes victims at random once a moon cycle which leaves Dillon a tiny window of time to operate and a moral dilemma since those changing shape do so with no warning - they are as innocent a victim as those they kill who are left haunted by the guilt and trauma of what they involuntarily did as the Wolf - one particularly memorable quote being "The Wolf doesn't just reshape flesh and bones. It reshapes lives." All of this coupled with the fact that this is one of most formidible werewolves I've seen depicted, proving to be considerably difficult to kill and quite visually terrifying too. The serious treatment of the subject matter, near impossible challenge presented to the protagonist, the fact I really felt the emotional toil the characters have gone through and, maybe best of all, the beautifully gruesome artwork make Wolf Moon my personal favourite werewolf comic. Totally recommended!

Werewolves on the Moon: Versus Vampires by Dave Land & the Fillbach Brothers

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With the Moon being so important to werewolf lore, it's amazing no-one thought to actually put them on it until this. In the not to distant future, three werewolves (dimwitted ones) stow away on aspace flight to a colony on the Moon and causing major problems for the humans onboard until a mutual, pre-existing threat reveals itself... Turns out, vampires were already living on the dark side and of course a war breaks out. Werewolves on the Moon's premise is amusingly stupid and its dialogue made me chuckle on more than a few occasions. What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in its talent for effective irreverant, lowbrow humour and would honestly make for a fun animated film. Honestly, a really entertaining book.

The Werewolf of New York by Batton Lash

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No he's not that big in it. The Werewolf of New York is set in the Supernatural Law world where monsters are real and recognized as citizens. But being monsters of course, that means they're probably going to need lawyers sooner or later, Wolff & Byrd represent supernatural beings, the main focus of the story is the trial of a werewolf named Leon Reed and subsequent rehabilitation (and subsequent relapse due to the People for the Rights, Interests, and Concerns of Shapeshifters - or PRICS for short). Very David E. Kelley. But with monsters.

Werewolves by "Alice Carr"

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Maybe not technically a comic book but an illustrated book nonetheless, I'm including it just because I love it. Werewolves is comprised of the diary entries and sketches of a young girl named Alice who (along with her brother Mark) have been bitten and infected by the werewolf curse and their subsequent joining of a werewolf pack the journal entries and the sketches serving as second-hand relivings of the experience through Alice's eyes and memories including her mentorship under the Alpha of the pack, dealings with werewolf hunters and how she handles the sight of the poor treatment her brother recieves becoming the Omega of the group. The book handles like the printed equivalent of a found-footage film, like a werewolf Chronicle but on page even including nice touches of realism like sketches drawn to reflect varying moods/care in detail, scribbled out words to reflect frustration and the book is even credited to the fictional "Alice Carr". I found this to be a very interesting find.

Full Moon by Jeff Zornow

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Full Moon is a short story as a part of Image's Horror Book compilation in conjunction with Cryptic magazine. A neat little Gothic horror/dark fantasy-action story, this one takes place in the Carpathian Mountains under the curse of an insidious vampire princess named Wandessa who torments the human population with her monstrous undead servants. When she targets the townsfolk children, the local priest decides to fight monsters with monsters and employs the help of a werewolf with no name to save them. Wandessa throws all her evil in his way as the wolf runs through a gauntlet of zombies, giant spiders, giant bats, a beautifully over-the-top, two-headed, steampunk Frankenstein's monster and naturally the vampire princess herself. I love the designs and the classic Universal-esque imagery and the battles are thrilling too.

LycAnthems

  • Bad Company: Running with the Pack
  • Blue Öyster Cult: Subhuman
  • Bobby Vinton: Blue Moon
  • The Cramps: I Was a Teenage Werewolf
  • Creedance Clearwater Revival: Bad Moon Rising
  • David Bowie: Changes
  • Dead Kennedys: Dog Bite
  • Disturbed: The Animal
  • Duran Duran: Hungry Like the Wolf
  • Five Man Electrical Band: Werewolf
  • Fiona Apple: Werewolf
  • Grace Slick: Full Moon Man
  • Heart, Ann & Nancy Wilson: Wolf
  • Heather Alexander: Wolfen One
  • Iced Earth: Wolf
  • INXS & Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders: Full Moon, Dirty Hearts
  • Kansas: Howling at the Moon
  • The Marcels: Blue Moon
  • Metallica: Of Wolf and Man
  • Metallica: Am I Savage
  • Misfits: We Bite
  • Misfits: Wolf's Blood
  • Moonspell: Full Moon Madness
  • Moonspell: Lickanthrope
  • Moonspell: Sanguine
  • Moonspell: Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)
  • Moonspell: Wolves from the Fog (you can probably tell Moonspell like werewolves...)
  • Nazareth: Hair of the Doghe omen
  • Ozzy Osbourne: Bark at the Moon
  • Queens of the Stone Age: Someone's in the Wolf
  • Radiohead: Wolf at the Door
  • Rainbow: Wolf to the Moon
  • Rob Zombie: Werewolf Baby!
  • Sam Cooke: Blue Moon
  • Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs: Little Red Riding Hood
  • Shakira: She Wolf
  • Six Feet Under: Lycanthropy
  • Special Poetry Slam: Werewolf
  • Sonata Arctica: Ain't Your Fairytale
  • Sonata Arctica: Full Moon
  • Tragically Hip: I'm a Werewolf, Baby
  • Type O Negative: Wolf Moon
  • Van Morrison: Moon Dance
  • The Vision Bleak: Wolfmoon
  • Warren Zevon: Werewolves of London
  • The Young Werewolves: Under the Full Moon

Obligatory Cat Picture

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Top ten movies of 2016

It took me four months to pick a favourite. ^_^

Actually to be honest, I had another favourite in mind that would've been a unique number one to say the least but then developed cold feet and and existential crisis, tormented in nightmares by such questions as:

Do I really believe this movie should be number one?

Am I putting it there for the right reasons?

Am I even a real cat??

Eventually I reluctantly told myself that a movie is not automatically the best just because it features a half-demon empath and decided figure out which movie truly deserved to prestigious title of being "black_wreath's favourite movie of 2016" until I change my mind as I frequently do.

People talked shit about 2016's movies but I thought it was an excellent year for them and much better than 2015's offerings. All in all I saw over 70 movies from the year and at one point I thought about about ranking every single one of them before realizing that would require too much writing on my part and too much reading on yours.

Speaking of too much writing, this intro is going too long so let's get started but before I do I'd like to state for the record something noteworthy in that while I saw over 70 movies and some were disappointing...

I did not truly hate a single one.

But then I didn't see this...

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...and I never will. :)

There are some I was very eager to watch yet have been unable to get a hold of (Shin Godzilla, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Silence, some others probably...) so if if your favourite isn't here there's a good chance it's because I didn't watch it. Especially if it involves lightsabers or jazz.

10. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

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A flawed entry no doubt, nonetheless Miss Peregrine's... gave me enough to keep my renewed faith in my favourite director who has made quite comeback since the reputed-career low mark of Dark Shadows (a movie not even I am willing to watch). I did not expect this marketed to a young audience flick to feature so much nightmare fuel but man am I glad it did, Burton's quirky manner of traumatizing child audiences remains one of my favourite aspects of his work. I did have some misgivings however such as it not featuring enough Eva Green (who is predictably great as the title character) and that moment when I though "cool we're gonna get to see Judi Dench kick some ass now" not quite delivering to say the least. Samuel L. Jackson is great too, delightfully creepy in his Burtonized Wight look eating eyeballs and whatnot, I hope to see him in future Burton movies.

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Tim, you... are my number one guy!

