Best Horror Movies of 2013, Or At Least My Favorites

I promised myself I wasn’t going to come out with any top 10 lists for the new year…and I’m sticking to it. Rebel that I am, I’m here to dish on my 13 favorite horror movies of 2013. That’s right, where all the other blogs only give you a measly 10, I’m like Five Guys Burgers and Fries dishing out the extra fries.

Admittedly, I didn’t see every movie that came out (most noticeably, I didn’t catch Insidious Chapter 2 – dumb ass name), but I did watch a hell of a lot of horror flicks last year – and every year for that matter. A few of these came out in 2012, but weren’t available to anyone outside the lone theater they premiered in until 2013. You want to take me to the mat for that, let’s throw down. So, let the countdown begin!

13. THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY

Yes, it’s a found footage movie, but the premise and execution are a notch above most of this sub-genre. A descendant of the mad Dr. Frankenstein takes a team to the Arctic Circle to prove that Mary Shelley’s iconic tale was not a work of fiction, but a recounting of a true and chilling story. The atmosphere is stark, desolate, and the chills you feel are very real. This one totally took me by surprise.

Frankenstein_Theory_02-450x249

12. THALE

OK, I’ll admit I picked this one up because of the attractive and, aahhh, nude woman on the cover. Sometimes, being shallow pays off. The Thale in this tale is a mythological Norwegian creature that looks a lot like a pretty damn sexy woman with a tail. That’s right, a tail. When a couple of house cleaners stumble upon the imprisoned Thale, all hell breaks loose. Freakin’ strange, but beautifully shot and just plain haunting.

Thale

11. DARK SKIES

I finally relented and bought a BluRay player last year. This was one of the first discs I asked Santa to cram in my stocking. I’m a sucker for alien abduction movies (Communion, Fire in the Sky, The Fourth Kind). What makes this movie so strong is the way it builds up the family and makes you truly care for them, making it that much harder to watch an alien presence tear their lives apart. Top notch performances and some great visuals. This one can get pretty creepy at times and has an ending you rarely see anymore.

Dark Skies

10. THE PURGE

My hopes were so, so high for this one. There was no way it could ever live up to them. But it came pretty damn close. Think Assault on Precinct 13 (where Ethan Hawke also starred in the remake) in the ‘burbs. I fell in love the moment I saw Ethan Hawke’s gun. Tense, futuristic, and at times downright gory, it’s worth the time. Plus it has Cersei Lannister, so how bad can it be?

The Purge

9. WOULD YOU RATHER?

I think I’m one out of the dozen or so people who saw this one, but man was it fun. Re-Animator’s Jeffrey Combs is a twisted, rich SOB who invites a handful of down-on-their-luck folks for dinner in his mansion. One of them will receive enough money in the end to solve all of their worldly problems. All they have to do is play a little game called Would You Rather? Sick, sick, sick, awesome, awesome, awesome. How did no one think of this one before?

Would You Rather

8. MANIAC

Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the 80’s original. Elijah Wood stars as the socially awkward Maniac this time around. What made this work, aside from his performance, was the concept to shoot the movie through his eyes. Brilliant. This one will give you the heebie-jeebies. One of those movies where I say, “I am so glad I’m not a single woman.”

Maniac

7. V/H/S 2

When I caught the first V/H/S on Netflix, I was did my little horror dance – the one I do when I stumble upon little gems of terror. I was worried that the sequel would fall short of the original. There was no need to worry. In fact, I think part 2 is slightly better and more cohesive than the first. The short on the cult alone makes it one of the best flicks of the year. Go catch it on Netflix streaming.

VHS 2

6. ABSENCE

Here’s the second alien abduction movie on my list, as well as the second found footage flick. You’d think that combo would add up to el stinkeroo. Not so fast, capitano! Again, an achingly powerful performance by Erin Way as a woman who mysteriously lost her baby in late term pregnancy keeps this one humming. It has a few real scares that will make you think twice when you look up at the night sky.

absence

5. THE BATTERY

In a year when World War Z crapped the zombie bed, this mega low budget movie had to rely on something a lot of Hollywood movies ignore – an actual, well written story. This is the best zombie movie in a long while. Two minor league baseball battery mates (a pitcher and a catcher) survive the zombie apocalypse and walk from place to place, trying to survive. I love this movie because it gave us the first ‘masturbation to a dead girl’ scene and for the absolutely claustrophobic, dire last twenty minutes. Take that Brad Pitt!

The Battery

4. RITES OF SPRING

I had never even heard of this movie until I saw it as a suggestion on Netflix. Whoa, this one was a wild ride that reminded me of all the best elements of 80’s horror. This came out in 2011, but I believe wasn’t available until 2013. Screw it, I want it in my top 5. This one has kidnappers, a creature that comes out for the spring ‘harvest’, screams, some ugly bastard under a barn, blood and more. I had a blast watching this, and in the end, that’s what matters most.

