Hey gang, Valkor here. With Halloween just around the bend, I bet most of you are looking for some choice films to really set the mood. Sure you can go with the popular films, but I'm here to introduce to you a handful of titles you may or may not have heard of that are worthy of being in your Halloween rotation and are sure to drum up some scares. Check it out, its Valkor's Top 10 Halloween films of 2013.
Before we begin, since this is my first "Top Horror" list, it'll include films not just of this year, but throughout TOV history. Most films can be find digitally (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, etc), but for those that might be harder to get at… well use your own discretion on where to look. Just note that google is your friend.
1) Art of the Devil 2: The story revolves around 6 teens who've gotten back together after a couple of years of being apart; they've decided to get back together for a trip. So our teens, Kim, Nut, Por, Go, and Tair set off to meet their friend Ta, who's father has just passed away. Now here's the kicker. These six were involved in a bit of a scandal two years prior that involves voodoo practice, video surveillance, treachery, and sexual assault (though not as graphic as you might think) that literally rocks their world. But when the group arrives at Ta's house, their past comes back to haunt them.
Valkor's thoughts: If the first "Art of the Devil" was shit, the producers have redeemed themselves with "Art of the Devil 2" (Long Khong). We're talking great story, lots of gore, and an ending that on a scale of one to ten ranks 9 in the shock factor. (4 stars)
2) Art of the Devil 3: Art of the Devil 3 takes place before the events in Art of the Devil 2, and begins with Ta's return home. Just to catch you guys up a bit, in AOTD 2 Ta was in jail for being a juvenile delinquent. I won't go into too much detail as I don't wanna spoil AOTD2. Now he's home after 10 years to live with his great grandmother, his aunt, the aunts boyfriend and grandfather. The grandfather wants to bring Ta's mother back to life, even kept the body mummified in salt until Ta was old enough to complete the ritual, because as a kid Ta failed to speak the prayer that would ressurect his mom. To bring back the mother they need a host body, to which they turn to his sister's Teacher, Panoh. Panoh was responsible for Ta's mother and eventually the father's death. (Again more details you get in AOTD 2). So the family gets together, kidnaps Panoh, and locks away her spirit so that the mother's spirit can take over her body. Oh and lest I forget to mention, Panoh has the "3rd Eye" which gives her all sorts of crazy powers. In doing this ritual, the family unleashes all hell unto the household, and the fate of Ta and his family is finally revealed.
Valkor's thoughts: I can sum up AOTD 3 in two words "FUCK YEA!!" It isn't what I was expecting, because it doesn't have the same "OH MY GOD!!" ending that literally floored me in AODT2, but the film is definitely intense and a real closer to the series, if in fact this is the final AOTD. This is Ta's film and if you've seen AOTD 2 you will understand why the producers went in this direction and I give them much praise for it. What happens to Ta and his family finally unfolds, though with less gore than the second film, but it's still pretty damn squeamish to watch certain scenes. (4 stars)
3) Lake Mungo: "Lake Mungo" is all about the Palmer family, from the town of Ararat, and the death of their daughter Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker), who one day while on a family outing disappeared and was later found dead, drowned. But when strange things begin happening such as the house making noises and Alice suddenly popping up in videos, the family questions if Alice is really dead or is there something supernatural taking place. All roads lead to Lake Mungo where Alice went with a group of school friends and something most terrifying is uncovered.
Valkor's thoughts: Did I mention that this film is creepy? The chill factor in this film on a scale of 1 – 10 is a definite 11. There are times in the film when it seems to be taking a breather from the creepiness, but the BAM! You're hit with something that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. (5 stars)
4) Deadgirl: best friends JT (Noah Segan) and Ricky (Shiloh Fernandez) ditch school to hang out in an old abandoned insane asylum. While traversing the halls and dodging a vicious, stray dog the two happen upon a woman who is naked, tied up, and covered in plastic. They both think that she's dead, but upon closer inspection, she's very much alive. The two boys struggle about what they should do about her, with JT getting the upper hand and the woman stays tied up for him to have his way with her. Ricky leaves, but JT brings him back later that night to show him something peculiar about the woman – she can't die. Or rather she's the living dead.
Valkor's thoughts: The story of Deadgirl is very unique, unsettling, and may be a bit of a controversial subject matter, however it's handled quite maturely and pretty well done. I thought I was gonna see something campy, hokey, or something outright silly. Imagine my surprise when it really wasn't anything of that at all, but something more intense, more thrilling, and much more… enjoyable? (4 stars)
5) Farmhouse: Farmhouse centers on Scarlett (Jamie Ann Allman) and Chad (William Lee Scott), newlyweds about to start their entire life anew in Seattle. But as they journey from San Diego towards new hope, Chad falls asleep at the wheel crashing their car and now the couple is stranded in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there's a farmhouse nearby and the couple seek assistance from the owner Samool (Steve Weber) and his wife Lilith (Kelly Hu). Sam informs them that the closest mechanic is 30 miles away, it was getting late, and he'll take the couple to get their car fixed come dawn. But things go from syrupy sweet to hell on earth as Sam and Lilith take the newlyweds on a torturous joyride; now Chad and Scarlett must face their past… the past they were attempting to escape.
