Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Summer of Blood – 7

January 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Director – Onur Tukel

Cast – Jonathan Caouette, Zach Clark, Dustin Guy Defa, Juliette Fairley, Dakota Goldhor

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I only found out about this film until recently, and what gave me the drive to watch it is it was referred to as a “hipster horror film”. I don’t count because that would be mainstream, but I know I have plenty of “hipster” friends who would get a kick out of such a film, so I gave this a watch and left pleased with the results. The story follows Eric Sparrow – a self-centered asshole who sucks in bed and makes the mistake of his life when he turns down his beautiful girlfriend Jody’s marriage proposal. He tries to move on without her…and to no avail. Each date ends worse than the one before, his job becomes more and more unbearable, and to make matters worse…Jody is now dating her college crush. Eric’s life is falling apart, but he receives the chance of a lifetime when he is bit by a vampire. Eric awakes as a different man. He is confident, strong, and now a sexual maestro with the opposite sex. There is only one problem – he is a vampire, and vampires need to eat.

Writer/director Onur Tukel stars as Eric and delivers one hell of an opening sequence. The story begins with Eric and Jody having an exquisite dinner at their favorite restaurant. When Jody proposes Eric uses his bafoonish wit to say “no” with the highest number of words possible, turning the issue to himself and the fallacies of married life. This intro lasts almost 8 minutes and will leave you shaking your head over how much of an idiot he is. I am sure lots of us, both male and female, have been in situations where we let a good person go for stupid, selfish reasons, and this intro did a good job of reminding me of the hurt I felt. Tukel’s writing is fantastic, with excellent dialogue from Eric that shows how arrogance and a “hipster” way of looking at things can cost you. Of course, this is done so in hilarious fashion. The head-shaking continues as you watch Eric fail at everything that matters. He has a pathetic way of using his logic to rationalize the life he lives, and before he can realize how much he is bullshitting himself…he becomes a vampire.

The second act is where Eric begins to bring home his new life. He is epically fired from his job, gives no f*cks about the rent he owes, and unlike before, he is having lots of success with women. So is this even a horror film? Yes it is. The first kill occurs 39 minutes in, and it is gory as hell. The kills continue at a brisk pace for the next 10 minutes or so, with kills coming from many angles, including while engaged in coitus with a beautiful woman. Conflict eventually arises, and while it is tame in comparison to the rest of the film it still managed to keep me engaged. At times I felt like despite its mere 86 minutes in length that the film dragged here and there. Eric’s long responses/monologues about this or that hipster case-in-point eventually exceed their welcome, yet he somehow manages to remain a guy that you’d love to hang out with – at least in small doses. I would not exactly call this a horror comedy, but it does have its comedic elements. Thankfully they blend well with the horror and the carnage does not take a backseat to the lulz.

Tukel’s direction is fantastic, and he secures a great performance from…himself as Eric. Tukel’s acting (if he’s even acting) dominates the character-driven experience and as I mentioned earlier, it’s hard not to love the guy. He’s a dick, and he’ll piss you off, but I’d love to hang out with him just so I could laugh at his troubles. Despite some dragging moments his execution, via atmosphere, music, and laughs, is enough to keep you engaged and into what is going on before you. Most importantly, though, his execution of the horror is fantastic. I was surprised at the level of gore seen in the film, and it all comes via live-action effects and not that lamestream CGI nonsense. His execution is full-frontal and with the kills drawn-out to gory extremes you will leave pleased at experiencing more horror than you expected for a “hipster” horror flick.

Overall, Summer of Blood is a fun watch and one that I recommend to all, even if you’re not a hipster.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…


Late Phases – 8

December 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Director – Adrián García Bogliano

Cast – Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest, Tina Louise, Rutanya Alda, Caitlin O’Heaney, Erin Cummings, Tom Noonan, Larry Fessenden, Al Sapienza

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Werewolf films are still kicking these days, but not so much on the American side. Last year’s Game of Werewolves and 2014’s Wer, both Spanish flicks, were enjoyable efforts that delivered good horror. Then, along came the Nick Dimici-starring dramatic horror film Late Phases to blow them both out of the water. This is the simplest and rawest of the three films, where the end-result is a heavy blow of solid horror complimented with raw emotion.

Ambrose, a blind Vietnam veteran, moves into a retirement village where the elderly go to die. Little does he know, the residents of this village are not dying from natural causes, but from vicious werewolf attacks. With a month to spare until the next full moon, Ambrose works around his disabilities so he can give the werewolves a fight they will not expect.

This story comes from Eric Stolze, the writer behind the awesome Under The Bed, and I was pleased with what he provided. The story begins with Ambrose getting dropped off at the village by his son Will. Will and Ambrose don’t have much of a relationship aside from the fact that they are father and son, and that is on Ambrose. In a sense you feel for the guy and can’t really fault him. He served in a wildly umpopular war, and has since lost his vision. It is obvious that Ambrose is far from a weak individual, and he tries extra hard to not let his disability make him vulnerable – even though it does. His first night at the home proves to be an eventful one when his neighbor is brutally attacked by a werewolf. Of course, Ambrose does not know it was a werewolf because he cannot see. His sense of smell has heightened over the years, and he knows whatever it was…it was big, mean, and not human. He eventually learns that his neighbor was not the only victim that night, and that the community has been plagued with mysterious, brutal deaths once a month – all coinciding with a full moon. It seems silly, but Ambrose is not taking any chances.

The rest of the film follows Ambrose as he prepares for next month’s impending murders. Despite his lack of vision he remains a solid weapons expert and will use his proficiency, along with custom-crafted silver bullets, to ensure he does not go down without a fight. Yes, there is a fight. After a second act that includes much character development and a little humor, the full moon returns and the werewolf is out on the loose. It is about the 65 minute mark that the horror begins to kick into high gear, with a sweet transformation scene shortly after this. There are lots of deaths and plenty of gore for the viewer to enjoy, and the final fight between Ambrose and the beast is one you definitely need to see. While this is a devout horror film there is a supporting touch of drama as well. Stolze uses the end of the second act to play on the relationship between Ambrose and his son. Ever since his wife’s death Ambrose hasn’t quite been himself, although he wasn’t much of a “loving” father before that either. Keep in mind he was never a bad man. He loved his child and provided everything he needed, except emotional support. Don’t think that the film gets soft on you, because the filmmakers did a damn good job of keeping this a horror film.

Spanish director Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil, Penumbra) makes his English-language debut here and rides in with style. Once you view this piece will you realize that it employed very simple filmmaking yet Bogliano made the most of what little they had. The sets and locations are very basic, so if you are looking for a visually appealing piece you won’t find it here. However, the film makes up for that with everything else. To start, it stars horror vet Nick Damici (Stake Land, We Are What We Are, Mulberry St.) and he is hands down one of the best actors in the genre. His performance carries the film as he expertly portrays the Walt Kowalski-esque hardened war veteran just trying to pass the time until he passes on. For not being blind, Damici is a pretty damn good blind man here. He also portrays a man much older than he really is. His performance is only equaled in awesomeness by the horror. Werewolf films these days tend to involve a lot of CGI, so I was more than surprised, and impressed, at the live-action carnage that occurred here. We see werewolves tear people apart and leave their guts hanging out, all while wearing prosthetic suits that are a bit silly but downright awesome at the same time (if you’re into that kind of cheese). Keep in mind that the people being torn apart here are senior citizens, so their deaths feel a bit taboo…in a good way. It seems Bogliano’s direction is getting better and better, and I hope to see more films like Late Phases from him in the future.

Overall, Late Phases is an awesome werewolf flick and one of the best horror films of 2014. It has numerous elements for the viewer to enjoy, from Nick Damici’s badassery to gory werewolf action, so this is one film you cannot miss.

Rating: 8/10

…Additional Stills…

Ragnarok – 7

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Director – Mikkel Brænne Sandemose

Cast – Pål Sverre Hagen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Sundquist, Sofia Helin, Maria Annette Tanderø Berglyd, Vera Rudi

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The first time I saw a trailer for Ragnarok I knew that this was a film I would enjoy. If you know me then you know that I love creature films, especially BIG creature films. On top of this, I enjoy archeological / adventure elements and this also came with that. Plus, it had been a while since I viewed a Norwegian horror film, with the last being Cold Prey 3, which just so happened to also be directed by this film’s director. So, did I enjoy Ragnarok like I thought I would? I sure did.

Archeologist Sigurd Svendsen has exhausted the last few years, and a lot of grant money, on uncovering the meaning behind secret runes found aboard an old Oseberg ship. As of now he has failed to appease those who front the money for his research, and his wild theories about Ragnarok, the end of the world in Norwegian mythology, ensure that they have lost their faith in him. When a colleague comes across an ancient map that he believes will lead him to the answers he desires, he embarks on an expedition to Finnmark, the “no man’s land” between Norway and Russia, and finds that the runes were not what he expected them to be – they were warnings.

