01 July 2016

Hiatus over. Maynard's back. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Ghostbusters.

Holy crap, that crazy Austrian guy is back!!

Well... sorta. If you expect me to return with a daily (over)dose of shitty movie reviews, then I have to disappoint you:
I won't do that anymore (the horror! the horror!). During my hiatus, I learned one thing: life is too short wasting it on watching and writing about every new horror movie that comes out, and every fucking screener that I get.

Result: over the last 7 months, I watched so many fucking movies from all kinds of genres, it's insane. And no, I didn't write about any of them. No, sir. Nothing. Nada. Nil.
The joy of watching movies without constantly thinking about what I could write about it.... fucking priceless!

Maynard 2.0 (sounds funky, huh?) focuses on the satisfying experience of watching movies, and not on writing about them. It was fun once, but last year it got exhausting and felt more like work, so I just had to stop.
But Don't Worry: I will continue to post hither and thither, but no reviews. Other stuff, like lists, articles etc. If you're still interested in the diary, keep an eye open: there's actually a few really extensive posts coming very, very soon!!!!!!1!! (not kidding!). Also, if you want me to collaborate on a post or something, just let me know.

Oh, in case you wanna know what horror movies I watched so far this year, here's a nice little overview. As you can see, this was a very disappointing year so far. Well, is it any wonder? Hollywood still churns out one fucking ghost movie after the other. It's insane.
Nothing can make me go check out stuff like "The Forest" (Thanks, but I've already seen "Grave Halloween" - same fucking movie), "The Darkness" (Greg McLean, what the fuck?) or "The Other Side of the Door" (could have been released as "Pet Sematary 3" or "Wake Wood 2"...).
As for the rest: well, see for yourself...

"2 JENNIFER" (2016), Directed by Hunter Johnson - 4/10
Sequel to James Cullen Bressack's "To Jennifer". Starts out pretty good, ends up pretty bad. I already forgot about it.

"10 CLOVERFIELD LANE" (2016), Directed by Dan Trachtenberg - 9/10
Unbelievably intense and powerful suspense-fest with a terrific Mary Elizabeth Winstead and a fucking creepy John Goodman. Biggest surprise of 2016 so far, wow!

"ANGER OF THE DEAD" (2015), Directed by Frances Picone - 2/10
Horrible full-length version of the director's fantastic zombie-short from 2013. Co-produced by Uwe Boll...

"B.C. BUTCHER" (2016), Directed by Kansas Bowling - 6/10
A prehistoric slasher-comedy, directed by a 19-year-old girl, produced by Troma. Funny rubbish, far better than I expected.

"THE BOY" (2016), Directed by William Brent Bell - 3/10
Ridiculous and pretty laughable doll-horror with a super-shitty ending. Bell's worst movie so far. Yes, even worse than "The Devil Inside".

"CABIN FEVER" (2016), Directed by Travis Zariwny - 0/10
Remake of Eli Roth's classic of the same name, so fucking awful, I had to turn it off after the first 20 minutes.

"THE CONJURING 2" (2016), Directed by James Wan - 3/10
Unbelievably frustrating over-the-top special effects disaster, terribly predictable, much too long, and way too packed with worn-out Wan-trademarks. Ugh!

"DARK" (2015), Directed by Nick Basile - 2/10
Absolutely horrendous "Repulsion" ripoff, incredibly boring and awfully executed. Produced by Joe Dante for whatever reason...

"DARK HOUSE" (2014), Directed by Victor Salva - 8/10
Original, gripping, gory and totally badass. The best movie Salva has done since his masterpiece "Jeepers Creepers"!

"DARLING" (2015), Directed by Mickey Keating - 2/10
Don't believe the hype (fuck you, Bloody Disgusting!). This "Repulsion"-ripoff fucking sucks. Yes, yet another "Repulsion" ripoff...

"DON'T GO IN THE BASEMENT 2" (2015), Directed by Tony Brownrigg - 6/10
Pretty neat and quite entertaining sequel to the 1973 classic, directed by exploitation legend S.F. Brownrigg's son!

"FRANCESCA" (2015), Directed by Luciano Onetti - 4/10
Stunning-looking, but highly underwhelming and annoyingly tedious follow-up to Onetti's fantastic neo-Giallo "Sonno Profondo".

"THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS" (2015), Directed by Nick Simon - 3/10
Visually interesting, but otherwise unbelievably frustrating and super-dumb semi-slasher, produced by Wes Craven for whatever reason...

"GREEN ROOM" (2015), Directed by Jeremy Saulnier - 8/10
Uber-intense, super-brutal and completely unpredictable punks-vs.-nazis shocker with some really nasty gore. Awesome! R.I.P. Anton Yelchin :(

"HOLIDAYS" (2016), Various Directors - 7/10
Surprisingly hilarious holiday-themed horror-anthology, far more satisfying than the overhyped "Tales of Halloween", incl. the absolute best thing Kevin Smith has done in like forever.

"THE NEON DEMON" (2016), Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn - 4/10
Style over substance and hardcore-pretentiousness to the absolute maximum. Thank goodness Jena Malone is so fucking good, her intense performance almost saves the entire movie.

"RESTORATION" (2016), Directed by Zack Ward - 2/10
Directorial feature debut by actor Zack Ward, an awfully unoriginal and cliché-ridden semi-ripoff off "The Skeleton Key" with lots of very, very awful CGI.

"SINISTER 2" (2015), Directed by Ciarán Foy - 5/10
Completely unoriginal, pointless and superfluous cash-grab sequel, though far from being as bad as expected, due to solid direction, a couple of terrific death scenes and some neat acting.

