Peter Outerbridge and Michelle Nolden star in “Haunter,” a film by Vincenzo Natali.
Horror films from all eras make a big comeback during the weeks preceding Halloween, usually culminating with a plethora of creepy flicks on the holiday itself. The following is a review of old and new.
Insidious: Chapter 2
Genre: Supernatural horror Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Danielle Bisutti, Michael James Grise and Lindsay Seim Director: James Wan Rated: PG-13 Release date: Sept. 13, 2013 (wide)
As far as modern horror flicks go, 2011’s “Insidious” fared well among critics and audiences. When someone makes money in this genre, a sequel is a sure bet.
Director James Wan returns along with screenwriter Leigh Whannell. “Insidious: Chapter 2” continues to follow a haunted family struggling to uncover a terrifying secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. Wan is coming off another horror high: “The Conjuring,” about two paranormal investigators, was released July 19 and also earned high marks across the board.
Genre: Sci-fi horror Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers and Bill Paxton Director: Jeff Renfroe Not yet rated Release date: Sept. 20, 2013 (limited)
Award-winning director Jeff Renfroe is behind “The Colony.”
A post-apocalyptic thriller, the film is set during a future ice age in an outpost of colonists taking refuge below the world’s frozen surface. When Colony 7 loses contact with Colony 5, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) leads an expedition to find out what happened, much to the chagrin of Mason (Bill “Game Over Man” Paxton). Needless to say, they find something even worse than the icy wasteland during their sojourn.
Genre: Horror comedy Cast: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton, Mary Kay Place, Stephen Root and Peter Stormare Director: Jacob Vaughn Not yet rated Release date: Oct. 4, 2013 (limited)
Modern horror often takes itself far too seriously. “Bad Milo” appears to be a rare gem, harkening back to a string of 1980s horror comedies such as “Return of the Living Dead,” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “Student Bodies.”
Duncan discovers he has a pintsized demon living in his intestine. Whenever Duncan suffers excess stress, the thing forces its way out and slaughters the people who have angered him. It may sound like a revamp of 1982’s cult classic “Basket Case,” but the premise isn’t exactly the same.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Genre: Neo-grindhouse horror Cast: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Michael Welch, Aaron Himelstein and Edwin Hodge Director: Jonathan Levine Rated: R Release date: Oct. 11, 2013 (limited)
Oddly enough, “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” isn’t really a new film.
An American indie horror flick, the film was screened at various film festivals in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, it was released theatrically in the UK, but due to lackluster box office revenue in the genre, it never made it to American theaters. Over the next few years, ownership of the film shifted from one company to another until, finally, it was announced that U.S. horror fans would finally have an opportunity to see it.
Directed by Jonathan Levine, “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” stars Amber Heard and Anson Mount. The story centers on a group of teenagers who invite a popular but shy outsider, Mandy, to spend the weekend at a secluded ranch house, and are targeted by a stalker who is after her.
Viewers can expect a “grindhouse aesthetic” from this gritty, violent slasher flick.
Genre: Supernatural horror Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort and Julianne Moore Director: Kimberly Peirce Not yet rated Release date: Oct. 18, 2013 (wide)
It’s hard to imagine anyone in 2013 not having some foreknowledge of “Carrie,” particularly since the 1976 film staring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie and, yes, John Travolta, remains one of the most memorable masterpieces of the genre. How many horror films generate multiple Academy Award nominations?
Which begs the question: Who thought a remake of “Carrie” would be a good idea? The 1976 film is dated, admittedly. This will actually be the third adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel. Chloë Grace Moretz – who has starred in a few other horror films, including 2005’s “The Amityville Horror” and 2010’s “Let Me In” – will play the titular role in this reimagining of the classic horror tale about a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother.
Genre: Supernatural horror Cast: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden and David Hewlett Director: Vincenzo Natali Not yet rated Release date: Oct. 18, 2013 (limited)
Billed as a reverse ghost story, this could be a reimagining of the 1988 comedy horror film “Beetlejuice” minus the comedy. It sounds more like the standard haunted house tale, recast as suburban horror and told, at least in part, from the point of view of the ghost.
In this case, the deceased – who died along with her family under sinister circumstances – is reaching out from beyond the grave to help the new owners of the house avoid a similar fate.
More horrible old movies
If this sinister smorgasbord isn’t adequate, there are a few more possibilities on the horizon.
NCM Fathom Events will present RiffTrax Live on Thursday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m., in cinemas nationwide.
The stars of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” are back with a hilarious never-before-seen take on the zombie movie that started it all: “Night of the Living Dead.”
