Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 10

2000 to 2009. A decade that I rank as pretty lame, as far as pop culture goes. 9-11, cell phones, the death of the recorded music industry, George Bush destroys the world, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, Obama. That's basically it. For a cinephile, the past ten years make the 70s, 80s and early 90s look like an amazing golden age of amazingness, which they were. Amid the crappy remakes, CGI fueled brainlessness and nonstop plundering of past eras which were far more creatively fertile, there were some really, really good movies. Or at least movies I liked. Here's my list of the top ten, in installments. I promise I will finish this list by the end of this rad decade.

10. Wrong Turn (2003).

Female lead Eliza Dushku is from Arlington, MA. The lighting in this movie strangely seems to highlight the area just below the nape of her neck and above the beginning of her tank top. The lighting technicians were either European or just rascals.

Horror nerds and Rue Morgue Magazine subscribers (same thing) are no doubt turning their noses way up right now, but I'll tell you something. For you spoiled little pricks that just got into horror movies yesterday because the tranny you are dating likes them, there was a time when hardcore, gory, gritty, horror movies were a thing of the past. I've been a horror movie fan my entire life, and in the late 90s, early 00s, the genre was dead. I had no interest in the endless stream of lame teenie bopper horror films like I Know What You Did The Last Time You Frosted Your Tips, Urban Blemish, and so on. Basically every single 'horror movie' from 1997 until this one featured about 6 or so faces that would be recognizable to basic cable subscribers on the cover all in the same lame lineup. Lame. The whole idea of 'grindhouse, hardcore, gory, shocking' horror was completely missing from theatrically released films. I was "helping" my friends move out of our house on Logtown Road in Amherst, summer of 2003. I was mainly helping by going to Video Gallery in Belchertown (they had weird, crappy stuff that Video To Go didn't even have) everyday and renting 5 horror movies, then getting drunk and watching them with my friends at the house. Needless to say, we didn't get our security deposits back. I glanced at the free, weekly tome of effete bullshit (except for Jon Keane's old food column) which was "The Valley Advocate" and saw a review for something called Wrong Turn. Those snobby pricks gave it 1 star and said that it was a trashy, gore-filled, brainless backwoods slasher film that harkened back to the 80s and 70s. I showed it to my friends, and we immediately agreed that we needed to see it. Horror movies were so incredibly lame at this point in time that we were completely prepared to be let down. We made some mixed drinks, and just settled in to watch some crap. We were surprised. That movie kicked ass. Supremely gory, suspenseful, just cheesy enough but not intentionally cheesy.... I remember being really impressed with how irony-free this ridiculously gory and nasty film was. It really was the first American horror film that ushered in this "let's take it back to the 80s" movement. I feel that that trend has run its course, with everything down to Nail Gun Massacre getting a big budget, music video director remake these days. Not to mention all the wussy Twilight style crap out there. (I like True Blood, but that show is awesome and not wussy and lame at all.) On that August night, which does not feel like it was 6 and a half years ago, in the Hadley Mall, with a rum and coke in my hand, I had one of the most fun times I've ever had at a movie. Sneer all you want, horror nerds, but I love this movie, and it holds up really well. You can watch it today and its way better than many of the other 'throwback' horror films that followed in its wake. People love this movie, as well. Nobody I've ever shown it to for the first time has not liked it. Including people that thought it looked terrible.

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