The Protagonist – Cybil

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Cybil is a socially withdrawn outcast that has a penchant for spiders and insects. In short, she’s a weirdo, one that’s constantly tormented by those she comes into contact with, especially her step-brother, Chester.

But Cybil has a dream: She’s trying to save up $5000 to get the hell out of her isolated desert town of Mission Rock so she can move to LA and become a documentarian. However, that goal isn’t as easy as it seems. Chester stands in her way as does Kim, the popular mean-spirited Ice Queen. Together, they make Cybil’s life hell but she’s close to that five grand, very close.

Although she is an adult, Cybil is a victim. Most victims do not seek help for the abuse they’re taking, especially if it comes from home as it does in Cybil’s case. Chester takes pleasure in tormenting his step-sister to the point where she’s in tears. He even has a favorite name for her: Ugly.

But Cybil’s life is turned upside down when the sister she hasn’t seen for 15 years, Kelly, saves her one fateful day. As she gets reacquainted with her sister, Cybil becomes influenced by Kelly’s aggressive behavior and begins taking her tormentors head on. But this causes even more problems for Cybil, problems she may never be able to solve.

Will Cybil overcome her tormentors or remain a victim forever?  

That’s the question that the movie hinges on.

23 Horror Movies of the Last 23 Years

Since we’re a little more than halfway through 2013, I had the itch to create 23 horror films of the last 23 years. No, this isn’t my best of list but rather a categorical list to help you choose your next horror film to watch.

The Most Entertaining – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Oh boy, this is a fun one. Original, entertaining, funny and scary all rolled into one memorable horror film, The Cabin in the Woods is a definite must-see for any fans of the genre. Avengers director Joss Whedon penned the script and didn’t hold back. Quite simply, this is a madly enjoyable film that throws bore out the window.

The Most Fun – Army of Darkness (1992)

Just plain fun to watch. Bruce Campbell is maybe the greatest hero in horror history. Damn shame he never became a huge star but he remains an icon for horror fans. You can pretty much sit back and enjoy this Sam Raimi flick with a laugh.

Most Original Werewolf Film – Ginger Snaps (2000)

This a great horror film, one that takes a classic monster (the werewolf) tale and turns it on its head by using twin teenage girls. It does a wonderful job of using teenage angst to fuel the story and the werewolf itself. It also delivers some comedic moments while remaining a frightening film. Canada should be very proud of this movie.

Bloodiest Werewolf Movie – Dog Soldiers (2002)

My personal favorite werewolf movie, Dog Soldiers is another great horror film by director Neil Marshall (The Descent). Here, you see his strengths as a director in the way he builds tension before delivering the horror. He also has a unique way of showing gore in the dark, where you see the blood, you see the guts, but it’s always hidden in the shadows. Still, it’s very effective.

Most Unique – Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

You would think there would have been a popular adult-style fairy tale movie years before this but, in truth, there wasn’t. Not only does Pan’s Labyrinth tell a great story, it creeps the shit out of you the whole time. The scenery crawls over you like a spider and doesn’t let up until the credits role. Guillermo del Tora hits a home run with this film.

Best Vampire Movie – Let The Right One In (2008)

This may just be the best vampire movie ever. The story of a great friendship, the only difference is that one of the friends is a vampire. Everything about this film, from the plot to the scenery is top-notch and while the American remake, Let Me In, is good, it still isn’t as good as this superb horror movie.

Most Polarizing – Event Horizon (1997)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Event Horizon??!! But the film has scared the shit out of more than a few people and still garners attention after 16 years. That has to mean something, doesn’t it? That being said, this seems to be a movie that horror fans either love or hate with no middle ground. Some think it’s poorly written trash while others feel it’s a great spine-chilling film but nobody ever seems to think it’s merely so-so.

Worst Ending to Ruin a Great Movie – High Tension/Haute Tension (2003)

While director Alexandre Aja has a great visual eye and should continue to make movies for a long time, he screwed the pooch here on what could have been what of the best horror films ever. Disturbing, disgusting and wicked, the film follows two female college students as they try to escape a deranged killer. It gets you on the edge of your seat for a good 80 minutes and then the end completely fucks it all up. Sometimes twists work but this one is a total cop-out. I hated this one so much because I thought it was awesome up until the twist ruined everything for me.

Swankiest – American Psycho (2000)

I’m sure this choice doesn’t surprise you. Into the Wall Street culture of the 1980’s comes American Psycho, a maniacal portrait of a stockbroker with more than a few screws loose. Part of the great thing about the film is how much fun Christian Bale has playing the role of Patrick Bateman.

Most Miserable Ending – The Mist (2007)

The Mist is probably the best Stephen King adaptation since Misery. Well acted and directed, it’s a monster movie that strikes up the fear in you through the humans in the movie, not the creatures. But that ending, holy shit! Some horror fans absolutely loved it but I found it damn tough to swallow.

Best Zombie Movie – 28 Days Later (2002)

The movie opens up perfectly and gives you an understanding of how horrific the situation is right off the bat. One thing we loved about it was Danny Boyle’s visuals, some that seem almost impossible to have pulled off in a huge city like London. Keeps you on the edge the whole way through. Best zombie film we’ve ever seen.

Funnest Zombie Movie – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Because I consider Zombieland & Shaun of the Dead more comedy than horror, I’m going with Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake here. Snyder’s 2004 remake kicks ass in every possible zombie way it can. The roof scenes where the survivors communicate by large signs is worth a viewing all on its own.

The Most Overrated – Saw (2004)

Why so many people loved the original (and the 100 sequels) is beyond me. My main problem with Saw is that it’s really not believable even in the context of its own world. The villain has terminal cancer, is fragile and weak and yet somehow, he can manhandle people and kidnap them? While I like a complicated plot, this one twists and turns in ways that, again, just weren’t believable to me.

Most Significant – Scream (1996)

Agree or disagree but the reason I have Scream as the most significant horror film of the last 23 years is because it helped resurrect slasher films and put horror back on the map in a big way. Obviously, Wes Craven knows how to do it and this movie made an absolute killing at the box office and gave teenagers something to be scared of again. And yes, it’s a good film too.

Most Enjoyable Monster Movie – Attack The Block (2011)

Perhaps my favorite horror film of the last three years, Attack the Block takes the urban youth tale and adds an alien invasion to it with great success. The characters in the film are memorable and I liked the reasoning for the aliens being on earth. They also looked quite original with their gorilla-dog bodies and glowing blue fangs.

Scariest Child – The Orphan (2009) 

This is the most frightened I’ve ever been of a child since Damien from the original The OmenAh, but Esther is not exactly what you may think she is, a revelation you won’t find out until the end but when you do, it catches you by complete surprise. The filmmakers do a wonderful job of keeping the secret wrapped up while providing scares until the end.

Scariest Ghost Story – The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Sometimes, a ghost movie delivers perfectly. The Devil’s Backbone provides a great story to go with its scares set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. In its scenes with the ghost, Guillermo del Toro is able to make the hair on the back of your neck shoot straight up as you try to figure out exactly what’s going on. Superbly directed as the story is tied together perfectly from beginning to end.
Craziest Family – The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Interesting battle here between the families of all the Texas Chainsaw and The Hills Have Eyes remakes but I’m giving the edge to the nutty clan from The Devil’s Rejects. Somehow, Rob Zombie mixes wickedness and terror with gut-busting fun. A film about a family of violent maniacs who get a kick out of torturing and killing their victims shouldn’t be this entertaining but it is. William Forsythe is also great as the vengeance seeking Sheriff Wydell.

Best Found Footage Film – The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Some may argue that Paranormal Activity should claim this title but don’t forget the influence that The Blair Witch Project had not only on horror films, but filmmaking in general. With 95% of its horror deriving from the audience’s anticipation, the movie proved that fear is still a powerful asset at the box office. Made for only $35K, it is one of the most profitable movies of all time. Paranormal Activity owes a lot of its success to The Blair Witch Project.

Most WTF Horror Film – Braindead/Dead-Alive (1992)

Long before his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson was making hilariously vile horror films. Braindead, in my opinion, is the best of his splatter flicks after it takes a mutant rodent infection and unleashes it in the most disgusting way possible. There are moments in this film where you won’t believe what you’re watching and then it gets even more ridiculous. Probably not the movie you want to watch when eating dinner either.

