Saucy Josh Rips another List: The 21 Best Horror Films of the 21st Century, Part III

I found a “Best Horror Films” list I almost completely agree with:

It’s been fun ripping another list, and I hope you’ve been enjoying yourselves as well.  Since this will conclude my dissection of Meh’s awesome list (“The 21 Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century”), I’m opened for suggestion for my next examination.  I’ve been thinking about doing a “Horror Movies for Intelligent Women” type of thing, but since I’m not female I can’t say with any certainty how accurate my selections might be.  Any ladies out there have some suggestions for me?  I’m thinking Aliens and Resident Evil for their strong, heroic female leads.  Is that the kind of thing that appeals to women who enjoy Horror?  Now that I think of it—are there ANY women at all who enjoy Horror movies?  We all know the vast majority of aficionados are men (and boys).  Maybe the Intelligent Female Horror Coinsure is a myth (like the Hellraiser reboot—grrrrrrr…..).

One more thing before I launch.  I stated last week that I hadn’t seen Martyrs and could therefore not comment.  So I rented the DVD and got with the times.  OH MY GOD.  Martyrs is completely amazing.  That being said, I must warn those with gentle sensibilities that this is a harsh, disturbing, almost sickening piece to behold.  The film begins with the writer/director actually apologizing for what we are about to be subjected to.  He goes on to claim that he sometimes hates himself for making Martyrs.  Why anyone would be ashamed to take credit for such an amazingly brave and unflinching film is a mystery to me.  Martyrs is nonstop intensity, with several unexpected twists.  I guarantee that those who see this movie will want to talk about it afterwards.  It’s also recently been announced that Martyrs is being re-made in America.  It’s an exciting prospect, but I doubt that it will have the brutal nihilism of the French version.  Americans always want that glimmer of hope.  Whether that hope changes the outcome of the story, well, that shall be seen.  Personally, I’d rather see a sequel than a remake.

Okay, now that I’ve filled in last week’s void, it’s time to conclude my examination.  See you next week when my topic will be… who knows.

28 Days Later:  A definite game changer, 28DL redefined Zombies for the new millennium.  In addition to influencing dozens of films (including Quarantine and Mutants) 28DL also sparked a fierce debate on what exactly constitutes a Zombie.  The baddies in 28DL aren’t shambling undead corpses returned from the grave with a fierce craving for human flesh.  Rather they’re rabid, amped-up people who have been infected by a virus.  So not only are they not undead, they’re fast as hell.  And while they definitely share the murderous instincts of a Zombie, I never saw anyone eating the flesh or brains of a victim.  To differentiate, therefore, many of us in the Horror community came up with the term “Infecteds”.  While this distinction satisfies most, 28DL has nonetheless influenced that Zombie Sub-genre, most notably in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.  The Zombies in DOTD 2004 are undead flesh-eaters AND they’re fast and amped.  Many a Zombie purist has cried foul.  At the end of the day, 28DL is not a point of debate, it is an incredible Horror movie for grown ups that should not be missed.  The sequel, 28 Weeks later is not as good as the original (are sequels ever better?) but it deserves a watch as well.  And rumors of a trilogy abound with talks of a new film to be titled 28 Months Later.

Let the Right One In:  Such a great movie from such an unlikely corner of the globe (Finland), Let the Right One In is also a beautiful and controversial love story.  Yes, there are shadows of pedophilia, but it’s not enough to seriously irk anybody as the lusted-after child is really not a child at all: She’s a centuries old Vampire.  This is a Horror Movie that is extremely accessible to a mainstream audience since the blood and gore is minimal, and the main characters are children (giving the entire film an illusion of innocence).  LTROI was recently remade in America as Let Me In and, while the movie is really good, it fails to capture that emotional vulnerability and intensity of the original.  Also, there’s a great scene where a newly infected woman is attacked by a hoard of house cats that (God knows why) didn’t make it into the remake.  Bottom line: LTROI is a must see for film buffs of any genre.