9. In a Valley of Violence

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The other Ethan Hawke cowboy movie: a cool little throwback to exploitation westerns of the past right down the painted horizon (deliberately noticeable) In a Valley of Violence is for Tarantino fans or least those who share his tastes, I'm not usually a fan of the western genre but this was far more up my alley than Magnificent Seven. The plot is eerily similar to John Wick only with less reverence - the tone makes it clear this film's mission is first and foremost to entertain and that it does in spades. John Travolta hams it up without going overboard and Ethan Hawke is badass yet approachable but the true show-stealers of the are (for once in this genre) the women: Karen Gillian and Taissa Farmiga are awesome as two scheming redneck sisters and their sibling rivalry is a hoot to watch. My only complaint with this film is that the actual violence of In a Valley of Violence seems a bit neutered or perhaps it just seems that way to me after watching Bone Tomahawk, but I guess it makes up for that on a humour level - one major character's death unfolds in a manner that begins horrifying but had me laughing hysterically.

8. Storks

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I thought this was going to suck and looking at the talent involved I'm not sure why, of all the animated movies released in 2016 I believe Storks was the funniest - and that includes Sausage Party which I did also enjoy. The jokes are in absolute rapid fire so there are some misses (the difficult to understand Pigeon Toady for example is the weakest element) but the majority land. The fact the movie was only just successful when a major disappointment like The Secret Life of Pets made truckloads is greatly disheartening, in a just world it would be the scene-stealing Wolf Pack getting their own spin-off not Minions. Storks had me craving a return of the Loony Tunes of which this film reminds me of - especially the classic Daffy Duck toons, I hop WAG can become a big player in the animation industry they're doing good work and to be honest Illumination kind of sicken me now...

7. Ouija: Origin of Evil

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In no way could I predict this movie would crack my top 10, but as painful as it is to admit the prequel to the shit-awful Ouija is a joy for a horror fan from start to finish: you see, Hasbro realized their previous attempt to make a horror movie was so unbelievably lazy that many genre fans actually took it as personal insult so they gave the talented horror director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake) a decent budget and left him do whatever he wanted and he wanted was a tribute to the haunted house films of the 70's and his love for them is evident to point where he adds little details like the old-school Universal logo and "cigarette-burns" on the film like in the old days. As for the film, this one holds a special place for me as it was the movie I saw Halloween night so naturally I saw it with a crowd who wouldn't normally see a horror movie... and it scared the crap out of them. The movie happens to feature one of the best child performances in horror history in my opinion, Lulu Wilson is Linda Blair good in this and has one of the funniest fake-out moments I've ever seen thanks to Alexis G. Zall's "Oh my god..." Girl character. As for what's next for Ouija, I'd love a prequel to this prequel - I say Ouija should be the franchise that goes backwards in time each installment... Give me Ouija: Death Doctor - make it happen Blumhouse.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a symbol of hope that any shitty franchise can turn their artistic fortunes around.

6. Moana

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Moana was yet another movie that really surprised me, I was expected Tropical Frozen but this was considerably better than Frozen (bear in mind I am not a Frozen-hater). Moana is easily one of the most endearing Disney Princesses and on her own would've made a great protagonist, that she wasn't overshadowed by The Rock should be proof enough of that. The songs are shockingly enjoyable (I usually hate happy music...) and the visually it might actually be the most stunningly rendered film Disney have ever done, the scenery is gorgeous. It's also meaningful personally as my step-mother and half-sisters are Polynesian and it clearly meant something to them so that means something to me.

5. Pete's Dragon

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I entered this film in the most cynical mindset I could muster making smart-ass cracks like "why do parents love Disney, Disney clearly hates parents..." and noting the obviously manipulation by have Elliot the dragon bounce like a puppy. By the end however this movie had me by the balls, well done David Lowery you found my inner child and made easily the best of these new live action remakes - it's actually far superior to the original. Pete's Dragon wins a spot here as no other movie changed my mind to such a degree, I still had no interest in seeing this even after hearing good things and I only saw it by chance. I must be going soft with age...

4. Hunt For the Wilderpeople

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Taika Waititi has become one of my favourite directors in recent times and Hunt for the Wilderpeople had a lot to do with it, the is film is just so charming as to make you not notice how easy it appears to live off the land in New Zealand and how often it appears make light of child molestation. I usually hate movie kids and initially I also hated Ricky but somehow Julian Dennison's performance was enough to turn me around and really root for the kid along with hard-ass Uncle Hec played to perfection by the great Sam Neil and the growth of their bond whilst running away into the New Zealand wilderness is both touching and amusing - hopefully the antipodean humour translates well worldwide. I wish this movie had been nominated for an Oscar and have full faith in Thor: Ragnarok.

Also, Rhys Darby turns up. Because why wouldn't he?

3. Justice League vs Teen Titans

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"Hi-may"?? All this time I've been calling him "Jay-mee"... So I wanted to put this higher but I decided several things I disliked in it should prevent me from doing so if I am to maintain integrity, those things are:

  • manipulatively misleading title
  • a pop song that made my ear drums suicidal
  • the fact that leader Starfire gets her ass disturbingly often.

Notice I did not include Damien there? Why? Because he actually grows, yes he is an insufferable prick who picks a fight with his team mate for no good reason but he loses said fight (and believe me if he had won that fight I'd have been pissed) and learns a lesson from it. But enough about now-sufferable prick, the real star is Raven voiced by the loveable Taissa Farmiga (much younger sister of Vera) I was very satisfied by this portrayal which struck a nice balance between the awkward comic and sardonic cartoon personalities while maintaining the core defining elements of introversion and selflessness that make her appealing. The rest of the team come off just as agreeably they aren't "gods" like the Justice League nor do they think of themselves as such, they're freaks and outcasts yet maintain their youthful ambition to prove they can be heroes too which is why I love that Kori is portrayed as a warm, big sister figure - it's clear her maternal leadership style has nurtured the team in forming a closer bond than the Justice League ever will (it's doubtful Batman considers "mandatory fun" to be an effective use of time). The use of colour greatly impressed me too in those moments this sometimes-light/sometimes-dark movie and Trigon's arrival is some Night on Bald Mountain-style horror epic. Hell, I even loved that out-of-nowhere Sailor Moon tribute - a moment of random WTF? levity only the Titans could get away with...

2. Don't Breathe

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I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that had me so far on the edge of my seat, Don't Breathe was a movie I did not expect to live up to the hype and found it amazingly do so. It also taught me what a turkey baster is as turkey isn't commonly eaten in my country, I actually thought a turkey baster was something else so yeah now I know what a turkey baster... And what you can do with one. I love how the horror movie starts because the protagonist just happens to walk in on one already taking place like in The Collector, the film is beautifully paced and gripping throughout. The Blind Man will surely become iconic though I'm not sure I want a sequel the ambiguity of the end was perfect in my opinion, a future of Rocky always looking over her shoulder is best left as it is.

1. Nine Lives

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What else could it be but that Kevin Spacey cat movie? Released as Mr. Fuzzypants in my country most likely because otherwise this family movie shares a title with a Paris Hilton-starring horror and a movie that I has been described to me as "glorified gay porn" (and possibly because nothing screams box office gold like "Mr. Fuzzypants"). Though widely-ridiculed on release by the House of Cards audience (clearly its target audience) Nine Lives is a delightful throwback to 90's kids' flicks featuring the likes of Kevin Spacey and Christopher Walken (two of my favourite actors not to mention Jennifer Garner and Arrow's brother) noticeably having a blast and deserved much better than it got. Many scenes had me wishing the Garfield movie was more like this.

...

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1. Edge of Seventeen

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Though I usually prefer to champion movies of the monster variety, I also have a fondness for the Coming-Of-Age film (for some reason). Edge of Seventeen makes the top of the list due to its relatability and my partner's compelling argument that "it's April and I should just f***ing pick one!" On that relatability note, that was so prevalent sometimes I thought they'd made a movie about me and gender-swapped me... which is cool I have no problem with that, I don't think they don't make enough movies about me... But yeah, the awkwardness of being socially awkward often comes of badly portrayed in movies but here I lost count of just how many "Man, I been there" moments I saw. Brief and blunt: Hailee Steinfeld is amazing and so is this movie and unlike Juno I believe I'll still think that this time next year.

