I saw a lot of horror in 2011, but it's telling that I remember very little of it. I'd looked forward to the likes of Fright Night, Tucker & Dale vs Evil and Insidious with considerable anticipation, but found myself disappointed by them all. Where horror is concerned, I think I'm getting harder to please. The Thing certainly didn't please me. But this year was great for non-horror stuff. I really enjoyed Captain America and Thor and actually cried laughing during the urban spoof Anuvahood. Two of the movies on this list aren't even properly horror. But the movies (and TV shows) I did enjoy, I really enjoyed. Even this first entry...
10. The Human Centipede 2
It's a dishonourable mention for Tom Six's infamous sequel, a movie so bad that it couldn't help but end up somewhere on my top ten list for the year. Unintentionally funny and with a childish desire to offend, the 'Full Sequence' could never live up to the hype. It may not be one of the best films of the year, but it's the most memorable.
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Not properly horror, but there are plenty of creepy moments packed within this prequel/reboot. Andy Serkis plays sympathetic ape Caesar, whilst James Franco, John Lithgow and Brian Cox are the humans. It's during an odd appearance from erstwhile Draco Malfoy Tom Felton that the movie hits its stride; the return of the “damn dirty ape” moment sent shivers down my spine.
8. Psychoville series 2 (television)
A far more assured second series from The League Of Gentlemen's less loved TV sibling, both in terms of story and humour. Old favourites Mister Jelly and the Sourbutts are back, alongside a host of new and equally weird characters. Best of them all is Reece Shearsmith's disturbed librarian. Psychoville might be one of the funniest series of the year, but its 'Silent Singer' is genuinely chilling.
7. The Fades (television)
The best genre TV show of 2011, in my book. An ambitious apocalyptic plot pits angels against the living dead, whilst still managing to make references to Alan Moore and ET. Funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Fades seemed to come from nowhere but was brilliantly gripping from the start. Here's hoping for a second series.
6. Mother's Day A remake, but a very good one. A family of sadistic killers take refuge in what used to be their childhood home, terrorising the new residents. Saw alumnus Darren Lynn Bousman directs and Rebecca De Mornay keeps things classy as the mother of the piece. Tightly paced, disturbing and cruel, it's a modern video nasty. I still can't look at a boiling kettle without feeling a twinge in my ear.
5. Super Again, not proper horror, but James Gunn's Troma sensibilities set Super apart from the rest of the Marvel and DC chaff. Darker and funnier than Kick-Ass or Defendor, it stars Rainn Wilson as Crimson Bolt and Ellen Page as his sidekick. The finale is as violent and shocking as any horror movie on this list.
4. Hatchet II A late UK release for Adam Green's superior sequel. Gorier and funnier than the original movie, Hatchet II is a blast of a slasher flick. Tony Todd returns for a much bigger role and Kane Hodder is back in Victor Crowley's already infamous dungarees. A fantastically retro slasher movie.
3. Attack the Block Joe Cornish's horror comedy pits hoodies against aliens in Attack the Block. Unlike most horror comedies, there's plenty of action and the deaths feel real. The jokes are consistently funny and Nick Frost makes an amusing cameo as the block's friendly neighbourhood drug dealer.
2. The Woman Country lawyer Chris Cleek finds a cannibalistic 'savage' roaming the woods. With an intent to 'civilise' the titular Woman, Cleek locks her up in his basement. The Woman is the most disturbing movie of the year. Like that Human Centipede sequel, it caused quite the controversy upon its release. But unlike that movie, The Woman can back it up with intelligence and genuine horror.
1. Hobo with a Shotgun Rutger Hauer is perfectly cast as the eponymous Hobo. All he wants is to buy a lawnmower and start up his own business, but the residents of 'Shit Town' insist on dragging him down to their level. It's funnier and more authentic than Rodriguez and Tarantino's own Grindhouse movies, a bad-taste joy from start to finish. I was lucky enough to see Hobo with a Shotgun on the big screen. It's the best experience I've had at the cinema all year.
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Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for HorrorTalk and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.