Tag Archive | Top Horror Movies

Best Horror Movies of 2016

2016 may not have been a year chock full of future classic horror flicks, but there were some real standouts. I had  a bigger list than usual to choose from, but once I got past my top 5, the rest were pretty interchangeable as far as jockeying for position. March was a banner month for quality horror releases. October never seems to be. Strange.

So, without further ado, here is my annual top 13 list for the year. Hopefully this will give you something to watch on these cold January nights.

13. THE BOY

The Boy.jpg

This was one of the first horror movies I watched in a theater last year. I was bored and figured it would kill some time. It makes my list because of the strong performance by Lauren Cohan and the overall creepiness of the doll, Brahms. Just look at that face. *shudders* With a very cool twist, The Boy is definitely worth a watch. Plus you’ll want to have a son and name him Brahms, just for the sake of saying his name over and over again.

12. THE CONJURING 2

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Look, I know that this movie has as much to do with the real Enfield haunting as I do with ending World War II. That being said, it was fun in a well made, house of horrors kind of way. There were some good jump scares and that nun haunts my dreams. Plus, I’ll watch anything with Vera Farmiga (and if you haven’t been watching her in Bates Motel, shame on you!).

11. THE PURGE – ELECTION YEAR

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I’ve come to realize that The Purge is one of the most solid horror franchises to come along in many years. For my money, it gets better with each movie. Election Year is just bat shit crazy with some of the wildest visuals of the series. I fell in love with the ‘car of lights’ and masked hotties out for a night of murder. Might be my next tattoo. It’s a wild ride and I demand a fourth flick!

10. THE WAILING

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Don’t let the 2 1/2 hour running time scare you off. The Wailing is a disturbing, engrossing trip into witch doctory and possession. A product from Korea, it has the most stunning imagery of the year, with scenery to die for. Add to that several scenes that will make your blood run cold, and you have a winner.

9. HUSH

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The premise is deceptively simple – a deaf woman is trapped in her remote house, stalked by a masked (at least for a while) killer. I didn’t realize how tense I was until it ended and I felt stabbing pain in my jaw. Being deaf, she can’t hear her attacker as he prowls around the house, nor can she hear the noise she makes as she tries to get away. Good home invasion horror.

8. THE INVITATION

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This is why you don’t accept a dinner invitation to your ex-wife’s house! You know right away that something is up with this gathering of old and new friends in the Hollywood hills, but it’s a blast watching it all unfold. The ending left my mouth hanging wide open. Best watched with sketchy friends.

7. DON’T BREATHE

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Now, I know a lot of folks were calling this the best horror movie to come along in years. It’s not, but it is a lot of twisted fun, especially thanks to Stephen Lang’s killer portrayal of a blind man trying to fend off a trio of burglars. This is the second movie of note to be set in the ruins of Detroit (the first being my favorite, It Follows). The abandoned neighborhood alone gave me the willies. There is one scene that will linger with you. I won’t spoil it, but don’t watch it after you’ve eaten turkey.

6. 13 CAMERAS

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A young couple moves into a house owned by the strangest looking and sounding dude since the wackadoo from The Human Centipede 2. What could go wrong? Disturbing owner installs cameras all around the house and sees things he should not see. I LOVED the way this one ended. If you’re a fan of The Loved Ones, the vibe this flick gives off is just for you.

5. THE WITCH

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Hands down, the creepiest movie of the year. Colonists are thrown out of town and forced to struggle to survive in the wilderness. Right off the bat, a witch steals their baby and it’s all downhill from there. This movie has it all – creepy twins, bitter cold and darkness, the devil and Black Phillip the goat. Do not miss this one.

4. THE MONSTER

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No one should be surprised that a guy who calls himself a monster man would be over the moon about a movie called The Monster. The real horror here is the relationship between an alcoholic mother and her young daughter. Trapped on a dark, rainy road in the dead of night, they have to battle a terrifying creature that is the physical embodiment of mom’s karma. With two stellar performances, it’s sometimes hard to watch and pretty bleak. All the ingredients I look for!

3. BASKIN

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This is the first Turkish movie to ever make my list. It’s a true WTF flick. It makes Hellraiser look like a kid’s cartoon. It’s gross, disturbing and maybe doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s a freaking blast. If this is what hell is like, I’m going to church every day.

2. TRAIN TO BUSAN

train-to-busanLook, I’m sick to death of all things zombie, which just goes to show how great this movie is. It’s a Korean zombies on a train and easily the best zombie flick since the original Day of the Dead. I love the way the zombies reanimate here and pile up on one another. It’s the only movie I’ve watched in years that had me shouting out loud. Get your ticket for this train. You won’t regret it.

1.10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

1o-cloverfieldThe moment I saw this in the spring, I knew it would be my favorite movie of the year. John Goodman is menacing and simply awesome as a doomsday prepper who ‘saves’ a man and woman from a supposed alien invasion above. This is vastly different from Cloverfield, and for my taste, far better. I almost didn’t want to leave the bomb shelter. It’s the only movie that came out in 2016 that I bought so I can watch it over and over.

