Slasher Studios: Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013

Bad Milo
The comedy found with Bad Milo! is just my cup of tea. The actors all have impeccable comedic timing as I found myself laughing out loud numerous times. The awkward comedy reminds me a bit of the The Office during the good years and it is so refreshing to actually like the characters and want to be involved with there life. The funny moments play a nice contrast to the horror aspects when Milo does his thing. There were a few bloody scenes and one in particular that will make any man cringe…


Billy Club
Billy Club, directed by the creative Wisconsin natives Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer, is one of the top indie films for 2013. With the duo trying to follow up their first feature, Blood Junkie (Rosas directed and Sommer acted), they had big shoes to fill. Although Blood Junkie his hard to compete with, Billy Club came through in a big way. The look of the film is outstanding and the acting can hold its own against many big budget films of the year. The killers wardrobe and weapon of choice will help set this film apart from other run-of-the-mill horror villains.


The Conjuring
This film by James Wan is one of the best looking films of the year. The cinematography and lighting choices added not only suspense, but substance as well. The film is filled with great camera work that really adds to the production value. The effects were creepy and well done, not taking me out of the film for a second. This great looking film was luckily paired with a great story and fantastic acting. If you are searching for that one film this year to give you goosebumps, you have found it in The Conjuring.

Curse of Chucky
Though the film starts with a slow buildup in the first act that results in two off screen deaths, the film nicely comes together in its second act to become one of the best made for video horror movies of recent years. To go on and tell you what REALLY works about this film would be to give away way too many of the devilish surprises. Let’s just say that fans will cheer in delight as the film hits its final act as there are in jokes, references, and homages to just about anything and everything Chucky has done in the past. The backstory might not be fulfilling to some and there might be some leaps in logic, but this is the rare horror sequel that actually appears to be trying to add something new while being faithful to what came before it. If you are a Chucky fan, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. Also, make sure to stay after the end credits for one treat of a scene that will leave audiences howling. Thanks for returning Chucky, you were missed. Now, let’s see some more Chuck!

Evil Dead
Words cannot simply describe the experience of watching “Evil Dead” (2013). For a remake, it feels more like a sequel than anything and I really mean that as a compliment. This is the rare movie that stays true to the original while adding a strong new story, likable characters, and more blood and gore than you will likely see all year. It is relentless in its terror and atmosphere and actually made me feel uneasy at several key moments. If this film had to be cut to receive an R rating, I can’t even imagine what the original NC-17 version looked like. Not everyone is going to come out of this film with the same admiration that I had for it. Those that like their horror “fun” may feel a bit drained by the entire experience but I left the theater shaking. Yes, I found it to be THAT good.

The reincarnation of the 1980 Maniac is told in a modern setting with an interesting and risky technique. A technique, by the way, I applaud. The film is shot mostly for the killers POV. Not sure if this was a way to capitalize on the success of found footage films that put the audience in the position of character, but all in all, this worked. The viewers are given disturbing looks through the eyes of Frank, played by Elijah Wood. This helps not only ramp up the intensity, but also helps with the suspense and surprise factor.

This is the kind of slasher that is about five times better than it has any right to be. So often at Slasher Studios we have been mourning the loss of the “fun slasher.” Well my dear readers, if a fun slasher is what you want…a fun slasher is exactly what you get here. At 85 minutes, it never its pacing never drags and is filled with such a maniacal glee that even the hard core slasher snob will find something to enjoy here.

V/H/S 2
VHS 2 is a much better all around experience than VHS was. The characters are more likable, the stories are better paced, and the concepts and ideas are stronger with some creative execution. Not all segments will hit home with all viewers but you gotta appreciate the effort. I’m ready for VHS 3!


Warm Bodies
Bravo to Jonathan Levine for creating a zombie film that broke out from the ordinary. The undead craze has saturated the market with dull, paint-by-numbers zombie films. Although there have been a few exceptions over the past few years, Warm Bodies was able to bring us horror fans something to interesting and powerful. The idea of zombies having an inner monologue and the ability to live again was fascinating and intriguing. Warm Bodies is able to keep the audience engaged with witty dialogue, cool effects and a unique story to warm even the coldest heart.


You’re Next
I consider myself a hardcore slasher fan, I try to go into every slasher movie I see with no expectations. After two years of hype, Adam Wingard‘s “You’re Next” was no exception. I saw only one trailer and managed to avoid all tv spots. I went in as fresh as I possibly could hoping to dig into the gory goodness. After a fairly mediocre opening, things weren’t looking so hot for the slasher. But then something interesting happened, I started to fall in love with the movie. Starting around the “dinner table scene” I found myself laughing along with the arguments and delicious black comedy as it was something I could relate to. The pitch black comedy (the dead mother line, the “Who is the fastest runner?” debate, etc) was totally on mark for me, and I loved the deaths (no CGI, hell yeah!). It was nice to see a slasher in which we were given a final girl who made the right decisions and managed to stay smart throughout. The ending especially had me smiling in all its macabre madness. It’s not a perfect movie but I had a damn good time with it.


