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[BEST & WORST ’14] 10 Awesome Horror Films!

While studios are focusing on their franchises and remakes, independent filmmakers are building a horror army that’s one to reckon with. This is now the 13th anniversary of our annual Best & Worst editorials, and what makes this year stand out is that the majority of films on my list came from an independent source – even if a studio eventually released some.

On paper, we’re moving the right direction. There’s a plethora of new up-and-coming horror filmmakers, and more and more horror films are being made outside of the studio system. The bad news is that it’s not a sustainable system, meaning we could be living in the golden age of independent horror cinema. Instead of bitching and moaning when a studio announces their next sequel/remake – take that negative energy and focus it in the right place…seek out and support an indie film you’ve been hearing so much about.

With that, let’s take a look at just how good 2014 was…

This is the first time I couldn’t narrow my list down to a top 10. In fact, I’m sitting on 20 films that all deserve some love – and if I can use the site as my own personal soapbox, so be it.

What I present to you are two batches of films, with the first 10 in no particular order, while the final 10 will be shared in the typical countdown format.

Best Horror Films of 2014: 10-1

Best Horror Films of 2014: 20-11


 

Big Bad Wolves (Magnet Releasing)

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From Israeli writer-directing pair Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, known for Rabies, Magnet Releasing got behind this psychological thriller that showed that the directors could create tension just as well as they could deliver gore. Big Bad Wolves is easily one of the most intense films of the year, and is filled with a wide array of crowd-pleasing surprises.

 

The Raid 2 (Sony Classics)

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While Gareth Evans couldn’t top his The Raid – easily one of the best action films of all time – The Raid 2 is two straight hours of martial arts madness that puts Hollywood to shame. It’s almost gluttonous how much violence and mayhem is delivered in this foreign flick that was shot over the course of 100+ days, which is unheard of for an indie. The aforementioned shows on screen with the beautiful locations, incredible choreography, and insane car chases. If anything, it’s almost too much, if that’s even possible.
 

The Man In the Orange Jacket (Fantasia)

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Playing at this past summer’s Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, I was shocked by Aik Karapetian’s colorful mix between Lars von Trier and Alex Aja’s High Tension. The Latvian film has strong social commentary about social class, to go along with beautiful visuals – not to mention some intense gore. Orange Jacket feels like the writer/director’s cathartic way of dealing with his own personal rage against the system.

 

Housebound (XLrator Media)

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The best kind of horror is one that takes itself serious, but also has fun with the audience. Housebound, hailing out of New Zealand, is not only super scary and bloody, but also crazy fun (in the vein of People Under the Stairs.
 

The Purge: Anarchy (Universal Pictures)

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I don’t know what happened from script to screen, but The Purge was trash, and I can’t even believe they were able to make a sequel. Thankfully, Universal got behind fans of the first and found a way to fix nearly all the mistakes of the first. Anarchy is the producers response to the criticism of The Purge, which resulted in an 80’s homage in the vein of Escape From New York that delivers on its promise. It’s also soaked in relevant social commentary and action. One of the best sequels of all time, Anarchy, which will be forgotten by mainstream moviegoers, will eventually achieve cult status among the horror community.
 

Starry Eyes (Dark Sky Films)

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A movie about cults and Hollywood? Count me in! Carrying deep-seeded social commentary, Starry Eyes is another slow-burn horror that’s hiding more than a handful of surprises that will shock and awe. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have arrived, and give horror fans a film that literally has it all, including some of the most shockingly violent scenes of the past few years.
 

Mockingbird (Universal Home Entertainment)

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Out of all the years we’ve been running Bloody Disgusting, I’d say the most pissed off you guys were is when I pushed you to check out Mockingbird, the found-footage cat and mouse game from The Strangers‘ Bryan Bertino. While the end to the film is disastrous, which is why it won’t be making my top 10, the “meat” on the bone is delicious. Personally, I thought the build was terrifying, as it had me constantly on edge. Sure, it became clear what direction it was headed, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a fun ride. Surely there are a few of you who agree with me? Back me up, bro…
 

Oculus (Relativity)

M126 Brenton Thwaites and Karen Gillian star in Relativity Media's OCULUS.  Photo Credit: John Estes ©2013 Lasser Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Oculus is one of those movies that most people seemed to hate, but I really found myself engaged with the retro slow-burn nature of it all. Oculus carries haunting imagery, with classic chills out of an old-school Carpenter film. Maybe expectations were high being that this hit theaters across the country, but for a little indie that could, I found Oculus to be remarkably scary.
 

Snowpiercer (TWC-Dimension)

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We are so blessed to live in a day and age where a studio can “dump” a movie to VOD platforms, instead of feeling the need to edit the shit out of it for the general masses. After the Weinstein Company fought with director Joon-ho Bong about the U.S. release, Snowpiercer was eventually gifted to us in its full form. Tilda Swinton deserves an Oscar nod for her performance, while Chris Evans plays an awesome badass protag who kicks ass through this steam punk post apocalyptic horror tale. I adore the beak nature of the thriller, and its powerful finale that does not disappoint (although, there were some absolutely naughty alternate ways to end it).
 

