64 Best Releases From the Genre Horror

The Spool Staff

Blood Rage

MPAA RatingR

Serve up this bizarre, oddly funny 80s slasher as part of your holiday entertainment feast this year. Though Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s retro horror double feature Grindhouse met with audience indifference, the collection of fake movie trailers during its “intermission” became amusing pop culture ephemera. Of the four featured, Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving” is probably the most fun to revisit, mostly because of its loving dedication to capturing the unique seediness of an 80s slasher film. There’s something so familiar about the murky film quality, the low budget special effects, the incoherent plot (it appears to be a trailer for two different, unfinished movies stuck together, as was the case for many 80s horror movies), the glimpses of T&A, and of course, that hilarious voiceover and excellent tagline, that it seems unbelievable that it hadn’t actually already been made. Continue Reading →

Five Nights at Freddy's

I have never played Five Nights at Freddy’s. I need to make that abundantly clear before proceeding with this review. Continue Reading →

Suitable Flesh

There have been numerous film adaptations of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, featuring everyone from Sandra Dee (The Dunwich Horror) to Nicolas Cage (Color Out of Space). However, it was the late filmmaker Stuart Gordon who best managed to capture the peculiar and often perverse charms of Lovecraft’s work. With their combination of weirdo humor, bizarre imagery, kinky sex, grisly bloodshed and better-than-expected performances, his Re-Animator and From Beyond became instant cult classics and unquestioned high points of the entire horror genre in the 1980s. Continue Reading →

Totally Killer

The low-budget confines of Blumhouse movies mean that any idea can become a movie, including bold original visions like Whiplash or Get Out. Unfortunately, it also means a lot of subpar stuff can easily get the green light. The latest example is the new Amazon/Blumhouse collaboration, Totally Killer. Hailing from director Nahnatchka Khan, Totally Killer dares to ask a question no reasonable soul was pondering. “What if Happy Death Day and Hot Tub Time Machine had a tedious baby?” Buckle up, horror devotees. Here comes yet another dose of 1980s nostalgia and some frighteningly lousy editing. Continue Reading →

The Hunted

At the risk of making a "getting a lot of Sorcerer vibes from this" guy out of myself, The Hunted—William Friedkin's 2003 old-master-hunts-rogue-student thriller really does make for a fascinating counterpart to his earlier men-on-a-desperate-mission masterwork. Both delve into the lives of damaged, forlorn, isolated men on perilous quests for deliverance. And both of those quests lead deep into madness. Both pointedly contrast man-made, flame-choked hellscapes (Sorcerer's exploding oil well, The Hunted's secret mission amidst the Kosovo War) with the vast, amoral green of the deep forest (Columbia and Oregon, respectively). Both turn on setpieces that thrill while maintaining a grounded (if not necessarily "realistic") feel and weave surreality in with care. Continue Reading →

The Exorcist: Believer

If you like loud noise jump scares, you’re going to love The Exorcist: Believer.  Continue Reading →


Thinking about getting into the Saw franchise 10 movies in? Here’s what you need to know. This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn't exist. Continue Reading →

The Exorcist: Believer

Welcome back to Filmmaker of the Month. In honor of the film, and in its spirit, we sent in a young writer, Megan Sunday, and another young writer, Gena Radcliffe, to do spiritual battle with The Exorcist. Continue Reading →

Meg 2: The Trench

Ever since James Cameron boldly wrote “S” after ALIEN on a chalkboard and then changed it to a dollar sign, the quickest way to sequel-ize your killer extraterrestrial/reptile/mammal/whatever has been to add more of it. You scored a hit with people fighting one giant mosquito? Great, here’s a sequel with six of them. Continue Reading →


There's more than one transition going on in Park Chan-wook's 2013 thriller Stoker. Yes, the film tells the story of how the seemingly carefree India (Mia Wasikowska) goes from worshipping her father to worshipping her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). But the Hitchcockian thriller -- and it is one, beyond the shadow of a doubt -- was also Director Park’s first English-language title. Continue Reading →

A Field in England

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movies being covered here wouldn't exist. Continue Reading →

The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter feels like a movie from a different era. To a point, it is—writer Bragi Schut first drafted his adaptation of the 'Log of the "Demeter"' sequence in Bram Stoker's Dracula in the early 2000s. It's a capital letters Hollywood Creature Feature—a grimmer straight horror cousin to 2004's action/horror hybrid Van Helsing. At its best, it's an admirably gnarly monster flick—bolstered by sturdy craft from director André Øvredal and consistently good performances from a game ensemble. At its worst, it loses confidence and resorts to bumbling attempts to guide its audience by the hand—most notably in its prologue and epilogue. Continue Reading →

