It's obvious to anyone who observes Hollywood these days that the mainstream movie industry is getting more averse to taking chances than ever before -- with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, sequels, franchises and previously branded properties are considered the safest and easiest bets. Luckily for us, some damn fine genre entertainment can and does exist within that system, whether it be the Marvel movies, the Hunger Games saga, or even the occasional original entry like Interstellar (whose director is the actual brand in this case), although they have to co-exist with dreck like (fill in the blank).
There's absolutely nothing wrong with mainstream, populist movies, of course, but if you want to be challenged in different ways by film then the indie scene is where it's at. Great independent horror movies have been around for decades, but with technology now more accessible than ever, indie sci-fi films are becoming much more common as well. And even the films that don't employ special effects often still work just on the power of their ideas.
So, without further ado, here are the 15 independent sci-fi and horror movies we enjoyed the most this year, counting down from Number 15 to the top. Many of them had their own flaws, and not all of them will be entertaining or even interesting to a lot of viewers, but they each brought something unique to the table that a $150 million tentpole cannot offer these days. If you track down and watch -- and like -- even one of these movies, then our job for 2014 is done.