Nurse 3D (Lionsgate)

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After years on the shelf, Nurse 3D shocked us all by turning out to be an absolutely fantastic horror film that’s jam-packed with boobs, butts and blood! Personally, I found Doug Aarniokoski – who directed one of the worst movies ever made, Animals – had accidentally tapped into an interesting pulp-like fantasy world that any horror fan would enjoy.

Reminder that the above is in no particular order.

HERE’S MY TOP 10 HORROR FILMS OF 2014!



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COMMENTS

28 Comments
  • Daniel Bryan

    Couple of those movies like Starry Eyes, Snowpiercer, and Big Bad Wolves are in my top 10, so interested to see what in yours. Pretty damn sure you will have Babadook #1.

  • J Jett

    Mr. D, i’m shocked to say that i actually love many on your list! SNOWPIERCER, HOUSEBOUND, PURGE:ANARCHY and STARRY EYES are all excellent films. i also admit i enjoyed NURSE 3D (a total guilty pleasure). nice list overall!

    • McGilli

      WTF happened? I ALWAYS disagree with Mr. D – but this list was, aside from Mockingbird – a list I agree with… Watching Housebound tonight….

  • This guy lost all credibility when he said something like “I knew the filmmakers of the movie ‘Mockingbird’, but I’ll remain unbiased”. That was one of the worst movies of all time and this website gave it like an 8/10. Completely sold out. You should be embarrassed…..just man up ‘bro’…..

    • KSE1977

      While I certainly appreciate that you and so many others here hated the movie, not everybody agrees with your sentiment. Sometimes it happens. I feel the same way to a certain extent about Babadook and that one has near universal acclaim here.

  • KSE1977

    I really cannot complain about your list and yes I will join the minority of people who enjoyed Mockingbird right up until the last 10 minutes. Very interested to see your top ten now. Stick the landing!!!!

  • aratkinson

    I agree with some. Nurse was awesome.
    But then there’s Mockingbird… Which I thought sucked.

  • diapers

    NURSE 3D! A minor masterpiece. I wonder how the hell we are supposed to get access to the Orange Jacket. Good list.

  • wehoaks

    Between curse of chunky and now Mockingbird, I’m convinced Mr. D gets a check from Universal to promote their films.

    • Stoibs

      I’m pretty sure it’s click-bait. Mockingbird is embarrassing. Snowpiercer and The Raid 2 are not horror. The Purge: Anarchy was probably worse than the first one. Anyone that thinks the social commentary in that stinker is in any way relevant, or intelligent, has the brain power of a high school freshman.

      • J Jett

        not at all. PURGE: ANARCHY was excellent.

        • Matthew Moran

          What I really want to see is “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”, because I’m a huge Orion Pictures fan.

      • Matthew Moran

        I don’t know. I kinda liked “The Purge: Anarchy” more than the first.

  • CTHL

    Why is Raid 2 on a horror list? Or Snowpiercer even… I bet you’re one of the guys that voted Jethro Tull best hard rock/metal performance.

  • Lucca Cantisano

    Starry Eyes and Oculus are out of your Top 10? Wow, you must’ve watched some AMAZING films this year because those 2 were some of my favorites…

  • ThunderDragoon

    The Raid 2 is amazing, but it’s not horror.

  • ANTS IN MY EYES JOHNSON

    The Purge: Anarchy was literally one of the most unintentionally hilarious films I’ve ever seen in a theater.

  • zombie84_41

    Mockingbird was a POS dude. Could of been way better. Occulus wasn’t good either. I didn’t see some of the films on here I gotta too.

  • Matthew Moran

    Actually, I consider “Snowpiercer” to be more of a sci-fi movie than a horror movie.

    • CTHL

      Great movie, but… not for here. Raid 2, even more wtf, nothing horror about that. Kinda stretching it with Purge 2 as well, but it’s passable.

      Even amongst the legit horror picks, Mockingbird? ugh, so bad. And I’ve heard nothing but bad things about Nurse 3D up until this (can’t say for myself). Now I’m expecting VHS 3 in the top 10!

    • Peter Johnson

      It could definitely be argued against. Personally, I found the fight scene with the Axe men frightening. They looked like a cult with axes, using dead fish as a poison. Not to mention all the other crazy shit, like cannibalism, and pretty much that the whole front is made up of crazy, overpowered people. While it isn’t straight up horror, there are a ton of horror elements

      • Matthew Moran

        True.

      • Matthew Moran

        Eh. Different strokes, different folks.

  • Couldn’t help but laugh when I saw Nurse 3D listed, a straight up bad film. But then again, your opinion was swayed by “boobs and butt”. *groan*

    Cool list though.

  • Mr. William Davis

    Snowpiercer is a great movie. But it’s not horror. And Oculus really stunk.

  • tbaio

    Another unique list (to say the least) from the BD crew. I’m confused with Mockingbird; its on a “Best Of” list, but it has “a disastrous ending.” I’m torn. I have not heard of Orange Jacket but will be keeping my eye out for it. That’s the beauty of these lists; learning of films that were previously unknown to me. Thanks for forwarding.

  • horror-fiend

    Mixed list but not bad overall.Housebound was worth a watch but overrated to me.

  • CP Munk

    Just saw Nurse yesterday and it was HORRIBLE!!! The main actress is such a horrible actress. The story seems rushed. Ugh what a waste of my time.

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