…that I missed a few:
Rawhead Rex (1986) – Pre-Hellraiser Clive Barker that deserves a little more credit than it gets. This one also deeply upset me as a child.
Dogs (1976) – another pointless memory from childhood, or more specifically, of watching the local “Creature Feature” late each Saturday night.
Scream (1996) – Look, it’s clever.
Wacko! (1981) – Totally f*cked-up spoof. One of the first. A must see.
Wait Until Dark (1967) – How can you go wrong with Alan Arkin and Audrey Hepburn? This movie should be afforded the credit that Rosemary’s Baby garners.
Toxic Zombies (1980) – Yes, I fall for So Bad It’s Good. One of the many anti-drug, incredibly bloody for the time horror flicks shot in rural Florida. It was supposed to be set in Kentucky.
Alone in the Dark (1982) – A totally crooked attempt at making a slasher film, and it features great scene-chewing by some of the best scene-chewers: Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, and Martin Landau. Watching Jack Palance stumble into a punk rock show is worth whatever time it takes to seek this one out.
Martin (1977) – George A. Romero’s lost classic that gets overshadowed by what it fell between: Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Skip The Crazies. Truthfully, this is sort of a beautiful movie.
Slither (2006) – This movie is so much fun, despite its thieving nature. For fans of early Cronenberg.
1. The Tenant (1976) – Scarier than Rosemary’s Baby. Might cure you of apartment buildings.
2. Duel (1971) – When did filmmakers stop using the unknown?
3. Near Dark (1987) – Vulnerability is always a nice addition to horror villains. A great film.
4. Session 9 (2001) – Modern horror at its best, without a reliance on gore.
5. Rituals (1977) – When I was rather young, this movie scared the living shit out of me. A blatant Deliverance rip-off, but worth a look.
6. The Mothman Prophecies (2002) – I’m not joking. This movie did indeed contain moments that scared me. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t be taking movie advice from an amateur UFO nut.
7. The Vanishing (1988 – the original) – I’ve always had a problem with how this movie left me feeling in the end, but I respect it.
8. A Friend Like Harry (2000) – I don’t know. Just see it.
9. The Exorcist III (1990) – Best third sequel ever made.
10. The Changeling (1980) – George C. Scott’s great freak-out period of 1979 – 1981.
11. The Last House on the Left (1972) – Just keep thinking “1972.”
12. The Thing (1982 – remake) – When John Carpenter was being interviewed for Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments, he was wearing a band-aid over his recently removed forehead mole.
…my focus should have been on unoriginality, stupidity, and predictability of my targets. It’s not that I’m really “offended.” It’s just moronic and tired.
I mean, come on.
For all fans of “mumblecore” and Miranda July, it’s time to see how a real movie is made. The Assassination of Jesse James will be my number one movie of the year. I also recently viewed Straight Time on DVD for the first time, though that stands as what may be my 33rd time to watch it. Worth it for the short Edward Bunker/making-of documentary alone, this was also one of the only instances in which I’ve endured a commentary feature (the other notable example: R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet). Dustin Hoffman and Ulu Grosbard fire off loose but fascinating facts about this overlooked classic. Then there’s Mamet. You are reading the unfocused ramblings of a David Mamet fanatic, and he is now mentioned because, at this very moment, I’m watching House of Games.
This all-around level of quality causes me to further dismiss what’s considered “indie” and especially the ”mumblecore” idiocy that resides under its umbrella. I recently attended a local film festival – an “indie” film festival - in which I viewed a couple of films that disturbed me to the core with ineptitude, lack of meaning, lack of talent, and a troublesome dearth of original ideas. One of these films won. Executing a script in which nothing happens, something intentional and done with pride, is not an admiral feat. Supporters and practitioners of Mumblecore need to disappear if films, films as a whole, are to move in decent direction.
This being a Southern film festival, there was the requisite yet infuriating degree of slumming. I have no time for morons dressed up like rednecks, country-sounding pseudonyms, or any other example of Southern exploitation carried out by hipsters unfamiliar with rural existences or that hail from another part of the country. I’m a little regionally protective, thus naturally appalled by this type of crap. Actually, no, you are not allowed to do these things even if you are from the South. Check your presentation. If anything, it’s tired and boring. Another problem with these films (and their makers) is the calculated ignorance and dignified Luddite drive. People that make films should watch films. They should also watch TV. A paltry frame of reference is not beneficial or something to be proud of. It makes you what you are: Illiterate in your field. Many of these filmmakers like to state this bit of applesauce: “I make movies for myself, not for other people.” I’ll leave you with that bit of nonsense.