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Stuarts Best Discoveries Of 2019 Main

Stuart’s Best Discoveries of 2019

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

stuarts best discoveries of 2019 poster large

As a Staff Reviewer for the world’s finest horror site, I get the chance to watch plenty of kick-ass films and guide the horror community to the good stuff. I’m a member of that community, too (and a fucking O.G., at that). I’m always looking for new-old flicks that escaped my watchful eye on their first go-round, whether said go-round was 2017 or 1973. Thank goodness for services like Shudder, Amazon Prime, Netflix, et al. More and more genre content becomes available daily for your eyeballs!

My top ten list of favorite discoveries this year is a doozy – there are classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s that’ll make you want to punch me for NOT having seen them; current indies (that I didn’t review for Horror DNA but instead for Get On My Damn Level), and a whole action series that I’m personally ashamed for not having seen sooner.

So, get out your judgments and dive in. If you dig this list, check out my Best from Horror DNA 2019 and Best of the Big and Small Screen 2019.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US The Changeling (1980)

The iconic bouncing ball scene. Horror’s best séance ever. A wicked twist. A fantastic score and a killer setting to go with legendary actors. It’s a movie that the phrase “they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore” was invented for. It’s the classic haunted house movie, a tale of grief and hidden secrets with a ludicrous amount of atmosphere. And, of course, it stars George C. Scott. Make this one an immediate watch if you haven’t seen it.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US Long Lost (2018)

It’s equal parts erotic thriller, horror, and straight-up gonzo. I love it when a movie throws shit at me that I would never have guessed and didn’t see coming; writer/director Erik Bloomquist does this multiple times here! Everyone loves a good erotic mindfucking, and I’ll bet you haven’t heard of this one. You should unfuck that.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

A movie that has influenced so many others. When you watch it, you’ll see the truth of that statement in a ton of different scenes. In my review I said, “You don’t know what kind of film you’re seeing until you’re balls deep in it.” That sums it up wonderfully. It’s a film about a madwoman who doesn’t know what’s real, and you won’t know either. It’s the dictionary definition of groundbreaking.

The Evil Down The Street Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US The Evil Down the Street (2019)

A family drama wrapped in the clothes of horror that’s grounded in a real story. It’s a restrained mix that works surprisingly well. It’s the story of a family facing down the demon possession of their matriarch, but you don’t get gore and craziness…and that’s not a bad thing. There’s a humanity at work that makes the horror better for it. That’s a pretty neat trick in and of itself.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US The Wax Mask (1997)

Were it not for Shudder, I probably wouldn’t have heard of this late ‘90s Italian gem. Based on a story written by Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci and helmed by SFX legend Sergio Stivaletti, the history behind is interesting as hell all by itself. The movie is a gory giallo with a tech-horror flavor and a House of Wax sensibility. It’s a mix that you won’t forget. I’m so damn glad that the rest of the world can see this one now. The SFX alone are a wonder to behold.

Art Of The Dead Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Art of the Dead (2019)

My God, it’s a movie with both Tara Reid and Richard Greico?! This must be awful, right? I love subverted expectations. This tale of a wealthy family done in by the evil in a series of animal paintings based on the seven deadly sins is so much better than the sum of its parts. Smartly written and well-cast, there’s a twisted fairy tale quality that I’ve never quite seen before. Who says you need to be a blockbuster to be a damn good flick?

Hold The Dark Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Hold the Dark (2018)

While the remote Alaskan setting gives the tale of a haunted man called to kill a pack of child-stealing wolves gives it a starkly beautiful edge, it’s the crazy twists and turns paired with an insanely talented cast that make it exceptional. Also, this may be the bleakest and darkest thing I’ve ever seen. It’ll destroy your brain in a way you may not be prepared for. Be warned.

John Wick Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US John Wick series (2014-2019)

Yeah, yeah. I know. This is my “how the fuck have you not seen this?” entry. I’m not a huge action guy, but I finally jumped headfirst into the series that put Keanu Reeves back on top of the world. I don’t have the words for how much I love this character. The action is batshit and physical to the Nth degree. The story is compelling. The humor (used with pinpoint timing) is first-rate, and John Wick is now a part of pop culture for a damn good reason. I apologize for not seeing it sooner.

Tigers Are Not Afraid Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

The tale of a gang of kids living on the crime-ridden streets of a cartel hell, this Mexican nightmare isn’t for those with sensitive hearts. It’s uber dark and unflinchingly real. Then there’s the supernatural element – you’ll be satisfied beyond belief with that ending! One of those flicks that had crazy buzz for a year or two before hitting Shudder, you’ll see why almost instantly. It’s at the top of my list of movies to prove wrong those who say, “I don’t read subtitles!”

Read Horror DNA's review by clicking here.

the cat o nine tales poster smallBuy from Amazon US The Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971)

One of Dario Argento’s most famous giallos, I’m at a loss to explain how I missed this boat. This movie is the definition of tension and how you turn the screw slowly until the pressure is enough to turn coal into a damn diamond. I love me some Dario Argento, and this one may be my favorite. Utterly fucking gorgeous.


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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