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Stuart’s Best of Horror DNA 2020

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

It’s only fitting that a year as unrelentingly tough, viciously novel, and surprisingly educational as 2020 would provide me a slate of opportunities I’ve never had before – more TV shows, event coverage, and face-to-face interviews. The kicker, though, will forever be the films I get to put in front of my peepers to peruse before the public. It’s the first metaphorical needle that goes into this horror junkie’s veins.

Just on the Horror DNA side of my workload, I reviewed 42 feature films (seven from Hulu’s Into the Dark series), eight full first seasons of TV shows, and seven short films (along with three books). Throw in nine interviews, and you’ve got one busy (and tired) boy. Who am I kidding? I live for this shit. Many of you know exactly what I mean when I say horror got me through 2020.

Time to get our hands dirty, friends. Let me give you a little list that’ll give you plenty to watch during the next lockdown. Also, you can Stuart’s Best of the Big and Small Screen of 2020 and Stuart’s Best Discoveries of 2020.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Why Don’t You Just Die!

It’s not an exaggeration to say that no Russian film will ever top this for me. When I give a movie a 5.0, it’s because the “must-see” experience is not only high, but also because you’ll compulsively share the flick with others. Why Don’t You Just Die! holds the crown for 2020 on that front. There’s no action/horror hybrid that can go blow for blow with this utter gem. It’s gloriously batshit, unadulterated madness.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Color Out of Space

I genuinely believe old H.P. Lovecraft himself would be grinning ear-to-ear at this adaptation of what is easily one of his five best stories. Nicolas Cage divides audiences at times, but I adore him in this role; it’s just Cage enough, equal parts batshit crazy and surprisingly tender. The most visually dynamic horror film of the year. The palette of this one soaks the room as you watch, but it doesn’t hesitate to get extremely gooey. Who doesn’t love that?

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro

What’s this, you say? A documentary about a professional wrestler with a horror character? Trust me on this one. It all works wonderfully in the documentary of the year. This one won’t freak you out or throws monsters at you, but it still has horrors to share and a damn good human story to go with it. Broaden your horizons.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon 12-Hour Shift

Directed by Brea Grant and starring Angela Bettis, this one takes both the comedy and the horror extra dark while still managing to give you a dance sequence that kills it. I called Angela Bettis the “People’s Champ” of horror, and she earns that moniker here. Brea Grant is becoming a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the lens in the genre.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Skull: The Mask

Brazil steals the international horror show this year with a killer that I’m literally begging to see in a franchise. This slasher pops into giallo in the B-plot while being pure Dead Alive levels of intestinal madness in the ludicrous body count. There’s a strong homage to The Thing that’s joyous to behold. I really need Skull to be the new Jason. You will, too.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Mortuary Collection

Shudder’s biggest exclusive of 2020, this Clancy Brown-starring anthology boasts a host to rival the Cryptkeeper (I did mention it’s friggin’ Clancy Brown, right?!) to go with some unforgettable tales and a wraparound that makes for one of the best anthology endings of all time. It’s one of those movies that will age like fine wine, too. Anthology of the year in a landslide.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Becky

Earlier, I begged for Skull: The Mask to become a franchise. Here, I’m simply predicting that Becky will become one. This is Lulu Wilson’s best role to date, and that’s saying something for a young woman who’s been killing it in horror since she was nine years old. She’s a damn powerhouse, and Kevin James turns in a thinking man’s villain that chews up scenes. If someone doesn’t lock her up as the face of a franchise with this, it’ll be near criminal.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Special

Wacky premise time: think “Dick in A Box”, but as a horror movie! That’s crazy, right? Nope. James Newman and Mark Steensland adapt their own book into a film, and you’ll seriously never get it entirely out of your head. There are things done in this film that once seen cannot be unseen. The Special may be my favorite page-to-film adaptation ever. And who doesn’t love turning on a flick that’ll have a one-of-a-kind effect on the people you subject it to? Not everyone can handle it, and how fun is that?!

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters

This is the movie that shook me this year, the realest kind of horror that doesn’t just draw parallels to the shitshow we call a world but instead takes the natural horror of the present day and then makes it personal. M.O.M. would make an excellent double bill with We Need to Talk About Kevin. It’s that kind of grounded horror.

You can read my full review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Scare Package

This one is exactly how I wanted those spoof movies we were inundated with in the early 2000’s to actually turn out. Equal parts satirical, silly, splattery, and straight-up nerdy, Scare Package resides firmly in the sweet spot where the best horror-comedy dwells. It’s a flick that’s tailor-made for drinking and getting high with your favorite fellow horror junkies. I promise you’ve never had this much fun with a talking puddle of goo. If you have, however...hit me up.

You can read my full review here.

As tradition dictates, here are your Honorable Mention movies that still kicked ass in what is frankly one of the most bloated years in recent memory for diversity and quality in the horror genre: Into the Dark: Crawlers (classic alien body horror); Butt Boy (the less you know going in, the better); Come Play (PG-13 horror movie of the year); Limbo (soul salvation with great character actors; listen to the Lew Temple interview here); Murder Death Koreatown (shockingly original and confounding found footage); Random Acts of Violence (lives up to the name); and Into the Dark: The Current Occupant (political horror with a twist).

About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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