You simply cannot stop horror movies. The love of a good scare dates back to cinema’s earliest days and while the genre has certainly evolved from era to era, it always remains a constant source of cathartic entertainment. Citizens groups have rallied against the genre throughout its history, studios have pulled films after public uproar, heck, governments have even banned horror movies over graphic content, but you simply cannot stop horror movies. Fans continually showed up to the box office, tracked down hard-to-find second-hand VHS copies, and after the internet came along, developed one of the most active and interconnected communities of movie lovers out there. Folks always find their way to a good scare. Which is probably why horror cinema has held up so well this year in a time when the film industry has been rocked by unprecedented disturbance.
The infrastructure was already there and despite theater closures and paused productions around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic, horror movies thundered on in 2020 as they always do, delivering all the cathartic frights and brushes with mortality audiences crave from the (dis)comfort of our own homes. We may have to scream inside our hearts if we ride roller coasters now, but horror movies have been helping us do that since the dawn of cinema.
That said, with studios forced to sit on many of their biggest horror releases for the time being, this year’s bunch is looking like a distinct and diverse variety, without many of the familiar franchise names that tend to dominate the discussion. You won’t find much in the way of slashers, sequels or traditional haunted house scares in 2020, which is fitting of a year that’s been anything but average. Instead, the best horror movies of 2020 so far are mostly pensive indies and genre-bending oddballs. You do, in fact, love to see it.