Valkor's thoughts: Farmhouse is an absolute cinema masterpiece in the world of horror and hurt; it's a psychological drama that you won't forget even when it's over. (5 stars)
6) Grotesque: Grotesque revolves around Aki (Tsugumi Nagasawa) and Kazuo (Hiroaki Kawatsure) – just an average couple out for a night stroll, who are suddenly ambushed by an unknown (Shigeo Osako). When they awake, they realize they're strapped to a table and are about to take part in a lonely man's game of survival. If they can excite him, sexually, with their surviving skills, he'll let them go. Why is he doing all of this? He admits that he's rich, lonely, and this is how he gets his jollies off.
Valkor's thoughts: First of all, it's short – runtime is 73 minutes. Second it's pretty gory and maybe be too intense to watch some scenes. Again, I'm not gonna get in to it… ok maybe I'll give you one; think nails, a hammer, and Kazuo's scrotum. I wanted to cry! It's THAT intense! And that's not even the worst of it. (5 stars)
7) Evidence: Evidence centers on a group of four 20-somethings – Ryan (Ryan McCoy), Brett (Brett Rosenberg), Abi (Abigail Richie), and Ashley (Ashley Bracken), camping out in the woods, filming a documentary that centers on Brett. For the most part no one, save for Ryan, wants to be there and they don't hold back on their complaints – these guys complain A LOT! But even with their complaints, the group is still having some laughs. However "good" times turn to bad when they discover some "thing" is lurking in the woods. The first night they only hear a strange scream. However the next day they spot a shaggy creature hanging out in a ravine.
Valkor's thoughts: Everything about Evidence, from the jump, felt cliché, so by the numbers when it comes to found footage films – the annoying characters, extreme shaky cam, and the predictable jolts that happen throughout. Make no mistake I was on the verge of popping out the DVD and tossing it in the trash alongside "Axed". But then the whole military thing happens and it changed my view of the film COMPLETELY! I'm talking total 360! (5 stars)
8) Rage: Rage centers on a guy named Dennis (Rick Crawford), who's an OK writer, lives in a nice quiet suburban town,and has a lovely wife named Crystal (Audrey Walker) who also has a successful career of her own. What else could a guy want? Well it turns out that Dennis has a little side fling with this chick Dana (Anna Lodej). When Dennis goes to break it off with her, she thinks it might have something to do with her crazy ex… who just got out of prison... and did I mention he's supposed to be crazy? (Doh!). Well That's not it; Dennis simply loves his wife and wants to be happy with her. So he leaves Dana with only her tears and breaks for home. But before he can get there, the dude is taunted by a crazy biker (Played menacingly well by Chris Witherspoon). Things start out simple enough, then it becomes confrontational
Valkor's thoughts: Rage took some time settling into it because, and this is just my opinion, it appeared uneven. I wasn't really sure what the hell was happening. I know from the synopsis what was going to happen, but it didn't appear to flow that way at first. Thankfully as the film progressed things got better… and better… until OH SHIT!! OH NO HE DIDN'T!! (4.5 stars)
9) Vile: Vile centers on a group of four friends returning home from a camping trip. Along the way they stop for gas and is approached by a very attractive woman whose car has also run out of gas, but half a mile from where their location. The woman is returned to her car and as a "thank you" she offers the women of the group perfume samples. But instead of something sweet, they get the gas. When they are awaken, they find themselves in a house locked away with five others, each with a device strapped to the back of their heads containing two vials – one is empty and the other contains an unknown liquid. The group watches a video that explains to them what the devices are – the empty vial is a container to collect a specific brain fluid, which would then be sold on the drug market. This fluid can only be obtained when the body experiences extreme pain, which means the group will have to violently torture one another until they get enough of this liquid.
Valkor's thoughts: Rage took some time settling into it because, and this is just my opinion, it appeared uneven. I wasn't really sure what the hell was happening. I know from the synopsis what was going to happen, but it didn't appear to flow that way at first. Thankfully as the film progressed things got better… and better… until OH SHIT!! OH NO HE DIDN'T!! (3.5 stars)
9) ThanksKilling: ThanksKilling is the brainchild of Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart who've put together one tremendously, intentionally ridiculous films to ever grace the small screen. And they did it on the cheap – over 3,000 bucks to be exact. The film centers on a group of just let out of college for Thanksgiving break teens, each sporting a b-movie stereotype. We have Johnny the jock (Lance Predmore), Ali the slut (Natasha Cordova), Darren the nerd (Ryan E. Francis), Billy the redneck (Aaron Carlson), and Kristen, the sweet innocent gal (Lindsey Anderson).But instead of enjoying their off time from hitting the books, they'll cross paths with a killer turkey aptly named "Turkie" (voiced by Jordan Downey), who's looking for some sweet revenge against whitey for what they did to his Indian ancestors many moons ago.
Valkor's thoughts: ThanksKilling is stupid on a stick, but it's actually meant to be that way; from the low budget effects, the extremely bad acting, and that stupid rubber turkey that's in your face every time he spouts a one-liner, it all screams bad movie. But that's what makes up the film's charm – everything is done on purpose. The story isn't anything to write home about; it's very typical and straightforward, but it does well balancing the horror and the laughs. And oh boy will you laugh. (4 stars)
I know I could have easily mentioned such films as Child's Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, etc. But this list isn't about those classics (or even films that came out more recently like The Conjuring or You're Next). I wanted to piece together a list of films that are a bit under the radar. So like, dislike, suggestions? Leave em in the comment box. And hey, have a safe and spooky Halloween!!