I don’t even know where to begin with this month. It’s insanity, people. Every week of October is just loaded with genre films, making this Halloween even more special for horror fans. And not only are there just a shit ton of movies to look forward to this month, but a handful of some of the year’s most talked about indie films are finally seeing a release. But before we get started, here’s what I reviewed in September:
IT (review): Muschietti creates a Losers’ Club that you can’t help falling in love with, breaking up the horror with a coming-of-age tale that lives up to King’s brilliant novel.
Shortwave (DVD; VOD on Oct. 24)
Director: Ryan Gregory Phillips
Cast: Cristobal Tapia Montt, Katie Carthen, Kyle Davis
A modern and unrelentingly tense psychological thriller based on a theory of the origins of shortwave radio frequencies, Shortwave is an unnerving reminder that some stones are best left unturned.
Cult of Chucky (Blu-ray & VOD)
Director: Don Mancini
Cast: Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif
Chucky returns to terrorize his human victim, Nica. Meanwhile, the killer doll has some scores to settle with his old enemies, with the help of his former wife.
Super Dark Times (VOD)
Director: Kevin Phillips
Cast: Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino
Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.
Devil’s Whisper (DVD)
Director: Adam Ripp
Cast: Luca Oriel, Tessie Santiago, Marcos Ferraez
15 year-old Alejandro Duran, who comes from a religious Latino American family, aspires to be a Catholic priest. But when Alex discovers a mysterious box passed down from his grandparents, he unwittingly unleashes a demonic spirit bent on possessing him. Alex must find a way to defeat this ancient demon, which has been tormenting children since the dawn of man, before it destroys him and everyone he loves. On the surface Devil’s Whisper is a supernatural horror film about demonic possession but at its core it’s a psychological thriller about repressed memories and childhood trauma.
Better Watch Out (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Chris Peckover
Cast: Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton, Olivia DeJonge
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.
The Crucifixion (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Xavier Gens
Cast: Sophie Cookson, Corneliu Ulici, Brittany Ashworth
When Nicole comes in contact with Father Anton more and more inexplicable events occur. The pair begin to believe that the priest lost the battle with a demon.
Director: Will Canon
Cast: Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn
A police officer and a psychologist investigate the deaths of five people who were killed while trying to summon ghosts.
House by the Lake (DVD & VOD)
Director: Adam Gierasch
Cast: Anne Dudek, James Callis, Amiah Miller
A struggling married couple try to reconnect at an idyllic lake house, but their relationship is tested when their young daughter begins to fixate on an imaginary friend that may or may not be real.
78/52 (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
Cast: Alan Barnette, Justin Benson, Peter Bogdanovich
An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), the “man behind the curtain”, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.
Happy Death Day (Theaters)
Director: Christopher Landon
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine
A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.
M.F.A. (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Natalia Leite
Cast: Francesca Eastwood, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Welch
An art student taps into a rich source of creative inspiration after the accidental slaughter of her rapist. An unlikely vigilante emerges, set out to avenge college girls whose attackers walked free- all the while fueling a vivid thesis exhibition.
The Babysitter (Netflix)
Cast: Bella Thorne, Leslie Bibb, Robbie Amell
The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter.
Red Christmas (Blu-ray & VOD)
Director: Craig Anderson
Cast: Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Janis McGavin
A mother must protect her family on Christmas Day from a demented stranger who is hell-bent on tearing them apart.
Director: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Thomas Jane, Kaitlyn Bernard, Bruce Blain,
A simple yet proud rancher in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate.
Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Cast: Finn Jones, Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor
A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.
Director: Patricio Valladares
Cast: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi
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.
The Snowman (Theaters)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, Chloë Sevigny
Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.
Tragedy Girls (Theaters)
Director: Tyler MacIntyre
Cast: Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Kevin Durand
Tragedy Girls, a twist on the slasher genre following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.
Creep 2 (VOD)
Director: Patrick Brice
Cast: Mark Duplass, Karan Soni, Patrick Brice
A video artist looking for work drives to a remote house in the forest to meet a man claiming to be a serial killer. But after agreeing to spend the day with him, she soon realizes that she made a deadly mistake.
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Cast: Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade.
Stranger Things S2 (Netflix)
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo
A year after Will’s return, everything seems back to normal… but a darkness lurks just beneath the surface, threatening all of Hawkins.
What you shouldn’t miss:
There’s so much to choose from this month that I considered skipping this part entirely. But for the sake of choosing, I’m going with 78/52, M.F.A., Tragedy Girls, and Stranger Things.
- An entire documentary centering around one horror’s most iconic scenes in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho sounds too good to pass up—early word is quite promising, too.
- While M.F.A. sounds like it’ll be a rough go for some, the high praise has me curious to dig into it. This one was also a huge hit during its festival rounds, so that’s gotta count for something.
- I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of Tragedy Girls (my review) and the movie just simply rules. It’s a fun twist on the slasher genre that I think a lot of horror fans are going to get a kick out of.
- There’s so much hype surrounding the second season of Stranger Things that this was an obvious choice.
What you should take a chance on:
Again, I probably should have just skipped this entire part because so many of October’s releases look solid as hell. With that said, my picks are Super Dark Times, Better Watch Out, Happy Death Day, and 1922.
- I’ve heard some pretty good things about Super Dark Times, another film that was a hit in the festival circuit, so there might be something to this one.
- While I didn’t love Better Watch Out (my review), I thought it was a relatively fun take on holiday horror and home invasion. Skip the trailers, though, they’re heavy on the spoilers.
- I love the concept of Happy Death Day and it looks like a ton of fun, but the total lack of any hype has me wondering if this one is any good. Might be worthy of taking a chance on it, though.
- Coming off of Gerald’s Game, Netflix has yet another Stephen King adaptation in 1922 that I’m hearing some good things about. Definitely keep an eye out for this one.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
I have to go with Stranger Things because I’m curious to see how the story evolves from the first season. Also, those kids rule.