Doc Rotten’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2018

It’s that time of year again where the Grue-crew gather to reflect on the past 12 months and generate their Top 10 Horror Films of 2018. It’s time for The Year in Review. Surprisingly, this is an incredible year for horror. Certainly there have been some stinkers, but the list of candidates for the top 10 was much larger than previous years…at least for me. Over the past month, the list has changed from day to day to include this particular film or not to forget that film that impressed me so. After much deliberation, and a few late entries – per usual, my list is ready for prime time. Below are the film I consider the best horror films of 2018. Look for the “best of” edition of Horror News Radio early 2019, just after the first of the year.

10) THE RANGER, d. Jenn Wexler

The trailer for The Ranger did not impress me, so much so that I almost passed on catching this film. Man, am I glad I did catch it though. It is a terrific call back to the slasher films while maintaining its own identity and tone. The direction from Jenn Wexler is exemplary and the cast keeps things interesting with Chloe Levine making a strong impression and Jeremy Holm delivering a disturbing yet comedic titular slasher role.

Listen to Gruesome Magazine Podcast episode 33 for more.

9) TERRIFIER, d. Damien Leone

Here is another film that was not immediately on my radar for 2018 again the trailer failing to draw me in. However, once I saw Terrifier from director Damien Leone, I knew I had seen something…special. David Howard Thornton has created a rare new slasher for the modern age with his Art the Clown, previously seen in Leone’s All Hallow’s Eve (played there by Mike Giannelli). The film is subversive and much gorier than expected – and a slasher fan’s delight. Hurray for Art the Clown.

Listen to Gruesome Magazine Podcast episode 13 for more.

8) LEPRECHAUN RETURNS, d. Steven Kostanski

Thank you, Steven Kostanski. Who knew that I could love a “Leprechaun” movie so much. The director of The Void brings a delirious and fun tone to Leprechaun Returns that is infectious and delightful. The kills are inventive and often gory while Taylor Spreitler delivers a terrific final girl with her “Lila”. Linden Porco slays the role of the Leprechaun, being both hilarious and terrifying. Well done.

Listen to Horror News Radio episode 302 for more.

7) TERRIFIED, d. Demian Rugna

Yet another surprise for 2018 is Terrified from director Demian Rugna which landed on Shudder this fall. It is easy to see why Guillermo del Toro is going to produce and guide the U.S. remake of this Argentinian entry into supernatural splatter. Terrified earns its name with shocking visuals and expanding the haunted house to a haunted neighborhood where a group of investigators are assigned their own house to investigate by the finale, one that is unrelenting and frightening. There is no reason not to catch this film currently playing on Shudder. Do it!

Listen to Gruesome Magazine Podcast episode 40 for more.


It seems like we were hearing rave reviews of Anna and the Apocalypse all year long as it impressed audiences from film festival to film festival. The film finally hit U.S. theaters late in December, 2018 and, a for a short bit, it seemed as I would not be able to catch this in time for this year’s top 10 list consideration. Then, unannounced, at the last minute, it showed up at the local Alamo Draft House, and, boy, am I glad it did. The film is a delightful blend of comedy, musical, zombie, and horror film. The songs are memorable and damn good. Ella Hunt makes a lasting impression as Anna while Ben Wiggins surprises as well by the end of the film. John McPhail’s wonderful film deserves a “Hollywood Ending.”

Check out the Horror News Radio episode 305 for more.

5) HALLOWEEN, d. David Gordon Green

Oh, boy, when they first announced that Blumhouse was going to front a remake, reboot, or re-imagining of John Carpenter’s Halloween, the Grue-Crew, myself included, were not convinced that anyone could salvage this series. Maybe, to some, having Blumhouse at the helm could be promising, maybe. Then it was announced that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride were involved. Okay, now we’re curious. Then Jamie Lee Curtis was announced to return as Laurie Strode and John Carpenter would be contributing to a new score. Well, now we’re talking. Somehow, they did it. The film is a blast, focusing on events that follow the original film, ignoring the other entries in the franchise. Hurrah for a sixty-year-old Laurie Strode kicking ass.

Check out Horror News Radio episode 295 for more.

4) OVERLORD, d. Julius Avery

Overlord was another surprise in what, at one time, was feared to be another weak entry in the Cloverfield franchise. Thankfully, that did not happen. Instead, horror fans are treated to an incredible, frightening adventure set during World War II where a squad of U.S. soldiers encountered some ghastly experiments conducted by evil Nazis behind enemy lines in occupied France. Fast-paced, chaotic and gory in all the right places, with a cast worth following, Overlord impresses and provides fandom with a new director to follow with Julius Avery.

Check out Horror News Radio episode 298 for more.

3) REVENGE, d. Coralie Fargeat

Revenge provided a harrowing experience full of tension and amazing camera work. Rarely do I feel my body react to a horror film as with this film, leaving the theater my stomach was in a knot from the non-stop stress of the onscreen action and suspense. Director Coralie Fargeat reaches straight for Hitchcockian mastery with her command of the camera and setting up a scene. The last 20 minutes are pure madness. More, please.

Check out Gruesome Magazine Podcast episode 21 for more.

2) A QUIET PLACE, d. John Krasinski

Seemingly out of nowhere arrives A Quiet Place from director John Krasinski where he also stars alongside his RLW Emily Blunt. Krasinski makes the most out of the premise where, in a post-alien-invasion world, the only way to survive is to remain absolutely quiet. The sound design alone chills the air. The scene in the bathtub is white knuckling. A nail in the basement steps is pure Hitchcock. A brilliant piece of cinema.

Check out Horror News Radio episode 262 for more.

1) HEREDITARY, d. Ari Aster

One of the most devastating horror films of the past decade. Director Ari Aster’s essay of slow-burn horror chronicles the collapse of the nuclear family as the Grahams descend into the very depths of horror. The film is full of interesting choices from focus to shadow to sound. And, yet, by the end, it delivers visuals that will scar as well. A film for the ages, Hereditary is the stuff of nightmares.

Check out Horror News Radio episode 270 for more.

That’s the top 10, but the number of honorable mentions could easily be twice as large. Most of the best films are independent films, a good sign for the future of the genre, and horror on TV was prolific with The Haunting of Hill House threatening to be included on pure technical achievements alone – that, and it may have the best jump scare of the year. A few other films that could have made the cut include Upgrade, The Night Comes for Us, May the Devil Take You, Lowlife, Livescream, The Ritual, The Endless, and Mandy. An amazing year regardless of how the top 10 shakes out and 2019 looks like it very well may top it. Hell, yeah!

Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.

Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.