The Top 10 Best & Most Disappointing Horror Movies of 2013: Paul’s Picks

American Mary2013 was a great year for horror.  Coming up with a best-of-the-year list was fairly easy.  Some years it requires an entry or two that were good but hardly great, but not this year.  Also, many of the year’s best horror movies are simply outstanding films.  The “genre film” qualifier is not necessary and they are as good as anything else released this year, horror or otherwise.  

Another hallmark of a good year is when you don’t passionately hate a lot of the movies.  Granted, I haven’t seen every horror release, including Insidious Chapter 2 (hated the first one), but the majority of the worst-of-the-year list is comprised of disappointments as opposed to truly awful offerings that deserved scorn and ridicule, and there was a lot more to love than hate this year.  And without further ado, the list. 

Other staff 2013 picks: Managing Editor Ryan Turek / Contributing Writer Ryan Larson

The BEST in no particular order…

Honorable Mention:  Horror on television

Has there ever been a time when horror thrived on television the way it does now? With Hannibal, Bates Motel, Grimm, The Following, The Returned, American Horror Story, Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead, and Dracula, it feels like the genre is on just about every channel.  Sure the quality of these shows runs the gamut, but most of them are either mindless entertainment or really, really good.  Plus, after so many years when it seemed like horror on TV ranged from rare to non-existent, it’s cool to have so many options. 

The MOST DISAPPOINTING in no particular order…

  • Mama: Not terrible, but not very good either. The premise is strong and the leads are talented, but it never manages to rise above mediocrity. There isn’t much suspense and the scares are minimal. The title character fails to register as well.  She could have and should have been a memorable new villain, but Mama is passable at best, just like her movie.  I was really excited about this one and was underwhelmed overall. 
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D: Even though it was nothing special, I was having fun with it for a while.  Then it (SPOILERS!) suddenly tries to make Leatherface misunderstood and sympathetic, and the heroine actually helps him.  WTF?  Just stupid and nonsensical, even for something like this.  I tuned out from that point on and don’t remember much about what happens after that.  It could have been a decent if unremarkable slasher.  Instead it ends up being mostly worthless. 
  • Curse of Chucky: Making Chucky scary again is a great idea, except he was never scary to begin with.  The original movie is good, but Chucky himself is not exactly terrifying, not like Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger in their original entries.  Writer/director Don Mancini gets an A for effort, and Fiona Dourif is good as the lead, but Chucky still isn’t scary.  Most of the time you just wonder how these dopes manage to let a little doll murder them.  There’s also a lot of padding/filler to stretch it out to 90 minutes. 
  • Dark Skies: Again, didn’t hate it, but it’s incredibly “meh.”  The strange occurrences, the rearranged household items, the troubled kid, it all feels really played out, very “been there, done that.”  Capable leads Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell (not to mention J.K. Simmons) prevent it from being completely without value, but after this one, Priest, and Legion, director Scott Stewart appears to specialize in making average-at-best genre movies. 
  • Beneath: It seemed so promising.  Director Larry Fessenden (WendigoThe Last Winter) is extremely talented. It features a giant man-eating aquatic creature devouring young people stranded on a lake.  And it uses mostly practical effects.  Should be a good time right?  Sadly it wasn’t meant to be.  The characters are insufferable, even for a movie like this, and the creature seems to have about two minutes of screen time.  Many of the deaths don’t even involve the huge fish.  A huge disappointment. 

Dishonorable Mention:  Hemlock Grove

The worst of all the horror TV shows, by far.  This Netflix show is laughably bad. It looked relatively interesting at first and seemed to promise monsters of some sort (I have no familiarity with the source material).  Instead, we got a guy transforming into your garden variety wolf, and enough cringe-inducing melodrama and bad acting for 37 shows on the CW network.  It was tough making it through all 13 episodes, and when it was finally over, I immediately regretted not quitting after the first two or three. 

  • ariessiren

    I agree on Hemlock Grove that was possibly one of the worst shows i have ever seen in my entire Life. God awful acting

  • Kevin Hernandez Orth

    WTF you like Warm bodies over TC3D and Mama you most be getting a little blind.

    • paulmdoro

      Yes Warm Bodies is a significantly better movie than both Texas Chainsaw and Mama, especially Texas Chainsaw, which by the end is pretty terrible.

      • Kevin Hernandez Orth

        I think their where worse movies than TC and Mama ( The Last Exorcism Part 2) That is very bad sequel only saying.

        • paulmdoro

          I don’t think Mama is a bad movie. It’s disappointing, not bad. I was really psyched for it and felt let down. I have not seen The Last Exorcism Part 2, and have no desire to. Heard only bad things about it.

      • J Jett

        paulmdoro, i agree. WARM BODIES was excellent. i watched it 3 times. TC3D was just ok. i don’t like that they made Leatherface the good guy/anti-hero.

  • GuardianCastiel

    The cool thing about opinions is that we all have our own, and no one is forced to agree nor disagree with any other person. Having that said, I really only agree with two or three of these choices. The rest of them left me baffled. These lists are foul.

  • zengrrl

    I loved Warm Bodies more than I thought I would. As for Hemlock Grove, I made it to episode 4 and fell asleep. I tried again to watch it from there and fell asleep in episode 6. Gave up after that. Horrible show.

  • Ryan Rawlings

    Sightseers is not a horror movie.

    • paulmdoro

      It was covered like one by horror sites. Seems awfully nit-picky to say it doesn’t belong on the list.

      • Ryan Rawlings

        It was only covered on horror sites because it was directed by Ben Wheatly. I loved the movie but you can not honestly say it’s a horror movie it is a straightforward comedy.

        • paulmdoro

          I strongly disagree. It is most definitely not a “straightforward comedy.” It’s closer to horror than it is straightforward comedy, that’s for sure.

          • Bruce Leroy

            No, sorry, you’re just wrong. If you want to call it a horror-skewed comedy, fine, but it’s in no way a comedy-skewed horror movie.

  • Juan Asilo

    aye agree with ya, on the curse, but bato that surprise by the end, just sold it
    and be honest i wanna see the wisecrack of chucky.
    so lord of salemwas really bad?

  • niknik

    what scene was that in ‘We are What we Are’? i just watched it (excellent film btw) but i don’t remember that scene… help me out folks

  • Old Boy

    STOKER is not a horror movie , your list is a totally DISAPPOINTING!

  • Marc D

    Supernatural should be included on your “horror on television” list.

    I know, the show is like 10 years old but still…

  • Hayley

    There were some good mentions in the best of category like ‘American Mary’ but most of the top ten looked like it was lazily thrown together from a Google search of similar (and better written) lists. Many of these barely qualify as horror films and most of those listed are not top ten worthy.

    I like ‘Warm Bodies’ as much as the next girl, but I’d hardly call it a horror film just because it has zombies in it. Besides, if you’re going to cover horror-comedy where is ‘Bad Milo’ on this list? Or for a great zombie film, ‘The Battery’?

    The only unique element offered here was the “most disappointing” list. Seriously, what hipster “horror” movie fan wrote this? Despite the critical acclaim and ratings, Hemlock Grove is laughably bad? Dark Skies, a science fiction film, is on this list at all and Curse of Chucky is ridiculous only because it features a doll? Isn’t the point of horror films to make us afraid of the things we took for granted?

    I don’t think most horror fans would agree with this list and they most certainly aren’t going to find anything new here.