Honourable Mentions (more than usual):

Deadpool: Considering I always found Deadpool simply annoying before this movie, I'm quite amazed how much I enjoyed it. Loved most of the characters and found the action sequences particularly impressive considering the budget.

The Witch: Stunning slow burner that reminded me of why I love The Shining and The Wicker Man, Anya Taylor Joy is quickly becoming a favourite of mine and that started here. I'm sure this is one I'll grow to love as time goes on.

Hell or High Water: Was rooting for it at the Oscars, the story is so gripping and the performances so memorable (Ben Foster especially). One of those movies that makes me realize that maybe the Oscar season doesn't suck as much balls as I think.

The Conjuring 2: My fears of the sequel not measuring up were laid to reast and my new fears of nuns and old British men were amplified. James Wan has made a pair of notorious real life charlatans into endearing heroes you can root for, that's an acheivement in itself.

Hacksaw Ridge: I respected religion a hell of a lot more after this than God's Not Dead that's for sure. Genuinely moving, uncompromisingly violent and a fantastic lead performance from Andrew Garfield.

Train to Busan: Just when I'm calling for the zombie apocalypse genre to die, Korea gives us the best one since I can't even remember. Human drama is where it shines I cared about the characters and when they were gutted so was I. Yon-Suk was one of the best movie villains of 2016.

Sing Street: In theory I should've hated this movie: another growing up in the 80's for those guys who get nostalgia-boners for that shit. But, what do you know, I found myself just getting so wrapped up in it and the music was great.

Doctor Strange: Trippy visials aside (not to mention the fact Rachel McAdams just vanishes from the film after the second act) the best part of this was hearing how beautifully Chiwetel Ejiofor pronounced the words "dark dimension", there was just something very Karloff-esque about it. Oh and Wong, I loved Wong.

Keanu: One of the funniest movies of the year, Keanu the kitten gives one the greatest action performances of the year despite the notable handicap of being... young.

Captain Fantastic: Is Ben's family a loveable collection of oddballs or another Manson Family? And did I just see Viggo Mortensen's dong? I get the comparisons to Little Miss Sunshine and far from being a rip-off it acts more as a spiritual successor to that movie and since I love that movie, I also loved Captain Fantastic. It was also really cool how he was a super soldier and could stretch!

Star Trek Beyond: I think I might be possibly the only one left who claimed to like Into Darkness when it came out and still maintains that position. Beyond was one of my favourite blockbusters of the year featuring some amazing effects (with much less lense flare this time) and expectedly great performances and I particularly liked newcomer Sofia Boutella's Jaylah. Tons of fun.

Elvis & Nixon: The coolest person who ever lived meeting the uncoolest, Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey's performances prioritize fun over historical accuracy as Elvis is determined to gain an audience with the president and be made an undercover agent so he may elinimate the various issues that plagued the US in the early 70's and despite his obvious delusions he always comes of sincere in his desire to save his country.

Green Room: This uncompromisingly gnarly film about a punk band in very much the wrong place at the wrong time (a neo-nazi club witnessing a murder) has one of the most realistically scintillating dismemberments I've seen and quite possibly my favourite final line in any movie. I've heard it referred to as "mosh pit cinema" and I think that's an appropriate title.

Kubo and the Two Strings: Man, I loved that monkey. Laika continue to be one of the most creative studios in an age of remakes, reboots and derivative material.

The Invitation: The tension rises and rises and there is a realization that something unspeakable is going go down at the end of this dinner party. Simple but effective and criminally underseen.

Midnight Special: Michael Shannon (who was in more movies I saw last year than any other actor I believe) stars in this dark, brooding sci fi chase. Very Spielbergian, this movie is all about the experience.

Popstar: Never Stop Stopping: Basically Justin Bieber gets Spinal Tapped by The Lonely Island. Hilarious parody of modern pop music - which thoroughly deserved to be parodied.

The Lobster: An absurd movie you either love or hate, I am the former as I found the movie highly amusing and believe this kind of matchmaking really is this dumb.

The Neon Demon: Another love-it-or-hate-it film The Neon Demon is a slow burning, visually gorgeous and equally gruesome horror recalling the likes of Kubrick and Argento.

Nocturnal Animals: Though it did not quite live up to my hopes, I still always look forward a dark mainstream thriller and one year I will find one I love as much as Gone Girl but for 2016 it was Nocturnal Animals that came closest.

Bonus Sticking-up-for-the-ugly-kids round: Top Ten Movies I Enjoyed (That Were Critically-Panned)

Gods of Egypt

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Heres the thing about Gods of Egypt, it doesn't take itself seriously at all and neither does its cast who all seem to be having fun with the movie, Chadwick Boseman in particular displays ten times the personality as Thoth than he did as Black Panther (bite me, fanboy :P). The visuals are creative, the mythology is mostly accurate for a Hollywood movie and when compared to its closest contemporary 2009's Clash of the Titans - I'd much rather watch Gods of Egypt.

Nine Lives aka Mr Fuzzypants

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I already mentioned this, I meant what I said.

The Girl on the Train

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I had high hopes for this movie being that I enjoy the dark surburban-nightmare thriller genre, they were somewhat dashed but I found Emily Blunt to be just that good in it she raises to higher level alone.

Suicide Squad

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Here we go for the billionth time - Even though it maybe the Poochie of CBMs, I had a good time, I cared about the characters and I loved the visual imagery. It had a personality and that counted for a lot for me.

Ghostbusters

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I'm probably in a strange position to judge this - I'm a bigger fan than of Paul Feig and Kristen Wiig than I am of Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray. I should note I only saw the extended cut not the theatrical which I heard was cut to shit. I don't care how much the original means to you (for some reason) you have to admit those mirrors looked amazing.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Strange is movie that manages to nail it as an irreverent Jane Austen adaptation yet completely fail as a zombie flick, the most frustrating movie here since it would've been so easily fixed: an R rating, some gore... you know, some balls! The World War Z disease strikes again. But I did love the P&P side of it and Matt Smith is simply hilarious in it.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Way funnier than I expected, the movie features apologetically deplorable characters and I got a kick out seeing them, Aubrey Plaza and Adam Devine (whose for-lack-of-a-better-word "constipated" act always makes me laugh) are the two biggest highlights in my opinion.

Blair Witch

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Calling your profitable and generally accepted reboot a "universally panned bomb" is a strange promotional tactic but I will state for the record that I enjoyed Blair Witch more than the original. The lost-in-time-head-f**kery seemed go over a lot of heads strangely, but an awesome addition was that closer look at the house (modelled on those in Chernobyl). Blair Witch has become one of my favourite found-footage films.

Friend Request

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Not so much hated as much as it was ignored and not really given a chance. Also it was endlessly compared to Unfriended (though I found that one also underrated) despite the fact it wasn't filmed on webcams. While I think the movie would've more as a Single White Female-esque thriller rather than a supernatural horror (the supernatural aspect really comes out of nowhere) but scares are decent for its budget and Marina was an antagonist who was simultaneously sympathetic and creepy, one that left me wanting more. Perhaps this Social Media Horror genre could work?

31

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31 features pretty much the things I like in a Rob Zombie movie: gritty atmosphere, unflinching in its brutality and the fact that the violence is portrayed as a traumatic life-altering experience and the things I hate: Sherri Moon Zombie's acting, the fact that Rob still shoots his wife like she's a stripper (which was always weird but she's 46 now) and Rob's strange idea that horror villains are scariest when cursing and ranting like a drunken redneck. The reason to really love 31, however, is Richard Brake's universally praised-performance as "Doom-Head" - who is such a good Joker that I'm amazed DC Comics didn't sue! Doom-Head could become the next big horror icon.

