It’s the Booze Talkin’, Can Hollywood put more effort into January horror?

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year will be here in just a couple of days. Lucky for us, January always brings a ton of great movies to the cinema, especially horror. Unfortunately, sarcasm doesn’t necessarily translate well in an article, but trust me when I say that there is a ton of it in that last sentence. Over the past few years we have had THE DEVIL INSIDE in 2012, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D in 2013 and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES in 2014. Last year? We had THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH. To be fair, the only one of these that I found to be absolutely unwatchable is the one that made the most money. THE DEVIL INSIDE is a ludicrously bad movie from start to finish, and it made a crapload of moolah on its opening weekend. Why? It seems that releasing a horror flick is a good idea this time of year.

In 2016 we have a  couple of genre flicks heading our way. Natalie Dormer takes a walk into Japan’s Suicide Forest in the appropriately titled THE FOREST. And if that isn’t enough for you, why not look for THE ABANDONED featuring genre badass Jason Patric?  I perhaps caught one of these fine flicks and it was perchance not terrible, but it wasn’t great. So you have your choice of a heroine in a haunted building or a haunted forest. And come on, sometimes an attractive leading lady running from ghosts is perfectly suitable entertainment. That said, neither of these flicks look especially terrifying – the one I saw wasn’t – but I’d be willing to wager they will make some opening weekend cash. Why? Because there is very little competition in the chilly winter months.

Of course January is generally regarded as a dump month for movies that the studio has little faith in. So why not take advantage of that? What if last year’s THE BABADOOK had a decent theatrical release in January instead of a half assed November release? God forbid they'd actually relase a good one in October either! The kind of buzz the film had, it is almost a guarantee that something that well regarded could seriously make a killing the first month of the new year (pun intended). Yet instead, this critically acclaimed horror flick was limited to only a couple of screenings in Los Angeles – I’m not fully aware of any others but hopefully some of you had the chance to catch it on the big screen. I first sat down with that scary monster that goes dook, dook, dook on VOD. Clearly it was pretty damn effective even on the small screen, but not enough for a theatrical release? Yet THE DEVIL INSIDE cashed in that first weekend and proceeded to fade away from our memory. That is just sad.

For most movies, I can understand why January and February don’t offer the cream of the crop when it comes to cinema. After all, the Academy Award nominations are announced, so studios hope to cash in on last minute views of critically praised features. Aside from the wide release of THE REVENANT and THE HATEFUL EIGHT – they may not be genre but they are f*cking brutal and worth watching – some of the upcoming flicks feel more than a tad bit generic. You have a couple of dumb comedies and a new Michael Bay flick about Benghazi… okay, I actually want to see that one. Yet it mostly proven true that horror has in the past made for a great post holiday distraction. So why are we left with middle of the road, generic horror?

Looking back over the past few years, only a small handful of January releases were truly something special. Some of us – well perhaps only me – enjoy the UNDERWORLD flicks so you have a couple of those that did rather well. There was the awesomeness of Patrick Lussier’s remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE in 2009. And for all you Eli Roth fans, there was one of the original torture flicks back in 2006. Wow, has it been about ten years since the original HOSTEL? Damn man, how time flies. Sure there were a few stinkers box office wise. The miserably bad THE HITCHER remake in 2007 for one, but even that made some buckage. So instead of cashing in on crap, why not put out something a little more substantial that will last for more than the first weekend?

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but can Hollywood put a little more effort into January horror flicks? Instead we’ve had to suffer through bland supernatural tales, bad sequels or crappy found footage flicks. Rarely are we treated to something that could truly stand the test of time after the New Years bell has rung. If THESE flicks make the almighty box office dollar, perhaps something that is actually worth watching would make even more, correct? I would love to see a great horror flick in between the latest Tom Hooper or Martin Scorsese movie. And the fact is, audiences are already shelling out for crappy genre features so why don’t the powers that be give them something a little better? Is that really too much to ask?

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.