After a bummer summer at the box office, the September release of the movie IT saved the day, grossing beyond expectations (nearly $700 million worldwide!) and emerging as the most successful horror film ever. The movie’s popularity reminded Hollywood again that there’s a lot of gold to be mined by scaring the pants off moviegoers. Expect even more fright flicks to jump on this gravy train throughout 2018. Chiller has confidently pinpointed 13 forthcoming movies we feel will have you screaming throughout the New Fear, with many of the filmmakers themselves chiming in.
(Titles arranged alphabetically; release dates subject to change.)
Black Circle (TBA)
We’ve been following the career of Latin American filmmaker Adrián García Bogliano for quite some time, and his recent Mexican horror films Here Comes the Devil and Scherzo Diabolico knocked our socks off. Bogliano shot his latest international co-production in Sweden with a full cast of local actors. The story involves two sisters whose lives are dramatically altered upon the discovery of a mesmerizing vinyl record from the 1970s.
“Black Circle is completely different to everything I’ve made so far,” says Bogliano. “It’s a psychedelic supernatural film where I got to experiment with themes and images that are new for me. It’s going to be an intense hypnotic experience for the audience. And the background of Sweden and its culture and amazing actors give the film a totally unique flavor. The promo screenings that we’ve had so far have been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t wait to share Black Circle with a wider audience.”
Cadaver (Screen Gems; 8/24)
The filmmakers behind this spookfest found the perfect site for their terror tale, coming from the studio that brought you Don’t Breathe. “Producers Todd Garner and Sean Robins approached me with the idea to set a horror film in a morgue, which is an inherently creepy location,” says screenwriter Brian Sieve, a veteran of MTV’s Scream and Teen Wolf cable series. “They’re cold, sterile and filled with death. It’s the last place in the world I would want to spend a lengthy amount of time, which brought up an interesting question. Who would actually choose to work in that kind of environment on a daily basis? And what would happen if they were to encounter something terrifying there, which tested their sense of reality? I’ve always gravitated toward horror stories that are grounded in the psychology of their characters. Everything from Repulsion to Let’s Scare Jessica to Death to The Haunting of Julia. With Cadaver, I approached the characters, and the story, from a theme of ‘identity.’ Loss of identity and the sense of one’s self can be a terrifying notion. Exploring those kinds of fears in a location as unsettling as a morgue felt like a unique opportunity to play with the conventions of this particular subgenre.”
The Endless (Well Go; 3/23)
Leaving a cult is never easy (just ask Leah Remini!), but returning to one creates its own set of problems. That’s the set-up of directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s hallucinogenic, almost unclassifiable genre offering. The creators of arthouse horror faves Resolution and Spring also take the lead roles in The Endless, as brothers who experience increasingly strange events when they rejoin the enigmatic cult that they had abandoned as teenagers. The duo admit that moviegoers will have to work hard to unravel all of The Endless’ enigmas.
“The movie is a mystery,” says Benson. “If you had to slap any single one genre on it, the easiest one is mystery, purely by plot. We feel as storytellers if you end your mystery with a question mark, then you really didn’t give your audience a satisfying mystery. The answers to the film are in the film, but they are buried very, very deep. And whether it takes one viewing or five viewings, as long as you’re satisfied by the emotional resolution at the end, we’re satisfied as storytellers.”
“Mysteries sometimes lose rewatch value because once you know what’s going on, everything becomes transparent,” adds Moorhead. “But The Endless has seeded a very, very deep lived-in mythology that, moment by moment as you’re watching, you can pick up a whole bunch of little things. Ideally, some people will connect all those threads so the movie will all come together in the end…or not. But there is one singular answer to all the great questions.”
Ghost Stories (IFC Midnight; late April)
When supernatural doubter Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman, who co-wrote and co-directed with Jeremy Dyson) investigates three old paranormal case files, he goes from cynical skeptic to terrified believer. Nyman and Dyson adapted their successful London play and brought Martin (The Hobbit) Freeman onboard as one of their stars.
“The film is a celebration of our shared love of horror movies,” says Nyman. “Jeremy and I met when we were 15 and bonded over a love of scary films. It’s a dream come true for us to have made Ghost Stories together. We wanted to create a film that drew an audience in with a compelling story full of twists and turns, that also absolutely delivered on the scares.