This story from first-time writer John Kare Baake had me hooked from the get-go. After an introductory scene where a large regiment of Vikings come face to face with a heinous, off-screen menace, we fast forward to modern times and the struggles of Sigurd Svendsen. He is somewhat the cliché modern single dad, widowed after the death of his wife and struggling to attend choir recitals while dealing with a time-consuming job as a lead researcher for a large museum. His wild theories about Vikings and their travels do little to impress anyone but his colleagues, as even his children don’t want anything to do with them. I will say this though – his theories definitely caught my attention. Before long he, two colleagues, and his two children are en route to Finnmark, which requires them to hire a guide to trek them through the terrain and remnants of the Soviet Union’s Cold War collapse. They cross large lakes and climb over forgotten military tanks, eventually reaching the site carved into the map. The first half of the story is entirely development, and that was OK with me. The constant changes in landscape and positive dialogue / character development kept me engaged, but it was really the landscape / scenery that had me glued to the screen. We first see signs of trouble at the film’s halfway point, with the first kill occurring right at the 45 minute mark. At this point the creature, or whatever it is, has yet to be seen, but soon enough we see evidence that something very sinister has been occurring at this spot for centuries. The Vikings met their demise, as did the Russian soldiers half a century ago, and now the researchers are in over their heads. The first visual of the beast does not occur until 70 minutes into the film, and it is a pretty sweet introduction. From then on out the story consists of our leads trying to make it out of the area alive, not caring whether they bring back the evidence they tried so dearly to uncover.

I will say this before I continue – Ragnarok is a borderline “family” film. It comes with a PG-13 rating, which does not automatically doom a horror film these days, but keep that in mind. The biggest reason behind why I refer to this as a family film is its execution. We get the usual adventure-esque score, similar to films like National Treasure, and the children play heavy roles in the film. This is by no means a complaint of mine, I am just throwing it out there for you. However, because of this family element the horror is affected. I am sad to say that there are no on-screen kills whatsoever. Yes, this is a creature film without any kills to view. There are kills, but if you are expecting the usual awesomeness associated with suck flicks you may be disappointed.

Thankfully, Mikkel Braenne Sandermose’s direction makes the most out of the horror. I loved the look of the creature, and while every scene of it involved CGI he managed to bring out good tension whenever the creature hit the screen. The same can be said about the kill sequences. While you do not see the kill happen, he manages to execute the off-screen action fairly well and with enough tenacity to keep the viewer engaged. I mentioned earlier that it takes a good while before the action kicks in, and what helped me stay engaged was how visually appealing the film is. The sets used are incredible and the landscapes are sure to keep those with a heart for exploration entertained. If it were not for the locations, props, landscape, and Sandermose’s overall direction, the film would have been a boring, B-movie-esque experience.

Overall, Ragnarok is a film that I enjoyed. I have an extreme love for creature films, as well as adventure flicks, so if you feel the same then you should give this a shot. Its family element will keep it from delivering the goods we typically desire, but everything else in the film makes up for that.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

Happy Camp – 4

October 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Director – Josh Anthony

Cast – Josh Anthony, Michael Barbuto, Ben Blenkle, Jessica Garvin, Teddy Gilmore, Shondale Seymour, Anne Taylor

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

This is one of those films that I go into blind, having not seen a trailer nor reading into the plot aside from a basic summary. I didn’t even know Drew Barrymore is an executive producer for the film. The poster looked cool and it had a decent rating on IMDb so I figured I had nothing to lose – at the worst it would be decent. Well, I was wrong. On the surface Happy Camp may look like an OK film, but when the end credits hit I had been left with a very mediocre experience.

Michael Tanner has lived a life of despair after the strange disappearance of his younger brother 20 years prior. With his girlfriend and a few friends serving as the film crew, Michael returns to the town where his brother was abducted, and with terrifying results.

Writers Josh Anthony, Michael Barbuto, and Anne Taylor, all actors in the film as well, kick things off with some horrific facts behind the rural town of Happy Camp. 625 people have gone missing from the area, with Michael’s brother disappearing in 1989. To this day Michael still suffers from nightmares associated with the incident, so his girlfriend comes up with a plan to help him face his demons – literally. Before long they arrive at Happy Camp and the locals are not happy about outsiders snooping around. The first bit of slight horror hits the screen at the 22-minute mark, but after that the horror subsides for a very long time. Instead, we are treated to conflict stemming from Michael’s strenuous psychological state as a result of his return to the source of his issues. This is the case until the 63-minute mark, which is pretty terrible when you consider that the film is only 73 minutes long. I did somewhat enjoy the horror from this point out, mostly because it involved Bigfoot. I had no clue the film’s antagonist would be the famed missing link, but then again I did little research on the film beforehand. Unlike other recent Bigfoot films, like the positive Willow Creek and the lame Lost Coast Tapes, we actually get a good look at Bigfoot here. While I applaud this, it was of course too little and too late.

Writer and actor Josh Anthony also directs the film, and his direction is only slightly better than his screenplay. He sets an OK mood and achieves decent performances from his actors but that is as good as his direction gets. The tension is rarely present and the few jolts provided are tame and lead nowhere. When the goods finally do hit, the horror does little to take control of the mess the previous 63 minutes left us with. The final ten minutes consist of a poorly crafted CGI Bigfoot that may leave some of you laughing at how terrible he looks. Despite this, I will give props to the filmmakers for at least giving some Bigfoot action, which can’t be said for the films I mentioned in the paragraph above. We see most of the film’s kills during these final 10 minutes, and they were decent at best. There is little gore and the kills aren’t very shocking, but that should not surprise you given how basic this flick is.

Overall, Happy Camp is a disappointment no matter how you look at this. If you look at this as a Bigfoot film it has a poor payoff, and if you look at this as a general horror film it still has a weak payoff. If you want Bigfoot I still recommend you watch Willow Creek or one of the classics like The Legend of Boggy Creek.

Rating: 4/10

The Best Horror Films On Netflix Instant Streaming

October 5, 2014 Leave a comment

We all have Netflix.  If you don’t have Netflix then it’s probably because you don’t have internet.  If you don’t have internet – how the hell are you reading this?  Anyway, I always hear friends and acquaintances tell me that there are no good horror films on Netflix.  I know that there is a lot of junk on Netflix.  In a sense it lowered the bar for filmmakers.  Instead of terrible horror films going direct-to-video they now have an easier option: direct-to-Netflix.  The roles have been reversed and these days more and more great horror films are bypassing theaters and opting for direct-to-video or Video-On-Demand releases.  I am digressing though, as that discussion is for another day.  Because of the apparent rarity of good horror on Netflix I decided to look for as many great/good/watchable genre films currently on streaming status and came across almost 200 titles for you.  They will be ranked alphabetically under the category of their greatness.  Let’s begin.


Battle Royale (2001)

Battle Royale remains one of the most incredible and shocking flicks I have ever seen.  Full-frontal direction of an ambitious story, where the corrupt youth of Japan are sent to an island to kill each other off until only one remains, makes this an experience you will never forget…and one you need to be a part of.

Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

– Sam Raimi’s follow-up to The Evil Dead continues the demonic onslaught against one of horror’s greatest heroes.  The insanity is at its utmost in this gore-soaked slapstick experience, leaving you wanting more and wishing films like this still existed in our modern day. Read my full review for this film here: Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn

Hellraiser (1987)

– You’ve probably seen this already. Watch it again. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for one Hell of a treat.  Read my full review for this film here: Hellraiser

Se7en (1995)

– Both Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs gained notoriety in the 90s for their expert portrayal of diabolical serial killers, but Se7en’s brutality separates the two.  After Alien 3. director David Fincher earned his stripes with this effort, which he executes to perfection.  With an all-star cast consisting of Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and the incredible Kevin Spacey as the “John Doe Killer”, Se7en is a film you must watch again and again…even if the climax makes you sick to your stomach.  Read my full review for this film here: Se7en

The Silence of the Lambs

– This two-hour film is worth watching for Anthony Hopkins’ 16 minutes of screen time alone.  Read my full review for this film here:  The Silence of the Lambs


Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

– Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather series) directs this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s romance-themed horror film and gives us a visual masterpiece. Gary Oldman stars as Dracula, is accompanied by a solid cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Carl Elwes, Tom Waits, and Monica Bellucci.  Read my full review for this film here: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Day of the Dead (1985)

– The final installment of George A. Romero’s initial Dead trilogy, Day platformed the zombie sub-genre in ways that had yet to be done. The zombies evolved, the gore was absolutely amazing, and as usual Romero’s social commentary was heavy – this time centering on the Cold War, apocalypse, and nuclear destruction.  Read my full review for this film here: Day of the Dead

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

– You’ve probably seen Robert Rodriguez’s titty-twisting epic vampire tale. It’s so good you should watch it again.  Read my full review for this film here:  From Dusk Till Dawn

Hellboy (2004)

– The majority of us love super heroes, and we also love Guillermo del Toro. He brings us his pet project about a supernatural super hero who saves the world from monsters, demons, and anything else the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense would rather you not know about.  Read my full review for this film here:  Hellboy