44 Comments

The Return of Wreath ranks the last 5 movies he watched Returns

5. Batman: Bad Blood (2016)

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In August I bought The Killing Joke thinking it would be a big deal, I really wish I'd bought this instead. I mean it's not perfect but I enjoyed it a lot more than Killing Joke, I would've liked more focus on either Nightwing, Batwoman or Batwing rather than making them share the spotlight which to me hindered the film's ability to do them justice but I did really like the voice performances for each and they all did at least come off well. The Heretic wasn't bad but it was kind of a relief to see the more iconic Talia take over the villain spot. The fight scene animation was reliable as always and I'm happy any time Batman shares the focus... especially if it results in an Elegy adaptation... :D

Score:

***
***

4. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

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Haha funny thing is that I intended to watch Hocus Pocus and chose this confusing the two. Okay I thought this took a little while to get going but it did get pretty awesome toward the end when Jack Nicholson gets to let lose and really lose his mind, he pretty much steals the film effortlessly by the end. People say he's the Devil but I never really saw any confirmation of that, for all I know he was just some warlock. I did like the movie but I'm not sure it really holds up comedy-wise and while I appreciated it when it got crazy toward the end with things like Jack Nicholson turning into a giant and then a fetus (I think?) I couldn't help but want it to get crazier like, say, Beetlejuice. Surprisingly there's this great road sequence but since this was directed by George Miller I guess I shouldn't be so surprised.

Score:

***
***

3. Victor Frankenstein (2015)

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F**k the critics, this is a fun flick! As a Frankenstein fan I particularly loved the references to Jack Pearce and Gene Wilder and James McAvoy is already one of my favourite Doctors in the franchise's history. On the negative side, the monster is completely wasted and only turns up for the disappointing climax but the point of the movie is Victor and Igor's bromance, Daniel Radcliffe is fine as Igor the voice of sanity but McAvoy dominates the movie. The movie is less a horror and more a quirky, morbid comedy that doesn't shy from the grotesque as best exemplified by Igor's hump removal process... the terror of Victorian medicine!

Score:

***
***

2. Deathgasm (2015)

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This is a New Zealand splatstick comedy horror about a metal band named Deathgasm who play a Satanic song that manages to possess others and turn them into deadite-like monsters who proceed to kill everyone in sight. This movie is both uncompromisingly violent and darkly hilarious at the same time and metal culture is represented pretty accurately in a film for a change while still being tongue-in-cheek, they even got Emperor to appear on the soundtrack. The film resonated with me personally as I basically was the character Brodie in high school and features things like:

  • A jaw ripped off with dildo
  • A penis dismembered with weed whacker - followed by obligatory "whacking off" one liner.
  • Death by chainsaw sodomy.
  • Just re-read that last one again and really take in the words.

If scenes like that spark your curiosity I urge you to watch this, the most metal movie ever. For fans of Brain Dead, Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead and probably some other movies with the word "Dead" in the title. \m/

Score:

*****
*****

1. The Secret of NIMH (1982)

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Finally I can mark "watch The Secret of NIMH" off my bucket list (it's kind of an unimpressive bucket list). So I heard this is Don Bluth's magnum opus and I can see why, while in some places it could've used a little fine-tuning it makes up for it by having a tremendous amount of heart. I was surprised by just how invested I was in Mrs. Brisby's plight, she is a highly endearing character - I love her maybe because I have a soft spot for the strength of the single mother, I was raised by one. I heard this was a film known as childhood-killer, I'm not sure why... I guess Nicodemus is a little creepy but this is hardly Watership Down and I wouldn't think twice about showing to a child. In conclusion: loved the movie but not yet sure whether I like it better than The Land Before Time.

Score:

*****
*****

I stopped counting the cats... >_>

17 Comments

Wreath ranks the last 5 movies he watched... again

The first disappointing sequel in a long line of disappointing sequels (to diminishing returns).

5. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)

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David Cross is awesome in this! No-one else is, not even Jason Lee, whom I am usually a fan of. I can watch kid's movies but this one's just not particularly charming, I admit it does have some funny moments but they're all David Cross. The actual Chipmunks could've been worse, Simon and Theodore can be endearing but Alvin is just annoying as are the top 40 chart song choices ensuring this movie feels dated already. It isn't the worst thing (I have a feeling that honour goes the sequels... I'm not writing "squeakquel") but if I had kids I'd try to talk them out of watching it.

Score:

*
*

4. 30 Days of Night (2007)

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I didn't like this as much as I assumed I would, I still liked it but it felt disappointed by it for some reason. I liked the human characters, the acting and the story fine and the atmosphere of impending doom on the unsuspecting populace in the beginning is really well done, not to mention I think the concept is awesome. I think where it loses me a bit is the vampires themselves, they're not scary... Which would be fine if they had some personality but they're just unmemorable generic monsters who make me wish Keifer Sutherland was leading them (seriously, the coolest one was a little girl with barely any screen time). 30 Days of Night was cool in its own right and some great emotional scenes plus some respectable gore, I was just expecting better vampires.

Score:

** 1/2
** 1/2

3. The Collector (2009)

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Woot! Torture porn! Recommended to me based on my affection for Don't Breathe, the one similarity is basically that the movie is about a burglar who breaks into a home unassumingly finding himself in a horror movie already taking place, however this movie is considerably more sadistic with a masked killer who has armed a family home against them, turning every room into a torture chamber of traps - like a reverse Home Alone if it was written by Clive Barker... In fact, it would've made my day had The Collector unmasked himself to reveal an adult Macauly Culkin. The film is visceral and grinding asf but it's clear from the production values that 96% of the budget was dedicated to corn syrup and red food dye, not to mention the opening credits are a hilariously obvious rip-off of Se7en's. If you enjoy movie franchises like that of Saw and Hostel, totally check it out but if you're squeamish I'd avoid this (just know that I think you're a pussy :P) either way, after watching this movie I now live in a constant state of fear that one day I'll enter a room and instantly be tangled in fish hooks hanging from the ceiling.

Score:

***
***

2. Revolutionary Road (2008)

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Set in the chain-smoking 50's, newlywed couple Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have hopes and dreams and a passion for life until American suburban life murders their souls brutally. Basically a scathing piece on Cold War conformity and the "American Dream", Michael Shannon turns up too as (what else?) a crazy guy and instantly he's the coolest character in the movie, the acting as a whole is noticeably top-notch in this. Revolutionary Road is pretty bleak and soul-destroying but honestly, I like it a lot more than Titanic. I am so thankful I wasn't around for the McCarthy era, modern society really isn't so bad in retrospect. The moral of the story is: if you wanna go to France, shit or get off the pot.

Score:

****
****

1. The Fly (1986)

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Jeff Goldblum is sexy! I always thought he was cool but damn, I had no idea he was so ripped. He's like a Greek god - a quirky, awkward Greek god! Goddamn Jeff Goldblum is sexy! At least while has skin... On that note, this movie is disgusting! Admirably disgusting! I'd been meaning to see this for aeons, I have to admit other than A History of Violence I'm ignorant of David Cronenberg's filmography so it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. This movie was the shit, it totally lived up to it's legend in my opinion and I'm sure I'll watch it many times again in the future. Where did he get all those baboons from?

Score:

*****
*****

18 Comments

Wreath ranks the last 5 movies he watched

In this blog I shamelessly ripped off from a former Viner, I rank the last 5 movies I watched because I'm a one trick pony and something needs to keep me off the street. There's no rhyme or reason to the movies some I chose to watch, some I was outvoted on and some just happened to be on TV during a missing-remote incident.

