It’s a new year, Blood Babes! A new year for indie horror in any form it wishes to reveal itself in — whether it’s film, art, music, molecular gastronomy, it’s the start of a new chapter for it all. What better way to kick it off than to honor the indie horror of yesteryear, casting the spotlight once again onto the creators whose nightmares haunted me most before welcoming in the new blood.
Initially, this started as a “Top 10”, but there were SO many amazing and talented creators to choose from, I just had to bump it up! I’m sad there has to be a cap at all, because I’d like to include everyone. I appreciate each and every one of you.
With that being said, let’s get this show on the road! These are the fifteen creators that particularly pierced my eye in 2022.
1. Rhiannon Kagoe (Artist — Gonzo Horror Slice-of-Life Art)
Good horror art makes me feel things… good things… totally normal things. So imagine how I must feel when looking at Rhiannon Kagoe’s GREAT horror art! The vivid colors, the outrageous imagery, the fever-dream aesthetic — everything I’d want hanging over my fireplace! The fact that a lot of her work features Resident Evil characters is just icing on the cake. Whatever she does next, there’s no doubt it’ll be gorgeously gonzo. Check out her work on her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
2. Ash Hamilton (Director — Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story)
Director of the most awarded found footage film ever, we have Ash Hamilton! When I first watched Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Storyjust under a year ago, I was caught off-guard by how good it was. So good, it changed my entire outlook on found footage horror, a sub-genre that I used to not care for, but now I absolutely love. It’s an atmospheric tale of alien abduction effectively brought to life with Hamilton’s direction, who knows how to lay the tension on thick and when to cut it with a (presumably) bloody knife. You can watch Hamilton’s film digitally here or pick it up physically here!
3. Dillon Brown (Director — The Flock, Tahoe Joe)
The amount of passion director Dillon Brown possesses for filmmaking is immense, having made not only last year’s The Flock, but also Tahoe Joe—movies he filmed at the EXACT SAME TIME. Working on two films at once while dealing with the usual trials and tribulations of life? That’s dedication! The fact that both are genuinely fun indie features is just a testament to his creativity and talent. Out of the Horror Dadz Productions “Cryptidverse”, The Flock stayed in my head the most due to Dillon’s approach to the film, which consisted of guns blazing and monsters raging. Two aspects that I always appreciate in my cinema! You can check out The Flock digitally here, and Tahoe Joe digitally here.
4. Joshua Bentley (Musician — Pitch Black Manor)
I remember when Joshua Bentley first approached me to write about the grand return of his band, Pitch Black Manor. It was before I started the Indie Spotlight — way before, months and months before. In fact, it could be said that was my very first Spotlight, setting the seeds for what was to come, my first exploration into the indie-horror landscape of which I now want to venture through as much as possible. Thank you, Joshua, for inviting me to experience the sinister synths and horror hooks of Pitch Black Manor. Also, in case you’re wondering, their music is absolutely killer! Check out Pitch Black Manor here!
5. Dirk Manning (Writer — Twiztid Haunted High-Ons, Tales of Mr. Rhee)
Dirk Manning has been here since the very beginning, his series Nightmare World being featured in my very first article for Dread Central. Since then, the amount of projects he’s done is only rivaled by how many he still has in the pipeline… which is to say, you know, A LOT! Twiztid Haunted High-Ons, The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. & Friends, London After Midnight, The Tales of Mr. Rhee — and that’s just the tip of the kaiju-encased iceberg! For as long as I’ve known him, not a minute goes by that Manning isn’t working on something new, so I’m sure he’ll have another project announced by the time this article drops. Speaking of which, his latest volume of Tales of Mr. Rhee is available for pre-order, with the series’ first omnibus hitting shelves next month! Be sure to check out the rest of his work here as well!
6. Ferenc Gregor (YouTube Creator — Things Forsaken ®)
When it comes to just plain cool ideas, look no further than Ferenc Gregor’s Things Forsaken! A macabre crafts show that also tells dark and weird stories, the amount of craftsmanship — both literally and figuratively — is incredible. Everything from vampire rosaries to cave bear pendants are on display, with creative stories behind each individual item. Gregor’s been keeping them coming, too, so we won’t have to wait long until he creates his next arcane object. To see the previous episodes of Things Forsaken, check out the YouTube channel here! Also, every item made is up for sale right here, and you can follow any updates (including an event schedule where you can meet the crew in person) on their Facebook group here.
7. Gerardo Preciado (Musician — Ancient Order of the Droids)
When it comes to storytelling, no tool is more powerful than the imagination… though a little music doesn’t hurt, right? Luckily for us, Gerardo Preciado’s Ancient Order of the Droids has us covered with soundtracks to horror movies that only exist within our mind’s eye! From the religious flesh-feasts of Zombiria 2 to the heartfelt tale of murder-filled friendship in My Little Slasher, these bloody beats set the mood for said imaginary flicks to project on the screen inside your head. I love this entire concept, and am looking forward to hearing what non-existent film Preciado scores next. Also, he has a REAL movie — Narco Shark — in the works, too! Take a listen to Preciado’s music here, and find out more about his upcoming feature here.
