Just when I thought it was getting difficult to find a good horror movie, 2017 smacks me across the face with a slew of new titles that have succeeded in getting this black heart beating again. These are just a few notable horror flicks set to come out this year that Ive had on my radar for some time now.
While Im not a fan of the show Key and Peele, I do have a ton of respect for Jordan Peele and his passion for horror movies. Diving head first into the directors chair is no easy task, but judging by recent reviews, he’s done a great job at executing some frightfully fantastic film making.
Many of us can appreciate what Ridley Scott was trying to do with Prometheus, the pseudo prequel to Alien. However, it seemed as though fans spoke up, and Ridley listened. This time around we won’t be dancing around teasing the story of Alien, we will be getting a direct connection. Complete with Xenomorphs, face-huggers, and all of that glorious dirty spaceship stuff we remember from the original.
I’ll be the first to admit I cannot stand modern horror remakes, but Id be lying if I told you this one didn’t excite me. The TV miniseries did a fantastic job at frightening audiences with Tim Curry’s terrifying portrayal of Pennywise the clown, but this modern retelling seems to be following Stephen Kings original story. One that is surrounded by a more demented brand of psycological horror, and far less campy.
Underworld: Blood Wars
What good would the horror world be without a few titles that were just downright corny and fun to watch? Every movie doesn’t have to be an Oscar worthy masterpiece, so when it comes to the Underworld movies I tend to let loose and appreciate the overall aesthetic of these films. Rather than nitpick them for what they lack, and compare them to movies completely out of their realm of storytelling.
No Release Date Set
After what Rob Zombie did to the franchise, many Halloween fans are weary of taking the bait for yet another reboot. This time around we at least have the blessing of John Carpenter, the man who made the series what it was. Not only does this have his stamp of approval, but rumor has it the master of horror will be lending his musical talents to the films score once again.
There are a few more I wanted to mention here, like a reboot of both the Friday the 13th and Chucky franchises, but alas those movies seem to be stuck in production limbo. Thankfully with movies like It Follows and The Witch, the horror genre could be getting a much needed kick in the ass. Lets hope the movies released this year are a good sign of things to come!
Vampire movies are a dime a dozen, and never seem to be in short supply within the horror genre, but the majority of these fang flicks can be quite forgetful. As the genre progresses towards a more desensitized audience, it can be difficult to create something that fans will embrace. Thankfully, every couple years a vampire story reveals itself from the shadows and leaves an impression lingering long enough to rival the lives of the undead themselves. These are the five best vampire movies Ive ever seen, so get your glass of blood ready and fire up your VCR…or whatever it is you living people watch movies on these days.
What We Do In the Shadows
Hands down the funniest horror comedy I have ever witnessed. Its a satirical documentary on the lives of vampires who are desperately trying to fit in with modern society. Its one of those movies that after viewing you ponder how genius of an idea it was to make a film like this, and why it had not been made sooner.
Let the Right One In
This movie broke the mold for what a good vampire story can and should be. Its a unique twist on a friendship bordering on a love story, with plenty of horrific elements that keep its roots grounded in the traditional vampire lore.
Interview With the Vampire
The gold standard when it comes to vampire movies in my opinion. Everything from the cast, the sets, the music, its all as close to perfect as you can get with a vampire story that covers both the old and new world ways of the undead.
Bram Stokers Dracula
A classic masterpiece from director Francis Ford Coppola, who surprisingly used a lot of low budget film techniques to pull off many of the visual tricks in the movie. It also features a magnificent performance of the dead man himself from everyones favorite chameleon actor, Gary Oldman.
The Lost Boys
Many times a movie that dates itself with corny music and wardrobes can come off as a novelty, wearing itself thin as the decade it was made in fades away. However, The Lost Boys embraces 1980s culture while still maintaining a solid vampire story at its core.
Despite whether you agree or disagree with this list, its a nice reminder to see movies like What We Do In the Shadows and Let the Right One In get made in a time when horror was almost run into the ground by awful remakes. What a sad world we would live in if all we had was Twili…I cant even muster the strength to type it. You know the one Im talking about. So here’s to hoping the horror genre continues this tradition and gives us more blood sucking goodness for all eternity, or at least long enough for us to enjoy until we are dead or bitten by a bat.
While the massive Star Wars machine is just starting to turn and the super hero / comic book bubble is on the verge of bursting with an overfull release schedule, horror fans are feeling a little left out these days.
For awhile there we had a regular spat of entertaining anthologies being churned out, from Trick ‘R Treat to the V/H/S series to Tales Of Halloween and even the tongue-in-cheek A Christmas Horror Story. That trend is now slowing significantly down and there’s a barren desert on the horizon for lovers of all things frightful.
