The Top 13 Horror Movies of 2019 – Jack’s Picks

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The Top 13 Horror Movies of 2019
By Jack Campisi

MMTOP2019It’s time again to take a look back at the year in horror movies and pick the cream of the crop. 2019 came out of the gate slowly and only few flicks seemed worthy of a top ten list, let alone a top thirteen list. Luckily, a lot of good stuff arrived later in the year. There’s plenty to like, so let’s get started.

13: Us
Jordan Peele’s second movie was a huge hit and he has quickly risen to the top of the horror genre. US is a doppelganger movie with strong themes, striking visuals and a great cast. While I had a good time watching this movie, I was not as impressed with it as many others. I thought it kind of fell apart at the end. However, it did have some really creepy moments and a lot of well-placed laughs. I do love its originality and the effect it has had on popular culture. It’s great to see so many mainstream people embracing a horror movie. I look forward to more from Mr. Peele.

12: In Fabric
Yes, it’s the story of a haunted dress… and yes, it actually works. I had a hard time deciding if IN FABRIC would make my list, or if it would end up as an honorable mention. I decided to add it because it has stuck with me more than most of the movies I watched in 2019. It’s a throwback to 60s and 70s Italian horror movies but done with a healthy dose of twisted humor. It’s kind of like Suspiria mixed with a little Shawn of the Dead and Tales from the Crypt and a splash of Hammer horror aesthetics. I had super low expectations for this one and I was pleasantly surprised.

11: Zombieland: Double Tap
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP is like comfort food; it takes me to my happy place. Ten years after the beloved Zombieland gnawed its way into our hearts, comes the sequel we never expected. I was psyched when I heard they got they entire original cast back. They all are in top form, especially Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. Newcomer Zoey Deutch practically steals the movie, but that honor goes to Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch. Their “doppelganger” scene is one of funniest things I’ve seen this year. Oh, and one last thing, be sure to stick around until after the credits.

10: Crawl
The ultimate popcorn horror flick of the year. This movie crept up on me like a hungry gator in a dark crawlspace. CRAWL is just a good, old fashioned creature feature. It’s tense, fast paced and extremely entertaining. Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

9: One Cut of the Dead
This is a movie about a zombie movie, but it’s much more than that. ONE CUT OF THE DEAD was a ton of fun. You won’t know what the heck you are watching at first but stick with it. The payoff in the third act is amazing. I had such a good time watching this movie, and it’s astounding what they were able to pull off with such a tiny budget. If you are a horror fan, or a fan of filmmaking, be sure to check it out.

8: Harpoon
HARPOON was not on a lot on people’s radar this year and I am so happy someone suggested it to me. It’s about three friends stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, caught in some kind of nasty, snarky love triangle. Will the elements kill them, or will they kill each other? This is a tight little thriller with a great sense of humor. Good writing and a sharp cast elevate this movie and comedian Brett Gelman’s narration takes it to the next level.

7: Villains
VILLIANS is the story of two small time crooks on the run who break into the wrong home. After they discover a frightening secret in the house they must contend with the crazy and sadistic homeowners. VILLIANS is darkly funny and full of surprises. It was in theaters for a second last summer and I missed it. Luckily, it finally showed up on VOD before the end of the year and immediately made it onto my best-of list. It boasts a killer line-up: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan, and Kyra Sedgwick. Each one of these stars crush it.

6: Bliss
In BLISS we meet Dezzy, a struggling artist who’s in a rut and up against deadlines for her paintings. She is introduced to a drug called Bliss and goes on a debaucherous bender in the clubs of LA. Afterwards, she’s invigorated, inspired and oddly enough, finds herself craving human blood. This is a wild, frenetic and grimy movie that features an amazing performance by Dora Madison, who throws everything she’s got into this role. For a low budget movie, they certainly got a lot of bang for their buck. I really enjoyed this one.

5: Midsommar
What a long, strange trip this movie is. Dani and Christian are a couple that should really break-up but won’t for various reasons. Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. Things slowly get weirder and scarier as the friendly villagers may be hiding a sinister agenda. MIDSOMMAR is Ari Aster’s follow up to Hereditary and he’s hit another home run.

