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Ambush Bug counts down the best horror films on AICN HORROR since last Halloween – Number 6!!!

Logo by Kristian Horn
What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its second year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers in search of worthwhile horror, I decided to compile a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. Theaters aren’t where the horror is at these days, I’m afraid. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video on Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay. I’ve also compiled quite a few films I’ve seen advance screenings of at festivals and other outlets, and I’ll try to update you when you can see these films.

As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year after October 1st (which happens to be the birthday of this little column two years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween toward my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion for those who can’t get enough horror that has something to do with the film I chose that day.

So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how right or wrong I am, and come up with your own list…let’s go!


 

NUMBER 6!

I’d been hearing about THE SKIN I LIVE IN for months before actually seeing it, but once I did, I knew it had a place in my top ten horrors of the year. Though it had a limited theatrical run in October of last year, it wasn’t relased to the masses until March of this year and it wasn’t until I saw it on Cable that it blew me the hell away as a perverse and twisted take on the Frankenstein story.

LA PIEL QUE HABITO (2011)

aka THE SKIN I LIVE IN
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Written by Pedro Almodovar & Agustín Almodóvar, from the novel TARANTULA by Thierry Jonquet
Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Marisa Paredes, Roberto Álamo, Blanca Suárez
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug


Though it looks pristine and proper throughout the film, this modern day big budget Frankenstein tale is one you won’t be able to shake. While Kenneth Branaugh and Robert DeNiro tried to modernize Mary Shelley’s tale as a blockbuster twenty years ago and failed, award winning director Pedro Almodovar does so my shedding all of the correct names and story beats, but still manages to capture the essence of that classic tale of a man powered by hatred and obsessed with being a god and his love for his creation.

I can understand why this isn’t a film many people saw. It’s a tough pill to swallow, the plot of this one. After watching it, I felt somewhat dirty, somewhat emotionally twisted, and altogether sympathetic to every member of this cast. And with the despicable things much of the cast does in this film, that’s a feat in itself to accomplish.

I am trying to be as vague as possible in describing specific plot points of THE SKIN I LIVE IN because I think going into it blind is going to dazzle and befuddle you all as much as it did me. The film starts out with Antonio Banderas as an accomplished doctor in the field of skin grafts and cellular manipulation. In a treatment room, he looks over a young woman who seems quite happy in her solitude in a sterile room. But as director Almodovar zooms in closer to examine these characters, they are far from normal.

In the end, Almodovar has created a tale of twisted science and a doctor playing god, though having all to human faults of his own. Antonio Banderas is brave in his role as the scientist who is driven in his studies and experiments to the point of madness, while Elena Anaya conveys both a physical strength in presence and a vulnerability that understands why Banderas’ character begins to fall for her. Nothing should be taken for granted in this film. The story goes to perverse and dark, dark places and surprised me as every second passed.

THE SKIN I LIVE IN is not your typical horror movie, but I’ll be damned if you don’t feel a horrific wave of unease as you watch it. Blurring lines of morality and good taste, biting hard into any and all belief in what you’re sure of is real in the universe Almodovar builds one sterile brick by brick, and expertly constructive in terms of narrative, THE SKIN I LIVE IN may not have ghosts, dark castles, and walking corpses, but it is very much a horror film that will sneak up for you and slice you deep before you even know it.






With the amount of body horror on this countdown, it’s no secret that that kind of stuff creeps me the shit out. COMFORTING SKIN is often times beautiful, often times horrific as a lonely woman gets a unique tattoo and begins to talk with it. Soon the tattoo is moving freely about her body and suggesting and sometimes forcing her to do things she wouldn’t normally do. Is the tattoo actually alive or is this woman batcrap? That’s the question in this memorable indie that I reviewed earlier in the year. Just barely not making it on the countdown, COMFORTING SKIN is definitely a horror work looking for.

The Countdown so far…

#7: ENTRANCE
#8: RABIES
#9: MASKS
#10: CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11: BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
#12: JUAN OF THE DEAD
#13: MIDNIGHT SON
#14: BLOOD JUNKIE
#15: V/H/S
#16: THE DIVIDE
#17: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#18: LITTLE DEATHS
#19: THE TALL MAN
#20: KILL LIST
#21: MOTHER’S DAY
#22: THE INNKEEPERS
#23: THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS
#24: THE PACT
#25: THE WRONG HOUSE
#26: SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE
#27: SPIRIT STALKERS
#28: THE MOTH DIARIES
#29: THE SLEEPER
#30: THE AGGRESSION SCALE
#31: SICK BOY



See ya tomorrow, folks, with number 5 of the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since last year!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.



