2015 may not have been a vintage year for mainstream horror but if you knew which free spirited stones to turn over there were some truly breathtaking independent productions to uncover. Movies that pushed both buttons and boundaries whilst challenging genre perceptions.
Horror has always feasted upon the fears, prejudices and excesses of modern living and regurgitated them as a worse case scenario grotesquerie.
2015 was no exception as we saw abortion, racial hatred, sexual abuse ,blind revenge and religious mania auctioned off under the horror hammer.
Unsurprisingly as the global comunity sinks further into despair and mankind seems more hell bent on consuming itself than ever we witnessed the re birth of the cannibal movie. But it was not all depressing as a deep vein of humour ran through many of the years best releases.
11 : THE EDITOR Giallo / Pastiche / Mystery
Packed with references to the legendary Italian Giallo much adored by horror fanatics this pacy comedy is pitched so perfectly that it not only highlights the intoxicating draw of the genre but achieves cross-over appeal. What could have been a one joke homage aimed at fanboys ended up a beautifully shot, gorgeously choreographed, and masterfully scored love letter that was legible to all film fans with a penchant for the mischievous.
The plot concerning a disturbed editor is totally insane and the whole thing comes across as if The Comic Strip Presents remade Berberian Sound Studio.
The Editor incorporates a stunning performance from Udo Kier (Spermula) that’s like a warm horror hug, fantastic gore authentic to the period and features the funniest sex scene of the year by quite some deranged margin.
Get it here – DVD / Blu-Ray Combo
10 : THE GREEN INFERNO Cannibal /Adventure
Bleeding heart activists from New York cut straight to the bleeding part when they take the fight to the man and link arms with the food chain in the deadly Amazon jungle.
Eli Roth’s exploration of endocannibalism was much delayed but when it did surface it was a total blast. The tone is tongue(and a few other things) in cheek but it still delivers on the ultra strong gore and exploitation entertainment.
The Cannibal cook-out craziness showcases hideously inappropriate masturbation, epic liquid bowel movements and the most ill advised use of weed in cinema history.
Currently unavailable in the UK – Keep a gouged eye out for it here- DVD
9 : GERMAN ANGST Drama / Fantasy
Portmanteau movies were all the rage in 2015 and this was the best example i saw. Punk film making at its most edgy this three handed assault on the senses takes up residence in places other films wont even visit.
Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Michal Kosakowski (Zero Killed) and Andreas Marschall (Masks) go full throttle using multi faceted cinematic tactics to tackle brutal revenge, outrageous racial antagonism and dangerously elicit sex respectively.
One particularly painful use of a chair provides one of the worst horror winces of the year.
Get it here – Uncut DVD
8 : BLOODY KNUCKLES Satirical horror
This relentlessly tasteless comedy also doubles as a stinging and surprisingly poignant exploration of the balance between moral responsibility and artistic expression.
A fearless comic book satirist faces down an aggrieved target with the help of his complete bastard of a severed hand and the homosexual vigilante he has inspired.
Watch out for a particularly outrageous “Dirty Sanchez” and get ready to cheer on the awesome Homo Dynamous.
Get it here – DVD
7 : WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Vampire / Mockumentary
A film crew follows the trials and tribulations of a group of blood suckers as they strive to cope with the pressures of present day living.
Easily the most quotable film of 2015 in any genre this is quite simply one of the best comedies in decades. Full of invention and superb comic timing it mines every velvety crevice of vampire lore to get you laughing.
This flick is destined for solid gold cult status so you might as well sink your teeth into it now.
6 : GOODNIGHT MOMMY Psychological thriller
Twin boys suspect their mother has been replaced by an evil doppelganger after facial surgery and set in motion a chain of events that will stretch parental bonds to their very limits.
A genuinely chilling thriller with a crisp post modern narrative that is as visually gorgeous as it is vicious. Bandaged horrors are always ripe for macabre shenanigans and this minimalist head messer is no exception.
Stylishly nasty this confident and disturbing debut contains some of the most visceral shocks of the year.
Get it here – DVD
5 : HE NEVER DIED Drama / Comedy / Cannibalism
Henry Rollins stars as a bingo playing badass drowning in his own nihilistic existence who must muster the will to change if he is to help his estranged daughter.
This movie should not have been anything less than annoying but somehow it manages to entertain on all levels. Consistently violent and constantly surprising this horror mystery will keep you guessing right until the final frame.
Rollins delivers a fantastically restrained performance including an out of the blue monologue that is pure cinematic dynamite.
Currently unavailable in the UK USA VOD
4 : HEADLESS Serial killer / Extreme horror / Cannibalism
An unhinged masked murderer butchers everyone in his path, and indeed other peoples paths, and on many, many, many occasions has rampant intercourse with the resultant corpses by way of their eye sockets.
This thoroughly repellent and demented movie sells itself as an uncovered slasher from 1978. It is however a disturbed child of the much more modern kick-starter phenomenon.
Many will argue it should have been strangled at birth but if it’s a passionately poisonous boot in the horror genitals you’re after then nothing else came close in 2015.
Get it here – DVD / Blu-ray (Really? You want this on Blu-ray?)
3 : THE TREATMENT Police / Thriller
A cop with a dark past chases down a child abductor whilst struggling to prevent his baggage from weighing him down.
Slow burn horror that treats its audience like adults and leaves much to the imagination – because it has to.
This harrowing movie from Belgium is as cold and dark as a nuclear winter and makes all other Nordic noir look like prime-time CBeebies.
The final run in is truly warped and the last few moments devastating.
2 : SHE WHO MUST BURN Melodrama / Religious fanaticism
A kind and brave woman refuses to abandon her comunity and fights to remain at her post in a planned – parenthood clinic. A family of crazed evangelists have other more infernal ideas.
No film captured the troubled mood of 2015 better than this angry tour de force from the 79 year old Larry Kent. See it how ever you can.
Currently unavailable in the UK.
1 : BONE TOMAHAWK Cannibal / Western
An on form Kurt Russel leads an eclectic rescue party on a quest to liberate hostages from a barbaric race of flesh eating troglodytes.
This astonishingly entertaining genre mash up is a triumph of tone and tenacity. The gore is outrageously realistic and the script crackles with wit and drips with authenticity.
Bone Tomahawk is one judicious pruning session away from perfection and marks the most exciting directorial debut since a certain Mr Tarantino burst onto the scene.
Catch it in the UK from 19th Feb (2016) or now on VOD stateside.
2015 awards for outstanding achievements in the field of horror :
Best under-house scuttling – THE VISIT
The award for randomly gobbing down a sleeping persons ear – THE INHABITANTS
Best depiction of Toyah Wilcox shitting on a kitchen floor – Aaaaaaaah!
Worst misuse of toothbrush award – SLUMLORD
Most outrageously bloody opening scene of the year – TAG
Services to anal trauma – I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3
The award for the most screen time ever given to drinking beers in one movie – WHITE RAVEN
Best film performance using purely the medium of SHOUTING !!!! – Joint winners – Lauren Ashley Carter for her nails down a blackboard turn in POD and Dieter Laser for his nervous break down inducing scream-a-thon in The Human Centipede III.
Most tasteless child death in a glass walled tennis court – #Horror
Best C- bomb launched by a minor – SINISTER 2
The award for the highest levels of WTF ? – Peachfuzz the wolf grinding his bottom on the door in CREEP.
Best ursine related head chewing – BACKCOUNTRY
Well that’s it for 2015.
Lets ‘s hope mainstream horror makes more of a fist of it in 2016.