I know it’s getting to be Halloween and all, but there are so many horror movie releases this month! 18 horror releases total, spread across theatrical releases and VOD and covering a wide range of subjects and subgenres.

Are you a sucker for horror movie legacies? Why not check out Cult of Chucky or Leatherface? Have you been waiting months for Happy Death Day? What about the latest Saw movie? They are all here, accompanied by my helpful commentary.

My personal picks for this month’s new releases are Happy Death Day78/52, and Tragedy Girls. What about you?

October 3

Cult of Chucky (VOD)

“Chucky returns to terrorize his human victim, Nica, who is confined to an asylum for the criminally insane. Meanwhile, the killer doll has some scores to settle with his old enemies, with the help of his former wife.”

I’ve always had a soft spot for these movies since they’ve always embraced the inherent silliness of a foul-mouthed killer doll.

But this trailer really takes the cake, doesn’t it? Chucky breastfeeding from a mental patient who is obsessed with him? Chucky giving someone the finger at the mouth of an open grave? Jennifer Tilly?

The point is, this movie looks ridiculous but it owns it, which makes it a perfect choice for any bad/cheesy horror movie parties you might have planned.

Rating: 3 skulls – Watch this drunk with your friends

 

The Honor Farm (VOD) 

“After several students wander into the woods on prom night, they are forever changed.”

The Honor Farm made its debut at SXSW this year, which should ensure that it’s at least a little good. The problem is, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in this trailer. Or why a bunch of kids on prom night would take shrooms and then go to a fucking abandoned prison out in the middle of fucking nowhere! Who are these kids? Do they have to be so edgy? Can’t they just be normal and go to that one senior’s house, the one with the parents that don’t care, where everyone has one shot of vodka and then nurses Schmirnoffs all night? Or fight of the mushy advances of your boyfriend’s friend, who took you to prom instead of going himself because he graduated the year prior and didn’t want to “do lame high school stuff” anymore? (This is not based on personal experience, I swear.)

Getting us back on track, I have a feeling that this movie thinks it’s smarter than it is. It could just be that the trailer is cut in a confusing way that muddles its intent instead of enticing potential viewers. The Daily Texan kind of hated it, saying that the movie “tries too hard to unnerve viewers.”

Rating: 1 Skull – You can probably skip this one.

 

October 6

Dementia 13 (Limited)

“A mysterious masked killer terrorizes members of a family at a secluded estate.”

 Now, before you go off saying that Dementia 13 is a ripoff of every other home invasion horror movie with a healthy serving of You’re Next, this is actually a remake of a Francis Ford Coppola movie. Say what? I KNOW! Who knew that Francis Ford Coppola directed a low-budget horror movie in the early 60s? As his first legit movie too, conceived as a Psycho rip off?

It’s like the Circle of Horror-Movie Life!

Honestly, after reading about the troubled production of the original Dementia 13, it could probably use a remake. I’m not convinced

Rating: 2 Skulls – I’ll watch this when its free on Amazon Prime.

 

Better Watch Out (VOD)

“On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.”

Well, that’s a new take on holiday/babysitter horror! Home Alone as an actual horror movie? I love it! Let’s get it straight—Kevin McAlister is lucky he was cute and 8 years old because otherwise he probably would have gotten in a lot of trouble. That movie could have gotten real dark, real quick, and I’m excited to see that someone finally took it there.

Also, I like the riff on the babysitter vs. killer trope, because that is one of the more tired horror tropes, and this a nice, fresh approach. Hopefully it’s good!

Rating 3 ½ Skulls – Move over, Black Christmas! I got a new Christmas horror movie to watch.

 

The Crucifixion (Limited/VOD)

“Terror strikes when a journalist investigates the death of a nun during an exorcism.”

Yawn. How can a trailer be boring when a girl wakes up to a swarm of flies on her hooha? Somehow it is? Somehow, I just don’t care.

Maybe it’s because every demon/exorcism trope is in this trailer. And, I suspect, every single jump=scare in the movie is in the trailer. There’s not really a whole lot else to say. If the filmmakers don’t feel the need to put effort into their movie, then I don’t need to watch this movie.

Rating: 1 Skull – Don’t do this to yourself.

