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The five horror movies you should have seen in 2016


 
2016 may have been a shit year for politics and the mortality of cultural icons, but it was a banner year for horror films and a few of the best ones are ultra-low-budget affairs that may have slipped under some folks’ radar.

What follows are, in my opinion, the five best horror movies of 2016. Note that a couple of these titles were completed in 2015, but did not receive wide distribution until 2016. Also, full disclosure: I have not yet seen The Shallows, Hush, Train to Busan, or The Love Witch—all of which have gotten great reviews from respected sources.

Night of Something Strange
 

 
This over-the-top splatter flick about an STD that turns its victims into raging zombie-like maniacs was shot by up-and-coming film maker Jonathan Straiton in Virginia for a mere $40,000. It looks like a million bucks. With top-notch gross-out effects and awkwardly comic sexual situations, Night of Something Strange delivers the sort of comic-book violence and black humor that will resonate with fans of the Evil Dead series or Street Trash. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and a sick sense of humor may be required for full enjoyment, but there’s still moments that are shocking and brutal. Straiton is a director to keep an eye on. The film is rentable on Amazon with a DVD/BD forthcoming.
 

 
Deep Dark
 

 
This quasi-art film may be the “weirdest” entry on the list, and I imagine some would find its premise a bit pretentious, but it’s one of the most refreshingly original horror films I’ve seen in at least a decade. Michael Medaglia’s Deep Dark follows a struggling, untalented artist working in the unappreciated medium of mobiles. The artist discovers a hole in the wall of his rented room which communicates with him, at first through a series of notes and then, as the hole gains strength, verbally, and eventually—when things start to get really weird—sexually. The hole in the wall provides the artist with the tools to achieve his dreams of success in the art world, getting him into a gallery and eventually into the gallery owner’s pants, which causes a (sometimes graphically) messy love triangle between the artist, patron, and muse. Fans of Lynch and Cronenberg take note of Deep Dark. Like Night of Something Strange, this is another highly effective film shot on a ridiculously low budget: reportedly $20,000.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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01.06.2017
09:25 am
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‘Green Room’ is the most badass movie of 2016: Exclusive clip and free tickets
04.20.2016
01:41 pm
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Seeing a movie for the first time at a film festival can be a dicey proposition when it comes to objectivity. Particularly genre festivals like Fantastic Fest when you’ve got a theater crammed with fanboys craving to have a collective cinematic orgasm when a movie delivers a never before seen over-the-top money shot. The roar of the mouthbreathers and the smell of the crowd can fog even the sharpest of minds. Last year the Turkish film Baskin wowed Fantastic Fest attendees with a gore-slathered climax that was intended to shock, but at its best was merely repellent with its tired torture porn tropes. Worse, it was boring. And Tom Six’s odious ode to analingus The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) was a group grope that proved that enough of a bad thing is truly enough. Thank god it wasn’t in Odorama.

Overall, Fantastic Fest is reliably consistent in its excellent programming and there were plenty of films to revive your faith in cutting-edge cinema. High Rise by Ben Wheatley, Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos, Anders Thomas Jensen’s Men And Chicken and Matteo Garrone’s A Tale Of Tales are all being released in the next few weeks and I recommend them highly. But the movie that really knocked my socks off, Green Room, is being released on Friday in 18 cities and Dangerous Minds is giving away tickets. The movie opened last Friday in three cities and had the highest per screen gross of any film currently in theaters. This could be one of the rare authentically rock and roll movies to actually be a hit. And we want you to see it.


As I wrote in my original review of Green Room last year:

Green Room‘s plot is crazily clever: Ain’t Rights, a young punk band from the Washington D.C. area, proudly channeling their Dischord Records’ influences, land a last minute gig during a tour of the Pacific Northwest (somewhere near Portland). Booked into a rural music venue that turns out to be a gathering place for white supremacist headbangers, Ain’t Rights find themselves confronting the mosh pit from Hell. Far from the security of the suburbs where Hot Topics sell Doc Martens to fifth generation punks, Ain’t Rights are hurled into a dark reality where Ed Gein has traded in his plaid cap for a pair of red bootlaces and suspenders. Performing Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” before a mob of Hitler-worshiping fuckwads is a heroically dumb move for our band of young anarchists, but it’s just the beginning in an ever-escalating nightmare involving murder, thrash metal, heroin and a violent gang of skinheads led by the epically skin-headed Patrick Stewart.

Green Room succeeds in its mission to pin your ass to the theater seat. It combines the tightly crafted action chops of John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13 with some of the psychotic mayhem of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.  But instead of mutant cave dwellers and Leatherface, we’ve got goose-stepping skins with boxcutters and shotguns: The Rocking Dead.