The event will be shown in the following Tampa Bay area theaters:
• AMC Regency 20 with IMAX, 2496 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon • Regal Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 N., Pinellas Park • AMC Woodlands Square 20 with IMAX, 3128 Tampa Road, Oldsmar • Regal Citrus Stadium Park Mall 20, 7999 Citrus Park Town Center Mall, Tampa
Tickets are available online at www.fathomevents.com. If online ticketing is not available, tickets may be purchased at the box office of local participating cinema.
Hosts Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax.com will present a hilarious riff on this masterpiece of brain-eating mayhem. This one-night event will be the chance to see the guys fire their wisecracking commentary at “Night of the Living Dead” on the big screen.
For home-viewing pleasure, following is a rundown of some recent releases that might make for a frightfully fun evening – or plan a marathon to conjure up that haunted Halloween spirit.
• “5 Souls,” from Inception Media Group. Starring Allison McAtee, Ian Bohen, Kristina Anapau and Samaire Armstrong, this film is kind of the malevolent cousin of “A Wonderful Life.” Instead of saving a soul, an architect awakens from a coma with a mission: Kill five people to reconcile his various transgressions. Of course, after knocking off the first four victims, the guy starts to realize that the arrangement may end up costing him more than he’s willing to give – funny how Faustian deals work that way.
• “A Haunting at Silver Falls,” from Inception Media Group. Starring Alix Elizabeth Gitter, Erick Avari, James C. Burns, Rachel Long and Steve Bacic, this film claims to be “inspired by the true story of the unsolved murders of two twin girls.” Enter the town of Silver Falls, a small town plagued by a series of unexplained deaths. Jordan, an orphaned teenager, relocates to the town and soon finds herself haunted by the ghost of a murdered young girl. She feels compelled to uncover the shocking truth behind the haunting.
• “A Resurrection,” from Tombstone Distribution. Starring Mischa Barton, Devon Sawa and Michael Clarke Duncan, the film is set during a single horrific day and night at a high school. A guidance counselor (Barton), the school principal (Duncan) and local police officer (Sawa), must save the lives of several trapped students before a paranormal entity kills them all.
• “Stranded,” from Image Entertainment. Starring Christian Slater, Brendan Fehr, Amy Matysio and Michael Therriault, this sci-fi horror takes place at an isolated U.S. military moonbase. When the facility is bombarded by a rogue meteor storm, Colonel Gerard Brauchman (Christian Slater) and his small crew are cut off from Earth with their life support failing. That’s not the only problem, though – because those weren’t ordinary meteors. Those space rocks harbored alien spores, and now the base is teeming with vicious, shape-shifting predatory life forms that apparently enjoy tasty space marines.
• “Twixt,” from American Zoetrope Films. Starring Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin and Joanne Whalley. Big names and a big director – Francis Ford Coppola – apparently weren’t enough to earn this horror thriller wide theatrical distribution. It actually premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2011, but only recently made its way into the home entertainment market via DVD and Blu-ray. The story follows a writer with a career in decline as he arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V. He's unsure of her connection to the murder in the town, but is grateful for the story being handed to him. Ultimately he is led to the truth of the story, surprised to find that the ending has more to do with his own life than he could ever have anticipated.
• “The Unbroken,” from Inception Media Group. Starring Daniel Baldwin, Tracy Wiu and Warwick Davis, the film follows a woman starting her life anew following a messy divorce. She moves into a neglected apartment and starts seeing visions of a little boy in mirrors. As in all horror flicks, instead of running away screaming, she sticks around to see how much terror she can endure.
• “Under the Bed,” from XLrator Media. Starring Jonny Weston, Gattlin Griffith, Peter Holden, Musetta Vander and Kelcie Stranahan, this film is another example of suburban horror. All kids at some point find themselves convinced that something dreadful is hiding beneath the bed. In this flick, two brothers face their fears, teaming up to battle the terrifying creature. “Under the Bed” comes from the producers of “V/H/S” and “V/H/S/2.”
Rapping up, Mill Creek Entertainment always has something special ready just in time for Halloween. This year is no exception, as the distributor has put together two creepy collections of classic horror:
• “Zombies Unbrained,” a 12 film “flesh fest” from Mill Creek Direct. This collection offers more than 16 hours of gut-wrenching gore and spine-tingling terror. Contents include “Carnival of Souls,” “Dead Men Walk,” “Horror of the Zombies,” “House of the Living Dead,” “King of the Zombies,” “The Last Man on Earth,” “Mutant,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Oasis of the Zombies,” “The Snake People,” “Teenage Zombies” and “White Zombie.”
• “The Best of the Worst,” a 12 film collection of movies that are “so bad, they’re good.” This anthology includes the following films: “Manos: The Hand of Fate,” “Track of the Moon Beast,” “The Beast of Yucca Flats,” “Eagah,” “The Ape Man,” “The Amazing Transparent Man,” “The Atomic Brain,” “Dementia 13,” “Unknown World,” “The Terror,” “Mesa of Lost Women” and “The Incredible Petrified World.”