This year I was hungry for movies that provided an escapism, made me feel good and delivered some fun. There are lots I didn’t get to, and lots more I enjoyed but here are ten that delivered tremendous joy.
10. Class Action Park – Sometimes something comes around that prompts you to ask out loud, “is this real life?”. If you would have given me a million bucks, (that might be too generous, maybe just a few thousand) when I was ten years old to create an amusement park- this is probably pretty close to what I would have created. Reality and safety be damned, build the loop de loop slide per my specifications! I don’t know how Action Park existed. But it was the 80s, and it did and I know I shouldn’t, but there is a piece of me that has a morbid curiosity about what it would have been like to survive this place and lived to tell the tale.
9. The Cleansing Hour – Inventive AF, a fresh modern take on possession horror. Eerily relevant, fun practical FX, and Alix Angelis scared the shit out of me.
8. Birds of Prey – All the negative shit I heard about this movie just had me thinking… “you all were T-rippin.” I wish I would have seen this on the big screen, but when I tried, the projector broke down, and I didn’t get a second chance before the world as we knew it broke down. But holy shit this was a good time. This. Make more of this.
7. Bly Manor – This one blindsided and gutted me. And having said that, I’ve already said too much. But if you’re a fan of The Haunting Of Hill House, you already know there’s more than meets the eye in Flanagan’s haunted house fare.
6. Spontaneous – This one needs more love for sure. Granted, the author and compiler of this list also grew up with a great fear of spontaneous combustion and a vast awareness of mortality. But this is a wonderful dark horror comedy that plays almost like a slasher, except for the slasher in question is the phenomenon of spontaneous combustion. Which means it’s fun and also existential.
5. Freaky – What a fucking blast. Combining some of my favorite things- a teen comedy body swap and a slasher film and it’s every bit as fun as it sounds. Also unexpectedly touching in multiple ways and all around badass. Not to mention, forever screaming with celebratory glee about the representation here. Queer-o’s represent!!
4. The Invisible Man – The last movie I saw in a theater. It was smart and chilling, Elizabeth Moss was an absolute force in this and I appreciated the updated treatment of the concept.
3. Scare Package – A good anthology is hard to find, imagine my surprise when we were gifted not one but TWO this year. We all have a little bit of Rad Chad in us, and he lives forever in my heart. Just the right amount of all-out splattery goodness. An interactive, screaming-at-your-television-with-grotesque-glee kind of ride.
2. The Mortuary Collection -A good anthology is hard to find. This… is a great one. The vibe of this is perfect spooky Halloween fare. If you grew up with the likes of Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Halloween Tree and the animated Tales From The Crypt Keeper, this feels like a grownup version, tonally speaking. Take the vibe of those childhood classics, up the scares, add gushy gore. As my second favorite movie of the year, there’s lots to say on it, which you can find in my original review and also check out my interview with Ryan Spindell
1. HOST – Number one, no surprise here. This wasn’t just a movie it was an experience. Lots to say about this one but you can read that in my original review and also check out my interview with Emma. Traumatized for at least a week after, the move in itself was incredible. To add to that, watching the cast and creators react to this turning into an absolute fucking phenomenon was such a joy and truly a highlight of the year. Well deserved top spot on many year end best-of lists.
Needs more love: Looks That Kill, Wayne, His House, Gretel and Hansel
Honorable Mentions: Palm Springs, Birds of Prey, The Rental, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, A Creepshow Holiday Special, Scare Me
Theme of My Next Birthday Party: Scare Me
Joyful Binges: Tiger King, Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton
The Year of the Aubrey: Happiest Season + Black Bear
Fucked Me Up So Badly I Needed A Eurovision Palate Cleanser To Quell The Knots In My Heart: The Dark and the Wicked
Perfect Palate Cleanser: Eurovision
Fucked Me Up Existentially: Relic
Best Necromancy: The triumphant return of Fangoria
Hero of the Year: Mission Tiki Drive-In
Thank you to all the creators, imposter syndrome be damned – you birthed wonderful creations, shared them with us all… and as a result delivered much needed joy. Thank you for sharing these pieces of yourselves with us. Cheers to future creations. Here’s to chatting with more of you about your wonderful creations in 2021.