There’s an unfortunate stagnation occurring on many fronts for our beloved genre, with the handful of releases actually coming out typically being reboots, remakes, sequels, prequels, or endless rehashes of a specific overplayed genre. Much of it appears to be tailored towards making a quick buck on a low investment for a guaranteed built-in audience.
Much like the aforementioned comic book movie frenzy, the found footage bubble appears to have finally well and truly burst, which is for the best. While there are actually several movies in that sub-genre that are well worth seeing (and a few that presented the format in genuinely innovative ways), the formula got very, very stale with more trash than gold in recent years.
The most recent trend has been social media-based horror, with a slew of movies involving Facebook or having a hashtag in their title. Although lower budget and not perfect, The Den was one of the surprisingly good entries to squeak out of that fad, while nearly all the rest haven’t been worth anyone’s time.
Horror has sadly hit a rut, with specific concepts getting overplayed again and again. The Forest for instance gave us scary Japanese girls (yawn) and not much else. Hush meanwhile had a fairly unique protagonist, but in all other ways was an incredibly by-the-numbers home invasion flick that felt like half an idea for a movie that was never fully fleshed out. Somewhere along the way the filmmakers unfortunately forget to add in a plot.
Somehow a basic truth of the genre has gotten lost along the way: horror is most effective when you don’t see it coming, or when it is presented in a way that the audience doesn’t expect. I’m still blown away by how that Jessica Biel flick The Tall Man was marketed as just another slasher movie, and then it absolutely defied expectations at every turn, keeping you guessing until the last moment.
The first (and as far as I’m concerned, only) season of True Detective was equally effective on that front. I’ll never forget the moment in the third episode when I realized this was cosmic horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft / Robert Chambers that was masquerading as a cop drama to reel in unsuspecting viewers. The upcoming, perennially delayed adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” losing True Dective director Cary Fukunaga was a blow that won’t be easy to overcome.
To be fair, there have been a few twists and turns here and there in horror lately that at least tried something different. Both The Babdook and It Follows took chances and went in interesting directions, although I felt the former ended up being too much style over substance while the latter was a bit of a mess that fell short of the hype. The Witch was another change in the formula even when dealing with familiar ground that didn’t quite match the hype machine. Although it did leave me wondering as the credits rolled if something supernatural had actually gone down or if that family was just tripping on tainted LSD corn.
There have been some shining examples of understated horror as well that don’t always make the best renter wall or remain stuck on VOD for long periods before hitting the public consciousness. The relentlessly uncomfortable atmosphere in Creep was incredibly effective, and that’s a movie that will stick with me far longer than anything involving ghosts or demons. The out-of-nowhere Arnold Schwarzenegger film Maggie also offered a whole new take on what’s horrifying about the zombie apocalypse.
Some of the most interesting horror releases lately haven’t been movies at all, as other media picks up the slack. Gaming, books, graphic novels, and yes, even music, are more at the forefront these days. Lychgate’s “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” album release from this past summer was a more harrowing experience than many of the recent horror flops, and definitely put me on the edge of my seat better than whatever latest Paranormal Activity entry hit the big screen.
PC and console games in particular have been killing it on the horror front, with the acclaimed Outlast sparking a horror revolution. Ditching the gunfire typical of a first person game, Outlast and those inspired by it figured out the scariest situation is one in which you can’t defend yourself. A whole sub-genre of games has been spawned from that concept in which you in the driver seat of the horror movie, but with no way of fighting back against all the axe-wielding maniacs or deadly xenomorphs.
This idea has been twisted and contorted into some truly fascinating iterations, like the psychological mind fuck that is SOMA. If you want to question just what “life” truly is and what it actually means to be alive, give that title from Frictional Games a try and have your whole definition of horror expanded.
On the movie front, horror really needs a spectacular, big budget hit that’s both appealing to the masses and doesn’t pull any punches on the disturbing and dark angles. Crimson Peak was a start, but it wasn’t really a horror movie in the traditional sense of the word. While many were glad to see it get canceled due to the inclusion of Tom Cruise, frankly Guillermo Del Toro’s ill-fated adaptation of At The Mountains Of Madness would have done the trick to re-ignite the genre and get more studios actively involved in horror.
For now, the really great horror will have to remain in the hands of the little guys who truly love the genre and are more willing to try ventures that might fail. The labor of love devoted to all practical effects that is The Void is one to look out for soon, and there’s plenty of other solid material to be found, so long as you know where to look.
From indie directors dropping short clips on Vimeo to crowd funded projects launched by big dreamers with wide eyes, for the foreseeable future horror will remain a genre primarily by and for the diehard fans who won’t give up, no matter how bleak the forecast looks.
