Every year to celebrate Halloween I watch at least one horror movie a day every day during the month of October. As I scour my way through gore-filled death scenes and jump scares, I come to find some real standouts when it comes to characters, scenes and movies. Thus, this created my own little awards list – The Ones That Made The Cut.
Out of the horror movies I watched in 2020 here are the ones that are worth a damn and why. Please note as well, this article will contain spoilers.
Best Death Scene In A Horror Movie: Crisis Mike in The Hunt
2019 Winner: Joey in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Masters
2018 Winner: Clara and Koldo in Rec 3: Genesis
2017 Winner: Mike in Tucker and Dale Vs Evil
In a movie that features quite a lot of deaths, the one I think ended up being the best due to pure terror belongs to a side character with about 10 minutes total screen time. Played by Usman Ally, the character of “Crisis Mike” in The Hunt was introduced as a leader of a refugee group on a train that characters Gary and Crystal come across trying to escape the hunt. The character of Gary is a pretty clued on podcaster who reports on the rights of refugees and determines that the refugees are actually crisis actors. The leader Crisis Mike then tells him that while he is an actor, the raid on the train by solders isn’t planned for and tells him if he cooperates with the solders he will give them a head start in finishing the hunt. In retaliation, Gary steals a grenade that was on Crisis Mike and then shoves the tiny bomb down his pants.
What follows it 2 minutes of Crisis Mike terrifying bumbling as he tries to remove the grenade from his pants and save himself, and it is in this sheer panic that Crisis Mike takes the cake for Best Death Scene in a Horror Movie. He is, quite reasonably, exploded from the penis out.
Strongest Victim In A Horror Movie: Grace in Ready or Not
2019 Winner: Juno in The Descent
2018 Winner: Kirby in Scream 4
2017 Winner: Reece in Green Room
Samara Weaving played a babysitter who sold her soul to the devil on the hunt for a sacrifice in The Babysitter, but her best role ended up being the reverse as she plays a bride named Grace who is being hunted as a sacrifice in Ready or Not. This movie ended up being one of my favourite horror movies that I watched, not only through the 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge, but in general, and it was Samara Weaving’s portrayal as a betrayed bride that made it so.
On Grace’s wedding night, she partakes in a game of Hide and Seek with her groom’s family, a board game dynasty who attempt to hunt her down to ensure the immortality of the family. Soon Grace realises that the friendly game isn’t so friendly and does what she needs to in order to survive, including climbing out of a pit in the horses stables with a bullet wound, squeezing through the property fence and impaling herself, threatening people with old school guns, and bludgeoning her attackers in self-defence. All the while, Grace never gives up and her final moments in the family dining table where she snort-laughs her response in shock of the whole ordeal shows the audience that she’s gonna be ok. She chooses herself over her groom, and brings the family legend to it’s knees – there isn’t anything more bad ass than that and that’s why she wins my 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge’s Strongest Victim in a Horror Movie as well.
Most Surprising Slasher Movie: Countdown
2019 Winner: The Sand
2018 Winner: The Final Girls
2017 Winner: The Babysitter
Starring You’s stunning Elizabeth Lail and Twilight’s Peter Facinelli, 2019’s Countdown made its way into the Most Surprising Slasher Award during 2020’s 31 Day October Horror Movie Challenge pretty quickly. Similar to the Final Destination series in the idea that an invisible force is targeting a group of people, Countdown takes the slasher genre and brings it into a more modern age with the downloading of an app that tells you when you are going to die. Laughing the app off as a gag, a nurse (Lail) discovers that she indeed has three days before she dies and that her decisions will affect what happens to her as the time runs out.
Well written, designed, and timed, Countdown depicted either deaths as open ended depending on your decisions, but it was the rather morose idea that facing your death ultimately saved you is what gave it a clever and rather practical twist to the horror movie. It also happened to be made even scarier by the idea that you could also download the app onto your own phone if you are feeling game to face your own demise.
Did I do it? No, I did not. But should you watch this horror movie?? Absolutely! It won’t be a Countdown you regret!
Most Realistic Horror Movie: The Farm
2019 Winner: XX
2018 Winner: The Skeleton Key
2017 Winner: The Belko Experiment
The Farm is a 2018 horror movie that follows a young couple who get kidnapped and treated like farm animals in an isolated desert town. It’s clearly an independent production of a movie, and the main couple are pretty blah when it comes to the stars, but The Farm’s storyline and execution is what wins it the award for Most Realistic Horror Movie, and to explain why I’m going to go fully preachy vegan on you. Deal with it.
The Farm is very similar to an amazing Alter short story I have shared many times which features the atrocities of women being artificially inseminated and milked like a cow would. The Alter short film entitled The Herd focuses on the milking side of things, but The Farm opens up the idea to also include other parts of the hideous nature of factory farming, such as taking newborn babies from their mothers and killing them, keeping livestock in tiny cages that they can’t move in, killing them unceremoniously and then hacking them into parts for consumption, raping and impregnating females, suctioning their milk off, and overall torture and hopelessness. This is the reality that many animals live in simply because human kind are greedy, disgusting and vile creatures who think they are better than those they keep in cages.
