(Posted: 11 January 2011)

Even though it is now 2011 it seems like only yesterday we hit the big 1-0 or rather 2-0-1-0 if you want to get technical. Even though the year left as quickly as it showed up; I know I'll never be the same or at least it'll be a long time before I can look at myself in the mirror again. A lot went down over the year but not so much in the world of cinema, in particular the horror genre. Sure a few more lost classics made their way to DVD from companies like Code Red and Shout! Factory with their 'Roger Corman Presents' line. Most certainly a few anticipated movies had home video and theatrical releases such as "Antichrist", "Shutter Island", "Srpski Film" (A Serbian Film), and "Black Swan".

In general though, this was a lacking year for horror with needless and uncalled for sequels being made like "Hatchet 2", "Predators", and "Paranormal Activity 2". More unwanted remakes with "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "The Crazies", "I Spit On Your Grave" and "The Wolfman". Of course we had the gimmick 3D releases too with "Pirahna 3D", "Saw 3D", and "Resident Evil: Afterlife". Which were also apart of the remakes and sequels categories, making them sort of a 1-2 punch to good taste. Rodriguez released "Machete" to let everyone know that terrible hackneyed Grindhouse throwbacks, which really have nothing to do with real Grindhouse movies. Is still a viable and marketable area for movies that in general have no business being made outside a fake trailer. Even the direct-to-video market saw a slew of uninspired and dull releases with various movies like "Frozen" and another batch of ho-hum Afterdark Horrorfest movies. I guess even longtime horror magazine Fangoria wanted to jump on the forgettable-movies bandwagon with their Frightfest DVD line.

So was there no hope? Was there no saving grace from a year of terrible and mediocre titles? Yes, yes there was. While it may not have been an exciting or a great year for movies there were a few gems that managed to shine in the sea of shit that flooded the cinematic landscapes.

Preston - #10

As much as people like to talk about horror movies having to be engaging, deep-meaningful, full of social commentary, and a bunch of other hoo-haa. They seem to overlook one simple important factor: entertainment. Sure "Feeding Frenzy" isn't the most intelligent movie to see from 2010 but its fun; pure unadulterated fun. Made by horror fans for horror fans that touches an all the right notes that makes cheesy creature movies so enjoyable to watch. Not to mention there was a lot of talent behind the camera that helped make one slick looking no-budget feature.
Ronny - #10

Everywhere you can find exploitation films that try to be like they were in the 70's. They all come off rather cheesy, to be honest. I enjoy some of them, sure, but there's just so much I can take before I get tired of the trend. "Sweet Karma" isn't a throwback to the 70's, instead it takes what they did and puts a more modern and dramatic twist to it, making this film more of a thriller than your standard revenge story. It's probably not a movie I will watch again, but it deserves to be on my top 10 of 2010 without a doubt.
Preston - #9

A lot of people see "Tetsuo: The Bullet Man" as nothing but a poor Americanized version of "Tetsuo: The Iron Man". What I saw was a modern installment in the Tetsuo universe that while can't compare to "Iron Man" is still a great piece of cyber-punk horror that features an amazing soundtrack. While it does more to reflect Shinya's current style of filmmaking and is more comparable to "Nightmare Detective" than previous Tetsuo movies. It was still an intense and hyper-kinetic viewing experience that was more coherent than its predecessors and is an honorable addition to the series.
Ronny - #9

I had been waiting for "Buried" for a long time, I'm a fan of films that take place in one small space (like "Phone Booth") and I think Ryan Reynolds can act if he is given the right role. I just knew that this movie would be for me. By the beginning I was honestly let down, I didn't feel any tension and was rather bored, but when the cell phone was thrown into the mix it instantly improved. Sure, it might not be original, but it manages to keep me hooked. This spot was reserved for either this or "The Reef", "Buried" was slightly more original.
Preston - #8

