Feel like I’m posting this too early, as I might get blown away by some movie X over the next five days. But I’ve got ten minutes right now, can get these down and in order, I think—with the caveat that I’ve yet to see Hounds of Love or Raw or Prevenge or Super Dark Times or Boys in the Trees, all of which I’m fairly certain would place in this list. Thing is? I would have had time and mind to cue all those up, except this past couple of months I’ve been burning through just so many of the golden age slashers all over again, for a slasher I’m (re)writing.
Which, sidenote: any of y’all watched The Burning lately? Holy something. Now that I’m paying attention to who wrote it, man, every single time a guy’s trying to get hot and heavy with a girl, it’s so aggressive, so rapey. The girl’s always actively resisting and the guy’s just overpowering her, then going away with a bad attitude with her for being like that. Quite creepy. Way surprised someone hasn’t clipped those out, made a point of it all online. And? I would, except these ten minutes I’m using to do this, they’re ten minutes I’m not back in that slasher I’m finally doing right, I think (Lake Access Only).
Anyway, of those I haven’t seen, Super Dark Times and Boys in the Trees (will this one be horror, though?) are the most promising—meaning, they seem to be of the type I usually fall hard for. Raw looks good too, but it looks kind of American Mary-good. Which is flat-out great, don’t get me wrong. But I only need that kind of intense once every two or three years, if that. And, Prevenge, I watched a few minutes of that one night but got called away, right about the time I was getting nervous this might be some Bad Milo situation. I don’t think it was actually going to be, but still, I had Bad Milo in my head, so had to do something else for an hour or two. Hounds of Love looks slick and brutal as well (The Loved Ones without the absurdism and high school drama?), but it doesn’t look like it’s got a lot of laughs. And I need those laughs, please and always. As proof? In descending order from . . . I don’t know, let’s say 13 to best-of-the year way at the bottom—which is to say, from not so many chuckles to laughtastic—here’s my 2016 horror films:
13. I even dug that ending, don’t really think the movie works without it.
12.This ones puts you in that wonderful position to be in with horror: what would I do in this situation?
11. Yeah, that, um, hard to break ending, but even without that, this is solid, and wicked.
10. Been waiting for a movie like this for so long.
9. The de-gloving gag may be my effect of the year.
8. This ending reminds me of I am Legend, in the best way.
7. Dude, sharks.
6. Not quite as metal as Deathgasm, not quite as singalong-ey as Stage Fright, this is just its own wonderful creepy thing.
5. This escalation from act one to act two is one of the best ever.
4. Part 2, without John Ritter, is going to break my heart. Also? This one broke my heart. Year of King indeed. I reread the novel for this one, too, which made it even cooler, I think.
3. How to do every single thing right? This movie should teach us all how. After Get Out, there should be no more bad horror movies. Not if we’re paying attention.
2. I shouldn’t have had to actually pay Alamo Drafthouse for my seat to this one, since I was pretty much levitating with happiness the whole way through. This is what I live for, right here.
1. Yeah, it’s Groundhog Day in slasherland. And? Please, lock me in this loop. I want to wake up watching this movie every day for a long, long time. The slasher is getting vital again. You’ve just got to do it this well.
Oh, too, a lot of people are talking about The Blackcoat’s Daughter. Which I know know know I should give another chance. Just? I’d promised my family a good horror movie one night, so we all settled in with popcorn for some fun, and about twenty minutes in I noticed that all of us were on our phones, doing other stuff. So we regrouped, dialed something else up. Watching on my own, though? Who knows. I mean, I don’t have the patience for I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House or It Comes at Night or The Witch, quite—not saying they’re bad, they’re just not for me—but I did really dig The Eyes of my Mother and Under the Shadow and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Slow and quiet CAN work, even without laughs. However, give me a slasher that dedicates itself to a gag every eight or ten minutes, Cabin in the Woods/Scream style, and you’ve got a super happy camper on your hands, ready to sit around the campfire, wait for someone to spring up in a mask.
To say that without the horror? I’ll take Cannonball Run over The French Connection any day of the week. Yeah, The French Connection may be finer film-making, but Cannonball Run never forgets that it needs to be entertaining. As George Saunders say about readers, I’m a pleasure-seeking entity. I want to be entertained. All thirteen of those movies above did that, and will do it again next time I cue them up.
It was a very, very good year for horror at the cineplex and streaming. One of the best we’ve had for a while. I feel lucky to be watching right now. Here’s hoping 2018 leaves 2017 in the dust, somehow.
( too, for other fine folks’ best horror lists, here’s one for the eyes, one for the ears: Mike Bracken, ShockWaves )
( too? I always stumble upon movies I forgot I’d seen that should have been on this list, so, this time, I’ll just put them down in the comments, as it feels cheat-y to edit my list )