Though the idea of Thanksgiving has unfortunately morphed a bit in recent years, the commercialization of the holiday turning it from a day to relax and enjoy the company of your family into a day to skip out on your loved ones and stand in line for 5 hours in an attempt to get a Blu-ray player for $20, there’s one important aspect of Thanksgiving that should not be lost amidst the consumption of turkey and trampling of shoppers; being thankful.
No matter what it is you’re thankful for, Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for something that has happened in the past year, whether it’s finding the love of your life or scoring yourself that aforementioned $20 Blu-ray player – here on FEARnet, we don’t judge. We’re just happy that you’re happy.
As 2013 rapidly comes to a close, I want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on a handful of the year’s horror happenings that I feel we should all be thankful for this holiday season. So come along with me as I reflect on some of the most blessed things that have happened to us horror fans this year – in no particular order!
1) THE RETURN OF CHUCKY
One of the most exciting releases of this year was Curse of Chucky, a sequel to the Child’s Play franchise that finally shed the humor of the previous two installments and returned the killer doll back to his sinister roots. As a huge fan of the early films in the franchise, I was quite frankly not at all into the direction creator Don Mancini took the series with Bride and Seed of Chucky, and I eagerly awaited the return to form that he promised Curse of Chucky would be. Living up to that promise, Curse of Chucky reminded me why I fell in love with the character in the first place, Mancini effectively washing the bad taste of the previous two sequels out of my mouth with a solid sequel that tied everything together and proved that direct-to-DVD doesn’t mean what it used to. More sequels like this, please!
2) THE LACK OF CGI IN THE EVIL DEAD REMAKE
Whether you loved the Evil Dead remake or you absolutely hated it and wish that it was never made, there’s one thing about the movie that you simply have to appreciate; the fact that old school practical effects were utilized instead of computer generated imagery. CGI has been absolutely killing the horror genre in the last several years, and it was music to my ears when Fede Alvarez announced that the gore in his remake would be done the same way it was done by Raimi and friends, all those years ago. While not a perfect remake, the gore was top notch and highly impressive, and for that I am thankful.
3) THE RELEASE OF CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES
Fan-made documentaries are one of the greatest gifts a die-hard horror fan can give to another die-hard horror fan, and the makers of the incredible documentary Never Sleep Again gave us all another incredible gift this year with Crystal Lake Memories, an exhaustive 7-hour love note to the entire Friday the 13th franchise. Covering every single installment in the series – including Freddy vs. Jason, the remake and even the unrelated TV series – Crystal Lake Memories is an absolute must-own retrospective, an addition to our collections that we should all be incredibly thankful for.
4) NECA'S AWESOME NEW TOYS
We’ve talked several times in the recent past here on FEARnet about the various offerings toy company NECA made available this year, but our gratitude for all their incredible releases can never be overstated. From the NES versions of Jason and Freddy to the highly impressive additions to their Gremlins, Aliens and Predator lines, NECA went above and beyond the call of duty this year, adding toys to our collection that I think none of us ever in a million years dreamt of having displayed on our shelves. The future of our toy collections is looking so bright that I’m thinking I may need to invest in a pair of shades, and that’s largely thanks to NECA and their dedication to giving us the coolest toys imaginable. We salute you, NECA, this year and every year!
5) THE RETURN OF THE MONSTER CEREALS
When I look back on the 2013 Halloween season, there’s nothing that sticks out for me more than the big return of General Mills’ ‘Monster Cereals’ – Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy returning to shelves for the first time in decades, and joining their pals Boo Berry, Franken Berry and Count Chocula. This year marked the first time in the history of the universe that all five of the cereals stood next to one another on store shelves, General Mills FINALLY giving in to the demands of nostalgic fans by re-animating the fruit-flavored cereals. Will they be back next year? Only time will tell. But even if the 2013 season was their last hurrah, I will forever be grateful to General Mills for making it happen.
6) TRICK ‘R TREAT 2 IS HAPPENING
A Halloween treat was given to us all just a few days before the big day when Michael Dougherty made the totally unexpected announcement that Sam will be returning in Trick ‘r Treat 2. I think it’s safe to say that every single person reading this right now has been waiting for this very announcement since the moment the end credits began rolling on their first viewing of Trick ‘r Treat, and the news was no doubt the most exciting one we shared this year here on FEARnet. There’s no word on how long we’re going to have to wait for it, but it’s coming, and that’s all that matters right now. I miss you Sam, and I await your return.
7) YOU’RE NEXT… AND THE FACT THAT IT FINALLY CAME OUT
Nearly a full two years after it began scooping up acclaim on the festival circuit in 2011, You’re Next finally hit theaters back in August of this year. Though it’s almost impossible for any movie to live up to the hype the film had been getting in the horror community over the course of its extended stay on the shelf, You’re Next did just that, and proved to be more than worth the wait. One of the most fun horror movies to hit theaters in recent years, You’re Next will no doubt go down in history as one of 2013’s very best. Let’s hear it for original R-rated horror!
8) GOOSEBUMPS HITS NETFLIX
I trust I’m not alone when I type that R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books provided me with one of my first introductions to horror, possibly even being responsible for ushering me into a lifelong love of monsters and madmen. Needless to say, I’ve got a massive soft spot in my heart for both the books and the subsequent 90s TV series, and an ear-to-ear smile was plastered on my face when Stine tweeted over the summer that the show was available for instant streaming on Netflix. First came Season 1 in July, followed by the complete series a few months later. Though many of the episodes have hit DVD in recent years, in double feature two-packs, this is the very first time that every single episode has been at our fingertips, and that’s something to be incredibly thankful for. So do yourself a favor and enjoy them while they’re on there!
9) SCREAM FACTORY FILLS OUR HOME VIDEO COLLECTIONS WITH PURE GOLD
Though distribution company Shout! Factory launched their horror label Scream Factory last year, it was this year that the company really cemented its status as the best in the world. Their releases oftentimes adorned with beautiful cover art and packed with brand new special features, Scream Factory has been doing a bang up job at both re-introducing us to lost gems and making us fall in love with classics all over again - this year seeing the Blu-ray releases of titles like Body Bags, Psycho 2, Day of the Dead and The Burning. It seems that not a week goes by where they don’t announce another exciting upcoming release, and I can only hope you’re all as grateful as I am that they don’t ever take a day off. It’s hard to imagine my home video collection without Scream Factory, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for us next.
10) HORROR TAKES OVER TV
My Facebook feed is cluttered with both positive and negative feelings about horror TV shows every single week, but the fact of the matter is that horror has absolutely taken over our television sets this year, and that is an awesome thing – whether you love all the different shows or not. I’ve got to credit the smash-hit success of AMC’s The Walking Dead with kick starting the trend, and this year saw not only incredible new seasons of American Horror Story and True Blood but also the debuts of shows like Bates Motel, Hannibal, Dracula and Sleepy Hollow. Horror was absolutely everywhere this year, dominating all the major networks, and that’s a trend I hope to see continue for years to come. So stop bitching about the shows you don’t care for and just appreciate the fact that horror was so prevalent on TV in 2013!
Honorable Mentions: The Blu-ray release of the Friday the 13th franchise, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane FINALLY hitting theaters and home video here in the states, and Kevin Smith’s announcement that he’s making a horror movie (Tusk) about a dude who turns another dude into a human-walrus hybrid. Now that’s my kind of movie.
What horror happenings are you most thankful for this year? Sound off below! And Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!