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The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXV: The Best Horror Films of 2020


ATMOSfx! Woo!
Well, that was a year, wasn’t it? True life horror didn’t need much help, but independent horror came to the rescue. Many of the most anticipated studio productions like A Quiet Place 2, Spiral, Halloween Kills, and Antlers never made it to the big screen this year, but thanks to streaming Festivals, there were some great offerings to be had this year if you knew where to look.

COVID 19 at the outset threatened to wipe movies from the pop culture landscape in 2020. But, the beauty of streaming festivals really open the doors to fans across the country and by bringing the festival to you, there are opportunities to get in on the action without having to get on a plane to attend the festivals… and I probably watched more horror films this year, as a result.

Shudder, Amazon, and Netflix are doing respectable work getting films to us via streaming, and instead of a dearth of films we got a wealth of horror. I think in twenty years when we look back at the year that was 2020, the movie that will be emblematic will be The Host, which received near-unanimous Scariest Things plaudits. Horror by ZOOM, what could be more appropriate?

2020 is notable for the undeniable rise of Indonesian Horror, with three big titles arriving in this year’s festival crop including Impetigore, May the Devil Take You Too, and most spectacularly, Queen of Black Magic. There is little doubt that they are producing some of the scariest movies in the world right now, and are going to be a source of many great films.

Also, it has been remarkable that the racial reckoning that 2020 brought was represented in a number of films as if possessing some prescient understanding of what would flare up this year.. Lovecraft Country has proved to be a hit for HBO Max, and manages to deliver Lovecraftian horror while flipping the racial sensitivities that H.P. believed on its head. The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (on Eric’s honorable mention) examines the daily horror of what it means to be both black and gay in America, by way of a causal time loop.

And, it’s not just domestic tension that got representation this year. His House and The Night explore the perils and fears of the immigrant experience, examining the Sudanese refugee situation, and what it means to be an Iranian immigrant in America, and what kinds of horrors that bring to the surface. Timely and powerful stories.

The whole Scariest Things Crew has come together with our top ten lists, for which you can get more information about our top 10 lists. This also means you get some extra innings on this Podcast, with FIFTY recommendations (some crossovers). Many of these films will be hitting the streaming services soon, if not out already. Let’s hope 2021 keeps bringing us the spooky!

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