Indie films are leading the horror genre to new places, new ideas, and new terror, and for that we a grateful. We present to you our ‘Top 13 Indie Horror Films of 2017’.
13. Death House
In Death House, two agents on a tour of an underground prison come face to face with some of the world’s most dangerous criminals during a riot.
No other film in history features the number of horror icons that gather for Harrison Smith’s (interview) Death House.
The cast list reads like a who’s who of horror and includes stars like Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley), Danny Trejo (Machete Kills), Tony Todd (Candyman), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Dee Wallace (Cujo), Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), Barbara Crampton (We Are Still Here),, Torsten Voges (31), Camille Keaton (I Spit on Your Grave), Sean Whalen (People Under the Stairs), Richard Speight Jr. (Supernatural), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger), Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween), Gabrielle Stone (Rock Paper Dead), Vincent Ward (The Walking Dead), and Bill Oberst Jr. (The Chair). The two main characters, Agent Jae Novak and Agent Toria Boon are played by Cody Longo (48 Hours to Live) and Cortney Palm (Zombeavers).
From Emmy nominated choreographer turned writer-director Glenn Packard (interview) comes Pitchfork (review).
In the film, Hunter, who recently came out to his family, recruits his friends to come with him from New York to the farm where he grew up as he faces his parents for the first time. As the college students enjoy the fresh air of Michigan farm country, an older, more dangerous secret slowly emerges. While Hunter navigates a new place within his conservative family, a vicious creature from their past descends on the farm, putting the unsuspecting city kids in mortal danger.
11. Bonehill Road
In Bonehill Road, a mother and daughter escaping an abusive relationship run into something even more sinister on a dark road.
Director Todd Sheets is making his return to independent horror in a big way with this film that stars Linnea Quigley, Gary Kent, Millie Milan, Dilynn Fawn Harvey, Eli DeGeer, Douglas Epps, Ana Plumberg, and Aaron Brazier. (review)
10.Hounds of Love
Hounds of Love is set in Perth during a time that people are unaware that a serial killer couple, John and Evelyn White, are snatching up young women. After a lapse in judgment, Vicki Maloney is abducted by the twisted couple. With her murder imminent, she realizes that she must find a way to save herself. Her best shot, driving a wedge between the couple.
9. The Ice Cream Truck
In The Ice Cream Truck (review), Mary’s husband gets relocated for work which allows her to move back to her suburban hometown. As her family ties up loose ends back home, Mary moves into their new house all alone and….waits. Yet in this idealistic world, something seems very odd. The Ice Cream Man, a symbol of youth and good times, starts killing some of her neighbors. Mary soon learns that the suburbs are scarier in more ways than she ever remembered.
From director Julia Ducournau comes Raw, the French-Belgian tale of Justine, a young woman who comes from a family of vegetarian veterinarians. At the age of 16, she is a promising and brilliant student. After she enrolls at veterinarian school, she enters a decadent and dangerously seductive world. After the young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
7. The Blackcoat’s Daughter
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is “a deeply atmospheric and terrifying new horror film, The Blackcoat’s Daughter centers on Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), two girls who are left alone at their prep school Bramford over winter break when their parents mysteriously fail to pick them up. While the girls experience increasingly strange and creepy occurrences at the isolated school, we cross cut to another story—that of Joan (Emma Roberts), a troubled young woman on the road, who, for unknown reasons, is determined to get to Bramford as fast as she can. As Joan gets closer to the school, Kat becomes plagued by progressively intense and horrifying visions, with Rose doing her best to help her new friend as she slips further and further into the grasp of an unseen evil force. The movie successfully builds to the moment when the two stories will finally intersect, setting the stage for a shocking and unforgettable climax.”
Writer-director Osgood Perkins’ intense film is out now from A24. (review)
6. The Rizen
In The Rizen, set in 1955, NATO and the Allied Forces have been conducting secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. They have finally succeeded, but what they have unleashed could tear our world apart. Now one woman must lead the only other two survivors past faceless horrors that threaten to kill or capture them at every turn. They are the only ones left who can fight to close a door that should never have been opened. The film is from writer-director Matt Mitchell and will arrive on VOD on January 2, from Uncork’d Entertainment. (review)
5. Chicago Rot
After years of rotting in Joliet, Les, a wrongfully imprisoned street legend known as “The Ghoul”, is released into a mad search through supernatural Chicago for the man who killed his mother and robbed him of his soul.
Directed by Dorian Weinzmmer, the film stars Shira Barber, Paul Barlie, and Brant McCrea. (review)
4. The Devil’s Candy
In The Devil’s Candy, Jesse, a struggling artist, moves with his wife and daughter into their dream house in rural Texas, the price driven down by the property’s dark past. Their lives soon begin to unravel as the demonic forces lurking in the house take hold of the young family. Jesse’s paintings take a satanic turn while the family is plagued by Ray, the deranged son of the former owners. Soon it becomes clear that Jesse and Ray are both being influenced by the same dark forces and that Jesse and his family aren’t safe from its former inhabitants or indeed from the devil himself.
Ethan Embry (Late Phases), Shiri Appleby (Roswell), Kiara Glasco (Hemlock Grove), and Pruitt Taylor Vaince (Constantine) star.
In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter (Poole) happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it’s too late in The Void. (review)
2. Rock Paper Dead
Rock Paper Dead centers on serial killer Peter “The Doll Maker” Harris (Macfarlane), who returns to his ancestral family estate after being released from the state’s hospital for the criminally insane, after twenty years, as a cured man. Once inside the old house, anguished memories from a tortured childhood and visitations from past victims shake Peter’s resolve, but it isn’t until the lovely young Ashley enters his life that Peter makes a fateful decision that rekindles old desires that have always ended in murder.
Written by ‘Friday the 13th’ creator Victor Miller and Kerry Fleming, Rock Paper Dead has a fantastic cast that includes Luke Macfarlane (Killjoys), ‘The Hateful Eight’ actor Michael Madsen, Tatum O’Neal (Rescue Me), Anna Margaret (Scream Queens), Jennifer Titus (Zoombies), Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch, Passions), and Gabriel Stone (Death House), Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), Kimberly Russell (Precious), Stephanie Shamie (The Redeemer), and Vic Stagliano (Burn Notice).
This film made it to our number two for several reasons including a great story that was interesting all the way through, had a great cast, and its fresh take on the revenge genre. (review)
1. Mercy Christmas
Written by Beth Nelson and Ryan Nelson who also directed, Mercy Christmas centers on Michael Briskett who has met the perfect woman. His Christmas dreams come true when she invites him to her family’s holiday dinner. Soon, his heart is broken when he realizes that HE IS the holiday dinner. Now he must fight if he wants to survive the festivities.
Steven Hubbell, Gwen Dam, Casey O’Keefe, Cole Gleason, David Ruprecht, Whitney Nielson, and D.J. Hale star.
Mercy Christmas scored our number one spot because the story is unique, the cast was fantastic, it was well written, and it captured our holiday spirit and twisted it in a new direction. (review)