"SOUTHBOUND" (2015), Various Directors - 3/10
Weak horror-anthology that tries so unbelievably hard to be oh-so-clever, it just had to fall flat.

"THE VVITCH: A NEW-ENGLAND FOLKTALE" (2015), Directed by Robert Eggers - 4/10
Visually excellent, but too religious, too pretentious, too predictable for my taste. Lars von Trier's highly similar "Antichrist" is sooooo much better than this.

Oh, one more thing:

Fuck the new Ghostbusters.
Fuck Paul Feig.
Fuck Fall Out Boy.
Fuck everyone who claims all the recent Ghostbusters hate is about feminism or misogyny or racism...

- IT'S NOT!!! The trailers just look horrible. And unfunny. And horribly unfunny. People tend to hate shit like that. Simple as that. Fuck the new Ghostbusters. Just fuck it. I won't watch that crap.

28 May 2016

May Monster Madness 2016: Maynard's Top 15 Favorite Monster Movies

We interrupt this hiatus for something unexpected... something special... something mad and monstrous!

Yes, Maynard is back! At least for this year's edition of the MAY MONSTER MADNESS! Due to my hiatus, I originally didn't wanted to be a part this time... but then regular MMM host Annie Walls  took a break from hosting, and my good old friend Emma from "Little Gothic Horrors" stepped in. In order to help and support her, I came out of the hibernation and created a little list specifically for the MMM.

When I decided to compile a list of my favorite monster movies, I had no idea how hard it would be. I mean, what is a monster movie?
What defines a monster movie?
Heck, what is a monster?
Do werewolves and vampires count?
Or is it only about creature features?
What about aliens? Animals? Halp!

In the end, I decided that... well, to me, a real monster movie contains monsters or creatures with no or nearly no human connection, so there's no werewolves, no zombies, no vampires, and no transformation stuff à la "The Fly". It's all about monsters, animals, kaiju and aliens. Simple as that ;-)

Oh, also, it's not a list about what I think are the best monster movies, but rather about what are my all time favorites, especially in terms of rewatchability and nostalgia. There are movies like "Cujo" or "Gremlins" that may be better movies than some others on that list, but they don't have the same rewatchibility as my Top 15, or I'm just not so emotionally connected to them.

Okay, without further ado, here are my:


Director: Jack Arnold

Thanks to Austrian afternoon television in the late 80s, this was actually the very first monster movie I have ever seen. At the tender age of 6, I sat in front of the TV and marvelled at John Agar trying to find a solution how to destroy a house-sized and super-creepy Tarantula that is creeping and crawling around the Arizona town of Desert Rock.

Although I have a very soft spot for giant spider trash like "The Giant Spider Invasion" or "Big Ass Spider", there's absolutely no denying that "Tarantula" is definitely the greatest and most entertaining monster-spider flick ever made, and also one of the best monster movies of the 1950s. It's tense and eerie, there's lots of powerful suspense and most of the (actually quite clever) effects still look super-cool. Tarantulawesomeness!

[Also great: "Them!" (1954) - slightly similar 50s giant-insect flick, but with giant ants.]

Director: Victor Salva

Victor Salva... yeah, I know. This guy has an extremely negative reputation, and quite rightly so - but there's no denying that he's a really talented filmmaker who knows to pull off a good and original horror movie, just like he did in 2001 with the box office hit "Jeepers Creepers", a fabulously developed modern fairytale about an ancient creature called "The Creeper" which feasts on human flesh every 23rd spring for exactly 23 days.

This "Creeper" is such a fascinating creature, it's a shame that it didn't influence more filmmakers to create movies in the same vein; and it's an even bigger shame that "Jeepers Creepers" hasn't become a long-running mega-franchise with countless sequels and prequels; only one sequel was produced... and the biggest shame is the fact that us fans have to wait for the long-announced threequel now for more than 13 years... *sigh* Well, we'll always have the first two parts!

[Also great: the above-mentioned "Jeepers Creepers 2" (2003) - very solid sequel, but radically/surprisingly/refreshingly different from the first part.]

Directors: Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack

It doesn't matter how many "King Kong" sequels, remakes, reboots and ripoffs will be made... NO-ONE will ever be able to create a better, more entertaining, more fascinating giant ape movie than "King Kong", the one and only king of giant ape movies. No animatronics, no CGI and surely no Gorilla suits can ever mess with the colossal 1933 "Kong". Even Peter Jackson tried and colossaly failed to recreate this uber-classic.

I first saw it at the age of 7 or 8 (thanks again, Austrian television!) and loved it ever since, and even though I was a huge Godzilla fan in my teenage years, I never got rid of my fascination with this incredible black-and-white epic. Outstanding stop-motion effects, a terrifying musical score and a pitch-perfection direction are just three of many, many reasons why this movie still works so fucking well. "King Kong" kicks prehistoric butt!

[Also great: "Queen Kong" (1976) and "The Mighty Peking Man" (1977) - IMHO the two funniest and most entertaining giant ape flicks ever made, far more diverting than any of the American follow-ups.]

Director: John McTiernan

Being an Austrian and not liking this movie? Impossible :-D Once again thanks to my mum who allowed me to watch pretty much anything not suitable for children at a very young age, especially when it was a movie that she enjoyed (more about that later...), and thank goodness, she loved most of Arnie's 80s/90s output *yay* just like "Predator", next to "Die Hard" and "Die Hard 3" the absolute best thing John McTiernan has ever directed.

