There can be little doubt that the past decade has been another wonderful golden era for horror movies. The generational change of horror voices arrived in a big way in the Teens, and horror movies have found serious purchase in both critical and popular appeal. The Scariest Things brings the WHOLE TEAM to the podcast this week, as Robert and Joseph join Mike, Liz, and Eric to promote our favorite genre offerings from the past ten years.
The ’90s were a rough stretch for horror. We had some quality and genre-defining films, but it was a decade burdened with sequels and re-boots. The independent horror scene had not become what it is today, and it took an injection of foreign films in the late ’90s to help provide new life and vigor to a weary genre.
The ’00s began to show a shifting of the tides, but the stigma of torture-porn dampened a bit of the enthusiasm for a larger audience. Horror film festivals became the means of new directors to get access to big-screen audiences, as the industry began to struggle with how to best deliver the scary goods to the audience. DVD rentals were on the way out, and the bandwidth for streaming video wasn’t quite ready yet.
And now… it’s been a bit of a revolution. Independent filmmakers are getting their ideas to the screen thanks to cost+quality production studios including A24, Blumhouse, Fangoria, Magnet, and IFC Midnight. Add to the fact that we sadly have been losing many of the horror directing legends.
When talking about this past decade, we need to offer a sad and fond farewell to Tobe Hooper, George Romero, Wes Craven, Larry Cohen, all legends who gave so much to the genre. But the beauty is that we now have so many new directors to celebrate, and the Horror Genre has been hugely supportive of women directors as of recent. Karen Kusama, Jennifer Kent, The Soska Sisters, Chelsea Stardust, Ana Lily Amirpour, Julia Ducarneau, and Coralie Fargeat all made their initial marks in this decade, and great things can be expected from them in the future.
Minority directors, particularly James Wan, Jordan Peele, and Fede Alvarez have shown not only an artistic vision but an ability to create fan-favorite films that can generate big box office as well as critical acclaim. New visionaries like Ari Aster, John Krasinski Mike Flanagan, Ti West, and Alex Garland are now proven storytellers with the cinematic chops to deliver immersive and beautiful looking movies.
All of the above-listed directors proved something about this decade’s offerings. Horror movies are now ABOUT SOMETHING. The trend now is to put the protagonist first. Tell a story about the people battling the evil, rather than about the evil itself. Where horror came off the rails was in the attempt to franchise the scares. Nameless, faceless victims falling to wise-cracking or plodding unstoppable familiar baddies.
Movies like The Witch, The Babadook, Get Out, Kill List, The Lodge, Don’t Breathe, and It Follows are all original stories with characters you care about. I have repeatedly stated my #1 rule: Do I care about what happens to the protagonists? This decade delivers in this regard better than any decade, certainly since the ’70s, and probably across the board is better than ever. Even the horror comedies were about something and felt fresh.
For this big episode of the Scariest Things Podcast, we invited our overseas writing partners, Joseph Perry and Robert Zilbauer to contribute their thoughts about the past decade. In order to properly cover the decade, we chose to nominate a film that we would consider the “Best” (criteria subjective, of course) and also promote a “Sleeper” film that we would like to encourage our listeners and readers to see. The sheer variety of our selections is a testament to what a great ten years this has been.
If you want to find out our selections prior to listening to our podcast you can see our list below. Or, better yet, listen to our podcast and refer back to this list for when you want to compare your favorites with ours.
My thanks to everyone who reads our blog posts and listens to our podcast. It has been a real treat doing this for the past two years, and we look forward to giving you more chilling material to read and listen to for years to come! Let’s hope the ’20s are as good as the Teens, as it has been one hell of a horror decade! If you have enjoyed reading our articles and listening to our podcast, we would really appreciate you favoriting the site and subscribing to the podcast, as this will get more people to our site. And, if you’re feeling super-duper generous in this season of giving, please consider becoming one of our patrons!
Now… get to listening. There are a LOT of movies that we went through. Some you will know (and probably love) and some will be new to you. Spread the news! The gospel of the current golden age of horror should be announced far and wide. SO MANY GOOD MOVIES!
We managed to name a WHOLE LOT of movies, but still there were some great ones that didn’t get included. Some Honorable mentions:
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2011), Grave Encounters (2011), As Above So Below (2013), World War Z (2013), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Late Phases (2014), Goodnight Mommy (2014), Bone Tomahawk (2015), Final Girls (2015), Under the Shadow (2016), XX ((2017), Veronica (2017), What Keeps You Alive (2018), Annihilation (2018), It (2018) Overlord (2018), St Agatha (2018), Framed (2018), Daniel Isn’t Real (2019), Come to Daddy (2019)