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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Ten Best Genre Movies of 2018

Last year I had just started the blog and hadn’t really had time to let things get established, but I had always intended to do a best of list. One of the advantages to doing a blog is that it forces me to watch new horror. When I’m not working on a project like this or my old website I tend to stick with favorites and watch them for the umpteenth time. Now I can’t get away with that as you always have to be on the lookout for movies that people might not have heard of and there is nothing better than finding a new movie to turn fellow fans onto.

With that in mind I thought it was a good idea to put together a top ten list of the best horror movies that I’ve seen in 2018. Be warned that I considered movies that might lean more towards thriller and sci-fi then they do horror. But they all have a healthy dose of the scares and gore that we enjoy as fans. Another rule that I enforced on myself were that they had to be released this year. There were a couple that came out in 2017 that I didn’t catch until this year. I decided to disqualify them for my list. If I’m going to say this is the best of 2018 it has to be movies that came out this year. With this in mind let’s take a look at my list.

The other thing that you might notice is that I only have eight entries on my top ten list. Since I limited myself to movies that actually came out in 2018, I had a couple that snuck in at the bottom that while fun were flawed. I had to decide if I wanted to include them because I needed to make some sort of obligatory number or if I wanted to just list the best genre movies of the year. Clearly, I decided to just include those that I thought were worth checking out. So here are the top eight movies of the year in order from lowest to highest.

8. Big Legend (2018) – I picked this one up as an impulse purchase at my local big box retailer. I normally don’t blind buy DVDs anymore, but this was a Bigfoot movie and I was bored. I ended up really digging the movie and loved the slightly different take on the legend. Plus, the fact that they attempt to setup a connected universe where the main character could return to fight different monsters was a blast. Oh and Lance Henriksen showing up at the end was a nice added bonus. Can you make a Bigfoot movie without him? I think it might be against the law to not have him in the cast.  

7. Happy Death Day (2018) – Honestly, I would have never watched this movie if we hadn’t covered it for the Bloodbaths and Boomsticks podcast. Each one of us picks a movie and then we all watch them to discuss on the show. I purchased a digital copy on iTunes and begrudgingly sat down one Friday night to watch. This is a great little movie with an interesting premise of mixing Groundhog Day with a slasher flick. I wouldn’t call this a serious horror movie, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining. As an added bonus my wife watched it with me, and she enjoyed it as well. Considering that she isn’t a huge horror fan that means it has some crossover appeal and could be a decent date night choice. I’m looking forward to the sequel coming out in 2019 and hope it makes my list next year.

6. Blood Fest (2018) – I saw the trailers for this one and knew that I had to watch it. I even took note of when it would be available to purchase, and the day of release downloaded my digital copy. I loved the idea of an amusement park/festival for horror fans that hid a dark secret. I’m concerned about great concepts failing to be executed but this movie hit all the marks. The different settings inspired by slashers, zombies, and yes killer clowns are all done well and are a lot of fun. Watching the characters deal with the crazy situation is amusing and the movie never misses the chance to drop a funny line. Heck there is even a cameo from Zachary Levi as himself. Spoiler… it doesn’t end well for him. This is an amusing horror comedy that put a smile on my face.

5. Tremors 6: A Cold Day in Hell (2018) – I was lucky to stumble over the original Tremors in the theater. I was wandering thru the mall one day and saw the poster went in because I had nothing better to do and fell in love. I’m a sucker for this franchise and watching Burt Gummer do battle with more Graboids, this time in an arctic setting, will always get my money. I was waiting for this to come out and the day it was available I purchased a digital copy and watched it right away. The movie didn’t disappoint, and I had a blast.

