Do you remember what great horror movies you saw in the theater last Halloween? Well, there was….um… yeah…that one with the.....hmmm. Yeah, nothing really comes to mind, with the exception of the very tired “Saw” film series.
However, if you take a peek at January, you would see where all the horror films have migrated to. This month sees an alarming four, count em, four major horror film releases, as well as one horror film festival. Let’s not forget one of them is presented in literal 3-D. Let the mayhem begin:
The Unborn (Jan. 9)
David Goyer, who co-wrote the Dark Knight, unveils the first horror film of the year, and it’s a doozy. The Unborn throw everything in but the kitchen sink. Get ready for demon possessed kids, concentration camp horror, kabbalah nonsense, and dogs with upside down heads. The stupid film follows a teenage girl as she desperately tries to fight off the evil ghost of her twin brother who died in-utero. Along the way, she re-unites with her estranged grandmother, a holocaust survivor who bears a connection with the spirit, and may know how to stop it. I will at least give credit where it is due. Though the scares are lacking, there are more than enough frightening imagery and unintentional laughter throughout to make this a very entertaining experience. During an exorcism sequence late in the film, acclaimed actor Gary Oldman tries to summon the demon by way of blowing into an ornate glittered horn (Mummers prop?), and I didn’t know whether to cringe or applaud. How about both!
My Bloody Valentine 3-D (Jan. 16)
Move over Jaws 3-D. You have some competition. Not since the 80’s has a horror movie utilized the 3-D format in its entirety until now. “My Bloody Valentine” is a remake of a 1980’s (go figure) slasher film about a crazy in a miner’s outfit (silly), who returns on the anniversary of a massacre to take out some wily teenagers with a pickaxe.(cool) The movie has a distinctly old school vibe and promises plenty of scares, nudity, and bleeding hearts. The advertisements aren’t shy about broadcasting the three dimensional aspect of the film, which safe to say will no longer require the red and blue glasses. Director Patrick Lussier adds, “The feeling of claustrophobia, the feeling of being trapped and the feeling of the horror are all heightened to a point that will take audiences beyond what they have seen before.” Headwear will still be needed of course, but with the advancement in technology, the new Real-D format promises to be quite an experience. Think of it as an X rated version of an amusement ride in Walt Disney World.
After Dark Horror Fest (Jan. 9- 15)
This one’s not for the squeamish. Started in 2006, “Horror Fest” is a collection of films that are labeled too intense for mainstream viewing. Usually, a decent variety is offered, from psychological thrillers to gory slasher films. This very distinct festival is the first of its kind on a national level, meaning it plays every where in theatres across the United States. This year sees potential in eight different films such as the Aussie favorite “Dying Breed,” “Autopsy” and “Perkins 14,” literally conceived and created by the fans themselves. “Horror Fest” is good because it gives smaller, more independent voices in film to show off talents that may have been otherwise ignored by the mainstream studio monsters. And in some cases, it also means scarier movies. Bring your current fling, or ex-fling, or a homeless person on the street. For god sake’s just bring someone to hold onto.
The Uninvited (Jan. 30)
Normally, I wouldn’t be jumping up and down for another kiddie horror flick, but the PG-13 labeled “The Uninvited” surprisingly looks much more polished and well made than one would expect. Sporting the effective team behind “The Ring,” “The Uninvited” follows the story of a girl trying to pick of the pieces after her mother’s unexpected death. Things get eerie when her father brings home a new girlfriend, who clearly is hiding a few things and may be trying to kill them all. Sounds like a great time to me. Throw in the very attractive and supremely talented Elizabeth Banks, and “The Uninvited” could in fact be the surprise horror sleeper of the winter season.
Friday the 13th (Feb.13)
Ok, so this one comes out in February, but we’ll let it slide. One of the most recognizable horror icons, Jason Voorhees, get’s a cinematic reboot in this remake of the popular franchise that spawned over ten films. Michael Bay, who’s also currently developing a remake of “Nightmare on Elm Street,” seems to think re-invention is a cash cow. As far as the movie, first thoughts indicate a very American Eagle looking cast at this point. What happened to the bad 80’s hair and the horrible camp fashions that made the original such a gem. Oh well, can’t have it all. This remake is helmed by Marcus Nispel, who successfully updated the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with Jessica Biel and the story claims to re create the early part of the series, focusing in on the origins of the killer. If the hype is any indication, then this film may in fact be a huge hit.
This group of mainstream films doesn’t even skim the surface of 2009 as a whole. Among at least 12 others, this year sees the arrival of 25/8, the first Wes Craven horror flick in three years, “Last House on the Left” (remake), “Drag me to Hell” (Sam Raimi), “Final Destination 3-D,” and “Sorority Row,” featuring Audrina Patridge from The Hills (No word on whether Heidi makes a cameo.) Looks like January is setting the stage for a bloody good year in regards to horror movies.