By most metrics 2020 SUCKED. As someone who believes movie theaters are akin to religious institutions, 2020 was an especially rough year for me. Without blockbusters and theater crowds to keep us entertained, movie fans turned to streaming services and VOD. Perhaps the only silver lining was horror. Horror killed it in 2020 with some tremendous early hits I was actually able to see in theaters and then tons more from the comfort of my couch thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and above all Shudder. Shudder was a shining beacon in the dark of plague halted year for horror fans and for only $5 a month it is worth every penny.
In 2020 we saw the return of the horror anthology, typically great foreign horror and the rise of young promising writers/directors who can dominate this genre for years to come. So let’s take a look at my Top Horror Films of 2020!
Climate of the Hunter is a new twist on the vampire subgenre of horror. Combining arthouse flair, ‘70s vampire mythos, dark humor, and psychological family drama, it was one of my favorites of the year. The film stars Ginger Gilmartin and Mary Buss as sisters Alma and Elizabeth, who begin to compete for the affections of Wesley (Ben Hall), a man from their past who returns to the secluded wooded community they live in.
The film received a limited theatrical run in December and will be available for streaming on January 12, 2021. Director and co-writer Mickey Reece has made over 25 films in the last decade and I got a chance to speak with him about his unique new film and his style of filmmaking.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and quarantine has the potential to suffocate those who crave conversation and discussion, especially about pop culture and movies. Ex-New Yorker and current Texan Peter Marsh felt that strain and used his time off to create his own YouTube channel, AnchorPete, in which he does movie and book reviews and interviews with genre authors. Through a mutual friend, he contacted Chris D’Onofrio and me to do a horror podcast focusing on our favorite director, Mike Flanagan. After two successful shows on his channel, the three of us have created The Lasser Cast, a new channel and horror review video podcast now on YouTube.
Shudder Presents: Cursed Films Episode 4 & 5 – The Crow & Twilight Zone: The Movie
Shudder’s new documentary series Cursed Films came to a conclusion this Thursday with two episodes surrounding movies that are notorious more for tragedy than for supernatural cursing. Those films are 1994’s The Crow and 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie. As he did with the Poltergeist episode, series creator Jay Cheel interviews people who were on set and worked with actors who died during production of the films. Their stories are harrowing and devastating and make the series a necessity for any horror film fan or cinephile in general. Here’s hoping for a season two.
Shudder Presents: Cursed Films Episode 2 & 3 – The Omen & Poltergeist
Living through the real world horrors of a global pandemic and quarantine makes sitting for horror-based entertainment very interesting, to say the least. Shudder is there for us horror fans, updating their catalogs with a “Halfway to Halloween” theme as well as a new series from writer/director Jay Cheel, Cursed Films. Last week’s premiere episode: The Exorcist, was Shudder’s second biggest streaming debut ever behind their updated Creepshow series last year. This week, we get a two-fer of episodes dealing with two of the most notoriously plagued and cursed productions in cinematic history, let alone horror history: The Omen and Poltergeist.