Another year of horror films have come and gone. As we bid adieu to 2018, we look back on all the terrors and frights that graced our cinema screens and streaming platforms. 2018 was a big year for horror, delivering indie stunners like Revenge and Mandy, the revival of the quintessential slasher 40-years later in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, as well as some festival standouts and flicks that exploded into theatres through word-of-mouth, like Ari Aster’s Hereditary, and John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place.
In addition to counting down our favorite horror and genre films of 2018 [see Kimberley Elizabeth + Jonathan Dehaan’s picks], we’re also saying goodbye to 2018 by counting down some of the standout performances, villains, and moments in film this year. Read on for the 10 Best Male Performances of 2018, and check out the rest of our Best of 2018 lists!
10. Lydia, The Witch in the Window – The Witch in the Window
The Witch in the Window follows 12-year-old Finn (Charlie Tacker), who’s shipped off to his Dad’s after getting into trouble on his mom’s computer. (It was porn. Probably porn.) According to a neighbour, the house Finn’s father hopes to flip is infamous in the area as the home of Lydia, a real-life witch. “She used to sit, right up there in the window in the front – just watching,” he tells them. “One summer, we all got to noticing that uhh.. she never seemed to leave that spot.” She had been dead up there for weeks. Lydia is not a corner of the eye, ‘down a dark hallway’ ghost. When she first appears, she sticks around – in plain view, solid enough to touch.
9. Mom & Dad – Mom & Dad
2018 was a big year for home run performances from Nicolas Cage and ringing in the new year a short 12 months ago was Brain Taylor’s Mom and Dad. Cage and co-star Selma Blair deliver two of the year’s most explosive performances as unhinged and murderous parents. And if creepy moments of the two trying their best to coax their children out of hiding isn’t enough, we also see the fragility of their characters as Cage rages against the parental machine while destroying a pool table.
8. The Bent-Neck Lady – The Haunting Of Hill House
The reveal of The Haunting of Hill House‘s Bent-Neck Lady sent a collective shudder through the entire horror community this year. From Melissa Tapley’s review: “Hugh tells his kids that their dreams are like the ocean and can spill out sometimes, but not to be afraid. However, Hill House will dampen your own dreams, too, with apparitions like “Bent-Neck Lady” and the tall man in a bowler hat. Truly, the show has moments that will ice your spine, but it’s deeper than typical jump scares and gore”.
7. The Coven – Suspiria
Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria looks different. It feels different. It explores an entirely different variation of the original story, utilizing Dario Argento’s perfect premise: a coven of beautiful, perfect ballerinas.When the coven’s true intentions are made known, the film evolves into a chaotic scene of erotic ballet and violence. It swaps the 70’s upholstery of drab browns and light falling snow for acid trip red. Convertibles and Coca-Cola dispensers. Or, just plain old-fashioned blood and devil worship.
6. Creepy, Under the Bed Guy – Terrified
Terrified‘s monsters would happily fit in among The Conjuring, or Insidious‘ modern legends, somewhere between a beaming Woman in Black, and the Crooked Man. The boogeyman-under-the-bed pictured above is easily one of the most unsettling elements of the entire film. With it’s unconventional story structure, his appearance feels like beginning of an anthology’s second segment, and one that I would have loved to stay with longer…despite the nightmares that are sure to follow.
5. The Bear – Annihilation
Alex Garland’s Annihilation is a thought-provoking science fiction film in the vein of Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. But it also happens to have one of the most dread-inducing villains of the year. A regular, everyday bear is scary enough, but Garland manged to make a giant beast the stuff of nightmares. In Annihilation’s no-mans-land of eerie-evolution there is no shortage of dangers – but to have your consciousness absorbed by a creature that ate you alive, screaming for eternity in a feedback loop of your own death?! *shudders*
4. Cult Leader Jeremiah Sand – Mandy
Mandy‘s Jeremiah Sand, leader of a hippy death cult The Children of the New Dawn, is a cruel and sadistic figure. Jeremiah becomes obsessed with Mandy and demands that his followers fetch her for him. This unfortunate crossing-of-paths leads Nicolas Cage’s Red down a violent and blood-soaked journey, but not before taking us on a tour Sand‘s warped mind. Like the cult leaders of the real world, Jeremiah Sand is nothing more than a man, and we all know what horrors Man is capable of.
3. Grandma Ellen Leigh – Hereditary
Hereditary follows the Graham family as they grieve the loss of their matriarch, Grandma Ellen Leigh. A secretive and mysterious person, Grandma Ellen had plans for her family…big plans! Though she spends almost no time on screen, her presence lingers casting a dark, cold shadow over the entire film. Though quite possibly the most polarizing film of the year, Hereditary is an assault on your emotional response. And that’s where the film really shines – its ability to create emotional turbulence in its audience, and how strange it is to associate those feelings alongside the traditional horror-given emotion; fear.
2. Pooka – Pooka
Pooka is the newest, coolest, hottest toy of the year in the December installation of Blumhouse’s year-long holiday anthology, Into The Dark. He’s an adorable, somewhat bipolar, little teddy bear complete with bulging discs for eyes, mop-like fur, a red pill mouth, and a red circled belly. His mood swings one of two ways: naughty or nice. Pookarepeats the voices of those around him, but the mockery can go from playful to sinister in the turn of a phrase and you never know what you’re going to get.
1. Michael Myers/The Shape – Halloween
Halloween‘s Michael Myers is where the beautiful marriage of old and new shine as an extremely delicately-woven portrayal. He isn’t a robot, he doesn’t have fumbly fingers or the ineptness of a zombie. He moves like a man possessed, a man without social graces, and someone who’s hunting. David Gordon Green took absolute pleasure and care every single moment we see The Shape. Every frame, every lighting detail, every shadow cast, is a collector card that I would like in my possession right now, pleasethankyou.