But the point is: they did get watched.

Scratch that, there is no point to this. ^_^

5. Now You See Me 2 (2016)

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I kind of liked the first nowUCme until the end when Morgan Freeman was framed (who clearly didn't deserve it) and it was revealed that Mark Ruffalo was helping them (which for me sucked mostly because I had been loving Ruffalo's grumpy asshole cop performance until then) but this one was pretty meh. There are many things to like: the visuals, Daniel Radcliffe's character, Woody Harrelson's double performance and for the most part the actors seem to be enjoying themselves but there's a lot I also didn't like: Lizzy Caplan apparently got a lot of praise but I found her quite grating, the twists come seemingly for the sake of them, the general smugness of the Four Horsemen themselves - I actually wanted to see them get caught if only to take them down a peg a two and the fact that half the tricks have explanations and half I have to assume is actual magic... How the fk does someone manipulate the rain and then disappear into a puddle? The movie doesn't tell me. Probably because the movie doesn't know either...

Score:

**
**

4. Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason

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I haven't seen Bridget Jones' Diary but that didn't seem to hinder my first Bridget Jones experience and I wasn't too lost watching this one. I enjoyed it more than I expected considering this is one for the mothers and I am not one of those (I know my mum loves it), I like the Britishness of the humour although the slapstick is pretty cringeworthy and the movie is harmless fun, the actors seem to be enjoying themselves and Colin Firth and Hugh Grant have one of the best-worst fight scenes in movie history. Definitely not the worst comedy sequel out there but loses points for the presence of my least favourite Harry Potter character, Moaning Myrtle. Shudder...

Score:

**
**

3. Miss Potter (2006)

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This was on TV following the above movie and it was more up my alley having grown up with the books of Beatrix Potter. Renée Zellweger uses pretty much the same voice as Beatrix Potter as she does for Briget Jones and it sounds authentic at least to me, a foreigner. She's also kinda nutty talking to her drawings and seeing them come to life even in the presence of comapany. I liked the lead performances from Zellweger and Ewan McGregor who are both pretty loveable within the stuffy society they inhabit and I also really enjoyed the animated hallucinations but the movie ends at a point I assumed was only 3/4 of the way through on a note I felt underwhelmed by. I really liked Miss Potter but I wished it was longer.

Score:

***
***

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

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I'm just going to say it, this movie would've been better if it wasn't set in the Cloverfield universe or at least didn't have Cloverfield in its title. The movie keeps having John Goodman suggest, among other things, that maybe it's an alien invasion that's ocurring above them to show what a nutjob he is but the problem is we're expecting aliens because of the title. I believe Mary Elizabeth Winstead's discovery of the truth and "Oh, come on..." line would've become iconic in film history had it in any way also been a surprise to the audience as well. That said, I still really enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane especially John Goodman's performance with its little hints of psychopathy hiding around his gentle fatherly moments and I also really liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead which surprised me because, honestly, I thought she was actually kinda shitty in Scott Pilgrim vs the World... But yeah, 10 Cloverfield Lane - really awesome but also a bit of a missed opportunity to me.

Score:

***
***

1. Road to Perdition (2002)

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I totally regret waiting this long to watch this film, I loved this film! Gangster movies aren't usually my forte but I just ate this one up, the imagery is set out so beautifully - I especially liked the scene with all the newspapers among others that I imagine were included to bring the comic pages to life. I also really loved the dark, captivating score and scenes like in the diner had so much tension. The emotional climax of Mike's journey is very moving and Tom Hanks and Paul Newman really pulled it off in style, it seemed so appropriate the physical climax with Daniel Craig that followed was swift and without frills. Definitely one of my favourite CBMs, it made me want to hunt the graphic novel down. I couldn't help but notice certain similarities between this and the Liam Neeson film Run All Night. Hmm...

Score:

*****
*****

14 Comments

Top ten least favourite movies of all-time

Haven't done one in a while. For the record I don't like being negative, but I've been told I can be good at it so here's my bottom ten of all-time.

Now I'm not saying these are the worst movies ever I'm just saying... no screw it, I hate it when people say that, it lacks conviction... these are the worst movies ever! Those expecting the likes of Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Room, Food Fight and other triumphs of ineptitude will be disappointed - those movies are funny as shit and accidental masterpieces as far I'm concerned, they're awesome.

Disclaimer: If anything I wrote angers you I apologise but keep in mind I now identify as a cat so I think it's remarkable that I managed to write anything at all.

10. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

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The worst entry in my favourite slasher franchise, the F13 formula isn't hard to figure out so how does one screw it up this badly? Jason Voorhees can suddenly apparently possess people and can only be killed by a family member whom a fair amount of the characters here improbably turn out to be - these things never mentioned before or after this movie probably because it was an unnecessary and counter-productive idea, all it results in is a Jason-bereft film... Because apparently that's not who fans want to see... The film has some fun gore effects and cameos from both Freddy's hand and the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (both admittedly are cool moments) but its sins against F13 lore are unforgivable and if you're familiar with this how loose this franchise really is with continuity you'll know how hard it is to actually achieve "unforgivable" sins. Also, the score is even worse than Part 3's.

9. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1

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Trashing Twilight nowadays is like boxing a corpse, hardly a challenge and long past the point of serving a purpose - but this particular entry is like Ted Bundy's corpse so I still feel okay punching it postmortem. A movie that actually got me to yell "Something happen!" in a crowded cinema within the first 15 minutes (embarrassing the shit out of my concubine) and those first few scenes are unfathomably boring, well except for Billy Burke who was wonderful as the only normal person in this entire franchise. So basically Bella and Edward get married have unprotected and probably traumatic-to-watch sex which to the surprise of all leads to Bella becoming pregnant (who knew?), everyone wants her to abort it but Bella wants to have the baby even though it will kill her (we can only hope) and in the end the wolves decide to play coathanger but Jacob saves it by imprinting on it which I think means he marked his territory on the child and officially laid claim to all future coitus with the kid and who the **** writes this shit? Oh right, her.

8. God's Not Dead

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Wanna know what's awkward? Watching this with your ultra-Pentecostal family while trying not to fall out with them yet again. I've watched quite a few propaganda movies in the past and found this to be as hateful as any and while I contend it can be interesting to watch one where I am the target, that doesn't make it any less obnoxious. The thing proudly displays black and white mentality like Christians = lovely, Atheists = douchebags, Muslims = abusive, Gays & Catholics & other Non-Evangelical Christians & Any other religions = nonexistent, God's Not Dead is happy to lazily and hypocritically pander solely to those who already agree with its view of the world with zero effort dedicated to reaching out to non-believers - instead it actually comes off like the people behind it would rather alienate them further from the church which kind of counter-productive when it comes to preaching the gospel and, you know, saving souls which I was led to believe was a Christian prerogative, so even as a propaganda film it's a complete failure. Two fingers up.

7. Pearl Harbour

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Everything about this movie feels incredibly artificial and, yeah, that's what movies are but everything from the hokey performances, word-that-means-the-polar-opposite-of-subtle symbolism, the obviously fictional love story and worst of all complete apathy towards portraying the event and the people involved correctly. I'm neither American nor Japanese and even I'm offended by Michael Bay's allergy to history, in theory I'm not the biggest fan of the Hollywood take on history but when it's treated with some sensitivity and taken seriously it's been able to create some of my favourite films but Pearl Harbour can only be melodramatic and boring. Oh and I cannot believe how much I hate Ben Affleck's character in this.

