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7 Awesome Voodoo Horror Flicks

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It’s really surprising that there aren’t more Voodoo-based horror movies. Steeped in mystery and mysticism, it’s as close to real life magic as any of us are ever going to see.

My release calendar shows me that The Serpent and the Rainbow is getting a Blu-ray courtesy of the good people over at Scream Factory, and it got me thinking of some other good Voodoo movies. Because who doesn’t love some good face paint, witch doctors, zombies, and fetish dolls?

7) Trilogy of Terror (1975):

All right, a little cheating right off the bat. I know that the Zuni fetish doll isn’t exactly Voodoo. I’m mixing in Polynesian traditionalism with the spiritual blend of Voodoo/Hoodoo. It’s just so hard to keep your migratory island religions straight. I’m giving it a pass, however, as the second story in Trilogy of Terror does have some Voodoo in it. Also, I highly doubt you would have known I was wrong in the first place.

Trilogy of Terror

I first saw Trilogy of Terror when I was a kid during one of those late night weekend horror movie marathons. For years I didn’t know its name but remembered that terrifying Zuni fetish doll. Watching it again, it’s easy to see why this film has achieved cult status. The effects haven’t aged very well, but that’s part of the charm. It’s a creative and fun flick, definitely worth a watch after all these years.

6) Tales from the Hood (1995):

I’ve shown Tales from the Hood to several people now and always get the same reaction: “Wow, I can’t believe that was actually good.” The title makes it sound like a cheap blaxploitation film, which is only half right. Race relations is pretty much the topic of every segment, but it doesn’t feel like a cheap cash-in. It’s a good watch for anyone, regardless of ethnicity.

Tales from the Hood

For purposes of this list, I’m talking specifically about the “KKK Comeuppance” segment. The whole movie is great, but there’s something deeply satisfying about watching a racist klansmen get torn apart by dolls. There’s a dark humor to it, making the story a decent social commentary as well as a good time. It’s also great for finding out which of your friends is racist! Bust it out at a party, and see who isn’t getting invited back.

5) Sugar Hill (1974):

Switching gears from 50% blaxploitation, Sugar Hill is 200% blaxploitation. From the company that brought you Blacula, Sugar Hill is a revenge story where the weapon of choice is zombies. Using the power of Voodoo, foxy heroin Diana “Sugar” Hill (Marki Bey) takes vengeance on a group of evil white gangsters who killed her man and want to take what’s hers. It’s about as amazing as it sounds.

Sugar Hill

I love this movie 90% for the cheese factor and 10% because it’s actually pretty good. The zombies have a really unique look, with glassy bug eyes and cobwebs. These are traditional “zombies,” mindless servants doing their master’s bidding. No brain eating here. It’s kind of hard to find, but if you can, Sugar Hill is a blast from the past that reminds us that afros can be super sexy.

4) The Skeleton Key (2005):

I have to be honest; when I first saw The Skeleton Key as a teenager, I hated it. It wasn’t that the nuance of it went over my head or that any part was bad, but that ending was just so damn sad. I know that it must sound silly for someone to dislike a horror movie because it doesn’t have a happy ending, but the way that Caroline (Kate Hudson) ends up deeply disturbed me.

The Skeleton Key

A decade later, a more bitter and weathered Ted can see the genius in The Skeleton Key. A tense thriller, it relies more on fear of the unknown than jump scares. The atmosphere of the movie is pure New Orleans magic, with that unique blend of mysticism and superstition. It’s a great horror film for people that get scared too easily, making it an easy recommendation for almost anyone.


MORE VOODOO HORROR ON THE NEXT PAGE!


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Josh Millican’s Best Horror Films of 2017

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It may just be that my love of horror grows every year, but it honestly feels as though 2017 has been a red-letter year for the genre. Not only are films like Andy Muschietti’s IT and Jordan Peele’s Get Out generating Oscar buzz but we’ve seen horror elements seep into mainstream movies and TV shows, from Logan to “Stranger Things”.

And this hasn’t merely been an amazing year for mainstream horror, with powerful indies emerging as some 2017’s best; it’s further proof that many of the most compelling and important genre flicks are being produced outside the traditional Hollywood system. Below, in no particular order, are my selections for the Best Horror Films of 2017. Let me know what you think in the Comments section!


Brawl in Cell Block 99

Though the subject matter is completely different, S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 has many parallels to his first film, 2015’s Bone Tomahawk. Both movies build slowly and are anchored by compelling characters and engrossing dialogue; furthermore, both films are deceptively understated until an explosive and shocking 3rd Act hits like a gut-punch.

Vince Vaughn delivers a genuinely poignant portrayal of Bradley Thomas, a down-on-his-luck drug runner willing to do anything to protect his family from disgruntled former associates. Don Johnson also deserves a shout-out for his turn as corrupt Warden Tuggs, the most unnerving fictional jailer since Cool Hand Luke.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 isn’t your typical horror movie, presenting a meandering narrative, but it’s still as entertaining as anything that follows an established formula. Horror is always most compelling when we can connect with a film’s protagonists, and this film delivers in spades.


Raw

Julia Ducournau’s Raw both benefited and suffered from reports of audience members fainting and falling ill during the film’s 2015 premiere at TIFF. Upon its limited theatrical release, The Nuart in Los Angeles passed barf bags out to moviegoers, a tactic usually reserved for the most extreme and outlandish of B-movies, films intentionally crafted to trigger the gag-reflex. While Raw does indeed contain scenes that are very difficult to stomach (pun intended!) it’s hardly a 2-dimensional gross-out.

