Coroner's ReportA couple of times each year I like to take a moment to just look at how horror is coming along in the year. Take a look back and what we’ve seen this year so far and gaze into the future of what’s still to come.

Thus far, 2010 has been fairly underwhelming overall, and the horror scene has been no different on the big screen. We got, as usual, a bunch of remakes – at least four theatrical so far come to mind – and very few standouts. Perhaps the biggest news of the year in terms of horror was the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street being critically panned by everyone except me, but performing well enough to merit sequel considerations. On DVD, Roger Corman has been thrust back into the spotlight with Shout! Factory’s re-releasing of his massive library.

For me, the theatrical horror flicks I think are worth mentioning in a positive light are:

  • Nightmare on Elm Street. I thought the film was great, personally. It was slick, modern, had a great score and great effects. The original is still a good film and I think this remake stands fairly tall in the NOES library. (My review.)
  • Frozen. Adam Green burst onto my radar with the release of the excellent Hatchet, and this year his small wolf and snow filled film was the talk of the town. It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 28th.
  • The Crazies. Probably in the running for top horror film of the year, this Timothy Olyphant vehicle kicked all sorts of ass, had a high kill count, and a decent amount of messed up stuff going on. If you haven’t seen it yet, pick it up on Blu-ray today.

On the negative side of things:

  • Legion. You’d think Angels with Machine Guns would be a good and interesting film, but this snoozer fell flat.
  • Wolfman. While the film received better reviews for the extended cut available on home video, in theaters Wolfman didn’t have enough spark or development to keep an audience entertained, despite the excellent leads.
  • Piranha 3D. How this film has become a media darling in the online circles is beyond me. While I enjoyed the film on a base level and appreciated the spectacle it created, a flat post-conversion 3D tempered some of the fun, while a total lack of character development or interest removed the heart from the film. I sort of consider Piranha’s nudity and gore to be like still images of porn. Sure, it’s interesting to look at, but you’re not all that interested in what’s going on. (My review.)

On the home video front, there are two things worthy of note:

  • You’re probably never going to see an American release of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. It’s time to just give up on it and do like Rob Hunter suggests and order the Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk. I’ve done so and the movie will play just fine on your Blu-ray player. You probably won’t be able to watch the special features, but the disc is pretty bare anyways.
  • The Roger Corman Cult Classics Collection from Shout! Factory is kicking all sorts of ass. Past favorites and some long forgotten films are getting amazing treatment in terms of extras and Blu-ray transfers. You should pick up Piranha, Humanoids from the Deep, and Forbidden World on Blu-ray now and keep an eye out for the Slumber Party Massacre 3-Pack coming out later this year.

Looking into the next few months, there are a few things that my interest piqued, coming to theaters and straight to DVD. Here’s a quick checklist for what to keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Resident Evil: Afterlife. While early looks seem to show some truly in your face 3D and a mind numbing amount of CGI, the Resident Evil series often proves to be fun, so this is worth a look. 9/10
  • Devil. An interesting looking trailer about people trapped in an elevator. If you can get passed the “From the Mind of M. Night” or whatever, you might find something to enjoy here. Most audiences  viewing the trailer have just found laughter at his name. 9/17
  • Hatchet II. A follow-up to the very fun, old-school slasher film from Adam Green, this is being released in 20 cities – where it will be unrated by the MPAA. A clever marketing trick? Probably, but this is definitely high on my list of films to check out. 10/1 (limited)
  • I Spit on Your Grave. A bold remake about a film remembered for an extended, vile rape sequence, and the subsequent revenge murders, this is one to keep an eye just to gauge how much violence and real life horror they can shove into it. Potentially a very powerful film, though my hopes are decidedly mild. 10/8
  • Paranormal Activity 2. The surprise hit of last year, a fast tracked sequel will be hitting theaters and going head to head against Saw 3D on 10/22. The teaser trailer was interesting. 10/22
  • Saw 3D. I guess I have to mention this. I really don’t care too much about the Saw franchise anymore, but hey, I’ll watch just about any horror flick.
  • Night of the Demons. A remake getting a bit long in the tooth, as it’s been in development for years. Hopefully the long wait was worth it as demons crash a party. 10/29
  • Cold Prey 3. I didn’t know there was a second flick, but apparently there is a third. A ton of hype surrounded the first, though I found it pretty standard fair. Straight to DVD here in America.
  • A Serbian Film. A wild, vicious movie that has even hardened stomaches weakened, you’ll find this at some festivals and eventually on DVD here in America later this year.
  • Big Tits Zombie. Obviously from Japan, this stars a big titted Japanese porn star. Nuff said.

So all in all, 2010 is probably going to end up as a mediocre year theatrically, but there is a lot to be happy about in the home video market thanks to Roger Corman and a few anticipated films heading our way.

What do you think about horror in 2010?


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