Noah’s Top Horror Discoveries of 2012

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When asked to put together a top whatever list for the site, I knew I didn’t want to do another October/Halloween “Best Horror Movies of 2012” or even worse the “Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Heard Of” because inevitably, any decent horror fan has heard of all of the movies but one and the whole thing is absolutely insulting. Instead I’d rather showcase movies that I personally hadn’t known anything about until this year, whether old or new, and spotlight them as something I found particularly outstanding.

1. Mikey (1992)

Little Mikey is a troubled kid. So much so that he keeps killing off his adoptive parents. I’m a huge sucker for killer kid movies and this one came up on my radar thanks to Horror Movie Night (which our own Brian Kelly runs and Damon Swindall covers). The film itself was banned in the UK, although not as a “video nasty,” due to its featuring a murderous child, and the paranoid notion that kids could learn from this. Whatever the case, the movie is dark and effective, and the titular character played by Brian Bonsall does a bang up job of being a little creep.

2. Possession (1981)

I’m not sure how I heard about this, but it should be much more lauded than it is. It feels very much like a Cronenbergian nightmare and features stand out performances from the always excellent Sam Neill and his co-star Isabelle Adjani. A young wife grows increasingly restless and distant from her husband and leaves him. After sending out an investigator to find out what is going on, it’s learned she’s involved in something much worse than an affair. And it’s completely mind-bendingly weird! You will never view milk the same way again. I’m not going to spoil the ending but what I love is how effectively Possession builds its drama and how much of it is focused on the characterization and performances before it gut punches you into a bizarre black hole.

3. The Sentinel (1977)

A movie like this couldn’t even be made these days. Check out this list of actors in the movie and if this alone isn’t a prompt to see it right away, your taste has to be questioned: Chris Sarandon, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo and Tom Berenger. The Sentinel tells the story of a fashion model, played by the so stunning Christina Raines, who gets her own apartment in New York and then discovers that the apartment is full of scary occurrences that eventually build to a climatic, insane ending. This is another slow burn of a movie, but one that’s so effective and the payoff is so great that I instantly considered it a lost gem in my viewing list.
Watch it on Netflix!

4. Absentia (2011)

A movie I had picked up randomly off Netflix Instant Watch and then as soon as it was done made sure to recommend to friends. Absentia takes its low budget and creates a very eerie atmosphere and delves into a balls-out crazy horror story. It features all no name actors and through a very effective sound design and corner of the eye scares, makes for an uncomfortable and enjoyable watch. It tells the story of a woman who has lost her husband when he went out for a run one day, and now when she’s about to declare him dead learns the tunnel near her home may house something more sinister. Courtney Bell, who plays the lead, was actually pregnant through the shoot and puts forth a very convincing and terrific performance. I can only imagine what Mike Flanagan, the director, will come up with next, but I can’t wait to see it.
Watch it on Netflix

5. Dead Dudes in the House (1989)

I’m not going to claim that I found this to be a lost classic by any means. In fact, there really is nothing  contained within Dead Dudes in the House that hasn’t been seen before, but what I really loved about it was the absurdity of how everything plays out. When watched to enjoy more for it’s lost comedic genius, I think it’s quite a winner. A bunch of jocks, who can’t seem to open any doors or windows for the life of them, go to help a friend fix up an old house they discover something sinister, the previous owner’s ghost! Okay, yeah, it sounds awful and many will find it so (and many will be turned off by it being a Troma release), but when watched at Horror Movie Night we had a blast laughing along with it. Even more ridiculous than the movie itself is the cover art which has absolutely nothing to do with the movie.

6. Twisted Nerve (1968)

One of the craziest things about Twisted Nerve is that it stars Haley Mills who is well known for being a darling of early Disney family movies. In Twisted Nerve she plays a lovable young woman who takes pity on a young man whose family is dysfunctional to say the least. Her kindness is rewarded with him pretending to be mentally disabled so he can get close to her. A strange, off kilter film that at times is a bit disjointed but overall is well worth the time to watch.

House Haunting: House of Torment

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The Halloween season is upon us. You can feel it in the air like a dark, heavy mist, carrying the creatures of your nightmares into reality for one entire month. What a shame that it only lasts one month.

Now is the time when every shadow holds a secret, every bed hides a monster, and every house is haunted. With that, we bring you House Haunting, a new feature where we review haunted houses for your benefit, that you may get the most fear for your buck.

