Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its second year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers in search of worthwhile horror, I decided to compile a list counting down to my favorite horror covered in AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS since October 1 of last year. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. Theaters aren’t where the horror is at these days, I’m afraid. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video on Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay. I’ve also compiled a few films I’ve seen advance screenings of at festivals and I’ll try to update you when you can see these films when I can.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween toward my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion for those who can’t get enough horror that has something to do with the film I chose that day.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how right or wrong I am, and come up with your own list…let’s go!
Before you start calling for my head, I invite you to check out this surprising and genuinely scary indie gem. SPIRIT STALKERS may not be the most polished film with the best actors, but it does have a solid premise and a boatload of scares. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for Ghost Hunting shows. You know I had to pull a low fi horror film out for this best of list and though it was shot cheaply, it’s definitely worth viewing. Here’s my review of the film from July.
SPIRIT STALKERS (2012)Directed by Steve Hudgins
Written by Steve Hudgins
Starring Steve Hudgins, PJ Woodside, Jessica Dockrey, Nick Faust, Michael Coon, Jessica Reynolds
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
The most successful of the three found footage-ish films this week is SPIRIT STALKERS. I genuinely had chills watching this film which features a band of ghost hunters tracking strange activity in a mentally unstable woman’s house. Are the strange visions the woman is having part of her psychosis? Or is there something paranormal at foot? That’s what the Spirit Stalkers, the stars of a paranormal reality series, are trying to find out.
SPIRIT STALKERS switches from hand held POV to “reality” numerous times throughout the film, but these aren’t jarring transitions between the two methods of filming. These frequent switches serve a purpose. While one end of the story tells the tale from the Spirit Stalkers as they attempt to get ratings and be the most accurate debunkers on TV, the standard shot segments reflect the woman’s struggles with the strange happenings in her home. There’s a purpose to these switches in film styles and I bought it with this film.
I also loved the Spirit Stalkers themselves. Unlike most of the ghost hunters on TV, these guys try hard not to create faux spook. Lead ghost hunter Steve Hudgins (who also directed and co-wrote the film) explains that his team searches with the lights on, basically calling out all of those ghost shows who go green and use night cameras in order to amp up the scares. I also love it that the team mentions how most ghost hunters go in trying to find ghosts, which automatically makes them assume every bump, squeak, and blip is caused by the paranormal. Anyone who watches those ghost/monster hunting shows (I have to admit, I’m an addict of the genre) has seen the ghost hunter jump to a paranormal conclusion first, so it’s nice that this is addressed here as Hudgins introduces his team and methodology.
Thought low budget, you wouldn’t know it by the performances from this talented cast. Hudgins and his writing partner PJ Woodside (who also stars in this film as the tormented woman) have crafted a highly intelligent and absolutely horrifying achievement. Don’t let the low budget fool you. I loved the twists and turns that occur throughout the story. Without giving anything away, all is not as we think going into this film and I’ll leave it at that. I will say that this is a smartly written, deftly acted and, most importantly, effectively scary film. More than once I was scared shitless as both the investigators and the tormented woman walked through the cavernous hallways of her house.
Seek out SPIRIT STALKERS. It has enough scares to go toe to toe with most big budget Hollywood horror films combined. The trailer below just doesn’t do it justice.
SPIRIT STALKERS is available now from Biting Pig Productions and definitely an indie film worth seeking out. Despite its amateur makings, it took me by surprise and those who love found footage style films will definitely appreciate it. If you’re looking for another found footager worth screaming about, I suggest HOLLOW, which I reviewed just a short while ago. It’s another first person POV style story that packs a few great scares and delivers a hell of an ending. HOLLOW was recently released on DVD as well.
The Countdown so far…#28: THE MOTH DIARIES
#29: THE SLEEPER
#30: THE AGGRESSION SCALE
#31: SICK BOY
See ya tomorrow, folks, with number 26 of the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since last year!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.
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