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986/1990)

– Before everyone knew him as “Merle from The Walking Dead”, Michael Rooker gave one of the greatest performances in horror history as Henry Ray Lucas in this amazingly merciless experience. This will leave a hole in your soul.  Read my full review for this film here:  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Let The Right One In (2008)

– This Swedish masterpiece based on the incredible novel made the #2 spot on my Best Horror Films of the Decade list. Adapted by the original author, this vampire love story shows us that there is nothing scarier than love itself. Let Me In is the American version of this story.  Read my full review for this film here: Let The Right One In

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)

– A four-hour documentary about the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series. The amount of knowledge gained in this series is incurable and includes many of the stars and filmmakers associated with the series, including many scenes of Wes Craven and Robert Englund themselves.  Read my full review for this film here: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy 

Re-Animator (1985)

– I really like medical-themed horror, and Re-Animator blends this with…well, re-animation in awesome fashion. This gory, wit-fueled experience is one of my favorite films and a recommendation I make to everyone.  Read my full review for this film here: Re-Animator

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

– Roman Polanski’s classic horror epic follows a young woman possibly carrying the child of Satan. Heavy in atmospheric and ever-present impending doom, this is one of the greatest horror films of all time.  Read my full review for this film here:  Rosemary’s Baby

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

– This is the greatest horror film of this decade so far. Joss Whedon is a man of many filmmaking talents and he pens an incredible, metaphysical story unlike any other horror film. Zombies, J-horror, slashers, creatures, and several other sub-genres all make their presence in this one film.  Read my full review for this film here:  The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

– Credited as one of the earliest horror films, this 1920 silent German expressionist effort is a beautiful watch that I highly suggest to you.  It is sometimes mentioned in zombie lore as the first, or one of the earliest, zombie films, an assertion often debated due to its somnambulist character.  At the very least, give this a look for historical reasons.  Read my full review for this film here: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari


 Antichrist (2009)

– Lars von Trier is no stranger to controversy, and Antichrist has plenty of it. It’s also beautifully shot and contains a story that’ll leave you thinking for days.  Read my full review for this film here: Antichrist

Bay of Blood / A Bay of Blood (1972)

– This is one of the earliest known slasher films. It’s a damn good watch from the most influential Italian director of all time, Mario Bava.  Read my full review for this film here: Bay of Blood

Black Sabbath (1964)

– Italian maestro Mario Bava’s 1964 anthology gives us three chilling tales, including a vampire short starring classic horror icon Boris Karloff.  Read my full review for this film here: Black Sabbath

Black Sunday (1960)

– The great Mario Bava’s 1960 film debut, where a vengeful witch returns from the dead to lead a bloody campaign to possess the body of a beautiful look-alike descendent.  Read my full review for this film here:  Black Sunday

Chillerama (2011)

Yes, that is a giant killer sperm.

– Adam Green presents a maniacal 5 film anthology heavy in gore, lulz, Kane Hodder, werewolves, zombies, and the giant sperm (my size) seen above. This is 2 hours of maniacal fun that brings us back to the days of drive-in movie features.  Read my full review for this film here: Chillerama

Event Horizon (1997)

– I hope you have seen this visually appealing sci-fi/horror film. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Paul W.S. Anderson directed this atmospheric masterpiece. Nonetheless, you need to see this, either again or for the first time.  Read my full review for this film here: Event Horizon

Fright Night (1985)

– This is a sweet vampire flick with that 80s feel I keep talking about. The 80s was a great decade for vampire films.  Read my full review for this film here:  Fright Night

Grave Encounters (2011)

– One of the best found-footage films of all time, The Vicious Brothers struck gold with their debut film.  Read my full review for this film here: Grave Encounters

Hatchet II (2010)

– This sequel continues the gore-soaked carnage delivered by Victor Crowley, the best killer of this millennium.  You don’t necessarily have to see Hatchet before this, however the original is the best in the series.  Read my full review for this film here:  Hatchet II

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

– This is one of my all time favorites. It starts off as an environmental awareness story that spirals out of control into a gore-fueled, nudity-laden sleaze fest. I will always recommend this to everyone I come in contact with – except my mother.  Read my full review for this film here: Humanoids from the Deep

Ichi the Killer (2003)

– Ichi the Killer is not devoutly horror, but it contains scenes so horrific that it is appreciated by genre fans all over.  Takashi Miike, one of Asia’s greatest horror directors, delivers this tale about a Yakuza enforcer who discovers a deranged killer capable of delivering pain never thought possible.

Identity (2003)

– This is one of my favorite films to play when I have friends over.  It is a highly-engaging mystery “who-dun-it” that will keep you guessing until the very end…literally.  With top-notch direction displaying enjoyable kills, and John Cusack leading the charge to find the killer, you can’t go wrong with Identity.  Read my full review for this film here: Identity

John Dies at the End (2013)

– This title is awesome. It’s also based on a hip novel and comes directed by one of the genre’s most beloved directors, Don Coscarelli (Phantasm series, Bubba ho-tep).  Zany, hilarious, unpredictable, and co-starring Paul Giamatti, you need to see this.  Read my full review for this film here: John Dies at the End

Leprechaun (1993)

– The film that started Jennifer Aniston’s career, Warwick Davis AKA Wicket W. Warrick (the lovable Ewok) is the perfect choice to portray this evil Irish munchkin seeking vengeance from those who possess his gold. It’s cheesy, but good cheesy.  Read my full review for this film here: Leprechaun

Maniac (2013)

– No. 9 on my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013, this “remake” of the 1980 classic is nothing like the original and should stand as its own movie. Elijah Wood gives a tremendous performance that will shock viewers, especially those who would never expect to see him portray such a disturbed character.  On top of this, good writing and execution from the filmmakers behind High Tension made this one of the creepiest films of recent time.  Read my full review for this film here: Maniac

Mimic (1997)

– Guillermo del Toro’s first American film is one of my favorites because it involves horror and my field of study: biology. Throw in a heavy creature element set in a spooky sewer / subway system and you have an atmospheric winner from one of the genre’s greatest directors.  Yes, I know he hates what the producers did to this film.  We still love it.  Read my full review for this film here: Mimic

Night of the Creeps (1986)

– There really is nothing like cheesy (but good) 80s horror, and Night of the Creeps is a perfect example.  No college fraternity is safe from keg stands or this alien parasite that turns them into zombies.  If you liked Slither then you will love the film it mimicked.  Read my full review for this film here: Night of the Creeps

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2008)

– Words cannot describe the insanity seen in Poultrygeist. Zombie chickens lay waste to unsuspecting staff and patrons of a shady fried chicken eatery. In other words, watch this immediately and experience the lulz.  Read my full review for this film here: Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Scream (1996)

– Wes Craven, still reeling the success of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, created another monster with Scream. A self-aware pseudo parody of slasher films, Scream makes it fun to feel like a teenager again.  Read my full review for this film here: Scream

Stake Land (2011)

– I am admittedly not very big on vampire films, but I absolutely love Stake Land. Director Jim Mickle has since directed the We Are What We Are redo and the Cold in July adaptation – all fantastic works. Throw in Nick Damici as the lead and you cannot go wrong. I highly recommend this.  Read my full review for this film here: Stake Land

Stitches (2013)

– Killer clowns and the genre go hand in hand, but at the same time only a handful of these films are good. Stitches is one of the very best and a received a Top 10 nod in 2013.  It’s heavy in spooky atmosphere and vengeance-fueled gory kills delivered by the best killer clown I have ever seen.  Highly recommended.  Read my full review for this film here: Stitches

The Host (2007)

– South Korea loves its horror but it wasn’t until The Host made waves in 2007 that the world realized it. The effects are amazing, the story engaging, and director Joon-ho Bong delivers one of the best creature films there is.  Read my full review for this film here: The Host

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

– In the vein of The Haunting (original 1963 version) and House on Haunted Hill. If you’re in the mood for a classic haunted house film you must give this a watch.  Read my full review for this film here: The Legend of Hell House

The Stuff (1985)

– Genre legend Larry Cohen not only delivers great horror, via practical effects and full-frontal direction, but does so providing great social commentary on mankind’s blind consumption of unhealthy (literally crap) products.  This experience is a crazy one.  Read my full review for this film here: The Stuff

Troll Hunter (2011)

– One of the best horror films this decade, this Norwegian flick follows a documentary crew filming mysterious bear killings plaguing a small town. Little do they know, the bears are not being killed by a rogue human hunter, but gigantic trolls the authorities have been trying to keep secret. The visuals will leave you in awe. Read my full review for this film here: Troll Hunter

Visiting Hours (1982)

– A highly tense story pitting a mouthy journalist against her crazed stalker (portrayed by Michael Ironside). When he learns that she survived his initial attack, he makes an overnight visit to the hospital to finish her off.  Great direction makes this a worthy watch and one of my favorite early 80s slasher films.  Read my full review for this film here: Visiting Hours

