Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Ten "Best" of 2023

As regular readers of a wasted life know, "Best of" is always relative at this blog as the films we give good reviews don't always show up in our end of the year round-up while films we trash do. This is because our choice is based less on quality than staying power: how often we think back upon a film, or the general feeling it stirs when we think about it again. Likewise, we usually watch so much crap that coming up with a "Top 10" is almost close to impossible...
In regard to the last, 2023 proved to be an exceptional year in comparison to so many of the past: for the first time in a long time, we had absolutely no problem coming up with ten "noteworthy" titles that we feel deserve the honor of being listed here. Indeed, the problem this year, for the first time ever, was whittling our list down to only ten movies. Of the 31 feature films viewed, 15 made the first cut — the highest number ever! 
Tradition, however, says our list is a "Ten Best List", and so ten it is. Normally, in the past, we listed our films in no particular order. This year, however, just to be different, they are listed alphabetically. Click the linked titles to read the complete original and overly verbose reviews.

(USA, 1974)
"We saw this prime slab of Blaxploitation trash as a pubescent and found the entire experience amazing, so we'll admit that we are somewhat prejudiced in the film's favor. But hell's bells, let us stand tall and shout loudly: Abby is a great fucking film!"*
Trailer to
* For a look at the career of Abby's lead actress, Carol Speed (14 March 1945 – 14 January 2022), may we suggest our R.I.P. Carol Speed Career Review, Part I (1971-73) and Part II (1974-2006)?
(USA, 1977)
"While hardly a masterpiece and never even close to losing its 'This is a TV movie' sheen, Ants! actually works as a film. Sure, there are many scenes and points along the way that instigate a loud snort of unintended laughter, especially now, some 45 years after the flick's first airing, but Ants! remains watchable and involving from beginning to end and even manages to have some tense and/or memorable sequences, despite being hampered by buggies so small that they are close to impossible to truly make terrifying."
Trailer to


(USA, 1985)
"Creature is hardly a bastion of originality and creativity, but as a science fiction body counter it manages to combine its purloined and/or genre-generic aspects and stock characters into a relatively unoriginal but thoroughly amusing space horror."
Trailer to

(Italy, 1967)

"[...] Death Rides a Horse is one of those manly westerns in which nary a woman makes an appearance of note other than as victims [...]"
Trailer to
Death Rides a Horse:

(USA, 1963)

"Cheap and rushed the movie might be, and yes, the sound microphone does slip into the picture frame occasionally, but Dementia 13 is a tight and well-made movie which, despite some WTF moments, sinks its hooks into the viewer from the start and keeps you watching until the end."*
Trailer to
Dementia 13:
* For a look at the career of Dementia 13's lead male, William Campbell (30 October 1926 – 28 April 2011), may we suggest our R.I.P. William Campbell Review?

(USA, 1950)

"What do you do, where can you run, when suddenly confronted by the fact that you are going to die, not in months or weeks, but possibly hours or days, and not because of some illness or accident but because someone unknown, for whatever reasons, has poisoned you?"
the complete movie:

(USA, 1982)

"[Forbidden World] is, like so many 'fine' films from across the world around that time — Contamination (1980 / trailer), Alien 2: On Earth (1980 / trailer), The Being (1981 / trailer), Galaxy of Terror (1981 / trailer), Parasite (1982 / trailer), The Deadly Spawn (1983 / trailer), Scared to Death (1983 / trailer), Creature (1985) — little more than an unruly, bastard child of Ridley Scott's Alien (1979 / trailer). And as unruly, bastard children are apt to be, it is a lot of fun, if definitely not the wildest or nastiest of the bunch. (Inseminoid a.k.a. Horror Planet [1981 / trailer], anyone?) It is, at best, a guilty pleasure, with the emphasis on pleasure since some aspects of the low budget movie are essentially pretty good."
Trailer to
Forbidden World:
(Hong Kong, 1977)

"[...] The Mighty Peking Man remains an absolutely wonderful clusterfuck of a movie. Seldom has there been a movie that gets so much right by doing so much wrong."
Trailer to
The Mighty Peking Man:
(USA, 1995)

"Quick-paced and suspenseful, Mute Witness is a well-crafted delight that keeps the viewer at bated breath and manages to convince due to its excellent technique, setting, and acting."
Trailer to
Mute Witness:

(USA, 1989)

"Here's a uniquely odd, disquieting and blackly funny horror comedy from the end of the '80s that remains unjustly unknown, despite being a mild financial and critical success when released."
Trailer to

(in no particular order):
Natural Selection (Planet Texas, 1999) 
Boogeyman 3 (USA, 2008)
Hue & Cry (Great Britain, 1947)
 Space Marines (USA, 1996)
Lost (USA, 2004) 

The Turd of the Year!
(USA, 2006)

A classic example of we-saw-it-so-you-don't-have-to:
"Sometimes the question is not how a film ever got made, but why the film doesn't kill someone's career. It is surprising that this dull and predictable and often laughable slab of sub-generic horror didn't do exactly that to film's director and co-scribe Jason Todd Ipson [...]"
Trailer to

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