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Dread Central’s Best and Worst Horror Films of 2015

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Dread Central Best Worst 2015

Another year has come to an end, which means it’s time for the Dread Central staff to weigh in with their picks of the best and worst of 2015’s horror offerings. What tickled our fancy? What made us pine for those precious minutes we’d never get back? Read on for the results from what was overall a pretty okay year for horror movies.

We’ve also compiled everyone’s picks to come up with the year’s overall winners and losers. We averaged out the top and bottom vote-getters on our collective 12 lists, and here are the results:

BEST: THE FINAL GIRLS
Runners-up: Bone Tomahawk, Deathgasm, We Are Still Here (tied for 2nd); Goosebumps, Spring, Turbo Kid (tied for 3rd)

WORST: THE GALLOWS
Runners-up: It Follows, Muck



Anthony kicks things off for us. The other contributors’ lists can be found by scrolling through the pages or clicking the links below.

And on the home video side of the fence, be sure not to miss MattFini’s list of the Top 10 Cult Horror Blu-ray Releases of 2015 to Add to Your Collection!

Dread Central Best Worst 2015

Anthony Arrigo

As much as I enjoy making these year-end lists, they always wind up feeling slightly half-baked because, despite my commitment to watching as many films as possible, there is always a handful of titles I don’t get around to until the following year. So my list usually feels incomplete. Just as with last year, I managed to see a single horror film in theaters (Goosebumps, which I guess counts?) with everything else being viewed on VOD or Blu-ray.

This is because nearly every horror film released to theaters looked like utter crap. I made it through about fifteen minutes of Poltergeist (2015) before calling it quits. There are a number of films still in my queue – Tales of Halloween, Krampus, Cooties, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, to name a few – but here’s my take on the best & worst of 2015’s offerings I have managed to catch, in no particular order.

The Best

Deathgasm
If I were fourteen again, this would be my favorite movie ever. Heavy metal. Demons. Babes. A cursed song. A murderous cult. Death by chainsaw up the ass. Two deaths by rubber dildo. This film is a rollicking vehicle of over-the-top violence and satanic mayhem that also manages to work in a little heart… even if it is gushing blood all over the room. From the head-banging soundtrack to the animated sequences and everything in between, I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. All killer, no filler. Bring on the sequel!

Turbo KidTurbo Kid
This is one of those retro-vibe films that manages to play things right without veering off into parody. It’s self-aware, but not so much that it forgets the first rule is to be awesome and not play up nostalgia to a nauseating degree, nor to get so outrageous that it feels like a cheap pastiche. I’m looking at you, Kung Fury (2015), Hobo with a Shotgun (2011), and recent films by Robert Rodriguez. Munro Chambers is perfectly cast in the lead, Michael Ironside always rules (as well as adding heaps of gravitas), and the soundtrack by Le Matos is one of the best albums of the year. Almost forgot to mention: This movie is insanely violent. It’s Mad Max (1979) meets Rad (1986), and it rules.

The Voices
Imagine if Patrick Bateman worked in a mundane factory, living in a small town with two pets that talk to him. That’s the gist here, with Ryan Reynolds killing it (literally and figuratively) in this pitch black comedy. Reynolds seamlessly vacillates between chipper and cold-blooded, making the brutality of his kills even more disturbing. Some of the juxtaposed moments between idyllic suburban life and Reynolds’ character’s warped reality are almost Lynchian. I haven’t seen this one getting much love on year-end lists; it should not be overlooked.

Bone Tomahawk
Imagine if The Searchers (1956) was a horror film, the enemy Indians are twisted abominations of nature, and it featured one of the most unsettling, grotesque deaths ever. Seriously, there’s a kill in here that’s NSFL. Kurt Russell should be in every movie ever, and he’s this film’s backbone; surrounding him are capable actors delivering some career-best performances. I never knew Matthew Fox could be so good. Patrick Wilson is always a great casting choice. Richard Jenkins, however, steals this movie; he’s Oscar-worthy in every sense. The film slowly builds up tension before arriving at a third act that will have palms sweating.

