Friday, December 31, 2010


The following is a list of all the fantasy, science fiction and horror films that came out in 2010. This is my list, which means that I have left off most foreign films and all animated films. By the time most foreign films are released on DVD, they usually arrive too late to review in the year that they are released. Also, for the most part, I don’t enjoy the vast majority of non-English speaking films. There are always exceptions to this general rule of mine (Dead Snow and Let the Right One In come to mind), but for the purpose of keeping this list to a reasonable length, I’ve chosen to eliminate them. I will continue to maintain that animated films cannot be compared to live action films; regardless of the genre. Animated films by their very nature create a completely unrealistic visual representation of the world, which I feel is the polar opposite of the vast majority of live action films. Therefore, I have excluded animated films from this list as well.

There are 40 films total on my list of genre movies for 2010. Of these 40 films, I have seen 21 of them to date. I have broken the 40 films into three subject categories: science fiction, fantasy and horror. There are a few films that could fall into two of the three categories and I have added them to both lists where I feel they are applicable. There were 15 fantasy films, 11 science fiction films and 14 horror films released to theaters or direct-to-video on my list. I have broken down my BEST and WORST lists by each of the three genre categories of the films that I have seen. I’ve listed them from top (my favorites) to the bottom (my lesser favorites) in the BEST lists and similarly in the WORST lists. I have also added some brief comments beside the films by way of explaining my choices.


Robin Hood – I really liked Ridley Scott’s take on the early life of Robin Hood. This is the most realistic portrayal of the era since Richard Lester’s Robin and Marian (1976).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 – I have not read any of the books, but I have watched every film and this is by far the darkest film to date. The actors have grown into their roles well.

Centurion – Neil Marshall has become one of my favorite directors. Marshall takes basic stories and fleshes them out with realistic characters and bloody fantastic action! This story of the legend of the lost 9th Roman Legion on the frontier of early 1st Century Britain packs more action, drama, comedy and romance into its 97 minute running time than any other film twice its length.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – This film adaptation of a video game that I’ve never played surprised me. This lush looking film gave me the same feel as the first Mummy movie and is almost as entertaining. This is a CGI film that has the look of the early Harryhausen Sinbad movies.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Not without flaws, this film has Cage and Molina chewing up the scenery like the old pros they are and the young leads aren’t half bad either. Great effects and an upbeat storyline make this good old-fashioned fun.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – A bit of a challenge, but this adaptation of the comic, which injects video game physics into its super-powered romantic comedy plot, rewarded me with a fantastic world filled with unique characters that only the best films are able to produce.


Kick-Ass – I really wanted to like this film adaptation of the even more violent graphic novel, but despite some nice acting by the leads – Chole Moretz as Hit Girl practically steals the movie – the extreme violence was off putting enough to keep me from enjoying it entirely.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – I haven’t read this book either, but as a film it works well enough. Still, despite some interesting concepts and lavish special effects, it felt somewhat generic.

Jonah Hex – I have read many of the various comic book incarnations by DC over the years of this character and this film adaptation borrows from most of them. This could have been a good film, but there is just too much going on in it for it to work as a Western. It works better as a fantasy or horror film, but it never truly commits to either of these genres either.

Clash of the Titans – This remake of a very dated fantasy film was a mistake. The original was lightweight entertainment at best. This version tries to make it a dark dramatic epic and only succeeds in bogging down the fairly entertaining action sequences with tedious melodrama.

Legion – This mess fails on every level imaginable!


Inception – This is the best film of 2010 of any genre! I have not enjoyed any of Christopher Nolan’s previous films (yes – I disliked his overrated The Dark Knight), but he finally tempered his pessimistic view of humanity with some optimism in this one. Inception works on every level: it has a fascinating concept that is well told, complemented with solid acting, brisk editing and stupendous visuals.

Resident Evil: Afterlife – I find all these films thoroughly entertaining as both science fiction and action adventure. Afterlife maintains a brisk pace throughout and is different enough from its three predecessors to make it feel fresh.

Iron Man 2 – Like most super-hero movie sequels, they piled too much into this one, but it is still superior to most films in this genre.

Predators – Despite its logistic flaws, this is still an entertaining action sci-fi drama.

Splice – This works best as a science-fiction moral drama. It forces you to think, which is more than most films of its ilk can say.

Monsters - A very modest yet original take on the "alien invasion" genre.


Repo Men - I liked aspects of this film, but ultimately it failed on too many levels; worst of all its unlikely premise.

