Sunday, December 28, 2008

The year isn't quite over yet, but I think I can be safe in listing my favorites. Actually, I only list one Horror Drive-In Movie of the Year, but this year there is two.

One, my favorite movie of 2008, is not what you'd call a drive-in movie. It's Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. What's this, you say? Sieber is listing a Woody Allen movie again. But I must beg to differ. I haven't cited a Woody Allen movie as my favorite of the year in quite some time. Not in this current decade, at least. Oh, I've liked them all and in some cases I've loved the movies. But none has taken the place in my heart as the favorite as Vicky Cristina Barcelona did.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a multi-faceted story of two American tourists in Spain that meet an artist. Both of them have romantic liaisons with the colorful man, and the relationships force them to question their lives and their motivations in love. Flagrant talk of kissing scenes between Scarlett Johanson and Penelope Cruz made people believe that Vicky Cristina Barcelona was some sort of breezy sex romp, which is far from the grim truth. The film is a bitter, cynical look at the futility of love for many individuals. I've seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona twice at this writing and I intend to see it several more times. It's an emotionally powerful study that demands multiple viewings. And I put it up high in the canon of Woody Allen's greatest achievements and I can give no higher praise than that.

But this is Horror Drive-In, for God's sake. It wouldn't be proper for me to list an arty European production as best of the year. Unless Jess Franco could pull one more decent film out of his hat. Doubtful as that may be. The true Horror Drive-In Movie of 2008 is, without a doubt, Inside.

Inside is a brutally uncompromising story of a madwoman trying to steal the unborn baby from a pregnant mother-to-be. This movie tested my endurance like few others I've ever seen and I've seen more than my share of brutal exploitation movies. Yet Inside also resembles an art film in its own right. This French production is stunning shot and performed. In fact, France seems to be the next big place for horror movies, with creepfests like Them, Frontier(s) and Martyrs knocking the socks off of fans around the globe.

And yes, I was aware that Inside was a 2007 movie. It was released here in The States in this past year and I'm treating it as an '08 release.

It was a good year for fiction as well. Good books were coming out at a rapid clip and fans only had trouble finding the funds to buy all they wanted. Unlike times past, such as in the fabled Horror Boom of the 1980's, when I often found myself with no horror books to read.

Here's my list of the books I read this year. I rated them by number, with a + mark behind those that were my very favorite. RR indicates a book that I had previously read.

Oh, by the way, if you laugh at the high scores that I gave, well, I happen to be a very enthusiastic fan and I tend to really like what I like. As for the lack of low scores, well, heh heh, I don't finish books I don't like.

