What a year for horror…
2020 has certainly seen its share of terror — both on screen and in reality. With a global pandemic forcing most of us inside our homes, it’s been scary times for the film industry. Yet while horror was hardly immune to the year’s savagery — bye-bye Candyman, see you next Fall Halloween Kills — it’s arguably fared better than any other genre. Thanks to a strong community and a willingness to push the creative envelope, horror has survived, thrived, and, in some cases, held us together during this long, dark year.
Sure, the delays for the blockbuster horror fare were disappointing, but they also opened the door for low-budget horror gems that have long been the backbone of the genre. Similarly, genre festivals led the way in experimenting with digitization, allowing for new and diverse voices to participate. But, it wasn’t just new releases aiding this connection: Fans turned to older titles as a way to share and process our collective fears with Zoom script readings, watch parties, and live tweets.
In October, when we were all missing our favorite Halloween traditions, curated drive-ins gave us a way to stay connected while safely distant. Granted, other genres were doing these things as well, but the call to action truly felt as if it were coming from inside the house of horror. We may have been quarantining alone, but we found ways to share our favorite comfort horror with friends and loved ones. That newfound sense of community is unlikely to change even when theaters do eventually re-open.
The list ahead is hardly what we envisioned back in January, but it’s admittedly stronger. Smaller films that may not have risen to the surface in years past were given the opportunity to shine through word of mouth and accessibility. And there’s no doubt, given one entry in particular, that a genre long known for trailblazing led the way in discovering a new way to make movies. Essentially, we’re in uncharted waters and what better community to forge ahead than the one that knows how to deliver one good scare.