No, not the movie with Cher. I'm talking about the latest movie from director Dominic Deacon and his company Dank Films. Like Dominic's previous movie "Bad Habits", "Burlesque" knows how to play with the audience and does it quite well. The writing really stood out in "Burlesque" as it manages to not only draw some interesting parallels between a burlesque dancer and a writer. It also manages to make the audience question themselves almost as much as the characters do. Matched with solid performances by the cast and another slick production from the crew, "Burlesque" was a solid little psychological drama.
Ronny - #8

It's far from being up there with the best of zombie movies, but this Brazilian zombie movie is all about fun and inventive effects. The zombie subgenre is getting worse by the hour, but "Mangue Negro" went straight to the heart by giving me exactly what I've been waiting for. This is a film that is more in the veins of "Braindead" than most of the zombie movies we've seen for the last 10 years, and that's saying plenty about this film.
Preston - #7

With Ronny giving me the dirty details of the project and seeing the trailer for Michael Todd Schneider’s "...And Then I Helped" I definitely had to see it, especially after Ronny's review. I'm glad I did. "...And Then I Helped" is a great visual experience that takes a backwoods killer-esque concept and makes it completely unique and unlike anything you've really seen before. While there was some great gore sequences that show off Michael’s SPFX talent (though not all are winners) and a very interesting twist to the story. The movie won me over with the aesthetics alone and I thought it was a great little flick overall.
Ronny - #7

8 years in the making comes this weird little splatter comedy from Eric James. In the vein of "Redneck Zombies", you get to meet plenty of strange characters that are all equally hilarious and over-the-top. It's far from perfection and I think that's exactly what makes this movie so entertaining - it's a no-budget effort made with passion and plenty of fun. This is exactly what I want from silly independent splatters. And hell, sometimes I just don't want to watch a movie that tries to touch me on a deeper level, 'cause guess what? I can enjoy cheap entertainment too.
Preston - #6

The unknown contender that came out of nowhere, "The Bunny Game" is probably going to be 2011's talked about title. Part experimental-arthouse and part psychological-horror, "The Bunny Game" is a frightening movie that shows the deconstruction of a human being. Its strong artistical style kept me mesmerized while the grueling physical and psychological torture kept me pinned to my seat. Not a single thought entered my head during the entire viewing experience. What really makes the movie so horrifying is its ability to cross the line between make-believe and reality, and that is what makes it one of the best from ’10.
Ronny - #6

The latest addition to the "Tetsuo" universe is one hell of a ride. Not perfect by far, but Shinya Tsukamoto knows how to handle his characters enough to keep us fans hooked. Some really intense moments and way more action-filled than the previous movies. Is it Americanized? Maybe, but except for the terrible acting, the movie lives up to its name.
Preston - #5

Marcus Koch maybe known for his gory clown slasher "100 Tears" and his unbelievable talent as a special effects artist, but Marcus also showed what he can really do as a writer and a director. “Fell” is definitely not a movie for the casual horror fan or anybody who is lacking an attention span. It is a great psychological movie that is more along the lines of drama and it does a lot with very little. Minimal cast, minimal crew, and almost shot entirely in a single location; "Fell" becomes bigger than it is by being a solid and engaging movie.
Ronny - #5

This is not a mockumentary, but the actual footage from a kid in Finland who is sick of his life in the small town. He hangs around with his friends, does lots of drugs and other criminal activities, when he one day manages to pull off a heist and gets enough money to leave the country. It's a very realistic look at the small town life of plenty of youngsters. I see people like this all the time, and because it manages to show it in such a realistic fashion, I think this is a movie everyone should watch. Show it in schools to keep kids away from drugs, even! Best documentary I've seen this year, no doubt.
Preston - #4

Gory violence, naked nymphos, terryfying toddlers, bizarre experiments..."Brainjacked" definitely became a favorite of mine this year. Not because I came to know the people behind the movie, but because it reminded me of so many great retro horror-scifi-thrilers from the 70's and 80's. "Brainjacked" not only brought back that nostalgic factor but also reminded me of why I became a movie fan in the first place. It features quality filmmaking with a great attention to detail with many overlooked aspects such as lighting and sound design. Overall it’s an entertaining flick with a good story and a strong set of characters to help it stand above others in this lack luster year.
Ronny - #4

