This Is A List, Because They Matter Part II: Raul’s Top Ten Indie Horror Picks Of 2017

This is meant to serve as a combination of the best and my favorite indie horror films from 2017, the ones that are typically referred to as microbudgeted (ones that have budgets less than $100,000). I wanted to really focus on the low budget and possibly unrecognized independent films from the year that deserve some love and attention. So I will not be including Prevenge, Raw, Hounds of Love, It Comes at Night, Creep 2 or The Void. They are all excellent movies that deserve recognition, but they each had slightly larger budgets or had far better promotion than the ones that I have selected. I also didn't include Never Hike Alone, since it's a short fan film.

Honorable mentions that didn't quite crack the top 10, but still deserve some love and recognition are 3 Dead Trick or Treaters, Get My Gun, Close Calls, Capture Kill Release, Even Lambs Have Teeth, The Atoning, The Demon Inside, Somebody’s Darling, Beyond the Woods, and The Dark Tapes.

10. Blood of the Tribades - Directed by Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein

This is a wonderfully inspired homage of the British studio productions of Hammer Films and the Euro arthouse vampire movies of the 1970’s such as Vampyros Lesbos, Countess Dracula, and The Shiver of the Vampires. A religious rift leads to violence in a  2000 year old vampire community that has been separated between the women and men. The film is a constant visual feast that delivers some absolutely stunning imagery and locales, a fantastic score, loads of nudity, beautiful babes, and the divine lead actress Mary Widow. Currently available on Amazon Prime.

9. Pool Party Massacre - Directed by Drew Marvick

Shot on a budget of roughly $6,000, Pool Party Massacre lovingly pays tribute to the 80’s VHS slasher era. It dishes out a blend of blood, babes, sex, and humor that is reminiscent of Slumber Party Massacre meets CluelessSocialite Blaire Winthrop’s parents go on vacation and she decides to have a pool party with her rich and very spoiled friends. An unknown slasher shows up and ruins the party, picking them off one by one. Drew Marvick present us with new and unique slasher, creating a Frankenstein-like creation that combines the characteristics of Zach Galifianakis and Freddy Krueger. 

8. Bonehill Road - Directed by Todd Sheets

Shot-on-video (SOV) legend Todd Sheets has been on quite a roll since returning to filmmaking in 2013. Last year, he brought us the wildly entertaining exploitation film Dreaming Purple Neon, which made my 2016 top ten list. He follows that up with a wonderful and brutal ode to the werewolf films of the 1980's, choosing to use all practical effects. A mother and daughter escape a violent domestic situation, only to be caught up stranded and hunted by werewolves. Shot for $13,700 thanks to a strong IndieGoGo campaign, it features magnificent practical effects, extreme gore, appearances from genre icons Linnea Quigley and Gary Kent, and very strong performances from Eli DeGeer and Ana Rojas-Plumberg. 

7. Zburbs - Directed by Greg Zekoski

Much like Santa Clarita Diet, ZBurbs steps away from the gritty and apocalyptic zombie fare that we are used to and inserts it into normal suburbia life. What does a wife do when her husband is turned into a zombie? Well, the answer seems to be to stand by your husband and support him for better or for worse. Balancing a mix of humor and horror, it features witty dialogue and strong performances from Maria Delfino, Ian Alda, Gabe Greenspan, and Courtney Scheurman. 

6. Garden Party Massacre - Directed by Gregory Blair 

An average garden party goes terribly bad, when a group of friends have an uninvited guest armed with a pickax shows up with deadly intentions. Despite being more comedy than horror, this is an absolutely hilarious and quirky satire of suburbia and answers the question of what would happen if Seinfeld or The Big Bang Theory cast were thrown into a slasher film. Garden Party Massacre features a strong ensemble cast, great dialogue, and wonderful performances. 

5. Buzzard Hollow Beef - Directed by Joshua Jackson

Buzzard Hollow Beef is one major mind f**k of a movie that is the equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson teaming up with Sam Raimi (the Evil Dead years) to make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre style gore film. Single mother Jordan goes to visit her family for Thanksgiving in the small town of Buzzard Hollow. There resides the Solomon family, a strange group of characters who are overly secretive about the beef that they sell in the local restaurant and their butcher shop. When the family suffers from hallucinations, they believe that the meat has been poisoned by the cannibalistic hillbillies. With the combination of slick camera work, a great ensemble cast, and outstanding gore effects, this has potential for annual Thanksgiving viewings. Currently available on Amazon Prime.

4. All the Devils are Here - Directed by Ryan Lightbourn

All the Devils is an insane ode to ‘80s and ‘90s creature films that is reminiscent of some devilish combination of The Descent, From Dusk til Dawn, Assault on Precinct 13, and last year’s gross out darling Night of Something StrangeFive college students take a trip to Central Florida, staying at a parent’s Summer vacation cabin. Things don’t quite go as planned, when some evil creatures look to ruin their fun in the Florida sun. They are forced to team up with a town local and an escaped convict, in hopes of surviving the night. Despite being shot for only $35,000, the movie packs a venomous bite and delivers stunning camerawork and cinematography, fine performances from the entire cast, a terrific soundtrack and score, and outstanding creature effects and gore.

3. Death on Scenic Drive - Directed by Gabriel Carrer 

This is a remarkable and unique piece of cinema that breaks from what we traditionally envision when it comes to the supernatural subgenre, providing us with a decidedly original and powerful experience. A woman takes a housesitting job in the secluded snowy countryside. Expecting an easy and relaxing job, she soon discovers an evil entity that seeks to turn her into death itself. Despite its art house style and minimal dialogue, the film still manages to scare and gross out the viewer. It's an excellent example of how superb visuals, good sound effects, and a powerful score can positively impact a picture.

2. Pitchfork - Directed by Glenn Douglas Packard 

Pitchfork is a modern day twist on Leatherface and other similar slasher characters that boasts stunning cinematography and imagery, while presenting a new iconic monster that is visceral, animalistic, and will frighten viewers to the core. A group of friends travel from New York to the Michigan farm home of their friend Hunter Killian. Looking to support him in revealing a secret to his family that he’s been hiding, they end up being hunted by a deadly monster. Daniel Wilkinson as Pitchfork is the star of the show and gives an incredible physical performance as the disturbing monster, creating a new iconic slasher character along the way. With brutal and inventive kills and great practical effects, this is a must see with franchise potential. Currently available on Amazon Prime.

1. Be My Cat: A Film for Anne - Directed by Adrian Tofei

Be My Cat is a Romanian found footage thriller that was written, produced, directed, edited, and stars Adrian Tofei. It is a brilliant character study and portrayal of a sociopathic individual that is on the same level of the characters featured in Psycho, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and AngstTofei portrays a man who is willing to go to the most extreme measures in order to convince Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway to star in his movie.  With one of the most frightening and realistic psychopaths ever put to film, this highly disturbing piece of filmmaking has to be considered one of the very best and one of the most realistic found footage movies ever made.