After having given you a very long overview of all articles published in 2015, it’s time to take a more concise look at individual categories, starting with movies, as these have been a bit neglected this week.
Being a big fan of horror movies, this was the main genre I covered last year with most reviews published during the Halloween special week. These were mostly slasher movies. Even if the Friday the 13th series was quite bad at times despite its cult status, this genre is always good for guilty pleasure, although they have quite a controversial history with censorship in Germany or other countries, in addition to differences between rated and unrated cuts. See No Evil 1+2 was one such contender with the first being on the Index and the second one not even been released in Germany, although that’s not such a big loss, considering the drop in quality.
Hatchet I-III showed that it’s possible to make the genre relevant today, even if it’s not that imaginative. Scream 1-4 is a different matter entirely. While it has its problems with more melodramatic and soap opera elements, it’s still a series worth revisiting, so it’s too bad that creator and director Wes Craven passed away last year as well. His only legacy is the TV series which is only available in digital format right now. As I hadn’t seen this show, it was a good opportunity to review A Nightmare on Elm Street 1-7 and the remake. While it was more fun than scary, it’s a series one can certainly watch again and again with only the remake being a bit lackluster. No comparison to the very entertaining Freddy vs. Jason. Of course Halloween wouldn’t be without themed movies, so even if there are some run of the mill movies like All Hallows’ Eve or Mischief Night, there comes a movie once in a while that is simply amazing to watch and that has to be added to annual festivities. This was no other than Tales of Halloween.
I usually like to prepare for Halloween by watching many horror movies, and as it’s only a week with a limited amount of posts per day, some movies were left behind, so covering them after was quite interesting as well. Creature features were absent this time around during the special week, so Anaconda 1-4 was a perfect fit, although they were more miss than hit. The same could be said about Wrong Turn 1-6, a series that is as disgusting as it is enjoyable, but not for Germany, as only the first and weirdly sixth installment were released uncut. Of questionable quality and quantity of torture devices were also The Collector + The Collection, although the latter was one of the best slasher flicks in years, compared to the first bearing the “torture porn” label proudly on its sleeves.
Writing about guilty pleasure movies, bad or trash movies were also pretty common to review. Demonic Toys and Dollman featured some bad special effects, but were entertaining enough, and Osombie followed suit with some nonsensical story but a high bodycount and lots of CGI blood. If the titles alone would make you want to watch the movies, even if they turn out to be only mildly amusing, then Zombeavers and WolfCop would fit the bill.
More classic movies which were too bad (literally) to pass were the not-so-child-friendly Bloody Birthday, the rather creepy and surprisingly gory Dolls, the not so very intimidating and unintentionally funny Graduation Day and The Last Horror Film. Modern horror flicks weren’t overlooked, either, with the surprisingly effective found footage vampire version Afflicted and a bit too dramatic werewolf version Wer. Home invasion thriller with comedy elements You’re Next was overhyped, while campus invasion thriller Kristy was a pleasant surprise. The same goes for 13 Sins, a remake that is way better than the original. But it wasn’t all about the gory bits and pieces, as meta horror comedies The Cabin in the Woods and The Final Girls showcased, although only the former being successful with a nice mix of horror and humor elements and the latter being too annoying at times.
Speaking of annoying movies, fantasy drama Beasts of the Southern Wild and what-ever-that-was historical horror A Field in England were straight-into-the-bin-and-hopefully-forgotten material. These titles were different genres, as were a few sci-fi titles. Some were rather clever like Elysium, Ender’s Game and Cypher, while Trancers was pretty stupid but still entertaining. The action genre was present as well with some violent flicks featuring old-school heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sabotage and Silvester Stallone in Bullet to the Head. These might not have been their greatest but still showed they had it in them.
Watching movies for a festive season couldn’t be more fitting than before and during Christmas. Despite some anarchy humor as in Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% Is Santa? or more nostalgic and quite ridiculous A Christmas Story, blood was still spilled as in the more enjoyable, even if not perfect A Christmas Horror Story or the less enjoyable Silent Night (2012 remake) and
Reindeer Games. Fortunately Bruce Willis saved the day again, twice, in Die Hard and Die Hard 2.
Last but not least, let’s not forget that 2015 was the year Star Wars came back big time. Even if Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith couldn’t live up to the hype and were a showcase of George Lucas’ inability to direct and write a good script, revisiting the original Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was a great experience just as when I watched them all these many years ago on VHS. This time it was on DVD, as the special editions might be the director’s cut, but had too many narrative flaws and bad CGI. So without any expectations, it was a joy to see Star Wars movies: “Episode VII: The Force Awakens bringing the year to a very good end for film fans.
But before we end this rather long overview of last year’s movie articles, let’s not forget that some movies were discussed which were only announced and will materialize in the coming year(s), depending on the production. Not taking A Christmas Horror Story into account that already received its review, The Night Before was even more offensive and the question remains if it was actually funny, while Krampus was a timely release and still has to prove if it has what it takes to be as great for the season as Trick ‘r Treat was for Halloween.
Goosebumps and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse seemed to be very different beasts of movie, relying both on crude humor, but one more child-friendly and the other quite bloody. Another surprising announcement was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that looks as if it’s going to be a very cool adaptation of the weird book. Weirdness also had an appearance in the over-the-top trash movie Sky Sharks. Finally we had some gaming crossover with the trailers for The Angry Birds Movie and Ratchet & Clank.
All in all, this was a pretty cool year for a horror movie fan, but also for sci-fi and action, especially for being very fond of the Star Wars saga. Are there any particular highlights you enjoyed? Or something I missed and can cover in 2016? Let me hear/read your thoughts!
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