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259 horror films released to theaters and VOD this year…my plan to see every one of them was always going to be an uphill climb. Despite some truly Herculean efforts, especially during the annual 31 Days of Halloween, there were always going to be a few that slipped through my fingers.

In that spirit, allow me to spotlight five films that I just didn’t get to this year. None of these will (obviously) factor into my end-of-year lists but I’m sure that at least a few of them would have placed pretty high. Since I still plan to see every 2016 offering, these will all get screened at some point but, suffice to say, I regret missing these more than the Cabin Fever remake or Sharknado 4.

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The Love Witch

This lush nod to a bygone era of genre film was on my radar all year but its limited theatrical release gave me too small a window to satisfy my curiosity. Suffice to say that I’ll be watching it as soon as it hits VOD in the new year but, for now, I’ll have to take the critics’ word that it was quite an extraordinary bit of cinema.


Blair Witch

As a fan of just about everything Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have done, I wasn’t opposed to them tackling a Blair Witch reboot, especially since I didn’t particularly care for the original. The “stealth” marketing campaign came off as silly, however, and none of the specifics really grabbed me enough to get me out of my living room and down to the neighborhood multiplex. This is still Wingard and Barrett, however, so I’ll reserve final judgement until after the film hits video next month.


Shin Godzilla

The buzz behind this was substantial enough to pique my curiosity, even though I’m not the biggest fan of the franchise: I don’t really have anything against Godzilla, per se, but he’s never been my favorite cinematic monster. The darker tone was intriguing, I’ll admit, but not quite enough to get me out for the handful of theatrical dates in my neck o’ the woods.


Ouija: Origin of Evil

Despite having no familiarity with the low-budget original, I actually wanted to see the sequel, if for no other reason than my genuine respect for director Mike Flanagan’s filmography. His other 2016 film, Hush, is one of my honorable mentions for the year but I’ll have to catch this when it hits VOD next month. After seeing so many truly terrible possession and Ouija board films this year (Satanic, I’m looking right at you), I definitely regret missing what critical consensus seems to imply was the best of the batch: c’est la vie.


Phantasm: Ravager

I blame this one on poor time management: I had every intention of watching the final installment of the Phantasm series when it first debuted earlier this year…I really did. It just didn’t seem right to do that without revisiting the rest of the series, however, and that never happened. The final adventures of Reggie and the Tall Man will have to wait until next year, it would seem.