Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its fifth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled 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. The theater just doesn’t seem to be the place where the horror is at these days, I’m sad to say. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2013 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth noting or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
#7: THE CONSPIRACY!
You can find THE CONSPIRACY on Amazon here and on Netflix here. Below is my review of THE CONSPIRACY from March!
THE CONSPIRACY (2012)Directed by Christopher MacBride
Written by Christopher MacBride
Starring Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, Alan C. Peterson, Bruce Clayton, Julian Richings
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
My favorite film released this week has got to be THE CONSPIRACY. Though I am not so far gone as to believe that every event in history is connected and I don’t have a wall filled with clippings, thumbtacks, and strings, I will admit that there are some conspiracies that might actually have something to them. Now, personally, I don’t know what is made up and what is real in THE CONSPIRACY, but if half of the connections made in this film are true, the world is a scarier place than I thought.
And that’s the beauty of THE CONSPIRACY, more of a mockumentary than a true found footage film about a pair of documentarians played by Aaron Poole (from last year’s THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH, reviewed here) & James Gilbert (from last year’s THE CORRIDOR, reviewed here) who choose to focus their lens on one conspiracy theorist as a means to understand why they believe what they believe, not necessarily if what they believe in is true. At least that’s the plan.
The story arc these two filmmakers take in this film fascinated me the most as the they are pulled in to a particular conspiracy theory believed by one theorist named Terrance (played by the convincingly paranoid Alan C. Peterson) to be the be all end all connection between most of the significant events in history. One of my favorite themes explored in some of the best mockumentaries is how the documentarian is often pulled into the subject matter and more times than not, this is realized way too late in the game. It’s a statement about how once a lens is directed at something, you no longer are an objective party. You have manipulated it and that there are no truly objective filmmakers out there no matter how unbiased they claim to be. Aaron (Poole) and Jim (Gilbert) start out wanting to study this loud and crazy man speaking whacko theories in the street, but after a believable series of events, Aaron cannot deny the pull of the stories Terrance is preaching and though Jim is much more cautious (because he has much more to lose as he has a wife and child at home), he ends up feeling the pull as well.
What THE CONSPIRACY does expertly well is pull the viewer in and hold them there with an ever tightening grip until the very end of the film. I found myself pulled into the conspiracy of a secret organization called the Tarsus Club which seemingly spans the globe in a world wide network of major players and while most likely a lot of this was made up to make this film work, it all seemed logistically possible the way it all played out. The film culminates as Aaron and Jim infiltrate a Tarsus club meeting which is some of the most tension filled moments I have seen this year.
With a plot that is magnetic, acting that is top tier, and a story masterfully written by director Christopher MacBride, THE CONSPIRACY had me by the throat in the final half hour and wouldn’t let go. Unlike most films I watch and quickly forget, THE CONSPIRACY is one I am watching again this weekend and most likely will do so again and again because of the sheer amount of tension is conveys and the expert way is doles out the story of how tempting the great unknown is and how more tempting it is for all of us to try to make sense of it all.
Worth Noting: THE BANSHEE CHAPTER!Another conspiracy theory gone wild film, this one adds another creepy layer with bizarre recordings from the middle of the desert, mind altering drugs, and all sorts of misshapen monsters. THE BANSHEE CHAPTER is not a perfect film, but it does deliver some solid terrifying moments and a concept that will make you start crafting your own aluminum foil hat.
Check out my full review of the film here and you can check it out here on Amazon and on Netflix here!
#30: STALLED (worth noting: CHRYSALIS)!
#29: RIGOR MORTIS (worth noting: I AM A GHOST)!
#28: GHOST TEAM ONE (worth noting: HYSTERICAL PSYCHO!
#27: THANATOMORPHOSE (worth noting: CONTRACTED)!
#26: LIFE AFTER BETH (worth noting: EVIL FEED)!
#25: AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (worth noting: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC) !
#24: CHIMERES (worth noting: THE RETURNED) !
#23: AFFLICTED (worth noting: DEAD WEIGHT) !
#22: TUSK (worth noting: BENEATH) !
#21: FOUND (worth noting: RABID LOVE) !
#20: DEVOURED (worth noting: CRAVE) !
#19: DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN (worth noting: THE HUNTED) !
#18: THE MACHINE (worth noting: BLOOD GLACIER) !
#17: GRAND PIANO (worth noting: OPEN GRAVE) !
#16: WILLOW CREEK (worth noting: WOLF CREEK 2) !
#15: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (worth noting: THE SEASONING HOUSE) !
#14: THE SACRAMENT (worth noting: HOLY GHOST PEOPLE) !
#13: CRAWL OR DIE (worth noting: BENEATH) !
#12: PIECES OF TALENT (worth noting: EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES) !
#11: PLUS ONE (worth noting: THE DEMON’S ROOK) !
#10: CHEAP THRILLS (worth noting: THE POISONING) !
#9: THE GUEST (worth noting: TORMENT) !
#8: BLUE RUIN (worth noting: THE BATTERY) !
See ya tomorrow, folks, as I count down the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since October 1st, 2013!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
Be sure to tell your comic shop to order his new comic PIROUETTE (out now!) from Black Mask Studios!