Summer of Horror 2017 Wrap Up Looking back on the fifth annual horror movie marathon of Summer

Another Halloween season is mere days away, and I’ve put the cap on another Summer of new horror movie viewing. I’ve been doing this for five years now and it has been not only a good carrot to propel me through the dismal Arizona summers, but has greatly filled in the rather sizable gaps in my own horror repertoire, and given me further cause to catch up on the newer movies that release during the non-Halloween season and garner good buzz.

This year’s crop was a pretty interesting selection. Many substitutions were made, a few long-delayed viewings finally took place, and a few more remained ever elusive (The Abominable Dr. Phibes seems destined to remain on my Summer watch list for all eternity). I thought it appropriate to recap some of the notable discoveries from this year’s 13-film marathon to tie it into a neat little bow.

Biggest Surprise: Suspiria

Speaking of long-delayed viewings, Suspiria lingered forever on my to-do list, partially due to lack of availability, but mostly because I wrongly assumed it would be a “homework” movie. It wasn’t. It holds up remarkably well for its age, and moves at a brisk enough pace to hold the attention of even the most uncultured millennial.

Biggest Disappointment: The Cell

The Cell wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t seem worthy of cult classic status to me. There were some memorable visuals, but it was all superficial. The meat and potatoes of the movie ultimately didn’t amount to much.

Most Emotional Movie: The Monster
(Runner-up: Train to Busan)

The Monster is a melodramatic redemption story about motherhood in the skin of a creature feature. There’s really solid horror in there, but the emotionally draining content makes it a single-watch movie for most.

Train to Busan hits similar emotional territory, but puts it a little further in the background in favor of a frenetic zombie movie. Still hits hard for any parent.

Best Movie to Watch With a Group: The Burning

Camp slashers are generally great popcorn-and-beer group watches, including out-loud commentary and plenty of laughter, but even the great Friday the 13th hasn’t aged well. The Burning is, as of this writing, available on YouTube and is obscure enough to be new for most mainstream audiences. It’s perfect for Halloween season gatherings.

Scariest Movie: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I didn’t expect this to be nearly as scary (and spooky!) as it was. Don’t watch the trailer, just watch the movie.

Best Overall Movie: (Tie) Get Out and The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I expect both these movies to have long legs as modern horror classics. Get Out made a much bigger mainstream splash (and deserved it), and Autopsy won over nearly every critic who saw it during its festival and limited theatrical run. The quality of both these movies bodes extremely well for the continued survival of the horror genre.

On the Docket for Next Year:

Black Christmas
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (Ha!)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
War of the Worlds (1953)
The Invisible Man
The Host
I Saw the Devil

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