Suspiria 2018 hands down... I never expected it to come close to Goblins original masterwork, but just as the movie, this soundtrack went into its own lane and absolutely delivered as the perfect companion for the artsy witchy visual assault. As for vinyl release of the year I gotta go with Death Waltz/Mondo’s release of Halloween 4/5 with the limited slipcase. Beautiful art, killer set. SEX
Honorable mention: Halloween (2018)
Arrow’s release of Re-Animator. One of the most gorgeous sets I own. 4K restoration of the unrated cut as long as multiple cuts of the film, commentaries, documentaries, one on ones with Barbra Crampton, trailers, TV spots, music discussion, and a comic book.... it’s truly the definitive release of Re-animator.
Poltergeist - Universal absolutely nailed this one out of the park. I haven’t felt like I was living in a film this much since the Werewolf in London house a few years back. Atmosphere, set pieces, and sound design were all there. I pretty much was ready at any moment for a tree to come crashing through the haunt to take me to the afterlife.
GosT - POSSESSOR - my most played album of the year. Dark, chest crushing spooky synth.
Honorable mentions: Dance With the Dead - Loved to Death, Ghost - Prequelle, Gunship - Dark All Day, Suspiria Soundtrack, and Manson’s “Cry Little Sister” remake.
Joe Bob is back!!!!! He broke Shudder, broke the internet, and made me feel like it was the 90’s all over again. We got the return, a thanksgiving special, and a Christmas special. What more could a 30 year old horror fan ask for?! Honorable mentions: Sabrina, Eli Roth’s History of Horror.
A lot of the big horror comedies like ‘You Might Be the Killer’ didn’t do much for me, these picks deserve a nod...
Freelancer - Uncomfortable human interaction with chats about whale semen and giving your life to a hulk sized black Phillip. Perfect blend of comedy and horror.
BFF Girls - Live action anime insanity that had me snickering from beginning to end. It’s no secret how much I adored this one.
Truth or Dare - *dramatic setup* ... *the discomforted look of confusion character #1’s face*.... *zoom in tight to character #2’s face as they begin to smile*... *big cg grinch smile*... unintentionally funny or not, Truth or Dare was probably the best horror comedy of the year.
TERRIFIER Wishbone - I called it fairly early in the year when we reviewed the film and I did not see a single kill hit anywhere close to it. You have all probably seen it by now, but if not buy the movie or hop on Netflix and see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t topped this year and I don’t see anything else topping it for a long time.
Honorable mention - UPGRADE kitchen knife
Everyone has their triggers, animals, kids, innocent bystanders.... for me there was only one that stood out and made me feel absolute panic, and it was from a movie not released this year but was a first time watch... Thelma - if you’ve seen it you already know. My palms are sweaty just thinking about it.
More a genre film than traditional horror I still give REVENGE my nod. Neon soaked revenge “assploitation”—to steal Jeremiah’s coined sub genre—injected with coked up adrenaline and some of the most batshit visuals I saw all year. Shudder had some decent exclusives this year but if you wanted my opinion to only watch one, Revenge would be it. The soundtrack was bomb too.
Cavity Colors- I’ve been buying from these guys for years, and 2018 was easily one of their best yet. Dude Bro Party Massacre, The Prowler, Hatchet, Halloween, Jason Goes to Hell, Snapbacks, enamel pins and Elvira just to name a few killer things. I’m part of the Monster Club for life. Cavity colors and artist Devon Whitehead are an unstoppable force and I loved all of their new collaborations with Hillary White. Can’t wait to see all that’s in store for 2019.
Blue underground’s re release of MANIAC. Absolutely mind blowing how good it looks. Dripping with 4K sweat. It’s also one of the best Blu-ray releases this year. All past special features and docs return, along with a cd soundtrack of the film. If we keep getting quality re releases like this I’ll gladly double dip every time.
Let the Corpses Tan - I’m beginning to think Cattet & Forzani may not be for me, but outside of being a beautiful looking film it was an absolute snooze fest. It was easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year, but it left me cold as a corpse. Oh... SLICE was shit too.... seriously fuck that movie.