You want plot? Go away. "Predator" is all about a badass Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering quotable one liners en masse ("If it bleeds, we can kill it." / "You're one ugly motherfucker." / "Get to the chopper!"), a fascinating trophy-hunting extraterrestrial creature that looks super-awesome and super-scary at the same time, countless tremendous special effects, as well as lot of suspense, lots of action and gore galore. 80s sci-fi/action-creature-feature-awesomeness at its best!

[Also great: "Predator 2" (1990) - If you can accept the fact that there's no Arnie in this sequel, you get rewarded with a stunningly executed, radically different sequel that is almost as awesome!]

Director: Kazuki Ohmori

This might be a suprise to you, but of all the Godzilla films Japan has ever produced, doesn't matter if dark, entertaining or goofy (believe me, I've seen them all countless times), "Godzilla vs. Biollante" has always been my favorite Godzi-flick. It's a shame that it is so unknown and underrated nowadays. Back in the 90s, Austrian and especially German TV channels showed this quite often (usually once or twice a year), giving me the chance to re-watch it over and over and over.

It's a dark and atmospheric movie, even darker than its similarly awesome predecessor "Godzilla 1985", and it features the most fascinating creature in the whole Godzilla franchise: BIOLLANTE, a hybrid mutant monster-flower, genetically engineered from the genes of a Rose and cells from Godzilla. She looks fantastic in every scene, she's way cooler than Godzi, and their final battle is so brutal, so fucking kick-ass, I get goosebumps just thinking about it. A Kaiju masterpiece, and IMO the second-best Kaiju movie ever made.

[Also great: Its above-mentioned sinister predecessor "Godzilla 1985", a tremendous reboot of the 1954 "Godzilla", as well as its pretty excellent sequels "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" (1991) and "Godzilla vs. Mothra" (1992).]

ATTACK THE BLOCK (UK / France, 2011)
Director: Joe Cornish

'Inner City vs. Outer Space' - a premise so hilariously simple, yet so unbelievably masterfully executed by directorial debutant Joe Cornish, I'm still gobsmacked. "Attack the Block" had an impact on me, only comparable to Edgar Wright's Cornetto-trilogy, actually in terms and tone quite similar to the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movies, but with an extra portion of extraterrestrial extravaganza, hilarious gangster slang, ace Grime music and... well, good ol' Nick Frost!

The movie is so colorful, so tense, so funny AND so action-packed, there's tons of outrageously amsuing dialogue ("What's Ron's weed room? - "It's a room... filled with weed... that belongs to Ron."), and omg, the creature design of the "Big alien gorilla wolf motherfuckers" is just wow: ravenous hairy alien-apes, consisting of a super-cool blacker-than-black body and neon-turquoise disco-teeth. True party animals ;-) "Attack the Block" ROCKS!!!

[Also great: "Critters" (1986) - an armada of furry, very foracious and fun-looking monsters from outer space terrorizing a... no, not a tower block, but a small farming town.]

THE BLOB (USA, 1988)
Director: Chuck Russell

For the ones who don't know Maynard & Craig's legendary Blobfest-post (click here!): I TOTALLY adore this goo-filled monstrosity of an 80s movie. As a young boy I spent way too much time staring at the gruesome cover artwork in the horror section of my local rental store, before I finally got the chance to see it a few years later (Thanks Mum! Thanks German Television!) and completely fell in love with it.

I don't care much for the 1958 original or its shoddy 1972 sequel "Beware! The Blob". It's the nasty, gory, tense, funny, entertaining and action-packed 1988 remake that I am in love with it (IMO one of the greatest horror remakes of all time - I'm serious!). I have no idea how often I've rewatched the brutal kitchen sink scene, or the hospital attack, or the sewer inferno. Hell, I have no idea how often I've rewatched the entire movie, but I can assure you, I will definitely rewatch the killer-glibber's smalltown-rampage many, many times more!

[Also great: "The Stuff" (1985) - In some kinda way the same kinda movie, but with, erm, killer ice cream that comes out of the earth. No joke!]

ALIENS (UK / USA, 1986)
Director: James Cameron

Making a sequel to a movie that revolutionized and basically reinvented the science-fiction genre is almost impossible... almost! Director James Cameron didn't even try to redefine the sci-fi genre, he tried to create something entirely different, et voilà: his sequel to Ridley Scott's "Alien" became one of the most important and most impressive action/sci-fi films of all time, a movie that is really almost as amazing as its stunning predecessor.

While Scott's "Alien" gave the audiences only one badass killer-creature, Cameron gave them armadas of these almost-invincible bastards, incl. a 'Mother Alien' that looks so nightmarishly astonishing, it's insane. I grew up on the theatrical cut which is great, but since I first seen the 17-minutes-longer Director's Cut in 2012, I have no more interest in re-watching it, because the longer version is so much better, so much more intense, and so much more emotional, I daresay it's the absolute best Director's Cut anyone has ever made. I mean it!

[Also great: "Alien" (1979), the amazing first part of the "Alien" saga, as well as the underrated third part, "Alien 3" (1992), one of David Fincher's darkest movies to date.]

Director: Ron Underwood

Of all the countless modern wannabe-1950s-monster-flicks like "Eight Legged Freaks", "Slither" etc., only one managed to capture that particular 50s feeling while at the same time, redefining and enhancing it: the mighty, mighty "Tremors", an absolutely fantastic feel-good blast of a movie, better than any other worm/snake/etc.-themed movied ever made, and surely the best example of how good humor, suspense, action, believable characters, cool creatures and splendid practical effects can work together when everyone involved has a freaking great time and wants to make a fun movie.