Rites of Spring

3. THE CONJURING

The first movie adaptation of famed paranormalists Ed and Lorraine Warren and their ghostly travails. This one is genuinely scary at times. The Warrens are called to investigate an exceedingly haunted house that is driving a family to the brink. It stars Vera Farmiga, as Lorraine Warren (who I met with her late husband in the 90s) so I was already hooked. As I watched it, I kept thinking, if even half of this shit is true, we live in a world of truly terrifying potential. And don’t ever ask me to play hide-and-go-clap with you. Ever.

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2. AMERICAN MARY

A body modification movie gone horribly awry. Med school dropout takes to underground bod-mod surgeries in her apartment to make cash. This one is so bizarre, it has to be seen to be believed. Surreal, kinky, debased, sexy, it’s one of the most surprising horror movies I’ve ever seen. Whenever people ask me for movie recommendations, I tell ’em, American Mary. If you don’t get it, well, we’ll part as friends.

American Mary

1. YOU’RE NEXT

A family reunion goes to complete shit when crossbows start burying themselves in necks and backs in what was, by far, the most fun I had at the movies all year. Hell, I even took my mom to see this and she dug it. The lesson we learn here is that all girls should go to survivalist camp. Aside from the brutal murders and tense, graphic action, there are some fantastic laughs here, as well as a song that will loop in your head for months. This one gets my number one slot with ease!

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

18 responses to “Best Horror Movies of 2013, Or At Least My Favorites”

  1. Thomas Brown says :

    I loved Dark Skies! So atmospheric, and I loved the sense of menace and mystery that was slowly built. Will check out Rites of Spring right now. I’ve been looking for something new to watch! Great list.

  2. fuonlyknew says :

    Dark Skies was phenominal. I haven’t seen Thale, The Battery, or Would You Rather. I do love Jeffrey Combs though. I started watching Maniac but it couldn’t keep my interest. Of course, I was sick with the flu, so probably should try it again. Insidious Chapter Two was okay. Nothing new though. The Conjuring was very good. It actually creeped me out. I’ve had Rites of Spring on my Netflix list for quite a while, Going to have to give it a go. And The Frankenstein Theory was excellent. I was bored one night and decided to try it. Isn’t it awesome when you stumble on these hidden gems. I had no idea what Absence was about but liked the poster so I tried it. Another hidden gem.

  3. hookofabook says :

    I liked Dark Skies a lot. I like those kinds of movies. I like the show Fallen Skies too for that matter. lol I also liked The Conjuring. And I liked Insidious…which wasn’t on your list? The rest, I don’t think I saw. I am a newbie to the movies, but you guys are making them grow on me.

  4. Scott DayOH says :

    Looks like I have some movies to watch. I saw the “Maniac” remake and I liked it a lot. Much like you said, the perception of the killer changed it quite a bit and Elijah Wood was very good in it.
    I did watch a lot of horror this year, but mostly stuff from a year + ago.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      I had to include some previous year’s stuff to have a fuller list. I forgot to mention the ‘what the fuck were you thinking’ award going to Texas Chainsaw 3D. Worst horror movie of the year, hands down.

      • Scott DayOH says :

        Funny – as much as I like horror, the slasher movies like TC don’t rate with me much. I loved the original Halloween and first few Friday the 13th movies, but not much beyond. I think I lean towards more psychological stuff – like Hostel, party slasher-ish and whacked out – my style. Of course, I did once have a coworker tell me I reminded her of “Dexter”.

      • Hunter Shea says :

        Dexter, huh. Well,that should keep your co-workers in line.

      • Scott DayOH says :

        Last year, I had written “The Slice of Life” at the top of the white board in my office.

  5. Parlor of Horror says :

    I have Rites of Spring in my queue and started watching it before I left the house a few days ago – it does look good. I had Maniac 2013, as my top and also You’re Next in my Best of 2013 list.

  6. Paul D. Dail says :

    The Frankenstein Theory has been on my radar for quite awhile. Then when I saw your post, made a more serious decision to watch it (which takes a little while in our household 🙂 ). Finally saw it. Enjoyed it. Actually started it when my wife was out of town, but stopped it to wait for her because I thought it was good enough that she’d like it as well.

    Will keep you posted after I check out some of these others.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      Glad we’re spreading the Frankenstein love. I just watched Frankenstein’s Army. Holy crap. Has to be seen to be believed. I have to get my hands on the drugs the writers were on when they concocted that.

  7. Steve Vernon says :

    I tweeted about this blog entry earlier today to help spread the word and Hunter asked me how many of these flicks I have seen.

    I’ve got to tell you that I have see so darned many horror movies – but NONE of these what-so-ever. The only one I REALLY was hunting was the new Maniac. I’ve heard good things about it.

    Man, I feel such a horror-wuss. How could I have missed out on ALL of these flicks?

    Great entry, Hunter!

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