I like horror movies because in general I pretty much hate humankind. We think we are the top of the food chain and the only smart creatures on earth but we are not. We worry about aliens an UFO’s because we think these smarter beings will treat us like we do animals – cruelly. I like horror movies because these deranged killers are treating their victims like we do animals, and honestly we fucking deserve it. Factory Farming is cruel, disgusting and abhorrent and if you couldn’t survive living out your life like they do in The Farm then you need to take a fucking look at your life and what YOU are doing to these animals. It is your continued support of eating animal products and consuming their bodily fluids that aren’t meant for you that means you are doing this to them.
So yeah, I think The Farm was very realistic. Every form of torture and cruelty and rape is true and happens daily in real life. This pretty much isn’t a horror movie, it’s a documentary putting you in the animal’s shoes, and I think you should fucking listen. If you would like more information on the type of factory farming that happens, visit some websites such as Animals Australia and PETA.
Best Villain In A Horror Movie: Baby in the House of 100 Corpses, The Devils Rejects and 3 From Hell
2019 Winner: Harold in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
2018 Winner: Tiffany in Bride of Chucky
2017 Winner: Sam from Trick R Treat
There is something so iconic about Rob Zombie’s series about the deranged Firefly family who go on several killing sprees in the films House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and 3 From Hell, but the most noticeable of the family has to be Baby Firefly, played by Rob Zombie’s own wife Sheri Moon Zombie. Born to Mother Firefly and Captain Spaulding, Baby is just as deranged as her family, delighting in partaking in first degree murder, theft, and prostitution. Her trashy beauty and youthful energy is a great distraction to lure unsuspecting victims into the arms of the Fireflys and Baby serves as the most enthusiastic bait. She is a strong sadistic and it is the strange combination of stunning beauty, manic like personality and complete disregard for anyone other than her family that makes her a perfect villain.
Most Horrifying Horror Movie: Grace
2019 Winner: Wolf Creek 2
2018 Winner: The Shining
2017 Winner: The Hills Have Eyes
Grace was a surprise heavy hitter that I was not expecting. This 2009 horror film didn’t receive much acclaim, which is why it mostly skated by unnoticed, but the horror about a woman losing her unborn child and still bringing it to term was horrifying enough to make me cry at one point. As per the similar winners of this category, this tugged at the heartstrings by focusing on horrors that can unfold to women (previously depicted as rapes in the other movies, Grace appeals to childbirth and the horrors of losing a baby as it is). It has a twist though, in that the dead child in Madeline’s womb actually comes back to life, albeit with an appetite for human blood. Consumed with undying love for this vampire-like baby, Madeline does whatever it takes to make sure her baby survives, even if it means killing people and feeding the baby her own blood.
This movie is disturbing and horrifying, not because it does have the supernatural element of the vampire baby in it, but because the idea of carrying your dead baby to full term is a horrible and soul-crushing decision at its very human core. Doing whatever it takes for your child is such a resounding appeal to the very nature of motherhood, and many of the breastfeeding scenes were quite horrific even without the reams of blood involved. Grace attacked at the very core of my womanhood, and this is why I have named it the Most Horrifying Horror Movie of 2020’s 31 Day October Horror Movie Challenge.
The One That Didn’t Make The Cut: VHS Viral
2019 Winner: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
2018 Winner: Halloween
2017 Winner: Not awarded
The VHS anthology series, while a little hard to pick up the concept of the main storyline watching the tapes initially, is very well put together. There have been some epic short stories about hauntings, murders, and supernatural creatures throughout VHS and VHS 2, but this is where the anthology should have stopped. VHS: Viral lifts the horror style anthologies of the originals and fails to piece the stories together in an attempt to create a video series more set in modern times of the internet.
The main issue with VHS: Viral is the story that is supposed to bring all of the other short films together. In previous films, this was a person putting tape after tape into a machine, which is the next films that we see. It makes sense. But VHS: Viral the main plot point was absolutely lost in translation and brought the rest of the movie down. An amateur movie maker decides to pursue an opportunity to make a viral video with a police chase drives past his home (the offender they are chasing in an ice cream truck) and so he goes outside, closely followed by his girlfriend, who seems dazed and confused and disappears from the street for absolutely no reason (apparently she was abducted by the ice cream truck, but the truck never slowed down, and honestly she just disappears and you’re left being like, “what?”). So movie maker chases the van while images of his girlfriend appear on his phone and then for some reason other people kind of get in on the chase? It makes no sense!
At the end, movie lover gets into the truck to find weird videos on screens telling him he has to upload the footage of the broadcast to save her (Apparently? This isn’t very clear either) but then he leaves the truck and finds her outside dead where she wasn’t before, and apparently the cursed footage is now online for the “horrors” to occur to others. I only got this info from the Wikipedia page, because honestly it MAKES NO GODDAMN SENSE WHEN YOU ARE WATCHING IT!
The rest of the segments in VHS: Viral are pretty ok. The story about a real life magician whose powers come from his cloak was pretty comical (though a bit of a far cry from the other themed segments in the VHS series)and I like the weird, fight scene that took place when skateboarders are attacked by members of a Mexican cult was pretty cool (though why did the cult members because skeletons?) but the rest of VHS: Viral just didn’t make any kind of sense to consider it a good movie, making VHS: Viral the One That Didn’t Make The Cut.