As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the finest works of terror that the genre gave us. Before I get to the Top 10 I want to give some honorable mentions to a few horror films that barely missed the cut. I highly recommend checking out these five films as they barely missed making the list. She Was So Pretty, Night Of Something Strange, Trash Fire, Francesca, and I Am Not A Serial Killer. As for a non horror genre favorite of the year I’ve got to go with Tex Montana Will Survive which was made by Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella, the creative minds behind The Battery. Without further ado let’s get to the Top 10 horror films of 2016.
10. American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock- FX genius, Marcus Koch got back behind the camera to bring us this chapter in the American Guinea Pig saga. The original Guinea Pig films are known for outrageous and stomach churning gore, Stephen Biro has added a deeper meaning and story into the American Guinea Pig series of films and Bloodshock is guaranteed to keep people talking well into 2017 as the film’s reach continues to expand. Beautifully shot in B&W with heart wrenching performances and gut punch FX work this is an endurance test I recommend to all horror fans.
9. The Greasy Strangler- I love movies that break the rules and show me things I’ve never imagined. The Greasy Strangler accomplished this in spades. Michael St. Michaels performance in this film is going to go down as one of the most bat shit insane roles in movie history. You can tell that everyone involved with this movie totally committed to the lunacy and it pays off as a true cult cinema experience.
8. Plank Face- Creative masterminds Scott Schirmer and Brian Williams tackled the breaking of a human spirit in Plank Face and it’s both horrifying and beautiful to watch. Raw human sexuality and primal desire mixed with the cannibalistic backwoods horrors of yesteryear show that Bandit Motion Pictures is a force to be reckoned with in 2017 and beyond.
7. Pig Pen- This is easily the most soul crushing film of the year. Jason Koch and his crew brought the horror into the home with this look into a young boy’s turbulent home life and what he’s forced to do to save his mother and himself. It takes a very special kind of filmmaker to be able to bring such human depth into the horror genre. If you enjoy having your soul put thru an industrial sized shredder then Pig Pen is the film for you.
6. Diary Of A Deadbeat- Documentaries are easily my second favorite film genre and Victor Bonacore’s documentary on Jim Van Bebber is guaranteed to provide inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to make a film. This film shows all sides of Jim Van Bebber and is a long overdue tribute to a true cinematic maverick. This is a perfect introduction to a man who has stood his ground and made films the way he wants them all the while building an urban legend sized mythology that surrounds him and his work.
5. The Barn- Justin Seaman’s award winning film gave me Halloween permagrin and it will for you as well. It’s always a pleasure to see when a filmmaker gets to make a passion project and you can tell from the opening scenes that The Barn is just that for Justin. I’ve extolled the virtues of this film for months now and if you haven’t gotten on the train for this film then you are seriously missing out on what is soon to be a horror mainstay.
4. Harvest Lake- The Bandit Motion Picture boys make their second appearance on this year’s list with their mind fuck take on sexual horror. If your expecting gratuitous sex and nudity then check those expectations at the door. What you will get is a film that explores and melds sexual nature and horror so successfully that it will stay with you for days. Starring genre favorites, Ellie Church and Tristian Risk in truly fearless roles there’s not much more that a true fan of thought provoking horror can ask for.
3. Circus Of The Dead- Billy Pon’s epic clown carnage film starring Bill Oberst Jr. has played the film festival circuit for quite awhile now but it’s wide release is imminent. Bill’s performance as Papa Corn in this film is an absolute treasure for horror fans. This film hits on so many levels of horror from gore to the blackest of comedy. At one screening I attended a friend of mine loudly exclaimed “What The Living Fuck!’ That’s a sure fire sign of the levels of insanity that you’ll get from Circus Of The Dead. The film also hit’s psychologically on issues in every day society and how being at the wrong place at the wrong time can royally fuck up your entire life. Make it a point to see this as soon as it’s released. You can hear Bill Oberst Jr. and I discuss the film HERE and remember Papa loves you.
2. Frankenstein Created Bikers- Thank the cinematic gods for James Bickert. If it wasn’t for him and his encyclopedic knowledge of film we wouldn’t have this exploitation masterpiece that proves that passion and determination can fuel a film. This is a instant cult classic that is guaranteed to entertain anyone who can let loose and enjoy a few cold ones with their films. Bigfoot, resurrected bikers, guns, gore, babes, and more. This shot on film sleaze fest will stand forever as a companion to the Jack Hill films of yesteryear.
1. Baskin- Seeing this film at the Chattanooga Film Festival in April shook me to the core and had me and others talking the meaning behind it into the wee hours of the morning. Can Evrenol’s masterpiece of religion, sexual oppression, and violence is guaranteed to be dissected for years to come. Mehmet Cerrahoglu’s performance as Father is absolutely one of the most chilling portrayls that I’ve seen in years. If you haven’t seen this film you need to rectify that immediately. You can hear Can discuss making the film and the symbolic meanings in the film HERE.
As this list shows it’s been one helluva good year for horror. The genre is as powerful now as it has ever been. Here’s to 2017 building off this success and continuing to amaze us.