In the horror community we had a few cool surprises in 2019. I think about the films I watched this past year and the first one that comes to mind is Head Count. It was an unusual, fun movie. As an honorable mention, I am throwing in Jason Mewes’ directorial debut for Madness in the Method. He did a pretty decent job directing his first film. He could have done any movie, he could have said, sure send me whatever. He didn’t do that. The Cleaning Lady deserves a mention. Alexis Kendra made a fascinating, off the wall film that is beautiful.
3 From Hell, I will say I appreciate Sid Haig and I appreciate Rob Zombie’s work. Oddly enough, I find him fascinating. He is a horror fan in his own way, for sure. It is cool to know he watches horror movies and for the most part, 3 From Hell was not completely awful. This cast was excellent, Dee Wallace, Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley and the fascinating Jeff Daniel Phillips and Richard Brake. If someone made a movie with just those two in it, I would watch it. I think any film starring Jeff Daniel Phillips should be watched.
A Dark Place was written and directed by Christopher Pinero. This film was defining in so many ways. He created this intense, gritty story and the cast was excellent. Pledge was another fascinating movie and The Amityville Murders starring John Robinson. St. Agatha directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. I am throwing honorable mentions to Norbert Keil’s Replace and Eduardo Castillo’s The Pining. Christopher Pinero’s A Dark Place. Hallowed Ground, written and directed by Miles Doleac. The Haunting of Sharon Tate, written and directed by Daniel Farrands.
Doctor Sleep delivered in every way possible. Stephen King’s Castle Rock which airs on Hulu is also great. Directed by Joe Begos, VFW and Bliss. Ashes (2019) by Barry Jay was such an intense, thrilling horror film. So, here is my list. In no particular order and I did love and appreciate these films.
Here is the list. My Top Ten of 2019. In no particular order.
This movie took me back to being a kid watching Horror movies and thinking I want to write stories like this someday and here I am. Writing stories and writing reviews, doing interviews and I still have that genuine love for Horror. Andre Ovredal directed Scary Stories to tell in The Dark. Incredible special effects and a scarecrow that scared the crap out of us. This film is one that you can watch every year.
I was waiting for this sequel. Along Came The Devil 2. Something funny or maybe not so funny to some. But, I find humor and sarcasm are what I tend to lean on in life. I was watching the screener for this movie on my laptop when I hear music from Jesus Christ Superstar and part of me was thinking, okay, cool. Jason DeVan is trying to help these people and then part of me was thinking? How did they get to use the soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar in a possession movie? No offense. It could happen but the music wasn’t playing in the movie, it was Spotify turned on somehow and the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack was playing. I told Jason DeVan this story when I interviewed him. I am not sure if this was the universe telling me, I watch too many movies with the devil, Satan and possession involved? But it was interesting. The cast, the effects. The story overall was great. The DeVan Clan did a great job with this one.
Ari Aster is a brilliant human. Midsommar was a film that I thought about. I thought this sort of has a bit of The Wicker Man and it makes you question things. You watch this movie and you go holy sh*t! This is happening, I am watching THIS! I have so many questions for Ari Aster (Ari Aster if you ever want to talk, I would love to do an interview. I could fill a book with all the questions I have for you.) You become invested, interested. It is intense and I had all sorts of mind-altering questions and thought about what could happen. Midsommar was a psychological twisted movie but in such a GOOD way.
Written and Directed by Jordan Peele, this film is near-perfection. To me, anyway. Lupita Nyong, Winston Duke, Elizabeth Moss. The entire cast and these performances they gave made this movie even better when it was already incredible. Jordan Peele takes horror to a different place, a different type of terror. A realistic twist in the mysteries. A family going on a trip… What could possibly go wrong? The torment, the beautiful shots, the calmness. It is so beyond scary. I loved it.
Chelsea Stardust! UGHHHH, she is incredible. A talented human. I want to just smile and watch this movie all the time. It was fun, funny, a great story, different and the cast did so great. Rebecca Romijn, Hayley Griffith, Ruby Modine, Jeff Daniel Phillips who is a genius in everything he is in! Who knew delivering pizzas could get into that Satanist life?! It is such a great movie. Hayley is so fun and she takes on this character with so much heart. So, are we hailing Satan later or what?
Directed by Frank Sabatella, The Shed is a great vampire movie. The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Fright Night, Fright Night II, Nosferatu. The vampire is no joke. The special effects are intense. You can get this movie on Blu-Ray on January 7th so pick up a copy! The cast did an incredible job. Jay Jay Warren, Cody Kostro, Sofia Happonen, Frank Whaley and Chris Petrovski who plays the protagonist so WELL! It was like he was made to play Marbles.
Richard Bates Jr. is a brilliant writer and director. He gave us Tone-Deaf in 2019 and it was one of the best movies ever. He brought Amanda Crew and Robert Patrick together is this dysfunctional scenario and proved that some people are real buzz kills. If you have never seen Excision or Suburban Gothic go watch them and then watch Tone-Deaf.
Room for Rent (Lin Shaye’s exquisite performance is reason alone.)
Lin Shaye makes this movie. Her relentless pursuit of something better is heartbreaking. You root for her and director Tommy Stovall tells Stuart Flack’s story that he wrote so beautifully onscreen. Lin Shaye plays Joyce who becomes a tad “obsessed” with one of her tenants. There is bullying, a message of loneliness and what is does to someone.
This film was excellent. Adam Egypt Mortimer strayed away and made this movie incredibly beautiful and dark. It showed the depths of mental health and not just in a hokey way. The depression, darkness, the suffering. All of it. The cast is incredible. If you have not seen this movie, go watch it now.
Ever since I watched Haunt, it stuck with me. The idea that every Halloween we celebrate what scares us, what is fun and we watch the scary movies we love. Well, for Horror fans everyday is Halloween. Especially with writing and actually working on projects that involve horror related moments. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wrote and directed this movie. The special effects done by Chris Bridges and Hugo Villasenor are incredible. The cast did a great job. Katie Stevens kicking ass. Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, Shazi Raja, Schuyler Helford, Phillip Johnson Richardson. Now the masked folks just trying to make a living, scare a few folks. Chaney Morrow, the Ghost, “call me Mitch.” Oh, yeah, sure Mitch. NOPE! Terri Partyka playing a witch I would never trust. Justin Rose as the Vampire, Schuyler White as the Zombie with a chainsaw. (Making Leatherface proud) and the Devil played by Damian Maffei. He provoked fear into the hearts of …. Even those who don’t have a heart. The scene where he wants to reveal Katie’s characters true face and when he reveals his face, it is a WOW moment. Haunt is a movie you can watch every Halloween.