Here’s To 1000 Posts!

When a bunch of us came together to start Gorepress back in 2009, I think I can speak for everyone when I say we didn’t necessarily expect to still be pumping out horror reviews and content 5 years down the line, or to have grown so exponentially, and it recently came to our attention to that we were fast approaching our 1000th post. As a collective, we’ve posted 1000 different news stories, reviews, features and podcasts and we want to say a massive thanks for sticking with us.

During that time, we’ve watched a hell of a lot of films, so to celebrate our 1000th post, we thought we’d get together and each choose a film from the archives that we’d have loved the chance to review but were beaten to the punch. They’re not necessarily our favourite films, but they’re ones that warrant discussion, so here are our choices and accompanying arguements for why we chose them.

Jamie – A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin

Ah Gorepress! While my contributions have withered away into nothingness over the last few years, I have always considered it my first love. There’s been a lot of junk reviewed here since we started in 2009, back when we would clamour for every screener offered to us. This led to some amazingly scathing write-ups. Most of them at the hands of cinematic grim reaper, Boston Haverhill. For my jewel in the crown of films reviewed at Gorepress I have picked the Fulci giallo classic, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin.

In her review, Sarah described it as “visually arresting”. She’s not wrong, Fulci – like many of his euro-horror ilk – has this wonderful eye for colour which operates as a sort of visual soundtrack to drag your unconscious to exactly where he wants it to be. Drawing you in with gentle hues and blasting you away with neons. It’s this sensibility that has forged Fulci into the horror consciousness forever, despite a large number of middling efforts clogging up his back catalogue. Lizard is visual jazz and pure giallo at work. Style over substance but with exactly the right amount of intrigue to keep you glued when the visuals do stabilise into normality.

It’s compelling Italian horror at its finest, working beautifully for genre veterans and as an entry level flick for those looking to dip their toe into the Giallo Ocean. With a fantastically stark performance by one of gialli’s finest dames, Florinda Balkan, mixed with the madness of the cinematography and the proto-Lynchian screenplay, Lizard is a pitch-perfect fever dream and a sure fire recommend.

Rich – The Lords Of Salem

Always one to divide audiences, musician-turned-director Rob Zombie‘s The Lords of Salem doesn’t help itself by being a film all about disconnect. Identical to the heyday of Italian horror, the film owes more than a little to the likes of The Beyond or Suspiria, while also channeling the experimental spirit of Ken Russell‘s 60s-70s output. A large part of Zombie’s audience was turned off by the change from the gonzo and violent tone of House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects to the more expressionistic and introspective approach of Lords. We empathise with a former junkie and root for the underdog to overcome the sinister forces bearing down on her, but in this nihilistic world, and those looking for a happy character redemption should keep on walking.

The terror here does not come from complicated setups and pay-offs, but from chaos in simplicity. Just like Rosemary can’t run away from her apartment in Rosemary’s Baby, Heidi is similarly trapped and worn down by supernatural and scheming elements. Eschewing the standard story beats and jump scares, The Lords of Salem breathes a fresh air into unnerving horror as it crawls deeper and deeper under your skin. Just when you think you have a handle on the plot, a sack-wearing priest or mutant baby Satan will show up to throw you off balance (to great effect, bar the extended music video of a finalé). It can be difficult to tell the difference between reality and dream, with sense playing no part in the matter, bringing the real horror of the film to the forefront; uncertainty. Coupled with the droning and repetitive soundtrack, the film feels like a bad nightmare, in the best possible way.

Sarah – The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh

Despite having one of the most exhaustively long titles of recent horror films, The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh is an incredible slice of fear and the first feature length effort from Rue Morgue‘s founding editor Rodrigo Gudino. Given his background, Gudino clearly knows his shit and utilises that knowledge to chilling effect.

Boasting an accomplished central turn by Aaron Poole (on whose shoulders the entire film hinges), the film is as much about crippling depression, forgiveness and loneliness as it is about making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Delving into the dangers of fanatical religion and the power of family, it’s steeped in intensely atmospheric sadness, and manages to be both hugely affecting and incredibly memorable on a shoestring budget. Don’t be put off by the BBFC’s decision to award it a 12 certificate in the UK, this is a deeply frightening film, and although guilty of showcasing a little too much CGI in it’s climactic moments, deserves a much wider audience. It’s a beautifully quiet, thoughtful film so watch it with the lights off and allow it under your skin, and it will simultaneously break your heart and profoundly terrify you.

Ben – Ink

What I would have given to review such a masterpiece. I don’t think there are enough positive superlatives to describe this inspiring piece of cinema. Ink is an utterly spellbinding film; practically faultless in every way. Add to that the fact that it was made on a budget of a measly $250,000, it puts films that cost tens of millions of dollars to shame. With a simplistic beauty seldom seen in films these days and a story that both moves and compels, it stands out as something that all filmmakers should aspire to achieve at least once in their careers; something truly unique.

One thing that always sticks out in my mind when watching Ink isn’t just the story, but the clear passion that went into the creation of this film. What we see before us is a piece of cinema oozing creative drive and talent; a film that, for such a small budget, is so intricately well thought out and woven together. For this reason, it’s essential viewing. Watch it, tell your friends to watch it, then get them to pay it forward. This is a film that truly should been seen by all.