All houses will be rated on our SCREAM Scale:







Warner Brothers Halloween Blu-ray Giveaway

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Hello Horrophiles,

Horror’s Not Dead and Warner Brothers are teaming up to bring you a fiendishly fun prize pack just in time for Halloween. We’re giving away not one, not two, but four horror Blu-rays. First, Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the 1960s TV series Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eva Green. If that’s not enough, we also have the extreme-tourism-gone-wrong-horror-film Chernobyl Diaries. Still not enough? Damn, you’re greedy. Ok then, we also have Blu-rays of two of the early films based on the Dark Shadows series: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.

That should be plenty to keep your Halloween season filled to the brim with creeps ans shrieks. So how do you win? Simple!

In the comment section below, we want you to create a new trick-or-treat candy based on your favorite monster, slasher, or psycho. What would it be called? What candy components would make up this sinister snack? The best creation will will. You have until 10/30.

Get crackin’ boys and ghouls!

Dead Wrong Goes to Fantastic Fest! Episode 1: ‘Livid’ w/Special Guest Tim Buel

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It’s no surprise that we here at Horror’s Not Dead love Fantastic Fest (I’m still not ok with having to wait another year for it), so we figured we would bring a little bit of Fantastic Fest to you! Horror’s Not Dead is proud to bring you four video episodes of Dead Wrong! recorded at Fantastic Fest. In these little mini-debates, I go mano-a-mano with four individuals over the relative merits or deficiencies. Moderated by an impartial third party who would decide the winner, the loser was forced to chug a Lone star beer while the winner relishes in the sweet sweaty glow of not being forced to chug down an awful beer.

First up is Livide, the follow-up to Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Inside. I personally was not a fan, but Tim Buel, co-host of The Golden Briefcase and all-around swell guy, absolutely loved it. As such, he agreed to debate me one warm summer’s evening outside the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Who do you think wins the debate? Chime in and leave a comment!

Note: Our sincerest apologies not just for the horrible lightning, but for my inability to give a coherent or well thought out introduction. And my voice. God, please ignore my horribly shrill voice.

Fantastic Fest Review: ‘The American Scream’

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One day per year there is a holiday wherein kids can be kids and adults can…be kids too.  This is a holiday enjoyed equally by all ages. That holiday, of course, is Halloween!  Candy, costumes, and celebrations abound! For some it’s a day to be scared, but for others it’s a day to SCARE! And what better scare medium is there than a haunted house?  The American Scream is all about the scare; all about the people that create those haunted houses.

The American Scream is the product of Michael Stephenson , creator of the universally loved Best Worst Movie. Set in the small town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, this documentary tells tells the story of three unique families who spend months preparing for an event that has a single day’s payoff. We have an obsessive-compulsive computer systems manager, a father-son team, and a construction worker. Each of these families has a unique vision of what a haunted house should be, and during the film we watch them implement their distinct visions.

This movie provides a unique insight into how complicated and detail intensive these haunted house constructions can be. A person wanting to construct his or her own haunted house must have a multitude of skills. You must have the eye of an artist, design skills of an architect, the steady hand of a carpenter and the constitution of Rasputin. It take a special person to be a “house haunter” as they are called.

Fantasic Fest Review: ‘American Mary’

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American Mary Fantastic Fest 2012Mary Mason is a surgical student with financial problems. In order to solve these problems, she answers a advertisement looking for a “dancer”. Arriving at a grungy strip club, Mary meets Billy Barker, the manager of this fine establishment. As Billy is checking out Mary’s “wares”, a problem develops in the basement of his club. He returns and immediately and offers Mary a quick $5,000 in cash for some help. The job ? Patching up a thug with razor cuts extending the length of his body. Job completed, Mary returns home where she is immediately contacted by an affiliate of Billy’s. The job this time is body modification and the price tag is $10,000. Mary is no longer a starving student but a entrepreneur with a successful side business.

Soon after, Mary’s instructors take interest in her and invite her to a party being thrown by a bunch of doctors. It does not take long to realize that Mary is out of her element, and soon after she is the victim of rape at the hands of  her surgery instructor. From this point forward Mary is a changed person. She decides to drop out of school and enter the world of body modification full time.

