While it’s a bit too early to write a ‘Best Of 2014’ list, as not everything has come out and I haven’t yet completely caught up on all that this year has had to offer, we are nevertheless approaching the end of the year, which means it’s about time to start looking back.
Today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wanted to reflect on some of my favorite moments from this year’s horror movie output. So in lieu of an end of the year ‘Best Of’ list, which I’m still working on, here are five horror movie moments that I’m thankful for, this holiday season!
*There be spoilers down yonder, so you might want to avoid the paragraphs about the movies you haven’t yet seen!*
1) THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN – A REAL MOUTHFUL
Perhaps the biggest surprise of 2014 was The Taking of Deborah Logan, a film that blended together the two done-to-death sub-genres of possession & found footage and yet somehow made it work. Defying my personal expectations, Deborah Logan is a well-acted and incredibly effective spook-show, packed with genuine scares.
Ranking right up there with REC‘s terrifying finale is a moment towards the end of Deborah Logan that is absolutely bone-chilling, wherein the title character opens her mouth impossibly wide and nearly swallows the head of a young girl. It’s not often that horror movies manage to scare me, but holy shit did that moment strike fear in my heart.
Trouble sleeping, I had.
2) WOLF CREEK 2 – FLYING KANGAROOS
While Wolf Creek was a genuinely disturbing horror film, this year’s long-awaited sequel was a bit more fun, turning Mick Taylor into a bonafide – and dare I say loveable – horror icon. One scene in particular stands out as a shining example of the sequel’s new attitude, and is one of the most downright off the wall moments in all of 2014 horror.
I’m of course referring to the chase sequence, wherein Mick commandeers a big-rig and goes after good guy Paul. Though at first it seems like it’s going to be an intense scene, it quickly takes a turn for the whacky when Mick puts ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ on the radio, and a herd of kangaroos darts out into the road. Mick laughs like a madman, as kangaroo carcasses fly about and the happy song plays in the background.
Gotta. Love it.
3) THE SACRAMENT – MEETING FATHER
2014 horror doesn’t get much more disturbing than The Sacrament, based on the real-life tragedy known as ‘The Jonestown Massacre.’ Effectively utilizing the POV approach, director Ti West recreates the final days and moments of Jim Jones’ ill-fated followers, and it’s needless to say not an easy film to stomach.
Gene Jones is scary good as the film’s fictionalized version of Jones, known simply as ‘Father.’ At one point, Father agrees to an interview with the journalists who infiltrate the commune, and the 10-minute scene is one of the most compelling in recent memory. The most frightening thing is that it’s easy to see why people would trust and follow someone like Father, which is a testament to the power of Jones’ performance.
Give that man an award. Somebody, give that man an award.
4) TUSK – THE REVEAL
I’ve already talked at length here on HL about Kevin Smith’s Tusk, and I seem to be one of the few who not only saw the movie but also had a lot of fun with it. As outside the box as it gets, Tusk is a truly independent piece of work, the rare sort of film that only could’ve been made by the person who made it. For that, I appreciate it.
Given the fact that the film is about a man turning another man into a human-walrus hybrid, I went into Tusk fully expecting it to be totally off the wall, but even I was left completely speechless when I actually saw the end result of the transformation. Let’s just say I didn’t expect Smith to go as balls to the wall with the concept as he did, and it’s likely that I’ll never forget that reveal.
If you haven’t yet seen Tusk, avoid running a Google image search on the film, as much of the fun lies in not knowing what the man-made monster is going to look like, until you see it with your own two eyes!
5) LATE PHASES – TRANSFORMATION
This past Friday marked the limited theatrical and VOD release of Late Phases, an exceptional film that I’d have to say is the best werewolf horror flick in many years. Story and character driven, Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s English-language debut is home to a fantastic performance from Nick Damici, as well as loads of 80s-inspired practical effects.
Yes, the wolves in Late Phases are practically created, rather than computer-generated, and goddamn do they look awesome. Like all the best werewolf movies, this one comes equipped with one hell of a transformation scene, which is one of the most downright badass in recent years. I of course won’t spoil who the werewolf is, but I can guarantee you’ll be smiling with delight when the flesh starts ripping apart and the fangs come out!
What are some of your favorite moments from this year’s horror films? Comment below and let us know!
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