M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved starting with the year I began reviewing the genre officially October 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011. I have posted my best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st 2010 and September 30, 2011 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on February 25, 2011. Available On Demand, digital download, & BluRay/DVD!

#22 – RUBBER (2010)

Directed by Quentin Bupieux
Written by Quentin Dupieux
Starring Stephen Spinella, Roxanne Mesquida, Jack Plotnick, & Wings Hauser

I have to give it to filmmaker Quentin Dupieux. Starting out RUBBER the way he does and rolling with it throughout the film is a ballsy and fun move that is reminiscent of ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES, though I haven’t seen that film in ages (Note to self: seek out ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES for review.). It too had an inanimate object going on a killing spree and while this film takes things to a SCANNERS-like extreme rather than simply pummeling the actors with tomatoes, the ludicrousness remains.

Yes, this is a film about a tire that goes on a killing spree by telekinetically exploding people’s heads and then falling in love with a cute French girl. But it’s also a fun dissection of film and an exploration of the age-old term, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, does it make a sound?” It’s a pretty fun dissection of movie theater audiences as a whole, for that matter. From the get-go, in a crazy opening sequence focusing on a set of chairs standing on a desert road, you know you’re in for an unconventional film. As a sheriff drives his car through a maze of chairs, knocking each over one by one, I couldn’t help but giggle at how absurd it all was. Even during the monologue given by the sheriff, I was somehow entranced at the subject matter, “Every film has that moment where something happens for no reason other than to make the film have a story.” It’s a concept of story that is often used but never really explored. Dupieux tries to explore this theme here and does so in a somewhat successful manner.

Dupieux tries to have it both ways; making the movie work by itself and having a running commentary on how story works by casting a real audience watching the story and commenting on it throughout. A fun concept, especially with Wings Hauser present for added star power–kind of like cutting out the middle man and going right to the MST3K route or having THE MUPPETS’ Statler and Waldorf give a running play by play for the whole film. It’s an idea that wears out its welcome by the halfway point. But when your star is a circular piece of rubber, I guess something is needed for added comedic depth.

In the end, for me, I think RUBBER would have been a better short film. The repetition and slow progression of our hero tire’s quest got monotonous after about an hour. Sure there were some really great scenes; the part where the tire sees his wheely brethren being tossed into a fire at a junkyard was ludicrously fun and yes it’s cool to see heads get all ‘splody. Still, the filmmaker had to resort to the same tricks a few times too many and though the tire’s slow rolling journey was intrinsic to what it was, had the film picked up the pace and burned rubber on occasion, I think it would have been more digestible. There will be those that think RUBBER is a pretentious film which, in the first reel, the filmmakers explain away any responsibility they might have as a storyteller. I can see that. Explaining that some things just don’t make sense from the get-go is a bit of a cop-out, but for me, it also adds to the offbeat charm of RUBBER. I’m of two minds about RUBBER. The part of me that loves the offbeat has to give it props, but my more sensible side realizes that by the end of the film, the tire’s tread had become well worn by the end. RUBBER is trying to say something about filmmaking and pads around it a quaint and bloody story. It is a memorable and charming film that centralizes on a tire as the main character. Not many films can say that. So there’s that.

THE 2010-2011 COUNTDOWN!

#22 – RUBBER
#27 – HUSK
#30 – LA HORDE

M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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