For those viewers who know more than a little bit about punk culture, Green Room works so well, despite its off-the-wallness, because it feels authentic. It gets the details right. Director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) knows the punk scene and the vibe of his subjects because he was one of them, as evidenced by a savvy soundtrack that perfectly weds music to action. Napalm Death, Bad Brains, Misfits, Minor Threat and Slayer create the background thump and grind to a movie that is disturbing, funny and supremely badass.


So kids if you wanna see a movie that will undoubtedly be in my top ten of 2016, we’ve got tickets for you and an exclusive clip… after the jump…

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Posted by Marc Campbell
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04.20.2016
01:41 pm
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GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST: Free tickets to see the brilliantly demented ‘Green Room’
04.14.2016
01:02 pm
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My upbeat feelings (see below) about Green Room seem to be supported by the rest of the movie-reviewing establishment now that the film is about to be released. Raves all around. When I saw Jeremy Saulnier’s hard-rocking action film at last year’s Fantastic Fest I knew I was experiencing something that would resonate with audiences. And now we’re going to find out. Dangerous Minds is giving away 30 pairs of tickets in each of the following cities to Green Room:

Atlanta
Austin
Boston
Chicago
Dallas
Denver
Detroit
Houston
Miami
Minneapolis
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Portland
Sacramento
San Diego
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, DC

Click on this: gofobo and get yours while they last. Once you’ve gotten your ticket, it is recommended to arrive early to guarantee that you get seated.


 
Here’s my review of Green Room, one of my top ten films of 2016.:

Green Room is to cinema what hardcore is to rock and roll: brutal, blunt and exhilarating. With its explosive mix of anarchic punks, neo-Nazi skinheads, pitbulls, machetes and shotguns, director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) has made a gory thriller that has the impact of a jack boot kick to the face. Artfully constructed and highly entertaining, Green Room was one of the most exciting features screened at this year’s Fantastic Fest. It’s got A-list actors, including a sinister turn by Patrick Stewart, and enough Hollywood sheen that it may be that rare “cult” flick that forces its way into your local cineplex, where it will be about as welcome as a Skrewdriver cover band at a Bar Mitzvah.

Green Room‘s plot is crazily clever: Ain’t Rights, a young punk band from the Washington D.C. area who proudly channel their Dischord Records’ influences, land a last minute gig during a tour of the Pacific Northwest (somewhere near Portland). Booked into a rural music venue that turns out to be a gathering place for white supremacist headbangers, Ain’t Rights find themselves confronting the mosh pit from Hell. Far from the security of the suburbs where Hot Topics sell Doc Martens to fifth generation punks, Ain’t Rights are hurled into a dark reality where Ed Gein has traded in his plaid cap for a pair of red bootlaces and suspenders. Performing Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” before a mob of Hitler-worshiping fuckwads is a heroically dumb move for our band of young anarchists, but it’s just the beginning in an ever-escalating nightmare involving murder, thrash metal, heroin and a violent gang of skinheads led by the epically skin-headed Patrick Stewart.
 

 
While the movie avoids getting too deep into the sociopolitical aspects of its story, the similarities between the Aryan Youth Movement and Patrick Stewart look-a-like Tom Metzger can’t be an accident. I’m rather certain director Saulnier’s choice of location, Portland, wasn’t arbitrary. The hipster capitol was at one time a headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan and until recently the home of Volksfront , a particularly nasty group of numbskull Nazis. The Green Room doesn’t shove any of this down the viewer’s throat, it doesn’t preach. It makes its points by bringing us into its world without having to describe it.

Whether or not you give a shit about its cultural resonance, Green Room succeeds in its mission to pin your ass to the theater seat. It combines the tightly crafted action chops of John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13 with some of the psychotic mayhem of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hill’s Have Eyes.  But instead of mutant cave dwellers and Leatherface, we’ve got goose-stepping skins with boxcutters and shotguns: The Rocking Dead.

For those viewers who know more than a little bit about punk culture, Green Room works so well, despite its off-the-wallness, because it feels authentic. It gets the details right. Jeremy Saulnier knows the punk scene and the vibe of his subjects because he was one of them, as evidenced by a savvy soundtrack that perfectly weds music to action. Napalm Death, Bad Brains, Misfits, Minor Threat and Slayer create the background roar to a movie that is disturbing, funny and supremely badass. I only wish that Saulnier had thrown The Damned’s “Smash It Up” into the mix.

After the jump, video of a ‘Green Room’ post-screening Q&A at Fantastic Fest with Todd Brown and Jeremy Saulnier…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.14.2016
01:02 pm
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