4: Tigers Are Not Afraid
Wow, what a movie. TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is a visually stunning film that combines horror and fantasy elements against the backdrop of the Mexican drug wars. It follows a group of homeless, orphaned children on the run from the drug lords and ghosts. The kids in this movie are flat out amazing and the story is heart-wrenching. TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is a small and beautiful movie with equal amounts of dread and soul.

3: The Nightingale
Just between you and me, this is probably the best movie on this list. THE NIGHTINGALE is not necessarily a pure horror movie, but a lot of horrific things happen in it. It’s set in a British penal colony in Tasmania in 1825. It follows Clare Carroll, a young convict seeking revenge for violence committed upon her and her family by the British soldiers. She enlists the help of Billy, an Aboriginal tracker, whose people are also at odds with the British. The violence is brutal and graphic, but never gratuitous. It always serves the story. This is a dark and haunting movie, but surprisingly uplifting in the end. Director Jennifer Kent (of The Babadook fame) is brilliant, pure and simple. The entire cast is great, with Aisling Franciosi delivering a powerful performance in the lead role.

2: Ready or Not
READY OR NOT is a freaking a blast. A young bride must partake in her new husband’s family tradition of playing a game on their wedding night. She draws a card and gets Hide and Seek. What follows is a deadly, bloody and often hilarious game of cat and mouse, as the bride is hunted by her pretentious and homicidal in-laws. Can she survive until dawn? Can anyone? This was the most fun I had at the movies this year and READY OR NOT was almost my top pick overall. Once again, Samara Weaving shines bright here. Adam Brody is also a standout. Best of all, they really stick the landing. This movie had the best ending of any film this year.

1: Doctor Sleep
A sequel to The Shining? This movie could have pissed off a lot of people, including me. Young Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) may have escaped the Overlook Hotel, but 40 years later, his experience there still haunts him. He meets a girl with a “shine” lot like his. Now Danny must protect her from the evil that pursues her and finally confront the ghosts of his past. Hats off to Mike Flanagan because he pulled off a miracle. The Shining movie is sacred ground to a lot of people and so is the book. Many people love both and many don’t… particularly Stephen King, who is not shy in his disdain for Kubrick’s take on his novel. Somehow, Flanagan delivers an immensely entertaining movie that is satisfying to all parties involved, and even has the blessings of Mr. King himself. Flanagan clearly has a love of the material and it shows in every frame. Poor marketing hurt this movie at the box office, but it is one that should not be missed.

Honorable Mentions:
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
The Perfection
Daniel Isn’t Real
The Lighthouse

But wait, there’s more!
Be sure check out Hunter Shea’s Top 13 list at his blog and listen to the Final Guys podcast to hear Hunter, Jason and I discuss our picks.

 

The Monster Men Halloween Episode! Pumpkin Ale and Tale Tales

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Monster Men Ep.146

Let’s raise our glasses and propose a toast to our favorite holiday, Halloween! To celebrate, we have gathered an assortment of pumpkins ales to sample while tell some stories about the various horror conventions we’ve attend over the years.

So pull up a seat grab a glass and join us for some pumpkin ales and tall tales.

Happy Halloween!

Scary Booze to Drink in the Dark

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Monster Men Ep: 145 – A Halloween Tasting Show

Bottoms up, Monster Friends! It’s that time of year again. Time for the Monster Men to sample a variety of horror themed foods and beverages including Walking Dead and Octopoda wine, Crystal Head vodka, Zombie Skittles and Bigfoot Ale. All served with a side of Boo Berry, of course.

These never end well.

Since it’s Halloween, many of these will be treats and other will be horrors. (Hint: More horrors.) Join us we indulge in a banquet of the macabre.

Happy Halloween!

 

31 Days of Terror – Monster Men Ep: 144

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Your Halloween Watch List is Here

It’s Halloween season again and that means it’s time to watch a lot of horror movies. A great way to compile a list is to use 31 Days of Terror, a great book that turns compiling a watch list into a game. Using dice, we roll a 31-day list of movies for you to watch all October long. We had a blast, as we always do.