“We were inspired by the kind of films that forged our own love of the genre—in particular British horrors from the ’60s and ’70s and the classic anthology movies like Dead of Night and the later Amicus productions,” Nyman continues. “We’re so excited for audiences to see it in the US. It’s been such a journey for us, and we can’t wait for the film to go out and haunt its way into people’s hearts.”
Halloween (Universal; 10/19)
This reboot marks the return of John Carpenter to the franchise he gave Shape in 1978. As executive producer, JC also reunites with his original star, Jamie Lee Curtis, unceremoniously offed in 2002’s dreary Halloween: Resurrection. Diehards need not fear; this latest iteration (being directed by David Gordon Green) forgets decades of bad sequels and remakes. In regards to continuity with past Michael Myers stalkathons, co-writer/producer Danny McBride told Yahoo: “We’re kind of ignoring all the films past the first one. It picks up after the first one, but it’s sort of an alternate reality. It’s as if the first Halloween ended in a slightly different way.”
The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Universal; 9/21)
After unwittingly birthing the “torture porn” sub-genre with his hits Cabin Fever and Hostel, director Eli Roth now makes a horror film for young adults. Based on John Bellairs’ 1973 novel and scripted by Eric (Supernatural) Kripke, The House with a Clock in Its Walls follows a recently orphaned 10-year-old boy (Owen Vaccaro) who discovers a world of hidden passageways, magic and danger when he moves into the home of his uncle (a mediocre witch played by Goosebumps’ Jack Black). The top-shelf cast also includes Kyle (Blue Velvet) MacLachlan and Cate (Lord of the Rings) Blanchett.
“I’m so excited,” says Roth from Atlanta, where he’s shooting House. “It’s a PG kids horror movie for Amblin, very much in the Gremlins/ET style.”
Nightmare Cinema (TBA)
Masters of Horror creator Mick Garris rounded up an international roster of top terror talent (Gremlin’s Joe Dante, Juan of the Dead’s Alejandro Brugués, Hard Candy’s David Slade and Midnight Meat Train’s Ryûhei Kitamura) for this eagerly-awaited anthology picture.
“My hope for Nightmare Cinema is to recreate the atmosphere that made Masters of Horror such a satisfying creative experience: gather together the best possible group of genre filmmakers from around the world, and give them the opportunity to tell their own stories their way, and play cheerleader,” says Garris, who also helmed a segment and the wraparound. “The Nightmare Cinema concept springs all the way back to the end of MoH, when I conceived of doing another horror anthology to follow it up, this time shooting each episode in a different country, with filmmakers from each country. Well, that proved to be a bit ambitious for the world, and after over a decade up different ways to bring [Nightmare Cinema] to the screen were tried and abandoned, we were able to make it happen independently as a feature film that ended up being shot in Los Angeles, of all places.
“It’s a great and esoteric mix of filmmakers, each of them unique in their cinematic approach to horror, each with a great, strong filmmaking voice,” adds Garris. “I love the mix of nationalities—a Brit, a Cuban, two Americans and a Japanese director—and its mix of styles is really exciting to me. These are all directors whose work excites me, and the tones range from truly deep, dark, psychological, demented horror to work with a lighter, satirical tone. There’s an exorcism story, a ghost story, a black-and-white descent into clinical madness, a plastic surgery nightmare, and a very unique twist on a cabin-in-the-woods slasher tale, and it’s all brought together in a haunted cinema by the Projectionist, played by Mickey Rourke, who is ‘curator to a hundred years of nightmares, trapped in a silver screen that never forgets.’”
The Nun (New Line Cinema; 7/13)
Forget those ongoing superhero movies. The coolest shared cinematic universe for us is the one James Wan is feverishly building, franchise on top of franchise. From The Conjuring to Annabelle, it’s been one hit after another. Next up: a lady with a bad habit, first teased in Wan’s The Conjuring 2.
“Well, we’re almost there with The Nun, and I’m looking forward to the world falling beneath her unholy gaze next year,” says director Corin (The Hallow) Hardy. “It’s been an intrepid journey working with James Wan and creating the next chapter in the Conjuring Universe. We began earlier in the year in the mountains of Romania, and I’m completing post here in Los Angeles. It’s exciting to be a part of a terrifying puzzle that is steadily forming, and The Nun fits in and connects up in ways you might not see coming, but it’s also very much its own original story [about a priest investigating the mysterious death of a holy sister] that takes place in a new kind of setting. I wanted to make something super-atmospheric, harking back to classic horror and something extremely frightening. People will be surprised about where this film goes and how dark it’s going to get on Friday the 13th next July … She’s coming.”
