Guest Blog: Andrew Kaluzynski's Top Ten Horror Films of the Decade [Just when you thought they were over...]

--Note from the Management: I know I said we were done when I posted mine, but Andrew sent me his list last night and made me realize that some really excellent "Masters of Horror" episodes went unmentioned. Besides, it was good of him to put together a list, and I've even been told that I might get one or two more before this weekend is over -- so as long as you send 'em, I'm gonna post 'em.

by Andrew Kaluzynski.

10. Final Destination 2

After seeing the trailer for the first installment of this trash film franchise I initially had no interest in viewing the sequel. However, the Rube Goldberg Esq. death scenes have proved to be one of the most entertaining sick guilty pleasures of my life. As ridiculous as the premise is… you can’t argue with the creativity and craft that went into this ultimately trivial movie.

9. Slither (2006)

Ewwww… just, ewww. I’m not sure I should elaborate. I certainly don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about this movie.

8. Battle Royale (2000)

The first time I saw this movie I was on mushrooms. That might have something to do with the fact that it’s on my list. Or it could be that the imagined future of reality tv as population control is far to prophetic to ignore. Don’t watch this on mushrooms. It’s a bad idea.

7. Family (2006)

(o.k. So the next two on my list are technically part of the Showtime series “Masters of Horror” but I feel, because of their sheer lo budget pizazz, they deserve to be on my list.) Family is a lovely little film that features George Wendt (that’s right, George Wendt from Cheers!) as a nice, homely, local yokel type, neighbor with a lovely American as apple pie family. That is, until some yuppies move in next door and ruin everything. Gee, I wonder what you're doing with that cadaver sized vat of acid in your basement?

6. Imprint (2006)

I only chose this because I find it impossible to choose any of J-horror director Takashi Miike’s films for this list. Really, anything he did in the last decade should go near the top. But, for sheer obscurities sake, I’m choosing Imprint. This "dark stranger who's got a bone to pick with a prostitute" story is quickly spattered with a riverboat load of dead fetuses, home abortions, mommy issues, and sentient conjoined twins with eyes, fingers, and yappy little mouths.

5. American Psycho (2000)

Frightened naked hooker = bull eye for falling chain-saw. Ironically, the most frightening scene in this passable adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s classic psychological thriller is the one in which a group of stoic C.E.Os have a pissing contest over the font and quality of paper stock of their business cards.

David Van Patten: [re: business card] "Good coloring."

Patrick Bateman: "That's 'Bone'."


4.The Host (2006)

A South Korean monster flick with a sense of humor and a heart… As much a story about government crisis management tactics and family dynamics as it is about special effects and action. Moral of the story: never dump 200 barrels of formaldehyde into a high traffic waterway.

3. Drag Me To Hell (2009)

With Drag Me To Hell, Sam Raimi managed to craft a film that is absurd, grotesque, over the top, and just downright silly. And still this movie manages to be chilling and horrifying for all the right reasons. And who can argue with a well placed “hang in there” poster with a cute kitten dangling from a branch? Seriously.

2. Inland Empire (2006)

Terrifying, confusing, and exhausting, Inland Empire captures everything that I love to hate about California and American culture without being too blatant or preachy. There’s a lot to chew on here. (Bunny Rabbits!) I wasn’t sure I liked this movie the first time I watched it, but, like all of Lynch’s best work, repeat viewings improved my experience. Unlike most thrillers, prone to fall apart once the viewer knows what’s coming, Inland Empire is actually scarier the second and third times around. For me, the true horror of this film lies not in the suspense effects or relentless mind fuckery that Lynch unleashes on his audience, but in conceptual deconstruction of American culture, selfish cruelty of human interaction, and lack of control some of us seem to have of the holes we dig ourselves into. (I don't entirely agree with Lynch's subject material... but it sure scares the hell out of me.)

1. The Orphanage (2007)

The Orphanage is as much a tearjerker as a horror film. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mostly, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horror film that manages to be as sentimental and emotionally exhausting as The Orphanage. The characters are beautifully crafted and the devices used to ease us into the supernatural are, however conventional (creepy children with bags over their heads… “come play with us” etc), ingeniously subtle and perfectly executed. There’s nothing like going to see a film where the entire audience gives off simultaneous gasps and screams… but maybe that’s why I liked this one so much. Ah the catharsis of the theater.

Andrew Kaluzynski is a filmmaker and musician living in Emeryville, California. He and Randall went to school together at Bennington College, where at least two conversations took place about the superiority of the Scarlet Spider. In his spare time, Andrew does video installations, and sometimes writes on his blog “Andrew in the East Bay.” If self-awareness were a sword, he’d be Hattori Hanzo.

3 comments :: Guest Blog: Andrew Kaluzynski's Top Ten Horror Films of the Decade [Just when you thought they were over...]

  1. there's a typo in the blurb about Andrew. You left out a letter in his name one of the times you wrote it.

  2. Fixed, and embarrassed. In my defense, this was a late, but welcome, addition.

  3. No worries... I'm the king of typos. Also. My name demands it.