It seems like every year that ends in the number 7 is usually full of phenomenal movies that, cult or blockbuster, change the landscape of film or titillate audiences for decades to come. This year has had some huge hits (and misses) but there are quite a few films including the latest Stephen King adaptation IT that are assured to live strong for a long time coming. As 2017 rolls towards a close, I thought it might be nice to take a stroll down memory lane and look at some of the incredible films celebrating big anniversaries this year. Rabid (1977) Picking just one movie from the Golden Age of horror cinema is impossible and 1977 was a banner year for a lot of classics including Suspiria and The Hills Have Eyes. But, being the Cronenberg fan that I am, I had to pick Rabid. Rabid is the story of a young woman who undergoes an experimental surgery that has the unforeseen side effect of filling her with a craving for human flesh that cannot be sated. With each victim she passes along this hunger, turning innocent bystanders into rabid zombies bent on mayhem and murder. What starts as a small, dirty secret explodes into an epidemic and it’s an incredible story to watch. The film is full of that signature Cronenberg sex and psychosis with a healthy dose of disgusting courtesy of the body modification and cannibalism angles. In many ways, Rabid is an elaboration in many ways of the story formulated in his earlier Cronenberg film Shivers (1975) with the elements of eroticism muted (more or less). Rabid starred Marilyn Chambers as Rose and her performance was phenomenal as she slowly deteriorated, eaten away by the hunger that had become her. Body modification, sex, zombies, the film is seminal in so many ways and has influenced countless careers and stories. It’s also the source of a recently announced remake by Jen and Sylvia Soska. Rabid is 40 years old this year. Prince of Darkness (1987) Like ‘77, ‘87 was a banner year for horror with Evil Dead 2, Hellraiser, The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad and so many others being released. But despite my status as a lifelong Deadite, I’ve got to say it’s John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness that stands out in my mind as a fantastic sci-fi horror thriller. Written and scored by Carpenter (because why would anyone else do the music) the story is a basic good versus evil tale with religious overtones wrapped in notions of quantum physics and philosophy. A being best described as the Antichrist has been sealed away for ten thousand years in a vault moved across the world and kept hidden by the Catholic church. When a group of grad students study the vault, the force inside begins to possess them and tries to break free into our world. It isn’t one of the most highly ranked Carpenter flicks, but it is one of the most fascinating stories ever shot by the filmmaker. It also features 70’s-80’s staples Victor Wong (Big Trouble in Little China, Tremors) and Donald Pleasence (Halloween) who is billed in some older credits of the film as “Father Lumis,” an alternate spelling of his character’s name from the Halloween series. The story is captivating, thought provoking, and has some memorably creepy moments. Prince of Darkness is 30 this year. The Fifth Element (1997) I could have used Event Horizon as a segue from horror to science fiction for 1997 but one movie above all others stands out in my mind from this year. The Fifth Element, while arguably having some bizarre and incomplete plot points and gaps in the overall story is still one of the most exciting and entertaining sci-fi action films ever made. With larger than life worlds, memorable performances, and some of the best one liners, it’s a cult classic that has been often imitated but still not duplicated, even by the lackluster attempt made by director Luc Besson with Valerian earlier this year. The story centers on a former military operative turned lovesick cabbie who ends up involved with an alien weapon in the form of a gorgeous girl. His only mission, as he continues to fall in love, is to keep her safe so she can destroy an ancient, malevolent evil that threatens not only humanity, but the entire galaxy. The visuals, the soundtrack, the creatures (both CGI and real), the cast… everything about this movie is so entertaining and holds up so well even after all these years. While the all-star cast including Bruce Willis, Mila Jovovich, Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker (just to name a few) have all gone on to have incredible careers -okay, maybe not Chris Tucker- The Fifth Element introduced an entire generation to them in a way that no other film could have. The Fifth Element is 20 years old now and still an incredible joy to watch. Hot Fuzz (2007) Part two of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, this was a truly British take on the American buddy cop trope on film and is arguably one of the best cop movies ever made. A over the top exceptional police sergeant from the heart of London is reassigned to the middle of nowhere because he’s making the rest of his department look bad when they can’t compete with his prowess. But what he finds in this quiet, rustic town is far from peace and tranquility as a murderous cult is slaughtering anyone and everyone who could potentially harm the hamlet’s reputation. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg continue their on-screen collaboration playing characters drastically different those seen in Shaun of the Dead or later in World’s End. What works so well and holds so true for this film is not only the spectacular writing and performances by a cast of British all-stars including Timothy Dalton (James Bond, Doctor Who), Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead, Underworld), as well as uncredited cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson, it’s a wonderful followup to a zombie romantic comedy and a hell of a lot of fun to see tiny British police cars engaged in high speed chases and “proper action and shit” in that dry, witty humor they’re known for. Hot Fuzz is 10 this year. (2017) So, what about our newborn favorites? What of the movies that have influenced and astounded us this year? From the never-ending slew of superhero action beat downs to the revival of big studio, R rated horror, 2017 has seen both the fantastic and the lack luster. Alien: Covenant was a load while IT was absolutely astounding. DC continues to chase after Marvel, often sacrificing good story for big action sequences that don’t quite fit the characters. Independent horror and sci-fi have been making a big comeback with some truly artistic, cerebral releases in theaters like It Comes at Night. But what, if any of it, has the power to stay in our minds and in our collections ten, twenty, or thirty years from now? What came from 2017 that will still be talked about in 2057 and discussed for its lasting artistic and entertainment value? Time will tell. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.