Interesting side story about Tremors 6. This movie also spawned my most frustrating movie related conversation of the year. I was talking about it online and someone responded that they hate the Tremors franchise and when they watched Tremors 6 it sucked as badly as they thought it would. Seriously? If you know you hate the franchise, why did you watch the latest sequel? There is no way you were going to like it! Sometimes I really don’t like horror fans…

4. You Might be the Killer (2018) – This is another movie that snuck up on me. I saw it pop up on Shudder as an exclusive and watched it that very first night. I won’t lie that what sold me on it was the fact that Alyson Hannigan being in it was a big selling point. I’m a huge Buffy fan. Right from the first scene I knew that this was something different. Basically, they take the tried and true slasher movie formula and flip it around. We know who the killer is but don’t know why he is murdering everyone. What is fun is that neither does he and we watch from his point of view as he tries to solve the mystery. Why is he killing everyone? Can he be stopped? Does he have to die by the hands of the “final girl”? Hannigan isn’t in the movie with the rest of the cast but instead serves as his expert on the phone giving him advice and referencing other horror movies. I normally hate this sort of character and self-aware attitude in horror movies, but she is great, and the dialogue is solid.

Before I continue, I need to interrupt my list and mention something. Between this movie and the introduction of Joe Bob Briggs marathons in 2018 you really need to give Shudder a try. For five bucks a month you get access to all sorts of horror goodies. I’ve been signed up for months now and always am finding new stuff to watch. They have been doing a bang-up job finding hidden gems, as well as classics for their lineup. Hit up their website and take a look.

3. Overlord (2018) – This is the second-best movie that I’ve watched in the theater this year and it was part of a double feature with another movie on this list. I had a really good day watching movies! This is a flat-out blast of gore, violence, and over the top action the likes of which I’ve not seen in many years. Part war movie and part zombie movie Overlord is a great bit of horror that rivals anything that came out in the crazy days of the ‘80s. Sadly no one went to see this in the theater. Next time you are complaining about Hollywood never making anything good anymore remember this one and how it was abandoned by fans. Sure, the studio did it no favors by releasing it after Halloween when many fans are burnt out with horror, but we need to support it when they give it to us!

2. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) – Much like my number 6 pick this movie is part of a franchise that I’ve always loved. Though I’ll be the first to admit it is a huge mess. Don’t even get me started on trying to explain a timeline for the Puppet Master movies. Here the franchise was taken out of the hands of Charles Band and rebooted by some new filmmakers. Normally the “R” word isn’t allowed here at the Horror Dude Blog, but I was surprised by how well it was done. We get the same fun puppet action with an entirely new story that makes sense. Filled with funny gags, gore, great dialogue, and much puppet homicide The Littlest Reich was a blast. I mean who does an Anne Frank joke and makes it funny?

1. Halloween (2018) – I did not see this coming. I waited until the last weekend that the movie was playing in my area before finally breaking down to check it out in the theater (this is the second movie I saw the day I went to see Overlord). I had no expectations and in fact expected to hate the movie. But I’m not the kind of guy that will complain about a movie without taking the time to see it. Plus I wanted to see this in the theater, even it we were already well into November by the time I did.

As much of a mess as the sequels to Halloween are the idea that I was supposed to ignore everything after the first one while watching this entry annoyed me. But I loved this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing in the role and plays the traumatized Laurie Strode perfectly. The idea that they made Michael the killing machine without motivation again was another perfect choice. For the first time since I first saw Halloween II (the original not the Rob Zombie abomination) I felt like the filmmakers understood what made the original Halloween such a great movie.  

There you have it the best movies that in my opinion came out this year. There are a couple omissions that I know probably confused people. Mandy has shown up on a lot of lists but if I’m to be honest I didn’t like it that much. You get some beautiful visuals and the second half of the movie does have a few great Nic Cage being crazy moments. But there are a lot of slow spots and at times the movie is far too artsy for its own good. Hereditary is another movie that critics and some fans seem to love. Unlike Mandy, where I can see the appeal, I though this one was garbage. It is a boring mess with giant plot holes and a twist ending that was pointless and quite simply dumb.

I’m sure that there are others that people think I missed. Please feel free to email me using the box on the upper right-hand side of this page. Or you can leave a comment on this post using the tool at the bottom. The beauty of lists is that they create discussion and debate between fans. I love hearing from other fans and talking movies. Hey, you might also point out a flick that I missed so again I’d love to hear from you. Now if you will excuse me, I need to start watching some movies and working on my best of 2019 list.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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