And now, for some honorable mentions…

Like I said, once I got past my top 5, quiet a few movies on my longer list could have cracked the top 13. Here are some others that tickled my horror bone : LIGHTS OUT, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, and I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE.

What were your favorite movies of 2016? What movie do you think I’m crazy for including or excluding? Lay it on me!

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15 Scary Movies To See Before Halloween

As Jack was going through the Monster Men files, he found this episode that we had filmed and somehow forgotten. Lucky for us, it’s as timeless as Raquel Welch’s beauty. This time around, we go into the elements that make a wicked horror flick, and reveal our list of 15 must-see scary movies.

And here’s a drinking game you can play while you watch: One shot for every time you hear my cat scratching on the door, and one beer for every candy corn Jack and I eat. Guaranteed, you’ll pass out before you get to the 5 minute mark!

So, what scary movies would make your list?

 

And a big thank you to everyone who Liked the Amazon page for Evil Eternal and Forest of Shadows. Gotta keep that big mo’ rolling. Share pages when you can for any Samhain horror books and spread the word. There’s a new monster in town, and it’s name is Samhain!

Slashers Have Heart : An Interview With Kristopher Rufty

I’m so glad I can finally take a break from talking about myself and shine the spotlight on a tremendous new talent, Kristopher Rufty. I’m proud to say that we’re Samhain Horror brothers (his first book, Angel Board is not to be missed), and was blown away by his latest novel, Pillowface. This dude is the goods and he has a ton in store for us. So strap yourself in, turn on the Halloween soundtrack, tuck your favorite butcher knife by your side and read on…

HS. I have to say, Pillowface grabbed me by the short hairs from teh get-go and never let up. Why don’t youtell folks a little about the book and why they absolutely must read it!

KR. The book is about Joel Olsen, a twelve year old horror fan and aspiring special effects artist who spends way too much time alone.  He is now being raised by his sister Haley, who is only twenty-three years old.  They lost their parents in a car accident a few months prior to where the story begins.  Joel has an active imagination and is so enthralled with horror movie scenarios that he doesn’t even flinch when he discovers a wounded slasher straight from the movies he loves in his backyard.  Joel becomes obsessed with Pillowface, and looks at this situation as a big game, or a movie he’s seen adozen times.  It isn’t long before Joel realizes this isn’t as much fun as he’d expected it to be.  Soon into the book people around him start being brutally murdered, and with Buddy and Carp on the hunt for Pillowface, their missing ally, even more blood is shed.

Anyone with a love for horror on any avenue will probably find something to enjoy in this book.  As dark and twisted as it turned out to be, it’s actually a good time. I had a blast writing about the launch of summer vacation.  It was fun tapping into that part of my own childhood and remembering how it felt knowing that after Sunday ended on that first weekend of summer vacation, there were still a couple months left beforeI had to go back to school.  The sky was the limit!  Much like Joel does in the book; I’d formulate a summer to-do list and make sure I completed every task on it.  Whether it was watching a certain number of movies, or finishing the Stephen King, Bentley Little, or John Saul book I had purchased for a summer read, or adventures I planned to have in the woods around my house, I did it all, because if summer was nearing its end andI hadn’t completed them, I would feel depressed.  As if I’d wasted my summer break.

HS. Being a Richard Laymon fan, I felt his presence throughout the book. Are you a big fan as well and how has he inspired you?

KR. Laymon is my favorite author.  Not just my favorite horror author, but my favorite period. Whenever someone learns I write horror fiction they usually say something along the lines of:  “Oh like Stephen King?”  And I’ll nod and say:  “Sort of.  More like Richard Laymon.”  Then I get a confused look because they obviously don’t know who I’m talking about and that’s a shame.

Trent Haaga (the writer of the movies Deadgirl and American Maniacs) recommended I read The Cellar by Richard Laymon one day while we were in a book store together. I had confided in him that I was growing tired of reading books by the same handful of authors and wanted to branch out.  He took me to the L’s and searched the selection until finding Leisure’s reprint of The Cellar.  He went on to tell me how great of an author Laymon is and how once I read this book, I wouldn’tbe able to stop.  And he was right.  Laymon’s books became a hunger that I neededto feed.  It was also what made me join the Leisure Horror Book Club; the possibilities of several authors I’d yet to discover were at my fingertips!  Trent’s suggestion morphed me into a completely different horror fan, reader, andwriter.

Laymon’swork has been heavily influential on my own. I never wanted to mimic his style or anything like that, but I wanted to incorporate into my own writing Laymon’s sense of sentence and paragraph structure and detail.  And also I wanted to freely use the word rump just as he had.  I started off writing screenplays and making indie horror movies, and in the scripts whenever a female had to fall down, I could never think of a delicate way of putting it.  So, I took my Dad’s term, rump, and used that.  When I read it in Laymon’s novels I smiled with glee.