The Final Girls
This is the best Friday the 13th sequel that isn’t part of the canon. The film so perfectly nails the period, tone, acting, and aesthetics of Jason’s old adventures that I was amazed it could subvert some of those old tropes and elevate old-hat material. There are characters you genuinely care about and a surprising amount of heart that doesn’t feel contrived. My only complaint is the same most fans seem to share: It’s PG-13, and so it lacks much of the blood and boobs that are endemic to slasher films of the ‘80s; however, the fact this film can eschew those elements and still be this great is a testament to good writing and solid direction. Loved the ending, too.

I flirted with the idea of including Ex Machina here – it’s one of my top three of the year – but it’s more sci-fi than anything else. What We Do in the Shadows (the best vampire mockumentary Christopher Guest never made), We Are Still Here (a great love letter to Fulci), and Goodnight Mommy (palpable sense of dread but may not hold up as well on repeat viewings) were other contenders for a spot.

The Worst

It Follows
It Sucks, too. I don’t put it here solely to be a contrarian, but what’s with all the hype behind this one? Sure, it looks great, relies on minimalism to tell the story, and has one of the year’s best soundtracks… but I agree with Uncle Creepy that this film breaks established rules up, down, and all around. Early on, the film presents guidelines that sound strict – then it breaks them time and again when it’s convenient for the story. I wanted to yell at my screen whenever these moments occurred because it frustrated the hell out of me. I wanted to love this movie – I really did – but the constant lack of adherence to the boundaries, coupled with a heavy-handed allegory for STDs, tuned me right out.

GravyGravy
The horror here is of the circa 2004 gross-out variety, while the attempts at humor never once elicited so much as a half-cracked smile from me. I’d rather spent 90 minutes sitting on the porcelain altar playing games on my phone than watch this one again.

Bloodsucking Bastards
See above. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: If you are going to make a horror/comedy, then make sure one of those elements is rock solid.

Toolbox Murders 2
Films like this inspire me to write a script because if this abhorrent piece of shit can get funding and be turned into a feature, then I’m certain anyone can make a film of their own. This also features the absolute worst performance I have ever seen from a lead waitress, er, actress. Stick with the former.

Harbinger Down
This film was made as a love letter to John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) – a claustrophobic, expertly-acted, superbly-cast exercise in tension and paranoia, featuring some of the finest practical effects ever committed to celluloid. Harbinger Down is the exact opposite of that statement. Gillis & Woodruff, bolstered by the bungling of their effects work for The Thing (2011), made this film as an excuse to show off practical effects… and, yet, for some reason many of the sights here look like they were sourced out to Amalgamated Dynamic’s b-team. And let’s not even discuss the writing and acting here…

Outside of horror, unquestionably the worst film I watched this year was Terminator: Genisys, further proving if anything needs terminating, it’s this beleaguered franchise.


MORE 2015 Best & Worst on the NEXT page!


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TONIGHT! #Brainwaves Episode 73: Powerman 5000’s Spider One

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For the 73rd edition of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio, we’re being joined by Powerman 5000 frontman Spider One to talk about his latest album, his career, and just what happens when worlds collide! Are you ready to go?

Join us TONIGHT at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

SUPPORT BRAINWAVES ON PATREON!

Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes. Not an iTunes user?  You can also listen right here on the site.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC and @JonathanBarkan using the hashtag #BrainWaves.

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

Brainwaves Contact!

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Armageddon’s Will Patton Joins Blumhouse Halloween as a Police Officer

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It was just the other day that we let you guys know that filming on Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s classic Halloween had kicked off in South Carolina.

And today we have news via The Tracking Board that yet another major member of the cast has been set with Will Patton joining Blumhouse’s Halloween as a police officer. Patton is a name you may recognize from such films as Armageddon, The Punisher, and The Puppet Masters.

No further details are known regarding Patton’s role at this point, but we will make sure to keep you guys up to date on any and all Halloween news as we hear it!

How excited are you for Blumhouse’s upcoming Halloween sequel from Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green? Let us know below!

