Every year I seem to have a conversation with someone about how weak the year was for horror. Reflecting back, I think it’s more so that every year there are a few gems that need plucking from a landfill of garbage. This doesn’t mean it was a “bad year,” it just means that the goodies are to be discovered and then celebrated.
My odd scenario comes in that I attend major festivals – Sundance, SXSW, TIFF and more- thus, I see quite a bit more than the average folk…and I see everything early. This isn’t me bragging, more so just a note that, like previous years, most of the films on my list have yet to be released.
I just hope that this list, which also carries the first two ever “Editor’s Choice” tags, gives you all a few films to be excited for in 2013. Shit, you may finally get to see You’re Next this year, too!
Bonus. Prometheus (June 8; Fox)
This is a bonus entry I forced at the top of my list because I really think Ridley Scott’s quasi-Alien prequel deserves way more credit than it received. The movies a stunning showcase of visual talents that’s also jam-packed with practical effects. And while the story was thin (on purpose), it still had people talking about it for months after its release. I disagree with many of the argued logic gaps, and found myself constantly immersed in the sci-fi epic. Give this one a few years and can pretty much guarantee many of the haters will come around.
10. Detention (April 6; Sony)
Joseph Kahn, who directs incredible music videos, created this genre-bending indie that’s made for one specific crowd. If you’re not aboard within the first 5 minutes, there’s no shame or harm in turning it off, otherwise prepared to be catapulted into pop culture madness littered with gore, laughs and a time traveling bear. Yeah, you read that correctly…
9. Antiviral (TBD; IFC)
Brandon Cronenberg, son of infamous Canadian filmmaker David, has quietly snuck onto the scene with his horror drama Antiviral, a social commentary on our culture’s obsession with celebrities. The expectations may have been unfairly high (being the son of a legend demands some sort of competence), yet he surpasses them by delivering a deep, engaging, and beautifully shot art house horror film.
8. Frankenweenie (October 5; Disney)
Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is the best animated genre film of the year. It’s a heartfelt return to Burton’s roots, jam-packed with classic horror homage and laughs. This truly is a horror film for all ages as nearly everyone can relate to the struggles of loss.
7. Citadel (October 26; New Video)
A therapeutic horror film created to rid the director of his own personal phobias and demons, Citadel is a dark, disturbing and unnerving clastraphobic horror film about a building filled with feral children. Way under the radar and even more so under appreciated, Citadel is a towering horror flick filled with scares.
6. Chronicle (February 2; Fox)
You can argue all you want that Chronicle isn’t a horror movie, but it’s actually a Found Footage movie about the beginning of the apocalypse. The only difference between the antagonist in Omen and Chronicle is that the destructor in Chronicle isn’t self aware. The Max Landis penned story is a direct inspiration from Akira, and features an incredible third act fight sequence. Now if only filmmakers could stop referencing the camera filming… we get it.
5. Juan of the Dead (May 4; Focus World)
I had actually seen this at a market and absolutely hated it. But after a completely new edit, this Cuban zombie film became an instant classic that had me laughing aloud on more than a handful of occasions…and the gore, well, it’s out of this world good.
4. Sound Of My Voice (April 27; Fox Searchlight)
Nearly a year later, I’m still obsessing over Sound and its star Brit Marling, two polar opposites that mix together like ying and yang. Her haunting beauty propels the film’s believability and counters the dark tone of the cult subject matter. While this high concept indie plays it small, it delivers quite a massive punch that’s not only fulfilling but will have you thinking about it for days after. Sound is guaranteed to have you joining the cult of Marling.
3. Stitches (TBD; Dark Sky)
Completely under the radar, the slasher has the potential to be the next Hatchet, only with clowns. Owner of Bloody Disgusting’s first ever “Editor’s Choice” tag, this micro-budget indie doesn’t pull any punches and will easily be one of your favorite slashers ever.
2. The Cabin in the Woods (April 13; Lionsgate)
I love a good horror film that’s completely on the nose, yet plays it straight. Cabin is a massive love letter to the slasher subgenre that’s crazy high concept actual works, a feat that I consider award worthy. It’s scary, crazy violent, and super cool. If anything it left me wanting way more. Most importantly, Cabin‘s rewatch value is off the charts, which makes it an instant classic and a must-own.
1. Maniac (TBD; IFC Films)
I had heard nothing but negative buzz out of Cannes, which is why I literally had to drag myself the theater to see Alex Aja’s latest production, a remake of Maniac directed by P2‘s (barf) Franck Khalfoun. These are the defining moments on the site as, had I skipped out on the screening, I would have missed the single best horror film of the year. While it’s touted as “Found Footage,” it’s not, as it’s told from the perspective of Elijah Wood’s character. His portrayal of a mentally stinted adult is haunting, chilling and makes for an off-the-charts suspenseful slasher. The film is not only mesmerizing, but it’s also incredibly violent. The filmmakers have some serious balls as they could have had Elijah look away (being that it’s from his perspective), but kept true to his character in full-on displaying his murderous chaos. This isn’t for the faint of heart.
Crazy Ambitious Award: The ABCs of Death
It’s been festering since September that I gave ABCs of Death a mixed review, which needed to be done, but it’s such a tremendous feat that it deserves much more than that. I’m giving the film a special crazy ambitious award for doing something so interesting, and so anti-Hollywood that is deserves to be celebrated. I believe it will have a long life with the horror crowd and will be remembered as a cult classic years and years down the road!
Arriving via IFC later this year, Rodney Ascher’s Room 237 explores the conspiracy theories behind Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant The Shining. Dredd 3D wasn’t as good as The Raid, but was visually interesting and a ton of fun. With Hotel Transylvania 3D, I had primed myself full of hatred for this animated comedy, mostly because it looked like a quick cash in. I was shocked to discover that this Adam Sandler comedy was actually funny, and pretty damn entertaining. It’s made for the MTV generation, and those with short attention spans, so if you fit in that category check it out STAT.