8. Dustin Ferguson (Director — Beyond the Gates of Hell, Deep Red Murders)
For over a decade, Dustin Ferguson has been cementing himself as a pioneer in the indie-horror landscape. It seems that every time I blink, he’s announcing a new production, and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. With years of (extremely) low-budget filmmaking experience and more than a hundred films to his name, to say he’s passionate about the craft would be an understatement! While his films have drawn their fair share of criticism, that doesn’t deter him from doing what he loves, and I can’t help but admire that tenacity. You can check out the two films of his I’ve covered — Deep Red Murders here and Beyond the Gates of Hell here — as well as the rest of his extensive filmography here.
9. Razor De Rockefeller (Performer- The Mary Lous, The Destruct Principle)
Singer, songwriter, actor, model, artist, special FX creator, podcaster, Razor De Rockefeller does it all! Seriously, I didn’t even mention the blood painting, dollmaking, or roller derbying that takes up the rest of her time… and that’s just the stuff she’s told me about. I’d bet bottom dollar that monster hunting and necromancing are somewhere on that list as well! The amount of sheer talent De Rockefeller exudes is unbelievable, leading me to believe she’s mastered some form of chronomancy to allow her to do it all within a lifetime. You might think I’m joking, but you can’t convince me that magic wasn’t the first practice she mastered… that or the art of looking rad as hell at any given moment. Follow her on her socials right here!
10. Rocko Zevenbergen (Director — I Need You Dead!)
Out of all the indie-flicks I’ve had the pleasure of watching last year, Rocko Zevenbergen’s I Need You Dead! surprised me the most! From its deceptive trailer to its non-traditional narrative to what it says about indie-filmmaking in general, it’s a uniquely creative feature that I still believe should be watched by indie-horror lovers at least once. Zevenbergen is going places, for sure. What places, I have no idea, but I hope he takes us along for the ride! Watch I Need You Dead! right here!
11. Maurice Devereaux (Writer — Clan of the Devil)
Director of the fantastic and — I don’t use this word lightly — UNDERRATED film End of the Line, Maurice Deveraux has been hard at work with his next project, Clan of the Devil. Years in the making, this twelve volume graphic novel series tells the story of Sawney Bean and his cannibal clan as he terrorizes 17th century Scotland. It promises to be the most definitive version of the story yet, Devereaux having put in the research on everything he could about the subject. I’ve wondered where he went after all this time, so I’m extremely happy to hear that he’s still making content! Especially a huge project like this, which I can’t wait to take another bite out of. Get the first two volumes physically right here!
12. Gary Spencer Millidge (Writer/Artist — Strangehaven)
I’m pretty sure no one on this list has been in the indie scene longer than Gary Spencer Millidge, creator of the comic book series Strangehaven. Having written, drawn, and self published the series since the 90s, Millidge’s commitment to his passion is steadfast, inspiring to say the very least. Despite whatever hardships that came his way, he never quit and proceeds to push through to this very day! Thankfully, due to a certain YouTube video, his name was brought to the attention of a new generation of readers. Thank you, Millidge, for not giving up and for continuing to be an inspiration to your fellow indie creators out there! Check out Millidge’s website right here to learn more about his work!
13. Angel Bradford (Actress — The House That Eats Flesh, Debbie Does Demons)
Wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention rising indie-horror star, Angel Bradford! Seriously, it seems like I mention her every other Spotlight. She pops up everywhere! The House That Eats Flesh, Mothman, Debbie Does Demons, Night of the Axe, Nowhere Fast, Shark Exorcist 2, Wolf Hollow, Live Laugh Die — I can’t keep up with all of the films, I swear. I first spoke about Bradford in my Actor Spotlight last May, and she was already busy back then. Now, I’m not sure where she gets the time to be in all these movies… maybe she knows the same chronomancy Razor De Rockefeller does. Regardless of how she does it, I’m just glad she’s making the most of it all, and I can’t wait to see what she’s in next! Given the track record so far, I could very well find out in my next Spotlight. Keep up to date on her projects by following her Facebook and Instagram!
14. Joe Meredith (Director — Teratomorph)
If you recall, Joe Meredith directed my favorite of all the short films I had watched last year — Teratomorph! How could it not be? Meredith’s DIY special effects looked incredible with the big toothy maws, the blood-soaked body horror, the decapitated robot heads, it all looks so fucking cool! Not to mention he weaved in a fun narrative about aliens, evil corporations, and gruesome experiments that result in gooey monsters that tear people apart. All this on as shoestring a budget as one could get. This flick was made for me. The fact that Meredith has a whole series of these features is outright ASTONISHING, with more on the way! You can pick up Teratomorph physically right here, and keep up to date on Meredith’s work by following his Instagram.
15. Anders Elsrud Hultgreen (Director — Hospital Dumpster Divers)
Another indie creator I’ve featured before the Spotlight’s conception, Anders Elsrud Hultgreen directed the outstanding, disgustingly slime-filled feature Hospital Dumpster Divers! And if you think that name is catchy, you should hear the theme song. An absolute joy of 30 minutes, Divers harkens back to the Gremlins cash-ins and body melt movies from back in the day. To help put you in the mindset, think if the Ghoulies got into some Street Trash. Hultgreen knows how to bring on the “squick”, so those with weak stomachs should definitely check it out! Watch Hospital Dumpster Divers right here!
While these are the creators that caught most of my eyes, it still wasn’t an easy list to make! There’s a plethora of amazing creators I didn’t mention, and it makes me so happy that y’all are putting so much out there. Here’s to another year! Show the world what you got!
Until next time…
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