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It’s officially over. We’re done for another year. No more witches and warlocks, no more ghosts and goblins, o more zombies, werewolves, vampires, axe murders, hockey masked psychos, chainsaw wielding cannibals,  and other pop culture novelties. (Which reminds me that there’ll be no Frozen costumes—thank goodness.) Yes, another 31 October has come and gone, and with it, the desire for fright fans to indulge in all things menacing and macabre. For most, it’s a one shot deal, a night out in costume, a chance to have a few relatively safe scares and, maybe, to pull a few pranks.

For others, it’s a lifestyle, a 354-day-a-year struggle that only the last day in the tenth month can cure. All over social media and the blogsphere, those taken with terror post their Best and Worst Of lists. But once the bats have returned to the belfry, what then? How can someone celebrate the season of scares without having to go back to the Voorhees and the Myers, the Romeros and the Carpenters?

It didn’t start out as torture porn. In fact, the first Saw film only contains a single sequence that could conceivably be labeled as such. But with its success came a slew of sequels, each one focusing on the splatterific ways the main villain—a dying man named Jigsaw—would pick off his preselected victims. Thus the new horror subgenre, and in part, the last legacy of James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s celebrated Sundance hit, Saw.

Coming out of nowhere to take the fright film society by storm, the efforts of these two talented Australians (with further developmental help from Parts Two through Four guide Darren Lynn Bouseman) became the benchmark for fear over the last 10 years. Dozens of movies, made in conjunction with the real gorno purveyor - Eli Roth’s Hostel -took inspiration from this taut, post-modern thriller and, soon, the masked slasher made way for a clever criminal, his (or her) disembodied voice, and a series of cruel, brutal games.

Horror movies, by their very nature, are odd. They are an entertainment that people participate in, the purpose of which is to feel fear. It’s fictional, it’s often non-reality based, but it’s fear nonetheless. It’s often stated that this otherwise unusual desire is directly related to the need for catharsis. When done right, when measured out in suspense or splatter, the feeling of intense dread is built up, layer upon layer, until all of a sudden—BAM!—death knocks down the door and turns the off the terror with a knife blade or a chainsaw. The set-up and pay-off predicate our response, leading to a likeable (albeit, hardly “enjoyable” experience). It’s the thrill of the ride that we seek in such films, not unlike a rock concert or an actual roller coaster.

Some horror legends are still around—Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, George Romero, Dario Argento—and every once in a while they happenstance into something that adds to (instead of detracting from) their already regal reputation. They are the current Masters of Horror, creepshow kings extraordinaire. Then there are the near-misses, the Michele Soavis and Bernard Roses who made massive initial impressions (Dellamorte Dellamore and Paperhouse, respectively) before slinking off into scary movie exile.

Indeed, thanks to the rise in technology, the bankability of fear, and the unbridled fandom which fuels many homemade horror movies, there are very few maestros left in the macabre, man or woman. In fact, it’s safe to say that many of the moviemakers today, your Marcus Nispels and your Bryan Bertinos, seem more interested in moving beyond dread, to play with the “real” artists of the cinema, so to speak.

So, you’re a horror fan. A dedicated follower of dread. You’ve seen all the classics and suffered through hundreds of hackneyed wannabes. Whenever October roles around and the studios start thinking about scares, you head over to your favorite fright-oriented website and read up on all the potential paranormal activity to take place. You eagerly anticipate a date at the local Cineplex, or more times than not, an epic streaming across several VOD platforms.

Usually you’re disappointed. Sometimes, you’re rewarded. And even after all that, after numerous revisits to a certain cabin in the woods or a haunted ‘70s-era farmhouse, you’re still not satisfied. You want more, and not just the junk that Tinseltown thinks is frightening (like sudden shocks in front of a surveillance camera).

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