Before classifying the film as horror, it’s a coming of age saga first and foremost. Themes of cannibalism and bodily mutilations become metaphors for sexual awakenings and transitions into adulthood. Raw is also a compelling study of sibling rivalries and the powerful influence of heredity on personal development.


The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Though released after I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is actually the debut film from Oz Perkins (son of horror icon Anthony Perkins). It combines the supernatural terrors of a possession movie with the compelling complexity of a murder mystery. The all-girls boarding school in winter provides a moody aesthetic with Gothic undertones while serving as an incubator for sexual awakenings and religious guilt.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter hinges on a powerful twist, but this doesn’t hit the audience like a ton of bricks; rather, the film’s secrets are gradually unraveled, resulting in a slow realization that’s as poignant as it is shocking. The film succeeds in no small part thanks to compelling performances by a trio of talented young thespians: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, and Lucy Boynton.


The Devil’s Candy

Sean Byrne is one of the most talented horror practitioners to emerge from Australia in the 21st Century. His debut film, The Loved Ones, is an under-seen sleeper that balances teen angst, dark comedy, and extreme violence. With his follow-up film, The Devil’s Candy, Byrne is finally getting the attention he deserves.

It’s less extreme than The Loved Ones, but The Devil’s Candy’s understated presentation, genuine drama, and slow-burn build-up delivers more palpable dread and a lasting resonance. The Devil’s Candy is a chaotic mix of heavy metal music and inner demons and can be viewed as a metaphor for how the blind pursuit of art can destroy families.

Ethan Embry deserves a shout out for his harrowing portrayal of father and artist Jesse Hellman. Who’d have thought the kid from Can’t Hardly Wait would develop into such a skilled actor?


Get OutGet Out

Historically, Q1 is a bad time for horror movies, as studios are prone to dumping films they have little faith in. Jordan Peele’s Get Out breaks the rules in many ways and, though released in February, it remains one of the most lauded and analyzed films of 2017—in any genre. The inclusion of sociopolitical elements makes Get Out both unique and timely, although even without its social agenda, Get Out is a compelling and unnerving experience, one that stokes paranoia by exacerbating primal fears related to deception and isolation.

Peele has become an exciting and refreshing figure in horror with plans for more socially-conscious thrillers in the years to come.


47 Meters Down

Nearly unceremoniously dumped directly to DVD in 2016, In the Deep was rebranded 47 Meters Down and given a theatrical release last Summer, where it became an unlikely hit. Perhaps hampered by preconceptions relating to lead actress Mandy Moore, 47 Meters Down is nonetheless immensely entertaining, eclipsing 2016’s shark-horror blockbuster The Shallows.

I do have doubts about the film’s ability to spawn a franchise (there’s currently a sequel in the works, being produced under the temporary title 48 Meters Down) considering this film hinges on a twist that can only be used once, so it’s difficult to imagine a sequel with the same impact—but who knows?

Ultimately, though, even a bad sequel won’t diminish the shine of 47 Meters Down. The film also proves there are still plenty of ways to pack legitimate terror into a PG-13 horror movie.

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Ash Vs Evil Dead Seasons 1 and 2 Are Now Streaming on Netflix

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The last word we brought you guys on the upcoming third season of Starz’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” starring Bruce Campbell was when we shared the show’s all-new teaser trailer (below).

Today we have awesome news that the first two seasons are now streaming on Netflix!

So if you’ve been putting off watching the series (for some reason) or have been waiting until the day where you could just binge-watch the series in one grand swoop, then today is your day. There isn’t a better time than now. Just make sure you’re caught up come February.

Hell, yeah.

Are you excited to watch (or rewatch) the first two seasons of “Ash vs Evil Dead” on Netflix? Let us know below!

“Ash vs Evil Dead” stars Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Lucy Lawless. Campbell executive produces the series with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Ivan Raimi, and Rick Jacobson. Season 3’s new showrunners are Mark Verheiden and Moira Grant.

“Ash vs Evil Dead” season 3 hits STARZ Sunday, February 25, 2018.

Synopsis:

Ash has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead until a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind and Ash becomes mankind’s only hope.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Animated Series Trollhunters 2 Now Streaming on Netflix

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Netflix’s “Trollhunters” isn’t a series I’ve had the chance to check out for myself. Nothing against the kid’s horror series, I just haven’t had the time.

That said I’ve heard good word-of-mouth regarding the series and being that it comes from the mind of Guillermo del Toro it can’t be a total waste of time. Especially with a cast featuring Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, and Anton Yelchin.

If you’re like me and haven’t given the show a go yet, then make sure to check out the following promos below and then make your mind up from there. You have to hand it to the series as it looks utterly stunning. Hope the actual content holds up. Only one way to find out!

“Trollhunters” is created and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro. Executive producers include Marc Guggenheim, Rodrigo Blaas, Christina Steinberg, and Chad Hammes. Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman are co-executive producers.

Voice talent for includes Kelsey Grammer (“The Simpsons,” X-Men: The Last Stand), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”), and Anton Yelchin (Fright Night).

“Trollhunters Part 2” is now streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:

When ordinary teenager Jim Lake, Jr., stumbles upon a mystical amulet on his way to school one morning, he inadvertently discovers an extraordinary secret civilization of mighty trolls beneath his small town of Arcadia. Suddenly destined to play a crucial role in an ancient battle of good and evil, Jim is determined to save the world – right after gym class.

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