Kill List

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movies being covered here wouldn't exist. Continue Reading →


Fantasa International Film Festival gets wild. Animals feature prominently in our first three films of the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival. From the bottom of the ocean to the reaches of the Arctic, these films mix their natural settings with unnatural mediums to create enchanting works that are wondrous to look at. Though they have different objectives, these films remind us that cinema is a world of dreams that combines things from our lived reality with our limitless imagination.  Continue Reading →

Talk to Me

Things have been very bad for much of the world for a very long time, and they won’t improve any time soon. I don’t mean to start things off on a bummer note, but to point out that from such dire circumstances comes one benefit: the horror movie renaissance that started in the late 2010s only seems to be getting better. Just this year we’ve gotten the low-fi nightmares Skinamarink and The Outwaters, horror comedy with M3GAN and Cocaine Bear, another mostly solid entry in the Scream franchise, too many indie horror films to list here (Bad Girl Boogey and Brooklyn 45 are but a couple), and the roaring return of the Evil Dead series. Even if there weren’t another release for the rest of the year, it’d still be a great year for horror. Continue Reading →


As horror movies fans, we (and I’m very much including myself here) talk a good game about wanting to see something new and different in the genre, but there are plenty of old reliable tropes that still work with us. Zombies, kaiju, masked killers, all of those have a better than good chance of drawing in audiences, without trying too hard to bring a fresh new angle to anything. We also love child in peril and creepy kid movies, and Samuel Bodin’s Cobweb manages to incorporate both, to mixed results. Continue Reading →

Bird Box Barcelona

Okay, fine, Bird Box Barcelona isn’t exactly a sequel. It’s more of a continuation, as Netflix gets a belated start on making a franchise out of 2018’s Bird Box, a perfectly fine but unremarkable film that inexplicably became a smash hit. Smash or not, five years is a long time, so you might need a refresher course. Much of Earth’s population has been decimated by malevolent beings with visages so emotionally overwhelming that anyone who looks at them immediately commits suicide, and the survivors are forced to navigate what’s left of the world with their eyes covered, lest they see whatever “they” are. That’s really all you need to remember. Continue Reading →

Bad Girl Boogey

Despite interminable “why is horror so popular?” articles written by people who have little knowledge about or interest in horror, the reason why it thrives as a genre is because of its flexibility. You can approach virtually any subject – sexuality, xenophobia, illness – through the lens of horror and make it effectively nightmarish. Certain all-too-vocal horror fans don’t like when things get too topical (presumably because it forces them to think), and point to slasher movies as “real” horror, because they focus predominantly on violence and mayhem, rather than bringing any real-world elements into it. Watch most slasher movies from the 80s through the 00s and you’ll notice that, other than maybe the hair and clothes, nothing sets them in any specific time period. They exist in bubbles, with characters seemingly untouched by anything until a masked killer shows up to ruin the party. Continue Reading →

De uskyldige

“We can’t change ourselves, only what surrounds us.” Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg) says to her son Abel (director Louis Garrel) in the opening minutes of The Innocent. Louis Garrel has appeared in movies since he was 6 years old, making his debut in a movie directed by his father, Philippe Garrel, the last French New Waver, and his mother, actress Brigitte Sy, (1989’s Les baisers de secours aka Emergency Kisses) about a director and his actress wife. Louis Garrel appeared in seven of his father’s films, several directed by his former partner Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, directed movies with ex-wife Golshifteh Farahani and current wife Laetitia Casta, and played his father’s peer and champion Jean-Luc Godard in Le Redoubtable, based on the memoirs of Anne Wiazemsky, whose niece Léa is in The Innocent.   Continue Reading →

The Blackening

The Blackening is a horror-satire based on a popular 2018 short film of the same name. It mercilessly skewered the genre conceit that the Black character is always the first to die—a notion so familiar that this year saw the publication of an examination of Black-related horror films entitled The Black Guy Dies First. To do so, it presented a scenario in which all the potential victims are Black. They argue about who among them is truly the Blackest while downplaying their own ethnicity to survive. (“I qualified for the Winter Olympics.”) Continue Reading →

The Purge: Election Year

When The Purge film series began, it attempted to create a heightened, ultraviolent version of the future that was both laughably over-the-top and an accurate reflection of the current political climes. They created a dystopia that was vaguely familiar but could still leave you rolling your eyes at its implausibility. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the concept is as follows: On one night each year, the US government legalizes all crime, including murder, in the hopes of providing an outlet for Americans’ rage. It ultimately leads to an overall decrease in crime and an (ostensibly) utopian society. Continue Reading →