 

October 13

Happy Death Day

“Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centered collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named Carter. As the morning goes on, Tree gets the eerie feeling that she’s experienced the events of this day before. When a masked killer suddenly takes her life in a brutal attack, she once again magically wakes up in Carter’s dorm room unharmed. Now, the frightened young woman must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who murdered her.”

OOOOOO, this looks fun! No sarcasm, Happy Death Day looks like it has some definite potential! Who didn’t love Ground Hog Day, and who doesn’t love horror reinterpretations of classic American films? It’s also a good sign that Happy Death Day is from Blumhouse Productions, which has given us Get Out, Split, The Purge Series, and Insidious.

More than anything, that’s a good trailer. It’s funny, builds tension, and more importantly, conveys the general plot while making me feel invested in the protagonist.

I’m looking forward to this one!

Rating: 4 Skulls – I’ll pay full ticket price to see this!

 

The Lost Tree (Limited)

“After a serious traumatic accident, a man leaves his old life behind and moves to an isolated cabin to start over. He soon learns of the surroundings of the area and its dangerous past.”

What?

I’ve seen SyFy movies with better special effects. And really, I just watched this trailer but I was so distracted by the hilaribad effects that I had to strain to remember what the actual plot was.

Rating: 1 Skull – If I was drunk and this came on SyFy, I might watch it.

 

78/52

“An in-depth look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” – composed of 78 setups and 52 cuts – and the screen murder that profoundly changed world cinema.”

I’ve been dying to see this movie, given Psycho’s legacy and continuing influence on the horror genre. I find that documentaries like this are a great way to not only peak into the past but also learn how films are made. As a film lover who hasn’t had any formal training, I relish any opportunity to learn a thing or two. Especially if it’s from Alfred Hitchcock.

Rating: 4 Skulls – I might even have to write a blog post about this documentary.

 

The Babysitter (Netflix)

“When Cole stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot babysitter is part of a satanic cult that will stop at nothing to keep him quiet.”

Damn, that’s a crazy, over-the-top trailer if I’ve ever seen one. With director McG, who directed both of the Charlie’s Angels movies and Terminator Salvation, the Babysitter will be fun, violent, and memorable. While it doesn’t look particularly funny from the clips included in the trailer, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Babysitter becomes a ridiculous and beloved cult classic.

Rating: 3 Skulls – Perfect for my cheesy horror movie marathon!

 

October 17

Escape Room (VOD)

“Six friends test their intelligence in a game that takes a dark turn.”

$50 bucks says this is exactly how the pitch meeting for Escape Room went:

Person 1: “Guess what’s hot right now?”

Person 2: “What?”

Person 1: “Escape rooms! I went to one last night?”

Person 2: “Those are cool right now, wow!”

Person 1: What if we made a Saw movie, but about an escape room?

Person 2: “Holy crap! I’ve always wanted a piece of a Saw-like franchise! Think of the money!

There, now you don’t have to watch the trailer.

Rating: 1 ½ Skulls – Just wait until October 27 when Jigsaw comes out.

 

October 20th

1922 (Netflix)

“A simple yet proud rancher in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate.”

1922 seems like a slow burn without supernatural elements (ghosts are merely the projections of our own troubled subconscious, right?). The trailer looked very tense and suspenseful, which is all well and good. But the strength of 1922, if the movie has any, will be in the acting and the atmosphere and whether or not the tension of the trailer can be sustained for the whole movie. It’s not an imaginative plot, but if it’s executed well, 1922 could be a nice character study horror movie.

Rating: 3 skulls – I will eventually get around to this.

 

Leatherface (VOD)

“A violent teen and three others kidnap a young nurse while escaping from a Texas mental institution. Pursued by a vengeful sheriff, the disturbed young man embarks on a murderous rampage that shapes him into a legendary killer known as Leatherface.”

Despite what could have been an unexpectedly insightful exploration of the boy who would become Leatherface, this movie looks like a pretty average entry into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre mythos. I’m not convinced this will break new ground in a compelling way, mostly because these movies have been done to death. That and the fact that this movie has been shelved for a while isn’t a good sign.

But hey, if you like all things Texas Chainsaw Massacre already, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. At least Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) and Stephen Dorff (Blade) are in this? I know this prequel is supposed to be something different—I’ll believe it when I see it.

Though I cannot say when I might see it.

