The Arrow’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2013!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

Is it me or did big screen horror lose some of its steam in 2013? It didn’t help matters that the more interesting horror films (which are usually low to medium budget), like this year’s THE COLLECTION, PLUS ONE, THE BAY, MANIAC 2013 or HAUNTER got limited releases, which basically means, I had to see them on VOD or not at all.

Looking back, if I had to think of six high points for the genre in 2013, they would be JAMES WAN’S THE CONJURING and EVIL DEAD which killed at the box office, CURSE OF CHUCKY which took the VOD market by storm (trust me, I know, AITH’s hits went up cause of that psycho doll, people love Chucky, and Universal knows it again), the oh-hum THE PURGE (which made the money YOU’RE NEXT should have bagged), WORLD WAR Z which broke the bank and to some degree INSIDIOUS 2, which may have underperformed but still made some waves.

On that here are my 10 FAVORITE FILMS of the year. I didn’t stick solely to horror; I have gory Action and some Sci Fi in there, as per every year. Do keep in mind that at this point in terms of AITH, I mostly cover theatricals while staffers do the Limited and VOD releases. So nope I didn’t see everything. NOTE 1: My top 10 is preceded by my BIGGEST LET DOWN OF THE YEAR, my two WORSE FILMS OF THE YEAR and TWO HONORABLE MENTIONS. NOTE 2: If we had covered MAN OF STEEL, it would have been in there, I love that movie to pieces! NOTE 3: Don’t forget to share your own TOP 10 OF 2013 via the comments section below! HERE WE GO!

2- The Conjuring

I’m on a solid summer movie streak now of late! Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Only God Forgives and now The Conjuring! Yeehaw! This was a modern horror classic to me as Wan’s latest fear injection had it all! Well developed characters and relationships? Check! Outstanding performances? Yup! Genuine tension and scares! Oh yeah! Gripping visuals and a disturbing score that pulled me in deeper into its beak world? You bet! A token James Wan spooky doll to give me the willies? Of course! It was all there man! – See more at:

3- Only God Forgives

ONLY GOD FORGIVES was a slow moving art film. A violent and depraved slow moving art film but one none the less. If you’re not into that jive now and again, don’t bother. After Drive, this was a return to full-on uncompromising form for Refn. Audio/visual driven, gorgeously shot, dealing with somber themes like sexual repression, vengeance, sex in relation to violence, and death. Shite, even hints of incest and the Oedipus complex got in there! I was also treated to an unpredictable nature, a fascinating subtext, an anti-hero that was beyond “anti”, eye popping sets, an eerie score, well executed action scenes and unrepentant violence. Although all of the actors owned it, Vithaya Pansringarm WAS the movie for me as the see all, know all, slaughter all police captain. The lad possessed that screen like nobody’s bitch! A performance to remember!

4- The Lords of Salem

A drug induced nightmare come to life! THE LORDS OF SALEM was the polar opposite of what I’d expect from a Rob Zombie movie. His past work was brash, gory and in your face. But LORDS played the slow burn, art-house and restrained card, favoring sinister atmosphere, creepy sound design and wild imagery over splatter.

1- Prisoners

Prisoners was an engagingly written, superbly acted and tension laced thriller that had me by the throat throughout. Hugh Jackman gave the performance of his career and Jake Gyllenhaal has never been better! Moreover, the picture was visually arresting, with dread filled atmosphere oozing off every frame, while the score by Johann Johannsson masterfully upped the emotional content of the story! I recently polished a script to that score and my eyes were watery; yup, I was in full bitch mode! Kudos!

7- Open Grave

OPEN GRAVE reminded me of a horror Memento, it had the same angle (lead with no memory) and the path to discovery as the WHO, HOW and WHY was engrossing to say the least! It also had awesome acting across the board, an infectious bleak mood, inventive camera/editing work and a solid score.

