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Dread Central’s Best and Worst Horror Films of 2015

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Dread Central Best Worst 2015


Gareth Jones

When it comes to quality, 2015 had a noticeable number of top-drawer genre entries – especially on the festival circuit. Thankfully, some of them even made it onto VOD in almost record time comparable to past years, which is a trend that I’d very much like to see continue.

In fact, when it came to creating this list, rhyming off a bunch of “best” entries wasn’t the hard part… narrowing it down to five was. So, even though you’ll see a group of titles listed as honourable mentions, know that they all share the same podium with the big guns up top… and each and every one deserves thorough praise for standing out so highly.

The worst? Well, they’re simply the crappiest film experiences I’ve had this year, for various reasons. Whether sequel, pastiche, or just baked in the oven of plain old incompetence, the offerings in 2015 also certainly gave us plenty across the board to hate.

So… let’s get on with it!

The Best

Night Fare
Ultra-stylish, tense, and impeccably crafted, Julien Seri’s Night Fare brings a single night of mayhem to thumping life. As The Driver, ex-UFC fighter Jess Liaudin is an amazingly formidable presence, bringing us an all-new genre icon reminiscent of Jason Voorhees and Matt Cordell.

deathgasm-theatricalposterDeathgasm
What to say about this flick? Hilarious, gory, balls-out rockin’ fun from New Zealand. It’s everything the 16-year-old metalhead me would have gone bananas for… and the mid-thirties metalhead me still loves.

Turbo Kid
A cinematic experience so hilariously delightful and utterly genuine in its ‘80s throwback style, that it’s impossible not to love it. I’ll just quote the closer of my review for this one: “It’s a tale of unlikely friendship, love, camaraderie, bravery and the rise of the underdog. It’s everything we used to love about Saturday night VHS rentals.”

The Witch
A deft blend of the supernatural and the all too real – especially when it comes to religious fanaticism – Robert Eggers’ The Witch is as unsettling as it is mesmerising. One of the best true horror films of the decade, it’s a folklore-laden tale of total darkness that shouldn’t be missed.

We Are Still Here
Ted Geoghegan’s directorial debut is a dream come true for fans of both the “extreme” Italian horror movement and “old dark house” flicks. Creepy, gory as hell in spots, and showcasing a strong cast – not to mention some of the most striking ghouls to hit the screen in ages – We Are Still Here is a rounding success. Can’t wait to see more from the man behind this one.

Honorable Mentions: The Hallow, Krampus, Bone Tomahawk, The Final Girls, Frankenstein, A Christmas Horror Story, Last Shift

The Worst

Cherry Tree
Preposterous direction and a complete lack of any logic whatsoever (even on the nightmare level) undermine everything that Cherry Tree tries to do in order to generate a sense of unease or horror throughout. Punctuated by a terrible, bargain-bin stinger, it feels like you’ve just been subjected to one big, mistimed joke.

Sinister 2Sinister 2
If you thought Sinister was bad… you haven’t seen Sinister 2. Taking the promising mythology and modus operandi from the first film and pissing it up every nearby wall with total abandon, Sinister 2 is a yawn-fest of massive proportions… and one of the biggest letdowns of 2015.

Fury: The Tales of Ronan Pierce
CarrotVision™ makes its screen debut, and the results are as terrible as expected. Okay, so I made CarrotVision™ up… but still, this utterly worthless pile of comic book-inspired dreck is as hard-boiled as a gummy bear and about as pleasant as a razor blade enema.

Darling
Mickey Keating is undoubtedly a director with promise… but I ain’t drinking the Kool-Aid on this one. An attempt at Polanski-esque mental decay and Lynchian logic, Darling is shrill, art-house nonsense that lacks the finesse of either of the filmmakers it seeks to imitate. Yes, it looks beautiful. Yes, Lauren Ashley Carter is great. But no… it isn’t a good film at all.

Invoked
Found footage without style, character, or any meaningful reason to exist. Invoked is a thoroughly lazy attempt at horror that does next to nothing to tell a story of meaningful consequence – and acts as just more of the kind of barrel-scraping product that continues to wantonly devalue the genre in its search for easy distribution and profit. We’ve had enough of this shit already.

Dishonorable Mentions: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, #HORROR, Hellions


MORE 2015 Best & Worst on the NEXT page!


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Jessica Chastain in Talks to Star in IT: Chapter 2

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Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak

Jessica Chastain in Mama

It’s only early on in negotiations but it appears that Jessica Chastain is going to portray adult Beverly in It: Chapter 2, according to Variety. A script written by Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first film, is being finalized and Andy Muschietti is expected to return for the sequel. Chastain has long been a favored pick for the role, which was played by Sophia Lillis in IT, even making our own personal wish list.