Chris – House Of The Devil

In December 2010, I discovered one of the best horror films of the last 20 years or so – Ti West’s The House of the Devil. As a life-long horror fan, I fell in love with the film during the opening credits because they set the tone perfectly for an ‘80s throwback. Unlike other contemporary horror filmmakers who love the horror genre but don’t have the skills to make a critically-acclaimed film, Ti West shows his appreciation for the genre in every single frame whilst at the same time proving his mettle as a highly-gifted and knowledgeable filmmaker.

House of the Devil is, therefore, not just a really well-made horror film; it is the perfect horror film! From casting, to lighting, cinematography and editing – and the rest – everything works. With a Stephen King-esque suspenseful narrative, a genuinely thrilling atmosphere and a brilliant climax this film is a must-watch for every horror film fan out there. If you don’t like it you really should be thinking about seeing a doctor. And, if we’re honest, with A.J. Bowen starring in the movie, there’s really no possible way that anyone can dislike it!

Joey – The Borderlands

Much has been written about the arguably desperate state of modern horror. But, for me, one film that spat in the face of detractors, and which epitomises just what can be done with the genre with a little bit of creativity and a hell of a lot of guts is The Borderlands, a British found footage feature that is so much more than the sum of its parts. I doubt I could ever do it justice in a review. Even now that I’ve had some time to think it over, I’m still not exactly sure what got me about it, but suffice to say it’s wonderfully creepy, incredibly inventive, and the ending packs a considerable punch.

The Borderlands is one of those films you can’t wait to show your friends, almost as an example of how horror can be both clever and simple at the same time, while still managing to be quite scary. It could easily have been just another ropey, dull, found footage throwaway but the likable protagonists, clever shooting style and blood-curdling final moments – emerging so innocuously after what feels like ages of nothing – truly make it something special.

Matt – Feast 2 : Sloppy Seconds

If I had to pick one film from the Gorepress archives that I would have liked to review, using the time honoured method of arbitrarily plucking one from a shortlist of many, I would choose Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds. It’s by no means a perfect film, but its charms outweigh its flaws (and by charms, I’m not referring exclusively to the lovely Chainsaw Chelsea, who spends a pleasing proportion of the movie in a state of undress).

There’s gag-inducing gore, tiny luchadores, comedy infanticide, melting grannies, sassy ladies, and aliens galore. Yes, the CGI is oft terrible, and normally I would crucify a movie for that, but the low budget nature of the movie earns it a pass from me, and the film doesn’t really suffer for it, since it’s already so ridiculous that your disbelief should already be waaaay suspended! In short, if you like alien horror and films which don’t take themselves too seriously, then Feast 2 is for you. Just watch the first film first, obviously…

Phil – Paranormal Activity

It’s easy to dislike Paranormal Activity; the film that reminded everyone that ‘hey, found footage films are super easy to make!’. I needn’t remind you what the many, many results of that epiphany were. However, as an example of the found footage genre, I’d say Paranormal Activity is up there with the best. Sure, the characters aren’t exactly the most likable of people, but in terms of pure visceral reactions, few films have hit me as hard as this one has.

Because found footage films tend to avoid following the structure that standard horror movies stick to, they become a lot more unpredictable; and this is what made the film so appealing to me. As nighttime falls on the unlucky couple, all we see is a single static shot of them from the foot of their bed. That just goes on. And on. And on. And the longer it goes on, the more the tension was racked up…and the more I found myself scanning the screen frantically, itching for something to happen. And it’s been a while since a horror film has got me that invested.

Boston gets the last word…

Like the awkward sort that he is, head writer Boston Haverhill refused to choose just one film, so I’ll leave you with his thoughts about his, and our, past transgressions on Gorepress over the years.

Wow… a thousand posts on Gorepress! That’s a lot of damn words, all about horror. I’m proud of the hard work and free time the team members (old and new) have ploughed into this beast, and I hope it continues for years to come. Gorepress lives! It’s motherfucking ALIVE.

We’ve bled all over Google too – just type in “Monster Ark” or “Pursuit of a Legend” and you’ll find us on the front page, in all our wordy glory – so there’s no avoiding us.

We’re here to stay. Like really nice herpes.

Now, the gang discussed having a “1000 posts” article that looks at those reviews which we thought were labelled too favourably or too harshly by other reviewers. I imagine I’m going to get multi-dicked from a number of angles on some of my reviews, but the fact is this – movies are subjective. In fact, everything is subjective. Even cheese.

I have trawled through the gazillion Gorepress pages, looking for reviews I vehemently disagree with in some way, but – for the most part – I agree with the reviewer’s assessment.

Yeah, I thought Green Inferno was a puerile bag of horse cack and The Lords of Salem made me want to bite my own face off… but reading the reviewers thoughts and REASONS for liking it, I found it hard to disagree with them. Even the Godzilla review. Even that.

I will say I probably reviewed Doghouse too favourably (9 skulls?! What the hell, Haverhill?!) and probably shouldn’t have told people to avoid The Cavern like “you avoid AIDS in the face”, but I believe in everyone’s right to their opinion. Even if their opinion is to call a film “celluloid defecation” full of “mind-bending turdery”. Yeah, I didn’t like The Cavern much…

Here’s to a thousand posts on Gorepress… and to a thousand more!

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