The "Graboids" (no, they're NOT called "Tremors"...) are slightly silly-looking, yet highly effective creatures full of ludicrous surprises, and they're getting cooler and cooler with every single franchise entry, thanks to a hilarious lifecycle (Shriekers, Assblasters, Dirt Dragons...) that almost puts the Xenomorphs to shame. "Tremors" is absolutely Tremor-rific fun for everyone. Don't trust anyone who doesn't like it! ;-)

[Also great: Everything that has "Tremors" in its title, is fun to watch and highly recommended, the sequels "Tremors 2: Aftershocks" (1996) and "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection" (2001), the "Tremors" TV series (2003), the prequel "Tremors 4: The Legend Begins" (2004) and the 12-years-later sequel "Tremors 5: Bloodlines" (2015).]

Director: Guillermo Del Toro

My feelings towards Guillermo del Toro's cinematic output are very mixed (I don't like "Crimson Peak" and I HATE "Hellboy"), but there's absolutely no denying how much I adore "Pacific Rim", IMO not just the greatest Kaiju-themed movie of all time, but also the only non-Asian / non-King-Kong giant-monster-movie that completely understood, captured and redefined everything that made all the Godzilla and Gameras etc. so fascinating. Fuck both American "Godzilla" remakes!

Granted, Del Toro focussed more on the Human aspects of the movie, but nevertheless, he also created the most fascinating, most frightening AND most dangerous mega-monsters I have ever seen, especially the gigantic "Knifehead" is the most gobsmacking-looking Toho-monster that Toho has never created. And when it comes to monster fighting: seeing a Jaeger thrashing a Kaiju monster in the middle of Hong Kong with a cargo ship is so fucking incredible, it has to be seen to be believed. Thank you, Guillermo. Thank you very much!

[Also great: "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" (1974) and "Terror of Mechagodzilla" (1974), basically the two mothers of giant-robot-cinema. Forget about "Robot Jox".]

ALIEN (UK / USA, 1979)
Director: Ridley Scott

British director Ridley Scott made 'only' 3 science fiction films in his 5-decades-career, but hey: at least two of them revolutionized the genre completely: "Blade Runner" (1982), and this one, "Alien", one of the cleverest and most powerful sci-fi/horror mash-ups of all time, a stylish landmark-masterpiece about a nasty extraterrestrial creature with a truly fascinating lifecycle, a tough-ass Sigourney Weaver, her damn cool crew and Jonesy, the cutest kitty in movie history.

Together with Swiss genius/maniac H.R. Giger, Scott created a dark and sinister motherfucker of a movie, back then an outstandingly original and very welcome return to the classic 1950s danger-from-space tropes and the perfect antidote to all the fairytale-like "Star Wars"-kitsch, mainly due to Giger's Alien a.k.a the 'Xenomorph', which, with all its incarnations (egg, facehugger, chestburster), became one of the most popular, most famous genre icons of all time.

[Also great: "Aliens" (1986), James Cameron's extremely amazing sequel, as well as the underrated third part, "Alien 3" (1992), one of David Fincher's darkest movies to date.]

JAWS (USA, 1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg

Next to "Jurassic Park" and "Duel", the absolute best and most suspenseful movie Steven Spielberg has ever made. It's also the best animal-themed movie ever made and the best sea-creature-themed  movie ever made. "Jaws", a miracle of a movie that basically 'invented' the summer blockbuster as we know it... a movie that revolutionized movie marketing, the movie industry and movie making itself... a movie that kickstarted one of the greatest and most fascinating director careers in history.

It's one of the most rewatchable movies of all time, and it never fails to entertain you, to shock you and to keep you on the edge of your seat. I've seen my fair share of shark/piranha/etc. flicks - none of them is nearly as great as "Jaws", none of them features an actor/character more likable than Roy Scheider's "Chief Brody" or Richard Dreyfuss' "Matt Hooper, none of them features an actor/character as interesting as Robert Shaw's "Quint", none of them features a musical scores as intense as John Williams' legendary duh-dum, and surely none of them features a scene as intense as the USS Indianapolis scene. "Jaws" is quite perfect!

[Also great: "Jaws 2" (1978), a criminally underrated sequel and IMO the second-best shark-themed movie ever made, tense and atmospheric as hell.]

Director: Steven Spielberg

Next to "Jaws" and "Duel", the absolute best and most suspenseful movie Steven Spielberg has ever made. It's also the best dinosaur-themed ever made, the best movie made in the 90s, and most certainly the greatest in-cinema-experiene of my life. I'll never forget how packed the theater was, how excited everyone in the audience was, how indescribably amazing it was to see, erm, 'real dinosaurs' on the big screen, and how shocked people were when the T-Rex ate the toilet-lawyer, or when 'Spitter' spat tech-douchebag Dennis Nedry to death.

Like "Jaws" and actually most of Spielberg's horror- or science-fiction-themed movies, it's extremely rewatchable and never fails to give you one helluva time. Every single character is just wonderful, even the ones who are actually assholes. Every dinosaur scene is fan-freaking-tastic, especially the very first T-Rex scene (Waterglass!) and the stunning Velociraptor-Finale. The CGI is, just like in "Terminator 2", still jaw-dropping and more realistic-looking than most of modern days' computer effects. John Williams' music, the cinematography, the direction... *sigh* They don't make 'em like that anymore...

[Also great: "Jurassic World" (2015), you either like it or you don't like it - I very much like it and think it's far better, far more entertaining than its predecessing sequels.]

