Not gonna sugarcoat it: This year was fucked. On more than one level personally, mind you. But throughout all of the bullshit, we still were offered up a pretty good slate of horror movies in 2020 (thanks in large part to Shudder). I still did not get to see my Antlers (insert crying emoji), but I was pleasantly surprised by what I did see. So, let’s start it off with the good stuff:
5. The Invisible Man
Ok, so this is on my ‘best of’ list for two reasons: One, because I believe it was the last movie I saw in an actual theater before Covid really hit. And two, because it surprised me and is actually a pretty good/tense little re-imaging of The Invisible Man story.
Joe Begos’ follow-up to Bliss is a blood-drenched love letter to John Carpenter, with some of your favorite aging actors to boot! The key here was the nostalgia, as I literally thought I was watching a Carpenter film at times (and I mean that in the best possible way). Not sure I will ever forget Fred Williamson’s dismay at pubic hair removal though (ohhhh, so that’s what the toothpicks were for!). It’s streaming now on Shudder – go watch it!
3. The Mortuary Collection
Shudder wins again! If there’s one thing I like, it’s a good horror anthology movie. And The Mortuary Collection surprised the hell out of me. Always been a fan of Clancy Brown, and he brought the charming creepiness to his Montgomery Dark character. Each story progressively got better (with not really a dud in the bunch), and each story was consistent and didn’t have a ‘cheap’ feel like you might get in other anthology films. Gory, funny, spooky, and tied together with a satisfying ending – The Mortuary Collection was probably my biggest surprise of 2020 (save for the film that’s in the #1 spot).
Can you tell I watched a lot of Shudder this year? Here’s another movie that I kind of rolled my eyes at before watching. Another found footage horror film. Ho-hum. Oh, but wait! Host was true to current Covid times, as the director (Rob Savage) literally had to direct remotely – and the actors had to learn to perform and coordinate their own stunts, props, etc. And on top of all of that, it was actually a pretty effective/creepy horror movie (and the quick runtime definitely didn’t hurt it). A true ‘sign of the times’ horror movie, Host earned its spot on a lot of ‘best of’ lists this year.
1. Anything For Jackson
This one got me hooked from the start, as it begins with an older couple kidnapping a pregnant woman…..hoping to perform a bit of a ‘reverse exorcism’ on her to get their dead grandson back. Aside from the much appreciated dark comedy moments interwoven throughout, Anything For Jackson got me shook a few times (which is honestly a rare feat). The contortionist demon, creepy flossing lady, and the giant sheeted ghost yelling “Trick Or Treat” were more than worth the price of admission. Definitely my biggest surprise of the year.
I’ll be honest, because this year has been such a negative shitshow on multiple levels, I’m not going to name any movies on my ‘worst of’ list. There were some stinkers, yes, but I’m gonna keep it positive……..Except for Glenn Danzig’s Verotika. Holllllly shit was this bad. So bad that I couldn’t even finish watching, which rarely happens. It’s true what they say – even a pair of eyeball boobs just isn’t enough sometimes. Somebody said that once, right? Anyway – Happy New Year, everyone! I look forward to seeing Antlers in 2021!