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. Moving on to Year Three of my decade-long Retro-Best in Horror recap Countdowns begins officially on October 1, 2012 and goes through September 30, 2013. 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, and even adding 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, 2012 and September 30, 2013 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 October 16, 2012 and available on digital download, On Demand and BluRay/DVD here!

EXCISION (2012)

Directed by Richard Bates Jr.
Written by Richard Bates Jr.
Starring AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter, John Waters, Malcolm McDowell, Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise
Find out more about this film here!

Oh my holy shit…after watching EXCISION and heading straight to my computer to type up a review of it, I am absolutely speechless at the all-around horror tsunami/hurricane/tornado/act of god that was this film. EXCISION hit me more than any other film that I’ve seen recently on so many levels. At times it’s hilarious. At times it’s morose. At times it’s graphically disgusting. And at times it’s utterly heartbreaking. It’s one of those films that is most definitely too intense for theaters, but once you’ve seen it, you’re going to wonder why you haven’t seen it sooner.

EXCISION centers on a young outcast named Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord from TV’s 90210) who is the center of ire for her disappointed mother (Traci Lords), misunderstood at school by her teachers and principal (Malcolm McDowell and Ray Wise), and loathed by her priest (John Waters). In her mother’s eyes, Pauline should be more like her “perfect” sister (Ariel Winter from TV’s MODERN FAMILY) who is suffering from chronic health problems. In response, Pauline has given up trying to be the Barbie doll her mother wants. She slouches, has poor hygiene, and personifies that creepy ass kid in school no one wants to sit next too. Though attempts to reach out and make connections are made, Pauline is completely and utterly misunderstood and alone, so she embraces it and lashes out when the occasion arises.

What she also does is retreat into a dream like world filled with perfect and imperfect bodies lining the floor like a runway where she performs surgery and sexual acts while blissfully bathing in bright red blood. These sequences are filmed in a vivid dream-like manner where almost translucent whites are splattered with bright red plasma and juxtapose a sense of absolute beauty with the stuff of medical horror nightmare.

What distinguishes this film from the herd is it’s sense of humor. Pauline is basically Juno, but with bad hair and without the scripted JUNO-speak that made JUNO so fucking annoying. She is smart and sassy, but not trying to be indie cool with one liners and pop cultural references. Pauline is an outcast through and through and McCord does an absolutely fantastic job of distinguishing her as one of the most fascinating characters I’ve seen in ages. With some bushy eyebrows, a pair of oversized teeth, and some shaggy hair in her face, she personifies the unloved puppy of the litter who can’t get a break. The way she closed mouthed smiles over her large teeth is altogether pathetic and creepy and the amazing thing about it is that behind those bloodshot eyes, Pauline knows and loves that she is having that effect on whoever catches her gaze.

The rest of the cast is pitch perfect. Traci Lords goes against type as an uptight mom who wants and tries so desperately to make her comely daughter be more like herself. You can see the frustration and disappointment in her eyes through every movement and line she clucks out. Even her attempts to understand Pauline are awkward and terse. Roger Bart (HOSTEL II) plays the flip side of the coin as Pauline’s father, who is quickly sliding into the apathetic role of the father whose nose is constantly buried in the paper. He still has a little fire left in him as he subtly challenges mother’s sniping but seems to be at the tipping point where he’s given up hope. The rest of the cast is phenomenal as well with inspired cameos by Malcolm McDowell, John Waters, and Ray Wise—all acting like Malcolm McDowell, John Waters, and Ray Wise.

And boy does this film veer off into pitch black territories. With a wicked sense of humor throughout, but not to the point of parody, you won’t be prepared for the powerful closing moments of EXCISION. The turn of events that happen in the end of the film is going to turn off those wanting a happy ending, but Pauline isn’t that type of girl and this isn’t that type of movie. The leap from troubled teen to off the reservation is logical and plotted well. Still, I was literally knocked back in my chair. I don’t think anyone can prepare themselves for what happens and the dark corners this one goes to.

Like Lucky McKee’s THE WOMAN and DONNIE DARKO, EXCISION has an odd and offbeat sense of satire about the disfunctions of the “typical” family. Like CARRIE and GINGER SNAPS, it delves deeply into the horror of females reaching puberty. This is one of those films that can be picked apart and examined on so many levels from its style to its themes to its performances. All of those parts are done so with absolute excellency. You can look for something more horrifyingly awesome out there today, but you’re not going to find anything that even compares with EXCISION.

Warning: This trailer has the boobs! NSFW!


THE 2012-2013 COUNTDOWN!


#2 – EXCISION
#3 – THE CONSPIRACY
#4 – ANTIVIRAL
#5 – THE BATTERY
#6 – STOKER
#7 – AMERICAN MARY
#8 – EVIL DEAD 2013
#9 – RESOLUTION
#10 – SLEEP TIGHT
#11 – WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
#12 – THE CONJURING
#13 – SIGHTSEERS
#14 – WITHER
#15 – KISS OF THE DAMNED
#16 – JUG FACE
#17 – NO ONE LIVES
#18 – YOU’RE NEXT
#19 – HOME SWEET HOME
#20 – THE TAINT
#21 – THE PURGE
#22 – RITUAL/MODUS ANOMALI
#23 – V/H/S/2
#24 – MON AMI
#25 – EUROPA REPORT
#26 – BLIND ALLEY
#27 – MIDNIGHT SON
#28 – DEVIL’S PASS
#29 – COME OUT AND PLAY
#30 – THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH
#31 – I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE


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

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