When distributors give their horror films a release during a time of year that is anything but the fall, a common complaint is: Why don’t they wait until Halloween to release their movies? There are myriad reasons, to be honest, however no one should be complaining this fall as there are over 30 new genre films hitting the market across various platforms (VOD, DVD/Blu-ray, TV, theaters).
Inside, Shock has compiled a breakdown of what’s demanding your attention over the next three months. It’s a bit of a cheat, but we’ve included the films arriving on August 31st as well (it’s the cusp of September, so why the hell not?).
As usual, it’s a mixed bag of treats. Tales of the supernatural and of the “found footage” variety are prevalent, lead by Paranormal Activity 4 (of course). There is also plenty of Hollywood fare coming your way, however. If you’re in the mood for some imports, there are some good titles arriving from the UK and Spain. And, hey, look at that – Joe Dante’s latest film is getting a release, too!
Hot tip: Due to the size of this beast, it’s spread across a few pages. So please don’t think that the first page is all you get (yes, I do have to mention this because a few folks didn’t pick up on that fact the last guide we ran).
Opening: August 31st
What’s the story? The film is a loose retelling of Los Angeles Times writer Leslie Gornstein’s article “Jinx in a Box” about an antique wooden box purchased on eBay which reportedly had been brought to America by a Holocaust survivor after World War II. The box, supposedly containing an evil spirit, brought devastating effects to a series of buyers. Inspired by these real events, “The Possession” centers around a cursed relic containing mysterious familial tokens that is mistakenly purchased and its new owner must solve its mystery to save her own family.
Early Thoughts: Ever since this eye-catching poster (which was apparently considered “too much” for theater lobbies) and the trailer, we’ve been interested in seeing this Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert production (the two produced the film through Ghost House). Advance buzz is good. I’m hearing the energy is high, the gags are fun and the characters are not complete throwaways – you care for them. And I hear Matisyahu isn’t too shabby in a co-starring role either.
Opening: August 31st
What’s the story? In an isolated, slowly dying mining town, children are vanishing without a trace – abducted, the townsfolk whisper, by a mysterious entity known locally as “The Tall Man.” Town nurse Julia Denning seems skeptical…until her young David disappears in the middle of night. Frantic to rescue the boy, Julia lives every parent’s darkest nightmare.
Early Thoughts: It’s a mixed bag. Those expecting the hardcore impact of Laugier’s Martyrs will be sorely disappointed. Still, Laugier keeps the twists coming. But are those twists enough to save an ending that will likely have horror fans going, “Huh?!”
Opening: August 30th (*new release date*, VOD)
What’s the story? When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.
Early Thoughts: The buzz is strong. Beyond Trick ‘r Treat, it’s hard to point to a modern anthology horror film that we can say we truly love. V/H/S has garnered plenty of respect on the festival circuit, however, even if it doesn’t work entirely. Those who are tired of the “found footage” sub-genre will be put off immediately, but do not let that narrative technique bother you, some of the story installments pack a vicious punch.
Release Date: September 13th (VOD), October 16th (DVD)
What’s the story? Based on true events, the film follows three aspiring filmmakers trying to document unexplainable events in an abandoned insane asylum known as Greystone Park. Urban legend has it that anyone who ventures into the forsaken hospital will suffer the consequences and face their own horrors. The trio stumbles across a mysterious realm of escaped patients, ghosts and demonic shadows as they try to uncover the truth behind Greystone Park.
Early Thoughts: The jury is out on this one. Sean Stone is the son of Oliver Stone (who appears in the film and gave us the horror film The Hand during his early days) and he’s been juggling an acting career with directing over the last 20 years. This is his first feature-length horror film. Is he a fledgling director who took the project on because he believes horror is easy to do or does he have the chops to pull off some scares?