6. Evan Almighty

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That Pentecostal family made me watch this too, yeah I don't visit much anymore. Tom Shadyac directed the wonderful Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty but it's tempting to say Jim Carrey really directed them because without Jim it's hard to tell he even has a sense of humour as Evan Almighty is loaded with some very funny actors and yet none of them are even close to being humorous here. Steve Carrell is forced to resort to having slapstick buffoonery in the scenes where he builds the ark, which just made me feel sorry for him since I like him as an actor. Unlike in Bruce Almighty where God tries to teach Bruce a meaningful lesson to help him and comes off likeable, he's a straight-up prick in this - he commands Evan to do his bidding while giving minimal information, making it as difficult as possible, ruining his life in the meantime and laughing about it all the way through, it's more Job than Noah.

5. Catwoman

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Nonsensical plot, godawful costume, risible CGI, complete and total detachment from the source material - forget about all of that, I want to talk about Alex Borstein because no-one ever does... Alex Borstein is by far the worst thing in this! She makes a painful movie excruciating and yet it's Halle Berry who gets all the hair-balling - she did the best she could with the material given and you try acting while on catnip! The only thing that could've saved this is if the entire cast were replaced with cats. Real cats.

4. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

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When you're directing a movie designed to sell toys to children you could at least not shoot your lead actress like she's a porn star. While the previous movie had some likable characters (I even laughed at "I ate the whole plate") this time every single human is irritating and/or boring but I'm going to single out Sam Witwicky's mother as the worst for that horrible scene in which a pot brownie somehow causes her to lose all consciousness of reality - why are movies with pot-related scenes frequently written by people who've clearly never done pot before? The best thing I can say about Transformers 2 is its use of professional voice actors in an age when most animated movies are marketed based on celebrity voices... You'd think I'd say the action but there's so many goddamn pixels in every robot fight scene I can't tell who's who or often WTF is even going on, it may as well be white noise. Damn kids today.

3. Made of Honour

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I've seen a lot of rom-coms and they're generally a flavourless gruel consisting of bland characters, lame humour and predictable clichés - I believe Made of Honour is the worst example of this that I've seen. Patrick Dempsey is best friends with Michelle Monaghan but he can only tell dogs he loves them not humans (yep, real plot-point) and thus they don't realize that love was in front of them the whole time until she goes to Scotland and suddenly gets engaged to Prince Kevin McKidd (too good for this shit) who is perfect in every way. Since much of this thing is set in Scotland we basically every stereotype gag Groundskeeper Willie did better from "kilt resembles a skirt" to "Scoots be har-r-r-rd to oonder-r-r-rstund!". She realizes she's with the wrong dude at dinner when he politely expresses he'd rather her ask for a taste of his meal rather than her help herself to his plate, which is surely a deal-breaker if ever there was one. This movie is super lazy and the highlight is seeing Patrick Dempsey get punched in the face.

2. New Years Eve

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This is probably the most insufferable film I've ever seen and I know that because for some reason I've seen it more than once. There is one reason it exists, easy paychecks and here they are:

  • Hilary Swank: In charge of the New Years Eve confetti or something. Has OCD or something.
  • Ashton Kutcher: Some asshole who hates New Years Eve (that's not me making a self-reference).
  • Michelle Pfeiffer: Has a bunch of resolutions she is willing to do what is obviously cheating to accomplish these. This is a really odd performance.
  • Zac Efron: Helps Michelle cheat on her resolutions. Loudly ridicules her while on the phone despite being fully aware she's in the vicinity.
  • Jessica Biel: Preggers and wants to give birth first at midnight to win prize money, probably the stupidest plot in the movie. During the credits she gives birth to a Valentines Day dvd thus confirming she was impregnated by Satan.
  • Robert DeNiro: Makes up the all too small death toll in this movie.
  • Halle Berry: Nurse who takes Robert outside in the freezing cold to see the ball drop which probably prematurely kills him.
  • Katherine Heigl: Yeah, next...
  • Jon Bon Jovi: Musician with an unbelievably bland stage name, understandably ran away from Katherine now wants to get back together with her, strangely enough. Ends up running out on a concert he was advertised for, this would normally anger fans and promoters but it's okay because he did it for love.
  • Lea Michele: Bon Jovi's back up singer, stuck in elevator with Ashton Kutcher, I honestly don't know which one I feel more sorry for. When Bon Jovi ditches his concert she is randomly promoted to the star of his set.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker: Tight-assed mother of Abigail Breslin.
  • Abigail Breslin: Insolent daughter of Sarah Jessica Parker.
  • John Lithgow: He's John Lithgow... so naturally he's the best thing in this movie. He has barely any screen time.
  • Josh Duhamel: Needs to get to NY to reunite with mystery woman (SJP) hitches ride with Lisa Simpson - these scenes are very hard to get through.
  • Sofia Vergara: A sentient torture device, I cannot understate how f***ing annoying this character is!
  • Cary Elwes: A doctor who gets chained in a mysterious bathroom and is eventually forced to cut his own foot off to escape. This all happens off-screen, by the way. In my mind, the other characters share similar fates, Sofia suffers the most.

1. Alice in Wonderland (2010)

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This is it. This is number one. Though it's difficult to say this is objectively a worse movie than some of the above entries, what I do know is that none of them managed to objectively piss me off as much as this one. None of them actually had me ask the cinema receptionist for a refund which is not something I would ever normally do to someone just doing their job (I didn't get one anyway, so I'm even more pissed off at it) but I really felt betrayed this time and the reason is because I was genuinely excited for this one. Believe it or not Tim Burton is my favourite director not because I love all of his movies but because I love half and I loathe half, there is no middle ground with Burton I either want to make out with him or beat the living shit out of him - but the point is that I always care (maybe a little too much I admit) and no other filmmaker consistently provokes such wildly different but equally extreme reactions. Oh and it really is Johnny Depp who manages to be the worst thing in this, at least with most of his other cartoon character performances- I get it but here I don't even understand what he's trying to do I just understand that I hate it and any time he's onscreen I just want him to piss off. I paid to see Disney's Alice in Wonderland (you know, like the stupid movie is called) and was excited as I grew up with the original on tape and instead I get Maybe the Wrong Alice Maybe Returns to Won.. Underland, at least Hook didn't call itself Peter Pan... My favourite part of this movie was when the March Hare said "Spoon." Yes my fondest memory of a movie I greatly anticipated ended up being the word "Spoon"... "Spoon"!!!!

Normally I'd do honourable mentions but this list was kinda depressing and I regretted doing it at all half way through writing it so I'd just like to end here because movies are dumb and now I hate them and stuff...

Fine... I hate Maleficent, Tekken and High School Musical too...

Previous movie lists:

Seriously, ****ing "Spoon"!!!

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My 50 favourite Comic Book Movies (part 4) The final five

Here's the end. These are the best. Indisputable.

5. Batman Begins

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I admit I underappreciated this for years but when it plays nowadays I can't help but see how tightly sound it is. Its telling of Bruce's story is quite brilliant in bringing him into a ground hyper-realist world which is an approach to making cbms that has gradually fallen out of favour during the decade since its release, but it can argued that approach was what needed to happen at the time and without it these movies would not be garnering the respect (or the box office that came with it) they receive today. Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow is particularly underrated.

4. X-Men 2

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Flashy, charismatic villains are fine but eventually they kind of defeat the purpose of a villain, to be despicable. William Stryker is one of if not the greatest villain in a CBM - it is quite possibly impossible for anyone to root for him and Brian Cox is excellent in the role. Of course he is slightly upstaged by Alan Cummings' Nightcrawler who provides what is still one of the very greatest action sequences in movie history. Wolverine is also much improved as are most the others with the painful exception of Cyclops who is benched and not for the last time.

