When I started to think about last year's horror releases I began to feel a bit disheartened and worried I would struggle to find ten to put into a list. Who can blame me though, the year had been pretty terrible in terms of horror. We started 2012 with the unforgivable The Devil Inside which was followed by the utterly dismal Chernobyl Diaries, and the misery continued with Rec 3. Oh, and let's not forget the incredibly underwhelming and over-hyped V/H/S. But we shouldn't focus on these disappointments and surprisingly, once I started this list, I remembered many gems that came from nowhere and restored my faith in the modern horror film. I've had the chance to see some great movies recently and although they may not all have had wide releases, keep your peepers out for them as you will not be let down.
Cabin in The Woods
Cloaked in mystery, this insane creation left me a blubbering pile of nerd goo by the end of it. If you truly love horror there is no way in hell this movie didn't make you squeal with absolute delight. It is a horror nerd's dream, made by horror nerds for the horror nerd masses and for that I will forever be grateful to Joss Whedon, along with many, many other reasons. The man is god right about now.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Paranoia takes human form in this offbeat comedy-cum-thriller-cum-horror with Simon Pegg. Its strange Dickensian style is hypnotic and the random series of events will have you hooked without a clue of where it's all going. The entire movie is a gorgeous feast for the eyes.
If you take out all the graphic surgery and sex, this is just like John Hughes movie. A really, really fucked up John Hughes movie. Excision deals with family problems, puberty, murder and surgery. A stand out performance from Traci Lords and a conclusion that will sicken and dumbfound you make it a must see.
Be warned, you will never want to eat a KFC ever again after watching this film. For me, that was no big deal as I hate the stuff, but I feel there needs to be some sort of warning for big KFC-goers, you'll never see a chicken drumstick in the same way again. But besides all that, this latest film from William Friedkin is incredibly disturbing, yet maintains a steady sense of humour through every dark passageway it graces, which is a phenomenal achievement. What's the most surprising thing about this film omitting the KFC usage though? Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of the year and doesn't take his top off once! More films like this Matthew please, thank you.
See, I have a warm and fuzzy side. It's not all blood, guts and gore. However, even in this cute little kids film are some fantastic horror elements that will keep that horror hound satisfied. ParaNorman captures an old school cartoon vibe that aches of nostalgia, it's a piece of art on screen and is funny and entertaining to boot.
A brand new sexy Frankenstein for the 21st Century comes in the form of American Mary and holy cow, does she know her way around a scalpel. The Soska Twins brought this disturbing film to many countries on the festival circuit this year and are preparing for a DVD release in 2013, make sure you grab a copy.
After impressing horror fans everywhere in 2011 with his second feature Kill List, Ben Wheatley came out with this unpredictable, adorable but brutal tale about a couple on a murderous caravan holiday. It had killer sharp dialogue and some insanely imaginative death scenes that have brought Mr Wheatley to the forefront of people's attention. And rightly so.
In terms of big blockbuster horrors, it was slim pickings this year what with Paranormal Activity 4 doing a pretty average job, yet fully cementing itself as the next Saw franchise to take over each Halloween. So although I had my reservations, I found Sinister to be frightfully good breath of fresh air. Though the film had its flaws with some pretty cheap scares, the story and acting were genuinely enticing and I found myself very impressed. It's the film Insidious wishes it could have been.
This random find was brought to my attention at this year's Toronto After Dark film festival. A small, independent film that is nearly impossible to try and synopsise. Simply put, it deals with friendship, drug addiction and well erm, from there it gets a bit hazy. But, if you like original concepts and filmmakers that are trying to push boundaries, take a chance on this one because it may just blow you away.
If you see a more bat shit crazy film this year, please let me know. Until that happens (which it never will) this little piece of work goes right up there with the most ridiculous things these eyes have ever witnessed on screen. Though for many this will be headache inducing, and I am completely aware that it will be for some, for me this was a real treat. Unbelievably funny, completely unpredictable and the most original thing I've seen in a real long time. It's a shame it will be massively overlooked and ignored by many who deem it to be a hipster, tween concoction, but not by me. If you've yet to see it, give it a go and see how long it takes before your eyes melt and your brain explodes. 3 minutes tops I'd wager.