Friday, March 9, 2012

Best Horror Films of 2011

Here’s the deal on Mister: he looks like Charles Bronson only his lip fro isn’t as thin and Asiatic as Bronson’s was throughout his career. But Mister definitely puts in time on his chin pedestal.

We start off with an eczema-faced dude biting into a crying baby, but before he can finish the job, Mister shows up and splits his face with a round-headed shovel before running a couple of his buddies through with a machete. Next, Mister takes the monsters’ young kin under his wing, making it his undying (fingers crossed) mission to transport him to the continent’s “New Eden.”

A sharp script, intriguing characters and gory suspense provide a fresh edge to an otherwise familiar story. It’s a cross-breed of vampire legend with apocalyptic scenarios that is both ferocious and lyrical. It’s just maybe the best tear-your-jugular, booze on blood vampire flick since Let the Right One In. A scene that witnesses a fundamentalist militia dropping vampires on a small town like nuclear bombs is worth the price of admission.

Q. Who was the most famous ghost detective?
A. Sherlock Moans.

Following in his footsteps in The Innkeepers is Claire and Luke, employees of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, confident the hotel is haunted and determined to prove it. Between squabbling with eccentric guests and arguing the merits of internet porn, the winsome pair take to the floral-patterned halls with a cassette player and rudimentary microphone to coax the spirit of a bride who offed herself pre-vows in the hotel basement. A delightful attempt to recreate a classic ghost tale, The Innkeepers works on two levels. On the surface it is commendably simplistic ghost story. On a deeper level, the picture is a comment on the movie-going experience. The novice ghosthunters scour the halls for ghosts. They are occasionally bewildered by what they see and often scared. Yet, they don’t really believe in ghosts; there is no real threat. Likewise, we substitutionally endure their horror, yet get to stroll out of the theater safe and sound.

The latest in the string of faux documentaries trying to capture Heather Donahue’s mucus-magic formula, Troll Hunter follows a trio of Norwegian college students who discover the mythical creatures they read about as kids are more than just fantasy. You see, it seems a few of the supernatural buggers have escaped from their territory and the recent spate of bear slayings in the area is not the result of fanatical poachers, but a government cover-up aimed at concealing the existence of the mischievous rascals.

Both technically strong and delightfully silly, Troll Hunter manages to both mock its waning genre while also delighting in its conventions. Trolls apparently abhor Christians. A scene that witnesses the student’s debating the troll’s potential reaction to their new Muslim team member is hilarious. And the trolls are awesome.

You know the old story of a group of young city slickers who run into a pair of rifle-wielding mountain men at the edge of an uncharted body of water only to be beaten and tortured? This ain’t it. What this is is a hilariously disgusting, delightfully gory tale of mistaken identity. A pair of rednecks on vacation in the mountains are mistaken for homicidal hillbillies by a group of snobbish college kids who misinterpret their neighborly gestures as signs of murderous intent.

Not the most neurologically stimulating experience, however, the endearing qualities of its central characters crossed with its humorous application of slasher film conventions and its slapstick sensibility make this one-joke interlude one of the best horror-comedies in a long while.
Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a destructive, telekinetic, pulsating tire with an obsession for desert women flick, you know?

The movie struggles to satisfy the length requirements of a feature and is never quite as clever as it thinks it is, yet this one-joker is extremely entertaining. It’s a surreal picture that maintains a balance between the macabre and the mundane similar to the films of Lynch. Its screw-ball brew of slasher conventions and self-referential humor will have you harking back for days.

Still love the line, “(The Tire’s) been reincarnated as a tricycle.”