It’s my 8th annual top ten list for horror and dark fantasy on the screen. Since I started doing these at This Is Infamous in 2013, I’ve grown as both a fan and creator of written fiction in this broad genre heading. Some of my choices may seem frivolous, some of you may not agree with my placement of these films in the dark fantasy or horror genres. That’s OK by me. This is my list based off my perceptions. And man, was 2021 a basket of treats after the drought that was 2020.
TV had much to offer this past year. Yes, there were Squid Games, but popular doesn’t mean I liked it or that it would make my top 10. From The Boys to Chucky, from witches in Salem to Witchers and Aes Sedai, the darkness was there. But Disney+ shined, a bright beacon in the night. The Marvel shows stood out and are peppered through my list. They all qualify as Dark Fantasy at the very least, especially due to their subject matters. Wandavision is straight up cosmic horror, as is Loki and What If… ?
It’s no surprise What We Do In The Shadows secured the top spot for me for a second year in a row. Love, Death & Robots was just as dark in season 2 as it was in season 1. Midnight Mass proved Mike Flannagan is the Stephen King of the teleplay. And Chaplewaite proved a Stephen King short story cold be expanded upon and made more interesting. The surprise here was Invincible- an animated adaptation of the Robert Kirkman comic book series surpassed all expectations and told a faithful to comics story that intrigued people who don’t normally watch animated superhero fair.
- What We Do In The Shadows
- Love, Death & Robots
- Midnight Mass
- Falcon/Captain America & The Winter Soldier
- What If… ?
Most of you won’t agree with me here, but that’s OK. I liked plenty of movies in 2021, but not all of them can make the top 10. Some movies were just big (Kong vs. Godzilla) and fun, some were ambitious (Matrix Resurrections) and failed in that ambition while others excelled in their goals.Take Spider-Man: No Way Home, for example. It is cosmic horror at its best, and there has never been a better film in this genre, turning up the sci fi and mysticism to eleven, than this. Dune is stark and brutal as Arrakis, and the Harkonens are the ultimate goths, and making this film the way Denis Velleneuve did was the right way to do it. Last Night in Soho is Edgar Wright’s best film. Antlers is Keri Russell’s best performance on film. A Quiet Place Part II is a worthy follow up to its predecessor and solidifies “Jim” as a director instead of an office worker. The Green Knight is Excalibur meets Donnie Darko. Shang Chi has one of the darkest antagonists of any Marvel film. Malignant is an original mash up of genres. Come True is a bleak indy offering, and the Boys From County Hell is basically Sean of the Dead with Irish vampires.
- Spider-Man No Way Home
- Last Night In Soho
- A Quiet Place Part II
- The Green Knight
- Shang-Chi & The Legend of the 10 Rings
- Come True
- Boys From County Hell
Maybe you’ll check one of these out, maybe you already have. But these are the movies and TV shows that influenced me the most this year. 2022 is promising, as well, with Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness leading the pack of must-sees.