Wolf Creek 2

– The first film made waves in the genre back in 2005, and much to my surprise filmmaker Greg McLean returned 9 years later with a sequel even more terrifying than its predecessor. This is one of the absolute best horror films of 2014 so far.  Highly recommended. Read my full review for this film here: Wolf Creek 2

You’re Next

– It was a shame that Adam Wingard (V/H/S, V/H/S2, The Guest)’s film sat on the shelves for a few years before being released theatrically in 2013, but now you can watch one of the sweetest modern day slasher films out there.  Not only do the killers wear animal masks like members of lame-wave bands, but the soundtrack is ironically one of my favorite element.  Read my full review for this film here: You’re Next

Zodiac (2007)

– David Fincher directs a notable cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., in this 2.6 hour effort based on the true story of the Zodiac Killer. Read my full review for this film here: Zodiac


100 Bloody Acres (2013)

– This is a simple but pretty fun adventure about two brothers who collect roadkill and use it as a secret ingredient in their incredible fertilizer. Little does anyone know, their favorite additive is human flesh. Read my full review for this film here: 100 Bloody Acres

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006/2013)

– This female-driven slasher film starring Amber Heard sat on the shelves for 7 YEARS, from 2006 until 2013. In that time director Jonathan Levine directed three other films, including Warm Bodies. Now that it’s available to the masses you NEED to see this. Read my full review for this film here: All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

American Mary (2013)

– One of my favorite horror films of 2013, the twin writing/directing Soska sisters struck gold with American Mary. The story involves the medical field, body modification, and stars my all-time favorite actress who is also my teenage / adulthood crush, Katharine Isabelle. Watch this ASAP. Read my full review for this film here: American Mary

American Psycho (2000)

– I honestly prefer the Misfits song to this movie of the same name, but you can’t deny Christian Bale’s tremendous performance and the millions of internet memes it inspired. Thanks to Mary Harron’s direction this is also considered one of the best female-directed horror films. Read my full review for this film here: American Psycho

Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

– The original gets all the love, but this sequel gets the glory.  It is not common for a sequel to surpass its predecessor, but Amityville II blows the original away in every element.  It is actually scary, for one, and it gives us live-action demon horror in the vein of The Evil Dead.  This is one of the most under-appreciated horror films there is.  Read my full review for this film here: Amityville II: The Possession

Bad Milo (2013)

– In what feels like a modern day Basket Case, Bad Milo follows an average guy living an average life, except for the demon growing within his anus. This film is insane, and I’m still laughing at how true the end of the first sentence is. Read my full review for this film here: Bad Milo

Below (2002)

– If there is one place I’d rather not be with a deadly ghost on the loose, it would be a submarine. Written by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), this is an under-appreciated atmospheric spook-fest. Keep an eye out for Zach Galifianakis as Weird Wally.  Read my full review for this film here: Below

Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

Actress Lara Parmiani voicing the demon scene in one of the film’s most haunting sequences.

– A horror film told from the inside, where a sound engineer working on an Italian giallo (I love them and so should you) experiences psychological terror stemming from his work.  I have recommended this flick to many due to its unique perspective.  Read my full review for this film here: Berberian Sound Studio

Big Ass Spider (2013)

– From Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers), Big Ass Spider is a hilarious film where a lackluster exterminator (Greg Grunberg) is the only hope at stopping a giant spider laying waste to Los Angeles. Read my full review for this film here: Big Ass Spider

Birth of the Living Dead (2014)

– A solid documentary on the filming and impact of the 1968 classic that started the zombie craze, Night of the Living Dead.  Starring icon George A. Romero.  Read my full review for this film here: Birth of the Living Dead

Black Death (2011)

A suspected necromancer is interrogated.

– Set in medieval times, this Sean Bean-starring effort from the awesome Michael Smith centers on a group of knights investigating a pagan village that has reportedly been unaffected by the bubonic plague. If you like religious/cult horror this is for you. Read my full review for this film here: Black Death

Bruiser (2000)

– A interesting breakaway film from George A. Romero about a loser with with stealing friends and a cheating wife. One day he wakes up without a face, and with this new identity he sees a grand opportunity to take revenge on those who have wronged him. The Misfits make an appearance as well.  Read my full review for this film here: Bruiser

CHUD (1984)

– Heinous creatures lurk the sewers and lay waste to anyone who ventures beneath the surface.  CHUD is one of my favorite 80s films and a solid creature feature.  You already know.  You love them or you don’t.  Read my full review for this film here: CHUD

Citadel (2013)

– I really liked this dark, gloomy, and highly atmospheric horror/drama about a single father who must rescue his child from horrifying creatures living within an abandoned apartment complex. Director Ciaran Foy was recently tapped to direct Sinister 2. Read my full review for this film here: Citadel

Cockneys vs. Zombies (2013)

– A simple but effected British horror/comedy about a retirement home under attack by a zombie invasion. It’s fun to watch slow-moving old people fight off slow-moving zombies. Read my full review for this film here: Cockneys vs. Zombies

Creepshow 2 (1987)

– Not as awesome as the first, but the first set a high bar.  This is still one of the best horror anthologies of all time.  Read my full review for this film here: Creepshow 2

Cropsey (2009)

– A documentary about a grisly massacre that took place in what has been unofficially deemed “Cropsey’s Woods”. As children Zach and Barbara were told tales of a killer named Cropsey who lurked the neighboring woods where the murders took place. The duo now returns to the community to document whether the man charged with the crimes is the Cropsey that gave them nightmares as children. Read my full review for this film here: Cropsey

Dead Silence (2007)

– Ventriloquists’ dummies – I don’t think there are many things scarier. From the guys behind Saw, you should expect a twist ending you won’t see coming. Read my full review for this film here: Dead Silence

Dead Snow (2010)

– The first film to my knowledge to give us Nazi zombies (not to be confused with Nazi ghosts) and one of several Norwegian films on this list. The gore reigns heavy and the action rarely relents, making this great when you have friends over…as long as they can read subtitles. Read my full review for this film here: Dead Snow

Deathwatch (2002)

– A World War I themed ghost flick where British soldiers are hunted down by an unstoppable force, and it isn’t the Germans.  Review coming soon. 

Detention (2012)

– It’s been called a “hipster” horror film due to its unique (for a horror film) soundtrack consisting of Waaves and The Backstreet Boys. I call it Scream meets Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Hipster or not, I love this film. Director Joseph Kahn also directed the “Backstreet’s Back” music video.  Read my full review for this film here: Detention

Devil (2010)

– Written by M. Night Shymalan and directed by John Erick Dowdle (As Above, So Below, Quarantine), Devil provides a claustrophobic experience where a group of strangers trapped in a stalled elevator realize one of them is a killer with supernatural abilities. I love nowhere-to-run scenarios like this one. Read my full review for this film here: Devil

Doc of the Dead (2014)

– Zombies are bigger than ever and this documentary explains how zombie culture became what it is today. Starring George Romero, Bruce Campbell, Tom Savini, and Simon Pegg, among many other notables. Read my full review for this film here: Doc of the Dead

Dread (2010)

– Adapted from a Clive Barker story, Dread follows a college student preparing his thesis on people’s biggest fears, and goes to terrifying lengths to achieve his data. Read my full review for this film here: Dread

Dust Devil (1993)

– Australian horror – simple and effective thanks to a great antagonist and steam punk director Richard Stanley(Hardware)’s direction. Read my full review for this film here: Dust Evil

Frankenstein’s Army (2013)

– I regret taking as long as I did to become a part of this spectacular experience. Set during the final stages of World War II, Russian soldiers meet their match when the struggling German army they expected to find has been replaced with an undead army of fallen Nazis pieced together by a descendent of Dr. Frankenstein. This flick, soaked in gore, is adorned with steam punk-influenced antagonists that make for a thrill I love to revisit. Read my full review for this film here: Frankenstein’s Army

Fido (2007)

– A clever zombie comedy where the living dead can be productive members of society thanks to a domestication collar…so long as no malfunctions occur.  Read my full review for this film here: Fido

Grabbers (2013)

– An awesome Irish flick about a sleepy seaside town that comes under siege by large creatures from another realm. This is a fun experience with good laughs and great creatures. Read my full review for this film here: Grabbers

Hannibal (2001)

– Hannibal Lecter returns in this sequel to Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. It’s not as good as the others but still delivers thanks to good direction from Ridley Scott, as well as acting performances from Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman. Read my full review for this film here: Hannibal

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

– Heavy in action and gore, this film about a brother/sister witch hunting duo is more fun than I would have expected.  You can turn off you brain for a while and enjoy the flick’s straight-to-the-point approach, which focuses on what matters most.  Read my full review for this film here: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Hatchet III (2013)

– After directing the first two installments, Adam Green graciously allowed his longtime cinematographer to direct the final chapter of the Victor Crowley vengeance saga. While it doesn’t live up to its incredible predecessors it still builds on the elements fans of the series know and love: live-action gore, Victor Crowley, and more live-action gore. Read my full review for this film here: Hatchet III

