We’ve just entered the new year, and obviously, we are looking forward to what is to come in 2019. Before that, however, it is only fitting that we take a moment to look back on what were the best horrors of 2018 in a couple of categories. These opinions are of the staff here and not necessarily objective choices as we all have our own preferences; feel free to disagree with me in the comments—I’d love to know what titles you think deserved the win…
Hands down, the best short I watched last year was the magnificent LUNCH LADIES. Written by Clarissa Jacobson and Directed by J.M. Logan, Lunch Ladies follows two burnt out high school Lunch Ladies who do whatever it bloody takes on their quest to become Johnny Depp’s Personal Chefs. Here is an excerpt from our review:
Being wrong is becoming an art form for me, and Lunch Ladies slew and surpassed all my expectations. It is an audio-visual feast that leaves you hungering for more. I cannot, in words, express how fun, flamboyant, vibrant and out-right insane the film is, and that’s supposed to be what I am good at.
Right off the bat, Lunch Ladies engages the audience with a magical score (I went straight to Harry Potter on cocaine) and a duo of crazily charismatic characters (Donna Pieroni as Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne) that you can’t but help fall in love with. Their energy, child-like exuberance and in-your-face fandom are second to none. The opening scenes are manic and visually delicious a veritable glee club orgy (not so much the food though). Seretta and LouAnne are the most outlandishly entertaining pair since Vincent and Jules or Mickey and Mallory with acting chops on par.
While technically released in 2017 (doing its rounds on the indie film circuit) Lunch Ladies was released to the public on Amazon Prime in 2018, so call me a cheat if you like, but this one deserves the win and a watch.
Read our full review here.
From the maniacal mind of Mike Lombardo, I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday had me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the film. It’s a tragic, tormenting emotional mindfuck that had me go through more tissues than in one sitting than a thirteen-year-old who had just discovered Pornhub. It is a marvel of a film and a testament to the fact that one doesn’t need a huge budget to create a masterpiece. Here is an excerpt from our review:
This is not a happy movie. I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday wants to make you feel, but it does not want you to feel good. For a first feature-length production, Lombardo has created something memorable, masterful and miserable and it is for those reasons that you should see this film. It is not what currently constitutes a horror film, but perhaps modern horror film-makers could take a lesson or two from I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday; a lesson on what real horror is.
The acting, especially Hope Bikle’s performance, was absolutely stellar. She completely personifies the role of the desperate mother making every effort to do her best in an unwinnable situation. Watching her struggle onward, knowing how it all inevitably ends, is gut-wrenching whilst heart-warming, a duality that Lombardo makes splendid use of throughout the film. Blazi’s performance was also way above par; his innocence and trust making the film even harder to take in.
Doomsday was recently released on Blu-ray, DVD, VHS (because that was one of Lombardo’s childhood dreams) on Amazon and although it’s cinematic debut was also in 2017…I’d say it’s safe to say it’s a 2018 title and probably the best indie film I have ever seen.
Read our full review here.
Although 2018 had a lot of good TV horror, many fell short of their feature-film peers, mostly due to drawn-out plots or weakly-written characters. A glorious exception to these all-too-common disappointments was AMC’s The Terror, a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin‘s lost expedition to the Arctic in 1845–1848. The show garnered much deserved critical acclaim and a “Best Television Series” award, so at least someone agrees with me that it deserves to be on this list. With a cast including Jared Harris, Nive Nielsen, Ciarán Hinds, Tobias Menzies, and Adam Nagaitis, The Terror was a unique, engaging, exciting and exceedingly haunting show that managed to push the envelope while staying true to the genre. The scenery and score were eerily beautiful, the cast phenomenal, the writing brilliant…I could go on and on singing praises for the series but it’s best you simply take a look for yourself. The standout role for me was Adam Nagaitis as the conniving Mr. Hickey, almost stealing the show from the formidable Jared Harris…almost. Season 2 will be hitting the small screen in 2019, but with a completely different cast and plot. Hopefully, we get a worthy successor and not another True Detective season 2.
Hereditary is a fresh take on the whole séance/ouija/ghost genre; a film that gave us a welcome break from the Warren franchise films and their spin-offs that unfortunately pollute the horror industry at the moment. While still in the same vein, Hereditary had actual, fascinating and troubled characters, an immersive story, and a haunting premise sans ad nauseam jump scares and creepy-child sound bites. I’d say it’s probably the best ghost movie since the original Insidious.
