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Mike Sprague’s Best Horror Films of 2017

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Many will say that 2017 was the year horror slammed back into the mainstream. And sure, with films like Get Out and It making all the 2017 box-office money, I can see what they mean.

But let’s remember that 2017 was also the year that firmly solidified the official end of an era. An era based on the idea that said quality horror goes to theaters. Trash gets dumped straight to video. 2017 proved this is officially no longer the case.

Again, yes, Get Out and It were quality motion pictures, and they played on screens across the country, but the small screen was (consistently) where the gold was mined. No longer do I – or the general public, I think – feel the stigma of a straight to Blu-ray/DVD/VOD release.

Big things are happening in the world of horror every day. And most of these advancements and achievements are happening far from the crying-child-infested multiplexes. Horror has hit home. And that’s where it’s always belonged. Welcome to the new age. Now let’s start contributing ourselves!

But before all that, let’s take a look at my picks for the best horror movies of 2017.

Let it be known upfront that I haven’t had the chance to see such films as The Shape of Water and The Endless so forgive me for not including them. From what I hear, they will no doubt make my list come next year. But until then, here are the fright flicks I dug the most in 2017…


The Babysitter

I’m a big fan of screenwriter Brian Duffield. His script for Jane Got a Gun is one I refer to all the time as a high-water mark for a succinct screenplay. And while the final product of Jane Got a Gun was a disappointment considering the strength of the script, I had high expectations for his next film, The Babysitter. Thank God the final film knocked it out of the park.

Featuring fun and blood from wall-to-wall, McG’s The Babysitter is a horror-comedy with massive amounts of heart. And brains. And blood. And gore. And more blood. And more gore. The Babysitter will delight even your most uptight buddies and gal-pals. Throw it on at a party and watch the room gravitate towards the screen. Works every time.


Creep 2

As many of you guys know by now, I am a major fan of Mark Duplass and director Patrick Brice’s original found footage flick Creep. The film has become a classic over the past few years, and I find even my non-horror obsessed friends know and love the flick. That’s a high bar for a sequel, right? Well, Duplass and Brice pull it off and do it all one better.

The sequel introduces a character that can go toe-to-toe with Duplass’ titular creep and the film delights in the subversions that ripple outward. Plus you have to hand it to Duplass, the man literally bares it all for the film. And in doing so marks the first time I’ve ever felt so much empathy for such an evil man. But that’s exactly how he gets you…


Cult of Chucky

I love all of the Chucky films. Yes, even Child’s Play 3 has a special place in my horror heart. That said, I was feeling the franchise fatigue around the time Seed of Chucky hit back in the mid-2000’s. Writer-director Don Mancini’s Curse of Chucky changed my opinion a few years back and with Cult of Chucky, Mancini has made what is arguably the best entry in the series to date. Again, arguably.

All the same, Cult of Chucky broke the perceived boundaries of the franchise and its rules to stunning effect. Hilarious, gory, shocking, and above all fun, Cult of Chucky made believers out of us all. This franchise has been invigorated from the ground up. And I cannot wait for the next film. Bring it on.


Gerald’s Game

Usually when it comes to a movie based on a novel (especially by Mr. Stepehen King) almost every review you’ll read for said film will feature the words “Not as good as the book” or “The book was better.” We’ve come to expect this. Novels usually dig deeper into the fear and the character’s inner workings. Novels usually allow the audience to perceive horrors worse than anything a filmmaker can conjure upon the screen. Not so with director Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of King’s 1992 novel Gerald’s Game.

From here to eternity Flanagan has given us all a flagship, a certified go-to rebuttal for when anyone asks “Has there ever been a movie that was better than the book?” Before Gerald’s Game, this was a tough question. After Gerald’s Game, the answer is simple.


IT

It is going to be the film that will, no doubt, land on every critic’s Top 10 list this year. Unless they want to be “That Guy/Girl”. Meaning the film was such as success that there are bound to be detractors. But in the case of It, they will be nothing more than whiny babies. Sorry to be harsh, but it’s true.

