Men and gentleladies, we have officially lived half way through 2019 and as kids all over the country march into summer break we are getting treated to a massively satisfying release schedule. June is bringing in some heavy hitters and some potential under the radar jams.
The Horror Release Roundup is our recurring feature breaking down the screams and scares that are heading your way every month. This time around we have everything (or at least our attempt at everything) coming at you in February of 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
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THE CLEANING LADY
06/04/2019 - VOD
As a means to distract herself from an affair, a love-addicted woman befriends a cleaning lady, badly scarred by burns. She soon learns, these scars run much deeper than the surface.
Jack: I was skeptical at the beginning of that trailer, but wow does that look legitimately frighenting. The scissors to lips thing is always awful (like in a certain German horror flick), and everything else looks quite unsettling also. Mark me down.
Jake: The scissors to mouth may be scary but the mask in the bathtub is what I’m still thinking about after watching the trailer. This has the promise to be seriously creepy.
Mark: You ever need a blank check to make your movie more creepy? Toss a doll house in there. The rest of the trailer brings a real Fatal Attraction meets Goodnight Mommy vibe and that I’m legitimately not sure I’m ready for.
SHED OF THE DEAD
06/06/2019 - VOD
Trevor is 'between jobs' and escapes his day to day life by passing the hours in his shed painting figurines. When the zombie apocalypse happens Trevor must make some decisions regarding who to save.
Jack: So even name is just aping Shaun of the Dead, huh? Arrested development everyman with a schlubby best friend trying to comedically save the world from zombies with british accents--convince me this isn’t trying to be the same movie. And was he playing D&D or some kind of Warhammer variant? If he’s getting out the rulers to measure the grid in 5E, he’s got a real dick of a DM.
Jake: Going to be hard for me to take the plunge on this one because, you know, I’m definitely not the zombie guy here at A-Z Horror. That title definitely goes to one of the other two. And even if I were hypothetically a zombie fan, I’m not sure where this would fit in. Like, if someone was going to watch this vs some other British zombie comedy, which one should the person choose? Asking for a friend who likes zombie movies.
Mark: I like the idea of this movie, but isn’t it just trying a little too hard to be Shaun of the Dead? The lead actors even look like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Did they think we wouldn’t notice if they just threw in some Dungeons and Dragons stuff?
06/07/2019 - VOD
A group of strangers awaken aboard an alien spacecraft. Divided they will die. Together, they can find a way home.
Jack: I’m betting the title is a reference to Odysseus’s mythical home island, but it would be great if the aliens were only taking people from upstate New York and Cornell to harvest. Then they could make the sequel called Cayuga Lake and just confuse the hell out of everyone.
Jake: Are the actors in this movie deepfakes? Something about the overall look of this film has me almost legitimately curious. I know they aren’t because that would entail a budget but damn if thinking about it as if they are doesn’t make this more interesting.
Mark: Is anyone else as curious as I am to see if that one lady’s accent stays consistent throughout the whole movie? It’s hard to pull off low budget sci-fi, but this looks at least has a little promise from the psychological manipulation layers. Sure the space station looks like junk, but will that guy ever stop yelling at his daughter?
I AM MOTHER
06/07/2019 - NETFLIX
A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot "Mother" -- designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of humankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.
Jack: Oh man, I am on board for this. When’s the last time we had a really awesome “robot overloards” sci fi flick? Besides that truly horrifying Halo Top commercial from a few years back, obviously. Now, I’m not saying this will definitely be that, but based on that trailer it sure has a chance to. And being on Netflix means I’m almost certainly going to find out.
Jake: This looks like an almost slam dunk of good sci fi with zero hurdle to watch. I really hope it doesn’t end up being a straightforward “robots are evil” thing. It probably will be and it will still be good, but I’m hoping for more. Do it.
Mark: Did this start as a Horizon: Zero Dawn adaptation and then take a bit of a turn? Or maybe this started as a Moon remake that took a bit of a turn? Wait, no, hold on. Was this a Matrix sequel? 10 Cloverfield Lane remake but with a robot instead of John Goodman? I am excited to watch this movie and find out exactly how many other sci fi threads this movie weaves its sweater out of.
