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Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton’s Best Horror Films of 2017

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In retrospect 2017 gave us some damned fine horror films, including the long awaited first part of Stephen King’s IT, which for all intents and purposes exceeded all expectations. Still, there were several other films I liked a lot more than the trip to Derry that’s bound to make up the majority of our lists… or will it? All I can give you are the films that really stood out for me…


SplitSplit

There was a time not so long ago when I would avoid anything that M. Night Shyamalan put his name on. I wasn’t the only one either. The famed director never managed to recapture the chills and beauty of his earlier efforts like Unbreakable and, of course, The Sixth Sense. These were smaller fare than his later bloated efforts for the studios. Hell, even Signs has its merits. But then it happened… The Village, Lady in the Water, the complete ridiculousness that was The Happening, and ultimately the mega-flop The Last Airbender. The industry as a whole wrote off Night even though he had so much more to give if presented the right way. Enter Blumhouse, which let Shyamalan make his own smaller contained stories like The Visit and this year’s surprise chiller hit Split, featuring James McAvoy delivering what I still consider to be the performance of the year.

Without the spectacle and studios telling him or expecting him to deliver the next big tent pole films, Shyamalan has been able to go back to basics and bring on the spooky stories. Split is a prime example of that and also paves the way for a return to one of Shyamalan’s most well received properties later next year. If you missed this one, do yourselves a favor… fix that cardinal sin right now. When I close my eyes, I can still hear the gasps of Split‘s final reveal. What a twist indeed!


Get OutGet Out

What’s this? Comedian Jordan Peele creating one of the most socially relevant horror films the genre has ever seen? Stranger things have indeed happened, and Get Out delivers enough thought-provoking material to ask even the most jaded moviegoers some really tough questions while giving them pause for thought.

How this was recently nominated as a comedy by the Golden Globes is one of life’s great mysteries right up there with The Martian getting a similar nod.

Like I said… stranger things, man. Stranger things…


A Cure for WellnessA Cure for Wellness

Judging from all of the promo trailers and materials, the campaign for this film had me thinking it was gonna be one of the single most pretentiously dull flicks of the year. We went to see it begrudgingly because… well… it’s a horror film, and damn it, I need to see everything. It’s like my curse as a super-fan! In this case, though… said curse turned into the proverbial blessing as A Cure for Wellness ended up delivering something I had wanted so very badly… a good old fashioned mad scientist flick! Masterfully directed by Gore Verbinski, A Cure for Wellness would have felt right at home in the heyday of the sub-genre in the 50s and 60s. It’s a ghastly good time that’s both gorgeous and meaty! Sink your teeth in and chew slowly. This is the good stuff!


Annabelle CreationAnnabelle: Creation

I’ll never forget sitting in a theater for 2014’s Conjuring spin-off, Annabelle. It stands WAY out to me because it’s one of the most boring experiences of my life. All of the pieces were there… a spooky main character… a great score… James Wan producing… a killer backstory… yet, none of it ever came together. It’s literally a film in which almost nothing happens for the duration of its runtime. Hell, A Haunted House 2 handled Annabelle the Doll with more know-how and vigor. This? This was the pits made all the more annoying by the fact that the title character deserved much better.

Enter director David F. Sandberg, who performed the same kind of Herculean task that Mike Flanagan did in 2016 when he delivered the better than it had any right to be sequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. Both of these directors almost exactly one year apart from one another gave audiences the films that they should have gotten in the first place. Films so good it almost makes the originals tolerable by proxy.

Annabelle: Creation is pure nightmare fuel. That’s the only way I can put it. It may not have gotten the well-deserved huge push that Stephen King’s IT did, but damn it, it deserved it!


Kong: Skull Island

Can someone please take Gareth Edwards and sit him down in front of Kong: Skull Island so he can realize how badly he fumbled 2014’s Godzilla? This is what I’m talking about when it comes to giant creature flicks. Out of everything I’ve seen this year, Kong: Skull Island still towers over all of them! Every detail of every incredible action set piece is on display here. No cutaways… no fades… just 100% monster-fueled goodness!

More please… much more!



Honorable Mentions: Gerald’s Game, Better Watch Out, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and “The Exorcist” Season 2.


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Contest: Win DEATH LINE and DEATHDREAM on Blu-ray

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Attention, ALL readers of Dread Central! Yes, that’s right… every one of you across the globe! We’re helping our pals over at Blue Underground with a contest where they will be giving a Blu-ray copy of Death Line and Deathdream to one of you! To enter, all you have to do is use the form below; and you’re all set!

Also, to learn more about the titles, simply click on the names, and you’ll be taken to Blue Underground’s website, where you can see specifics about each film!

