So 2021 was supposed to be a rebound off of the dismal year that was 2020. However, 2021 hasn't been that exciting either, and looks to be going down the drain in the last few months. With all the bad one thing has remained constant…horror movies. 2020 brought horror fans some fantastic movies while expanding on platforms like Shudder, Netflix, and Amazon. That trend continued in 2021 with probably higher expectations because of some big franchise movies getting moved back a year.
Unfortunately, many of those expectations from those franchises weren’t met for me. “Halloween Kills,” “Candyman,” and “Spiral” aren’t in my top ten list. While I respect and love many of those franchises, it doesn’t mean they’re always good movies, and that we need more of them made. You’ll find only one major franchise movie in my list, and that’s a credit to those bringing us fresh stories, and new characters to fall in love with.
Those are big themes in my list this year. Some of the movies made it because of the characters created, and the brilliant acting jobs done. Three of my top five movies had some of my favorite performances of the year. There are a lot of new stories here, even if some might seem familiar in some ways. You know I like my horror nice and bloody, and many of these movies have some brutal moments. On the other hand, some of them have plenty of laughs in them. Yes, I continue to go soft, and enjoy more and more horror comedies.
One final note about the list. Last year I gave “The Dark and the Wicked” my number one spot in August, and it held onto that spot. This year’s number one movie did something even more impressive. I saw it in January, challenged a movie to beat it, and while it was close it remained number one. Trust me, number 2 is plenty worthy of a number one spot, and I won’t be surprised if it’s on more people’s list next year after it gets a larger release. With that, enjoy my top 10…
#10 Frank & Zed: The tenth spot is always a hard one to fill because it officially leaves out a few other movies that easily could have landed here. This movie is all puppets, and puppets that aren’t afraid to get down and dirty. It’s hard to think a puppet movie can be gory, but this one does it with a crazy battle in the final act. Taking 6 years to make, it deserves some recognition for what they accomplished.
#9 The Toll: Yes, a surprise pick that you probably won’t find on many other lists. I liked so many things about this one starting with the lack of trust between the two many characters, and the situation they find themselves in. There’s a high level of creepiness going on, and it just leaves you wanting to know more about the Toll Man.
#8 A Quiet Place 2: The one big name horror film to make my list. I’m a huge fan of the first movie, and enjoyed this one almost as much as the original. There’s just something so intense about them having to be so quiet. The creatures are awesome, and it’s great to see the kids overcome their challenges in this new world. Can’t wait for part 3!
#7 Werewolves Within: This one might not have gotten as bloody as some werewolf movies, but it has its moments. What’s really great here are the performances of Sam Richardson, and Milana Vayntrub. Their back and forth keeps the film moving with plenty of laughs and awkward moments. It’s a fun mystery although not the hardest one to figure out.
#6 V/H/S/94: Knowing my affection for blood and guts it can’t be a surprise to find this one on the list. Blood is spilled from the beginning to the end of this one. It’s a great blend of different kinds of shorts with a solid wrap around story. If you have to remember anything about it just remember to Hail Raatma!
#5 The Medium: Last year I raved about some of the new Indonesian films out there, and this one continues down the same path. Of course, this one is out of Thailand and South Korea, but gives you the same elements to love. It’s really shocking how this one starts off so slow, and like a true documentary, and then flips in madness by the end.
#4 Jakob’s Wife: Horror icon Barbara Crampton proves why she deserves that title in this one. She sinks her teeth into this role, and has some fantastic bloody moments. The story is also very interesting as her character goes from housewife to vampire, and tests the loyalty of husband and wife. Oh and it doesn’t hurt having another icon in Larry Fessenden playing opposite of her.
#3 Superhost: While there’s so many things I like about this movie, there’s no doubt it got the 3rd spot because of the performance of Gracie Gillam as Rebecca. She put on my favorite performance of the year, and created a character that I would love to see again and again. She’s fun as the awkward host, but when she flips the crazy switch later on it’s special. There’s not many kills, but they make the most of the ones there are.
#2 The Sadness: This one will definitely make a splash once it hits a larger release. I saw it via Fantasia, and it meets the definition of pools of blood. It separates a couple, sends them out into that is about to be taken over by the infected, and goes bat-shit crazy while trying to bring them back together. There’s stabbings, lost fingers, broken bones, rape, bloody sex, fowl language, and so much more. It doesn’t hold back at all, and that’s a wonderful thing. This movie could have easily been number 1, but that goes to…
#1 Pyscho Goreman: Being a fan of 80s horror, and basically most things from the 80s makes this an easy film to enjoy. It has a Star Wars like background while bringing an alien together with an interesting family. Psycho Goreman can kill anyone he wants, but unfortunately finds himself at the command of a young girl named Mimi. Mimi is played by Nita-Josee Hanna, who is simply awesome playing opposite of the big alien. They create so many funny situations fitting in Psycho Goreman with the real world, and then entertain us with the evolving situation with people in Goreman's universe. The SFX is practical, which I always prefer, and is pushed to the limits time and time again. Really, what’s there not to love about this Hunky boy?
So that’s my top 10. Some shockers, and some standards? Want to know the films that just missed the cut? Maybe a little more about why these films made the list? Well for the first time I decided to do my top 10 list on video as well. I talk about these films but try to show some love to the films that I left out as well. Also some thoughts on horror in general, and some of the series and shows from 2021. Check it out below…