• ERIC BUTLER

2009 was a renaissance for horror - Part 1

Just when I start pointing out how the volume of horror choices has been building but is still nothing like the early 80s, we get a year like 2009. It is overrun with choices and so I've decided to do 2 lists. The first is just a top ten of original ideas, and the next list will feature 10 remakes or sequels. This will still leave some movies left out in the cold, but a line must be drawn.


So let's get into the top 10 of 2009 that don't include remakes or sequels ...


Not only is Trick 'r Treat the #1 movie for 2009, but it is also in play for my #1 horror movie period. So ignore Daniel and his terrible takes on this movie. Written and directed by Michael Doughtery (wrote X2, Superman Returns, and Krampus) and produced by Bryan Singer's production company before he got busted in the me-too movement, and was still pretty hot. The cast is huge: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, Tahmoh Penikett, Brett Kelly, Quinn Lord, and Moneca Delain.


What's crazy is how hard it was to get this movie out to the masses. It was slated to be released in October of 2007 but WB pulled it for no reason. Some think it was done because they didn't want to put the movie up against Saw IV. Another reason may have been the poor reaction at the box office to Superman Returns (Singer & Doughtery were behind that). There was a rumor it would be released in 2008, then early 2009, but in the end, it was released direct-to-DVD in October of 2009.


Find it on amc+ & Shudder to check it out.


Blurb - Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.


Sam Raimi(Evil Dead) returned to horror after giving the world 3 Spider-Man movies with Drag Me to Hell. Part of the fun of this one is the uniqueness of the idea. Horror rarely visits curses or gypsies, and this one does a great job of focusing on that. You have to rent or buy it to stream.


Blurb - A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


So I get it if you passed on this because you don't like Megan Fox, but surprise she's really good in Jennifer's Body. You're also missing out on a great cast - Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons, Kyle Gallner, and a very smart script by Diablo Cody. Stream it on tubi.


Blurb - A newly-possessed high-school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?


in 2009, Ti West wrote and directed a horror film on the opposite spectrum from his newest slasher X. House of the Devil harkens back to the old European style of suspense horror. The movie really captures the feel and look of the early 80s, and I just love the way the tension builds throughout. You can watch this on a bunch of different services - tubi, VUDUfree, peacock, Shudder, and IMDBTv(Prime free).

Blurb - In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.


I stumbled across Triangle years ago on Prime and was pleasantly surprised. I'm a big fan of Melissa George and she does a great job in this one. If you haven't seen the first season of In Treatment on HBO, she's great in that as well. You can check this movie out on tubi, amc+, VUDUfree, and Shudder.


Blurb - Yacht passengers encounter mysterious weather conditions that force them to jump onto another ship, only to have the odd havoc increase.


Another movie I think was helped by seeing it in the theater was Paranormal Activity. That said Steven Spielberg got so spooked watching it at home that he stopped it and finished it in the daylight hours. He convinced the creator to change the ending and Paramount eventually bought the rights for $350k(it cost $11-15k to make). It went on to make $193 million.

Stream it on Prime, Paramount+, and Epix.

Blurb - After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.


The Collector is written & directed by Marcus Dunstan, who wrote Feast, Saw IV, and Saw V. He originally wanted it to be a prequel to the Saw movies but the studio declined. I think that is actually for the best. Check it out on Prime, VUDUfree, tubi, and PlutoTV.


Blurb - Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.

Right before the big zombie boom, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, & Abigail Breslin came together to give us the horror/comedy Zombieland. Check it out on Peacock.


**Bonus - I didn't put it in the 10 but if you like zombie movies there's a great one called Dead Snow. It's a foreign film so take that into account.


Blurb - A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting bruiser in search of the last Twinkie and a pair of sisters striving to get to an amusement park join forces in a trek across a zombie-filled America.

I love space horror, and Pandorum has become a cult favorite over the years. Originally planned to be a trilogy, but that ship sailed long ago. Still, it's worth a watch, and you can stream it on tubi.


Blurb - Two crew members of a spaceship wake up from hypersleep to discover that all their colleagues are missing. Despite this, it appears that they are not alone.

Billed as based on a true story, The Fourth Kind takes a look at the effects of alien abductions. I've already admitted I'm a sucker for Milla Jovovich so you had to think this movie would make the list. This came out the same year as The Perfect Getaway which you should see if you haven't. And then go to IMDBTv(Prime free) to watch her get abducted.


Blurb - A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.


See you Wednesday with the 10 movies of 2009 that were remakes or sequels...

 

My interview went well and lasted 2.5 hours. If you are interested in hearing my thought on horror and my plans for Donn, click here - note, I couldn't get the video to work so I called in.

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