2015 was, without a doubt, another excellent year for the horror genre. Summing up what I thoroughly enjoyed in the past year was a daunting task, simply because there were so many rad movies, TV shows, toys, games, podcasts, and more to choose from. Here are my favorites of 2015:
The Gift: If there was ever a PSA for being kind to everyone you meet, The Gift would be it. All of the acting in this film is extremely solid, but Joel Edgerton (who also directed the film) as Gordo is the one to watch. I instantly gravitated to his character in particular, whose back story hit close to home for me. It would have been easy to go in a campy direction with a character like Gordo, but Edgerton brings a level of gravitas to this immensely sad individual. I saw the film at the cinema months ago, and his performance is still on my mind.
Ryan Murphy: Ryan Murphy had a great run of television shows this year with Fox's Scream Queens and FX's American Horror Story: Hotel. Horror comedies are a very tricky and delicate subgenre, but the writers handled the tone of Scream Queens beautifully. Most of the kills are creative and the camera doesn't shy away, for example, when a girl gets her head chopped off by a riding lawnmower. The dialogue is quippy and fun and, even though most of the characters are despicable, you can't help but like them.
As for the fifth season of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy checks his characters into a haunting, 1920's art-deco-styled hotel that has a dark history of its own. The stand out performances for me are Angela Bassett, Denis O'Hare, Evan Peters, and Lady Gaga, who all make this season of American Horror Story interesting and tragic all at the same time.
The Voices: After viewing the film's trailer, I was initially concerned that the film would make light of mental illness, but boy was I wrong. Directed by Marjane Satrapi and written by Michael R. Perry, The Voices is an interesting way to show one man's struggle between sanity and insanity. Schizophrenia aside, I think the constant longing to be who you want to be versus who you truly are is something that people can really relate to. I know I sure can.
Killer POV: I spend a fair amount of time traveling to my various jobs throughout the week, so I always have a list of episodes from the podcasts that I listen to queued up and ready to go. Killer POV, a podcast hosted by Rebekah McKendry, Rob Galluzzo, and Elric Kane, is on the top of my list. Their opinions are diverse, the conversations are deep, and the hosts are very knowledgeable.
Goodnight Mommy: I love foreign horror films for the same reason that I enjoy traveling abroad. I want to expand my knowledge of other cultures, connect with people who make me think outside of the box, who make me question everything and Goodnight Mommy delivered all of those things in spades. The film did a stellar job of telling a haunting story that leaves you feeling uneasy from beginning to end. It leaves a lot of the film's heaving lifting to two child actors (Lukas & Elias Schwarz), but they do an incredible job of allowing their presence to speak for them and make the most with little dialogue. I cannot count the amount of time that I have spent thinking about this movie, from looks between character to pictures on the wall.
The Final Girls: The Final Girls is a wonderful tribute to '80s slashers. I had fun spotting all of the Easter eggs planted throughout, and I think horror fans of all stripes will enjoy doing that as well. Now, I can admit that I am not a fan of super gory violence but because the film focuses more on satirizing elements of the genre and packing emotional punches, I had a really great time watching this movie. The cinematography is impeccable, the colors are vibrant and lush, and, there are strong female leads.
Bates Motel Season 3: I'll never forget seeing Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho for the first time during an "Introduction to Film" class that I took in high school. Back then, I didn't think that I would ever learn more about the Bates family, but now there is Bates Motel, which delivered its best season this year. **Spoiler Alert** In the third season of Bates Motel, the relationship between Norma and Norman Bates is just as dysfunctional and unsettling as ever, which only continued to pave a long, dark road directly to the Norman we all know and maybe love. Caleb (Kenny Johnson), Dylan (Max Thieriot), Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell), and Emma's (Olivia Cooke) character arcs give the audience hope during the show's bleak moments and keep the show grounded in the real world.
Funko's Mystery Minis Horror Series 2: I have never collected anything before now, not statues or anything like that, but I am determined to collect every single Mystery Minis Horror figure from Funko. They are small and don't take up a lot of space in my apartment, and the attention to detail is excellent. I also like not knowing which one I will get and am still holding out for the Nosferatu figure. It's cool that Funko even included Nosferatu in the series to begin with, considering a lot of companies overlook him. Some of the best things truly do come in small packages.
A Christmas Horror Story (2015): Between terrorizing bad children and starring in horror movies, Krampus is having an excellent year. In A Christmas Horror Story, we get a series of stories that are connected by a radio host played by William Shatner. The special effects are really impressive, despite the film having a smaller budget and Krampus looks awesometacular! Rob Archer, the actor portraying Krampus, is that muscular in real life which only adds to the scary and foreboding Krampus figure depicted in German folklore.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 3: **Spoiler Alert** In Season 6 of The Walking Dead, we find Rick's group still living in Alexandria and the whole community is forced to deal with a very large horde of zombies headed their way. In episode 3, the group splinters off, and Glenn pairs with Nicholas in an attempt to give Nicholas a chance to redeem himself. Unfortunately, that decision leads to one of the most talked about TV moments of the year. Speculations and set photos ran amok on the Internet, leading to heated conversations about whether or not Glenn was really dead for weeks.