Top Ten Horror Releases of 2011

 

Written by Steve Pattee

 

 

2011 is coming to a close and it's time for a roundup of my favorite releases of the year. There was a lot to love this past year on both the big screen and the small, as well as some books that stuck out from the rest.

Here are my top ten releases in horror this year, in no particular order:

 

Insidious
Aside from the ridiculous choice to use Darth Maul as the main baddie and the shit trailer that revealed a major plot point, Insidious showed that, yes, a PG-13 horror movie scaring the hell out of people is still quite possible. With a healthy Poltergeist vibe throughout, Insidious was the best horror film I saw in the theaters this year.

 

The Walking Dead: Season 2
While a lot of people got fed up with the slow pacing and surprising lack of zombies in The Walking Dead this year, I enjoyed (mostly) every minute of it. Sure, the Sophia storyline was pushed to its limit and even I got tired of it, but the mid-season finale effectively showed that The Walking Dead can still kick major ass when it wants to. Granted, we still have another half of the season to go coming up in 2012, but The Walking Dead was still the best horror on TV in 2011.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Skew
Skew is the indie feature that probably creeped me out the most during its duration. A "found footage" film, Skew shows nothing but promise for its writer / director Sevé Schelenz. There's a lot to like about this movie, but one of my favorite things is Schelenz never spoon feeds you and it only gets better with multiple viewings. While it's not on DVD yet, you can stream it through Netflix.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Fangboy
I had to put Fangboy by Jeff Strand on this list for two reasons. The first is that the book is so damn enjoyable, immediately after finishing it I picked up his novel Wolf Hunt and Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary), the former I dug almost as much as Fangboy and the latter I haven't had a chance to read yet. The second reason is, well, the book is so damn enjoyable. Appropriate for both kids and adults, Fangboy has a delicious mean streak that runs throughout and I can only hope I see more adventures from the titular character.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film
I'm still not sure what impresses me most about Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film, how much of an awesome coffee table book it makes, what a fun and informative read it is, the beauty of the whole package from the protective slipcover on the outside to the pictures galore on the inside, or the fact that it's still going for around twenty dollars on Amazon. Even the casual Alien fan should have this on his or her shelf.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Synapse Films
No, not a movie or a comic, but Synapse Films has been kicking ass this year with some stellar horror and cult releases such as Vampire Circus, Maniac Cop, Frankenhooker, The Dorm that Dripped Blood, Wide Open, The Exterminator, Intruder and more. I make no bones about it, I'm a Synapse fanboy and thank god for us horror and cult fans there are still companies out there delivering the special editions of the classics that no one else will bother with.

 

Interplanetary
My introduction to writer / director Chance Shirley was the ultra low-budget film Hide and Creep back in July of 2005. A zombie comedy with a heavy influence of Kevin Smith, Hide and Creep was in heavy rotation on my playlist that year and I still throw it in from time to time. It wasn't until 2011 that Shirley's sophomore effort, Interplanetary, was released on DVD and this time it's a monster comedy that is full of both laughs and gore. The only frustrating thing about the film is wondering how long I have to wait for another film by Shirley.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

I Spit on Your Grave
While technically I Spit on Your Grave was in the theaters in 2010, it was only a dozen or so of them and it didn't go wide in the States until February of 2011 when it was released on DVD and Blu-ray. As a fan of the original, I had some reservations seeing this, but by the time it was over I fucking loved this movie. It's as mean spirited as the 1978 version with a bit better pacing. Sure, Camille Keaton's Jennifer has more of an innocent look than 2011's Sarah Butler, which works better for the original, but the remake has a bit tighter editing for a smoother flow. Obviously not all remakes work, but this is one that does, especially when Jennifer's revenge is just as brutal and vicious as the original.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Red State
I've been a huge fan of Kevin Smith ever since his blowout independent film Clerks back in 1994, but I don't bother defending my love for his work. Actually, I'm inclined to agree with his critics on the problems with his films: I'm the first to admit that Clerks doesn't hold up, Chasing Amy's ending was a bag of suck, Mallrats will grow on you and Jay and Silent Bob need to stay far, far away from Kevin Smith's movies. That said, Red State is like no Kevin Smith film I've seen before. This movie is flat-out mean to every character involved, from main to supporting. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it was one of my favorites of 2011 regardless, mainly due to the fact that it's so anti-Smith. Oh, and the Kevin Pollack scene, too.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 

Hobo with a Shotgun
Rutger Hauer is a hobo. With a shotgun. That's all you need to know. Hobo with a Shotgun pays a better grindhouse homage better than Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse and, unlike Grindhouse, Hobo with a Shotgun lives up to its hype.

 

Read the HorrorTalk review: HERE

 



 

 

 

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About The Author
Steve Pattee
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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