Also expected to return to IT: Chapter 2 is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. The sequel has a release date of September 6, 2019, so don’t hold your breath as we’ve got a ways to go.

Related Story: Four Things You May Have Overlooked in IT

In the original film:
Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.

IT starred Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Sophia Lillis.

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Death House AKA the Expendables of Horror Hits Netflix, VOD, and Redbox on 4/20

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Death HouseWell, I know what I’m doing on 4/20.

Back in December, we let you guys know that B. Harrison Smith’s Death House will host public red carpet events in both Los Angeles (Thursday, Feb. 22) and New York City (Friday, Feb. 23), before landing on Blu-ray/DVD and Cable TV June 5th.

Today we have new release info today via the film’s official Facebook page, where we’ve learned Death House will not only be hitting 30 additional markets March 2nd, but will also be released on VOD, Redbox, Netflix, and foreign markets on April 20th.

While this is a film that I plan to see on the big screen, the fact that it hits Netflix on 4/20 is a pretty damn good idea.

How excited are you to finally see Death House? Let us know below!

Dubbed the “Expendables of Horror,” the film boasts an ensemble of legendary genre names such as Dee Wallace, Barbara Crampton, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman, Debbie Rochon, Sid Haig, Bill Oberst, Jr., and a number of other official surprises.

Produced by Entertainment Factory’s Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase, Death House is directed by B. Harrison Smith (Camp Dread, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard, 6 Degrees of Hell, The Fields). Smith wrote the screenplay based on an original story by Texas Chain Saw Massacre legend, the late Gunnar Hansen.

Death House hits VOD, Redbox, Netflix, and foreign markets on April 20th, before landing on Blu-ray/DVD and Cable TV June 5th.

Synopsis:
Two federal agents fight their way through nine levels of Hell inside a secret prison known as the Death House. A facility-wide prison break turns their flight into a tour of horrors as they push toward the ultimate evil housed in the lowest depths of the earth.

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DVD and Blu-ray Releases: February 20, 2018

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Welcome back everyone.  Another week, another ten releases, and not without any discrepancies either.  Let’s get them out of the way now.

As reported last week, Eaten Alive! may have been out then or it might not be out until this week.  In any case you should be able to find it now if you couldn’t before.

Likewise, 1977’s Scalpel may not get here until next week, or you may find it sooner?  Either way, we will keep you posted.

In terms of other classics, Gate II will be hitting Blu-ray this week along with 1964’s The Night Walker, compliments of our friends at Scream Factory.  You can also pick up 1987’s Cannibal Hookers.

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair are up next with Mom and Dad.  I haven’t seen it but I have heard good things, plus Nicolas Cage playing a crazy parent; who wouldn’t want to see that?

Check out the rest of this week’s titles below, including: She Kills, 10/31, Downhill and Headgame.  Something is bound to tickle your fancy.  Pleasant viewing.



MOVIES

10/31 (2017) (2/19)

Starring:

Mitchell Musolino, Nick Edwards, Cindy Maples, Sable Griedel, Chad Bruns

Synopsis:

10/31 is a Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. 5 spooky tales from masked killers to scarecrows, witches and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror written and directed by indie horrors best and brightest such as award winning film makers Justin M. Seaman and Zane Hershberger (The Barn), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror) an original score and segment directed by award winning film and game composer Rocky Gray (The Barn, Killing Floor 2, Close Calls) and features web horror host Malvolia: The Queen of Screams (Jennifer Nangle). These blood soaked tales of terror and the macabre in the vein of Creepshow, Body Bags, Tales of Halloween and V/H/S are sure to chill horror lovers to the bone.

BUY IT NOW!


Cannibal Hookers (1987)

Starring:

Marya Gant, Diana Cruz, Annette Munro, Katina Garner, Tommy Carrano, Donald Trimborn, Amy Waddell

Synopsis:

These girls will do anything to get into the Zama Gata Bata Sorority. Their initiation is to dress up as a couple of Hollywood hookers, pick up two johns and bring them back to the sorority. All the while the sisters of the Zama Gata Bata are waiting to have a little fresh meat when they get there! There is no shortage of blood and guts in this sex-soaked sleazy slice of retro-80’s horror.

WARNING: This film is for mature audiences only and is definitely not for the squeamish!

BUY IT NOW!


Downhill (2016)

Starring:

Natalie Burn, Bryce Draper, Ariel Levy, Luke Massy, Ignacia Allamand

Synopsis:

After his best friend dies in a racing accident, biking star Joe agrees to get back on the bike for an exhibition in Chile. During a test run with his girlfriend, Stephanie, they stumble upon an injured man infected by a mysterious virus. This is just the start of a very bad day for two of them as they become the target of relentless killers prepared to do anything to keep their secret from getting out of the mountains.