The book consists of movies from all over the horror map. New movies, old movies, well known movies and some forgotten gems. You’re sure to have a blast creating your list and discover some new films along the way. Let us know what you watch this Horrortober. 31 Days of Terror, Chapter 3.

Get the book at https://terror.ca/movies

Here’s our list:
10/1 – Interview with the Vampire 1994
10/2 – The Hole 2001
10/3 – The First Purge 2018
10/4 – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 2018
10/5 – Session 9 2001
10/6 – Predator 2 1990
10/7 – The Sixth Sense  1999
10/8 – Dracula  1979
10/9 – Ginger Snaps Unleashed 2004
10/10 – Re-Animator 1985
10/11 – Saturday the 14th 1981
10/12 – Willard 2003
10/13 – The Willies 2003
10/14 – Psycho III 1986
10/15 – Knock Knock 2015
10/16 – Krampus 2015 10/17  Cabin Fever 2002
10/18 – Attack of the Puppet People 1956
10/19 – Little Shop of Horrors 1986
10/20 – Detention 2011
10/21 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
10/22 – Prometheus 2012
10/23 – Death Becomes Her 1992
10/24 – House of Wax 2005
10/25 – An American Werewolf in London 1981
10/26 – The Blair Witch Project 1999
10/27 – Dawn of the Dead 2004
10/28 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master 1988
10/29 – In the Mouth of Madness 1995
10/30 – Misery 1990
10/31 – Dead Alive 1992

Don’t forget to tell us what you are watching.
Happy Halloween!

 

Talking All Things Horror with Author Terry M. West

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Monster Men Ep: 140
On this episode of the Monster Men video podcast, we discuss all things horror with one of the great people in the industry, Terry M. West. This is a guy with stories. Lots of stories. Stories about the world of horror. Movies, books, stars, the business… you name it, he’s got a great story about it. And was nice enough to share a few with us.

Terry M. West is a horror author. His work includes: What Price Gory, Car Nex, Dreg and his Night Things series. He even has a YA graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire. Terry has also been a film maker and even ran a Halloween business.

You can find out more about Terry and get his books at: http://terrymwest.com

 

 

Pumpkin Ale Tasting 2017: More Beers for Fears

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Looking for that perfect beverage to celebrate Halloween with? The Monster Men have got you covered with the 2017 edition of our annual pumpkin ale tasting show. We’ve got an amazing selection of beers including Roads Mary’s Other Baby from Two Roads, Pumple Drumkin, Saranac, Great Pumpkin Ale from the Cambridge Brewing Company and Splashing Pumpkin from Great South Bay Brewery.

You’re sure to find something for every fiend at the haunted house. So pull up a bar stool, belly up to the bar and tip a few back with us.

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The Monster Men Halloween Episode 2017

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Halloween is here and for the Monster Men, that’s the most wonderful time of the year. To celebrate our favorite holiday, we keep it simple.

We crack a couple of horror themed beers, Two Roads Route of All Evil, and discuss all things Halloween. This includes some food sampling of various Halloween foods, reminiscing about costumes from our past and discussing a few books that are perfect for the season.

The books are “The Beauty of Horror: A GOREgeous Coloring Book” by Alan Robert and “The Stand” by Stephen King. And be sure to listen to how you can win a copy of the Dark Dossier Halloween issue. And check them out at http://www.darkdossier.com

MMHalloween17

31 Days of Terror: A Movie Watchlist for Halloween / #Horrortober

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It’s October and that means it’s Horrortober here at Monster Men. This time we’ve created a 31 movie watchlist using the cool book “31 Days of Terror: The Game”. This book has compiled hundreds of films by category, and listed them so that you can create a list of movies to watch every day of the month, simply by rolling the dice.

Watch our entire list, just pick a few that pique your interest or better yet, buy the book and make your own list. No matter how you do it, this book is a great resource for finding new, old and different horror movies to watch.