About the Author
Ty Arthur has spent the last eight years freelancing for the likes of Metalunderground.com, GameSkinny, and WorldStart. His debut sci-fi / horror novella “Empty” was just released through Mirror Matter press, with a full-length dark fantasy novel also due to drop later this year. Arthur writes to exorcise his demons and lives in the cold, dark north with his amazing wife Megan and soon-to-be first son Gannicus Picard.
There are countless entries in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, thus making it quite easy to get lost in the minutia of mindless kills and convoluted backstories. While the first Elm Street movie is a straight forward classic, I have a soft spot in my black little heart for the sixth entry in the series, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Its a movie that many horror fans tend to shrug off, but I always found it to be a great example of how a sequel can stand on its own, without the weight of a poorly executed franchise holding it back. There are many aspects of Freddy’s Dead that give it such a unique difference from other Freddy movies. One of the main differences is just the overall tone and bizarre uncertainty that plagues the entire movie from start to finish.
Without spoiling anything, the movie follows yet another group of wandering teenagers who are tormented by the Springwood Slasher, but this movie unfolds like a dream in and of itself. There are often times when you swear you are in a nightmare, only to find reality being twisted just enough to throw off your sense of safety. It reminds me of that feeling I get after waking up from a bad dream. The feeling of unnerving confusion, with a foggy recollection of what just happened.
This is a sequel deeply embedded within the franchise, and is by no means one of the greatest films you will ever bare witness to, but Freddy’s Dead certainly gets my recommendation if you’re looking for a unique yet strangely familiar horror movie. I tend to view movies for what they are, rather than what they aren’t. In a time when critics and fans continuously love to point out plot holes and improbable scenarios, its important to remind ourselves that sometimes a movie can be entertaining and intriguing without having to explain all the logic behind it.
When I decided to devote my music with Autumns Eyes to the world of Halloween and Horror Movies, Wes Craven was one of the first pools of inspiration I dived into head first. After his recent passing, it was only natural to pay homage to the man who’s been feeding my nightmares for a lifetime. While all of his films have been watched over and over again throughout my years, these are the ones I place at the top of the list.
The Last House on the Left
Rarely does a movie leave such an everlasting trail of disgust that brings you great shame and guilt for even just watching it. The Last House on the Left is one of very few horror films that injects true paralyzing fear into my soul. I remember seeing it for the first time as a stubborn teenage horror fan who thought he had seen it all. It didn’t take long for me to wince like a toddler getting a flu shot, a reaction I still produce when watching it today.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
I was first introduced to Mr Krueger in my early childhood, with an admiration that only a sick little bastard such as myself could muster for a character so brutal. It wasn’t until later on in life when I was truly able to engulf my life with all things Freddy. Video games, t-shirts, television shows, you name it. He became a pop culture icon, and while some horror fans complain of his schtick being too campy, I always felt it added to his unique charisma.
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Up until a few years ago I had never watched this movie, for whatever reason. The title always floated around, and I continued to put it off until one day it popped up on Netflix. Not only did I love everything about the film, but I was also inspired by the way Wes Craven has such an ability to harness fear in its purist form. While many other directors were focusing on cash grabbing sequels, and cheap thrills, Craven kept his sights on exactly what scared audiences the most. His own demented mind.
The People Under the Stairs
A personal favorite of mine since I was but a wee little shit running around the house with my plastic Freddy glove. The People Under the Stairs convinced me that I should in fact have my own hiding spot under the stairs. So I did just that, and cleared out a ton of old storage items from inside the downstairs closet positioned underneath the staircase. It was my own personal horror themed fort, where I could hide and pop out to scare the living shit out of my siblings at a moments notice.
We all know how difficult it is for a successful film to have an equally successful sequel, but I don’t think anyone ever imagined such a great sequel to come from the Elm Street franchise of all places. New Nightmare was a precursor to what Wes would later do with his groundbreaking hit, Scream. It also reestablished Freddy Krueger as the menacing demon he was originally intended to be, as opposed to the wise cracking comedian the prior sequels turned him into.
Im a big fan of werewolf movies, which also means Ive had to sit through a fair share of terrible creature effects and regurgitated storylines. Cursed was a refreshing change of pace, with an added element of mystery and suspense that only Wes Craven could deliver. The movie does a good job at bridging the gap between old lore and mysticism, with a modern society and culture.
Death is an unavoidable truth that we all must face, and its never easy to lose someone who was important to us in life. Thankfully Wes Craven has left behind such an enormous legacy in not only the horror world, but throughout all of storytelling.
If you’re a horror movie fan, chances are you’ve seen plenty of lists splattered all over the web with horror movie behind the scenes photos. In an effort to diversify this category, I put together a list of behind the scenes photos that you won’t see everywhere else. Check them out below, and see if you can recognize them all.