1: Edward Lee, House Infernal: 8
2: Mary SanGiovanni, The Hollower: 4
3: Douglas Preston, Blasphemy: 10
4: Mark Justice, Deadneck Hootenanny: 6
5: Steven Wedel, Seven Days in Benevolence: 7
6: Ed Gorman, Fools Rush In: 10
7: Poppy Z. Brite, Antediluvian Tales: 9
8: Dark Delicacies 2: 6
9: Stephen King, Duma Key 10
10: Brian Keene, Kill Whitey: 8
11: Clifford D. Simak, Mastodonia (RR): 9
12: Christa Faust, Money Shot: 9
13: Thomas Tessier, Finishing Touches (RR): 10
14: Jack Womack. Random Acts of Senseless Violence (RR): 10
15: Edward Lee, Incubi: 8
16: C. Dean Andersson, Buried Secrets: 5
17: Don Robertson, The Forest of Arden: 10
18: Mack Reynolds, Commune 2000 AD: 5
19: Jack Sargeant and Chris Barber, No Focus: Punk on Film: 6
20: Richard Laymon, Savage: 8
21: Frederik Pohl, Starburst (RR): 10
22: John Farris, Son of the Endless Night (RR): 10+
23: Chet Williamson, The Story of Noichi the Blind: 9
24: Paul Theroux, A Christmas Card: 9
25: Jane Samson, The Auctioneer: 10
26: Kealan Patrick Burke, Seldom Seen in August: 10
27: Kenneth Robeson, Doc Savage, The Yellow Cloud (RR): 7
28: Peter Straub, Ghost Story (RR): 10
29: Greg Gifune, The Bleeding Season: 9
30: Jay Bonansinga, Frozen: 8
31: Robert Bloch, Shooting Star: 9
32: Ed Gorman, Sleeping Dogs: 10
33: Ray Garton, Ravenous: 8
24: Norman Prentiss, Invisible Fences: 10
25: Ray Garton, Serpent Girl: 10
26: Paul Theroux, Picture Palace: 10
27: Harry Shannon, Daemon: 9
28: Don Robertson, The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: 10
29: Thomas F. Monteleone, Night Things (RR): 8
30: Paul Feig, Kick Me: 10
31: Paul Theroux, Nurse Wolf and Dr. Sacks: 10
32: Jack Ketchum, Old Flames: 8
33: Tom Piccirilli, The Cold Spot: 10
34: F. Paul Wilson, Jack: Secret Histories: 10
35: Bill Pronzini, Fever: 10
36: Lewis Shiner, Black and White: 10+
37: Jack Ketchum, Book of Souls: 7
38: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Riptide: 10
39: Eric C. Higgs, The Happy Man (RR): 10+
40: Harry Shannon, Dead and Gone: 8
41: Peter Blauner, Slipping Into Darkness: 10
42: Neal Shusterman, Unwind: 10+
43: Richard Laymon, The Woods Are Dark (Restored): 8
44: Paul Feig, Superstud, Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin: 10
45: Bill Pronzini, Jackpot (RR): 10
46: David B. Silva, All the Lonely People: 8
47: Steven Savile, The Hollow Earth: 10
48: Ed Gorman, Several Deaths Later (RR): 10
49: Brian Keene, Ghost Walk: 9
50: Nancy A. Collins, Vamps: 8
51: Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects: 10
52: Nicolas Pekearo, The Wolfman: 10
53: Nate Southard, Just Like Hell: 7
54: Harry Shannon, One of the Wicked: 9
55: Joe R. Lansdale, Leather Maiden: 10+
56: Edward Lee, Brides of the Impaler: 8
57: John Skipp and Craig Spector, The Cleanup: 10 (RR)
58: John Little, Miranda: 10+
59: Michael Marshall Smith, The Servants: 9
60: David Martin, Tethered: 10+
61: Ray Garton, Slivers of Bone: 10
62: Bentley Little, The Academy: 9
63: Greg Gifune, Saying Uncle: 10+
64: Bill Pronzini, Nightshades: 10 (RR)
65: Brian Keene, The Rising: Selected Stories from the End of the World: 7
66: Edward Lee, The Minotauress: 10
67: J.F. Gonzalez, Shapeshifter: 9
68: Robert A. Heinlein, Sixth Column: 8 (RR)
69: Rick Hautala, Little Brothers: 7
70: Bill Pronzini, The Other Side of Silence: 10
71: Christopher Golden, Poison Ink: 10
72: Christopher Conlon, Midnight on Mourn Street: 10 ++
73: Brian Keene, Halves: 9
74: Ronald Kelly, Tanglewood: 9
75: Brian Keene, Killing Stages: 6
76: F. Paul Wilson, By the Sword: 10
77: Robert A. Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky: 10+
78: David Morrell, The Spy Who Came For Christmas: 10
79: Andy Behrens, All the Way: 8
80: Ronald Damien Malfi, Passenger: 10
81: Robert A. Heinlein, Starman Jones: 10+
82: Thomas H. Cook, Red Leaves: 10+
83: David Martin, Losing Everything: 10+
84: Rick Hautala, The Wildman: 10

I was shooting to read 100 books in 2008 and I would have made it, but things occurred in my life in November that shut nearly everything down. I read an average of a book every two weeks since then. And take note: Christopher Conlin's Midnight on Mourn Street earned the coveted ++ score, making it to the top spot of the year for me.

So there you have it. 2008 in a nutshell for yours truly. All things considered, a hell of a good year for reading and watching movies. Add in new music releases by Ben Folds and Todd Rundgren and it was a phenomenally good year. If 2009 is half as good, I will be satisfied.


Previous Posts


Horror Drive-In Repairs

The Green Hills of Earth

The Monster Boom Years

More Drive-In Memories

Spotlight on Christopher Golden

Whatever Happened To Joe Dante?

Cecil B. Demented and Underground Movies

Ten Years Online

Joe R. Lansdale's Leather Maiden