Have fun and don’t forget to tell us about the movies you watch all month. Post your flicks on Twitter and tag it with #Horrortober. You can tag us too if you’d like at @backinjack and @huntershea1

31DaysMM

 

31 Horror Movies for Horrortober

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Jack here with a little extra Halloween goodness for y’all. 

Let’s face it, October is the best month because it’s officiallymovies-6 Halloween season. We here at Monster Men like to call it Horrortober and that means it’s time to get serious about watching horror movies. Each year we try to watch as many we possibly can. We also invite our friends to join us in our Halloween horror marathon by tweeting about the movies they watch with the hashtag #Horrortober.

This year I was finally able to watch 31 movies for the 31 days of Horrortober… although I must confess I did not watch one movie a day. There were times where I had to double-up to keep pace. It’s harder than it sounds to watch that many movies. It takes commitment and a little creativity, like knowing when to watch the long movies and when to pop in a short one.

For you, I am happy to present the 31 tweets I posted this month from my @BackinJack Twitter account, with my comments on each film.

  1. The Mummy (1932) – My first horror movie for #Horrortober is the Boris Karloff classic, THE MUMMY. A very Mumorable tale.
  2. Vampyres (1974) – What’s #Horrortober without some sexy 70s vampires who resemble the ABBA chicks. Bloodlust? VAMPYRES has plenty of blood and even more lust.
  3. Night of the Living Deb (2016) – I kept #Horrortober light tonight. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB is a silly zombie comedy you can watch with your non-horror friends. Dumb fun.
  4. Don’t Breathe (2016) – Went to the theater today for my #Horrortober DON’T BREATHE will huff & puff & blow your house in. The final 20 minutes are a blast.
  5. Brides of Dracula (1960) – Hammer Time! BRIDES OF DRACULA has Cushing as Van Helsing but no actual Dracula. Still lots of fangs and bats. And a windmill. #Horrortober
  6. Count Dracula (1970) – Watched COUNT DRACULA, Christopher Lee, and his mustache, in his most faithful adaptation of the book. Slow but very amusing. #Horrortobermovies1
  7. Crush the Skull (2016) – CRUSH THE SKULL: A fun indie black comedy about a crew of thieves trapped in a serial killers home. Low budget, tries hard. #Horrortober
  8. House of Frankenstein (1944) – HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, a campy romp with a mad doctor, the monster, Dracula, Wolf Man and a Hunchback. Plus angry villagers! #Horrortober
  9. Ghostbusters (2016) – Watched the new GHOSTBUSTERS. Great cast, lots of charm but ultimately a bit flat. Not as funny or memorable as the original. #Horrortober
  10. The Black Cat (1934) – THE BLACK CAT: Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff together & quite creepy in this weird movie set in weird house. Lots of fainting. #Horrortobermovies-2
  11. The Hallow (2015) – THE HALLOW: Horrific, mystical woodland creatures terrorize a couple and their baby. A terrific monster movie. Perfect for #Horrortober
  12. The Horde (2016) – THE HORDE is a cheesy action/horror mashup. A John Cena-like SEAL vs cannibal mutants. Plus Bennett from Commando! Dumb fun. #Horrortober
  13. The Wolf Man (1941) – It got hairy for #Horrortober today with THE WOLF MAN. If the wolfsbane is in bloom, I suggest you avoid the foggy woods. Just stay home.
  14. Vampire Circus (1972) – VAMPIRE CIRCUS. Classic 70s vampire goodness. Lots of very big fangs, puffy shirts, sexy ladies and a creepy dwarf clown. #Horrortober
  15. Scars of Dracula (1970) – Next up for #Horrortober was SCARS OF DRACULA. Christopher Lee is back as the red-eyed Count. Featuring awesome fake bats. Hammerrific!movies-3
  16. The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) – Van Helsing, 7 Kung Fu fighting brothers and 1 sister take on THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES. It’s vampire bat sh*t crazy! #Horrortober
  17. I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) – Here’s something different. I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. A teen w/ sociopathic tendencies faces a real killer with a big secret. #Horrortober
  18. The Guest (2014) – Friend or foe? Think twice before you invite THE GUEST in. An entertaining action/horror/thriller with the girl from It Follows #Horrortober
  19. The Children (2008) – Little Kids = Big Trouble in THE CHILDREN. These murderous, infected tikes are not playing around. A nice surprise for #Horrortober
  20. Lights Out (2016) – Lighten up! LIGHTS OUT is an amusement park funhouse of a movie. Fun, quick and plenty of thrills. Dim the lights and enjoy. #Horrortober
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  21. They’re Watching (2016) – A TV crew vs. witch hunting villagers. THEY’RE WATCHING is a hokie found footage horror/comedy. More silly than funny or scary. #Horrortober
  22. The Caretaker (2016) – For a movie with a creepy, sickly grandmother, a girl prone to trances and a clown ghost, THE CARETAKER is pretty uneventful. #Horrortober
  23. Horror of Dracula (1958) – HORROR OF DRACULA: Lee & Cushing at their best. A most terrifying Count and a most heroic Van Helsing. An all-time favorite. #Horrortober
  24. Freaks of Nature (2015) – FREAKS OF NATURE: A human, vampire & zombie battle an alien invasion in this goofy, star-studded horror/comedy/teen drama. #Horrortober
  25. House of Dracula (1945) – HOUSE OF DRACULA: Drac and Wolfie happen to visit the same doctor. They happen to find Frankie in a cave. Not much else happens #Horrortober
  26. The Conjuring 2 (2016) – Nun shall pass! THE CONJURING 2. Over the top. Long. Love or hate these movies, you must admit they know how to set up a scare. #Horrortober
  27. Yoga Hosers (2016) – YOGA HOSERS: A ridiculous comedy/horror flick. Stoned Kevin Smith fans will love it. Featuring Canada jokes & sausage Nazis. #Horrortober
  28. The Devil Bat (1940) – Breaking Bat. THE DEVIL BAT. Bela Lugosi is a bat-sh*t crazy chemist killing people with giant trained bats and fancy cologne. #Horrortobermovies-4
  29. The Invisible Man (1933) – I saw THE INVISIBLE MAN. Well, you can’t see him, but you can see the movie. So entertaining and fun. It’s out of sight! #Horrortober
  30. The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) – THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS: A goofy comedy. 2 bumbling hunters crash a vampire’s ball. Too long, not too funny. Notable cast. #Horrortober
  31. Vampyres (2016) – #Horrortober concludes with the racy remake of VAMPYRES. Two sexy vampires lure folks to their house to shag and bite. Bloody Halloween fun.

