Best Horror of 2018 | Karen's Picks

Well another year has come to a close, which means I have been trying like mad to catch up on all the horror movies from 2018 that I haven’t had a chance to watch yet. There are still others I want to see, but I had to call it at some point.


10. Ravenous

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A French-Canadian film. There is no shortage of zombie movies, but this one was just different enough to keep my interest. The zombies don’t act like you would expect and it makes you feel just as unsettled as the characters trying to survive.


9. Mom and Dad

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Only one of the Nicolas Cage movies in my top ten, which is a sentence I never thought I would type. Who knew that he was just a horror star waiting to happen? This movie was a fresh take on the kids trying to kill their parents movie and Nic and Selma Blair played the roles perfectly.


8. Revenge

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This is one of the movies that kept growing on me well after I watched it. There were some gratuitous ‘artsy’ shots that got distracting after a while, but this is a very well done revenge movie that empowers the main character and has the audience cheering along.


7. A Quiet Place

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Why do movies always have to show the monsters? It hardly ever helps and it is definitely the case in this movie. This was a terrifying concept and well-made, but the ending was a bit over the top and that’s why it’s not higher on my list.


6. Mandy

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I predict next year, Nic Cage will be in 3 of my top 10. He seriously cannot be stopped. I had a hard time even picking an image for this because the movie is just so cool looking. It’s a bit longer than I would have liked, but watching Red get revenge for a solid hour was mesmerizing enough to keep my interest.


5. Terrified

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I finally broke down and got Shudder mostly to watch this (and Summer of 84, but meh) and I was not disappointed. An Argentinian horror movie about weird happenings in a neighborhood that keeps us guessing with what will show up next. Very solid practical effects and good acting made this movie stick with me long after it was over.


4. The Endless

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Cults?  Weird time loops? Benson and Moorhead? You had me at cults. I loved Spring and I love these guys. The movie looks awesome and is definitely a fresh take on the cult film. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.


3. Bird Box

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I had very high expectations for this movie as I absolutely loved the book (by a Michigan native and a quick read - check it out!) and I think this was a great adaptation. It was pretty faithful to the book and the things that they changed made sense and didn’t take away from the overall story.


2. The Ritual

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Another film based on a book that I loved. This book kept me up at night and that never happens anymore. This movie has cults, monsters, Norse mythology… what else could you want?


1. Halloween

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If you’re surprised by this, you don’t know me at all. This movie was made for me.

Top Ten NoSleep Podcast Stories (Seasons 7-10)

By popular demand, here's your all new list of the best NoSleep had to offer in seasons 7-10. If you're looking for the best of the early years of the show, check out our definitive list here.


Wallmart

Season 8, Episode 22    

A mundane trip to the eponymous store turns into a surreal nightmare in this brief but effective tale. Some of the most terrifying stories (to me, anyway) take place in an ordinary world that suddenly becomes strange & unfamiliar in small ways. Addison Peacock, a new addition to the NoSleep cast in these later seasons, shows here why she's quickly become one of the show's best narrators, & stalwart composer Brandon Boone's score lends an extra layer of eerie to the proceedings. 


Down in the Library Basement

Season 7, Episode 22     

This one typifies the type of creative storytelling that gives NoSleep its staying power. The show has always known that horror fiction encompasses a huge variety of styles & feels. It's not all morbid, dark & bloody; horror can be funny or heartwarming too, & "Library Basement" is both. The first part of the story originally appeared as a season pass offering; proof that the show runners don't just fill their paid content with fluff.


500 Yards

Season 10, Episode 18    

This tale of a group of track stars forced to run for their lives from a snarky monster is easily one of the most immediate & intense stories the show has ever aired. Erin Lillis is clearly having a blast as said snarky monster.


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Dogs in the Drywall

Season 10, Episode 9     

Here we have another everyday horrible scenario turning into actual horror. This story of an office drone pursued through his cubicle farm by monsters only he can see is a chilling & often awkward depiction of what a psychotic break might look like from the perspective of the one having the breakdown.


A Seaside British Pub

Season 7, Episode 5    

Quick, who's your favorite female NoSleep narrator? Is it: a) Erika Sanderson, b) Erika Sanderson or c) Erika Sanderson? Yeah, she slays every role, every time, but this one might be her best. No surprise there, when one of the show's very best authors, C.M. Scandreth, is providing the words. The strange denizens of the titular pub exist in a fully fleshed-out world, each with their own fun backstory. For extra credit, check out the season 10 finale, which revisits the pub.


The Forest of a Thousand Legs

Season 9, Episode 7 

You should've known you weren't getting out of this list without a spider story, & this one's a doozy. Not only will it make you itch for days, "Forest" is also filled with warmth & relatable details, not to mention a hell of a surprise.