The Predator (20th Century Fox; 8/3)
The alien tracker returns to its favorite hunting planet in director Shane (Lethal Weapon) Black’s relaunch, which he co-wrote with his former Monster Squad collaborator Fred Dekker. The movie reportedly takes a more comedic approach than previous entries and drops the bloody action into suburbia. Star Thomas (The Mist) Jane recently revealed plot details to Den of Geek.
“We play these veterans from like Afghanistan, Iraq War or whatever,” the actor said. “But we’re all f**king crazy so we go to the VA hospital to get our meds. We’re all like shell-shocked, PTSD…soldiers. We all get arrested and get thrown onto the bus to go down to the hospital, and they throw this other guy on the bus, too.
“And he’s a guy they’ve actually marked to kill him because he’s seen a UFO, he’s seen the Predator ships come down so they lock him up and throw him in with us lunatics,” Jane continues. “They’re going to take that bus, drive it down a ditch and shoot us all just to get rid of this one guy. But, of course, we take the bus over and we’re all like, ‘F**k that, man, let’s go kill these f**king Predators ourselves,’ and we’re just crazy enough to believe that this guy really did see a UFO and there are these aliens out there. So that’s kinda cool!”
A Quiet Place (Paramount; 4/6)
The lid’s been kept pretty tight on this supernatural yarn, but the evocative trailer currently making the rounds has lit up the Internet. Jack Ryan star John Krasinski co-wrote, directed and toplines the movie, which concerns a family living in the woods in a rundown house with a most unusual problem. They can only talk in sign language to avoid attracting a malicious supernatural presence! The tagline reads, “Listen closely, move carefully and never make a sound. If they can’t hear you, they can’t hunt you…Silence is survival.”
St. Agatha (TBA)
In the new movie from horror guru Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Abattoir), a pregnant con woman on the lam picks the wrong convent to hide out in. “I have always been attracted to the dark, sinister and macabre,” says Bousman. “But, as I find myself getting older and now being a dad, blood and guts no longer amuse me. I need something more. I look for content, character and themes. St. Agatha spoke to me as it takes a look at the unflinching horrors that befell women in the 1950s and how that parallels to the not-so-different horrors that are befalling them today. It was amazing to work with such a strong female cast, and I look forward to pulling back the curtain and letting others glimpse into our sinister world.”
Unsane (Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street; 3/23)
In his newest effort (supposedly shot in 10 days and on the iPhone!), acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Magic Mike, Ocean’s 11) tries his hand at horror. All we know of the hush-hush plot is that it involves a young woman involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she is confronted by her greatest fear. Soderbergh keeps us guessing: Is the woman’s terror real or the product of her delusion? Unsane stars Claire (Season of the Witch) Foy, Joshua (Blair Witch Project) Leonard, Juno (Horns) Temple, Amy (Carrie) Irving and Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah, who told EW, “The movie reminds me of some reality-type horror—almost Get Out-ish, but different, which feels good.”
Winchester (Lionsgate/CBS Films; 2/2)
History’s “most haunted house” (and San Jose tourist attraction!) inspired this promising ghost movie. Daybreakers/Jigsaw directing duo Michael and Peter Spierig guide the supernatural shenanigans. “Sarah Winchester, the millionaire heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune, is haunted by the souls killed at the barrel of the infamous rifle,” says Michael Spierig, busy in postproduction. “Her obsession has led to the construction of an enormous mansion, designed to keep these evil spirits at bay.
“Winchester is an intense and terrifying ghost story—mixed with rich characters struggling with loss and the afterlife,” he continues. “We are excited to have this opportunity to explore one of America’s greatest haunted house legends—a slice of history that provides not only a tremendous filmmaking experience for us—but also the chance to work with such wonderful actors like Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook and Angus Sampson.”
We also have our bloody eye on the Blumhouse/Universal productions Insidious: The Last Key (1/5) and Truth or Dare (4/27); Slender Man, based on the terrifying urban myth (Screen Gems; 5/18); the supernatural WWII actioner Overlord (Paramount; 10/26); and the “not-really-a-remake” Suspiria (Amazon Studios; TBA). Excited yet? Make your own predictions and selections on our Facebook page or on Twitter using #Friday13.
Tony Timpone discussed his November trip to the American Film Market in his Dread Central blog here.