Here Comes the Devil (2013)

– A Mexican horror film where a vacationing couple’s two children disappear while exploring a mountain and mysteriously reappear the next day. It is obvious something is “different” about them, and the parents will soon learn the terrible events that look place on the forbidden rock. Read my full review for this film here: Here Comes the Devil

Horns (2014)

– Horns was one of the most hyped horror films of 2014, and rightfully so.  Alexandre Aja, one of the genre’s favorite directors, returned to direct Daniel Radcliffe in what many assumed would be the most badass role he has ever taken on.  I personally feel that this flick was overhyped and actually, a bit tame in comparison to its awesome trailers, but nonetheless this is a worthy watch for those who want to see Radcliffe do something “out there”.  Read my full review for this film here: Horns

House (1986)

– Cheesy 80s fun. I miss films like this. Read my full review for this film here: House

I Sell the Dead (2009)

– This is a great Burke and Hare-inspired film (in other words it’s about grave-robbing) told in a comic book fashion.  Director Greg McQuaid (V/H/S) broke onto the scene with this hip project, which stars Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), horror director Larry Fessenden, and horror icon Angus Scrimm (Phantasm). Give this one priority over others. Read my full review for this film here: I Sell the Dead

Jack’s Back (1988)

– This 80s flick centers on a LA-based serial killer who celebrates Jack the Ripper’s 100th birthday by committed similar gruesome murders. The story alone was enough to have me hooked. Read my full review for this film here: Jack’s Back

Kidnapped (2011)

– This Spanish horror film is gut-wrenching. No holds are barred here. Watch it, feel sick, and hate me later. Read my full review for this film here: Kidnapped

Manhunter (1986)

– This is Red Dragon before Red Dragon and pre-dates The Silence of the Lambs.  Yes, Anthony Hopkins was not the first to portray Hannibal Lecter.  It was the incredible Brian Cox.   If you like the Lecter films you’ll enjoy this one and experience a different cast.  Read my full review for this film here: Manhunter

Mindhunters (2005)

– FBI profilers are killed off one by one in a deadly game with a serial killer. It looks cheesy, because it is, and you’ll like it thanks to good execution from Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4). Read my full review for this film here: Mindhunters

Monsters (2010)

– Gareth Edwards’ (Godzilla) debut horror film, Monsters is a dramatic horror flick about a couple who’s vacation in Mexico goes awry when giant alien monsters invade. Read my full review for this film here: Monsters

New Year’s Evil (1980)

– I love holiday-themed slasher films, and New Year’s Evil is one of the most underrated alongside Christmas Evil. Watch them both and be amazed. Read my full review for this film here: New Year’s Evil

Odd Thomas (2014)

– This Stephen Sommers’ (Deep Rising, The Mummy) adaptation of Dean Koontz’s supernatural crime-fighting novel. It’s not very scary but it’s fun. Read my full review for this film here: Odd Thomas

Phantoms (1998)

– A very 90s horror film adapted from the Dean Koontz novel of the same name. It stars Ben Afflec, Live Shreiber, Rose McGowan, Peter O’toole, and creatures not of this world. Read my full review for this film here: Phantoms

Pontypool (2010)

– Set in a radio station with nowhere to run, a unique method of contamination makes this a unique zombie film. Read my full review for this film here: Pontypool


– I love Norwegian horror, and I love creature features, so I enjoyed Ragnarok.  The film is equal parts adventure film as it is horror flick, with the adventure aspect controlling the first 45 minutes and the horror closing out the show.  At PG-13 and with no on-screen deaths, this could pass for some as a “family” film.  Don’t let the family tag fool you though, I liked it.  Read my full review for this film here: Ragnarok

Ravenous (1999)

– One of the few notable horror films directed by a woman, this tense horror/thriller stars the versatile Guy Pearce in a disturbing tale about cannibalism. Read my full review for this film here: Ravenous

Red State (2011)

– Kevin Smith’s first horror film stars the incredible Michael Parks as the leader of a fundamentalist church that lures sinners to their deaths.

Return to Horror High (1987)

– A young George Clooney makes his feature film debut here, where a movie crew recreating a high school slaying watches history repeat itself as the crew is killed off by an unknown killer. It’s cheesy 80s fun with good kills. Read my full review for this film here: Return to Horror High

Rigor Mortis (2014)

– After a long hiatus I revisited my love for Asian horror and was very pleased with this Hong Kong film. You won’t believe this comes from a first-time director. The horror is good, the action is great, and the cinematography is absolutely amazing. This is worth a watch for the visuals alone, or if you are a fan of the Mr. Vampire films of the 1980s. If you know them then you’ll know why. Read my full review for this film here: Rigor Mortis

Rites of Spring (2011)

– A pagan ritual ruins what would have been the perfect heist. I love films like this where criminals become the victims. Read my full review for this film here: Rites of Spring

Rubber (2011)

– I know this is going to sound pretty insane, unless you seen the film, but this unique effort about a killer tire is pretty good and a fun experience. Read my full review for this film here: Rubber

Scream 4 (2011)

– Wes Craven returned to the Scream series after a 10 year hiatus and gave us an entry that makes up for the sour Scream 3.  Much like the other films, this self-aware flick comes with the usual notable cliches, laughs, and a twist ending.  Read my full review for this film here: Scream 4

Slugs (1988)

– Here is a classic late 80s horror film about killer mutant slugs eating the residents of a small town. It’s a silly idea that is well-executed with loads of gore. Read my full review for this film here: Slugs

Sugar Hill (1974)

– I love vengeance films, and in Sugar Hill a woman summons a powerful demon to attack the mob that killed her boyfriend. She only has one other demand for the demon: give her a front row seat to the action. Read my full review for this film here: Sugar Hill

The Bay (2012)

– Barry Levinson, a non-horror director known for Rain Man and Good Morning, Vietnam, directs this found-footage film that includes an antagonist never before seen in the genre. As convoluted as the found-footage sub-genre is I always appreciate something new. Read my full review for this film here: The Bay

The Caller (2011)

– A supernatural mystery tale about a divorcee being harassed by phone calls from a creepy woman claiming to be calling from the past. Read my full review for this film here: The Caller

The Conspiracy (2013)

– A found-footage film where two documentary filmmakers investigating conspiracies find horror they never imagined when they stumble upon an ancient and dangerous secret society. The payoff is not what you’ll expect. Read my full review for this film here: The Conspiracy

The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)

– This is what I feel to be the best of the original original After Dark horror films that debuted as Horrorfest 2007.  What makes this flick so great is its insane storyline, where every day Ian Stone wakes up in a different life and is brutally murdered, only to repeat the same thing when he awakens again.  The flick is heavy in CGI but still delivers great antagonists and is adorned with solid kills.  If you enjoy films like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow then this is worth a watch.  Read my full review for this film here: The Deaths of Ian Stone

The Den (2014)

– If you have ever video chatted you need to see The Den. It’s not perfect, but it uses modern day social technology to deliver some good jolts. Read my full review for this film here: The Den

The Devil’s Carnival (2012)

– Darren Lynn Bousman is one of the genre’s best directors, and he had his fun with The Devil’s Carnival – a musical where the dead are faced with the sins that landed them in Hell. Read my full review for this film here: The Devil’s Carnival

The Fourth Kind (2009)

– Whether you believe in them or not, in this case aliens are real and they gave me goosebumps. Starring Mila Jovovich as a psychologist studying the odd sleep patterns of the residents of Nome, Alaska – a hotbed for alien abductions and missing persons. Read my full review for this film here: The Fourth Kind

The Gift (2001)

– This under-appreciated sleeper from director Sam Raimi is written by Billy Bob Thornton and comes loaded with an A-list cast, including Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, Gary Cole, J.K. Simmons and famed composer Danny Elfman. Read my full review for this film here: The Gift

The House of the Devil (2009)

– Ti West’s babysitter-themed horror/mystery set in the 1980s is an atmospheric slow-burner that kicked off his career. Read my full review for this film here: The House of the Devil

The Hole (2001)

– This is a great who-dun-it thriller starring Kiera Knightly, where four teenagers discover a secret underground bomb shelter and throw weekend-long party in it while their classmates are on a field trip.  Little do they know, their weekend of fun and boozing will become a weekend of terror when they become stuck inside.  Read my full review for this film here: The Hole

The Hole (2012)

Inanimate horror is my favorite horror.

