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. Last month, counted down my favorite horror films from my first year of reviewing. Now it’s on to Year Two which began officially on October 1, 2011 and went through September 30, 2012. I have posted compilation 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 worked and 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, 2011 and September 30, 2012 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 September 11, 2012 and available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!

BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (2010)

Directed by Panos Cosmatos
Written by Panos Cosmatos
Starring Eva Allan, Michael Rogers, Scott Hylands, Marilyn Norry, Rondel Reynoldson
Find out more about this film here!

Consider my mind blown.

Imagine if Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY had an all-night orgy with Lucas’ THX 1138, TRON, Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER, and Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY set to the music of Daft Punk by way of John Carpenter’s simplistic synth soundtrack and then you might just begin to fathom the mindfuck that is BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, an absolutely gorgeous film from the visionary mind of Panos Cosmatos.

BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW is the first and hopefully not the last film by Cosmatos whose view of the future is seen through the lens of what one might think of the future if one were living in the late 70’s. Bathed in red and white lights, the story unfolds about a captive and sedated girl named Elena played by the entrancing Eva Allen who is tormented and tested by a twisted doctor named Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers, who looks like a 70’s mix of Christian Bale and a hairless John Glover) in a commune type scientific facility whose purpose is to quantify and make happiness possible for all to achieve. A broad goal, yes, but if you want joy, apparently someone has to undergo absolute torment and that’s what Nyle does to Elena, who seems to have some form of telepathic mind power Nyle is trying to manipulate and tap into.

Rogers is the true standout performance here as his Nyle is one of the most menacing villains I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in ages. Through a calm, staccato voice and a simple facial twitch, he speaks volumes about his character. Seeing him interact with others sends shivers down the spine. This is a performance that should open lots of doors for the actor.

As with all of the most successful science fiction films, Cosmatos doesn’t linger on explaining the science of it all. This film is about two characters in bitter conflict—a quiet battle between the sluggish young girl and her voyeuristic captor. Through very little dialog is used; save some twisted phrases calmly muttered by Nyle, this battle for Elena’s freedom is palpable and ever present. Elena communicates by releasing a single tear or a bat of an eye. When she does speak, the effect shown is mesmerizing and one that hasn’t been seen before. Themes of BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW are reminiscent of Croneneberg’s early body-horror paranoia films like SCANNERS or DePalma’s THE FURY, both about psychic powers looking to be controlled by clandestine powers.

Though some of the simplistic designs seem torn straight from the Kubrick rulebook and some of the more retro-futuristic looks make this feel like it was the lost sci fi film Michael Mann never directed, BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW has a style of its own by combining so many influential styles seamlessly and perfectly. More than anything, this is a film that looks absolutely unique. There are no shots that don’t seem meticulously framed to amp up even the most diabolical subject matter to beautiful levels. Be it a scene of Nyle driving his sleek car through a never-ending tunnel or Elena sleeping in her bed crying over a photo of her mother, every shot is a visual masterpiece. While some might criticize this film to be light on plot and heavy on visual and I might agree to some extent, the beauty and creativity of the visuals make up for any deficiencies in the story department. Style over substance, maybe. But I don’t care when the film looks this amazing.

Setting the mood even more to cool is the musical score by Sinoia Caves which relies heavily on simplistic synthesizers and soothing rhythms. Much like the blank walls of the commune, the music is gorgeous in its simplicity, setting a dire mood and echoing out of the screen and into your soul.

I have nothing negative to say about this film and can’t recommend BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW more. Much like DISTRICT 9, MOON, and LOOPER, it offers a fantastic vision of the future through a lens unlike that of your standard sci fi blockbuster. This is one of my favorite films of the year and though I saw it on my flat screen, I’d kill to see it on the big screen. It is brutal and beautiful. Patient and jarring. Atmospheric and claustrophobic all at once and simply has to be seen to be believed. See BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. I’ll expect a thanks in the mail soon after.




THE 2011-2012 COUNTDOWN!


#3 – BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
#4 – THE SKIN I LIVE IN
#5 – ENTRANCE
#6 – AMER
#7 – KILL LIST
#8 – BEDEVILLED
#9 – THE LOVED ONES
#10 – CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11 – THE DIVIDE
#12 – HAROLD’S GOING STIFF
#13 – SOUND OF MY VOICE
#14 – COLD SWEAT
#15 – THE INNKEEPERS
#16 – THE PACT
#17 – V/H/S
#18 – OUTCAST
#19 – LITTLE DEATHS
#20 – JUAN OF THE DEAD
#21 – BLOOD JUNKIE
#22 – THE SNOWTON MURDERS
#23 – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#24 – [REC]3 GENESIS
#25 – JULIA’S EYES
#26 – MOTHER’S DAY
#27 – EL PARAMO (THE SQUAD)
#28 – INBRED
#29 – THE SLEEPER
#30 – FATHER’S DAY
#31 – THE MOTH DIARIES


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

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