BUY IT NOW!


Eaten Alive! (1980) (Limited Edition Blu-ray + CD)

Starring:

Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov

Synopsis:

Limited Edition of Only 2,500 units with an exclusive Slip Cover and CD Soundtrack!

EATEN ALIVE! — Now Uncut, Uncensored and Remastered in HD

Eight years after he first unleashed the Italian cannibal craze, spaghetti splatter master Umberto Lenzi (Nightmare City, Cannibal Ferox) returned to the jungle for this “graphic” (Monster Hunter), “sordid” (Geek Legacy) and “extreme” (Horror News) gut-muncher that still packs the power to knock you over. EuroSleaze hall-of- famers Robert Kerman (Cannibal Holocaust), Janet Agren (City Of The Living Dead), Ivan Rassimov (The Man From Deep River) and Me Me Lai (Jungle Holocaust) — along with Hollywood legend Mel Ferrer (War And Peace) — star in this insane assemblage of flesh-ripping mayhem, depraved sexual brutality, and even the Jonestown massacre. Eaten Alive! is now presented uncut, uncensored and fully remastered in HD for the first time ever, with all-new Special Features that slit open the legacy of this definitive cannibal classic.

BUY IT NOW!


Gate II (1992)

Starring:

Pamela Segall, Simon Reynolds

Synopsis:

Not all minions are cute and cuddly …

This supercharged sequel to the horror classic The Gate comes alive with unearthly creatures, heart-stopping action and incredible special effects.

Gate II picks up again with Terry, the teenage sorcerer who summons beings from the other side whose powers can be used to grant any wish. Unfortunately, before the Gate closes again, a “minion” – a tiny disciple of Satan himself – manages to slip through to our dimension. When the creature is kidnapped – all hell breaks loose.

BUY IT NOW!


Headgame (2018)

Starring:

Jamie Hill, Chris Hayes, Carly Steel, Liv von Oelreich, Leonard Roberts

Synopsis:

A group of young people awake from a rave to find themselves locked inside the now-abandoned warehouse with cameras screwed into their foreheads. With only a few clues and even less recollection of what happened the previous night, the group starts to piece together this unsettling puzzle. It quickly becomes apparent that they are unwilling competitors in a deadly game, and they will need to murder each other if they hope to survive.

BUY IT NOW!


Mom and Dad (2017)

Starring:

Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur

Synopsis:

A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.

BUY IT NOW!


Night Walker, The (1964)

Starring:

Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor

Synopsis:

Another frightening film from the mind of Robert Bloch, author of Psycho.

Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, reteaming for their first film following their divorce(!), star in this intense thriller about a wealthy widow who is haunted by her husband and seduced by a handsome stranger – all in her dreams.

Following the death of her millionaire husband, Howard (Hayden Rorke), Irene Trent (Stanwyck) endures dreams so real and terrifying, that she finds herself trapped in an eerie world existing between fact and fantasy. Isolated from the world by her husband’s possessive nature, Irene feels there is no one she can turn to except for his personal attorney (Taylor), the only visitor Howard ever allowed to the house. But even as her dreams begin to take vivid shape, Irene begins to walk into a very real nightmare of deception, murder and betrayal.

BUY IT NOW!


Scalpel (1977) (Special Edition)

Starring:

Robert Lansing, Sandy Martin, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder

Synopsis:

HE LOST THE FACE OF THE WOMAN HE LOVED… SO HE GAVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE.

US television staple Robert Lansing (Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone) stars as a deranged surgeon in this twisty-turny psychological thriller from Blood Rage director John Grissmer.

In Scalpel, Lansing plays Dr. Phillip Reynolds, a man whose daughter Heather (Judith Chapman, As the World Turns, General Hospital) has run away from home a year prior following the suspicious death of her boyfriend. When he happens across a young woman one night, her face beaten beyond recognition, the unhinged Reynolds sees his an opportunity to put his trusty scalpel to use – hatching a plan to ”reconstruct” her face in the image of his missing daughter, and so claim her sizeable inheritance.

Photographed by celebrated cinematographer Edward Lachman, who would go on to serve as DP on the likes of Erin Brockovich and The Virgin Suicides, Scalpel is an exemplary slice of Southern-fried gothic, filled finally rescued from VHS obscurity in this revelatory new Blu-ray edition from Arrow Video.

BUY IT NOW!


She Kills (2016) (Limited Edition)

Starring:

Jennie Russo, Trey Harrison

Synopsis:

When Sadie’s husband is murdered by a vicious gang called “The Touchers”, she finds she possesses a strange hidden power to aid her in her quest for revenge. Limited edition DVD, exclusive artwork for Family Video.

BUY IT NOW!

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