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Are these the 25 best horror films of the Aughts?

Are these the 25 best horror films of the Aughts? (photo)

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It’s the last week of October which means one thing: Halloween-related movie features! The fine folks at Slant Magazine posted a big’un yesterday, “The 25 Best Horror Films of the Aughts.” You’ve got to go to to their site to see the whole list, obviously, but here’s their Top 5.

1. “Pulse” (2001, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

2. “Inland Empire” (2006, David Lynch)

3. “Inside” (2007, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury)

4. “Audition” (2001, Takashi Miike)

5. “Martyrs” (2008, Pascal Laugier)

It’s a very interesting list with some very strong writing, a welcome and all-too-rare sight in this sort of article. I haven’t seen every movie that made the cut, including two in the top five (numbers five and three, if you’re curious), so I can’t knock all of Slant’s choices. And even if I had and therefore I could, this sort of thing is totally subjective. And, really, that’s what you want from this sort of list. You want to see what a site like Slant thinks are the best horror films of the aughts. Another site might (and probably would) have a very different list. Which is great. But you know there’s a but coming, right?

(Hold on, it’s coming.)

BUT!!! As a film nerd, I can’t resist the urge to gripe and nitpick. And why would you want me to? If all I had to say was “Boy, this is a perfect list, I can’t complain with anything, kudos to you and yours Slant!” this wouldn’t be much of a blog post, now would it?

Though I’m all for an expansive definition of horror — and I’m very glad Slant’s list has plenty of international representation — they may have cast too wide a net with their picks. Is “A History of Violence” (#20) a horror film? More like a mystery/thrillery to me. Is “Inland Empire” (#2) a horror film? Yeah, I guess, sort of. But despite “Inland Empire”‘s awesomeness as a film, is it really the second best pure, make-the-hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-stand-straight-up horror film of the last eleven years? Mrm, not so much. If you’re going to open up the genre that far, there’s other, better, scarier movies that also qualify. What about “Dogtooth?” Or “Snow Angels?” Or “I Saw the Devil?” Or, for that matter, a whole mess of amazing (and amazingly disturbing) Korean revenge movies?

There are some other quibbles I have that boil down to matters of taste. “28 Weeks Later” (#15) makes the cut but “28 Days Later” doesn’t? “Halloween II” (#6) makes the top ten ahead of Zombie’s own (and in my mind vastly superior film) “The Devil’s Rejects” (#9)? And there are plenty of deserving movies that didn’t make the cut. As a sort of counter-list, here’s what I consider five worst omissions:

5. “Slither” (2006, James Gunn)
One of the ooiest-gooiest horror movies of the Aughts, with an appropriately jaundiced view of small-town America and an amazingly emotive monster, played by the great character actor Michael Rooker. You will feel for him, you will be revolted by him.

4. “Paranormal Activity” (2007, Oren Peli)
Popular? Sure, but rightfully so. It’s found footage horror — a subgenre that’s glutted the horror market this decade — done perfectly. “Paranormal Activity” is a very scary movie and I suspect it’s one of the handful of movies from the Aughts that people are still going to be watching in the 2050s.

3. “Shaun of the Dead” (2004, Edgar Wright)
If Slant has room for horror comedies — and they obviously do, since they included Sam Raimi’s wonderful 2009 film “Drag Me to Hell” at #24 — then they should have found room for the single most iconic horror comedy of the last decade, Edgar Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead.” Legitimately funny, but even more legitimately scary in the late scenes where the gang is holed up in the pub surrounded by zombies.

2. “The Host” (2006, Bong Joon-ho)
Can’t figure out how this one slipped through this list. Slant’s (and occasionally our own) Nick Schager gave the film three and a half out of four stars when the movie opened back in 2006. I haven’t seen it in five years, so it’s not the freshest film in my mind but what’s stuck with me is the intensity of the connection Bong creates between the characters and the audience, and the way he milks that bond for white-knuckle suspense and scream-loosening scares. Maybe the guys in charge thought it was too sci-fi.

1. “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006, Guillermo del Toro)
Weird that Slant went out of its way to credit del Toro for the success of their #25 film, “The Orphanage” — which is, don’t get me wrong, a reasonably spooky haunted house movie — and didn’t find a spot for del Toro’s millennial masterpiece of fantasy horror, “Pan’s Labyrinth.” It’s a far more beautiful and far more unsettling representation of del Toro’s favorite themes.

What’s the best horror movie of the aughts? What great movie got left off Slant’s list? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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