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Locke And Key Tv Series Season 01 Main

Stuart’s Best of the Big and Small Screen 2020

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

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It’s a gross understatement to say that 2020 is a year that changed a lot of folks’ viewing habits in the blink of an eye. With movie theaters closed for a good portion of the year and operating on skeleton crews and limited showings everywhere else, the way we get our entertainment has been starkly altered. Whether or not the theaters bounce back still remains to be seen, but the slowdown in production hasn’t been a total stop.

TV shows stepped in to save the day for me this year, while the early part of the year still produced a handful of great genre films before the Coronavirus shutdowns started. Streaming service originals are stepping up despite difficult filming conditions to produce amazing new work, some of which never would have been if it weren’t for this year that we’re finally kissing goodbye to.

Many of these reviews can be found on Horror DNA while others can be found on GetOnMyDamnLevel.com. When you’re done here, you can still check out Stuart’s Best of Horror DNA 2020 and Stuart’s Best Discoveries of 2020.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Underwater

Surprisingly tense and well-paced with stellar creature work, Underwater is aquatic horror done right in what is admittedly an Alien ripoff in almost every way. Kristen Stewart genuinely surprises with her presence as a “Ripley-off”. The walk across the bottom of the trench and that ending made the outcast, 12-year-old Lovecraft devotee in me grin from ear to ear. It’s one of those movies whose reputation and appreciation are growing by word of mouth over time, and sometimes that’s for the best. January release date be damned!

You can read the review at GetOnMyDamnLevel.com by clicking here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Gretel & Hansel

Oz Perkins’ take on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale is the best-looking version you’re likely to ever see. It’s a narrative slog at a couple of points, but it just looks so damn perfect that you won’t give a damn. This is no children’s fairy tale. Gretel & Hansel is so dark, it’s unnerving on occasion. Sophia Lillis has such a strong career ahead of her, and she’s already established herself pretty well in the last three years since It premiered in theaters. That’s not the last time you’ll hear her name in this list, either.

You can read the review at GetOnMyDamnLevel.com by clicking here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Lodge

A movie that’s all about triggers, trauma, and terror, The Lodge takes you into seriously ugly territory and splits the audience down the middle. It’s the definition of “love it or hate it”, a frozen nightmare that is guaranteed to get a reaction. There’s so much baggage to unpack here that it takes a degree-laden child psychologist to sort it all out, but my kid gave me the footnotes. I’m here to talk if you need, but you'd be bettter off talking to her. 

You can read the review at GetOnMyDamnLevel.com by clicking here

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Invisible Man

Here’s a movie that gives defenders of the remake such as myself another bullet for their bandolier. Elizabeth Moss is legitimately one of the finest actresses working today, and she brings another of her patented “bend but don’t break” badass performances against an extremely cool (and surprisingly horrific) Invisible Man design that brings the classic Universal monster into the 21st century. The violence is adequate, but the tension builds to an operatic crescendo. If you’re putting together a list of the best remakes, The Invisible Man definitiely isn’t hanging around near the bottom.

You can read the review at GetOnMyDamnLevel.com by clicking here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Dead Lands, Season 1

Shudder’s surprise series hit is a highlight of 2020. The tale of a Maori warrior named Waka Nuku Rau and his trip from death back to life in order to save his people from the literal denizens of the underworld is the template for indigenous horror. Glenn Standring’s highly authentic world of Maori spiritual warfare is breathtaking and utterly transfixing. This is no whitewashed production; this is a true Maori production that is something you’ve never seen before.

You can read the review of the first three episodes here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Locke & Key, Season 1

I’m not mincing words when I say that I have not seen a comic series better adapted. The job done here with the work of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez is nothing short of perfection. I’m a completist and heavy nerd for the source material, and it is exactly as it should be. The differences are minor and the spirit is always one hundred percent on point. It’s a series that has the magic of old Spielberg productions; I say that with a deathly straight face. Go get sucked into Key House.

You can read the review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon The Haunting of Bly Manor

Netflix couldn’t resist going classic with the second season of what is fast becoming their signature horror series, and who can blame them? Based on the works of Henry James for this season, The Haunting of Bly Manor is an atmospheric and unsettling ghost story that has a lot to say about the power of love and how sometimes it just won’t fucking die. The series hallmark of requiring a little bit of tissue continues to great effect while the horror burns itself onto your retina. Why are spirits with blank faces so damn creepy?

You can read the review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon I Am Not Okay with This: Season 1

I told you Sophia Lillis’ name would come up again, didn’t I? This time, she’s Sydney Novak, a downtrodden teen girl with a shitty life and new superpowers. It’s not a good idea to mix childhood trauma, puberty, hormones, weed, and superpowers together, but this is Carrie re-imagined for today with two of the young veterans of It and It Chapter Two. The even cooler part? This Netflix show’s first season has a total binge time of four hours. What are you waiting for?

You can read the review here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon Dear Guest

This short film by The Ice Cream Truck director Megan Freels Johnston takes us into the vacation home of a couple who quickly realize they’re being watched and toyed with. An impressive amount of tension is built in a short film, ending with the possibility of what’s next. It inspired me so much I scored an interview one of horror’s leading new female voices.

You can read the review here and the interview here.

small-coverBuy from Amazon True Terror with Robert Englund: Season 1

No one knows yet if this Travel Channel show will get a second season, but it was a damn fun first season that harkens back to the Unsolved Mysteries format but with horror’s biggest icon as the host and narrator. It’s a folk horror lover’s dream or, at least, a quality diversion for six lively episodes of the unexplained and the unexplainable. True Terror with Robert Englund is wonderfully old-school folk horror with one hell of a host.

You can read the Episode One review here.

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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