2015: Sam Zimmerman’s Most Anticipated

As seen on Shock Til You Drop

2015 kicks in proper and we’re all back to work. So what do we have to look forward to? Movies. Between the holidays, I ran down the films I’ve been lucky enough to see already, and which I know will take many of you by storm this year. Here, you and I are in the same boat. What am I, as a horror fan, anticipating? Disregarding the films we’re not even aware of, I think the following is a tidy, diverse peek at the horrors ahead. 


• Crimson Peak

It seems horror hero and monster lover Guillermo del Toro is bringing the more intimate, personal stamp of his Spanish language films to his English language moviemaking. Described as a Gothic romance and ghost story, Crimson Peak has already revealed some of its stunning, windswept design. This might be a haunted house, and a haunted house movie, for the ages. (October 16th)


• Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

The incomparable Spike Lee remakes Bill Gunn’s experimental cult vampire oddity Ganja & Hess? Sounds amazing.

• Friday the 13th

Though there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding it, it’s hard to forget there’s a newFriday the 13th film scheduled for release in 2015. We all know we’ll be there, whatever it ends up being. (November 13th)


• Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier’s beautiful, violent American revenge road tale Blue Ruin was one of the best films of 2014. Where does he go next? A punk show. Alongside Blue Ruinstar Macon Blair, as well as a killer cast including Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Mark Webber, Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart (as a neo-nazi), Saulnier is crafting a punks vs. skins thriller entitled Green Room. Yelchin leads a band who witnesses a murder and finds themselves trapped and under attack from a group of skinheads. I’ll headwalk to wherever it’s playing.


• High-Rise

Ben Wheatley—he of violent, visceral and darkly funny work like SightseersA Field in England and Kill List—has adapted J.G. Ballard’s seminal High-Rise, with a cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Reece Shearsmith. Wheatley’s filmography, written with regular co-scripter Amy Jump, should make it apparent just how perfect this is.

lin shaye insidious 3

• Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 2 did something special. It got kind of weird. Following the first’s nifty spin on a haunted tale, which included moving house and astral projection, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell upped the garish, colorful design, made the scares meaner and the plot stranger. Now Whannell, a horror mainstay for years, is poised to make his directorial debut with this third film, after penning the acclaimed The Mule and writing and co-starring in the upcoming Cooties (where he kills). As an introduction to the directorial vision of Whannell, Insidous: Chapter 3 (which acts as further adventures of Elise, Specs & Tucker) is already something to look forward to. As the next film in a series that distinctly hasn’t run its course, it’s one of the most anticipated. (June 5th)


Read Sam’s other 2015 notables here.

The 19 Best Horror Films Of 2014 – Buzzfeed

As seen on BuzzFeed

19. The Sacrament

19. The Sacrament

Magnolia Pictures

Directed by: Ti West
Written by: Ti West

It’s easy to feel weary of found footage horror: The success of the Paranormal Activity series ushered in a surplus of copycat films, most of which were — much like the majority of Paranormal Activity sequels — disappointing. But there are still a few worthwhile found footage tricks emerging, as evidenced by several entries on this list, starting with Ti West’s Jonestown Massacre-inspired The Sacrament. Vice reporter Sam (AJ Bowen) and his cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg) follow Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to utopian community Eden Parish, where Patrick’s sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has fallen under the sway of a Jim Jones-esque religious leader who simply goes by Father (Gene Jones). The story largely proceeds how you’d expect it to, but the found footage format gives The Sacrament an urgency that makes the devolution into violence almost unbearably stressful to watch.

18. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

18. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Orion Pictures

Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

The original 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown was based on actual murders that occurred in Texarkana, a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. The 2014 version, produced by American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy — and written and directed by his frequent collaborators — is equal parts sequel and remake. It’s a more meta take on the slasher film: Final Girl (Addison Timlin) is first attacked by the Phantom at Texarkana’s annual Halloween screening of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The success of Gomez-Rejon’s pseudo-reboot is its ability to not get bogged down by its own cleverness. Central conceit aside, it’s a low-budget, no-frills slasher that is more effective for its restraint — much like the Phantom’s simple but terrifying disguise.

17. Willow Creek

17. Willow Creek

Dark Sky Films

Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Written by: Bobcat Goldthwait

Another found-footage horror film, Willow Creek owes more to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project than to the more recent Paranormal Activity films. But really, it owes everything to the endlessly creative mind of Bobcat Goldthwait, whose career as a filmmaker has shown impressive range and a penchant for the darkest of dark comedy, including World’s Greatest Dad (2009) and God Bless America(2011). While the focus of Willow Creek is unique — the film tracks enthusiastic Bigfoot believer Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) as they search for the elusive crypto-hominid — it’s not as shocking as Goldthwait’s past efforts. Still, it offers real terror and some surprising humor that reflect the writer-director’s considerable skills.

16. Starry Eyes

16. Starry Eyes

Dark Sky Films

Directed by: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Written by: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

The price of fame isn’t a particularly original notion, but Starry Eyes takes it to a riveting (and stomach-turning) new place. Aspiring actor Sarah (Alex Essoe) is desperate for her big break, and when she’s up for a part in the mysterious filmThe Silver Scream, she finds herself pushed to her limit: Her body deteriorates and she begins to transform into something unrecognizable. It’s an apt metaphor for the strain of trying to survive as an actor, and the rigors actors put themselves through — a deal with the devil, as it were. More to the point, it leads to some truly inspired body-horror gross-outs: There is a shower scene in particular that leaves a lasting impression, whether you want it to or not. The sheer power ofStarry Eyes’ imagery is what elevates it past the somewhat familiar Faustian plot.

15. Tusk

15. Tusk

A24 Films

Directed by: Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith’s last foray into horror, 2011’s Red State, was a surprising (and largely successful) diversion from his past (largely comedic) work. Tusk is firmly planted in the horror genre, but it has all the features of a Kevin Smith comedy: sharp dialogue, offbeat characters, exceptional weirdness, and unexpected poignancy. In Tusk, podcaster — and typical Smithian asshole — Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is lured to Manitoba by eccentric retired seaman Howard Howe (Michael Parks). After being drugged and mutilated, Wallace realizes he’s being held captive by a lunatic who will stop at nothing until he has transformed Wallace into something inhuman. The grotesquerie of Tusk’s body-horror elements is grounded by strong performances from Long and Parks, as well as a script from Smith that isn’t afraid to mine humor from unimaginable suffering.

14. Nurse 3D

14. Nurse 3D


Directed by: Doug Aarniokoski
Written by: Doug Aarniokoski and David Loughery

Nurse 3D is largely about aesthetics: Inspired by photographer (and Lionsgate chief marketing officer) Tim Palen’s work, the film is basically a concept. But that concept — a homicidal nurse takes revenge on cheating men — gives the incomparable Paz de la Huerta free reign to be as freaky, naked, and bloody as she wants to be. The gruesome results don’t reinvent the slasher genre, and the plot — which revolves around the psychosexual manipulation of Danni Rodgers (Katrina Bowden) at the hands of de la Huerta’s Abby Russell — is very Single White Female, but de la Huerta thrives in the intersection of style and substance.Nurse 3D may not be high art — and with that title, that’s probably to be expected — but it’s still a relentlessly entertaining vehicle for its unique star.


Read the remaining entries here.