– This is one of my favorite films from 2012, however it sat on the shelf for 3 years after being completed in 2009.  That happens too often these days, where great horror films like Trick ‘r Treat and You’re Next sit in purgatory while crap is released nationwide.  Anyway, Joe Dante returned to the genre after 19 years (since Gremlins 2: The New Batch) to give us a chilling effort that’ll make you feel like a kid again thanks to its “family horror” feel. Don’t underestimate the film though, it’s full of spooks aimed at adults. The horror stems from a family that moves into a new home and discovers a locked door to a large hole in their garage. Boys will be boys, and upon unlocking the hole they release a supernatural entity that has been waiting to haunt again. If you have seen The Gate you’ll enjoy this. Read my full review for this film here: The Hole

The Horde (2010)

– An awesome French zombie film where a group of rogue officers attempting to avenge the death of one of their own must now team with their enemies if they wish to survive an apocalyptic zombie invasion. This effort is heavy in gore and great action. Check it out. Read my full review for this film here: The Horde

The Horror Show (1989)

– This movie kicks ass! Horror icon Lance Henriksen stars as a detective who finally nabs the elusive “Meat Cleaver Max”.  He sits in on Max’s execution, but the electric chair only elevates Max to an even stronger killer and once again…the chase is on.  Yeah it’s cheesy, and it is also one of the most underrated horror films there is.  Read my full review for this film here: The Horror Show

The Human Centipede (2010)

– One of the most hyped horror films of the decade. This Danish flick does the unthinkable and does it well. Read my full review for this film here: The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

The Initiation (1984)

– An enjoyable slasher flick about a group of sorority “pledgers” who must break into a department store during rush week…where a killer is waiting for them. Read my full review for this film here: The Initiation

The Innkeepers (2011)

– My favorite of Ti West’s films, this supernatural tale is one of the best horror flicks of 2011.  It takes place during the final days of an old inn, where two employees seeking to expose the inn’s haunted past are visiting by old guests checking in for a final stay. Read my full review for this film here: The Innkeepers

The Nameless (1999)

– The debut film of REC co-director/writer Jaume Balaguero, it debuted in 1999 in Spain but did not reach ‘Merica until 2005.  Expertly executed, this is a dramatic story-driven horror/thriller from a master of horror. If you are a fan of films like Se7en then you will enjoy this. Read my full review for this film here: The Nameless

The Returned (2013)

– This is a zombie film that offers a unique perspective – a “Return Protein” that allows the dead to return to society. However, things go awry when supplies of the drug run dry. Read my full review for this film here: The Returned

The Sacrament (2014)

– Ti West’s most recent horror film is not what I was expecting it to be, but then again I went in “blind”. The suspense is good and he keeps you hooked on a slow-burning story that you will learn is based on a famed event of the past. If horror awarded Oscars (it does unofficially) Gene Jones would win for his performance as “Father”. Read my full review for this film here: The Sacrament

The Seasoning House (2013)

– A very dramatic experience about the horrors of being forced into the sex trade – a rare topic for the genre. Stay tuned for my full review coming soon.

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

– Wes Craven delivers a voodoo tale starring Bill Pullman. This is one of his better yet more under-appreciated works. Read my full review for this film here: The Serpent and the Rainbow

The Shrine (2011)

– An atmospheric piece packed with good chills when a group of nosy journalists investigating a cult stumble across horrors they were never supposed to see. This is a personal favorite of mine and comes from Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer auteur Jon Knautz. Read my full review for this film here: The Shrine

The Skeleton Key (2005)

– I thought this supernatural film set in the bayous of Louisiana would suck but I was wrong. This is PG-13 horror done right. Read my full review for this film here: The Skeleton Key

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1974)

– This is one of the most under-appreciated horror films of all time.  Based on a true story (“Texarkana Moonlight Murders” of 1946) about a killer slaying those who venture out at night in the sleepy town of Texarkana, we watch the cat and mouse game between Texas Ranger J.D. Morales and one of the most mysterious killers on record. Read my full review for this film here: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

– This sequel to the 1974 classic is a joy to watch as it brings back the same look and feel of the original.  Taking place 65 years after the original “Moonlight Murders” a new string of grisly deaths are shocking Texarkana.  Could it be a copycat killer, or is something more sinister at hand?  American Horror Story / Glee director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon does a fantastic job executing the horror here, which include some full-frontal kills that will please slasher fans and gorehounds alike.  Read my full review for this film here: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

– The one that put Troma on the map. This cheesy gore-soaked experience gives one of my favorite super heroes his silver screen debut. Read my full review for this film here: The Toxic Avenger

The Village (2004)

– Fresh of the success of the awesome Signs, M. Night returned with The Village and moviegoers stormed theaters with high expectations.  If you have seen the film then you know why countless patrons left disappointed.  If you haven’t seen this, give it a watch.  It’s still a good movie and will give you goosebumps on occasion.

The Ward (2011)

– After a 9 year hiatus horror great John Carpenter returned with The Ward, a supernatural story I’ve seen a dozen times but one that stands above the rest thanks to Carpenter’s expert direction. It stars Amber Heard too. Read my full review for this film here: The Ward

The Woman (2011)

– Jack Ketchum is a horror fiction novelist who has had several of his novels adapted to films, and The Woman is one of the most brutal. Directed by modern day veteran Lucky McKee, we see the consequences one overbearing family man experiences when he tries to domesticate the last surviving member of a rabid clan. Read my full review for this film here: The Woman

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2011)

– This horror comedy came out of nowhere a few years ago and is still wildly appreciated by those who have seen it. In this case it’s cool to join the crowd. Read my full review for this film here: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

V/H/S (2012)

– A modern day anthology that took the genre by storm, a slew of today’s young directors provide 6 tales (5 of them good) for the viewer to enjoy. If you are easily bored then an anthology is a good choice. Read my full review for this film here: V/H/S

VHS 2 (2013)

– This sequel gives us 5 more stories and improves on its predecessor. If you enjoyed the first you’ll enjoy this. Actually, regardless you’ll enjoy this. Read my full review for this film here: V/H/S 2

Wishmaster (1997)

– Longtime effects guru Robert Kurtzman takes a shot at directing horror and finds success with this tale about a Djinn granting three wishes with an ulterior motive. Read my full review for this film here: Wishmaster

World War Z (2013)

– We knew this film adaptation of the popular novel was coming for years, and for the most part it lived up to expectations. Of course, that was a given with that Brad Pitt guy starring. Read my full review for this film here: World War Z


13 Sins (2013)

– The US remake of the esteemed Thai film 13: Game of Death. The idea has been done before, but I still find it interesting when a strapped-for-class societal loser accepts extreme offers for large amounts of immediate cash, with each offer growing more intense. Read my full review for this film here: 13 Sins

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

– This sequel made the franchise what it is today after making more $$$ than the original – letting producers know they had a winning franchise on their hands. It’s not as good as its predecessor but it’s still a good watch and expands on Freddy Krueger. Read my full review for this film here: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Absentia (2011)

– This dark and moody piece is hailed by many for its unique story. Be sure and pay close attention if you give it a watch. Read my full review for this film here: Absentia

Aftershock (2013)

– Three travelers in Chile have their vacation cut short by an immense earthquake. Surviving the earthquake is only half the battle, as an even deadlier foe awaits them. Horror director Eli Roth stars as one of the protagonists. Read my full review for this film here: Aftershock

All Cheerleaders Die (2014)

– Two guys who have adapted Jack Ketchum novels into great films recreate their college film. I did not like this as much as others, but I dug the story of cheerleaders rising from the dead to seek revenge against the jocks who lead them to their graves. Read my full review for this film here: All Cheerleaders Die

Almost Human (2014)

– Like many other films on this section of the list, it’s a basic story with one really good element. In the case of Almost Human it is the incredible kills. Read my full review for this film here: Almost Human

Alyce Kills (2014)

– It may not have fully lived up to the pre-release hype but Alyce Kills offers an interesting female-driven story. Read my full review for this film here: Alyce Kills

An American Ghost Story (2013)

– This is not a good movie, but the scares and atmosphere are incredible in my opinion. It’s a simple ghost story where a writer intentionally moves into a haunted home for inspiration. Read my full review for this film here: An American Ghost Story

Anaconda (1997)

– I love killer animal films and this is one of my favorites as I have always loved big constrictors. With Ice Cube, J-Lo, starring you know to expect the usual clichés, and they are fun as hell here. Read my full review for this film here: Anaconda

ATM (2012)

– Three co-workers are forced to hole up in a glass-encased ATM as a masked killer tries to make his way in. I like nowhere to run scenarios like this one. Read my full review for this film here: ATM

Blood Glacier (2014)

– The first horror film I have seen where the horror derives from climate change, as a melting glacier unleashes a long buried beast that will soon lay waste to the team of scientists hoping to prove climate change as a real phenomena. Due to its setting and creature element many have referenced John Carpenter’s The Thing when viewing this. Read my full review for this film here: Blood Glacier

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

– The third installment to the Cabin Fever series, comic book artist / director Kaare Andrews redeemed the series a bit after the poor Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (so bad director Ti West disowns it). Heavy in gore and set in a nowhere-to-run scenario, the story also gives light to what started the heinous water-born virus. Read my full review for this film here: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

Candyman (1992)

– Yeah I know. This film should be listed higher. Tony Todd’s voice alone makes this a worthy watch. Read my full review for this film here: Candyman

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2003)

– The fourth installment of The Toxic Avenger series makes up for the mediocre second and third installments. Some even say this is the best of the series. Read my full review for this film here: Citizen Toxie 

Dark Skies (2013)

Dark Skies surprised me because it was much creepier than I expected it to be.  It won’t win any awards and won’t keep up with other recent alien visitation films like The Fourth Kind, but if you need a spooky alien flick then this might suffice.  Read my full review for this film here: Dark Skies

Dead End (2004)

– Ray Wise and genre vet Lin Shaye star in this horror / pseudo comedy where a nice gesture on a road trip proves to be a terrible idea. Read my full review for this film here: Dead End

Devil’s Pass (2013)

– A found footage flick where five young researchers document their investigation into the mysterious disappearances of a group of hikers in search of a mythical mystery. Read my full review for this film here: Devil’s Pass

DNA (1997)

– This is a straight-up cheesy creature feature. You love them or you don’t. I do. Read my full review for this film here: DNA

Evidence (2013)

– A cool concept where a team of investigators literally watch found-footage trying to catch a serial killer who laid waste at an abandoned gas station. Read my full review for this film here: Evidence

Evolver (1995)

– It’s not very scary, but I like the idea of a kid winning a killer robot as part of a virtual reality video game contest. Read my full review for this film here: Evolver

Exorcismus (2011)

– A 15 year old’s seizures and violent outbursts leaves her in psychiatric treatment, but when her symptoms worsen a priest is called to exorcise her. Read my full review for this film here: Exorcismus

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

The infamous sleeping bag kill.