I’m a massive fan of King’s novel on which the film is based. Massive. I know the 1,000+-page book by heart. Test me. So you can imagine that my expectations for the film were over the moon. The fact that the film didn’t disappointment says a lot. The fact that Bill Skarsgård scared the hell out me more than a few times is some kind of miracle.

Bless you, Andres Muschietti. Bless you.


Raw

A morbidly beautiful French cannibal film, Raw is at turns utterly revolting, strangely sweet, and always engaging. The film first caught my eye when reports began to leak out about people fainting at festival screenings. I quickly added the film to my must-see list and, once I had the chance to gaze upon it, was stunned by not only how disgusting the movie was, but how enduring it was as well.

Most cannibal gross-out flicks are an endurance test. One and done. And while Raw does function as an endurance test, it’s one that you’ll actually want to revisit again and again. Come for the shockingly graphic gore; stay for the heartfelt and heartbreaking tale told amongst the terror.


Get OutGet Out

While we’re not so much ranking our favorite horror films of 2017 here, I do want to say that writer-director Jordan Peele’s Get Out was my favorite horror film of 2017. Some of the others films on this list could switch positions if placed in a Top 10 format, but not Get Out. No matter the format or structure placed on the list, Get Out would remain the number one film. It is the only legit masterpiece to have been released in 2017; and from the moment Get Out hit the screen, it was a must-watch for any and all fans of thriller, horror, and suspense cinema for the rest of cinematic history. Not only as a top example of the sub-genres but for its flawless techniques, which would make even the masters such as Hitchcock and Kubrick proud. Overstatements? Obviously, you haven’t seen the film…

***

So there you have it. These are my favorite horror films of 2017. Sure there were other films that I dug the hell out of, including but not limited to Super Dark Times, Lake Bodom, A Dark Song, and Tragedy Girls, but these are the ones that got me the most. These are the films that I know I will be watching at least once a year for the foreseeable future.

What did you think of the Year of Horror that was 2017? Hit us up and let us know what your favorite films were this year in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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Must-See: Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees Fan Short Film

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The short film titled Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees made its much-anticipated debut on YouTube channel CallMeJeff86 on January 15th, 2018.

The film is a passion project that pits two horror movie icons against each other; it’s Michael Myers from Halloween against Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th in a bloody fight to the finish.

What are you waiting for? Give the 3-part short a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees is written and directed by Mason C. McDonald and stars Jeff Payne as Michael Myers, Dustin Miller as Jason Voorhees, and John Alton as the Vengeful Father.

Don’t forget to follow the film on Instagram and Twitter!

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PG-13 or R? The Strangers: Prey at Night Gets Official MPAA Rating

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Earlier this week we let you guys know that there is a killer The Strangers: Prey at Night fan art competition going on and you can read all the details on that right HERE.

But today we have some cool (if expected) news that The Strangers: Prey At Night hs officially received an R-rating from the MPAA.

The sequel has been rated R for “horror violence and terror throughout, and for language” and I think that makes about as much sense as we could have expected.

For those who are interested in such bits of trivia, the original The Strangers was rated R for “violence/terror and language” so there you go! Impress your friends with MPAA trivia.

Would The Strangers: Prey at Night getting a PG-13 have affected your enthusiasm for the upcoming film? Let us know below!

The Stranger: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit The Strangers.

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Artist Reimagines Superheroes as Tim Burton Illustrations

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The world of Tim Burton has always been full of imagination and wonder built on a surreal and often horrific foundation. Films like Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow capture the imagination with stunning visuals, all based on the mind of the visionary director. Burton’s artwork was also featured in his illustrated poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories.

Burton’s work has not only amazed viewers for over three decades, it’s also been an inspiration to countless artists and creators. Enter Los Angeles-by-way-of-Russia artist and animator Andrew Tarusov, whose work has been used by companies such as Cosmopolitan, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Maxim, and more. In a series he simply calls “Tim Burton’s Superheros”, Tarusov took 10 of the biggest comic book characters and gave them a dark twist that is 100% befitting of Burton’s style.

You can see a gallery of these images below. To see more of Tarusov’s work, head on over to his official website.

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