Any serious horror fan thrives on getting their movie fix in the month of October. Whether it is opening night at the local cinema or a video release, we love to get whatever scary feature that is available. As much as I dig popping some microwave popcorn and renting some ridiculously low budget chiller, there is nothing like seeing it with a crowd in the theatre. There was a time way back when you could find a number of horror flicks – good and bad – opening throughout the month of October. The closer to Halloween, the better it was. Yet, things have changed and it seems to have become far more difficult to find a good horror movie that particular time of year.
Ironically, one problem may have been the success of the SAW franchise – as well as the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films which took the October crown away upon the original’s release in 2009. When SAW became a yearly event for horror fans when it opened on October 29, 2004, the continued sequels may have slashed away the competition. The more successful each installment became, the harder it was for the other genre specific films to find an audience. However, even before SAW, you were hard pressed to find solid offerings from genre filmmakers that time of year. Many were released in August or September with only a very small handful finding their way to the multiplexes near All Hallows Eve.
Another issue may be the incredible selection you can currently find on Netflix or Redbox. If you want horror it is only a click away, or just a drive to the nearest 7-11 or supermarket. The problem with this however is that you can’t get the satisfaction of a full on horror experience. I miss the crazy energy when, for example, a new HALLOWEEN was opening, and it was actually NEAR the holiday. The last of this franchise to get released in the tenth month of the year was HALLOWEEN 5 on October 13 in 1989. Even Rob Zombie’s remake and sequel found themselves unleashed on the public in August of 2007 and 2009. It’s f*cking called HALLOWEEN so why not release it then?
Last year October was a truly dull month when it came to chills and thrills on Halloween. The only major release that set sights on scares was the disappointing remake of CARRIE starring Chloe Grace Moretz. The Kimberly Peirce directed teen scream reboot or what have you managed to make a decent amount of money compared to its cost – 84 million worldwide with an estimated 30 million budget – so you could call it a success. To me however, that says more about the lack of horror films and the need for frights in October than the quality of the film.
For years fans have been complaining about this very thing and it seemed like the frustration was falling on deaf ears. Yet could it be that 2014 may be different? There are a number of intriguing flicks being released beginning with THE CONJURING inspired ANNABELLE on October 1st, all the way to the Alexandre Aja directed HORNS starring Daniel Radcliffe. The latter is actually finding its way into theatres on Halloween! Other upcoming releases include DRACULA UNTOLD, OUIJA and THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2. You even have the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) inspired BOOK OF LIFE produced by Guillermo del Toro for the families… and hell yes I’ll take that.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but is Hollywood finally realizing we want horror in October? I’m sure there are a number of reasons why we haven’t seen them in the past, but I don’t care. Not releasing a handful of scary movies in October is downright terrifying to me. It’s still fun to get freaked out with an audience in August, but it’s a whole lot more spooktacular at a time when the leaves fall and the orange hue of jack-o-lanterns surrounds you. Time will tell whether or not this year’s slate is a trick, or a treat. With its PG-13 rating, OUIJA isn’t looking to inspire any good nightmares, but you never know. Either way, it excites me that I may be able to spend this coming haunted holiday with horror lovers looking for a chilling selection playing at a theatre near you!