2018 was a special year here at the Krypt because it marked the 20th anniversary of it. Back on October 19th, 1998, the Krypt came online. I’ve always said there’s been more than a few times that I’ve considered closing the door and spending more time reading the never-ending books in my library or watching the countless movies in my collection. But the Krypt has kept me sane over the years, giving me my little soapbox, an outlet to express my thoughts about the horror genre and those that work within it. Without it, I think I would have gone mad! Either that, or would have driven my friends crazy from always ranting and raving to them! There were even times that I thought I was just wasting my time here, but I know from the feedback that I get from you out there that is very far from the truth. And those that have reached out to me to express their praise of my ramblings, I can’t thank you enough because they have encouraged me to continue on. Which I have, and will continue to do. Like everyone’s else, this year has been full of ups and downs, but keeping the Krypt running has really been therapeutic and keeping me sane. So thank you to all of those that continue to follow and support me and the Krypt. I am so very grateful for you all. Here’s to another 20 years.
I once again went beyond my goal of reading at least book a month this year, devouring a total of 15 titles. I seem to be on a trend because I’ve done that for the last 2 years. Granted, even at this rate, I still won’t get through every title I have, and that’s even if I stopped adding more titles to the library. And we all know that isn’t going to happen! But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try! Out of those 15 titles, here are the top 5 that I would recommend the most, listed alphabetically, even though I have a little adder at the bottom. If you want to read more detail about these titles, as well as the other ones I read, click on the link for Horror Reference Book Reviews on the menu to the right.
2018 was not a good year for movie watching for me. I think I spent more time on my book project, which took time away from me in the Kryptic Theater. We only got through 178 titles, I believe a record low since I’ve been keeping track. 66 of them were new films, so at least that percentage is up higher than normal, so that’s a positive, right? Hopefully 2019 will give me more time to get that number back up to at least 250 for the year. But we’ll see how that plays out!
Once again, here is my usual disclaimer. These are my “Best Viewings” of 2018. This means these titles were my favorites that I watched for the first time during this last year. So they may not necessarily be a new movie, I just got around to them. Strangely enough though, all of these titles came out within the last 3 years. That gives me great hope for the genre.
These are listed in alphabetical order, and not in any order of how much I liked them. These 5 titles impressed the hell out of me, for a variety of reasons. I don’t plan on going into any details about the films, as far as plot or storyline because if you haven’t seen them, I would suggest you seek them out. If you have, shoot me a note or stop me at a convention and we can discuss in greater detail if you wish.
So let’s get to them.
This time of year, we always see those list of names that we’ve lost over the last year, that were responsible for some of the great entertainment that we’ve enjoyed over our own lifetime. It is no different here at the Krypt.
Seeing these lists are always such a double-edge sword. On one hand, we feel the loss of this great talent. But on the flipside, we’re reminded that we have bits and pieces of their genius forever on film, that we can revisit time and time again. They make us cry, laugh, think, shrink back in terror, or just sit back and be in awe of this talent that has been captured on screen. The beauty of this is that these people listed below may have gone on to whatever the next journey is, but because of their work in movies, we can still enjoy them, over and over again. Because we are all true movie lovers, we’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling whether we’re watching Scott Wilson’s smooth talking killer in Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967), Celeste Yarnell trying to escape the crazy Dr. Lorca in Beast of Blood (1970), or even laughing out loud when we see the quiet and patient Donald Moffat trying to get untied from a couch in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982).
Like any passage of time, there are bound to be good memories and bad ones. I would like to think that focusing on the good is the best thing to do, or for the bad ones, try and learn from it and take something positive from it. For example, all the great talent we lost in the last year, be thankful that we still can revisit them any time want by just popping in that DVD or Blu-ray.
After years of trying to get a screening of Mariano Baino’s Dark Waters in Chicago, it finally happened when it was part of the Music Box of Horrors. It had a good reception and writer/director Baino was there to experience the film’s very first screening in the Midwest! Thanks again to Will Morris getting it included in the lineup and Ryan at the Music Box for making it happen. And of course to Mariano and the wonderful Coralina for coming out, making this event even more special. It really was a highlight of my year.
This is a first for my little year-end round-ups and kind of surprised I didn’t about this before. With all these new Blu-rays coming out, there are times that seeing a film that we’ve seen countless times before, but now seeing in a restored, cleaned up, or whatever those crazy Blu-ray producers do, sometimes can be like watching the movie for the first time. I had more than a couple of those instances happen this year.
The first one was seeing the new Blu-ray of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm (1979). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this amazing film, from in the theater, at drive-ins, countless times on VHS and even DVD. But when I started watching the new Blu-ray…wow. When the part comes up with Tommy’s funeral, and Michael is watching the Tall Man put his casket in the hearse by himself, I could hear this noise coming from the back speakers. Wait…is that rain? Then I notice the beads of rain running off the casket as the Tall Man picks it up. W-T-F? That is the kind of clarity these guys did on this film. Simply amazing. If you’re going to be one of those that complains because they changed something with the spheres, in a shot that last seconds, then you are missing out on so much more. I’m not one for double-dipping, but this is a must.
Just to get this out there right away, my Best / Worse lists always consists of films that I watched for the first time in 2017, not necessarily that they came out. Most of the films I watch are from DVD or Blu-Ray and I don’t make it to the theater too often to see them when they first come out. Or they might be an older film that I’m seeing for the first time. So no matter when it actually came out, it still is a new movie to me.
I got through 209 films this year, 77 of them were first-time viewings for me. That is a little lower than normal for us, but I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a side project that will hopefully see the light of day this year. Then I can get back to watching more movies!
So here are the top five that I watched in 2017 that made the most impact on me this year.