A few years ago scrolling through the horror selections on Prime Video I found the movie Hell House LLC and it seemed intriguing enough to throw in my watchlist. There it stayed until my friend Chris (FutureBoyReviews on Facebook) told me to give it a watch. I’m an unabashed fan of found-footage horror and this was right up my alley. The movie was great, filled with genuine scares, and some of the creepiest clowns you’ll ever see. Last year, writer/director Stephen Cognetti returned with Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel, a worthy sequel that explored the backstory of the haunted attraction. On September 19, 2019, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire debuted on AMC’s horror streaming service, Shudder, to much fanfare. (You can check out my full review of the film here.) On the day of the third film’s premiere, I got the chance to speak with Stephen Cognetti about the Hell House LLC trilogy, found-footage, his inspirations, and more. Read the interview here below.
Earlier this month, I attended the Up All Night: Pay to Get Out Horror Movie Marathon at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island, New York. This is the second year I’ve done this, so it’s now an annual tradition for me. The theater hosts many special events throughout the year, but for horror fans their movie marathons are something special. This year, 7 films were advertised with a mystery 8th film to cap off the marathon before a special bagel breakfast for those who survived the evening, along with the guaranteed $10 refund. Here’s a rundown of my experience at this year’s event, which took place on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
This past year was one of the best for horror. In the world of film there were big-budget blockbusters and critical and financial successes. On TV and the various streaming services we were treated to a bevy of soon-to-be classic series. Eli Roth hit it out of the park with his phenomenal History of Horror on AMC. Netflix went back to the Mike Flanagan well and struck gold again with The Haunting of Hill House. Hulu is releasing new horror films every month as part of their Into the Dark series, along with the Stephen King-inspired Castle Rock. Shudder is dominating the horror streaming world providing the horror fan the closest experience to walking the video store aisles (you’ll hear the words “Shudder Exclusive” a few times in this list). Speaking of Shudder, we got the epic return of Joe Bob Briggs, who did three separate Drive-In marathons for the network, breaking the internet with his first. We even got the return of horror-staple Fangoria magazine!
Compiling my top genre (horror/sci-fi/thriller/etc.) list of 2018 proved difficult. The original idea of a Top 10 quickly spiraled out of control and ballooned into a Top 20, plus Honorable Mentions. In an amazing coincidence, a ton of these films were done by first-time feature directors. So without further ado, let’s get to my list of Top 20 Horror & Genre Films of 2018.
It was something I did often in high school and college – the ol’ all-night movie marathon. As a 36-year-old married adult with 2 children, the concept of staying up all through the night watching movies is something that sounds unreasonable and completely illogical. But then I saw the advertisement pop up in my Facebook feed”¦ the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island, NY, was hosting an all-night horror movie marathon. It took me over a week of intense debate as to whether I should do it, but on Saturday morning, with my wife’s permission (of course), I purchased my ticket for their 2018 Up All Night “Pay to Get Out” Horror Movie Marathon and headed out to meet my fate”¦ 8 horror films in 13 hours, one last great All Nighter… for now.
I was so excited pooling together my list of the best horror movies of 2017. Pretty quickly the list went upwards of 20 films. 2017 was a remarkable year for horror both critically and at the box office. Andy Muschietti’s IT broke records and finished 6th in yearly box office returns. Jordan Peele captured the zeitgeist of America with his debut film, the instant classic, Get Out. Even M. Night Shyamalan re-emerged as a viable hitmaker with Split, which featured both an acclaimed performance by James McAvoy and a twist ending worthy of watercooler talk. And then there’s Guillermo del Toro, who reimagined 1950s monster movie Creature from the Black Lagoon as a Cold War era romantic drama and created my favorite movie of the year with The Shape of Water. It occurred to me as I was making the list that a Top 10 Horror Movies list would be very similar to my Top 10 Movies of 2017. So rather than listing the obvious choices, I’m going to list some hidden gems and lesser-known horror films that were overshadowed in an awesome year for the genre.
See below for my Not-So-Obvious Top 10 Horror Movies of 2017.