Most Slept On – May (2002)

I wouldn’t say this movie gets no recognition, but it definitely doesn’t get nearly enough. This is a great horror film, one with a creative way to portray the nerdy, anti-social girl. But more than that, it’s a very human story about a depressed and lonely woman who can’t make friends. The way it unfolds, however, is highly effective and ends in a sad yet horrific way.

Most Painful – Audition (1999)

This wasn’t any easy movie for me to watch and mean that in a good way. You feel the man’s pain in Audition, pain that you makes your cringe. The story revolves around a man auditioning women to be his new wife but the one he chooses is far from the right choice. By the way, the girl in this movie may go down as the coldest woman in horror movie history.

The Best Horror Film – The Descent (2005)

I’ve had people agree with me, disagree and flat-out want to kill me over my choice for best horror movie I’ve ever seen. When I’m asked why, however, this is what I usually mention: I can’t find a flaw in the film. I was engaged the entire time, the characters were well-developed, the story had no holes, the villain was terrifying and the horror made it hard for me to sleep. The way Neil Marshall creates the claustrophobic atmosphere inside the caves coupled with the ferocious cave crawlers left me in awe. It’s the first movie I recommend to anyone when asked what a good horror film is.

Films left off the list

Hostel – It felt like Hostel and Saw were competing in Torture Porn Wars for a few years.

The Eye – I refuse to place a PG-13 horror film in my list. If that’s not a good enough reason then that’s your problem.

Ju-On – Very good J-horror film and almost made the list but I couldn’t find a place for it above the others.

Paranormal Activity – Yeah, I know, people cream in their pants over this film but it didn’t make my list because it’s found footage horror and The Blair Witch Project came first. Sorry.

Zombieland & Shaun of the Dead – Great zombie films but too comedic for me to call horror.

Very Dangerous Animals

Most of these lists begin with mammals, African animals, Indian animals or animals of the Amazon. Not my list. I’m starting my Very Dangerous Animals segment with insects and arachnids. Insects themselves make up over 90% of all living animals so they pretty much rule the earth. They live by the motto: “We don’t die, we multiply.”

RED BACK SPIDER (Australia)

Red Back Spider (Australia)

This pea-sized little critter packs a nasty bite and enough venom to cause you and I some serious harm. If you think it looks a lot like a black widow spider, it’s because they’re cousins. The red back is Australian while its cousin is American but both are harmful to humans.

Lonomia Obliqua Caterpillar (South America)

Aren’t caterpillars supposed to be squishy and nice? This one isn’t. If it injects enough venom, you’ll die within 15 hours. That’s rare, however, this isn’t the caterpillar you want to play show and tell with. It’s furry, yes, but not cute and furry. DO NOT TOUCH.

Fat-tail Scorpion (West & North Africa to the Middle East)

The fat-tail scorpion comes in many sizes and colors but one thing they all have in common is a bad ass sting. While it would take a lot of venom from a fat-tail’s stinger to kill an adult human, it could potentially kill a child. When provoked, the fat-tail scorpion will cop an attitude and sting your annoying ass so leave it alone!

Bullet Ant (South America)

Because it’s considered the most painful sting of all insects according the Schmidt Sting Pain index, the bullet ant has earned an infamous reputation. Sometimes more than an inch long, they look like wingless wasps but their sting is more powerful than that of their cousins (wasps and bees). The good news is that unless you’re planning a trip to the Central American rain forests, you have no chance of ever coming across the well-named bullet ant.

More dangerous, bad-ass, don’t-fuck-with-me animals are a’coming so be on the lookout for Very Dangerous Animals 2

Old Skool is Now in Session 3

Most one-hit wonders from the 80’s were cheesy and disgustingly colorful. These hand-picked one-hit wonders below have a little more substance and importance than the others.

WARNING: You may suffer from 80’s disease after viewing the below videos.

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

Something about the creepy lead singer makes this song (and video) memorable. Right when he starts the first verse with, “Out where the river broke…”, you’re immediately hooked and wondering if you’ve just been sucked into a horror film. Good stuff.

Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer

The Beverly Hills Cop theme is still one of those beats that still gets people hyped up. It makes you want to go out and investigate something, kick some ass and maybe shoot a few bad guys along the way. The beat has been remixed many times because it’s still dope.

