Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its fifth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. The theater just doesn’t seem to be the place where the horror is at these days, I’m sad to say. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2013 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth noting or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
You can check out CHIMERES on Amazon here and on Netflix here. Below is my review of CHIMERES from February!!
Available for digital download from iTunes and On Demand!
CHIMERES (2013)Directed by Olivier Beguin
Written by Olivier Beguin & Colin Vettier
Starring Jasna Kohoutova, Yannick Rosset, Catriona Mac Coll, Paulo Dos Santos, Sarah Marcuse, Ivan Gonzalez
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Chimeres can be a mythical monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and a serpent for a tail. It also can be an organism with genetically distinct cells originating from two zygotes. It also could be a damn good twist on the vampire genre from Swiss filmmaker Olivier Beguin. We’re going to talk about the film, since this is a horror column.
A loving couple, Livia and Alexandre (Jasna Kohoutova & Yannick Rosset), are on vacation in Romania (Livia’s home country) when Alexandre suffers a life-threatening accident. Rushed to the hospital, Alexandre receives a blood transfusion which saves his life, but when they return to France, he begins having bizarre dreams which turn to hallucinations as the mirror reflects a demonic, blood-splattered, fanged monster every time Alexandre looks into it. Soon the urges for blood take over, and when Livia cuts herself and gives him blood to prove Alexandre is wrong in his assumption that he’s become a creature of the night, Alexandre actually becomes one with pulsating veins, animal-like eyes, and pointed canines. With Alexandre’s suspicions confirmed, the real question is if his relationship with Livia can survive.
The heart of this film is a love story, but though it is sweet at times, this French film is much more brutal and daring than any Americanized love story you’ll ever see. Kohoutova and Rosset make you believe these two characters are deeply in love and because of that, it made me follow them through all of the twists and turns this story has without so much as a question or doubt.
And this is a twisted story. What starts out as VAMPIRE’S KISS without the quirk-style take turns into an actual vampire tale once Alexandre gives into his bloodlust. And soon after that, this becomes somewhat of a revenge/vigilante style film which plays out as almost super hero-like by the action-oriented final scenes. The best thing about this film is the way its story morphs and changes genres and subgenres on a whim, yet that change is natural and believable given the love that holds these two souls together.
But it’s not all lovey-dovey, as CHIMERES is not afraid to splatter gallons and gallons of blood in order to tell its tale. There are also some fantastically subtle vamp effects, specifically the teeth which are for some reason much more realistic than those I’m used to seeing in vampire films. Pair that with some amazing throat-ripping and shoulder-shredding bites and you’ve got one tactile and visceral vamp movie like few others.
There may be some who find the shift in tone in the final twenty minutes of this film to be somewhat jarring. But just as the story took a leap earlier from a man who thought he was a vampire to an actual vampire story, I was willing to accept the shift towards the end. That said, the ending is bombastic and in your face, fast-paced and thrilling, just as the first half hour was touching and haunting, and the second half hour horrific and heartbreaking. CHIMERES is a fantastic rollercoaster ride for the heart and soul. It’s a blood-spattered masterpiece with characters that you will want to see conquer impossible odds, and will feel deeply when those odds ultimately overcome them.
Worth Noting: THE RETURNED!No, not the series with the same name, even though this film also takes an intriguing look at resurrection. The zombies in this book don’t really shamble around. Well, not at first. This one treats zombie-ism like a controllable virus as long as a medication is taken regularly. This one shows this dilemma through the lens of a couple; one a zombie, the other a living person, trying to live with the disease. I found this one worth noting because of the plethora of different real world situations at play in this fully realized world. The good stuff happens when the meds run out and the zombie threat threatens to come back. THE RETURNED has some great zombie drama, played real and heavy, which sets it apart from the rest of the shambling herd of zombie films.
Check out my full review of the film here and you can check out the film here on Netflix and on Amazon here!
#30: STALLED (worth noting: CHRYSALIS)!
#29: RIGOR MORTIS (worth noting: I AM A GHOST)!
#28: GHOST TEAM ONE (worth noting: HYSTERICAL PSYCHO!
#27: THANATOMORPHOSE (worth noting: CONTRACTED) !
#26: LIFE AFTER BETH (worth noting: EVIL FEED) !
#25: AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (worth noting: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC) !
See ya tomorrow, folks, as I count down the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since October 1st, 2013!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
Be sure to tell your comic shop to order his new comic PIROUETTE (out now!) from Black Mask Studios and on Amazon here!!