3 Batman Returns

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Batman Returns holds a very special place in my heart for numerous reasons... One being that this was the very first comic book movie I ever saw and I still never tire of it, it is so batshit insane that only Tim Burton could've created it but thankfully the director leans far more toward his endearing trademarks than his obnoxious ones. Gotham City has never looked cooler than here the added factor of it being winter makes it the most Gothic Gotham that ever Gothed and I love it that way. The movie has a flaw though, a big flaw in the form of Burton no longer being interested in exploring the character of Bruce Wayne. He is however greatly interested in the villains, turning Penguin from a gentleman crime lord into a psychopathic sideshow attraction may be controversial but Danny DeVito commits so enthusiastically you can't help but be charmed while you're repulsed by him. But now let's get to the best part, Catwoman steals (waka waka) the movie with a stitched up catsuit reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein (the city which destroyed her also pieced her back together as its own nightmare... that's the best I can do with it) and she couldn't be yummier. Pure freak show entertainment from start to finish.

2. Akira

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This is super-mega-awesome, anyone who read my animation blog knows my devotion to Akira. It's such a beautifully grotesque story, I couldn't help but relate to Tetsuo and honestly who among us wouldn't have done the same thing in his position... I actually think Akira can work as a live action if it has a big enough budget and an R rating.

1. The Crow

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Trying to think of the right words to describe this movie and what it means to me can be difficult but I can assure you it isn't just down to one thing. The visuals images are a big factor, this is where Alex Proyas shines brightest and I use that expression loosely because the unnamed city in which this story takes place makes Gotham City look like Shangri-La. Eric says "It can't rain all the time" and yet... that's exactly what seems to happen... The framing of the shots were just born to be iconic and every single performance is on key, I believe there are no weak links the acting department, everyone from Ernie Hudson to Michael Wincott makes their role memorable. Onto Brandon, even if he hadn't died on set I remain certain this would've been the movie that defined him, fate just sadly made sure of that. Above all, everything about the film just speaks to me personally and it remains my favourite comic book movie of all time and probably forever... but I hope not.

Oh and it has the greatest soundtrack ever! :P

hm: a history of violence from hell men in black batman mask of phantasm batman under the red hood x-men all star superman green lantern: emerald knights the mask ghost world trick r treat

Now onto those poor devils, the honourable mentions. These didn't make the cut for various reasons including, embarrassingly enough, me forgetting their existence until now. In no order they are:

  • A History of Violence
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
  • Men In Black
  • Batman
  • RED
  • Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
  • From Hell
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood
  • Trick 'r Treat
  • X-Men
  • All Star Superman
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
  • Ghost World

I hope it was as enlightening for you as it was exhausting for me.

Previous movie lists:

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My 50 favourite Comic Book Movies (part 3) THE TOP TEN!

These are my top ten pre-2016 picks. I hope you appreciate how difficult ordering this whole thing was.

This time you do have to agree with me.

10. V For Vendetta

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Trivia: Guy Fawkes was not an anarchist but a fanatical catholic, his intention during the Gunpowder Plot was to assasinate the protestant King James 1 to reinstate a catholic monarch, ironically this would've resulted in more restrictions placed on the general public, all of this has nothing to do with the movie - I'm just "that guy"...

Onto the, uh thing, Hugo Weaving's vivacious visage from behind the mask at all times is verily victorious particularly regarding his vocal virility, Natalie Portman looks visually vibrant with a shaved head (to each their own) and casting John Hurt as a the face on a big screen is just beautifully self-aware. Did you notice how quickly I gave up on that shit?

9. Snowpiercer

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The future is a chilly place and the only shelter is a long train in perpetual motion supposedly housing what is left of the world's population arranged by economic status (wealthy at the front, poor at the back) this is done despite the fact that there is no actual noticeable economy in this post-apocalyptic world. So why shove these poor losers up the back in the shittiest carriage? Seemingly for no other reason than fulfill a sense of order/power fix for those who came up with idea. Creating the perfect mood for a social uprising: unsurprisingly these poor bastards revolt against front carriage bourgeois assholes introducing anarchy to such socialite scum as those found in the kindergarten carriage. A claustrophobic game of cat and mouse complete with a hobo Captain America swinging an axe around like Che Guevara and Jack Torrance's love child.

8. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

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Another frustrating film in that it's so good yet we still haven't gotten the follow-up and probably never will, Ron Perlman's no spring chicken. Though sadly missing David Hyde Pierce (though he left for the classiest reasons the same reasons he refused to be credited for the first film - dude is awesome), even Seth MacFarlane is tolerable... And bear in mind I find that very difficult to write.

7. Blue Is The Warmest Colour

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Before one takes this as a recommendation I will state it's 3 hours long, entirely en français and revolves around a young woman's sexual awakening and subsequent reconsideration of her orientation (so little to no explosions). I enjoy films about the struggles of leaving childhood/entering adulthood so it was up my alley and I truly believed the lesbian attraction in this, the women have great chemistry and it in no way came off exploitative but simply as a life taking an unexpected turn. Also, I think blue hair looks cool. My favourite French movie since Amélie.

Trivia question: This movie is 178 minutes of well acted, realistic drama and about 1 minute of well acted, realistic lesbian scissoring. Can you guess which minute my wife (and her friends) just happened to walk in on me watching? ^_^

6. Super

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In my view, the funniest of all superhero films and James Gunn's best. Basically Kick-Ass only more morbid, so to me - superior, it gives me hope that one of the jokes in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be Rocket getting skinned alive so let's hope there isn't too much studio interference. I have nothing against Ellen Page as I think she's very talented but for some reason I just enjoy watching

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My 50 favourite Comic Book Movies (part 2)

Again, you don't have to agree with it.

But you should...

25. Wonder Woman

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My favourite DC animated film, Keri Russell is fine as Diana and my only complaint is that she isn't Susan Eisenberg (admittedly, a stupid complaint) and the rest of the cast are as great as their names would lead you to believe: Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen and my beloved Tara Strong. However, if anyone steals the movie it's Rosario Dawson's Artemis, who has since gone on to take over as the voice of Wondy herself. Two things that really land are 1. the humour, all these years later and this release still has the best lines from this team and 2. the violence, stabbings and decapitations cameo quite a bit leaving the previous Batman and Superman quite lacking in the balls department when compared to Wonder Woman - ironically enough...

24. Spider-Man 2

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A conundrum for me as although it remains a great film it still features some things that will never not annoy me. I don't know what it is about Tobey Maguire but he just makes my skin crawl sometimes... Maybe it's that weird grin and slow way he responds to people onscreen... And it's hard to believe Kirsten Dunst could be so bland as MJ when she a decade before this she was so awesome as the Vampire Claudia at the age of 11... And what was with that MJ marrying Jameson's kid plotline? Eh, I guess I give that a pass since it gave JK Simmons more screen time and that's always a good thing. But enough bitching, Alfred Molina (him again?) gives on the all-time great villain performances and that train sequence still looks as awesome as it always did and Peter's attempts to balance superheroing and his everyday life were beautifully included.

23. 300

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Seems like a lifetime ago when this first came out it and became a pop-culture sensation but I remember sitting in the cinema absolutely mesmerized by the dynamic visuals. Not to mention being somewhat of a history junkie at the time I was generally in love with any movie took me back to another era (accurately or not). It is certainly a unique film endlessly both ripped off and parodied but the creativity on display earns it its fame and Gerard Butler is ferocious - which is what he does best and is what he should stick to/no rom-coms dude! - but he is backed up by other fine characters most notably Rodrigo Santoro's charismatic and flamboyant Xerxes whos extravagant nature draws a line between him and the raw, practical hyper-masculine Spartans. I give it a pass for its black and white mentality as it's narrated by a Spartan to inspire his troops - it's supposed to be propaganda.

