Summer is finally over, which means it’s the best time of the year to be a horror fan. When the days get shorter and the leaves start changing color it's a sure sign that Halloween is coming. This fall is packed with horror offerings – from theatrical releases to home video debuts and upgrades.
Check out our list of his autumn’s biggest and best releases so you don’t miss any of the gory goodness. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Tusk (September 29)
Remember when Kevin Smith was going to make a hockey movie and then call it a career? Apparently there’s been a change of plans on the retirement front, as the affable auteur now has several new projects in the works. Smith returns to the genre he first explored with Red State this September with Tusk – an odd looking film that feels like The Human Centipede merged with the View Askew aesthetic.
Can Smith take the idea of Michael Parks turning Justin Long into a human walrus and make it terrifying? Your guess is as good as ours at this point, but we’ll be there at the front of the line waiting to find out at the end of the month.
Annabelle (October 3)
Remember that creepy doll from The Conjuring? Well, she’s getting her own spin-off movie in the upcoming Annabelle. The new tale focuses on the doll and not demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, so people expecting Annabelle to be like The Conjuring may need to adjust their expectations a bit. Still, people really seemed to like the trailer, which you can watch below.
Dracula Untold (October 17)
If comic books can get away with doing origin stories, then why can’t horror movies do it too? That’s the driving idea behind Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold, which merges the historical Vlad Tepes (better known as Vlad the Impaler) and the fictional Count Dracula. Luke Evans dons the fangs in this one, which merges action and the supernatural to create a new backstory for one of horror’s most enduring icons.
Ouija (October 24)
You’d think Battleship would have convinced Hollywood that making movies based on board games is a bad idea, but here’s Ouija anyway. In the film’s defense, making a movie about the spirit board that purportedly allows users to communicate with the dead seems to have a lot more potential than making a film based on a board game where you call out numbers and stick pegs into a grid.
Can Ouija top Witchboard and become the greatest horror film on the topic? Probably not, but the trailer doesn’t look too terrible.
The ABCs of Death 2 (October 31)
If you’re ready for another 26 micro-tales of terror based on letters from the alphabet, you’re in luck. The follow up to cult favorite The ABCs of Death is back with another massive crew of filmmakers and shorts to brighten up your Halloween. The new anthology features work from the Soska Sisters, Vincenzo Natali, Larry Fessenden and more. Catch it in its limited theatrical release on Halloween, or snag it on demand from the comfort of your couch.
Horns (October 31)
Alexandre Aja’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel about a young man who grows devil horns out of his forehead that allow him to hear the wicked thoughts of everyone around him is one of my most anticipated horror films of 2014. The book is fantastic, and Aja’s earlier work in films like High Tension proves he’s more than capable of bringing the author’s vision to the screen. Plus, we get to see Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe running around with devil horns poking out of his forehead as the film’s protagonist. This one’s a win all the way around.
V/H/S: Viral (November 21)
The third installment in this popular indie anthology series features new shorts from filmmakers Gregg Bishop, Nacho Vigolando and Marcel Sarmiento. Here’s the plot breakdown:
“The segments include ‘the story of a deranged illusionist who obtains a magical object of great power; a homemade machine that opens a door to a parallel world; teenage skaters that unwillingly become targets of a Mexican death cult ritual; and a sinister, shadowy organization that is tracking a serial killer."
The real question is, can anyone top Gareth Evans’ Safe Haven segment from the second film in the series? The bar has been set, gentlemen…
The Pyramid (December 5)
Frequent Alexander Aja collaborator Grégory Levasseur steps behind the camera for this mixture of Egyptian mythology and the story of the Minotaur of Crete. When scientists discover a pyramid buried under the desert, they have to go see what’s inside. What they learn is that the pyramid isn’t a burial ground, but an elaborate maze designed to keep something evil buried and lost for all of eternity – and now it’s hunting them.
Demonic (December 12)
When five ghost-hunting college students turn up dead inside an abandoned home, it’s up to a cop (Frank Grillo) and a psychologist (Maria Bello) to find out what happened – but is this a case of simple murder or something much more malevolent?
While the setup of Demonic feels very familiar, it’s got an intriguing cast, and it’s based on a story idea from The Conjuring’s James Wan. Will this be enough to make it compelling viewing for horror fans in the holiday season? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re interested in seeing how it turns out.
So, what’s the biggest disappointment of the fall box office season for fright flicks? The removal of Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno from the schedule. Roth’s cannibal flick was easily my most anticipated horror film of the year is now languishing in distribution limbo. Boo.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition (September 16)
It feels like there have been about a billion different releases of Tobe Hooper’s horror classic over the years, and that’s because it’s the truth. That being said, the new Blu-ray disc celebrating the film’s 40 year anniversary is well worth owning for the new 4K remaster and 7.1 audio. The disc does seem a little light in terms of extras, but the movie should look better than ever – and that’s what really matters. Happy birthday, Leatherface!
Halloween: The Complete Collection (September 23)
Tuesday September 23 is going to be a rough day for your wallet. There are some amazing discs coming out that week, and this massive collection from Shout Factory is the cream of the crop. The long-awaited complete box set features every Halloween movie ever made, from Carpenter’s original, to the bootlegged Producer’s Cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, to Rob Zombie’s reboots. Packed with extras, presented in a sexy box, and available in two forms for those on a budget, this is probably the biggest horror Blu-ray release of the year. Miss it at your own risk.
The Exorcist: The Complete Anthology (September 23)
This new multi-disc set features all The Exorcist films in one handy box. What more is there to say? You get one of the most important horror films of all time (the original film), one of the amazing sequels (Exorcist III), and the other three entries in the series for one low price. This is a no brainer if you don’t already own these discs.
Saw: The Complete Movie Collection (September 23)
All seven of Jigsaw’s increasingly more twisted adventures can be yours, in their unrated editions, in this new box set from the folks at Lionsgate. We don’t know what extras will be included yet, but with only three discs in the set and a price point of $24.99, it’s probably going to be a pretty bare-bones package. That being said, it’s an easy and affordable way to own all the entries in one of the most divisive horror franchises of the past two decades. Make your choice.
Stagefright (September 30)
Not to be confused with the recent slasher musical with the same title, this release refers to Michele Soavi’s seminal 1987 Italian slasher film, which is finally coming to Blu-ray thanks to the folks over at Blue Underground. In the film, a group of performers are stalked and killed by an escaped murder who likes to wear an owl mask. The setup is simple, but the visuals are truly a thing of beauty, and Soavi never skimps on the gore. See one of Italy’s most underrated horror directors at the beginning of his career in this classic. Seriously, this is one of the must-see slasher films of the 1980s.
Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut (October 24)
Return to Midian, the land where monsters dwell, in this restored version of Clive Barker’s cult classic. The original Nightbreed was missing over 20 minutes of footage Barker shot, leaving the writer-filmmaker feeling that the final cut wasn’t true to his vision. The footage was thought lost for decades, but was eventually recovered – and Scream Factory has restored the film to its intended glory with this new release. Worth owning for fans and horror historians alike. Now if we could just find the 20 or so minutes they cut out of Event Horizon…
Deliver Us from Evil (October 24)
One of this past summer’s rare horror releases makes its way to home video just in time for Halloween. Eric Bana is real-life cop Ralph Sarchie, who teams up with Edgar Ramirez’s odd priest in order to investigate supernaturally tinged crimes. Check it out if for no other reason than so you can say you saw all of Scott Derrickson’s films before he became a hot commodity making Marvel movies.
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