HND Staff Chooses Their Most Anticipated Horror of Fantastic Fest 2012

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“True there are more than just horror films at Fantastic Fest, but this site isn’t called Charming Quirky Foreign Comedy’s Not Dead.”–John Gholson

Mr. Gholson is quite right, while we enjoy making discoveries across genre lines at Fantastic Fest, we are forever devoted to the category to which this site’s existence is beholden. Every year, cinematic scares from all across the globe come pouring into Austin, into the Alamo Drafthouse, for a week of pure geek consumption. We have collected the Horror’s Not Dead hive mind to give their thoughts on the horror films they are most anticipating for FF 2012. Read on, should you dare…

The Horror of Fantastic Fest 2012

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In preparation for that glorious week of genre film geek bliss that is Fantastic Fest, we thought we’d offer up this preview of all the horror titles to be featured this year. The subgenres range from ghost stories, to apocalyptic anthologies, to documentaries on various horror subjects. Independent, foreign, and big studio titles are all represented in the 2012 slate. We’ve provided trailers, where available, to give you a little taste of what Fantastic Fest audiences will be seeing. If you’re not one of the lucky ones who’ll be attending this year, use this post as a guide for what you should be watching for on VOD, on Blu-ray, or in theaters over the next several months.

The lineup is, unsurprisingly, fantastic.

Review: ‘Hoax Hunters #3’

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The situation down in the bayou is going south.

The first issue introduced us to the world of Hoax Hunters, and introduced us to a mystery worth solving, before we cover it up. The second issue dug a little deeper, and told us just what kind of world we were entering, before leaving us alone with the monsters that lurk on its surface. In this third issue, with the background established, the story goes all out, exploding from the pages in a mix of blood, terror, mystery, and humor.

The third installment of Image’s horror comic opens with a bang (or rather, an entire magazine full of them), and ends in an ominous whimper bringing us one issue closer to a showdown in the swamps. But I get the feeling this will not be a final battle by any means. Authors Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, with artist Axel Medellin, have alluded to what seems to be an overarching storyline, complete with another shadowy conspiracy. Our antagonist may have a small legion of followers and powers beyond those of our crew, but I get the feeling that he is only a smaller part of what is going to be a much larger picture.

Horror News: Joan Allen Thinks She Has ‘A Good Marriage’

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Stephen King was my first real entrance into the world of horror. When I was in ninth grade, I convinced my English teacher to let me read The Stand for my assigned reading, even though it wasn’t “AP-approved.” My powers of persuasion may rival those of Randall Flagg, but I digress.

Joan Allen will star in the King adaptation (adapted by the master himself) of A Good Marriage. The story was a part of King’s recent collection Full Dark, No Stars. The tale finds a woman alone in her home while her husband of twenty years is away on business. While searching for batteries in the garage, she discovers a wooden box hidden under the work bench. What she finds is “a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.”

Full Dark, No Stars currently sits on my list of books to read, in a queue behind many others (I think I may have a problem), but I may just have to move this one up a bit, because filming will begin sometime in October.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

Horror News: New One-Sheet for ‘The Collection’

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Throughout my education and training, I have always been taught to watch for the smallest details.

The international one-sheet for The Collection, the sequel to The Collector, has been released. The film is directed by Marcus Dunstan, who also co-wrote the film with Patrick Melton. After escaping from the Collector, protagonist Arkin (Josh Stewart) is kidnapped by a team of mercenaries hired by the father of another victim by the name of Elena. Arkin is forced to assist the mercenaries in the rescue of Elena by infiltrating the Collector’s hideout, which has been laden with deadly traps.

Click past the bump to see the one-sheet

Watch The Trailer For Ben Wheatley’s ‘Sightseers’

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Ben Wheatley is a filmmaker whose career seems aimed directly north. He wowed audiences with Down Terrance, and then proceeded to shove hot coals into our agape mouths with his followup Kill List. To say we are highly anticipating his next film is like saying a zombie uprising occurring simultaneously with an alien invasion and giant monster attack on all major cities is a bad day. The first trailer for Wheatley’s Sightseers presents us with a side of the director we haven’t seen before, or at least not to this degree. Namely, it looks funny. Savage, violent, and horrifying…and funny. The nonchalance and, frankly, callous amusement with which this couple murders innocent people is high-scarious. The trailer is a bit long, but I didn’t feel particularly spoiled after the last title card faded from sight. Take a look at it below, and think twice before planning your next vacation.

Sightseers is out in the UK in November, hopefully we’ll get it stateside soon.

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