Director: Neil Marshall

"The Descent" is not just one of the greatest horror movies of all time, it's also one of the very, very few ones that manages to frighten the shit out of me every single time I watch it. I'm not Claustrophobic, but whenever I follow those 6 British gals into the Boreham Caverns, I feel like I AM Claustrophobia. It's simply insane what director Neil Marshall has created. For almost an hour, "The Descent" delivers so many shocks, fright/panic situations and edge-of-seat suspense sequences, you're close to a heart attack every single minute. However, just when you think it can't get worse, the ghastly "Crawlers" appear and all hell breaks loose.

I'm not sure what's more terrifiying about those subterranean creatures: the fact that they look like Johann Heinrich Füssli's interpretation of Gollum, the fact that their goddamn shrieking can drive you crazy, or the fact they look so fucking humanoid. Whatever it is, I love/hate these blind, pale motherfuckers with a passion. Thank goodness for the invention of 'girl power' and the stunning badassness of those six chicks who mercilessly and relentlessly fight the Crawlers, and thank goodness for Neil Marshall who gave us such an unbelievably awesome horror-masterpiece!

[Also great: "The Descent Part 2" (2009), an unnecessary, yet surprisingly great sequel, similarly suspenseful, packed to the brim with more ghastly Crawlers.]

Director: John Carpenter

Once again mad props to my mother: "The Thing" was one of the very first proper horror movies I was ever allowed to watch, along "Halloween", "The Fog" and "Poltergeist". At the tender age of 8 or 9 (we're not fully sure), I probably shouldn't have watched stuff like that, but my mother loved these movies so much, she innocently thought I'd love them too - and glad she did! No nightmares or traumata plagued me. Instead, an instant craving for more, more, more of that magical stuff they call Horror movies came along. The foundation stone for a lifelong horror fandom was laid.

Over the last 25 years since I first saw "The Thing", my love for it grew and grew and grew... and is still growing because it's such an unbelievable, such a flawless, such a perfect piece of art. One of the three greatest horror movies ever made (the other two are "Halloween" and "The Shining"), the greatest sci-fi horror movie ever made, and surely the greatest monster movie ever made. Did I forgot to mention that it's also the greatest remake ever made? The original "The Thing from Another World" (1951) is a neat little flick, but Carpenter's version is so much better, it almost makes you feel sorry for the original... almost! ;-)

Granted, it's not an average monster movie per se. It basically features all kinds of monster movie elements and trademarks, but not in an typical monster-movie-way, as "The Thing" doesn't focus on one monster, but rather on a certain creature that can take the form of any living being and what this cretaure does to humans in order to survive. And omg, what it does is simply frightening: a husky gets transformed into a Lovecraftian tentacle-nightmare, a severed slime-oozing head becomes some kind of alien-spider, a man's chest opens up to be a giant teethed mouth etc. Horrifying, traumatizing, brutal to watch, and SOOO, SOOO AWESOME!

The movie was a box office bomb back then because in 1982 people fell in love with the ugly motherfucker E.T. and weren't interested in any kind of evil alien invasions. Thank goodness, over the years, the movie became more and more popular, and today it is hailed as one of the greatest horror/sci-fi movies of all time, just like John Carpenter is hailed as one of the greatest genre directors of all time.

[Also great: yup, "The Thing from Another World" (1951) is good, but if you wanna see something that is almost as intense as "The Thing", I highly recommend to watch "Ice" (1993), the 8th episode of the very first "The X-Files" season, a freaking fantastic homage that is just wow!]

-  -  -  -  -

Thanks for reading! =)

12 January 2016

"I need a Vacation." - Maynard goes on Hiatus!

- January 12, 2016 - UPDATE

Ok. 2015 is over. The Best Of Lists have all been posted. Now it's time to say goodbye, Maynard's eagerly awaited HIATUS starts right fucking now! CU in Summer! :-)

- November 24, 2015 -

"30th September 2015. Mark this date in your calendar fans... For it's a historic occasion indeed.
For this is the day... I officially stop wasting my life taking chances on movies that may or may not be buckets of s***e... And, stick to the classics.
(Okay, I'll be able to watch the odd dire obscurity... I do SO enjoy mocking them, you know. But really, life is too short to do that a lot...)"

These aren't my words. These are the words of Imdb user "wrightiswright" who wrote this in his review of this year's dumbfest "Some Kind of Hate". I understand what he means, and granted, his comment was one of many reasons which inspired me to go on...


Yes. I'm going on hiatus! Originally, I wanted to continue blogging until New Year's Day and announce this on January 2, but today I realized that I just can't wait any longer.

I'm doing this blog thing for more than 6 years and for the most time, I enjoyed writing for this silly little site - but this year, the joy became a pain in the ass. Way too many shitty movies in theaters, way too many shitty screeners in my email account, and way... WAY too many shitty films at this year's terribly disappointing /Slash Filmfestival. I forced myself to continue writing and blogging and posting, but it wasn't fun anymore. It was a chore. A bore.

That's why it's time for a break now. Over the last weeks, I re-discovered the joy of watching old movies/DVDs without thinking about writing a review or making any screenshots - you can't imagine how great it is to watch something without constantly thinking about possible sentences and phrases ;-)

From now on, I won't waste my time on any lowest budget dreck, found footage rubbish, pointless oh-so-artsy movies without endings, or CGI disasters. From now on, I just wanna watch movies that are good / movies that I want to see.

There won't be any new posts until the last week of December 2015 when I'm gonna post my Best/Worst-Of-2015 Lists, and then there won't be any new posts until June 2016. I have no idea what will happen next year in Summer. Will I continue blogging? Will I stop writing? I have no idea. Let's wait and see :-)

Oh the drama!

Arnie knows best.

Top 10 Most Disappointing Movies 2015

Et voilà: the fourth and final 2015 list.