Slasher Studios 2012 Horror Year in Review

It has been quite the year in horror, hasn’t it? I was going to wait until the end of the month to post my Horror Year in Review. Then I got to thinking, there is not a single horror movie coming out from now until the end of the month receiving any buzz, so why wait? NOTE: If an awesomely great and insanely bad horror movie does find its release in the next two weeks, I will update this list. This isn’t just an ordinary year in review list. I am posting my best of and worst of picks but I also have a slew of various categories up for debate. Not all of you are going to agree on these choices. I have a few some of you out there are going to HATE my pick for Best of 2012 and there are some of you out there that are going to cringe at my pick for Biggest Letdown. Hate my picks and want to share your own? I want to hear your picks for the Horror Year in Review. Bring on the hate…

Best Horror Movie of the Year: DETENTION

The phrase “love it or hate it” is overused when it comes to describing films in general. The term is too often applied without much care and is a way to separate oneself from the masses. Nonetheless, I WILL use the “love it or hate it” phrase because nothing else can possibly describe it. The mind fuck movie of the year. “Love it or hate it”, you’ve never seen anything like this before. A guy with the tv for a hand, a time traveling bear, a mother and daughter that switch bodies, UFOs, meteors, parallel time lines? It’s all here in one of the strangest movies that you will see all year. A test to see if you will like this film, when a confrontation gets ugly a reply to the bully is, “Sorry, I gotta go. Hotel for Dogs is on cable.” Make you laugh or smile a little? Well then, “Detention” is the movie for you. Loaded with gore, strong performances by a more than capable cast, one kicking soundtrack, and more pop cultural references than you can shake a stick at…”Detention” is “Scream” meets “Scott Pilgram” with a dash or two of “Kaboom?” It makes for one wild cocktail. Want a drink? I certainly took in this delicious beverage and haven’t stopped thinking about it 6 months after watching it.

Other Amazing Horror Movies: Dead Weight, Found, The Innkeepers, Mother’s Day, Paranorman, The Sleeper, Silent House, Silent Night

Best Horror Short of the Year: BABY-SITTING

“Baby-Sitting” just might be the best short film I have ever seen and this is coming from someone who has seen hundreds of short films. Loved the opening Grindhouse style credits, the score is playful yet very sinister and creepy, and the children were deliciously evil without being over-the-top. The use of practical gore effects had me with my mouth agasp for the last half of the film. As if that wasn’t great enough, the use of dark humor had me smiling throughout (there is a scene involving a boy scout that is especially deliciously deranged). I seriously loved every moment of the film and my only criticism is I wish it were longer. I am extremely impressed and cannot wait to see what director/writer Lucas Masson has in store for slasher fans. He has one sick and twisted mind and hopefully that never changes. After “High Tension,” “Inside,” “Martyrs,” and now this, can we all agree that French know where it is at when it comes to horror today?

Other Kick-Ass Horror Shorts: Doll-Boy, Dummy, Familiar, The Keeper, Other

Worst Horror Movie of the Year: ATM

A film so bad that I didn’t even care to do a full review for it. Three friends are trapped at an ATM while a killer waits outside for them to make a fatal move. An intriguing premise is wasted with some illogical plot turns and some abysmal acting. The production values are solid and there is some solid suspense in the first act but none of that matters when the characters act as stupidly as these three. Special bonus points to Josh Peck as the asshole Corey who takes far too long to die. Avoid like the plague.

Other Awful Horror Movies: Area 407, The Devil Inside, The Moth Diaries, Paranormal Activity 4, Rosewood Lane

Biggest Horror Letdown of the Year: CABIN IN THE WOODS

I can understand and appreciate why people love this horror movie. It’s something different. It isn’t PG-13 and it isn’t a remake. Nonetheless, I was left quite cold. This film attempts to be a clever horror-comedy packed with meta self awareness. Clever it is. Funny or scary? Not so much. This film is being billed as “Scream” for the next generation. That it is not. “Scream”, for all its meta self awareness was both scary and funny as hell. Everything and everyone associated with this picture appear to either be trying far too hard or not enough, I’m not exactly sure which. I know I am in the minority here so if you have a desire to see this film by all means go out there and enjoy the hell out of it. I wanted to and didn’t. I appreciate it when any horror movie gets recognition and acclaim. I love to see horror movies that make people fall in love with genre again. If I didn’t fall in love with this one, that shouldn’t stop you. That said, I will probably never watch this film again.

Another Bummer Horror: V/H/S

Biggest Horror Surprise: PIRANHA 3DD

After months of bad press, I was expecting this one to be quite the stinker. While 90% of the horror community hated this sequel with a passion, I actually found a lot to enjoy. “Piranha 3DD” not “Schindler’s List.” You want big breasted girls being torn apart by piranhas? You want David Hasselholff running in slow motion to the Baywatch theme to save a drowning ginger boy? You want the death of not one but TWO annoying kids played up for two of the biggest laughs in the movie? Well, you get all of this and a hell of a lot more. Rating a movie like “Piranha 3DD” is a different proposition. The film itself is not nearly as good as the original remake (how’s that for an oxymoron?) but I would argue that this sequel is a hell of a lot more fun. Take out the 13 minute credits (stay for them, there are some funny bloopers and behind the scenes video) and you are left with a 70 minute nonstop rollercoaster ride that is over before you can even begin to think of the bad acting and nonsensical plot developments. “Piranha 3DD” left me craving another sequel and isn’t that the best thing you can say about a cheesy horror flick?

