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BJ Colangelo’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2017

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2017 was one hell of a great year to be a horror fan. “Best Of” lists are one of my favorite things to read as we wind down the year, because it’s a fascinating exploration of taste and personality. No two end-of-year lists are going to be the same, and that’s what makes horror the long-lasting and wonderful genre that it is. While we’re all afraid of something, that something is not universal. I truly believe that this is why horror has maintained the popularity crown of film fans all over the world.

Before I dive into my top 10 list, I have to stress that these titles are the ones that I felt the strongest about personally. This is not meant to be a definitive “these are the only good films worth talking about” list or a list of the most “technically good” horror films. Rather, this is a list of the horror films that struck me to my core, resonated with me long after the final credits have rolled, and reminded me why I love the horror genre as much as I do. With that being said, I present to you my top 10 horror films of 2017.


10) Always Shine

There was a limited theatrical release at the tail end of 2016 for this film, but it finally became widely available in 2017 thanks to the wonderful folks over at Shudder. Directed by Sophia Takal and starring Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex, UnREAL) and Mackenzie Davis (Black Mirror, Blade Runner 2049), Always Shine focuses on two actresses in differing stages of their career on a trip together to Big Sur, California. More of an atmospheric horror film than a hack-and-slash gorefest, the film is deeply engaging phantasm of a lack of a grasp on reality, molding together with a beetling exertion of ego and insecurity. The terror of this film is deeply rooted in the emotional psychology of these two “friends” and the impossible pressures women place on themselves to find success.


09) Gerald’s Game

Said to be the “unfilmable” Stephen King property, Netflix (who straight up KILLED IT this year) joined forces with emerging modern master of horror, Mike Flanagan to create one of the most tense films of the year. Actress Carla Gugino delivers the performance of a lifetime, and the film features one of the most unsettling gore scenes of recent memory and one scare that sincerely left me paranoid for the remainder of the day following my first viewing.


08) Better Watch Out

Of all my selections, this is probably the one that will garner the most shit in the comments section, because a lot of people HATED this film. There’s an inherent camp association with horror films set around the winter holiday season, and every year we’re bombarded with poorly crafted and hastily thrown together films for the sake of trying to profit off of people looking for Christmas films not created by Lifetime or Hallmark. Every once in a while however, a flick comes out that solidifies its place in the Christmas horror canon, and Better Watch Out is this year’s newest inductee. What starts out as a typical “babysitter home invasion” film takes a hard left out of nowhere and turns into something pretty shocking and a whole lot of fun. This was a big year for child actors in horror, and Levi Miller is more than deserving of this placement.


07) The Lure

Anyone who’s read my previous work on other websites shouldn’t be surprised at all about my addition of The Lure. This absolute tonal clusterfuck is most easily described as Polish sex-comedy horror musical about man-eating mermaids. The musical elements are presented more like Phantom of the Paradise rather than West Side Story, and the art design feels like something out of an Argento fever dream after having watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch for the first time. Probably the least accessible of all of the films on my list, but one that I’ll be revisiting for years to come.


Devils Candy

06) The Devil’s Candy

For those that prefer something a little heavier than man-eating mermaid sex musicals, The Devil’s Candy may be your ticket to music driven horror. Created by Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones), this father’s apocalypse is littered with heavy metal music, Satanic visions, and a possessed (and very topless) Ethan Embry. Embry has been cranking out a lot of stellar horror performances as of late, but he’s truly at his best with The Devil’s Candy.


Raw

05) Raw

As a lover of the french extremity movement of the early 00s, I was pleasantly surprised with how brutal RAW was as a film in addition to its sincerity. Julia Ducournau’s debut feature is a triumphant celebration of womanhood, and the horrific strength that comes along with embracing one’s true self. Garance Marillier stars in a breakout performance that is nothing short of captivating. It’s an intense coming-of-age story much like Ginger Snaps, but replacing any humor with stomach-churning violence.


04) IT

If 2017 was good for anything, it was getting people to finally admit that the IT mini-series is sort of terrible and is only beloved because Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise was iconic. There was a lot of hesitancy when Warner Bros. announced IT was returning as a film, but this film absolutely shattered my expectations. It was heartfelt, well-crafted, entertaining, but most importantly…scary. 2017 was also the year of incredible child actors in horror, and there wasn’t a single member of The Losers Club that I didn’t immediately love and want to adopt as my own. IT has always been a cultural phenomenon but seeing non-horror buffs running to the theatre to check out the film was a truly surreal experience.


Super Dark Times

03) Super Dark Times

Coming of age films set with a horror background tend to be some of my favorite films, and Super Dark Times was no exception. This one flew under my radar for a hot minute, but it was well worth the wait. It’s a haunting look at the relationships between adolescents and the harrowing loss of innocence that comes with growing up. There’s something about how these characters were created that feels uncomfortably familiar. We all grew up with these kids, some of us may have been these kids. And it makes the film’s horrific reveal all the more of a gut-punch. It’s the heartbreaking reality of what would actually happen if I Know What You Did Last Summer wasn’t an over-the-top slasher but a real event between friends.


