Monte’s Favorites of 2013

2014/01/02 20:09:03 +00:00 | Jonathan James

2013 was a great year for horror throughout numerous avenues. Independent film offered some standouts with the disease consuming Contracted, forced intervention Resolution, the creature feature Grabbers, and many more. Hollywood gave us hordes of zombies with the surprising World War Z, a fresh home invasion take with You’re Next, and legitimate scares with The Conjuring.

But horror wasn’t restrained to just film, television made big leaps with Mads Mikkelsen’s great portrayal in Hannibal, the clever re-imaging of Norman in the Bates Motel, and the continuing mayhem offered in Game of Thrones. Still, horror couldn’t be stopped as music jumped into the mix with superb soundtracks released from Death Waltz, Waxwork, and One Way Static records. And it didn’t end there because horror was everywhere!!! Here are a few of my favorites from 2013:

Death Waltz Recording Company

For horror fans the music in their beloved films are as iconic as the images that stain the screen. Death Waltz Recording Company, founded in 2011 by UK music industry veteran Spencer Hickman, has lovingly reproduced some of horrors most revered soundtracks. Pressed on 180g-colored vinyl (an audiophiles delight) and wrapped with stunning commissioned artwork from acclaimed artists, Death Waltz has given fans the detail and devotion that cult film music deserves. With an impressive catalog that boasts Escape from New York, Zombi 2, Halloween 2 & 3, and House by the Cemetery just to name a few, Death Waltz has established itself as the premiere house for genre soundtracks.


Ash and the Army of Darkness

Dynamite comics, with the creator of 30 Days of Night Steve Niles, released the continuing story of Ash and his battle with the deadites as a sequel to Raimi’s third film. While Ash has already ventured throughout the comic book world, Niles’ incarnation feels like the continuation fans have been waiting for. A definite must read, with only three currently released, for fans of Army of Darkness.


The Last of Us

One of the best videogames I have played in recent years. Joel, a damaged man, navigates the dystopian American future along with a young companion named Ellie. The somewhat dysfunctional father-daughter type relationship plays well with the standout narrative, which presents a layered storyline that consistently pleases with sharp characters and tough decisions. The choice based gameplay is fast moving and the graphics are impressive.


Alien ReAction Figures

Nostalgia always has an influence on me. You can’t get more nostalgic than Funko’s set of “retro-like” figures from the film “Alien”. The five set collector’s series includes four main characters (two of which have action flamethrowers) and an alien figure with a glow in the dark skull!!!


Vincent Price Blu-Ray Collection

The indelible mark that Vincent Price has formed in the genre will forever influence horror filmmaking. Scream Factory, already releasing a remarkable catalog, has given horror fans a set of classic’s featuring the iconic Vincent Price. The audio and visual presentations are the best these films have seen on any format.

ABC’s of Death / 26th Director Search

Aspiring horror filmmakers were given the opportunity to submit a 3 minute long short film for consideration of entry into “The ABC’s of Death 2”. Concentrating inspiration on the letter “M” hundreds of submissions were entered for competition. A team of jurors selected 12 finalists and the anthology’s already selected filmmakers picked the winning entry; the stylish and inventive “M is for Masticate” by Robert Boocheck.

American Mary

Jen and Sylvia Soska, two confident women of horror, gave the genre a standout film with the well-crafted “American Mary”. While the scares may be scarce the character development and dread filled atmosphere keep the film compelling. The narrative makes interesting comments about self-identity and the manipulation of it both physical and psychological. These two budding directors have offered an exceptional horror film.


The Battery

Shot on a shoestring budget Director Jeremy Gardner has constructed an ingenious character study of two men trying to exist amidst the zombie apocalypse. The battery, a baseball reference about the relationship of the pitcher and catcher, is a great metaphor for the two men in this film. They are complete opposites but they need each other for survival from both the isolation of humanity and the threat of death lumbering down their path. “The Battery” is an inspired independent horror film.



Vampires are one the most popularized horror figures in entertainment today, making vampire films a difficult sell to the hardened horror fan. While Director Neil Jordan doesn’t try to reinvent the mythos he instead steadily fashions a vampire tale akin to the design of a Hammer film. The focus on a mother-daughter relationship, which is helped by the great performances of the two leads, offers the story time to portray the changes in their past and how it has shaped their present. Jordan offers a film that harkens back to the fundamental structure of the vampire film.


Evil Dead

The horror genre has been plagued in remake/rebooting mania for the past few years. Most of the films offered barely meeting the standard. While Fede Alvarez’s “Evil Dead” couldn’t live up to all the unfair expectations, the result was still an unrelenting and ambitious ode to the gore-saturated original.


John Dies At The End

Based on a book by David Wong, Director Don Coscarelli takes the most ambitious of source material and crafts a work of creativity. Chaotic from start to finish, with jumping narrative shifts and “did that just happen” moments, there is a little something for just about every genre taste. “John Dies At The End” takes the kind of risks more horror films should.



From a technical standpoint, “Stoker” was one of the best of the year. The photography is absorbing accommodated by a saturated palette. The atmosphere is manipulated finely by both the editing and sound design, maintaining the mystery introduced in the first frames of the film. Mia Wasikowska is terrific in the lead role of India Stoker, her youthful demeanor masking much deeper emotions dwelling inside. “Stoker” may not resemble Chan-wook’s past films, but it’s nonetheless a compelling and demented tale.


Editor’s Note: Check back every day this week to read more 2013 favorites from our other writers.

Our Favorite’s of 2013: