Friday, January 5, 2018

Dr. AC's 2017 Horror Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

Howdy troops,

I openly confess that this year was not my strongest in terms of focusing on the genre of choice, and if it hadn’t been for the two film festivals I attended, it would have been a rather poor showing indeed. I missed out on many of the biggest horror buzzflicks that achieved theatrical releases (Happy Death Day, IT, Alien Covenant, Jigsaw, mother!, Rings, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Leatherface, Life, The Dark Tower, The Mummy) as well as numerous straight-to-streaming – not a reflection of merit in this changing world – such as Gerald’s Game, The Babysitter, 1922, Tragedy Girls, XX, or Creep 2.

Much of this can be attributed to the fact that I spent very little time at the multiplex in 2017, primarily due to a very full plate in what is laughingly referred to as “the real world,” but also (can we talk?) I had minimal interest in seeing many of the big tentpole horror sequel offerings. I don’t need another Alien, TCM, or Saw chapter; there was a time when I felt I needed to be able to weigh in so that I could have the conversation with my fellow fright fans, but that impulse is now tempered by the feeling that my time/money could be better spent elsewhere. That said, several of the films listed above are decidedly on my radar and I will be checking them out as soon as possible and weighing in on them in due time.

In spite of that, reflecting upon the horror releases I did see, it was actually quite a strong year, with intelligent, socially relevant commentaries like Get Out and Raw playing counterpoint to art-house fare (The Eyes of My Mother, The Bar, The Glass Coffin) and straight up pleasure cruises like Don’t Kill It, Killing Ground, The Void, and Tonight She Comes. Along the way, BIFFF and Cinepocalypse provided a welcome sneak peek into the year to come – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Never was there a more appropriate tagline....

At this time, I’d like to call attention to a couple of mind-blowing WTF films, Suffer Little Children and Winterbeast (as well as the bizarro environmental activism experiment gone haywire, ROAR), which shattered my synapses and have forever lodged in my memory banks. These were truly memorable and monumental Views, which is really all any true cinephile is looking for. I’m thankful I was lucky enough to witness them alongside like-minded folks, which enriched the experiences exponentially. After all, as Jon Kitley always says, “Friends don’t let friends watch bad movies... alone.”

Having thusly attempted to manage expectations, below is my assessment of the year that was. All of the films listed below were encountered for the first time from January 1 to December 31, 2017 (i.e. no repeat viewings were eligible). As in years past, to accommodate and acknowledge as many films as possible, I've broken them down into various categories in alphabetical order, with my top picks denoted with an asterisk. (*)

As always, love to hear what you think about what I think. Let the great debate begin!

TOP NEW HORROR RELEASES (in or around 2017)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The Bar
Better Watch Out (
aka Safe Neighborhood)
Don’t Kill It
The Eyes of My Mother*
Get Out*
The Glass Coffin
It Comes at Night
Killing Ground
Tonight She Comes
The Void

FESTIVAL FAVES (coming soon to a platform near you!)
Dead Shack
Animals (
aka Tiere)
Small Town Killers
Happy Hunting

A Dark Song
What We Become

Beyond the Gates
Carnage Park
The Crescent
The Ghoul

The Harvest
Phantasm V: Ravager
Tank 432

TOP DISCOVERIES OF 2016 (i.e. non-2017 releases seen for the first time)
Escapes (1986)
Jack Frost (1997)
Madhouse (1981)
Seven Deaths in a Cat’s Eye (1973)
Suffer, Little Children (1983)
Summer of Fear (1978)
Uninvited (1988)
Winterbeast (1992)*

Skinwalkers (2006)
Dark Harvest (1992)
Teen Wolf Too (1987)

Little Nightmares (aka Innocent Curse) (2017)

Be back in a bit with the Civilian Views, final tallies, and stats! Stay tuned....

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