As we turn the calendar ahead to the next year the writers at HMU give their thoughts on some of the films from 2015. There were those who gave us chills and others that we wanted to fast forward from the start. No matter the case it was another busy season for the HMU staff watching the usually combinations of early screeners to Blu ray and VOD releases. Fantastic Fest, Film4 Frightfest, IFC, Magnet Releasing, WellGo USA, Image Entertainment and more all helped bring the insight of horror that we provide to you. We could not keep HMU successful without the efforts of all the studios and creative souls out there so we thank them for the entries in this list. 2016 has a slew of anticipated features already filling the docket but before we journey into what’s to come let’s have a glance back and what we just finished. The thoughts on these features are clearly our own but we would love to hear your thoughts on what were the best and worst of 2015!
2015 – A Year in Horror.
All in all, 2015 was a great year for horror movies, particular in terms of cinema sales, where movies like Guillermo Del Toro’s latest, Crimson Peak, Insidious Chapter 3, the much talked about and self-referential It Follows and Freudian psychological horror/thriller The Babadook all performing well at the box office. Personal favourites in terms of quality included Maggie, which showcased a shockingly good performance from a somewhat long in the tooth Arnold Schwarzenegger and proved that you can still do original things with the zombie genre. In this case by concentrating on family dynamics and drama rather than stampeding undead hoards. I was also pleasantly surprised by February, an Argento style slow burn thriller with plenty of depth and great performances. Then there was the Zombies meet Mad Max rollercoaster ride Wyrmwood, a highly original curveball that caught everyone who saw it off guard and was the most fun I’d had watching a horror film in a long time. Survival horror Containment showed that the British can still do great story driven, low budget atmospheric horror whilst underground horror directors across the pond brought us innovative gems like American Guinea Pig – Bouquet of Guts and Gore, both a follow up and a quasi-remake of sorts to the famous Japanese gore fests of yesteryear. It was received with mixed reviews, but I thought it had an underlying context that held the amazing gore (created in part by We Are Still Here’s special effects maestro Marcus Koch) and story together nicely. 2015 also saw the release of the long-awaited follow up to Lucifer Valentine’s Vomit Gore trilogy, the wonderfully named Black Mass of the Nazi Sex Wizard, which was greeted with much fan appraisal but suffered a little from years of hype leading up to its release. Although I was expecting a little more from the film, I wasn’t disappointed because it was still brilliant. Lastly, directors like Phil Stevens (Flowers), Mike Chester (The Trick or Treaters) and the infamous Michael Maggot all working on future projects, the future looks bright for the underground horror scene. Maybe more so now than ever before… It’s a great time to be “alive”.
-Adrian Hall (Adi Vodoo)
Daniel not only delivers his thoughts on some the films he also includes some television programs.
Favourite films (in no particular order) –
Deathgasm: Just brilliant – dildos, zombies, heavy metal, New Zealand – all a fantastic combo.
Dude Bro Party Massacre 3 – So stupid but so funny.
Tales of Halloween – Probably my favourite of the year. Had so much fun watching this in the cinema.
Krampus – Loved watching this in the cinema too, those monsters were killer!
Crimson Peak – More drama than horror but visually stunning and brutal.
American Horror Story: Hotel – This season has really picked up for me. Gruesome and not what I would call ‘scary’ however the visuals, characters and ambience make this season a stand out for me.
Mentions: Blood Sucking Bastards, The Final Girls, Nina Forever (I wouldn’t see this one again but the acting is superb).
#Horror – This is seriously the worst film I’ve seen all year. I watched it till the end but trust me it was unbearable.
Knock Knock – Walked out of this one. No suspense, poor acting.
Hellions – WTF! Starts off promising and dives into viewer hell.
Save Yourself – BLEGH.
Disappointments: The Visit, We Are Still Here, Ash vs Evil Dead (I wanted to like this so bad, it just hasn’t lived up to the hype for me.)
There we so many films that hit all levels this year it was hard asf to keep up! There were definitely some favorites and some bad ones but overall a solid year. Here are my thoughts on a few of the top selections on each side of the spectrum for 2015!