Even though a lot of releases this year left something to be desired for me persona, Blum still brought some heavy hitters and some of my favorite “mainstream” moments of the year. They pretty much have a finger everywhere in the industry- movie theaters, Netflix, Hulu, and book stores - this year alone brought releases like - Halloween, Upgrade, Cam, Into the Dark, Hark the Herald Angels Scream, and Sharp Objects. If all of this isn’t enough horror stimuli still are one of the key elements in the podcast world with SHOCKWAVES and the newly released Fear Initiative.
Amazon Studios... an easier pick may have gone to A24 or IFC, but I’m giving the edge to Amazon. I feel like their focus is more on quality vs quantity and even their less satisfying releases weren’t a total loss - *cough* A24 SLICE *cough*... maybe I’m being biased with my Suspiria love but even removing that from the equation they gave us You Were Never Really Here and that’s another film that could easily land anyone Distributor of the year.
BFF Girls - Sailor Moon sex-ed in a Hausu blender. Never have I seen a live action feature capture the overall feel of an over-the-top no holds barred anime like this. One of the easiest picks for this end of the year wrap up
Mainstream - Suspiria - Hands down was my favorite film of the year. As I mentioned before in regards to the soundtrack, it does it’s own thing and does it damn well. Everything fell into place for me, the visuals, the cast, the music, and the insanity. I never wanted this remake to happen but I’m glad it did.
Indie - Terrifier - this came early in the year and absolutely blew me away like most of the community. A modern Slasher movie done right, it pays tribute to the old, gave us a new icon, and had some of the most satisfying practical fx I’ve seen in a long time. What more could you ask for? Indie horror perfection.
Honorable mentions: Hereditary, Assassination Nation, The Night Comes for Us, Blindspotting, Annihilation, The House that Jack Built, Mandy, and The Strangers: Prey at Night
Neko the cat in BFF Girls - Perfect look, perfect voice-over, and perfect perversion. Instead of writing more of what I loved about this character, I’m going to abuse my power in hopes that Brian Lonano is reading this…I need this cat in my life, I’ll pay top dollar for him.
I’ll probably catch shit for this as it’s not original by a narrative standpoint so much, but I really want to give props to Unsane. Filmed on an iPhone may seem like a gimmick to most, but to me it’s inspiring that anyone can share a crazy story no matter what tools are at their disposal. It’s a crazy time to be alive. I love it. I had a blast with the movie too, one of my biggest surprises of the year.
As a jaded horror fan nothing really scares me anymore, but for this category I gotta go with Hereditary. It’s tense, uncomfortable, and the car scene sucked all of the air out of the theater I was in. It takes a lot to get a rise out of me nowadays, but Ari Aster seems to know exactly what he’s doing, and he surprisingly struck a nerve with me quite a few times.
You know that go-to movie, no matter what mood you are in, you can throw on and let it drape over you like a warm cozy blanket? The ultimate comfort food film.. mmmm... imagine that feeling, except someone kicks your door in, rips your blanket off, then proceeds to repeatedly punch you in the face. That’s how the opening of ‘Trauma’ welcomes your senses- and makes you question why even you even bother giving in to your curiosity. Enjoyment.. if you can even call it that... of these type of films is subjective. They are what they are. For what it’s worth, this one actually has a narrative, impressive soundtrack, and a solid cast which makes the overall experience feel more palatable than your average nasty.
At this point in my life I want more layers to my shock cinema, I’m jaded and tired. The one takeaway for sure is ‘Trauma’ delivers 100% on its promise to unrelentingly force feed you fucked up shit.
Aside from getting to check out awesome creators making cool shit for the genre that we get sent to us for reviews my biggest highlight was simple as it comes.... In case you have been living under a rock.... Fucking FANGORIA is back!!!! I could spout off a laundry list of cool things I dug this year.... but FANGORIA.... FANGORIA!!!! It’s the little things in life. The fact that in 2018 and now 2019 I can sit down with a coffee and crack open a fresh new Fango’ is mind boggling. I’m a simpleton movie nerd. All I need is some caffeine and a magazine filled with my favorite things. I’m happy.