Rating: 2 ½ Skulls – I’m going to need some positive word-of-mouth before I seek this out.

 

The Snowman

“Detective Harry Hole links a woman’s disappearance to an elusive serial killer who only strikes in the wintertime. He soon becomes embroiled in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse as the murderer deliberately taunts and torments him.”

Yaaaaas Michael Fassbender in a serial killer horror movie! Maybe The Snowman is not straight horror, and maybe this trailer reminds me too much of that Pushing Daisies episode about a serial killer who hides his victims in snowmen, but I really want to see this! I love gruesome and smart serial killer movies. We haven’t had a solid serial killer movie recently, one with a satisfying and twisted game of cat-and-mouse. I’m a sucker for that stuff as well as Michael Fassbender, so I really hope this is good.

Rating: 3 ½ Skulls – When is this going to be on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime?

 

Tragedy Girls

“Two death-obsessed teenage girls kidnap a serial killer and force him to be their mentor. Their crime spree sends their small town into a panic and becomes national news.”

I first heard about this film at SXSW 2017, where it earned rave reviews.

Prepare yourself now—this movie takes square aim at not just our new social media obsessions (which is here to stay, for better or for worse), but also the way people co-opt and commoditize tragedy for their own selfish ends. I think it’s safe to say that it will be funny, gory, intelligent, and painfully self-aware.

Also, “Heathers meets Scream for the Instagram Age”? That quote was enough for me.

Rating: 4 ½ skulls – Is it too ironic if I gram myself seeing this movie?

 

Let Her Out (VOD/limited)

“After a traumatic accident, a bike courier begins to experience blackouts and hallucinations. She soon discovers that she’s being dangerously influenced — and even controlled — by her unborn twin.”

Ehhh…this looks so…mediocre? Like every half-assed possession movie, but with the twin she ate in utero? Cool, I guess.

Also, what was that horrible voiceover at the beginning? The most memorable part of the trailer, that’s what it was, and for all the wrong reasons.

Rating: 1 skull—I was going to put a higher score, but I’m not kidding anyone. I will probably never watch this.

 

Nightworld

“When former LAPD officer Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deeper into the building’s sinister history and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building that will do anything to be set free into our world.”

More clichés. Clichés on clichés on clichés. Shady but lucrative job in a shady but luxurious gothic mansion with shady but polite employers? Check. Pining and moody middle-aged widower who befriends a hotter woman half his age? Check. Obviously, evil thing locked behind huge, heavy doors with all sorts of suggestive Lovecraftian images carved into the stone? Check. A mysterious blind mentor who acts like he’s protecting the main character but will really lead him straight into the existential evil that awaits him behind the doors? Check.

At least Robert Englund is getting work still?

Rating: 1 ½ Skulls – Yaaaaaawn.

 

October 24

Creep 2 (VOD)

“A video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer. Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him, but then realizes she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.”

Man, I have to get around to watching the first Creep. It’s been in my Netflix watchlist for a while now, and now this sequel looks pretty good. I have no more excuses.

Did you think the guy from The League and The Mindy Project would be an inspired choice for a such an unsettling, creepy dude? I didn’t! But Creep has earned lots of positive reviews for being smart, well-acted, and not a shitty example of found-footage horror. With the same team onboard for the sequel, Creep 2 has definite potential.

Rating: 3 ½ Skulls – I might never watch The League again.

 

October 27

Jigsaw

“A mysterious madman rounds up a group of victims to play sadistic games of life and death. Police soon find evidence that link the crimes to Jigsaw, the infamous killer who died 10 years earlier.”

I’ll be honest with you—I don’t like the Saw movies. I’ve never found the value in them because I am not entertained by gore for gore’s sake. Some people like that in a horror movie, and that’s fine, I’m not judging. I’ll even go so far as to say that the first one was decent (though if I want to watch a movie about a serial killer who runs around teaching messed-up morality lessons and the flawed cops who pursue him, I’ll watch Se7en).

I’d like to be able to say that the latest entry into the Saw family legacy is a return to the original’s brutal and simple exploration of how people behave under extreme pressure, but that is not the case. More than anything else, this trailer has me wondering how the killer constructs these large and elaborate killing machines without tipping anyone off. But I don’t care enough to find out.

Rating: 1 Skull – Thanks but no thanks.

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