So, with 2015 being the inaugural year of Film Gutter and the year in which I delved into some of the most disturbing and most challenging of horror cinema, I thought that this would be a good point to compile the traditional 'best of' list. It's been a fascinating trawl and has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, the can't-turn-away to the completely unwatchable.
These are the best five extreme horror movies I've watched and reviewed in 2015 – not all of them are movies made or released in 2015, but this list covers the films that I've enjoyed(??) the most...
FILM GUTTER: TOP 5 OF 2015
Arthur Cullipher's crowdfunded piece is a demented jaunt through the mind of a serial killer which lays out a crystal-clear manifesto in its opening few moments. Presented as a lost 70s slasher, this is gritty, brutal and unpleasant in absolute droves. But it also offers a fascinating looking back into our murderer's childhood and also balances the grim content with an entertaining slice of 70s neo-comedy following an unforgivably terrible band and their girlfriends. A great example of what can be achieved with the support of crowdfunding.
A rape revenge movie with a difference, Matthew A Brown's debut feature is beautifully shot and follows the titular lead's journey from relative innocence to strength and individuality. The catalyst for that journey is a horrible gang rape, which leads her to a mysterious 'alternative therapy' and eventually the ultimate in closure. The focus is very much on Ashley C Williams' lead performance, and its a really strong one that drives this challenging movie forward. Artistic and shocking in equal measure.
A bit of a toss-up between this and the final film in the trilogy – which in itself was the blackest of black comedy – but this unrelenting black-and-white Lynchian nightmare just gets the nod. Featuring a genuinely horrifying lead performance by Laurence R Harvey, the effort made by Martin Lomax to put together a twelve person centipede in the midst of pure hatred from his mother and strange desire from his psychologist is compelling and disturbing beyond measure. What the first movie left somewhat to the imagination is presented unflinchingly here.
Possibly as much a thriller as a horror movie, this one follows Megan and her best friend Amy who very much inhabit an online world. And when Megan goes to meet one of her online suitors and never returns, it's Amy who tries to seek her out – with absolutely chilling consequences. For over an hour this is a well-drawn, intriguing mystery. For the last twenty minutes, this is quite possibly the most horrible and impactful piece of cinema you'll ever see. Incredibly powerful – it'll make you think twice about what you do online for sure...
Well, if you've been reading the series this year, you'll already know just how highly I thought of Phil Stevens' debut. Without a word of dialogue and a sepia-shot style, this is a poetic nightmare that has a unique style and artistry that kept me rapt throughout. Six dead women reawaken in the crawlspace of a house – the home of the crazed serial killer that took their lives. But what will they face in this strange afterlife – and what will be the consequences of them seeking escape? Mysterious, enigmatic and visually breathtaking, this is a piece that warrants a second or third viewing to peel back its layers. I'm hugely excited for Stevens' next piece, Lung II.
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