There's no better time of the year to watch horror movies than October. Even though it's only one night, Halloween has essentially become a month-long excuse to celebrate the genre. You'd never know it looking at this year's release calendar, though.
There are only two wide-release horror movies* currently on the books for this coming October: Carrie (October 18) and Paranormal Activity 5 (October 25), and apparently the latter is on the verge of dropping off the calendar according to a new report from the Wrap. Paramount now has its eye on the weekend of January 6, 2014 to release the film, which would be the first entry in the franchise to not hit in October. And, funnily enough, Carrie wasn't even intended to be an October release-- it was supposed to come out on March 15, 2013, but was delayed.
So why is October becoming such a dead zone for horror in movie theaters? In the case of Paranormal Activity 5, the movie just may not be ready in time. The series is notorious for leaving production down to the wire and shooting up until the last possible moment (for example, PA3 and PA4 premiered at Fantastic Fest three weeks before their national releases and neither was a fully finished film). But that doesn't explain why other studios are staying away from the month this year.
Lionsgate is opening You're Next, a fantastically fun horror movie, on August 23, the same weekend as The World's End, The Mortal Instruments, Short Term 12, Scenic Route, Drinking Buddies, The Grandmaster and at least four other limited-release movies. What's so appealing about that specific date over any single one in October? It can't be because horror has a tradition of opening huge on that weekend. The Apparition opened in that slot last year, and it absolutely bombed. The Possession opened the weekend later and it killed. (You're Next is considerably better than both, so hopefully it does well no matter what weekend.)
Warner Bros. opens The Conjuring July 19. Film District opens Insidious Chapter 2 on September 13. Both of these dates are convenient for horror fans because it's great to have options all year round, it just seems so bizarre that this year it appears to be at the expense of having an almost horror-free October -- especially compared to last year.
October 2012 we got V/H/S, Sinister, Grave Encounters 2, Smiley, Paranormal Activity 4, Silent Hill: Revelation and Sleep Tight. Only a few of those are great horror, but the actual quality of the movies doesn't even matter. October is the kind of month where people binge on horror. This year we just don't have that option, though, and it kind of sucks.
*All the Boys Love Mandy Lane opens in limited release on October 11, but it's seven years old and on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.K., so at this point it's kind of a fluke no matter when it comes out. But the movie is great, so do check it out.