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4. Trick R’ Treat – 2007 (Michael Doughterty)

This is the one of those movies that explains what’s wrong with the industry. In this case, Warner Brothers spent about $20 million, got a finished movie, sat on it for two years, and then dumped it on DVD with no marketing to die a quiet death.  This film costs more than the other nine films on this list combined, and every dollar is on screen.

Not only is this a gorgeous film, it is masterfully written. It’s the Pulp Fiction of horror, there are at least four overlapping small stories told in non-chronological order, and all about a holiday where for once, the monsters can win. There are no bad performances or dodgy effects, there is a plot that always keeps you guessing, there are no dull or slow spots.  It would take pages just to explain what is happening and when, but suffice to say, Trick R’ Treat is notable for being the first film to explain what pumpkins have to do with Halloween.

Some of the films that were released by Warner Brothers that same year? The Number 23. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. License to Wed. Mama’s Boy. Fred Claus.

Good job guys.

5. V/H/S – 2012 (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, Adam Wingard)

On an emotional level, V/H/S may be the least satisfying movie on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. V/H/S is a found footage movie where all the exposition has been cut out, and the effect is jarring.

Most horror movies work on formula, the voiceover tells us what happened in the previous movie, the old man at the gas station warns the young people about what’s going on, we see the killer in his lair and so on. V/H/S is an anthology told from a single point of view. One moment you are going about your business and in the next you are fighting for your life and there isn’t going to be a great deal of information about what’s happening.

The result is mostly shock and surprise. V/H/S helps by going at a frenetic pace, by throwing every variety of creature and genre at the viewer. The movie is also populated with the frat-boy man-child sort of character that seems to be more and more common, which means that the worst things happen to the least prepared. Although, when hands start coming out of walls or invisible slashers burst out of the woods, its hard to think of who would be capable of handling that.

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