Here’s a list of the eleven favorite horror movies I saw in 2016.
ACROSS THE RIVER Italian horror flick about an ethologist who ends up stranded in a not-quite abandoned village in the woods. The rest of the movie consists of him investigating strange creaks and sounds and awaiting the inevitable as the last two residents of the village toy with him. I’m sure lots of people would find this unutterably boring, but I liked it. Lots of unanswered questions, here. Why is the old man cutting into the pillow? Why are they circling the tree?
THE BAY Found-footage flick about tongue-eating parasites in the Chesapeake Bay who decide to crash the town of Claridge, Maryland’s annual 4th of July festivities. This movie features an ensemble cast, including a TV reporter with too-tight pants, a couple who decide to travel to Claridge via speedboat with their newborn and a mayor who dumps a few hundred tons of steroid-tainted chicken shit into the bay. My favorite character is Ms. Crustacean, who – alas – only has a bit part. I don’t think this movie was well-marketed, but it’s well-done and the filmmakers resist the urge to unveil a goofy-looking monster. The critters in this flick are small but mean; they eat you from the inside-out.
BLACK CHRISTMAS Directed by Bob Clark, who also made A Christmas Story and Porky’s, this proto-slasher should be required holiday viewing. This movie differs from your average slasher movie in that the Final Girl dies first. A group of sorority sisters start getting X-rated phone calls from a disturbed individual. Turns out said disturbed individual lives in the sorority house’s attic, where he displays one of his victims in the attic window like an oversized Christmas ornament. A great cast includes Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder and John Saxon. Am pretty sure someone involved with this movie had an asphyxiation fetish.
THE BROOD Freaky David Cronenberg flick about monster kids, addiction to therapy and nasty divorces. Interestingly, Cronenberg’s wonderful movie Rabid features characters addicted to plastic surgery. This flick features some truly disturbing violence and standout performances by Oliver Reed and Samantha Egger.
CHRONOS Underrated Del Toro movie about a kindly old antique dealer bitten by an ancient bug scarab that makes him younger and gives him a hankering for blood. A young Ron Perlman steals the show.
COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE 70’s quasi-remake of Dracula. At first I thought this would be one of those made for TV movies featuring a bunch of over-the-hill Hollywood stars but it turned into a surprisingly nasty flick. The characters are cardboard cutout, but Robert Quarry is very good as Count Yorga and the ending is great.
FINAL PRAYER Found-footage flick. A Vatican debunking team descends upon on an old church built on a pagan site, intent on debunking, with bloody results.
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT Black-and-white Persian vampire movie shot in California. The Girl listens to pop tunes, skateboards, hangs out with – and feeds on – her fellow nightcrawlers and is bored out of her mind. That changes when she meets a stoned drug-dealer dressed as Count Dracula. Kiss or kill?
IT FOLLOWS Supernatural entity stalks and kills teens who have sex. The monster is slow but it changes shape and you can’t stop it and the only way you can get rid of it is by having sex with someone else. A bizarre movie with lots of visually interesting moments. Why is the girl at the movie’s start wearing bright red high heels when she’s at home with her parents? Why is the e-reader shaped like a seashell soap dish? Beats me.
LAKE MUNGO Girl drowns in reservoir, her family is haunted by her ghost. Or are they? Atmospheric pseudo-documentary with one big jump scare, but it’s a good one.
SUSPIRIA Pastel-colored fairy tale about witches at a ballet school, Suspiria has no plot and is a must-see.