Maynard's Top 10
Most Disappointing Movies of 2015

Alexandre Aja's
USA / Canada, 2013

Since I first saw "High Tension" in 2005, I'm waiting for Alexandre Aja to make another movie that is about as awesome as that one - however, he just can't stop disappointing me with mediocre, polished and/or really lame pieces of overbudgeted rubbish. "Horns" sadly makes no exception.

Miguel Ángel Vivas'
Spain / USA, 2015

The director of the insanely awesome "Kidnapped" made a grim post-apocalyptic winter-zombie-movie... what sounds like the greatest thing ever, turned out to be an insanely dull and completely lifeless run-of-the-mill piece of CGI-zombie-schlock. *sigh* Can we get a "Kidnapped 2" puh-lease?

Various Directors
USA, 2015

Good but just not good enough, especially considering the talent involved (Neil Marshall! Darren Lynn Bousman! Mike Mendez!). It's basically "Trick 'R Treat" for the poor. Oh, and don't believe anyone who says things about it like 'OH MY GOD THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER' (Hi Michele ;-)

George Miller's
Australia / USA, 2015

8.2 on Imdb... # 147 on the Imdb Top 100... 97% on Rotten Tomatoes... 89 on Metascore... REALLY??? Meh. It's a neat action movie, but nowhere near as badass as the first two "Max Max" movies, especially the first one. I prefer my Tom Hardy in "The Revenant" where he gives a performance that is lightyears better than what he does in "Fury Road".

S. Craig Zahler's
(USA, 2015)
Eli Roth's
(USA 2013/2015)

At first sight, both these movies are rather different from each other. At second sight... not so much. Both try and fail to reanimate the glory old days of cannibal-themed horror. Both totally don't live up to the hype. Both bored the hell out of me. At least, both deliver pretty much the same highlight in form of an ultra-brutal gore-shock scene, yet the former delivers it way too late, the latter delivers it way too early. All in all, two huge letdowns.

Rodney Ascher's
USA, 2015

No, it's definitely not a bad documentary, but compared to Rodney Ascher's previous doco "Room 237" (am I really the only one who still adores the hell out of it?), the sleep-paralysis-themed "The Nightmare" was more tiring than scaring, more sleep-inducing than reviving.

Henry Hobson's
USA, 2015

No, it's not a bad movie per se, but considering how amazing this whole project sounded at first - good old Arnold in a dystopian low-budget zombie-drama! - "Maggie" sadly turned out to be way too boring and tedious, way too unoriginal and forgettable to satisfy my zombie/Arnie-needs.

Wes Ball's
USA, 2015

Even though I somehow expected that the second "Maze Runner" wouldn't be as good as the first one (no maze, no Will Poulter, twice the budget...), I am still pissed about how lame, dumb and annoying it actually turned out to be. Seems like not every YA-franchise can be "Hunger Games" or "Divergent"... no, wait...

Sean Byrne's
USA, 2015

It's not a bad movie, but... well, considering how fucking incredible Sean Byrne's previous movie was (the still-super-mindblowing "The Loved Ones"), it's just sad that he chose to shoot such an uneven, unbalanced and ultimately underwhelming project as follow-up. Damn, a "The Loved Ones" sequel/prequel/whatever probably would have been better...

Francis Lawrence's
USA, 2015

Not exactly a bad conclusion to the epic "Hunger Games" saga, but it suffers from a wide array of "Hobbit"-like let's-stretch-it-even-further-so-we-can-make-even-more-money problems, one of the most unbelievable love-triangles in movie history, odd editing choices, WAY to many endings and the absolute worst final scene I have ever seen. 
Austrian journalist Christian Fuchs nailed it when he said: "I left the movie theater shaking my head, because the final scene felt like borrowed from an animated Disney movie. (...) With this short sequence, the most important rebellious female character of action cinema was sacrificed on the altar of bourgeois idyll." No truer words were ever spoken.

07 January 2016

Top 25 Worst of 2015

Back in January, when I went to see "50 Shades of Grey" for shits and giggles, I was pretty sure that this would pop up in my Worst of 2015 list. However, now that the year is over, I realized that there's no place for Mr. Grey in this awful list because there was so much other crap this year, I was actually able to compile a Worst of List that consists of 25(!!!) movies for the very first time since I started blogging in 2009. Yes, my dear readers, 25 (actually 26) awfully bad movies, and none of them has anything to do with E.L. James! Yes, this year was that bad. Like really bad. In terms of Horror etc. 2015 was actually so bad, I decided to go on hiatus (announcement post, see here).

By the way: 10 of these god-awful movies were shown at the /Slash Filmfestival 2015. Ten! Holy fuck, last year's /Slash was so, so bad, I'm still pissed. Result: I will probably not visit or support any /Slash events this year. I may go to another festival, I may go to no festival at all. I haven't decided yet. Let's wait and see...

Maynard's Top 25 Worst Movies 2015

R.D. Braunstein's
USA, 2015

The previous two entries in this insane franchise - both directed by Steven R. Monroe - made it into my Best Of Lists (Best of 2011: Part 1 on #3 / Best of 2013: Part 2 on #21).

The third entry - NOT directed by Steven R. Monroe - made it into the Worst Of 2015 list because it's a dumb, boring and terribly written piece of rape'n'revenge nonsense. Hope one day Monroe returns for a fourth entry, and makes us forget about this vile garbage.

Bryan Coyne's
USA, 2015

The first of 6 found footage crapfests on this abysmal list. This one is just another devil-possessed-child rubbish that steals from classics like "The Omen" or "Poltergeist" and could have been easily sold as sequel to "Devil's Due" (Worst of 2014, #14). The fact that it was co-produced by the guys behind "The Human Race" (Worst of 2014, #2)... well, I think you get the idea.