Lets be honest, many horror movie fans stay for the blood, but come for the nudity. Literally in some cases. Its not hard to find a horror movie with plenty of skin, but sometimes it can be difficult to weed through the ones where skin is getting ripped off, or just plain exposed. If you’re a fan of the sluttiest sexy nude scenes in horror movies, you’ve come to the right place. Lets take a look at some of the more popular moments from the past few decades.
Fans of lesbian Vampire movies will adore this touching tale of love and friendship. Not to mention the unquenchable thirst for blood and abduction.
Embrace of the Vampire
Many people, myself included, were absolutely shocked when they found out Alyssa Milano would be naked in a vampire movie. Once the movie was released we saw much more than we ever expected.
Its one of those classic love stories about a lonely seductive alien just trying to get through life and find a suitable sperm donor.
See anything you like? That was the line P.J. Soles uttered while revealing herself to the audience, and many cracked voice teenagers couldn’t even breathe enough to respond.
The Return of the Living Dead
This is a cult favorite scene admired by fans of punk rock chicks who love to dance, and love to dance naked.
Who would have thought innocent little Katie Holmes would have such a naughty side in this film directed by horror legend Sam Raimi.
She’s disrobed for several other movies, but its impossible not to appreciate such a charming girl showered in gallons of blood.
I have no clue what this girl does for a living, but something tells me she would do great things in the adult film industry.
This was one of those scenes that completely took viewers by surprise, and caused many jaws to break after they crashed to the floor.
Kelly Brook and Riley Steele
Its a lovely poetic scene where two females engage in a blissful underwater dance. Im sure it wasn’t shot just for the sake of having gratuitous girl on girl action.
During the past few decades The Exorcist has been the one single horror movie which seems to bridge generational gaps by continuing to scare people no matter what year it is. That is a feat unheard of when it comes to such a niche genre like horror. The Exorcist was able to cross that threshold and go beyond just your typical horror fan by attracting mainstream moviegoers to its brilliance.
However, within the past couple years there has been a slight resurgence in the genre with movies like The Conjuring and Insidious taking aim at the box office. Do any of these modern horror movies stack up against the juggernaut that is The Exorcist? Let’s take a look and compare one of the biggest horror films of all time to one of the more popular ones of modern day cinema.
Its a film that completely terrified audiences to the point where even grown men were sleeping with the light on. The story of a little girl possessed by a terrifying demon captivated movie fans to the point where they could not turn away, even when the possessed girl was masturbating with a cross and vomiting all over a priest. Things got so bad at one point after the films release, people were actually running out of the theater to vomit in the nearest trash can.
The film also sparked a global rise in the amount of possessions reported throughout our various continents. People from Canada to Czechoslovakia were contacting local priests to perform exorcisms on their friends and family members who were believed to be possessed. The vatican even made a point to modify their rules on exorcism after such widespread panic was caused by this one movie.
Keep in mind how different society was back in those days when nobody was aware of, or witnessed, such horrific atrocities take place on screen. Of course today we are much more desensitized as a culture, and it takes a lot of effort to shock us. That was hardly the case when The Exorcist debuted, and will most likely never be the case again.
Next we move on to a movie which does a good job of representing the current state of horror. Now there are a few purists in the genre who tend to discredit this film for ripping off older horror movies, and plenty of people who just genuinely dislike it. While it doesn’t hold as high regard as The Exorcist, it certainly has done a great job of getting people back into theaters in support of horror.
The story itself centers around a basic ghostly possession, and has a few iconic moments to boot. Much like the classic scene in The Exorcist where we get a quick glimpse of the demons face, Insidious plays on the same gag by revealing their demon in a similar fashion. Even the title shot of the movie is taken from the pages of classic horror films like Susperia. Whether or not this qualifies as inspiration or just a rip off is up to you.
Another suspenseful element to Insidious is its use of contrasting media to scare the audience. There is a sequence featuring some fairly horrific imagery, which normally would dictate the musical score to follow a similar path. However, the music delves into the complete opposite end of the spectrum by playing a song from bizarre pop icon of the seventies, Tiny Tim. This contrast of style works well for the scene, and does a good job of extracting fear from vulnerable viewers.
Obviously The Exorcist has made its mark on history that will undoubtably remain in tact long after we are gone. I don’t view this as a total loss for Insidious though, and despite its shortcomings we must acknowledge its ability to attract more people to the genre. After years of awful remakes and terrible straight to video releases, it’s quite refreshing to see some original stories take center stage. The Exorcist remains a true classic, while Insidious played a major part in bringing horror movies back into the limelight.