– One of my personal favorites of the series because of its awesome (and sometimes hilarious) kills. Read my full review for this film here: Friday the 13 Part VII: The New Blood

Gallowwalkers (2013)

– Starring Wesley Snipes as an undead gunslinger, this western sat on the shelf for years before being released on DVD and Netflix. It’s not amazing, but it’s just cool as Hell to see Snipes donning western gear and a few Colt .45 six-shooters. Read my full review for this film here: Gallowwalkers

Haunter (2013)

– Vincenzo Natali’s third horror film, after Cube and Spliced, did not live up to my high expectations, but it could live up to yours. I have friends who claim this gave them nightmares. Read my full review for this film here: Haunter

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

– This one straight-up kicks ass. It abandoned the cult feel of the first two entries by employing a production aimed at appealing to the masses, yet it’s great effects and heavy metal-fueled soundtrack made it a cult classic of its own. Read my full review for this film here: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Hellraiser IV: Bloodlines (1996)

– Pinhead gets thrown into the future in this film about a descendent to the toymaker that brought Hell to Earth. Read my full review for this film here: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

Infection (2005)

– Medical horror makes the list again in this Japanese horror film about the terrible consequences that arrive when a hospital team causes the death of a patient and falsifies the records to cover their asses. Read my full review for this film here: Infection

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

– I expected more from this one in comparison to its incredible predecessor, but it’s still a haunting watch with a heavy emphasis on The Further. Read my full review for this film here: Insidious: Chapter 2

Invasion (2007)

– A found footage flick about a meteorite that delivers a deadly virus to a small town. Most of the film is told via a police vehicle’s dash cam. Full review coming soon.

Jug Face (2013)

– A beautifully shot indie horror film about a backwoods community that goes to extreme lengths to appease a mythical beast living at the bottom of a pit. Read my full review for this film here: Jug Face

Kill List (2012)

– This effort made waves in the genre when it debuted in 2012 but it did not appeal to me like it did to nearly everyone else. One could say this should be rated higher and I won’t argue that. It’s a dramatic effort for the extreme majority of the experience, but the payoff at the end is one of the best I have seen. Read my full review for this film here: Kill List

Kill Theory (2010)

– A group of friends celebrating the end of the semester find themselves in a deadly game with a sociopath who forces them to kill each other in order to survive. Read my full review for this film here: Kill Theory

Monkey Shines (1988)

– George Romero’s film about a paraplegic’s killer pet monkey is far from the greatest of Night / Dawn/ Day of the dead, but it’s nice to see him do something different. Read my full review for this film here: Monkey Shines

Nightmare City (1983)

– This crazy Italian “infected” movie from 1980 (released in the USA in 1983) is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies and where he got the name Hugo Stiglitz for Inglourious Basterds. Read my full review for this film here: Nightmare City

Night Watch (2006)

– An incredibly well-shot Russian fantasy horror flick where the forces that lurk daytime and nighttime go to battle. Read my full review for this film here: Night Watch

Proxy (2014)

– One could argue whether or not this counts as a horror film, as the horror stems from the dramatic character play between several deranged individuals. Read my full review for this film here: Proxy

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)

– This sequel was much better than expected and leaves the protagonists holed up in an airplane terminal as the world around them falls to the “infected”.

REC 3: Genesis (2012)

– The first of the REC films to not be absolutely incredible. It’s still better than a lot of other junk out there. Read my full review for this film here: REC 3: Genesis

Resolution (2013)

– An infie flick where a forced intervention from crystal meth and the terrible side effects are the source of horror, until things take an unexplainable turn for the worst. Read my full review for this film here: Resolution

Saint Nick (2011)

– I’ve said it before that I love holiday-themed horror, and this piece gives us St. Nicholas as an evil bishop who kidnaps and murders children when there is a full moon on December 5th. Read my full review for this film here: Saint Nick

Storage 24 (2013)

– When a military experiment is incidentally let loose upon the city of London, a city-wide lockdown leaves a group of friends trapped in a storage facility with one of the military’s most dangerous genetic weapons. This is a straight up creature feature. You love em or you don’t. Read my full review for this film here: Storage 24

Survival of the Dead (2010)

– George Romero’s last ‘of the Dead film continues the evolution of the zombies he has been developing since the 1960s. Read my full review for this film here: Survival of the Dead

The ABCs of Death (2013)

– This is the most colossal horror anthology of all time. 26 films delivered in about two hours. Some are really good, some are OK, and some are crap. Your best bet is to read my full review where I list each entry individually.

The Asphyx (1973)

– An early 70s horror/sci-fi flick where the quest for immortality leads a scientist to capture a spirit represented in Greek mythology, The Asphyx. Read my full review for this film here: The Asphyx

The Awakening (2012)

– Atmosphere is heavy in this British supernatural tale about a hoax exposer who must watch her beliefs (or lack thereof) fall apart when she confronts a supernatural force at a boarding school. Read my full review for this film hereThe Awakening

The Bleeding House (2011)

– A stranger with unfavorable intentions comes to spend the evening at a secluded home in the country, where the family he is staying with harbors a secret deadlier than his. Read my full review for this film here: The Bleeding House

The Collection (2012)

– The obvious sequel to The Collection, the kills are crazier and the story expands exponentially. If you enjoyed the first you should enjoy this one. Read my full review for this film here: The Collection

The Final (2010)

– If you love vengeance you may like this film about a group of outcasts who get even on those who persecuted them. Read my full review for this film here: The Final

The Fly II (1989)

– The obvious sequel to the greatest “body horror” film of all time, the story follows the half-human son of The Fly and gives us one of the coolest kills in horror history. Read my full review for this film here: The Fly II

The Pact (2012)

– Still struggling with the death of her mother, a woman’s past returns to haunt her when she visits her childhood home. Read my full review for this film here: The Pact

The Reeds (2010)

– A group of young Londoners on a weekend boating adventure fall victim to a terrible secret hidden within the reeds. Read my full review for this film here: The Reeds

Truth or Die (2012)

– A vengeful tale where a game of Truth or Dare becomes Truth or Die. Read my full review for this film here: Truth or Die

Unrest (2006)

– My favorite film from the initial After Dark Horrorfest. It’s a spooky, medical-themed supernatural experience. Cadavers have never been scarier. Read my full review for this film here: Unrest

Wake Wood (2011)

– A film genre peeps will say should be rated higher. In this effort a young girl’s grieving parents take on a pagan ritual that will allow them to spend three days with their deceased daughter. Giving her back will prove more horrific than they ever expected. Read my full review for this film here: Wake Wood

We Are the Night (2011)

– A German  female-themed vampire flick heavy in sensual flare. Read my full review for this film here: We Are the Night


Hardware (1990)

 -Starring Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) and Iggy Pop, this steampunk-influenced horror film has a die-hard following similar to Oakland Raiders fans.  You could be one of them.  Read my full review for this film here: Hardware

Haunt (2014)

– The atmosphere and ghosts sell the film. Everything else is basic, but if you like haunted house flicks then this may appease you. Read my full review for this film here: Haunt

Torment (2014)

– At least watch this until the iconic scene above occurs at the 24 minute mark. Read my full review for this film here: Torment

The Possession (2012)

– Personally, I was not very fond of The Possession, but many other fans were and it has surprisingly good ratings. Read my full review for this film here: The Possession

Keep in mind that there are MORE good horror films on Netflix.  I just know it.  There are quite a few I still need to see (We Are What We Are redo), including films I have never seen and films I have not seen in my adult life (The Prophecy), so peep this article on a regular basis to stay on top of what good horror is on Netflix.  It won’t be easy, but I will do my best to keep this list a legitimate one where films are removed and added concurrently with those on instant streaming.  Thanks for reading.

