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Doctor Sleep Main

Stuart's Best of the Big and Small Screen 2019

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Doctor Sleep Poster Large

So, there’s this beautiful thing happening where more and more genre content is being birthed into the world at an overwhelming pace. Is the market becoming saturated? I can’t say. I live and breathe horror, though, and I’ve missed more than a few “must see” movies/shows/events this year (Midsommar, Daniel Isn’t Real, Bliss, Rabid). It’s a staggering outpouring of bloody goodness. I simply haven’t had time to watch it all. I doubt you have either.

Still, I’ve compiled my list (in no particular order) of the ones that blew the doors off for me in 2019, be it in a theater or in the dark and twisted confines of my home in Texas. Are you ready? You’re damn right you are. I’ll try to keep it to a Top 10, though I failed last year and probably will again this year. You can find all my reviews for these films on www.getonmydamnlevel.com.

If you dig this list, then check out my Best of Horror DNA 2019 and Best Discoveries of 2019.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US Doctor Sleep

Mike Flanagan has become THE name in horror. After blowing us away with The Haunting of Hill House and his stellar adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game (both for Netflix), the wunderkind gave us the Moby Dick of horror by merging King’s 2013 novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film (which King famously hated). The result? Pure fucking magic. It’s so good that it even won over Stephen King himself. Rose the Hat is an instant iconic villain. There’s not a wasted minute in this movie, and the trip back to The Overlook Hotel (as good as that is) isn’t even the best part.

Stranger Things Season 3 Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Stranger Things: Season 3

America’s favorite adventuring party is growing up, and the scale of the danger in Hawkins grows exponentially. There’s covert Russian fuckery, showdowns in the mall, bad clothes, young love, plenty of goopy horror, and heart…so much heart. The third season is the strongest to date – funny, genuinely scary and harrowing, touching, and impossible not to binge in one sitting.

small-coverBuy from Amazon US Joker

We were all antsy at the thought of ANYONE playing the Joker after the all-time performance by the late Heath Ledger. It’s okay to admit that. But…but…Joaquin Phoenix went a different way with his portrayal of Arthur Fleck, a highly disturbed loser who becomes the ultimate dark id, the Joker. It’s a bleak and depressing performance that should win a host of awards, relevant while being utterly hypnotic. A movie so screwed up that many labeled it as dangerous, and they’re not entirely wrong. The Marvel Cinematic Universe got punched in the balls here as DC hits its first homerun.

Creepshow Season 1 Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Creepshow: Season 1

I don’t think I looked forward to anything with more giddiness than the rebirth of Stephen King and George Romero’s classic comic/horror mashup as a regular series, and this beautifully garish show doesn’t disappoint. You get classic King stories (“Gray Matter”) and criminally underappreciated Joe Hill terror tales (“By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain”) as well as directors and writers like Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, Joe R. Lansdale, and Josh Malerman. The cast is a who’s who, and even the lesser stories are a ton of fun. “The House of the Head” is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Trust me.

It Chapter 2 Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US It Chapter Two

I was prepared to be incredibly tough on this one. The book is my all-time favorite, religiously reread at least once a year. Like its predecessor from 2017 (the highest grossing horror movie of all time), the sequel is the definition of epic horror. It’s a lovely little trick that all that eye-popping horror isn’t what shines here. The depth of the power of friendship and belief has always been the core of the story, and despite all the differences from page to screen, that’s why the finale works so damn well. The adult casting is perfection. Eddie and Richie’s relationship is picture perfect and beyond touching. Haters be damned!

Brightburn Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Brightburn

The premise alone sucks you in – what if Superman were evil? What if puberty hit and all that power took a dark turn? It’s “superhero horror”. We all know it takes more than just a good premise, though, and Brightburn delivers serious nastiness. Jackson A. Dunn is chilling as hell as young Brandon Breyer in a legit breakout role. The level of violence caught me off guard in the best way possible.

The Last Drive In Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs

I think I can speak for literally every horror fan on Earth when I say that we’re so damn glad to have Joe Bob Briggs (and the lovely Darcy the Mail Girl) back in front of our eyeballs on a regular basis. He’s the genre’s most beloved voice for good reason. The show’s lineup in the first season is a total treat (Society, The Stuff, Street Trash, Contamination??!!), and the holiday specials are themed schlock of the highest order. You could subscribe to Shudder just for this series and it would be worth it. May he live forever!

Us Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Us

Jordan Peele continues the trend he started with Get Out and strengthened with his reboot of The Twilight Zone of using horror as a place for social statements. That’s not for everyone, but that’s kind of the point. Us (and its many layered themes) will tell you something about yourself. Also, doppelgängers are patently terrifying. Don’t act like horror hasn’t always been a great way to get a message across; don’t blame Peele for being so damn blatant about it, either. If you do, you’ll miss one hell of a smart and vicious film.

Childs Play Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Child’s Play

It’s the remake that no one wanted. Don Mancini balked at the very notion. Hell, we all did! Keep your hands off the classic franchise. It’s funny, really. The end result (regardless of whether you consider it necessary) is a damn solid flick with a little more of a mean streak than the original. The beware-of-your-tech message is heavy-handed, but no less true for all that. And Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky?! That was a stroke of genius. This was good, old-fashioned horror fun, and no one saw that coming.

Zombieland Double Tap Poster SmallBuy from Amazon US Zombieland: Double Tap

It took ten long years to get the sequel to one of the biggest surprises to ever hit screens, but what we finally got is a sequel that upped the comedy and deepened the family bonds. The new additions to the cast (Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch) played their parts perfectly. It’s kind of shocking how all that chemistry is still there and still so much fun with the returning cast. Madison could have her own movie she’s so much fucking fun.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • Terminator: Dark Fate
  • Pet Sematary
  • Santa Clarita Diet: Season 3
  • Happy Death Day 2U
  • American Horror Story: 1984
  • Twilight Zone

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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