Is Halloween (2018) the pinnacle of slasher success that its box office totals suggest?
It’s more than fair to say the Modern Horrors crew are no slaves to nostalgia. Whether discussing the latest indie, horror classics, or modern remakes, we call them as we see them. Often, to a fault *cough* Open House *cough cough*. So it should come as no surprise that no less than 3 staffers have publicly voiced their lack of enthusiasm for 2018’s Halloween installment. Jessica Rose penned an honest review pointing out the storytelling flaws within the film. Meanwhile, Anthony Alaniz waxed philosophic on why Michael Myers is more sad than scary. Perhaps the most telling, however, was our own founding editor Luke Rodriguez, channeling Jason Blum’s dad to say he’s not mad, just disappointed.
Today, let’s make it four for four, as I present you with six slashers released just this year that are superior to Halloween 2018 in some respect. Bear in mind, like my colleagues, I do not hate this movie. I’m not Todd. It’s perfectly fine. But therein lies the problem. Fine isn’t good enough in 2018, and shouldn’t be good enough for franchise fans.
Let’s get Jenn Wexler’s directorial debut out of the way first, because it’s the only one on this list I haven’t personally seen. But Luke has and I’m convinced it deserves a spot on this list for at least one reason. As he put it in his review, “The Ranger serves a giant middle finger to convention.” Meanwhile, Halloween is an homage to convention itself. While it may not be perfect, The Ranger takes risks and we should applaud it for doing so. While I certainly understand why a studio wouldn’t gamble with a valuable franchise, you earn no bonus points for playing it safe. The Ranger‘s got acclaim, y’all. Check it out!
I will continue to beat the drum for this movie until I bust through it. And then I will buy another drum and beat it too. Pound for pound, Derek Gibbons and Maxwell Frey’s micro budget love letter to giallo is one of the best slashers in years. Psychotic! offers expert cinematography, great performances, gruesome kills, and brilliantly sculpted practical gore. Beyond that, the sophisticated story provides a clever commentary on hipster culture and surprises that are actually, you know, surprising! Check out my review for a spoiler-free discussion of some the amazing themes and skill on display, and check out the film as soon as you can.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
I’ll be honest. I was going to skip this one. I know nothing of this franchise, and I was not about to start with the thirteenth entry. “Actually, you can and you should,” said Luke. Well, I did and I am a better person for it. Like Halloween, there’s nothing terribly sophisticated about Puppet Master. That being said, I second Jason Almenas, who called the violence“satisfying and inventive.” It certainly is. You will see kills you (hopefully) never thought possible before, which is way more than we got with any of the kills in Halloween.
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