The holiday season starts with Halloween and all the scary fun that comes with the trickery filled fall festival. This means horror/sci-fi films galore.
This genre has spawned several classic hits such as Alien, Psycho, The Night of the Living Dead, Terminator, Let the Right One In, and District 9. It has also spawned some terrible films like Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Queen of the Damned, Zombiebeavers, and Starship Troopers. It is a hit or miss genre.
This year is no different with some classics in the making and future fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Under the Shadow (October 7th VOD):
In a 1988, post-revolution and war-torn Tehran, a mother and daughter deal with an evil that begins to haunt their home.
Receiving rave reviews from critics with several comparisons to the wonderfully chilling The Babadook. Perfect start for some pre-Halloween scares.
Phantasm: Ravager (October 7th Limited):
The final film in the cult favorite Phantasm series with a multiple dimensional battle between Reggie (Reggie Bannister), Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), and Jody (Bill Thornbury) to stop the evil Tall Man (Angus Scrimm in his final performance).
If you are a fan of the series, this will be something bittersweet.
The Greasy Strangler (October 7th Limited):
While a father and son compete for the attentions of a young woman, an oily, slimy inhuman maniac dubbed “The Greasy Strangler” begins to roam the streets at night and strangles the innocent.
The strange horror/comedy may have received mixed reviews at various film festivals, but people couldn’t quit talking about it making me want to see it.
Shin Godzilla (October 11th Limited):
A massive monster rises from the ocean and starts to tear thru the city as a group of citizens band together and find the creature’s weakness.
The 31st Godzilla film (which is also produced by Toho Pictures, the original Gojira production house) give the monster about as much screen time as the monster in 2014’s Godzilla, but the plot is more thought out as well as the characters.
Jack Goes Home (October 14th Limited):
After his father is killed in a car wreck that his mother survived, Jack (Rory Culkin) returns home to take care of his mother. Dark secrets and lies are uncovered sending Jack into madness.
Reviews are mixed coming out of SXSW for this psychological, horror thriller written and directed by actor Thomas Dekker, but everyone agrees the cast does a great job with the content. Horror fans looking for some Halloween scares are probably better off with this movie than the next entry.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (October 21st):
The haunted toy comes back to terrorize a new set of people.
The first one was horrible, why go and see a sequel.
31 (October 21st):
Five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage to play a twisted game of life or death for the next twelve hours.
The latest film by horror enthusiast Rob Zombie. Love him or hate him, the man makes some fun and disgusting films.
The Love Witch (November 11th Limited):
Determined to find her a man to love, a witch creates potions to give to various guys she seduces. The spells work as she has a string of admirers that get in the way when the real love of her life comes into her life. Desperate to make it work she is driven to the brink of insanity and murder. Warning trailer is NSFW.
This horror comedy has been given several rave reviews out of Fantasia Fest as gorgeously stylized, feminist powered film. While the protagonist may only want to be loved, but the men are nothing but her playthings.
The Monster (November 11th Limited): Updated, this one escaped my radar initially.
After a flat tire strands a mother and daughter in the middle of nowhere, they find they are stalked by a terrifying monster.
Director Bryan Bertino’s first film, The Strangers, wasn’t the most frightening home invasion movie I’ve seen, but it was unnerving and showed some promise. So far the reviews coming out of Beyond Fest have been the same about his debut. Promising, but not overwhelmingly great.
Friend Request (November 18th):
Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a popular girl who lives her life thru social media accepts a friend request from an outcast, Marina (Liesl Ahlers). When an incident at school moves her to defriend the lonely girl, Marina kills herself and broadcasts it online for all to see. Then Laura’s friends start to die.
Can we just call this Unfriended Part 2 and then go on to ignore it?
The Eyes of My Mother (December 2nd Limited):
After a traumatizing experience in her childhood, a woman becomes consumed by her deepest darkest desires.
This black and white horror film is not going to be for the weak of heart. The woman’s obsession with death sends her to try out some very taboo things for sexual gratification. While much of that takes place off camera, the director still allows for the views imagination to fill in the horrifying gaps.
Underworld: Blood Wars (January 6th):
The battle between Lycans and Vampires heats up as Selene (Kate Beckinsale) tries to put an end to the war.
The latest installment teases the end of Selene, who has been the cornerstone of these films, and puts the focus on the younger generation who will inevitably continue this franchise till the end of time.
Amityville: The Awakening (January 6th Limited):
A single mother moves her daughter and comatose son into a new house that will allow them to save money to help pay for the medical bills. The family is unaware that it is the infamous Amityville house until strange things start to happen.
This film’s release has been delayed for two years which doesn’t bode well for the attempted restart of the horror franchise that has been flailing for a while now.
The Bye Bye Man (January 13th):
Three college friends are cursed by the Bye Bye man when they discover his origins.
Normally horror movies released in January are no good, but this one genuinely looks freaky.
Split (January 20th):
The buried deep, violent, and psychotic personality Kevin (James McAvoy) tried to bury amongst his 23 other personalities kidnaps three woman. Kevin battles with himself as the walls between his personalities fall apart.
January release of an M. Night Shyamalan movie just spells horrible. The odd premise makes it curiously interesting. It may be one of those its-so-bad-its-so-good films.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (January 27th):
Alice (Milla Jovovich) goes back to The Hive to stop the Umbrella Cooperation unleashes its final strike against the few survivors of humanity.
The first film was a well done, intense horror film that spawned a barrage of terrible sequels. Can we just celebrate this franchise is over by going to go other better movies?
Rings (February 3rd):
Samara is back and she is still on VHS. Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) watches the cursed tape to save her boyfriend and makes a discovery of another movie within the images.
This next entry in the horror series has had four release dates in two years. It was recently scheduled to come out a couple of days before Halloween, but was pushed back one last time to supposedly avoid competition with Ouija: Origin of Evil. While the trailer looks intriguing, the shuffle game doesn’t give me confidence this will be one to go see.
Fifty Shades Darker (February 10th):
God Particle (February 24th):
An experiment with a large hadron accelerator goes very wrong and causes the Earth to vanish as an American space station and its crew are left floating in space. When a space shuttle appears, the crew must figure out if they are friend or foe.
Other than the brief synopsis, there is not much known about this film. J.J. Abrams is one of the film’s producers and there are rumors this film is the next in the Cloverfield series. The title for this film could change come closer to its release date.
What horror and sci-fi thrillers are you looking forward to this fall and winter? Let me know in the comments section below.