MY 7TH ANNUAL TOP PICKS, 2020 EDITION

It’s hard to believe I’ve been making these yearly posts since 2013 and my tenure at This is Infamous.  But here we are, and once again I’m giving you my top of the year lists for movies and music. 2020 has been a year of challenges for the entertainment business as a result of the pandemic. The motion picture industry has been nailed. Theater chains are closing, movie studios are changing their methods of delivering their product. 

In years past I’ve done TV, too, so I’ll gloss over that right now: The Mandalorian’s season finale last week solidified this show’s place in the Star Wars canon and our hearts as fans. Yeah, 2020 was filled with lots of great TV. From the media circus that was the Tiger King, to The Queen’s Gambit creating a new public interest in chess, and onto Lovercraft Country, where the horrors of racism are very real. But Disney+’s The Mandalorian, which has found a way to cross over and draw in non-Star Wars fans, stands alone at the top of 2020’s television programs. 

Movies are a little different. I’m putting this list up without seeing Wonder Woman 84, I think I want to count it for next year… 

Here’s my top 10 of 2020 for Horror, Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy:

1 THE INVISIBLE MAN – I hope Universal allows Blumhouse to launch off this for their “Dark Universe.” Horror isn’t superheroes, and they tried doing that with The Mummy, building some horror Avengers backstory. No.  Do it organic, like M Night Shamalan did with his horror/hero trilogy. Leigh Wannell has a quite a horror pedigree, writing chapters in many of the modern horror franchises. And he does it again. But it’s Elizabeth Moss’s portrayal of a woman in distress that wins you over. 

2 TENET – Fuck you, Covid. No, seriously, I wanted to see this on the big screen. Fuck you, Covid. Also – this movie is brilliant spy-fi, my new word for science fiction spy flicks. No one mind fucks us better than Christopher Nolan, and he again shows us he’s the master.

3 POSSESSOR – Brandon Cronenburg has made a movie that nearly surpasses his father’s body of work in creativity and narrative. Another spy-fi flick, but this time the spy is an assassin. There are buckets of blood in this film.  BUCKETS. 

4 LOVE AND MONSTERS – This is the feel good monster movie of all time. It really is. Michael Matthews gave us a potential sleeper hit blockbuster, but once again, Covid got in the way. Scary, funny, and real, Love and Monsters is essentially Zombieland with Kaiju… but better than the latter.

5 UNDERWATER – I don’t care if you don’t like Kristin Stewart.  I do.  I also like Cthulhu. I don’t need to say anything more about this film. Yes, I was a little hyper critical of the story earlier this year, but after repeat viewings of the movie, my opinion has swerved.

6 WOLFWALKERS – This animated gem can be found on Apple+. Cartoon Saloon uses the same stylistic animation as they have in their previous films, The Secret of the Kells and Song of the Sea. Utilizing the Irish werewolf myths, it tells the story of an English Wolf Hunter (Sean Bean, and he lives!), his daughter and their encounter with the Mac Tire clan. Mac Tire is Irish for WOLF…  

7 BECKY – One part home invasion flick, one part murder-girl revenge flick. Becky asks the question: What would happen if Rambo were a teenage girl whose mother just died? And her house was home invaded by neo-Nazis? The answer: creative use of an outboard motor, among other things.

8 VFW – the Expendables of movie heavies, featuring Steve Lang (Avatar), William Sadler (yeah, that Grim Reaper guy), Ferd Williamson, David Patrick Kelly (Warriors) and Martin Kove (Karate Kid). It’s pretty much Assault on Precinct 13 in a bar full of combat vets. They better make a sequel and call it American Legion

9 THE HUNT – Delay after delay held this film up, and it wasn’t even about what everyone thought it was. Damon Lindeolf wrote a wry political satire using the Most Dangerous Game as his plot device. Also a Murder-Girl Rambo flick. I recommend a double feature of this and Becky.  

10 THE WEREWOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW – I was hesitant to include this movie. It’s not exactly a horror movie, but it is a horror movie. It’s weird, is what The Wolf of Snow Hollow is, and so is alcoholism, which is the true monster at the core of this story. It has the best werewolf costume in recent memory, and it’s Robert Forester’s last film. It’s also got some gruesome scenes. 

I won’t go into so much detail with my musical picks. I’ll list them, and let you listen and be the judge. Much of the music I ingest now is actually suggested to me by Walter on the Necrocasticon. I’m grateful to have him as my program director.  

1 LUCIFER – LUCIFER III

2 CIRITH UNGOL – FOREVER BLACK 

3 ZAKK SABBATH – VERTIGO 

4 ETERNAL CHAMPION – RAVENING IRON 

5 BLUE OYSTER CULT – THE SYMBOL REMAINS

6 WITCHSKULL – DRIFTWOOD CROSS

7 SMOULDER – DREAMQUEST ENDS

8 A SOUND OF THUNDER – PARALLEL ETERNITY

9 GREEN DRUID – AT THE MAW OF RUIN

10 MOUNTAIN WITCH – EXTINCT CULTS

And there ya have it, my top of 2020 picks in TV, Movies and Music. Let me know what you thought of these in the comments below!

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