The only Greek movie on the list is "Dogtooth", another drama movie. It's about parents who keep their kids locked up in the house, trying to keep them away from the realisties of life. Of course, some truly messed up moments follow as one of them notices that there is something else going on out there. Some funny moments, some odd moments, but all equally great.
Preston - #3

I received "Aegri Somnia" in a batch of screeners from R-Squared so I didn't know anything about it other than a very vague plot description, and the movie completely blew me away. A great blend of horror and art that successfully fleshes out and visualizes the psychological aspects of the story. James Rewucki displayed a great talent behind the camera by making the real world seem as frightening as any nightmare just with the cinematography. Watching "Aegri Somnia" you can tell the amount of time and work went into the project because of all the elements coming together to work cohesively to make one great movie.
Ronny - #3

"Life and Death of a Porno Gang" is a really twisted drama movie about a gang of people who drive around with their porn act. Of course, it gets more depraved as it goes on. It's a great character developing independent film from Serbia that I think is justified of a cult following if any movie was.
Preston - #2

Sure it's silly and ridiculous but all rubber chickens and banana cream pies aside, "Klown Kamp Massacre" is a great representation of independent horror-comedy. Bringing a new spin to slashers and the killer clown concept; it's a great little slasher flick that embodies all the right elements that made those genre movies so good. With its unique and absurd concept, it brings a comedic entertainment value that makes it feel like a fresh movie in a very tired sub-genre.
Ronny - #2

The new film from Michael Todd Schneider and magGot Films packs all the punches of his past films and then some. He shows us that he has come a long way since "I Never Left The White Room", "A Tribute To Sanity" and even "August Underground's Mordum". Without a doubt his best work, and one hell of a unique independent film. It takes a 70's look-approach without doing it in a clichéed manner, and gives us a look at plenty of different people before it starts chopping body parts off.

Preston - #1

There were a lot of mock-documentaries that came out in 2010 but not a single one was able to come close to being as fantastic as "Long Pigs" was. The movie walks a fine line between brooding terror and black-comedy that while some can and will compare it to "Man Bites Dog", it does plenty to stand on its own. It’s a great piece of storytelling that goes a long way to capture the realism of the concept, and features a standout performance by Anthony Alviano. He makes you want to love him with his showbiz style charisma but then shocks you with his terrifying desire to consume human flesh. A great under appreciated movie from 2010.

Ronny - #1

I knew the moment I watched "Long Pigs" that it would be one of the best movies of the year. It's a very entertaining, yet depraved mockumentary that does some things neither "Man Bites Dog" or "August Underground" did and manages to stand on its own two feet because of it. If you watch one mockumentary-styled film from recent years - this is the one you should see. It has some really creepy moments, and some absolute laugh riots - a strange but pleasing mixture for sure. Definitely the best movie of 2010!

Well there you have it, Film Bizarro's Top Ten List of 2010. Most certainly people are going to take issue and bitch about our lists because that's just what people do when it comes to movie lists. However, it was a tough list to compile since there was almost nothing that came out from the mainstream that was above mediocre. There were a few highly anticipated movies that did deliver, particularly Gasper Noe's "Enter the Void" but really, 2010 belongs to the independent films - either home grown or foreign born. While we listed what we enjoyed the most out of the year there are some titles that didn't make it but deserve a nod, such as Brian Paulin's "Bloodpigs" and Scott Swan's "Big Junior". Some previously unreleased titles also managed to find their way to DVD this year that were exceptional, like Chad Ferrin's "Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!”. Even though 2010 may have been a let down in some aspects, 2011 holds a lot of promise with titles that are going into production and ones that, while they finished last year, will finally be released this year. So, here's to hoping for a better tomorrow.


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