6. Trick ‘r’ Treat (2007)
Trick ‘r’ Treat is an anthology horror film which is comprised of four Halloween related stories – ‘The Principal,’ ‘The School Bus Massacre,’ ‘Surprise Party,’ and ‘Meet Sam.’ The films are linked together by the presence of Sam who is a mysterious child trick or treater who appears whenever a character breaks Halloween traditions. The film was written and directed by Michael Dougherty who made a short film in 1996 called ‘Season’s Greetings’ which is a precursor to Trick ‘r’ Treat.
Trick ‘r’ Treat was originally set to be released theatrically in October 2007, but a month before it was released it was announced that the film had been pushed back. Trick ‘r’ Treat then sat untouched for two years, whilst distributors Warner Brothers decided what to do with it.
Warner Brothers contemplated a theatrical release, but in the end decided against it which director Michael Dougherty thought may be down to the content of the film. He said, “I think they got a little cold feet and buyer’s remorse for various reasons. The big one being the number of kids that we kill in the film.” Instead Dougherty took the film on the road, screening it and showing it at various festivals. The film was then released direct to DVD in 2009.
Despite its tricky road to release, Trick ‘r’ Treat was well received with overwhelmingly positive reviews, and has amassed a cult following since its release. Dougherty has said that the difficult road to release may have actually worked in the film’s favour, and that it allowed the film to stay in people’s minds and hearts more than if it had been released into theatres where he believes most films are forgotten after a few weeks.
In 2016, Dougherty teamed up with AtmosFX to create a series of Halloween decorations that feature Sam, and in 2017 a Trick ‘r’ Treat themed scare zone was added to the Halloween horror nights event in Orlando. A sequel to the film has also been announced.
7. Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Batman: Under the Red Hood is the eighth feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. It is a direct to video film and was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and released by Warner Home Video. It is directed by Brandon Vietti and written by Judd Winick.
Batman: Under the Red Hood sees Batman set against a diabolical villain who always seems to one step ahead of the caped crusader. The villain is also determined to clean up the streets of Gotham for good and destroy Batman in the process. Batman continues to patrol the streets of Gotham by night, protecting its citizens but lately another vigilante is doing the same. However the new vigilante’s methods are merciless and frightening. Meanwhile the Joker resurfaces to taunt Batman by digging up old skeletons that were best left buried.
Batman: Under the Red Hood received critical acclaim upon its release, being praised for its faithful take on the Batman lore and its smart writing. Batman: Under the Red Hood was the highest rated direct to video Batman film until the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in 2012. It grossed over $10 million in domestic home video sales.
8. Hush (2016)
Hush is a thriller horror film from director Mike Flanagan who co-wrote the film with his wife, actress Kate Siegel who also stars in the film. The film follows deaf author Maddie Young who lost her hearing as a teenager and now lives in utter isolation in the woods. Retreated from society, she lives in seclusion and exists in a completely silent world. One night, the masked face of a psychotic killer appears at her window and with no way to call for help – a terrifying game of cat and mouse begins where Maddie must fight for her survival.
The film was jointly produced by Jason Blum through Blumhouse Productions and Trevor Macy through Intrepid Pictures. The film was kept under wraps until it was revealed at a buyer’s screening at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Netflix acquired the worldwide distribution rights to Hush, and it was released in April after its world premiere at South by Southwest.
The film was generally well received, with most reviews praising its effective build-up of tension and suspense. Hush was also praised for making its main protagonist deaf. Director Flanagan said that the character originated from him wanting to make a film without dialogue, and he considered making the film completely silent. After deciding that a completely silent film wouldn’t be possible, various ambient sounds were used, for example the sound of ultrasound machines. Overall the film includes less than fifteen minutes of dialogue.
9. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Based upon Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Gerald’s Game is a psychological horror film from director Mike Flanagan. Flanagan also co-wrote the film along with writer Jeff Howard. Gerald’s Game sees couple Gerald and Jessie Burlingame attempt to rekindle their marriage with a trip away to their remote lake house. But after indulging in dangerous sex game, Gerald is accidentally killed, leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed. Trapped, and with no hope of rescue, Jessie begins to hear voices and experience strange hallucinations.
Gerald’s Game was dismissed by many as unfilmable but director Flanagan had aspirations to film it anyway, calling it his dream project. He even carried a copy of the book with him to meetings for years, in case anyone ever asked him what his ideal project would be. The film’s distribution rights were acquired by Netflix who released the film in September 2017.
Gerald’s Game has received a slew of positive reviews, with much of the praise focused on Carla Gugino’s performance which is undoubtedly career defining. Many have also called the film, Flanagan’s best. Stephen King himself called the film “hypnotic, horrifying and terrific” after he was sent the rough cut by Flanagan. Flanagan admitted that he was so happy and flattered by King’s praise that he printed out his email about the film and has it framed in his house.
10. All the Way (2016)
All the Way is a biographical drama film adapted from the play of the same name by Robert Schenkkan and is directed by Jay Roach. It is based on the events of the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson who became President in the chaotic aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and spent his first year of office trying to pass the Civil Rights Act. The film stars Bryan Cranston, who reprised his role as Johnson from the play’s 2014 Broadway production.
In July 2014, it was announced that HBO Films had acquired the rights to the play. Filming took place in 2015, and the film was broadcast on HBO in 2016. All the Way drew around 1.2 million viewers on its premiere, making it the second most watched HBO original film behind Bessie.
The film was very well received. It has been nominated for a multitude of awards, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards. Cranston’s performance has been particularly noted, being called “phenomenal,” “compelling” and “engrossing.” The film was later released on home media.
Author Bio: Cara McWilliam-Richardson is a writer with a passion for films and filmmaking. She has written several screenplays, and is currently working on her first novel. Her favourite genre to write is fantasy and science fiction.