SFX's high priestess of horror A look back at the eventful year in horror that was 2015
Nineties are the New ’80s
If this year is anything to go by it looks as if the wheels on the remake machine might be beginning to slow, with the Poltergeist remake failing to do the numbers and the It remake stalling. Eighties nostalgia has been replaced by ’90s nostalgia, with the Scream and Scream Queens TV shows hitting the small screen, and the excellent and under-appreciated The Final Girls going completely meta in a film that’s steeped in ’90s nostalgia for ’80s nostalgia. 2013 and 2014 were all about ’70s nostalgia of course, with decent The Conjuring and then the terrible Annabelle proving big hitters – they’ll be back next year, with The Conjuring 2 on its way.
a-list is the New e-list
Could it be horror credibility stakes are on the up? In 2015 we saw plenty of proper superstars getting their horror on. Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston in Crimson Peak, James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe in Victor Frankenstein, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall in The Gift, Ben Kingsley in Stonehearst Asylum, Arnold freaking Schwarzenegger in Maggie… Oh and Nicolas Cage in something called Pay The Ghost. Or “pay off the tax bill” as you might want to call it.
three is Not the charm
It was a year of atrocious third parts! Sharknado (Oh Hell No!) got a threequel, as did The Human Centipede, taking that franchise to new levels of disgustingness – a feat few thought possible. Then there was Insidious 3 which wasn’t as bad as Insidious 2, but that’s hardly something to astral project home about, while the need for a third round of rape-revenge in I Spit On Your Grave 3 is highly questionable. Twos weren’t as bad, with Monsters 2 being a kind of action update of the road movie love story original, and Sinister 2 being a sort of not quite as good, not entirely logical retread.
we lost some true greats
Sad times in the world of horror in 2015, which marked the passing of some true legends. The magnificent Christopher Lee, embodiment of the original sexy vampire and the terrifying Lord Summerisle, passed, as did one of my favourite horror directors, the mighty Wes Craven, a man who could lay claim to reinventing horror in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Surely all the nostalgia is just us missing Wes? We also lost the original Leatherface, Gunnar Hansen, unforgettable star of the greatest horror movie ever made; Betsy Palmer, who kicked off the slaughter in enduring franchise Friday The 13th as Mrs Voorhees; and former wrestler and star of John Carpenter’s They Live Roddy Piper. We’ll stay rowdy for you, Roddy.
Unsurprisingly though, my five favourite horrors of the year are all independent, all original stories and two of them aren’t even in English. In at number five: White God – Hungarian post apocalyptic nightmare with a subtext about oppression where a mistreated mutt leads a canine revolution to rival those pesky apes. Four: Spring – a beautiful low-fi Euro romance which also happens to be a monster movie. Mumblecore male wish fulfilment at its peak but nonetheless lovely. Three: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Iranian vampire movie with a wicked sense of humour that should be mandatory viewing for anyone who thinks Twilight a) is good or b) ruined vampires. Two: The Hallow – properly scary Irish creature feature with a mythical bent. One: It Follows – original, clever, frightening tale of a “sexually transmitted ghost” whose victims are stalked to death by a relentless but difficult-to-identify shapeshifting presence. Freaky. Roll on 2016!
House guests turn ugly in The Gift. Penny’s pick for horror film of the year: It Follows. The Hallow takes you down to the woods for an unpleasant surprise.