Can you believe it? This humble blog I started as a VHS coverbox archive has been chugging along for a decade now. I've recorded hundreds of covers from the home video era, along with documenting everything that has come along in horror since 2007. It's been pretty wild.
I've made a lot of friends and contacts since then that have allowed me to start making my own films as well as program shorts for three festivals. In celebration of The Horror Section's tenth anniversary I wanted to look back at my most visited posts over the years. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Coincidentally, number ten – with over 1400 looks - was an anniversary post itself. Posted three years ago today, it was another reflective list of seven significant accomplishments I'd made since I'd started THS that included finally archiving my mass collection of horror junk, being accredited for film festivals and keeping a regimented routine of writing at least two-hundred posts a year. 2014 was a really good year for me.
You are going to notice that a lot of my top ten posts are reviews of world premiere screenings, mostly from TIFF's Midnight Madness or Montreal's Fantasia. Number nine was for Mike Flanagan's 2013 film, Oculus.
I really love this film because it focuses on the things that make great horror – simplicity, atmosphere and supporting performances. Flanagan has since gone on to further cement himself as one of the genre's top filmmakers. I mean, Gerald's Game! You need mad skills to put that off.
At almost 1600 views, number eight was my review of V/H/S, the 2012 anthology. Toronto After Dark put on a special screening of that in the summer and man, was The Bloor packed that night. Even though the reception of V/H/S was lukewarm, there was some major anticipation for the film. I know I was pumped. I think I prefer Part 2 overall – mainly because of Timo's Safe Haven – but it was great experience, no less.
Number Seven on the list goes to a review of one of my favourite documentaries of recent years, Jake West's Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape.
As I commented in my post, the sheer amount of content in this set was ridiculous. In addition to the doc, you had separate features including trailers for every single title on the UK's infamous list. That's seventy-two trailers! I believe this set was initially an import, so for a time it may have been somewhat rare on this side of the pond – hence the almost 1700 views.
The sixth highest hits was for one of my first posts, coming only three days after THS's inception. It was a list of Ten Great Modern Horror Films that included the likes of The Descent, Session 9 and The Devil's Backbone. I had previously written about these movies on different review sites (now long gone) but at the onset, I wanted to pull together a best-of-the-best into one definitive list.
Number Five is a bit inexplicable, but the first of three Fantasia posts was for Patrick Laugier's follow-up to Martyrs, The Tall Man in 2012.
This film gets a lot of disinterest or disdain, mainly for not being Martyrs 2, but I remember Jessica Biel's performance really knocked my socks off. It was a good precursor to the great work she did more recently in The Sinner.
Coming in at over 2000 views at number four, is my post for Fantasia's world premiere in 2014 of Leo Gabriadze's film Cybernatural. This film was really wild, in that it didn't seem to care that it was infringing on so many copyrights it made my head spin. Google, YouTube and Facebook were all utilized in this micro-budget flick about a vengeful spirit killing teenagers off via Skype.
It was later released in an altered form as the re-branded Unfriended, which judging from the people who saw both was highly inferior. I imagine the high amount of my hits were due to the fact I would've been one of only a few hundred people that would've seen this first cut. I'll never forget that bat-shit scene where a girl is murdered within her Facebook feed, her animated sprite banging around inside her own desktop.
At number three, with over 2500 hits, is my most viewed Midnight Madness review for 2010's Insidious.
It's a franchise now, but seven years ago, the horror community was buzzing over this creeper from James Wan & Leigh Whannell. They had taken the festival circuit by storm six years earlier with Saw and everybody was curious to see whether they could repeat. I actually re-watched Insidious from my Ithaca hotel room last month and I was glad to see that it holds up. I believe the ending was changed from the premiere, but a lot of what these guys executed in this film have become Blumhouse touchstones.
Runner up, is my most viewed review was that of Steven R. Monroe's 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave.
An unpleasant film to be sure, but as a remake it's mostly successful because it fixed the problem I always had with the original. The focus of the 1978 movie was the rape, and not the revenge whereas Monroe took a more balanced approach. It made sitting through the nasty stuff a bit more palatable when subsequently the bad guys get it back just as good.
I Spit's reputation continues to live on (with two sequels to boot) so I guess it is not surprising almost 3000 people have looked in over the years.
Numero uno on the list with triple the hits of the closest competitor is my piece on James Herbert's Rat Trilogy that kicked off Rat Week.
I guess it makes sense, as I'm always prattling on about James Herbert. He has never been as popular over here as he should have been and I suppose people searching for info would naturally hit on my blog entries. My first Herbert post connected me with esteemed blogger Mermaid Heather and we've continued to keep in touch over the years as we creep by milestone after milestone.
I definitely plan on writing more about rodent-based horror in the future, but one thing at a time. For now, I'll just keep on keepin' on. Stay safe, kiddies.
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