22. Dredd

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I'm a total sucker for a gritty cyber-punk and Dredd ticks many boxes on the cool scale in the BW mentality. Karl Urban is an actor who deserves to be bigger and one who should be given much credit for agreeing to keep his face hidden throughout the film, the man brings pure grizzled badassery to the role knowing he'd gain little fame for it, I really respect that. He's not the only one who excels either, Olivia Thirlby's Anderson brings a refreshing innocence to this violent world while Lena Heady's Ma-Ma remains one of my favourite CBM villains. Perhaps one day we will finally get a sequel... Perhaps...

21. The Dark Knight Rises

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I find this to be a unique superhero film mostly based around the fact the hero has given so much for his city and yet Bruce feels he must give it everything and to a point one must suspect in the end after all the tragedy he has endured he truly wants to, the beautiful part is he doesn't however: he gives Gotham only what it needs from him and is at last ready to live his life for himself as finally has learnt to love himself as he has loved his city. As far as the new additions are concerned: Joseph Gordon Levitt gives a typically good performance but it is hard to see the purpose of his characters existence until the end and I don't believe that really hit the mark, Anne Hathaway impressed me greatly taking on Selina Kyle (not something I believe she was capable of originally) and her introductory scene in Wayne Manor is one my favourite moments and Tom Hardy's intelligent monster Bane, whom to say left an impression would be an understatement, he may just be the most quotable figure in the trilogy and that's saying something.

20. The Incredibles

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Brad Bird is the man when it comes to animation and The Incredibles is to many his magnum opus (not to me however, my heart belongs to a certain rodent chef movie), the modern-retro/Silver Age look is an interesting setting and the secret agent aspects that sneak in are also noteworthy but what really makes it so special is the family dynamic, Brad Bird said the running theme is the mundane meeting the fantastic and it shows through gags like husband and wife Mr. Incredible and Elasti-Girl pursuing the villain while arguing over directions not to mention the whole family fighting over the remote during the climax. What I especially is love how they come together as a team yet remain individuals as each character has their own arc meaning it's quite up in the air which member stands out to the individual viewer (personally for me, it was Violet), this practice is what all superhero team films should strive for...

19. Iron Man

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Iron Man has three things that stand out: 1. a memorable start - after an unexpectedly realistic and plausible attack on Tony Stark and the military he is accompanied by Tony finds himself held hostage by terrorists in a scene nobody expected to see in a superhero movie in 2008, looking back this scene is considerably brutal for the future Disney-owned studio. 2. a memorable end - casting aside the idea of a secret identity with such an exclamation point was something unseen before in a superhero movie. And 3. a charismatic performance to carry everything in between which cannot be understated as most of plot is fairly standard, it just hits those points very well. All these things combined with some beautiful use of Black Sabbath made Iron Man irresistible.

18. Persepolis

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Marjane Satrapi's first hand account of the Iranian Revolution and subsequent pilgrimage to Europe and return to Iran is filled to the brim with her encounters of hypocrisy, prejudice, intolerance and superficiality throughout her journey. Marjane herself is the best thing in the film as from a child to adult her remains a rebellious spitfire unafraid to speak her mind and even when defeated to point of a suicide attempt she gets back up to live her life the way she wants with tenacity and humour constantly learning from her mistakes with a little help from the ultimate tag team of God and Karl Marx.

17. X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Let me get my unpopular opinion out of the way first... I think that Quicksilver scene is cool... But not that cool! Jokes about speedsters doing things so fast they become annoying is not entertaining to me (I didn't care for it when The Flash did it on the JLU cartoon) and I say that as someone who loves Evan Peters on American Horror Story! Okay now onto the rest of the movie, I honestly think this is the best Professor X movie so far, McAvoy gives the best performance of anyone here in my opinion and seeing him meet Patrick Stewart was one genuinely beautiful scene. Points must also be given considering how easily the concept of this movie could've collapsed under itself and yet it didn't. I greatly prefer The Rogue Cut however.

16. Hellboy

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One of the only movies on this list to star someone who personally kissed me twice... I'll never tell who... ^_^

Having a thing for demonic superheroes as I do, and having a thing for Guillmero del Toro as I do, naturally I'm quite endeared to Hellboy. I love the actors, the score, the Lovecraftian monsters an Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is without a doubt one of the most terrifying villains in CBM history. Poor Rasputin - a real historical person slandered in fiction as a figure of pure evil more or less just for being a powerful weirdo. The dvd includes an old animated version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart... That has nothing to do with the movie I just find it awesome!

Okay, okay it was Doug Jones... Shhh... ;)

15. When the Wind Blows

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What happens when an old British couple are forced to face nuclear fallout assuming it will be similar to the Second World War they previously went through? The answer is really depressing shit... But the animation style is unique featuring hand drawn over stop motion and the actual sight of Armageddon unfolding is awesome! Was that last part a tasteless comment? The loveable old fogies never give up hope their government is coming to rescue them oblivious to the fact the instructions they're following are just to ensure their eventual corpses are easy to locate. I think that deserves a sad face. :(

14. Thor

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I've always been a mythology junkie particularly Norse mythology as it's my heritage so naturally Thor is my favourite Marvel character and I never thought that ever see a Thor movie as I considered him a somewhat unadaptable franchise. So you can imagine my excitement when the credits to Iron Man 2 finished and there was Mjolnir in the middle of a crater! Fanboy-Squee! The movie itself did not disappoint me as I knew to save on budget it would be mostly Midgard-set. I really appreciate them focusing on a character-driven story between the brothers and surprisingly for a movie about gods I saw a lot subtlety in the performances of the two (just look at Thor's eyes when Loki tells his own mother has forbidden his return). I'd also like to say this was the actual first real big risk Marvel ever took, Guardians was never a risk.

13. Watchmen

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Giving "the greatest graphic novel ever written" often considered un-adaptable to a young former music video director on his third feature-length film, spending 130 million on getting it made and then hiring nobody famous to star in it and releasing it in what is traditionally considered the worst month to release a movie... What were we saying about risky? WB had quite a set on them by actually attempting this (or maybe it just got greenlit via misunderstood sarcasm) and in my view it paid off, having not read Watchmen when it first came out the film blew my mind at how unique it was and had to look up this "Zack Snyder" and found he had previously made Dawn of the Dead and 300, two other movies that blew my mind on one level or another. Maybe this dude has a future.

I want to mention that I strongly recommended to everyone I know (all non-comic book readers) that they go see this movie. Not one came back from it with a positive response and 2 were genuinely angry with me for being the one responsible for them watching it...

12. Ghost in the Shell

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The movie that totally sold me on becoming a cyborg because I wanna survive fighting a tank, turn invisible and be able to type 100 words a second... But then maybe I already am one if DNA is a program designed to preserve itself and nature is merely the beta test for a fully computerized world which is the next natural step in evolution because why else would evolution have given us the means to take that step? But the would we be considered living or just sentient? Ugh, this movie has always messed with my head. Please do not adapt it into a live action Hollywood blockbuster, it wouldn't work! And besides they already did that, it's called The Matrix and it's completely different... Do you know why? Because they realized it wouldn't work!

11. The Dark Knight

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What can I write about this that hasn't been written already? Not a lot... The things I like: Aaron Eckhart, the score, the preference given to practical effects, Maggie Gyllenhaal as a more believable Rachel, the chase, the memorable lines and that fantastic interrogation scene. Thing I did not like: if you consider Gotham City a character in itself (and many do) then it's my favourite Batman character but not here - The Dark Knight's Gotham has no unique feel and could basically be any city and that's not due to the realism of this trilogy as (to a degree) Gotham did live up to its foreboding reputation in Batman Begins but here it's just a city. But this movie really did leave me quite astonished the first six times I watched it. The Joker's pretty cool in it too.

That's part 2. ^_^

I know I said it would be 25-1 but... I guess... That makes me a liar, huh? ^_^

Part 3 will be done before the release of Batman v Superman. It will have to be if I don't want it to get buried.

Must remember to self-promote more... Previous movie lists:

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