Here’s the list I love to compile every year. This is the list that proves I haven’t wasted the last year watching shitty flicks!! Again, this list is limited to films from 2013 although there are two exceptions (as discussed below). I would never claim to have seen every single 2013 release, so this list is of course based on just the films I’ve seen. This is where I need and want your feedback. Think I left a film off this list, let me know. Maybe I didn’t see it. Maybe I did and I didn’t like it. Whatever. I’ll also have a list of some runner-ups of films I thought were good but just missed making my list. So here’s my list IN ORDER (counting backwards) of my favorite films of 2013.
10. V/H/S 2 (my review)
It’s amazing what a year can do!! Last year the first VHS horror anthology made my Worst Horror Films of 2012 list. It seems the filmmakers took to heart all the negative reviews V/H/S received because they put out one helluva follow up with V/H/S 2. Granted not every story in this one hits the mark. The first story, “Phase I Clinical Trials” directed by Adam Wingard, is a huge miss and at first I thought V/H/S 2 was doomed. But then the anthology followed it up with a cool take on the zombie story and then a kick ass doom cult entry that easily stole the show. V/H/S 2 revived my faith in the horror anthology.
9. ABSENCE (my review)
The first indie horror flick on my Best of list. This is a production marked with strong performances, a solid story, and good character development. Its about a woman who is in her seventh month of pregnancy who wakes up one morning to discover her baby is gone. There was no bleeding or sudden miscarraige and there was no sign of foul play. It seemingly vanished into thin air. The rest of the film takes it’s time exploring what happened to her child. What almost turned me off about this one was the use of found footage to tell most of the story (the woman’s brother video tapes everything), but even this over-used gimmick was handled well. This film isn’t heavy on gore or violence but is more of a character-driven plot that relies on atmosphere and solid acting. Don’t miss this one.
8. HATCHET III (my review)
Oh Victor; he’s back to his old shenanigans again!!! This entry in the popular slasher franchise has the heroes working to end the curse of Victor Crowley once and for all. Plenty of gore, violence, and dark humor make this one unavoidably fun.
7. THE BALLAD OF SKINLESS PETE (my review)
Another indie horror flick by Dustin Mills (who has another film, NIGHT OF THE TENTACLES, on Deggsy’s Best of list) which was made on a purported $2,000 budget. But don’t let the budget fool you. Mills makes this film look like a million bucks and cuts back only on locations (the film is shot in one location). You’ll be amazed at what Mills accomplishes with the special f/x on such a low budget. But the strength here lies in the story and the acting (but don’t worry; the gore is plentiful and fantastic). The basic story here has the titular character obsessed with finding a cure for cancer. To all you burgeoning research scientists out there, learn something from this film and never use yourself as a guinea pig!! This is one of those films that needs to be seen to be believed.
6. SLEDGE (my review)
The indie horror scene is well represented on this year’s list!! This one comes from directors John B Sovie II and Kristian Hanson. What makes this stand out from your typical slasher flick is the killer himself, Adam Lynch. He talks!! Not only that but he taunts his victims and just adds insult to injury. This is a fantastic first film for these two talented directors and they are currently hard at work on SLEDGE 2. Bring it on guys!!
I watched this film last night because I’ve been hearing such good things about it that I wanted to make sure I saw it in time just in case it was worthy of my Best of 2013 list. It most definitely is. This is the kind of film that works better the less you know about it. Don’t worry about knowing plot details ahead of time, just trust me (and hundreds of other reviewers) and go see this. The story concerns a man who wakes up in a huge open grave with absolutely no memory of anything … not even of his own name. The rest of the film has him trying to figure out what his connection is to the literally thousands of dead bodies in the open grave. A great atmosphere and some fantastic acting make this one a winner.
4. FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY (my review)
Who says the ‘monster movie’ is dead?? FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY uses the myth of Dr. Frankenstein and goes off deep into creature feature territory. The creatures here are original, frightening, and bad ass. This one is just a whole lot of fun.
This is another one I watched just last night and haven’t had time to write up my review. But this takes the home invasion sub-genre (a sub-genre I really don’t care for) and really makes it feel fresh and new. This is also one of my exceptions to my 2013 rule. YOU’RE NEXT only just got a wide distribution this year. The story is about the entire Davison family coming together to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Things quickly take a dark turn (to say the least). There’s a couple twists in the story but the real winner here is the character of Erin. Think DIE HARD meets THE STRANGERS!! The acting is great from the entire cast and who doesn’t love seeing the beautiful Barbara Crampton back in a horror movie??
2. EVIL DEAD REMAKE (my review)
For all intents and purposes this remake of the EVIL DEAD should have sucked shaved balls. I openly admit that I bashed the shit out of this film when it was first announced. But I can also admit when I was wrong. Was it a perfect remake? No. But goddamn if the filmmakers here didn’t get more things right than wrong. I’d call this one more of a re-imaging than a remake but that’s just splitting hairs. What horror fans across the world rejoiced in was the attention and care that went into the special f/x. Hell, this one was gorier than the original!! Most fans have already seen this one but if you haven’t, get off your high horse and go see it immediately. You won’t regret it.
1. THE LORDS OF SALEM (my review)
And finally my number one film for 2013. This is the second exception to my 2013 rule. This is really a 2012 film but didn’t get a wide distribution until 2013 so I’m making an exception. Besides, I loved this fucking film and this is my list
As I’ve said time and time again, you either love Rob Zombie’s films or you hate them. I love Zombie as a filmmaker and think he’s got a unique vision. It’s this vision that you either love or hate. I also know this wasn’t the exact film Zombie wanted in the end. Studio pressures, for one, led him to this as the final product. But bravo!! This is a heady, trippy, film that’ll take you back to the good old days of ROSEMARY’S BABY and other satanic films of the 1970s. The story deals with a record that when played triggers visions and memories of the town’s dark past. Or is it simply that Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is slowly losing her mind as she slips back into drug addiction. Great performances (Sheri Moon Zombie is fantastic), great cinematography, and a kick ass soundtrack are just some of the elements that make this one terrific film.
So with 2013 at a close, what are some of the films you think I and Deggsy missed on our Best and Worst of lists? And here’s hoping 2014 is a horror-filled year with lots of scares, gore, and senseless violence!!
Stay Bloody in the New Year!!!