Toni Collette—who plays the broken and suffering Annie—is more than deserving of an Oscar for her phenomenal role as the mentally unstable, grieving mother. All of the cast, in fairness, did impeccable jobs but Collette was beyond stellar, embodying mental illness in a way rarely seen on screen.
It’s an intriguing watch from start to finish and will keep you on the edge of your seat with a hellishly clever plot and nightmarish twists. If you haven’t gotten around to watching it yet, it’s well worth your time. Be warned though, it can be a tad unsettling for more sensitive viewers.
A quiet place feels like an entry in the Cloverfield universe; easily a sequel or an additional chapter. As a creature-feature fan, I was delighted by the fact that the monsters shared central stage with the protagonists, garnering a ton of screen time in good CG. The plot, while not original per se, was mostly unpredictable and oftentimes edge-of-your-seat. The characters were great and the acting excellent—the story obviously part of a much larger plot but the focus of the film definitely able to tug on those heart-strings and get you rooting for the family in question.
The silence that dominates the first half of the film is somewhat beautiful; adding a very noticeable ambiance that contradicts the nature of most horrors. The quiet makes the story so much more tense, intense, and exhilarating. The visual cues were intelligently done and not as give-away as is the more common plot practice. The characters were endearing and relatable and the film proudly boasted the ability to draw you in—making you hold your breath and stiffen your limbs along with the protagonists. A truly master-crafted piece of cinema.
The Apostle is everything I was wanted for my Saturday night chill and thrill. Netflix, for me personally, has delivered a good number of original titles that have been immensely enjoyable and this one popped up in a Facebook horror page as something that fans of Lovecraftian horror would enjoy. I was naturally interested and added it to the never-ending watchlist of things I’d like to see but just don’t have the time for. Sensing that this may be something that needed to jump the queue, I settled down with my Monkey Shoulder and decided to give it a gander; I was far from disappointed.
I have a soft spot for historical/period horrors and this one more than tickled my fancy. Mildly reminiscent of The Wicker Man, The Apostle sees Dan Stevens (as Thomas Richardson) heading off to a cult inhabited island to rescue a captive family member from the clutches of an evil order, though things are, as always, far more complicated than what they originally seemed.
What is delivered is a complex, fantastic plot with well fleshed out characters inhabiting an intriguing mythos. The acting is brilliant, the story delicious, and the overall production nothing but stellar. There is a lot that happens while our protagonist is on the isle–it’s a dark, intriguing tale that delivers scene for scene, act for act. It is violent, intelligent, haunting, and horrific while still staying true to its period; highlighting the ignorance and cruelty that we humans are capable of inflicting on each other.
There is no predicting the next scene, no divination you may think you have to unravel the plot; it twists, turns, and meanders holistically throughout, keeping you on the edge of your seat whether you welcome it or not. The roles of who’s “good” and “bad” shift heavily in the final act, making for a terrific standoff that is tense and tenacious, firing on all cylinders without becoming messy.
The score is resonant and infallible, adding heavily to the ambiance of each scene. It is very noticeable throughout the film and plays a huge part of the general feel, being hauntingly beautiful while staying incessantly creepy.
Overall, a stellar horror and a very underrated film.
Breaking box office records and appealing to long-time fans of the series, Halloween (2018) retconned all the previous sequels, making this the official sequel to Carpenter’s 1978 original of the same name. It is the highest-grossing film in the franchise and the highest grossing slasher film in unadjusted dollars, breaking the record previously held by Scream. Jamie Lee Curtis returned to her role as the infamous Laurie Strode, who was actually killed off in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. Strode was in no way ready to be killed off this time—she has instead been preparing for another confrontation for the last forty years!
In all honesty, I personally found the film kind of “meh.” I’m not a huge fan of slashers—having that “if you’ve seen one you’ve seen ’em all” attitude. I have to admit that it was action packed and entertaining with the score definitely taking me back to my childhood. It was well shot, acted and edited and I can absolutely see how fans of the franchise would have fallen in love with it all over again…just not my cup of tea.
What did we miss? What would you like to have seen on the list? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.