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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An Early Draft of Halloween 6 Has Been Released And It’s… Interesting

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When Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers premiered in 1995, audiences weren’t particularly enamored… Between the convoluted story line and the numerous rewrites and production cuts, only the most ardent of Halloween fans could be satisfied. Not to say the film was a complete failure — many have warmed up to its charms in recent years, praising the cast and cinematography, as well as for featuring the last great performance from the late Donald Pleasence.

But Halloween 5 and its cliffhanger ending had created many unanswered questions that would be left up to H6 writer Daniel Farrands to address. Who was this mysterious Man in Black? Why did he assist in Michael’s escape? And why do both characters share the same tattoo of an ancient rune symbol, which had not appeared in any of the prior films? With this kind of baggage, it seems Halloween 6 was doomed from the start.

But before Farrands was signed on to write, another script was considered. Penned by Phil Rosenberg, this draft, had it come to fruition, might’ve also been directed by Evil Dead II writer Scott Spiegel… In an interview with Fangoria, Spiegel spoke of this draft as well as of his meeting with Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad. “[Moustapha] was pretty cool. He had some reservations about me, but finally he said, ‘Ok, maybe we’ll use you to do a polish on a script that we’re considering, and then maybe we’ll let you direct it.’ When I read the screenplay, I said, ‘Oh boy.’ It reminded me of a Friday the 13th movie and presented Michael Myers as a homeless person. It was really unfocused and corny, and I just didn’t understand what this homeless element was about.”

As we know, both Spiegel and Rosenberg were dismissed from the project… and despite being a serious contender at one point, a displeased Akkad reportedly tossed Rosenberg’s draft across the room. Spiegel continued, “I really was relieved. The script that we were going to shoot at the time was going to be hard to overcome. And my feeling was that I didn’t need to be the one to make a crummy sequel to what had been a decent series of films.”

Damn… how bad can this script be? Luckily, we just found out! Rosenberg’s draft was recently sold to a fan on eBay, who was gracious enough to share with us! Below, we provide a brief overview… or if you feel compelled, you may read the script for yourself to see what could’ve been Halloween 6!


Titled Halloween 666: The Origin, this draft follows Dana Childress, a young news reporter from Chicago whose dreams are plagued by the midwest’s most notorious serial killer — Michael Myers. With a news crew in tow (including her interest Robert Clifton), Dana reluctantly travels to Haddonfield to get the scoop on the town’s first Halloween celebration in five years. Sound familiar?

It just so happens that original Halloween survivor Tommy Doyle is also at the forefront of this script — here, he is presented as a 29-year-old outcast, obsessed with the boogeyman that tormented his youth… newspaper clippings of Myers’ crimes adorn his walls. That’s… coincidental; another element that made it to the screen (but had first appeared in Dennis Etchison’s Halloween 4 draft, which you can read here).

And yes… Michael Myers is now homeless. He sleeps in dark alley ways and can openly walk through a shelter… Interesting. While Tommy advocates for the ban on Halloween, Dana and Robert venture through the town, making a pit stop at the former home of Lindsey Wallace — another child who survived Michael’s first rampage. She doesn’t appear in the script, having moved to New York after years of therapy… but her parents still reside in the house where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) discovered the bodies in the original film. Informing the group they were once associates of the Myers family, the couple invites the news crew inside.

While watching home video footage of young Michael, Dana becomes alarmed… his grandmother bears a striking resemblance to her own. Both women also possess the same figurine of a bronze-masked soldier with a spear (a good luck charm in the lore of Samhain?) And with that, the implausible revelation that Dana is Michael’s sister takes shape… This feels rather contrived, with many fans having already lamented the decision to establish a relationship between Laurie and Michael in Halloween II.

Undeniably, the most outlandish aspect of this draft is the virtual reality element… You see, Tommy possesses a VR program — described as a “high tech Ouiji board” — that allows one to see within the netherworld… Taking a few notes from the 3D finale of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare(?), this concept would allow Tommy and Dana to witness flashbacks of the early Samhain festivals, as well as how the Myers family came to be cursed after defying the Gods… Maybe I’m simple minded, but this seems far more confusing than what ended up on screen. Read for yourself and see what you make of it… (although I do feel compelled to reveal that Judith Myers’ desecrated grave is the portal into this netherworld).

