January 9, 2018

2017: Favorite First-Timers, Non-New Release

I watched a lot of movies in 2017. For reasons I am not going to go into here, I had a lot of time on my hands to watch movies. I watched more in this calendar year than I ever have before. Of course, I also saw my writing output drop, my percentage of first time watches drop, and probably the overall quality of movie watched drop. So, I had a lot of us and downs. Fortunately, I still managed to make some good choices and many of my first time watches were quite good. Below, I highlight the top five watches from that list. They do not include any 2017 narrative features.

5. Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape. I have been meaning to see this for years, now I have seen it and it’s sequel. This is a fascinating documentary that looks into the so-called video nasties and banned films in the UK in the early 1980’s. Why did it happen, what did people do to get around it and what happened to those who were caught. Even better than the movie itself is the special feature of all the trailers from the Nasty list along with intros to each. This is really a must have for the horror fan.

4. Serpico. This is a movie that was always on my to see list, but knowing it is a movie that would always be there and since it was not my go to genre, I kept putting it off. Then I had the opportunity to see it in a theater from a 35mm print, so I figured if there was any better time to see it, I didn’t know it. Anyway, this really is a fantastic film and Al Pacino turns in a fantastic performance as the undercover cop. This has earned its classic status.

3. Wolf Creek 2, With this sequel the slow build of dread was scrapped in favor of something a bit more immediate and intense. Wolf Creek 2 seems to feed off of films like Mad Max, The Hitcher. and The Devil’s Rejects filtered through some real life fact and an Aussie sensibility. The result is a movie with a sense of immediacy, a grim energy that is given life through Mclean’s grim and highly detailed gritty photography. Wolf Creek 2 has a sense of scope in the gorgeous widescreen establishing shots. However, even with that, he is sure to remind us of horrific things going on as good old Mick sets out to clean up the Outback of tourists he sees as desecrating the land.

2. Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau. This was an utterly fascinating documentary. You may know the resulting film, the one that starred Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando. That was not a good movie, but it is still an interesting viewing. The story of all that led up to that film is so much more interesting. It is a truly insane story that was the set with Stanley and then what happened after he was replaced. It makes for much better entertainment than the film itself does.

1. Trailer Trauma 3: 80’s Horror-thon. Each volume of Trailer Trauma is a treasure trove of horrific trailers. This one is my favorite as it has a host of 80’s horror trailers in chronological order. Popular stuff, obscure stuff, and commentary talking about them. Truly is a great watch.

That wraps that up. I hope to increase the quality of films I watch as well as he number of first time watches as we get into 2018.

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