SOME KIND OF HATE – The past two years have really been a revenge driven atmosphere in horror and the use of supernatural elements have upped the scale. SOME KIND OF HATE was a sneaky release that surprised me with better than sub par acting and a hell of a revenge spirit. If you didn’t cringe watching her cut her own skin then check yourself into an institute right now. Adam Egypt Mortimer is a filmmaker to keep an eye on and changing the pace from horror thriller to horror comedy will be worth seeing in his next film HOLIDAYS next year.
DEMONIC – Found footage sleeper DEMONIC used a great combination of this format mixed with a possession based storyline to produce a solid film. What really drew me into this flick is the who done it aspect that provided “THING” like setting not knowing who to trust. I’ve always been a fan of films that start from the ending and build backwards and DEMONIC excelled in this like no other film in 2015.
mentions: TALES OF HALLOWEEN, BLOOD SUCKING BASTARDS, ATTACK ON TITAN 1&2
DARK SUMMER – There is something about house arrest that tends to make for a good horror film. Movies like HOUSEBOUND and DISTURBIA capitalized on this aspect and you can now add DARK SUMMER among them. DARK SUMMER also continued the muse of modern technology using online stalking as one of the catalyst behind the haunt. The hip young cast that included Keir Gilchrist, Stella Maeve, Maestro Harrell and Grace Phipps were spot on to the fuel the entrainment through the feature. DARK SUMMER was also a film that did very well among casual horror fans which is always a hefty task in our genre
THE NIGHTMARE – Not since ROOM 237 has a documentary made such an impact among horror fans as THE NIGHTMARE. Though this would not be a film about a film this followed something that has plagued human existence for some time. Few documentaries deliver on scares but THE NIGHTMARE was anguis filled terror from start to finish. This film has the ability to be a Halloween tradition once the mainstream sees it in syndication. They will enjoy the accounts of the witnesses that experienced the terror in the darkness. Shadow people or the more technical terms sleep paralysis is something that reaches people across the globe. Gotta give praise to these guys for bringing this frightening phenomenon to us in an fresh and crisp new way.
mentions: DEATHGASM, A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, THE FINAL GIRLS
LANDMINE GOES CLICK- Edge of your seat thriller with the most f**ked up ending. The direction CLICK goes will take your soul as this two act styled terror is just relentless. Few film in 2015 picked up momentum as it reached the ultimate climax such as LANDMINE. Most people have not seen the film as it is just now making it’s VOD run but when they do it won’t take long for them to get hooked. Devious task after devious task is always the recipe for a great thriller and the Levan Bakhia feature is hands down my favorite of the year.
POD – A few years back IFC dropped ALMOST HUMAN and it was a film I enjoyed tremendously but felt it was just missing something. Where that film lacked is where POD took over. A short cast, stellar acting and a feeling of tension like no other. POD rocked my world as one of the best sci fi thriller i’ve seen in quite a while. The performance by Brian Morvant is legendary in a year where there are many actors in the genre that deserve performance praise. Not many films kept up with the pace of POD which easily requires more than one watch. This is another gem of 2015 that you want to add to your list. POD felt like an extreme episode of the classic show Outer Limits and showed how great sci fi terror can actually be.
mentions: WE ARE STILL HERE, RE- KILL, LA ENTIDAD, MANIA, UNION FURNACE, FELT, THE OTHER SIDE
Most of the films in this group all gave me similar reasons they were picked here. Just poor overall execution is one of the main things that drives me not to like a film. As a guy who watches around twenty films a month there is always the chance something will come up that just does not add up to some of the other films being released in the year. So without going into too much details here are my choices for this years worst.
THE GALLOWS, EXETER, SINISTER 2, POLTERGEIST(REMAKE), THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH
What is a your best and worst of 2015 and what did you you think of our selection? Let us know in the comments below and you may just get something special from us! Have a Happy Horror New Year and we will see you in the theaters or the couch for 2016!