Years later I learned Don D’Auria (the same who’d edited Laymon and countless other legends) would be my editor as well, and it was a dream come true.

HS. I don’t know who’s more twisted, Joel, the young boy in need of a father figure, or the murderous Pillowface with a soft spot for the boy. Which would you rather go camping withfor a week?

KR. Pillowface, easily.  I don’t trust Joel in the slightest.

HS. You managed to do what so many have tried and failed at, which is create a classic slasher/monster and make him genuinely sympathetic. I mean, I was actually rooting for Pillowface towards the end. How difficult a task was that for you?

KR. It wasn’t as difficult as making David (the main character from Angel Board) sympathetic.  Pillowface is a complex guy and underneath the mask and behind the chainsaw he’s human.  In an earlier draft I wrote him a bit differently and to me he just didn’t come across as a real person.  That was my mistake, not writing him realistically.  When I set out to do a fresh write on Pillowface, I delved more into his point of view instead of learning about him through Joel’s eyes, and instead I thought it would be neat if we learned who Joel was through Pillowface’s eyes.   But not just Joel, some of the other characters as well.  Especially Joel’s sister, Haley.  Pillowface crushes on her like any man would, but whenever a normal person thinks flowers, candy, and a night on the town, Pillowface thinks of swooning her by dismemberment, destruction, and pain.

HS.Which is harder to do, direct a movie or write a novel? What are the best and most difficult parts of each?

KR. They’re each their own obstacle.  I’d have to say that, personally, writing a novel is easier and sometimes more gratifying than making a movie.  There are a lot elements going into directing, especially low budget movies, which interfere with your vision, so to speak.  I learned early on in moviemaking that it’s best to leave what you pictured in your head while writing the script at the door because chances are you will have to improvise on the spot for a variety of reasons, which also means working away from the script, or changing something last minute or like I had to in PsychoHolocaust, and cut a character completely out of the movie two days before we started filming because the actor cast to play them dropped out.

Budget can be your best friend and worst enemy. When there’s plenty to give she’s wonderful to have on your side, a great go-to source that can solve almost any problem.  But when there’s not enough to give, the budget can be an evil she-bitch that constantly takes and takes and when you wantjust a little more to spend on your movie you realize that she’s dried up after spending herself on name actors, plane tickets, and food.  When writing a screenplay, you always have to be cognizant of the budget and write within its means which can make for some great creativity but can also kill it quickly. My favorite parts of the movie process are the writing and editing, usually after a year or so goes by I realize that I actually enjoyed aspects of the shooting.  Ha-Ha.  However, I do enjoy working with talented actors and crews and watching what I wrote come to life whether it was how I had originally imagined it or not.

When writing a novel there is no budget restriction, and you’re pretty much free todo whatever you want.  When the characters want to have sex, they can, and there are no worries on my part whether or not they will take off their clothes, because I’m pretty confident that they will!  Also, if something blows up in the story, I don’t have to go back and cut it because there is no way I can afford an explosives expert, or I can have a legion of demons pour out of someone’s rump and not fret over how we can do the effect (I’m not big on horror CGI). I can just write it and it is. That is amazing to me.  Writing is amazing to me.  Making movies is amazingto me. I love them both.  They are a partof who I am.

HS. You’re obviously a horror movie buff (not to mention director). What are your 5 favorite horror films.

KR. Wow, that’s a tough question.  I’ll name fiveI like a lot, in no particular order.

TexasChainsaw Massacre (original)

Nightof the Living Dead (b&w and the remake from the early nineties)

Fridaythe 13th (original)

Halloween(original)

EvilDead

Okay, so that was five of the more popular horror classics.  Here are five that aren’t so popular.

Motel Hell (HS. One of my all time faves!)

Mother’sDay (original)

BasketCase (anything really by Frank Hennenlotter)

SilverBullet (Busey at his finest)

Nightof the Creeps

HS. OK, in 25 words or less, describe your current work in progress.

KR. I’m working on a few things simultaneously. Finishing up a novel and doing a polish on one that’s already completed, completed a novella, and started another novel. The Lurkers is my next book through Samhain Publishing and will be out in August, which is about tiny goblin-like creatures invading a small town and the group of people driving through who get caught in the middle. We’re also doing a promotion with the release.  My short story The Night Everything Changed will be available for free soon and leading up to the release of The Lurkers. It takes place in The Lurkers universeand is definitely worth checking out, and for a price tag of zero, you can’tbeat it.    After that, I’m not sure what order the next few will follow.

But a current work in progress is PlainfieldGothic and here’s a 25 words or less rundown:

Robbing graves in the early 1950’s, Ed Gein inadvertentlyunearths a genuine vampire and sets it loose on the unsuspecting town of Plainfield, Wisconsin.

And there you have it. See, I told you there was a lot more awesomeness to come! You can check Kristopher and his work out at www.lastkristontheleft.blogspot.com

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