The Slog

Season 7, Episode 9     

From time to time NoSleep likes to tweak its usual pattern of introduction then story by integrating a creepy tale into David Cummings's introduction. Sometimes it doesn't work, but in the case of "The Slog," it works very well. This surreal story of a man growing old & dying while stuck in traffic pretty much describes my own personal version of hell. It's also a clever cautionary tale about not putting things off "til you get there."


What Happens When the Stars Go Out

Season 10, Valentine's Day Bonus    

Let me preface this by assuring you that I have very little patience for sappy, lovey dovey horseshit, so when a Valentine's Day special popped up on my NoSleep feed I was skeptical at best. Despite starting off with a pretty cornball meet cute, the relationship drama at the center of the story ends up ringing true. Surprisingly, we're even treated to some genuine wisdom about love & loss. Color me impressed. Mick Wingert, who has been an invaluable addition to the cast, gives his best performance thus far.


The House in the Field

October Opening (Between Seasons 7 & 8)

What would you do if a full-sized house suddenly appeared in your yard? Shit your pants then call the police, right? Sure, but what if you're 7 years old, & none of the adults can see the house? That's the premise of this tale, which has the distinction of being the only story in NoSleep's run to have given me actual goosebumps. Somebody turn this into a short film, STAT.


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Best Finale Episode:

(tie) Borrasca & My Dad Finally Told Me What Happened that Day

Season 7, Episode 25 & Season 8, Episode 25

Yes, "Borrasca" is an epic story with an all-star cast. Yes, it's basically an audio feature-length film. And yes, it is a must-listen for fans of audio horror fiction. But allow me to plead the case for my preferred finale of these later seasons, "My Dad Finally Told Me What Happened that Day." First off, this might just be a personal preference, but I like my horror to come with some loose ends. How often in life are we privy to the entire story? How often are the motivations of others fully revealed to us? That our narrator is left with so many unanswered questions makes "My Dad" all the more realistic & chilling. And second, it's nice to hear a story as far into the show's run as season 8 that is this faithful to the subreddit’s original premise - a first-person account of unexplained, unsettling events. Amy says try em both!


There you have it, folks - the very best of seasons 7-10. According to moi, anyway. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments. Or, y'know, just yell at me for not including "Feed the Pig."

(Credits for all the neat original artwork seen here can be found by clicking on the respective episode link)

Best Horror of 2017 | Karen's Picks

10. Better Watch Out

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Keeping up with the nostalgia trend in movies and television, Better Watch Out is reminiscent of Home Alone but takes it one step further. It features some very promising young actors including the kids that we all loved from The Visit. Better Watch Out is a very fun Christmas movie that had a twist that I didn’t see coming.


9. The Girl With All the Gifts

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I have read a good amount of zombie novels in my time. Any movie based on a book that I loved automatically makes me nervous, which is why I waited so long to watch this. I am pleased to say it was a beautiful, faithful adaptation with great acting and some very tense scenes. It’s on Amazon Prime, so check it out!


8. Happy Death Day

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I was so sick of watching these trailers by the time this movie came out that I had no intention whatsoever of seeing it. Luckily, I mistakenly believed we were recording an episode on it. It was much better than the trailer suggested and such a fun movie! It doesn’t take itself too seriously while still maintaining a certain level of dread.


7. Creep 2

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The first thing I saw Mark Duplass in was The League, which if you don’t know, is a comedy series about a fantasy football league. This is just a tad different. Even without watching the first one, this was great. Sara is a great foil to Aaron and made the movie a lot of fun.


6. IT

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Did you really think this wouldn’t be on my list? Get out of here. There was no way this was going to be as scary as I remember the original being, but I was also way too young when I watched that. Bill Skarsgard did a fantastic job portraying Pennywise (so much drool!) and the kids were great. Excited to see them as adults!


5. The Blackcoat's Daughter

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Whoo boy can Oz Perkins make a pretty movie. I liked The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House but this was a more cohesive story and still so pretty. I have loved Kiernan Shipka since Mad Men and she just keeps getting better.


4. Thelma

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While I wasn’t able to record the episode on Thelma, I heard so many good things that I had to check it out. It is a beautiful coming of age tale set in Thelma’s first semester of college. As if that’s not a hard enough time for any teenage girl, leaving her strict religious home for the first time has some interesting consequences.


3. Get Out

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There is nothing to say about this movie that hasn’t already been said.  I want Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener to be my movie parents and Allison Williams was incredibly successful as their ‘innocent’ daughter.


2. Split

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James McAvoy crushed it in this movie, you could tell which personality was in charge just based on his body language. M. Night Shyamalan is back on his game and I am very excited to see the last movie in the trilogy.


1. Raw

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There was no movie even close to this one for me, it is probably my favorite horror movie of the last 5 years at least. I could watch it every week and not get sick of it. Why are you still reading this? Go watch it now!