Daybreakers - I wanted to like this weird horror sci-fi action horror hybrid. Unfortunately, it ends up feeling too disjointed and directionless.

The Book of Eli – This is fine post-apocalyptic action-drama, which is spoiled by a ludicrous ending.

Skyline – A good sfnal concept that is ruined by a mistake in POV and uneven plotting.


Resident Evil: Afterlife – This also works as a wonderfully action-packed horror film, with some genuinely scary moments. There are more visceral thrills in this film than in most straight horror movies.

The Wolfman – This is the best modern dramatic adaptation of the classic monsters to date.

Daybreakers – This works far better as an action-horror hybrid, than as a sci-fi drama.

My Soul To Take – Wes Craven adds life to the tired "dead teenager" film.

Survival of the Dead - Not one of Romero's best, but still good.


Let Me In - I liked the original Swedish film "Let the Right One In", but this almost exact duplicate of the of it added nothing other than some additional graphic violence.
30 Days of Night: Dark Days – I really liked the original, but this DTV sequel is just too small in scale by comparison. It’s a good effort that is marred by its obvious low budget.
The Crazies – I didn’t like Romero's original much and this remake adds little to it. It doesn't work as sociological sf or horror, but only as an average action drama.

The films that I have not seen I have put in the same categories as the ones I have seen, based on what I know of them and my own film preferences and prejudices. I will attempt to explain why I have put the films in the categories that I have.


The Lovely Bones – I like Peter Jackson, but this story of a murdered child’s ghost is not to my taste.

Alice in Wonderland – I dislike Tim Burton and have hated all his films since Mars Attacks!

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn – I found the first film dull, so I expect more of the same here. I also find children fighting in real killing battles to be both unrealistic and unsettling.

Gulliver’s Travels – Why turn this classic satire into a Jack Black modern farcical comedy?

The Last Airbender – M. Night Shyamalan and TV anime. Enough said!


Chain Letter – This one of those “I’ll watch it on cable when there is nothing else on” movies.

I Spit on Your Grave – Torture, rape and revenge mutilations and killings. Not my type of horror film.
Nightmare on Elm Street – The original was okay and the sequels were progressively worse. I didn’t see the point of a remake and I may just give it a pass entirely.

Paranormal Activity 2 – I was thoroughly bored by the first film, so why torture myself with another?

Piranha 3D – I would like this to be so bad that its good, but I don’t think it will be.

Saw 3D – I saw 3 Saws and that was three too many! Pass!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – I didn’t see Twilight and will not see any of the sequels either.


Tron: Legacy – I’m not a geek of the original, but this looks like it could be fun.

Overall, I thought 2010 was a good year for genre films, but not one of the best. I would like to see more original films or movies adapted from properties that have not already been made into films. There are also too many sequels being made. I like a good film franchise as much as the next fan, but most series are milked far too long. Hopefully, we’ll see the trend of adapting good comic books series continue and not just more high-profile super hero films. I do think video game film adaptations can be good, but only if they are interesting concepts to being with. I’d also like to see some serious science fiction films made from classic genre literature. There are many excellent sf, horror and fantasy books that have yet to be made into films. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them made in the near future. I am looking forward to 2011 and beyond for genre films! It looks like we’ll have plenty of films to watch for years to come.

At the bottom of the blog page you'll find a "which 2011 genre movies are you looking forward to most?" poll. Please take a few minutes to pick you're most anticipated genre films for 2011. It will help me to decide which films to see at the theater this year to write reviews for all you cool ghouls, spastic spacemen and trippy trolls!

Friday, December 24, 2010


This is a fun home video that someone (I whish I could give them credit, but they didn't incluce credits in the video) posted on YouTube of my favorite Horror Holiday tune:

Monster's Holiday by Bobby "Boris" Pickett


It's a very busy time of year here at the Freakenstein laboratory. You wouldn't think that zombies would celebrate Christmas, but you'd be dead wrong. The zombies from Zombzany's graveyard hang their moldy stockings from their tombstones with care, hoping that this year the jolly old elf will fill them with fresh fleshy bits. Every year they're disapoited, as Zombzany the dreaded Dominator of the Dead and necromancing nincompoop casts a spell over his bone yard to ward off Santa Claus. So this Christmas Eve, just to piss him off, I'll sneak into Zombzany's graveyard and fill all his zombie slaves' stockings myself. It's not the most pleasant smelling of tasks, but it'll be worth it to see the zombie's rotten-toothed smiling faces as they unstuff their stockings and stuff their faces.

From myself and all my fellow Genre Guardians...