Pump Up The Volume – M/A/R/R/S

Still fresh after all these years. Even people who loved hip hop back then loved this track. It’s always going to be considered a distinctive track since nothing like it has been done since. Actually, DJ Shadow would be the only guy nowadays who I could see making this song.

It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E Z Rock

What would a one-hit wonder list from the 80’s be if I didn’t include this hip hop classic? Everyone used to get down to this whenever it played. Even old people would shake their creaky bones to this jam. After all, “It takes two to make everything go right/It takes two to make it outta sight.”

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister

The ultimate FUCK YOU song from the 80’s. Sung by a drag queen with a terrible perm and scary enough to make you listen to the song. That’s the legacy of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” That and it keeps playing on hit radio stations to this day. Go figure.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

If you heard this song in the 80’s (or today), and it doesn’t make you smile, you’re lying. If it doesn’t make you whistle along, you’re lying again. If it doesn’t make you happy, well, then you might not be lying but it will at least cheer you up for a few minutes.

What I Am – Edie Brickel & New Bohemians

This is just one of those songs that is easy to remember, was very original although nobody knows exactly why and has some Janis Joplin/stoner chick singing her version of the blues meets folk music. Or maybe not. Obviously, it’s hard for me to explain why this song was popular or why it’s still being played but it’s extremely catchy without sucking.

Stop Fucking Up My Movies!

You know Hollywood has run out of ideas when they have to continue remaking movies at a ridiculous rate. Even worse, the remakes are more often than not a hot, steaming pile of dog shit. Look, part of what makes a movie great is that it distinguishes itself from all the others. Remaking great films is like remaking the recipe for McDonald’s fries: If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Already Been Remade

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THE KARATE KID (1984)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue

The Crane kick, Cobra Kai, young Elisabeth Shue, Johnny, and the immortal Mr. Miyagi. Also, for those of you that don’t know, Pat Morita earned a best supporting actor nominee for his role as Mr. Miyagi. Wax on, wax off, bitches!

Remake should have been called: Gettin’ Kicky With It

Starring: Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son – Will Smith also produces this), Jackie Chan

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RED DAWN (1984)

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson

Not that the original Red Dawn was a great movie but it was a cult classic and certainly cool for its time. In all honesty, and this is coming from a fan, this isn’t even a good enough movie to be remade. But since Hollywood has creative erectile dysfunction, they went ahead and remade it into cinematic feces.

Remake should have been called: Red Dawn of the Douche

Starring: Who gives a shit?

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Total Recall (1990)

Starring: Arnold Schwarznegger, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin

Since there hasn’t been a good action star since Schwarznegger, Hollywood figured: Why not remake a classic Arnold flick? Well, because Arnold is in his 60’s and Colin Farrell isn’t an action star. Besides, you can’t rehash the memory of the 3-tittied woman.

Remake should have been called: Total ReCrap

And now for some remakes that are soon to splatter diarrhea at multiplexes near you.

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Oh boy! Let’s remake one of the greatest horror movies of all time! Hollywood needs to take a long trip on the short bus. This is ridiculous.

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MEATBALLS (1979)

Bill Murray took this movie to another level of comedy. Because of him, we remember it. Let’s keep remembering it without a remake.

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The Warriors (1979)

How the hell are you going to remake this one? Unless it’s a small street gang that has to make it back home by going through Crips, Bloods, MS13s, Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords, this will be useless. If they do manage to make this with the aforementioned gangs, I’m all in. But if that’s the case, the little gang ain’t making it home.

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THE LAST DRAGON (1985)

“Leroy!” It always gives me goose bumps when Sho’nuff (The Shogun of Harlem) calls him out. Look, this movie is a cult classic because it’s good in a terrible, cheesy way. It also has Vanity who was the smoking hot Beyonce/Vanessa Williams of the 80’s. Besides, do we really want to see Samuel L. Jackson (rumored to be on board) in another shitty movie?

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GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

This is the only upcoming remake I give the benefit of the doubt to. Why? Because apparently, all the original stars will be in it. That means Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and possibly even Rick Moranis will be coming back. If it still sucks then movie fans should riot in Hollywood.