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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Jeff's The Best 13 Horror Films of 2018: Honorable Mentions


your list for this year. I have a feeling you will find some bleed over from last year given that some of the films that debuted in late 2017 weren’t available until early 2018. Thus why you’ll find films that should have made the 2017 list got carried over to this list and some that made the 2017 list weren’t available for general consumption until 2018. So, though TRAGEDY GIRLS made my 2017 list it couldn’t hack the competition for 2018, but is still deserving of your watch list if you haven’t seen it yet. Speaking of being able to hack this list, there was a lot of great horrors that came out of 2018 that shows wonderful promise for the land of horror like HEREDITARY and SUMMER OF 84. You may even find a tie or two on this list. There was also enough bad stuff to make you question why you wasted your time and money on them, like SLENDER MAN and TRUTH OR DARE. Sometimes Hollywood surprises us with an excellent horror film, like the SUSPIRIA remake which you won’t find on my list, despite being just as amazingly mind-boggling as the original, simply because there is still no replacing the original no matter the argument. You will find a sequel that reshapes an iconic franchise, and another that bend your perception of reality. There seem to be more serial killers than monsters on this list as well as if there truly is a difference.

Before we get started on the films that did make The Best 13 Horror Films of 2018 let's take a look at those that didn’t make that list but definitely deserves notoriety either negatively and/or positively. Starting with… 2018’s Worst Horror Movie of the Year goes to...


DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINES


At the end of a very bloody day, 'Day of the Dead: Bloodlines' kind of fails at what it's trying to do. While I can respect Hèctor Hernández Vicens' vision and what he was trying to do, I think he was hamstrung by a shoddy script and a minuscule budget. The actors seemed to be straight out of film school and there was never really any drama, danger or a real plot to speak of. Imagine taking your favorite story and removing all of the things you really loved about it and replacing it with excerpts from the phone book. That's kind of what we ended up with here and it's a shame. While the original isn't crying out for a remake, after what 'Dawn of the Dead' (2004) did for upping the remake game, there's a potential there to create something amazing. Only time will tell if we'll ever get a version of this story that will stand alongside the original and don't get me wrong, it wasn't a perfect film. However, it's stood the test of time and has still managed to set the tone for generations of zombie films that followed it. It's quotable and has one of the most horrific scenes of undead violence ever committed to the screen. If you don't know what I'm referring too, just think back to when Rhodes finally got his comeuppance. I'm giving this film 1 out of 5 stars. Sadly, it just fell far too short of the mark. Little budget or not, I've seen films on a tiny budget, pull off really big things. So that's not an excuse. Somewhere right now, Bub is rolling over in his empty grave. Also, what was up with Johnathon Schaech's mouth?!?! 




In contrast, 2018’s Best/Worst Horror Film of the Year goes to...

HELL’S KITTY


Now I'm definitely not going to say that 'Hell's Kitty' is brilliant in any way. But it is everything you could possibly love and hate about a B-horror comedy. You'll love mining the film for popular horror references. Between all the blatantly placed callbacks ('The Shining', 'Children of the Corn', and 'The Exorcist' just to name a few) and all the well-placed items in a scene, or even cleverly placed lines in dialogue, there is a lot of horror nostalgia to look for. You'll also love the cameos that not only strengthen the homages but humorously play on what we think we know about these characters based on their iconic roles. My favorite is when Michael Berryman, a very scary looking guy who (if you follow him at all on social media, is really a pussycat) first pops into a room to a startled Nick and says "Do I scare you?" Bill (Oberst Jr.) as a creepy vicar is, as always, brilliantly portrayed. Also, Doug Jones possessed by a cat demon is horror comedy gold. How's that for a tease?



On to the good stuff, 2018’s Honorable Mention goes to...

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE


The new kings of horror releases Netflix have been dominating the genre for the last few years. By attracting the best in horror filmmakers and putting together ensemble casts they’ve managed to populate tons of year-end lists with well-crafted stories. It's not only exciting for us horror fans but is legitimizing the genre in ways we never would have dreamt possible. Mike Flannigan's mini-series event THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is an epic piece of work that far surpasses any previous adaptations of Shirley Jackson's novel. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE excels at being creepy and has a fun game you can play where you get to count all the hidden ghosts. This may require repeat viewings but that can’t be a bad thing. Be sure to read the novel too for a late night, keep all the lights on, page-turner.




2018 Honorable Mentions Despite Overwhelming Odds...

MOM AND DAD


As most of you are likely to remember, I am not your everyday Nicolas Cage fan. In fact I usually can't stand him. When it comes to acting he doesn't, instead who shows up all stained faced and seems to deliver lines thinking the influence in his voice is enough to convince us he's really sad, or mad, etc. Otherwise, his face never changes. That has been the case for at least 2 decades now and although I may be a late bloomer while watching Mom and Dad I finally realized what Cage is really good at. He's really good at being friggin crazy! Why they tried to make him a serious actor when it's obvious he should always play the nutjob I have no idea. I was almost bored to death during the somber moments before parents starting killing their kids and even the supporting cast couldn't keep me awake. But, as soon as the poop hit the pan and Cage went full psycho I was in for the madness. When I declared I'd finally figured out what Cage was good at to Joel he laughed and said "that's because he wasn't acting. He really is crazy." That seems true since he isn't acting any other time, so why would I think he was now?



MANDY

Part Hellraiser, part bad acid trip, all balls to the wall mayhem. Cast Nicholas Cage as John Wick, take away his girlfriend and let him be his crazy ass self and you have MANDY. Though it started out kind of like The Grey and the whole relationship thing was boring, when he gets to The Hoard on the bad guys it is pretty epic. Best bad guy overcompensating award also goes to Linus Roache.