Well there it is. What a great month. I hope you like my list and perhaps found a few picks that you might want to track down yourself.

This year I focused on a few things in my movie selection. I wanted to see or revisit some of the older Universal and Hammer films that I hadn’t seen in many years or perhaps had never seen at all. I also wanted to get in a decent number of 2016 horror movies in order to stay current, and I took advantage of the DVR and recorded a number of movies for my queue. Overall I was very happy with the selection and the mix of old and new, as well as the nice scary-to-funny balance I was able to strike.

Even more impressive is my partner, Hunter Shea, who watched an amazing 49 horror movies this year. He’s a machine. You can see his picks at @HunterShea1 on Twitter. (And perhaps we can get him to post his list here as well.)

Now it’s your turn. What did you watch this Horrortober?

Monster Men Halloween Special

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Happy Halloween! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Monster Men’s favorite holiday and cause for celebration.

It’s our annual Halloween episode and this time we are discussing our all-time favorite horror movies. The films that we grew up on, the films that we constantly revisit and the films that helped mold us into Monster Men.

The movies discussed include The Thing, Alien, Dawn of the Dead, An American Werewolf in London, Motel Hell, The Funhouse, The Night Stalker, Fright Night, Creature from the Black Lagoon, JAWS, The Descent, It Follows, Horror of Dracula, The Haunting, Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 3, Friday the 13th, Salem’s Lot, The Silence of the Lambs, and naturally, Halloween.

Also check out of friends at DARK DOSSIER magazine at http://www.darkdossier.com

Monster Men: Where Horror Hangs Out