02) Tragedy Girls

This film was absolutely tailor-made for me and my tastes. The story follows two best friends who are desperately seeking social media fame as crime reporters. After the two capture a serial killer, they determine the best way to hold on to their new found fame and get the scoop before anyone else would be if they murder people themselves. It’s a biting commentary on the current obsession of “true crime as entertainment” fad wrapped in an instagram perfectly placed bow, but with hardcore brutality that will please any gorehound. Tragedy Girls hashtag SLAAAAAYS it.


Get Out

01) Get Out

Simply put, Get Out is going to go down in history as one of the greatest horror films ever made. It’s downright terrifying and manages to intertwine the brilliant social critique with effective scares. It’s astounding to see a film that manages to be so unbelievably intelligent, and so genuinely entertaining, while maintaining a sincere sense of dread. Jordan Peele was able to make a film that so many audience members have been thirsting for, and did so by being ambitious, thought-provoking, entertaining, and downright scary. This is a horror film that deserves as much attention as any of the Oscar-bait shilled out every year, but it probably won’t…proving the core value of Get Out to be very, very true.


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Which Comes Next THE CONJURING 3 or THE CROOKED MAN?

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This September we will finally see the release of director Corin Hardy’s The Conjuring spin-off, The Nun. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, today we have word via Warner Bros. that another entry in The Conjuring Universe will hit July 3, 2019.

There’s no word on which film this might be, but it’s safe to assume it will be either the recently announced The Crooked Man spin-off, or the long-awaited third entry in the mothership franchise The Conjuring 3.

Last year, Wan spoke about both films saying, “We’ve been working hard on Conjuring 3. Of course, that is something that I am not neglecting. The Conjuring films are still the mothership and the mothership needs to be strong. The mothership needs to be strong for all these other jet fighters to shoot out of. So, we’re in the midst of working on the script, and still hashing [it] out. We want to make sure that the script is in a really good place. With how much people have loved the first two Conjuring, I don’t want to rush into the third one if possible.”

Speaking about The Crooked Man spin-off, Wan explains that the film is in, “…early stages, kind of like cooking away. But we think we have a really exciting story. What we want to do, with The Conjuring universe, is we want each of our little offshoots to have a very different flavor, right? So, for example, Annabelle is the classic sort-of haunted doll subgenre. And with The Crooked Man, I would love to push it more down somewhat of that dark fairytale, and more whimsical, subgenre. I love the idea that, within the Conjuring universe, each of our little movies all have their own flavor, so that way they don’t feel like they’re the same films.”

Which film do you HOPE is next up in The Conjuring Universe? Personally, I really want to see more of this crooked fellow before diving into the further adventures of the Warrens. But all the same, make sure to hit us up and let us know what YOU think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

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Will There Be STRANGER THINGS 4?

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Yesterday we brought you guys the news that Netflix’s Stranger Things 3 began filming and today we already have word on whether or not there will be a Stranger Things 4.

Producer Shawn Levy spoke with Collider about the upcoming third season and eventually, the conversation moved to a possible fourth season.

I mean I will say we have a good sense of stuff that happens in Season Four,” Levy replied. “Season Four is definitely happening. There’s very much the possibility of a season beyond that one, that’s currently undecided.”

Nice! Are you excited to hear there will be a fourth (and possibly fifth) season of the Netflix original series? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Synopsis:

This thrilling Netflix original drama stars Golden Globe-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983 — inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences. When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.

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Entertaining Gorefest DOWNRANGE Gets Brutal New Trailer

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This Thursday Ryuhei Kitamura’s new horror-thriller Downrange hits Sudder exclusively and today we have the film’s brutal new trailer and poster.

I’m counting down the days until I can check the film out myself, especially after our own Jonathan Barkan called the film an Entertaining Gorefest in his TIFF review earlier this year.

You can check out the new poster to the right and the trailer below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is directed Ryuhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train) from a screenplay written by Joey O’Bryan, with a story by O’Bryan and Kitamura. It stars newcomer Kelly Connaire, Stephanie Pearson, Rod Hernandez-Farella, Anthony Kirlew, Alexa Yeames, and Jason Tobias and is produced by Kitamura and Ko Mori, with Taro Maki executive producing.

It lands exclusively on Shudder April 26th. See it theatrically in NYC on April 27 and 28,
with director Ryuhei Kitamura in attendance!

Synopsis:

Six college students are carpooling cross-country when one of their tires blows out on a desolate stretch of country road. Getting out to fix the flat, they quickly discover that this was no accident. The tire was shot out. With their vehicle incapacitated, the group is pinned down and mercilessly attacked by an unseen assailant as they desperately attempt to find a way to escape.

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