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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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Zac Efron Looks Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile as Ted Bundy

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We told you a while back that Zac Efron would be assuming the role of charismatic serial killer Ted Bundy in Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s new film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (that title is a wondrous mouthful); and today Efron himself took to Twitter to share the first image of himself as Bundy. Check it out!

Michael Werwie wrote the script for the project, which is told through the perspective of Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, who went years denying the accusations against Bundy but ultimately turned him in to the police. Only nearing his execution, when Bundy began talking about his extensive and heinous murders, did Kloepfer, and the rest of the world, learn the true scope of his numerous and grizzly murders.

Principal photography began back in October 2017.

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Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 – Get Your First Look at the Bride of the Chin!

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Starz’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is nothing short of a friggin’ gift for fans; and if you aren’t watching it, you need to fix that like yesterday. Teally… you don’t have much of an excuse. It’s on DVD. Blu-ray. Digital. Netflix. You name it!

Season 3 is just around the corner, and the good folks over at Arrow in the Head got themselves the first look at Ash and his bride-to-be, Candy, played by Katrina Hobbs.

Look for Season 3 to premiere on February 25th at 9PM ET/PT.

“Ash vs. Evil Dead” is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby; Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick; Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell co-star alongside newcomers Arielle Carver-O’Neill and Lindsay Ferris. Lee Majors returns as Brock Williams to warn Ash from beyond the grave.

The third season finds Ash’s status in Elk Grove, Michigan, has changed from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero. When Kelly witnesses a televised massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. Blood is thicker than water in the battle of good vs. Evil Dead!

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Make a Date With The Devil and Father Amorth

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Well, that headline’s not entirely accurate… you wouldn’t want to be a third wheel now, would you? What we’re talking about here is William Friedkin’s new documentary The Devil and Father Amorth. In it Friedkin witnesses first-hand the work of the Vatican’s in-house exorcist; and if that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will!

Deadline is reporting today that we can expect to see the flick sometime this spring in theaters via The Orchard.

Known as the “Dean of Exorcists,” Father Amorth (who turned 92 not so long ago) has performed thousands of exorcism rituals to rid evil from the human body.

In the early 1970s when I directed The Exorcist, I had not witnessed an exorcism; but I wondered how close I had come to portraying reality,” Friedkin tells the site. “I had been curious to meet Father Amorth for many years; and when he granted permission to meet and film him in Rome last May, it was the opportunity to complete the circle and see how close that film came to reality.

Demon

 

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