To reiterate, this contest is open to people across the globe. Anyone, anywhere, can enter. However, the contest ends next Tuesday, May 1st, at 12 midnight ET, so make sure you enter before then!

Death Line:
When a prominent politician and a beautiful young woman vanish inside a London subway station, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence of Halloween) investigates and makes a horrifying discovery. Not only did a group of 19th century tunnel workers survive a cave-in, but they lived for years in a secret underground enclave by consuming the flesh of their own dead. Now the lone descendant of this grisly tribe has surfaced, prowling the streets for fresh victims… and a new mate.

Deathdream:
In this shattering variation on The Monkey’s Paw, grief-stricken suburban parents (Academy Award nominees John Marley of The Godfather and Lynn Carlin of Faces) refuse to accept the news that their son, Andy (Richard Backus), has been killed in Vietnam. But when Andy returns home soon after, something may be horribly wrong: Andy is alive and well… or is he? Produced and directed by Bob Clark (Black Christmas) and written by Alan Ormsby (Deranged), Deathdream was one of the very first films to confront the domestic ravages of the Vietnam War. More than forty years later, it remains one of the most chilling horror films of all time.

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ALTERED PERCEPTION Opens in Theaters and on VOD/Digital in May

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We’ve been telling you about Altered Perception, from Blanc/Biehn Productions, for a while now; and today we have some exciting news to share.  The film is heading to limited theaters and will also be hitting VOD/Digital early next month. The full list of theaters, several stills, and more details can be found below.  In addition, you can watch the trailer at the top of the page.

The cast includes Jon Huertas, Jade Tailor, Nichola Fynn, Jennifer Blanc, Matthew Ziff, Mark Burnham, Hallie Jordan, and Ehmrys Cooper. The producers are Danielle Artigo and Dylan Matlock with executive producers Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Jon Huertas, Hallie Jordan, Steve Romano (who also served as Director of Photography), and Lony Ruhmann.

Altered Perception was written by Travis Romero, creator of the USA series White Collar, with Jon Huertas and Jennifer Blanc (story by Romero). SKD acquired all U.S. distribution rights to the psychological thriller, which was directed by Kate Rees Davies in her feature-length debut, and Cinedigm will release the picture theatrically and on Digital and TV VOD on May 4th with a DVD release to follow in June 2018.

Here are the Altered Perception theater locations:

  • Laemmle Music Hall – Los Angeles
  • AMC Woodridge 18 – Chicago
  • Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley – Dallas
  • Studio Movie Grill Pearland – Houston
  • AMC Aventura Mall – Miami
  • AMC Southfield – Detroit
  • AMC Arizona Center – Phoenix
  • Emagine Lakeville 21 – Minneapolis
  • Studio Movie Grill – Tampa
  • Tower City Cinemas – Cleveland

Synopsis:
When the government attempts to produce a designer drug aimed at correcting the false perceptions that people develop during trauma and stress, the implications are deadly. Advertised as a cure for socio-political tensions, four couples volunteer but end up with far more than they bargained for as their past and present are examined while taking variations of the new drug. However, this causes them to doubt their own memory, perceptions – and even their own sanity in this thriller in the vein of Disturbing Behavior and The Faculty.

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When Does That DEATH WISH Remake Hit Blu-ray?

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I don’t know about you but I went ahead and skipped Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis in theaters. But I do plan to check it out on Blu-ray.

And speaking of which today we have word that the film will be hitting 4K Ultra HD May 22 and Blu-ray, DVD and Video on Demand June 5.

You can check out the cover art to the right and the full list of special features below and then let us know if you plan to own the film on Blu-ray in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is a remake of the Charles Bronson-led 1974 film of the same name, which itself was based on Brian Garfield’s original novel. This film is directed by Eli Roth from a script written by Joe Carnahan and stars Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, and Kimberly Elise.

It hits 4K Ultra HD May 22 and Blu-ray, DVD and Video on Demand June 5.

Special Features:

  • Commentary w/ Eli Roth & Roger Birnbaum
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary w/ Eli Roth & Roger Birnbaum
  • Mancow Morning Show Extended Scenes
  • Sway in the Morning Extended Scene
  • Vengeance and Vision: Directing Death Wish
  • Grindhouse Trailer

BUY IT HERE!

Synopsis:

Dr. Paul Kersey is a surgeon who often sees the consequences of the city’s violence in the emergency room. When home intruders brutally attack his wife and young daughter, Kersey becomes obsessed with delivering vigilante justice to the perpetrators. As the anonymous slayings grab the media’s attention, the public begins to wonder if the deadly avenger is a guardian angel — or the Grim Reaper itself.

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