Saw:  I wonder if the list-maker is referring to the first Saw or the franchise as a whole.  The first one is definitely the best but each sequel only enhances the overall Jigsaw mythology.  The result is one long story where the individual chapters are sometime difficult to discern on recollection.  Jigsaw is a great Anti-hero.  A sadistic psychopath to be certain, but his victims are usually just as deplorable.  Jigsaw doesn’t target random people.  His “subjects” have been carefully selected and include: Those who betray, those who steal, those who lie, and (the most hated group) those who do not appreciate their lives.  Another great thing about Jigsaw is that all of his victims are given a chance to “redeem” themselves, usually by completing a painful, torturous “game”.  Saw is a good transition from teenage centric Horror to Horror for grown ups.   The last installment, the one in 3D, claimed to be the final chapter, but I have a feeling the Saw franchise has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Hostel: One of the things I love most about Hostel is that it practically dares you to watch it.  Unless you lived under a rock, Hostel’s promotional campaign was near impossible to miss and its content, unquestionable.  Movie posters sport a single surgical instrument, bleak and emotionless.  This movie was one of the first to be dubbed “Torture Porn”.  I never really like the Torture Porn moniker as it implies a sexual connection to the violence not supported by the movies themselves.  It also insinuates that the viewers of these films derive sexual satisfaction from the experience.  Wrong wrong wrong.  While I’m sure there are some sadists out there who get off on depictions of pain (real or fictional) but this is not the case for the vast majority of aficionados.  At its root, Hostel is a morality tale, a warning to young Westerners who might travel to exotic corners of the globe in search of consequence- free debauchery.  The sequel was good too, but the story doesn’t work as well when the protagonists are females (as their motivations are not as clear, but certainly non-sexual).  The best part about the sequel, though, is the way it expands on the mythology of the first Hostel.  A third installment would not be unwelcomed.  This film cemented Eli Roth’s status as a future Kingpin in the Horror industry.

The Devil’s Rejects: While I wouldn’t necessarily put this on my Top 21 List, I’m glad to see Rob Zombie getting some props for all his efforts.  TDR is the second film Zombie wrote and directed.  It is a sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses, but it stands alone very nicely.  Truth be told, House of 1,000 Corpses is a pretty lame film that comes off like an inside joke you’re not in on. TDR, thankfully, is far superior with a budget-busting final scene reminiscent of Bonnie and ClydeTDR deftly balances humor and violence.  A very decent Horror Movie, good for a lazy Sunday with a bag of weed, chips, and a Big Gulp.

Cloverfield: One of the best in the Found-Film sub-genre of Horror, popularized by The Blair Witch Project.  J.J. Abrams said that the monster in Cloverfield is kind of like an American Godzilla.  As far as giant creatures go, the Cloverfield monster is pretty solid.  The most creative innovation is the giant lice-like creatures that fall from the monster’s skin and attack people.  Those bitten quickly feel some negative effects, though the long-term ramifications are not clear.  (Those known to be infected are quickly executed by emergence military personnel.)  Cloverfield 2 is in the works making me wonder if they will continue with the Found Film angel (perhaps another observer’s record of the same incident) or if they’ll abandon it in favor of a more traditional approach.  Lord knows people are getting plenty tired of the shaky-hand-held-camera-thang—some even claiming sickening physical reactions to the medium.  I don’t mind the shaky camera, but I agree that angle is getting pretty stale.  Nonetheless, Cloverfield is a very entertaining flick that some might say is not really Horror at all; extremely well suited for mainstream viewers.  It’s a J.J. Abrams film so what do we expect?  That’s right: A crowd pleaser.

FEAST: Haven’t seen this one but this list is pretty solid, so I’ll have to check it out sooner or later.  Since this is the final film on the list, I’ll let Meh wrap it up in his own words:  “Last and by no means least on the list of epic horror movies everyone should see from the 21st century is FEAST. The project was made as part of Project Greenlight and is hands down one of the bets mid-budget horror films ever made. It tells the story of a small town bar set upon by monsters forcing the bar hoppers to band together to fight off the monstrous creatures. Featuring great one liners, an awesome hero moment and a talented cast of b-movie actors it’s a gruesome and gory horror comedy that every single horror fan should own… or stop calling themselves a horror fan.”

Stay fixed to Film Sponge ( for my semi-daily Horror News blog.  See you next week!


About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: View all posts by Saucy Josh

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