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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 26, 2012, 9:49 a.m. CST

    *Blurring lines of morality and good taste* That's how I live.

    by adeceasedfan

    Sign me up.

  • "Amores Perros" was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    WTF Amores Perros!

    by LordBond

    Really enjoying these columns, but seriously? A film fan shouldn't make such schoolboy errors. It's almost like saying that Schindler's List is one of Scorsese's finest.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Incidentally...

    by LordBond

    Saw this film for the first time a few days ago and it absolutely blew me away. It also traumatised me for the next 48 hours. A truly great film. Dark as fuck.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST

    One more thing...

    by LordBond

    If Daniel Radcliffe and that heap of mediocrity "The Woman in Black" is number 1, I will deem this list to have been a complete waste of my October.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST

    It's not.

    by Ambush Bug

    WOMAN IN BLACK didn't even make the countdown. And apologies for the AMORES PERROS ref. My bad.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Father's Day

    by thefreshestthing

    Yep, still bitter about it. Especially when I see Blood Junkie on this list. How about some last minute revising, AB? Or maybe slide in a 1/2 position.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST

    #1

    by thefreshestthing

    No clue what it could be at this point. Excision should be in the Top 5, but I don't see it being #1. Detention hasn't been mentioned, but while I probably would have included it in a Top 20 list, no way can it be Top 5. You're Next doesn't come out for another year, so it would be rude to tease us with a movie we can't even see for a year. Maybe The Loved One's, though that's technically years old. So I'm at a loss for number one. GUT? Terrible. Silent House? Terrible ... John Dies at the End would be my #1 but I don't know if it qualifies.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST

    #1

    by thefreshestthing

    No clue what it could be at this point. Excision should be in the Top 5, but I don't see it being #1. Detention hasn't been mentioned, but while I probably would have included it in a Top 20 list, no way can it be Top 5. You're Next doesn't come out for another year, so it would be rude to tease us with a movie we can't even see for a year. Maybe The Loved One's, though that's technically years old. So I'm at a loss for number one. GUT? Terrible. Silent House? Terrible ... John Dies at the End would be my #1 but I don't know if it qualifies.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 1:03 p.m. CST

    @thefreshestthing

    by Ambush Bug

    I promise the top three are readily available to be seen on DVD. There are a few I haven't seen yet. THE LOVELY ONES being one of them. But all from here on out have been covered in AICN HORROR this year. I'm still interested in hearing what orher's top picks were. Finally. I understand the love for FATHERS DAY, but had the final act not been added on, I think I would have loved it more. As is, the first two thirds of the film are great. But the clumsy and corny ending kind of soured it for me. Still a solid twisted little film though and I can't wait to see what Astron6 has up next.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 4:22 p.m. CST

    I liked it, but

    by clupula

    the twist had been done before. I can't say what movie without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, obviously.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 5:45 p.m. CST

    @ambush bug

    by thefreshestthing

    Yeah, I'm just bitter. I'm not really upset. It's more comedy than horror, anyway. As for Astron6, can NOT wait for Manborg!

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 5:47 p.m. CST

    I think 'Woman in Black' should have made the list

    by kevred

    With the caveat, of course, that's not my list, so I'm not presumptuous enough say that leaving it off is a mistake. But as bold as some of the experimental horror choices here are, I think it was extremely bold with WIB to try and resuscitate the Hammer approach at a time when that is so very out of fashion. And to succeed, for the most part, and reopen the door to a sort of horror that is simultaneously genuinely creepy and also more savory than a lot of today's tiresome extreme-body-violence exercises. This has been a very interesting column to read.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 7:46 p.m. CST

    disagree Kevred

    by ScaryJim

    It was mediocre at best, the BBC adaptation was way more creepy and didn't wuss out on the ending. Also Radcliffe looks about 12, movie makers need to get over this idea that to attract a certain audience the characters have to be a certain age. It bugs the hell out of me. Quite liked 'The Skin I live In', while I'm a bit miffed at some of the ordering of the last 20 this top 10 is looking good so far- Sorry for being Hostile in a previous talk back Ambush Bug!

  • And the funny part is, the lead actor in the BBC version plays Harry Porter's dad in the HP movies.

  • Also should had been mentioned the rather excelent film score composed by Alberto Iglesias. I think Iglesias is one of the top best composer working in film today. His score for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was also very good.

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