This was another interesting year for horror. From movies and TV to books and podcasts, it seemed like horror was everywhere. I can’t let the year slip away without talking about some of my favorite stuff. First, I’ll start out with my top ten horror movies of the year. Here we go…
10 FAVORITE HORROR MOVIES 2018
10. A Quiet Place
It was a close call between this one, Revenge, and Ghost Stories. Any of those movies could have made it into this list, but I had to go with the Bettendorf boys who wrote the original screenplay. Seeing A Quiet Place on the big screen was quite the experience. I’ve never in my life seen a theater filled with people who were so completely silent. Great tension, real scares, and a lot of fun. For rent on Amazon, iTunes, etc.
As a bonkers fan of the original—who’s seen it about three hundred times—it’s with great pleasure that I include this sequel in my year-end list. Halloween ’18 stayed true to Carpenter’s first film but also added its own personality to the mix. The best Michael mask since ’78, some great kills, Jamie Leigh Curtis, and a terrific revamped score rounded out a fun ride in Haddonfield. For rent on Amazon, iTunes, etc.
From Spain, Veronica had its American debut this year on Netflix. A Ouija-board-session-gone-bad, this one could have lingered in the teeny-bopper realm and stuck with jump scares, but instead went for genuine fear. Great atmosphere and thick tension. On Netflix.
Annihilation somehow flew under the radar for a lot of folks and it didn’t get the reception it deserved. It is a strange story that gets even stranger as it unravels, so maybe the cineplex crowds couldn’t get with it. Some might not think of it as horror—it’s a mix of several genres—but so much of the film owes itself to the horror genre, I think it fits. For rent on Amazon, iTunes, etc.
6. The Ritual
A British movie released in the US this year on Netflix, The Ritual is a nail-biting descent into terror. After a recent tragedy, four friends go hiking through the Scottish wilderness and wind up coming into contact with something sinister. With a fantastic script, overwhelming tension, and one of the best-designed creatures I’ve seen in years, The Ritual is classic scare fest. On Netflix.
A reboot or a sequel? It was hard to tell, but I’d say it’s almost a completely separate film and should be judged on its own merits. There are some horrific scenes in this Suspiria, including a chilling dance sequence that made me cringe. Overall, it’s an art house horror you won’t forget, but with a runtime that’s over two hours, it’s not for everyone. Coming January to Amazon.
Terrified is an Argentinian film released in the US this year. An almost-but-not-quite-anthology about disturbing things happening in three separate homes on the same block. I love that the film didn’t explain too much about what was haunting these people. It leaves out the exposition and plunges you into the horror. One scene caused Michelle and me to cry out! Masterfully directed and truly scary. As with all the foreign language films, watch it with subtitles—the dubbed versions are terrible. On Shudder.
3. Satan’s Slaves
This Indonesian film was one of the scariest things I’ve seen in years. I love a good haunted house story and Satan’s Slaves is one of the best I’ve seen. Like Terrified, there were moments in this one that gave me goosebumps, which isn’t something that happens often. Shudder offers two different versions, one with subtitles and one with dubbing. Watch the subtitled version—the dubbed version is awful. On Shudder.
The ultimate cult film. A fever dream. The work of a mad scientist. Nicolas Cage in his most balls-to-the-wall performance in years. A killer soundtrack. Demon dudes riding motorcycles and wreaking havoc. Massive battle ax. Mandy has it all. No, it’s not for everyone—many will find it too weird, slow, or over the top. However, the weirdos, dreamers, punks, and metal heads? You’ll think you’ve found the answer to all your prayers. On Shudder, or for rental on iTunes, Amazon, etc.
One of the best films of the year, regardless of genre. Hereditary was a disturbing bird’s-eye view of one family disintegrating from the loss of a loved one. There are so many things going on in this movie, I hate to write too much about it. But I will say the ensemble was incredible, especially Toni Collette, whose performance should win every acting trophy available this coming award season. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece. Someday Hereditary will be listed in the same league as films like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Exorcist. On Amazon Prime.
Horror-able Mentions (and non-movie things I loved)
It was so very close to making my list! Each story in this anthology was engrossing and creepy. With a better ending, this thing would be top five for sure. It still works really well, so give it a watch. On Hulu, or for rent on Amazon, iTunes, etc.
Another film that almost made my list. In fact, as I’m writing this post, I’m seriously considering slipping it in there and bumping something out. It’s that good. Revenge is a rape-revenge film, true, but it is so much more than that. It flips the genre on its head. The tension builds methodically with a third act that is positively harrowing. If you can get past the first act, you’ll love it. On Shudder.
Haunting of Hill House was probably my favorite horror thing this entire year. Hill House is scary. Period. It checks a lot of the boxes on my list of things I find spooky. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was a beautiful-looking joy ride. When you add in The Ritual and Cam, along with a few others, you realize Netflix was trying hard this year to satisfy our horror sweet tooth.
A horror subscription streaming service you can get through Amazon or directly through their site. Curated by AMC, this thing has a ton of horror movies to offer. From original programming to classic films, Shudder is well worth the 4.99 monthly fee (49.99 yearly).
Fangoria is Back
It’s so nice to see this classic magazine back in print. Now a quarterly publication, Fangoria promises to hit us with some stellar articles and gorgeous imagery every few months.
I can’t get through a year-end list without mentioning my baby. Part 2 of the Bettendorf Tales was released this year and it’s been a fun ride. During my October promotion, Crow Creek rose into the top ten horror books on Kindle. Fun stuff!
Shock Waves Podcast
And last but definitely not least, the Shock Waves Podcast. If you’re a fan of horror, this is the podcast you should listen to. Hosted by four super fans—besides being movers/shakers in the business—Shock Waves will satisfy your horror cravings. They also have great guests on the show from time to time. Many of the films on this list I first heard about from listening to this show. On iTunes and Google Play.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Tell me what you think of my list in the comments. Hope your holidays have been amazing.
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