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The Returned – 7

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Director – Manuel Carballo

Cast – Kris Holden-Ried, Emily Hampshire, Claudia Bassols, Shawn Doyle, Melina Matthews, Paulino Nunes, Barry Flatman

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The idea of a post apocalyptic world where humans co-exist with their non-human enemies has always interested me, and that is the case with The Returned. This tactic is not used all that often, with Daybreakers as one of the few recent similar films that comes to mind, so for me this is a change of pace for the convoluted zombie sub-genre. From the director of Exorcismus, the source of the story’s horror surprisingly does not come from the zombies, but from the actions of humans who live in a world they believe to still be on the brink of destruction. With an engaging story and positive direction, The Returned is a breath of fresh air that may be worth your while.

After surviving the zombie outbreak, mankind has developed a treatment called the “Return Protein”, which can stop the spread of the virus but will not cure it. Neither human nor zombie, they are known as the “Returned”. With daily injections they are able to live normal lives, but trouble is now on the horizon. Rumors are spreading that the stock of Return Protein is running low, which if true, can only mean one thing…

What I noticed right away about this story from Hatem Khraiche is that it does not focus on a mass of zombies/Returned like I thought it would. Instead, it focuses mostly on one Returned man and the dramatics involved with living in a world that is afraid of what he is. We follow Kate, a leading doctor working on the Return Protein, and her boyfriend Alex, a musician who has been returned. When the shortage strikes she tries desperately to smuggle his medication from the lab, but that is not all they have to worry about. Anti-Returned sentiment is high and anti-Returned gangs are out to stop her research and assassinate any Returned they can find. On top of this, competition for the medication between other Returned show that life after infection will leave you with few people you can trust. The conflict in the film derives heavily from human nature and the rash, desperate decisions we make when faced with fear. Pretty much all of the antagonism comes from humans, so if you are expecting an all-out zombie film this will not provide you with that. There are zombies here and there, and decent gore, but we witness very few onscreen kills. Again, it is just not that type of film. I will say that this piece succeeds at what it aims to do, which is give us a dramatic story where emotions provide the horror. This story paces well and despite the lack of typical zombie action you should not be bored. It’s not all that exciting of a story, but it is one that should grasp your attention and maybe even play at your emotions a bit – especially with its cliché ending that I personally found pretty stupid.

Director Manual Carballo did a pretty job bringing this story to life and keeping things interesting even when nothing exciting was going on. He achieves good performances from the leading actors and portrays his villains in a way that brings forth high tension despite little on-screen violence. His execution of these scenes is solid and he managed to even get my heart racing a few times. When we do see gore it is of the live action variety, so rest assured that there is very little (if any) CGI in the film. I really enjoyed his dark and gloomy atmosphere, which is something that Spanish directors employ very well. With good visuals and solid execution of the human element to sell the horror, Carballo seems to be one of the genre’s up and coming directors.

Overall, The Returned is a good story that gives us a unique take on the convoluted zombie sub-genre. The horror doesn’t stem from the zombies and instead gives us a dramatic take on the situation from one point of view. While not amazing it achieves nearly all that it sets out to do, which to me means it is a positive experience so long as its subject matter interests you.

Rating: 7/10

As Above, So Below – 6

August 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Director – John Erick Dowdle

Cast – Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar, Cosme Castro

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I do not believe I have been more excited for a horror film this year than for As Above, So Below. Back in April I first viewed the film’s trailer and was left in awe over the immense potential showcased in only a few minutes of time. What had me so stoked for this film was that it involved one of the spookiest places on Earth, the Catacombs. Containing the bones of 6 million people, the underground labyrinth of human remains has been used before in the genre but I am sad to say that none of those films have been very good. I had high hopes that this effort would change that, especially when I saw that it comes from the Dowdle brothers. Their credits include Devil, Quarantine, and The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and because all are worth watching I was hoping they would carry on their talents to this experience. As Above, So Below excels on some levels and fails on others, leaving me with a mostly-positive flick that is better than every other catacombs-based effort, but not quite the awesome show of horror I was hoping for.

Scarlett is an adventurous and highly intelligent young woman who has followed in her father’s footsteps of uncovering the truth behind history’s greatest myths. Her father’s obsession with the Philosepher’s Stone – a legendary symbol in the history of alchemy – leads her to Paris, France where she and her cameraman Benji (Edwin Hodge; The Purge) recruit her ex boyfriend George and a trio of locals to sneak them into the Catacombs’ uncharted areas. Their adventure proves theories beyond their wildest dreams, but their elation soon turns to terror when they find themselves trapped deep within the underground labyrinth of the dead. As they desperately fight to find a way out, they come to the realization that their search for the Philospher’s Stone has lead them to the entrance of Hell itself.

The first thought that comes to my mind when I come across a Catacombs-themed horror film is “How can they go wrong?”. If you know me then you know I am big on atmosphere, and an underground labyrinth of tunnels adorned with the skulls and femurs of 6 million people gives you atmosphere that cannot be matched. Because of this I have always felt that you did not have to try very hard to deliver good horror with that setting, but somehow I have yet to see a truly solid horror flick with such a setting. I really cannot believe that but it is true.

This story comes written by John and Drew Dowdle and I give them props for giving us a modern day take on the Catacombs setting. The first act moves appropriately, introducing our protagonists but focusing heavily on Scarlett and the drastic measures she is willing to take to get to the truth behind whatever obsession is currently on her mind. We learn that her father seemingly lost his mind searching for the Philospher’s Stone, and for reasons not immediately revealed we learn that Scarlett’s obsession in finding it stems from a heavy heart. Soon enough our 6 adventurers are finally within the unauthorized area of the tunnels that should lead them to the stone, if Scarlett is indeed correct, and cameraman Benji places a small pin camera on everyone’s headlamp to give us multiple angles to view the horror from. Once inside the rest of the story plays off like The Descent. What I mean by that is the first half of the film is long but engaging development that uses awesome atmosphere to keep you engaged, while the latter half of the film is all out chaos. I really enjoy this style of writing so long as you have good execution to keep you glued during the first half, and that is the case here. The Dowdles manage to provide decent horror before the real horror hits, which they do via claustrophobic scenes and split-second hallucinations. When the intended horror finally manifests we are presented with conflict I expected and antagonists I did not expect. I really do not want to give away any spoilers, but what I can say is that the horror is both physical and psychological – equally giving us the best of both those worlds.

While I enjoyed the setting, the characters, and the film’s Descent-esque pacing, there is a reason why I only deem this borderline-positive and not a solid, truly positive effort – the horror. I enjoyed the claustrophobic scenes, the psychological torment, and the kills, but the horror itself did not hit very hard. The best horror the story had to offer was constantly teased and never allowed to envelop me into the terror. One could argue that the tease is what makes it fun, but when the tease never pays off it comes off as wasted potential to me.


John Erick Dowdle directs the film and does a good job of bringing the story to life. Even though I did not love the piece the way I wanted to I was still glued to the screen throughout the entire 93 minute experience. He made history by being the only filmmaker granted access to actually film in the real Catacombs underneath Paris. The genre is full of incredible directors who could have done some real damage had they been able to film in such a location, but Dowdle beat everyone to it. I will say that only small portions of the film are actually filmed in the Catacombs, with some of the more destructive scenes obviously filmed on a set. I marveled at how much the film “moved” from one location (within the Catacombs) to another, constantly taking our protagonists deeper and deeper into the Earth’s crust. The sets used are incredible and I applaud Dowdle’s execution of the claustrophobic scenes mentioned earlier. I was sitting in the comfort of my fluffy movie theater seat and felt my chest tighten as I watched Benji frantically try to free himself from an ever-closing crevice. What happened to me is a direct result of good execution. Our six main actors did a good job of selling their roles – some of them major and some of them minor – with all of them contributing to the chaos and paranoia going on before us. When the horror hit I was reminded of how well Dowdle executed the initial shock scenes in his most recent horror film, Devil, and he managed to deliver several more shocks before the end credits. I call them shocks instead of scares because their usefulness is short lived. Basically, they are gone as fast as they come. With such incredible atmosphere I was expecting some long drawn-out sequences to get my heart racing but that was never the case here. Once again, I call it as it is – wasted potential. I did mostly enjoy the look of the antagonists though but because I was not provided a solid look at them I cannot say that they are anything special. Do I really need to scream “wasted potential” again?

Overall, As Above, So Below is a film I wanted to love but found to be slightly above mediocre at best. I enjoyed the overall story but in the end it really does hold back the film when it comes to the horror. Dowdle’s direction is solid and I credit this direction for keeping me engaged during a film that disappointed me a little. Nonetheless, he shows that he still has directing talent that should carry him on to future projects. Despite my borderline-positive rating I suggest you give this film a watch for yourself and come up with your own conclusion. Even though it has its flaws it really is a marvel to see a horror flick filmed in one of the world’s scariest places, and Dowdle ensures it will be visually worth your time.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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