Other Horror Surprises: The Gremlin, Girls Gone Dead, Silent House, Silent Night

Best Horror Trend: KILLING KIDS

Just when I thought horror films were becoming a bit too politically correct, 2012 came along to show me that killing kids in horror movies is not only okay but also hilarious if done right. Films like “Baby-Sitting,” “Piranha 3DD,” and “Silent Night” all played up the death of children for cheap laughs. In every single one of the these movies, the scenes were delciously over-the-top and in the most bad taste possible. Horror should be about pushing the envelope and I’m glad these films didn’t shy away from that. Here is hoping we see more kids dying on screen in horror in 2013.

There you go, some of my random thoughts on the 2012 horror year. Now let’s bring on the gory goodness in 2013 with some more slashers. Please?! Movies like “Silent Night” deserve to have a nationwide release. Make it happen studios!


Slasher Studios: Top 5 Horror Movies of 2011

While 2011 wasn’t a very memorable horror year, there were several horror movies that we thought stood out from the crowd by either living up to expectations or handily succeeded them. We have two sequels, a wholly original comedy-thriller, and two remakes. All in all a fairly interesting year for horror. Without further ado…here are our top five favorite horror movies of 2011.

5. Mother’s Day
One of the few remakes that actually tops their original in terms of effects, acting, plot, and story. Three brothers on the run from the law head for home, only to discover that their mother lost the house in a foreclosure. Mother ingeniously orchestrates her sons’ escape, teaching the house’s new owners and their guests a few lessons along the way. Suspenseful from the opening frame, it is a shame this movie has yet to be given a release in the United State. The performances and gore effects are top notch and De Mornay hasn’t been this good in years.

4. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
Easily the funniest horror movie of the year. Actually it is the best out and out horror comedy since 2009’s “Zombieland.” Like the best horror/comedies, “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” mines its central crazy joke (what if the serial killers in horror movies really were the victims themselves) for some incredible scares, laughs, and — believe it or not — heart. The fact that this movie was released in less than 100 theaters nationwide and “Paranormal Actvity 3” was given a 3000+ screen release isn’t as insulting as it is sad. Looking for a gory slasher with a few laughs? Pluck down a couple of bucks for a few beers and a copy of this movie, you’ll thank me later.

To order on Amazon: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is over-the-top, melodramatic, and full of plot holes. But, you know what dear reader, I loved every minute of it. This is the kind of movie in which logic is thrown out the door before the opening credits even begin. It is atmospheric in a way that has been missing from most horror movies today. Those that were disappointed by the lack of Gothic overtones in “Fright Night” will be in Heaven here. The sets are gorgeous and the fluid use of cinematography is inviting in a way that makes you feel at home with these gawkily little creatures. The acting here is a bit hit or miss. Guy Pearce is terrible as the father who doesn’t seem to care whether his girlfriend or his daughter lives or dies. His performance is bland to the point of sleepwalking through his role. Katie Holmes, on the other hand, is a revelation. It’s nice to see a strong, female role in which she is neither helpless nor a shrewd bitch. She thoroughly blew me away and has a few very touching scenes with Madison. Madison makes for a convincingly scared child but her performance is a bit hit or miss. Overall, if you are in the mood for a moody, Gothic treat, you could do far, far worse than “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”.

To order on Amazon: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

2. Final Destination 5
Original concept? No. Great acting? No. Wonderful story? No. But..let’s be honest…who cares? “Final Destination 5″ is the most fun I’ve had in the movies in months. Probably the most fun I’ve had watching a film since “Scream 4″ opened in April. This movie works from beginning to end thanks to some incredible death scenes and some solid performances. This is actually the first “FD” movie that I’ve seen since part 2 in which I actually CARED about the characters. This isn’t a perfect movie. The middle drags a bit and I did feel a bit cheated by at least one death. Nonetheless, this is by far and away my favorite of the series. Just don’t let ANYONE give away the twist ending. That’s the best part of all.

To order on Amazon: Final Destination 5 (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy)

1. Scream 4
“Scream 4″ is executed with an artistic flair of wit and style that long time fans and film buffs alike were able to love. While I sometimes wished there could have been a little more genuine tension and suspense, the final twenty minutes were just so off-the-wall that it makes up for any slow patches. All in all, this was bloody, fun, and very entertaining. The cast is clearly having a ton of fun, and most of them really put on a good show. This may be cinematic junk food but it sure is tasty. I saw this movie five times in theaters and would have easily have gone another five. Just an absolute blast from beginning to end and a satisfying new installment in the series.

To order on Amazon: Scream 4