Horror movies to keep an eye on this October
Isn’t it funny how something can feel so played-out, so run into the ground, that the thought of any more of it makes you curl your lip in disgust, but if you let a little time pass, a few years, the idea starts to become appealing again, starts to seem fresh? It sure works that way with movies. How long does it take for the nostalgia factor to kick in? Not too long, it seems. In the case of the Saw franchise, it took seven years.
When the original Saw debuted in 2004, I was blown away by it. It was so fresh and visceral, so potent. Towards the end of the film, when the Jigsaw killer, who had been playing dead the entire time, got up off the floor, my mouth literally dropped. The formula was so effective that, as Hollywood tends to do, it was mass-produced. Each year for the next seven, a new installment of the franchise would roll off the assembly line. Saw had become a machine. Saw also kicked off the “torture porn” subgenre of horror, so we not only had to deal with its own cookie-cutter sequels but a slew of inferior derivatives, too. I quickly lost interest.
How curious, then, that I find myself so excited for the upcoming Jigsaw, which hits theaters on October 27th.
Moreso than with Jigsaw, though, I’m eagerly anticipating Happy Death Day, which arrives a couple of weeks earlier, on October 13th — a Friday, by the way! Happy Death Day is essentially Groundhog Day done as a horror flick, and it looks like a lot of fun.
Another October entry that looks mighty interesting is The Snowman, out on the 20th. I don’t know a lot about this one, except that it’s a British film, features some fine actors in Michael Fassbender, J.K. Simmons, and Val Kilmer (we’ve missed you, Val!), and has a The Silence of the Lambs vibe. I do wonder if it might have played better if released in the cold heart of winter, say January or February, but I won’t wait till then to watch it, that’s for sure.
Flatliners has recently been released. I liked the original, and the concept is still intriguing. But I don’t know if I liked the first one enough, or find it intriguing enough, to rush right out and see the new one. I’m sure I will, but I don’t have the kind of excitement over it as for the other movies I’ve mentioned.
But what’s in theaters right now that’s worth your time and ticket money? That’s an easy question to answer. One word will suffice, in fact. A short, two-letter word. IT.
While I found leading man Bill Skarsgard’s more subdued performance didn’t measure up to that of Tim Curry in the 1990 made-for-television miniseries, and I missed certain elements that had to be trimmed due to the time constraints of the movie, IT is still a solid winner. Particularly good is the young cast; the kids really make the film. If there were some way to teleport Curry’s Pennywise into the picture, it, or rather IT, would be damn near perfect.
A movie that is damn near perfect, but has sadly already come and gone from theaters, is Jeepers Creepers 3.
Plagued by controversy stemming from the real-life crimes of Writer-Director-Producer Victor Salva, who served 15 months in 1988-89 for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and procuring a child for the purposes of pornography, Jeepers Creepers 3 was released for one night only, one showing only, on September 26th. That’s a shame, because Jeepers Creepers 3 is easily the best horror movie I’ve seen in or out of theaters this year. The best in quite some time, in fact. It’s just plain incredible.
I won’t fault anyone who chooses to eschew the picture for ethical reasons, but if the filmmaker’s personal history isn’t a deal-breaker for you, make sure you check out Jeepers Creepers 3 when it hits video.
It looks like it’s going to be a good autumn for horror flicks. It already has been, and we’re barely into it. As the leaves start to turn and the air begins to cool, and everybody’s thoughts start drifting towards things that go bump in the night, there will be plenty of quality entertainment this year to induce those delicious shivers along the spine. Enjoy!
Image credits: Twisted Pictures, Lionsgate, New Line Cinema.