Neill Blomkamp's
USA / Mexico, 2015

Imagine "Short Circuit", but without the fun and entertainment. Imagine "RoboCop", but without the badassness. Imagine "District 9", but without the awesomeness. Imagine "Elysium", but without Matt Damon. That's "Chappie". And "Chappie" is Crappy.

Bruce McDonald's
Canada, 2015

From the director of "Pontypool", one of the greatest Canadian horror films of all time, comes "Hellions", one of the worst Canadian horror films of all time. Seriously, "Hellions" is so dumb, so bad, so pointless, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Bruce McDonald, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.

1st of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Josh Trank's
USA, 2015

From the director of "Chronicle" (Best of 2012, #10), one of the coolest superhero-films of the last 15 years, comes "Fantfourstic", one of the worst super-hero films of the last 15 years. Seriously, "Fant4stic" is so nonsensically silly, so boring, so fucked up, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Josh Trank, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.

Todd Strauss-Schulson's
USA, 2015

An oh-so-funny meta-homage to 80s slashers 1) without any gore and boobs, 2) which wants us to believe that low-budget slasher movies in 1986 had black-and-white flashbacks and slow-mo sequences, 3) titled "The Final Girls" even though it gets everything wrong about the basic 'final girl', 4) with a cheap, obvious and terrible re-recording of Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis' Eyes", 5) that was filmed in such a shiny and polished way, it hurt my eyes.

2nd of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Benni Diez'
Germany / USA, 2015

Believe me, I have absolutely nothing against Lance Henriksen, but as of lately, he quickly became the Nicolas Cage of horror, constantly appearing in utter genre crap like "It's in the Blood", "Harbinger Down", "Alone in the Dark II",or in this horrid piece of monster-insect trash, a movie as funny as a bee sting, as gorgeous as flies sitting on dog shit.

3rd of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Pablo Larcuen's
Spain, 2013

The second of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. Fuck the ugly poster. Not only is it NOT the first feature film shot entirely with an iPhone (that's the far superior "To Jennifer" by James Cullen Bressack), it is also NOT a good movie. Actually, it's one of the absolute worst Spanish horror films of the last years and it gives us two of the most unlikable, most aggravating male characters I've ever seen in a horror movie.

Eduardo Sánchez'
USA, 2014

The third of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list, and this one was actually directed by the father of modern found footage cinema Eduardo Sánchez, mastermind behind "The Blair Witch Project". What could have been some kinda "Willow Creek 2" ended up as ultra-shitty, stupidly made Bigfoot flick that is about as bad as "Curse of Bigfoot" or similar Bigfoot-turd.

(George) Cameron Romero's
USA, 2014

Even the weakest films by George A. Romero ("The Crazies", "Surival of the Dead") are masterpieces compared to what his son George Cameron (who clearly is NOT an auteur) achieved with this oh-so-original mockumentary that could be described as "Cigarette Burns" for idiots. George, could you please give your son house arrest? Thanks in advance.

Karen Lam's
Canada, 2013

"Evangeline" looks and feels as if the makers of "Kingdom Come" (Worst of 2014, #5) made a remake of "Avenged" (Best of 2015, #12). It's daft, it's inane and it contains several faith-based elements that are plain insulting. Wanna torture yourself? Watch this, "I Spit on your Grave 3" and "Savage Vengeance" in a row. You will jump out of the window afterwards.

Gregory Plotkin's
USA, 2015

The fourth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. The sixth entry in the "Paranormal Activity" franchise is even worse than the abysmal fourth entry (Worst of 2012, #8). It's one of the worst found footage I've ever seen in a movie theater, and it's also one of the worst 3D movies I've ever seen in a movie theater. "The Cheap-Jump-Scare Dimension" would be a better fitting title.

Joe Lynch's
USA, 2014

Not only is it pretty sad what happened to the career of once-promising director Joe Lynch (the man behind the hialrious "Wrong Turn 2"), it's also a massive tragedy what happened to Salma Hayek, who once received Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and now seems to be designated to star in bullcrap like "Grown Ups", "Cirque du Freak" or this horrid action-turd that tries so desperately to be cool, it makes SyFy nonsense
like "Mercenaries" look like a work of art.

Eli Roth's
USA / Chile, 2015

The remake of the obscure 70s flick "Death Game" is undoubtedly the worst thing Eli Roth has ever done (even worse than "Hostel 2"). It's one of the worst home invasion movies I've ever seen, including Keanu Reeves' absolute worst performance since "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (Byudapast!), and delivers the absolute stupidest scene of 2015 (the god-awful, headscratchingly idiotic scene where some guy prefers to save some sculpture instead of saving Keanu's character). Knock Knock? Fuck Fuck.

4th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Stiles White's
USA, 2014

Probably the blandest, most vapid, most expendable, most forgettable movie I've seen in 2015. It's so bland, I have a really hard time remembering anything from it. Oh wait... batshit stupid teenagers... annoyingly uber-loud sound effects... annoyingly uber-aggressive jump scares... okay, no, it's not bland, it's just bad, bad, bad.

Joonas Makkonen's
Finland, 2015

Super-horny and bloodthirsty monster bunny that constantly screams "PUSSY!"... AHAHAHA. Drunken Finnish people drinking and wanking and fucking and ejaculatio praecox... AHAHAHA. And attempted Lesbian rape... and dead Squirrels... and oh-so-funny semi-racist humor. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Fuck you, Bunny.

