Al Sex Gore's Best (and Worst) of 2006

2006 was a strange year for me, if I'm to be brutally honest the past year has had a sense of being disillusioned of sorts when it came to the DVD scene. Whilst (as reflected in our annual award nominations) the genre market in fact continues to grow I can't help feel personally the same market is beginning to run dry?

In its first few years the DVD scene was in the first instance charmingly primitive (anyone remember Anchor Bay USA's flipper disc of Dawn of the Dead? If you had to flip a disc over mid movie these days there would be a scream blue murder outcry but then it was a mild inconvenience for watching a seminal genre movie in lovely sharp uncut widescreen format!) but these days many in the genre community seem borderline obsessive about the presentation of even the most menial of genre releases.

not more extras!Take this years award winning US DVD Dust Devil from Subversive Cinema for example, no criticism to the hard working team at Subversive as it is indeed a very praise worthy package but it's a strange world we now live in when what essentially is a watchable middling genre movie is obligated with a bustling five disc package premium presentation (and hence by default seemingly becomes a 'genre classic'!!?) Myself, I've completely given up on extra features; outside of the occasional trailer and short interview or deleted scene do we really need any more? Is that back garden footage the director shot on his mums video camera when he was five years old really necessary? DVDs with two/three/four audio commentaries?!! Bloody hell, if you were to listen to all them it would be like being tied to a chair Clockwork Orange style and made to listen your aunties holiday slide narration repeatedly until your ears bleed (yes go on second unit director, tell us all that 'hilarious' anecdote about bullying the runner again!) To be brutally honest, life's too short to give a damn about anything other than�a) is the movie good and worth watching?�and b) is the movies presentation clean, sharp, uncut and in its correct screen ratio? Remember it's the movies we're essentially here to watch and it's the pleasure viewing them that is essential. Rant over!

the lovely Sandra Kay!So�what did float my boat in 2006 then? As you can guess there wasn't much on the DVD front to make me sign and dance about; sure the usual suspects continue to deliver the goods (Mondo Macabro really can do no wrong, Anchor Bay UK have now surpassed their parent US company by leaps and bounds and folk like newcomers Nucleus look to be future contenders) but for me personally the acid test is the releases that I return to for bewildered repeat viewing and amongst those that have stood out this year have been Teraz Films extended directors cut of Fantom Seducer (I wont lie, Sandra Kay is stunning and the disc is indeed a lot of fun even though I wish they had kept the killer masked when he's fornicating!) and the humble output of Onar Films is always a joy to view and with the release of '3 Dev Adam' (think grade z violent sleazy Turkish action with Captain America and Santo taking on an evil demented Spider-Man) one of my personal film must see dreams was fulfilled!

the best horror comix!But outside of the DVD scene (and yes there is life outside of the DVD viewing indoors) there has been much to enjoy throughout the year. Whilst a good chunk of the year has been spent prepping SGM's debut publication 'Living Dead: Glasgow' I've found myself rediscovering the world of horror commix all over again; whilst the mainstream has as ever dominated the horror market (with the likes of DC's Wildstorm and Avatar's spin offs of the likes of Texas Chainsaw, Friday the 13th and Elm Street) there's been some great stuff just under the radar here in the UK including Dead By Dawn Quarterly from Scar Comics and Accent's Monsters and some great US indie horror fun in the form of Bloody Skull Comix and Living With Zombies. But the real piece de resistance in horror commix perfection in 2006 has to be the stunning work of IDW's excellent Zombies V Robots miniseries and the faultless anthology magazine Doomed which single handedly revives the horror thrills of 1970's gems such as Creepy - essential reading!

Horror film of the year!Another horror revival in 2006 that has been both refreshing and exciting has been the stunning Masters of Horror TV series, in very sense what a proper horror show should be - 60 minute short films that actually feel like proper horror films (and not paint by numbers TV drivel) and the Anchor Bay UK box sets are simply essential additions to any horror fans collection. Also good to see in 2006 has been the continued success of the UK's Horror Channel on TV which is going from strength to strength with welcome programming. Particularly pleasing has been the continuing growth of the popularity of horror films getting screened in cinemas where they truly belong. Admittedly a lot of the so called genre movies that are making it into the multiplexes are very much disposable (the whole concept of remakes has been disgracefully abused, if the original works fine then do not remake it) but there are some gems appearing also like the wholly entertaining Slither which heralds a return to form for great mainstream genre cinema. But for myself, the horror movie of 2006 is without doubt Adam Mason's Broken - a low budget film made with passion for the genre that puts the horror back into horror movies. Possibly the finest genre movie made in years and essential viewing for any horror fan. Broken was premiered at the Dead By Dawn Horror Film Festival in 2006 and it is the festival that has to be noted as the event of the year, not only in 2006 but in every year since its inception. Whilst other genre festivals (especially so one notable one in London) may to try declare themselves as the UK's best genre festival by playing the card that if you say something enough over and over again folk might actually believe it but there's no denying that the single handed work of horror fan Adele Hartley bringing us the Dead By Dawn Festival for four days and nights of such strong genre programming for little overall cost to attendees does indeed make the event the UK's No1 Horror Festival. But I'm sure Adele would just be pleased to have the plaudit of getting genre fans into the auditorium to watch entertaining genre movies in the company of likeminded souls.

when teddies come ripping!And finally, to wind the year down with some fun for all the family mention should be made of the excellent Toxic Teddies line; ever thought that your favourite moments from horror movies would be great interpreted in the world of deranged teddie bears? How about owning everyone's favourite punk bands as their teddie equivalents? Well, one of the festive highlights of 2006 here at SGM Towers was the arrival of the Misfits and Ramones Toxic Teddies sets - just gorgeous! Wonder what genre goodness we'll be seeing in 2007 then eh?

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