5- Evil Dead

EVIL DEAD 2013 met my high expectations! It was visually macabre sweet, sported some tension, fabulous practical makeup effects and INSANE wince inducing gore that may send the casual horror fan out the theater running for mommy. More importantly, the film told its own story and came across as part of the EVIL DEAD franchise instead of reeking of a copy and paste cash grab for peeps that can’t take in an old movie.

8- The Last Stand

THE LAST STAND was more than a great Schwarzenegger movie, it was an amazing action movie period! The flick had a furious pace, stand out action scenes, a novel visual style, gore galore, some genuine laughs, insane car stunts and Arnie back as a gun slinging lead. I had a un-adulterated blast!

6- You’re Next

YOU’RE NEXT was quite the horror party! An ideal film to see with your buds and a couple of brews in ya! I am elated that it lived up to its hype! Clipped pace, tense as hell and with a visual style that took chances and stimulated my retinas! We also get creative and messy kills, some laughs and a cast that I warmed up to right way! If she plays her cards right Sharni Vinson could be the next big Scream Queen! And it was so slick to see Barbara Crampton on the big screen again!

9- Pacific Rim

So this how Guillermo del Toro would handle a summer blockbuster! SOLD! I want more! Pacific Rim was an easy watch and delivered the love and then some! It had a gnarly premise, characters that warmed me right, a strong cast (Elba baby…Elba!), astounding imagery, amazing designs and special effects, 3D that wasn’t just there to up ticket prices and all kinds of scenes with giant robots and giant Lizards beating the hell out of each other!

10- The Collection

What can I say, THE COLLECTION could pretty much do no wrong in my book for the type of horror fiesta that it was! Kinetically shot, fast paced with a badass score, solid acting, a mean as f*ck streak and gore galore… GREAT TIMES!

HONORABLE MENTION #1 Curse of Chucky

It’s been 9 years since Chucky eviscerated the screen and THE CURSE OF CHUCKY was well worth the wait for this “Good Guy” fan! Well written, stylishly shot with stellar acting (Fiona Dourif so owned it) and enough zany turns, gory kills and cool nods to past films from the series to please!

HONORABLE MENTION #2: Maniac remake

MANIAC 2013 bettered the original in my opinion! The flick looked macabre sweet, had loads of gore, gripping characters, bang on acting, a stellar soundtrack and a visceral POV approach that put me in the shoes of a killer. NOTE: I would have preferred to be in Hugh Hefner shoes but hey, what can you do. At the same time, that movie was so nauseating, that I never want to tap it again, hence why it’s not making the actual Top 10.

WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR: The Last Exorcism Part II

THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 was a total let down and the worse part was: I didn’t expect much from it! It had no scares, a chop-shop narrative progression, no suspense, all of the horror was off-screen, it lacked conviction, had a boring visual style and it was all aimless build-up with little to no payoff. Ummm… the WORSE time I had in theaters in 2013.


I can’t believe The Colony cost 16 Million to make (star salaries I assume). I’ve seen 50.000$ movies look better than this, what a waste! Good initial idea, Laurence Fishburne classing the joint up, some gore, a handful of fly camera movements and it’s always nice to see Bill Paxton, even when he’s utterly WASTED like this. But none of that could save this turkey from being a mostly derivative bore, with bland poseur villains, uneven acting, ALL KINDS of dumb moves to serve the plot, shoddy acting by lots of the supporting players, cheap visuals effects and a finale that said: we’re not ending the movie, so f*ck you. Well f*ck you too!


Insidious 2 let me down but I wasn’t pumped for it like I was for RIDDICK! I dig the first two films, LOVE the character and relish Diesel playing the role. Although, I got splattastic gore, some cool Riddick moments, money action scenes, fly shots and all kinds of monster madness, the cheapness of it all took away from the experience. But worse of all the clunky and mostly Riddick-less middle section with its meh Mercs blabbing like Tupperware wives and basically stalling the story, took the steam out of the ride. This was NOT the Riddick movie I was waiting for…

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