5th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Adam Egypt Mortimer's
USA, 2015

A revenge movie that starts out rather decent, but then suddenly becomes so laughable and ludicrous and horribly bonkers, it's not funny, it's just sad. As if the director (whose cool name is the only good thing about it) lost his mind completely during filming. Plus: absolute worst in-between-credits scene ever made. Ever. Ugh, some kind of crap.

6th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Nick Robertson's
Australia, 2015

This movie should be shown to film students as an example of how to NOT make a horror movie. "The Pack" makes dogs look like they're the dumbest animals on Earth, and Australian farmer families look like they're the most retarded people on Earth.
Things that are funnier than watching this movie: getting infected with Rabies. Getting bitten to death by a Rottweiler. Cutting his hand whilst opening a can of dog food and bleeding to death.

 7th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Patrick Kennelly's
USA, 2015

It clearly says something when you have to sell your own artsy-fartsy piece of shit as the most disgusting, most unwatchable movie, just to get at least a bit of attention. Even worse when the boss of a seemingly acclaimed filmfestival falls for it. The reuslt: one of the most tedious, most frustrating in-cinema experiences of my entire life. 

8th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Andy & Lana Wachowski's
USA / UK / Australia, 2015

Just when you think, the Wachowskis' output can't get any worse ("Matrix 2", "Matrix 3", "Speed Racer" - all bad), they manage to enter a whole new level of crappiness with "Jupiter Ascending", the daftest, dumbest and most ridiculous overbudgeted supposed-to-be-a-blockbuster-fails imaginable. Space junk for idiots who like everything and laugh at everything.

Alan Taylor's
USA, 2015

"Rise of the Machines" might have been a tad too silly, and "Salvation" might have been a tad too dull, but both these "Terminator" flicks were definitely lightyears better than this shit. It's as bad as the title. It's worse than the already-horrid teasers and trailers. It's even worse than the entire fucked ip "Genisys" marketing campaign (Genisys Burger!).
No, I wasn't waitng for you. No, I hope you won't be back. No, I don't wanna come with you. Not now, soldier. Not later. Never. I don't wanna live, I just wanna die because you, movie, you suck soooo fucking hard. Go away, T800. You're old and you're obsolete.

Nacho Vigalondo's
Spain / USA, 2014

From the director of "Timecrimes", one of the coolest time-travel films of the last 25 years, comes "Open Windows", one of the worst time-travel films of the last 25 years. Seriously, "Open Windows" is so stupid, so boring, so goddamn terrible, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Nacho Vigalondo, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.
Also: worst Elijah Wood performance so far, and porn actress Sasha Grey trying to be a serious actress? Um, yeah. Nice try.

Jim Roof & Jay Lee's
USA, 2013/2015

The fifth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list, and omg, this one was one torturous hell of a crapfest! Imagine the worst kind of torture porn, multiply it by ten, add found footage, add horrendous non-characters, add horrendous non-actors, add oh-so-brutal-and-oh-so-disturbing violence, add at least one character who's masturbating, add fucking "August Underground", and you may get why I have to quote Jamie Brownlie's review once again: "Fuck this movie, fuck the people who made this movie and fuck anyone who likes this movie."

Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing's
USA, 2015

The sixth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. I'm not kidding, that was the worst in-cinema-experience of my entire life (next to seeing "Raw"). This movie should be shown to film students as an example of to botch up an intriguing premise and turn into cinematic bullshit. A movie made by douchebags, made for douchebags, packed to the brim with douchy actors and douchy characters and idiotic jump scares and idiotic plot elements and what not. Blogger Abraham Philips brought it to the point when he said: "I WOULD RATHER DRIVE A RUSTY NAIL INTO MY SCROTUM SAC THEN WATCH THIS AGAIN."

Artemio Narro's
Jorge Michel Grau, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Ulises Guzmán, Aaron Soto, Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores & Edgar Nito's
MÉXICO BÁRBARO (Mexico, 2014)

Both these movies were so unbe-fucking-lievably terrible, I had to leave the movie theater. I don't wanna... no, I just can't write anything more about these two shitfests. I ran out of steam and there's nothing left in the tank, that's why I'm quoting from my own reviews, as well as from the reviews of
my good friend Kalafudra.

"Me quedo contigo (I Stay With You)"

Maynard: "In my entire life, I've never witnessed so many people leaving a movie theater during a movie. Never. (...) This Mexican 100-minute piece of garbage is so completely unwatchable, even I had to leave at the 70 minute mark, because, just like the majority of the audience, I couldn't stand it any longer."

Kalafudra: "Not only yet another rape-y /slash film, it also took what could have been an inversion of the “guys abuse women” setting and somehow made it even more misogynistic. (...) That ease with which all those women torture and maim the guy gives the film a misogynistic flavor that I found incredibly hard to stomach. (...) I (found) the entire set-up tasteless and misogynistic. (...) That is really not how I like my films."

"México Bárbaro"

Maynard: "A movie that tries to come off as oh-so-cool horror-anthology, although it's actually more like various amateur YouTube short films lazily cobbled together. (...) We decided to leave the theater during the segment where a young virgin girl got raped by an ugly forest monster which also really loved to vomit yucky yellow fluids over her boobs. It was not just very disgusting, it was also extremely aggravating and almost unwatchable. "

Kalafudra: "I don’t think I have ever seen such a vile, rape-y, misogynistic and ableist film. I was this close to walking out of it, but I felt almost paralyzed with disgust."

9th and 10th of ten /Slash films on this shitty list. Yup, 10 of the worst movies I've seen all year were screened at the /Slash Filmfestival. Damn, I spent almost $270 on a lineup that was just awful, awful, awful. Well done, /Slash, very well done.

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