It’s an ambitious script alright… one in which the initial setup might’ve had me for a few earlier sequences. Aside from the confusing Samhain and virtual reality elements, Michael also seems to be exploited for comic relief… For example: To reach his targets, our beloved psychopath would’ve been shown as needing to stand on a toilet commode to break through the ceiling… and this is after he shoves a kissing couple out of the bathroom and slams the door shut. To boot, few seem worried about Myers’ return as most are oblivious (and typically laugh off his presence). Because of this, there’s only a few scenes that might warrant real tension. The kills are equally all over the place; at one point, Michael shoves a rat down the throat of a Droog-costumed frat boy. Later, he kills a hockey masked party-goer through use of a beer bong and copious amounts of alcohol…

Regarding those loose ends created by Halloween 5, the Thorn tattoo isn’t explained and there’s only one or two references to the Man in Black character; enough to reveal the identity which should come as a nice shock to fans… It’s Father Carpenter! If this name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it’s supposed to be the Reverend Sayer character from Halloween 4… here, he is played up for the creeps in a role that I couldn’t help but correlate with Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. Also returning is Ben Meeker, the former sheriff of the previous two films. Like Tommy, he is dismissive of the town’s newfound willingness to celebrate the holiday.

Unfortunately, Dr. Loomis only appears in one scene. He resides within the mental ward of a hospital, possibly by choice considering the phrasing — the good doctor who spent years treating Michael is now back where he started, albeit in a different position… An inspired decision! But here, he simply “passes the torch” to Tommy and this is the last we see of him. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

A notable character who doesn’t make any real appearance is Jamie Lloyd, who, after serving as the protagonist of the previous two films, is simply said to be MIA. We are, however, treated to a brief glimpse of Myers’ niece in the form of a series of rapid shots during the Samhain/virtual reality segment: Surrounded by scattering rats, Jamie screams as she is trapped in a cage made of human bones.

While I’m not in love with many elements of this script, I do think following a news reporter as she travels to Haddonfield would’ve made for a nice starting point. I’ve only given a basic overview so I’d encourage any Halloween fan to read the script for themselves.

Furthermore, I think the existence of this draft (and its criticism among fan circles; my own included) captures the limitations of what a Halloween film is allowed to do. In comparison to the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the Halloween films have suffered from a creative bankruptcy due to the fact that the original film was grounded in reality. Stray too far and you face the risk of pissing off the fans that would prefer a safer, more traditional route — a sequel/reboot that might amount to nothing more than a reiteration of the original (a film far too simple to really merit a continuing story line unless new ideas are developed). A few months back, I posted an interview with Robert Harders, who shared his original take on Halloween 5… I thought his ideas were great and could’ve made for a unique yet still satisfying entry — however, most fans seemed dismissive.

I do not believe this draft of Halloween 6 should’ve been the way to go… and as hypocritical as my think piece sounds, this upcoming film should be all the more stronger for only referencing the original (in all of its simple glory). But, as with H20, this upcoming film has a hook; and that is Jamie Lee Curtis’ return — that aspect should elevate the story tremendously, but without her presence we’d be back at square one. I would love to see a modern version where Michael stalks babysitters without any references to the previous films… but after that?

Are we limited to tropes such as Halloween… but in a hospital? Halloween… but during an early winter storm? Halloween… but this time, Michael fixates on a male? I guess so… and these are all worthy ideas, might I add… but how long can this series really last? Another forty years? Could the reboot open the doors for Seth Rogen and James Franco Meet Michael Myers? Will the series experience a creative renaissance down the road… in line with the Frankenstein entries released by Hammer Films in the ’70s? The possibilities could be endless… even involving virtual reality perhaps?

With the idea in mind that a fan might become burnt out by watching the same rehashed material, perhaps it’s best that we’ve endured almost ten years between films… When considering this Halloween 6 draft, I think we should be aware of how difficult it can be to create a fresh and groundbreaking entry that would warrant the creator’s time… as well as proving satisfying to all… or most… or even a portion, if lucky. In any case, the upcoming film looks to please and we need not worry for now.

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