In 1990, I got into “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and eventually learned that the source material was adult-aimed comic books. The same year, the “Toxic Crusaders” cartoon was on TV and the Playmates action figures were right next to “TMNT” toys on the shelves. The source material here makes “TMNT’s” look tame by comparison, and I can only hope not too many kids checked out the 1984 “Toxic Avenger” movie and became traumatized.
Although not as well-known and epic as the likes of “Contagion” and “Outbreak,” “Carriers” (2009) is a nice little horror-suspenser that explores a pandemic on an intimate scale after it has wiped out most of the world’s population. Remarkably, this small film stars Chris Pine after he had already become an A-lister with “Star Trek” earlier that year. In fact, the film, shot in 2006, was released because of his new stardom. Pine plays one of four survivors driving through New Mexico on their way to the Texas Gulf Coast with the vague idea of settling down there.
The first “Friday the 13th” (1980) is a trope codifier for the lake-cabin slasher flick, and by definition, trope codifiers lead to a lot of imitators, which have the reputation of being lesser films. “Friday the 13th: Part 2” (1981) lives up (or down, as it were) to that bad reputation. The slasher stuff is fine in this directorial debut from Steve Miner, who would go on to a steady career, mostly in TV. But there are so many missed opportunities in the screenplay by Ron Kurz.
The idea of zombie fiction featuring great character development and performances was old hat by the time of “Train to Busan” (2016); the Tens were dominated by TV’s “The Walking Dead,” after all. But while the Korean film from writer Park Joo-suk and director Yeon Sang-ho doesn’t break new ground, it covers every inch of the old ground expertly, giving us an elite piece of zombie fiction that steadily plows forward and never runs off the track.
To celebrate our 2,000th post here at Cold Bananas, we’re launching a new weekly series. Frightening Friday will look back at some classics (and not-so-classics) of the horror genre through the years. With today being Friday the 13th, and the slasher touchstone marking its 40th anniversary, we’re starting off with the most appropriate entry …
The “Conjuring” series is unusual among horror franchises in that its core stories come from true events – in this case from the lives of paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). Adding outside intrigue is the fact that many people doubt the validity of the supernatural, on which the Warrens made their living. “Annabelle Comes Home” (2019), now on HBO, acknowledges this issue, as the Warrens are the subject of a “Heroes or Hoax?” newspaper report in the wake of the events of “The Conjuring” (2013).
Ready or Not” (2019) declares its candidacy as one of the best horror films to come from a children’s game – but we’re not talking about the 100th “Ouija”-based film. Instead, we go back further in time to the classic kids’ pastime hide and seek. This is the biggest release from these filmmakers, and it’s enough of a calling card that I’ll keep an eye on their future work.
Here are 10 movies and 10 TV shows I’m looking forward to in the new year:
These were my 10 favorite movies of 2019, a year when superheroes continued to dominate but when we also got prime slices of action, comedy and history – plus one of the most masterfully haunting horror films in a long while:
In chronological order, these were my 20 favorite movies of the 2010s: