2014 - Horror takes an eclectic path
2014 gave us a good mix of original works & outside-the-box remakes. A ton of stuff came out so I'm sure I missed something popular or one of your favorites. We are still in my dark period, but this year does contain some of my favorite movies in the genre. So let's get to it.
First up is the movie adaptation of Joe Hill's novel, Horns. Hill is Stephen King's kid, and the novel is one of my favorites. Alexandre Aja brings his flair for horror to the director's chair, and Daniel Radcliffe takes on another role to shake off his Harry Potter type-casting. Radcliffe is fantastic as the main character, and yet when I hear he replaced Shia LaBeouf, I find myself wishing he had been able to do the movie. Check it out on tubi.
Blurb - In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his forehead.
If Horns is 1a, It Follows is a close 1b. Before David Robert Mitchell wrote/directed the mind-bending Under the Silver Lake, he gave us this fun and scary pursuit film. Check it out on Netflix.
Blurb - A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter.
Director Jennifer Kent owns the rights to The Babadook and states there will never be another one as long as she does. I hope she keeps her word because this is a rare gem that doesn't deserve any watering down. Check it out on amc+ or Shudder.
Blurb - A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.
James DeMonaco returns to the Purge universe to give us The Purge: Anarchy. I love this one, and if you squint, you might see a bit of the Punisher in this version. You'll have to rent/buy to stream to this one.
Blurb - Three groups of people intertwine and are left stranded in the streets on Purge Night, trying to survive the chaos and violence that occurs.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a weird one. It's kind of a loose remake of the 1976 film, which is based on a true story, but also a sequel in a way. It should be up there with the classic slasher films. Check it out on tubi.
Blurb - 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called "moonlight murders" begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl may be the key to catching him.
I've talked Cooties up a ton on this site. It's funny, and a great take on the zombie genre. The cast is great and knows how to operate in an ensemble atmosphere. Check it out on tubi & VUDUfree.
Blurb - A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.
John Erick Dowdle gets the horror director trifecta(Quarantine, Devil) with As Above So Below. This is the first production to secure permission from the French Government to film in the catacombs. You'll have to rent/buy to stream this one.
Blurb - When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.
Stephen Sommers's last time in the director's chair(he's not dead, but The Mummy only gets you so much grace) was for the adaptation of Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas. I'm not sure if this would have ever become a series but the death of the main actor, Anton Yelchin, puts a dent in it. Still, this is an entertaining movie and worth the watch. Check it out on Prime, tubi, & Roku.
Blurb - In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.
Kevin Smith continues his journey into horror with the completely bizarre Tusk. He worked out the idea on his podcast and took 15 days to film the complete film. Justin Long is fantastic as the brash Pod-caster, and Michael Parks is captivating as Howard Howe. I'm not even sure it's a good movie, but it needs to be seen.
Side note - Johnny Depp disappears into the role of Guy Lapointe. It was originally offered to Quentin Tarantino, but he passed. You need Showtime to stream it.
Blurb - A brash and arrogant podcaster gets more than he bargained for when he travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse... who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses.
After Wolfman flopped, Universal kept the Universe going with Dracula Untold. They are desperate to have Universal Monsters be a viable universe but they never seem to get the right people in charge. However, this is an interesting and fun take on Dracula - more action film than horror. Luke Evans is perfectly cast as Vlad and I think it would have been great to see a sequel that shows us how he evolved into the character from Bram Stoker. Check it out on HBOMax.
Blurb - As his kingdom is being threatened by the Turks, young prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster feared by his own people in order to obtain the power needed to protect his own family, and the families of his kingdom.
Sandwiched between 2 amazing movies, Sinister & Doctor Strange, director Scott Derrickson gave us Deliver Us From Evil. If you like possession movies, this is a fun ride. Like most of these, it is loosely based on a true story. You will have to rent/buy to stream this one.
Blurb - New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.