CLEANIN’ UP THE TOWN: REMEMBERING GHOSTBUSTERS
06/07/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
The documentary that tells us the full story from where it all started through to the future of the Ghostbusters franchise.
Jack: Ghostbusters is such an awesome movie to do a behind the scenes doc about. It captured lightning in a bottle with the truly unique combination of Aykroyd’s genuine desire to fill the thing with actual paranormal lore to ludicrous levels being tempered by Ramis’s writing and Bill Murray’s not giving a fuck performance. I’m a little concerned that this won’t really dive into all that, but I’ll take all the bustin’ I can get because, well . . . bustin’ makes me feel good.
Jake: Murray wants to do another Ghostbusters and we all know that’s just not possible anymore, so a look into the making of the original is going to have to do. And that’s ok. Maybe there are some cool things to learn still. I sure hope so.
Mark: First things first - I am always in favor of behind the scenes docs of classic franchises. That said, doesn’t The Ghostbusters deserve a better edited docu-trailer than this thing that appears to have been made in powerpoint?
THEY COME KNOCKING
06/07/2019 - HULU
This month, to celebrate Father’s Day, Hulu’s Into the Dark series tells the tale of a family camping trip that goes awry when an external force decides to crash their campsite.
Jack: Well, I don’t love the look of a flick where the characters loudly exclaim their exact situations to the surrounding characters who should presumably be aware of the same, but I do like that Hulu is keeping this series based around seemingly random holidays going. I really hope I’m wrong and this is just awesome.
Jake: I mean, this looks like The Hills Have Eyes. A lot. Based on what Into the Dark has turned out so far (I haven't seen personally but that’s a direct result of what I’ve heard from the other two on the podcast), I don’t have a ton of hope that this is one where there is going to be something novel in the film that wasn’t in the trailer so… yeah. Hills Have Eyes version of Into the Dark.
Mark: Historically, this series has not provided the best content. Frequently, I become enchanted with the promised concept and then find the execution to be wildly lacking when actually viewed. This could very easily be the same way. However, each new episode does bring a whole new cast, director, and writers on board so it probably isn’t fair to paint with that broad a brush. This looks promising.
06/07/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
A married couple, trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair, travels to a secluded cabin and stumbles into a blood feud between the Native American owners of the property and the neighboring clan, who obsessively guard their land and punish those who trespass on it in terrifying ways.
Jack: So here’s the thing. I’m not going to say that this looks great. Or even really good. But I will say that it’s awesome that they’re out there just doing the damn thing. Everybody’s gotta start somewhere, and some of the costuming and “spirit” design in this looks actually quite rad.
Mark: Why would you make out against a barbed wire fence? Uncorkd has been real hot and cold over the last few months (mostly cold really) but dammit if nothing else you have to respect them for churning something out almost every single month. I get that they’re a distributor and aren’t actually making the movies but it’s still impressive. Has anyone seen Gehenna yet?
THE DEAD DON’T DIE
06/14/2019 - THEATRICAL
The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.
Jack: Well there we go. When that started with the statement “the greatest zombie cast ever assembled” I was all ready to pounce. But damned if they didn’t back that shit up. This is an easy watch, and even if it’s not great, you’re going to have a fun time just watching the charming leads do their thing.
Jake: You probably would have had me with any one of these cast members, but you gave me all of them. Thanks, movie gods. You have just found Jake a Top 1 for June. Bill Fuckin’ Murray.
Mark: I like Focus Entertainment, Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tilda, and yeah basically the rest of the ingredients of this movie. Fucking RZA is in this piece. Look, we’re all excited for this one. It’s fun wrapped in a big ol package of viscera and schlock. The only reason I’m tempering my expectations is because often times these movies don’t really nail the humor side and then the whole movie just doesn’t work. Worst case scenario they just fall back on Bill Murray doing his thing.
06/14/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
A group of teenagers unknowingly summon a paranormal presence during their weekend trip to the Joshua Tree desert.
Jack: So June is shaping up to be a solid horror month, huh? Don’t get me wrong, this could fall flat on its face, but that appears to be a decent combination of good cinematography, believable acting, and a generic but creepy enough premise that I have a hard time imagining this won’t be at least watchable.
Jake: I don’t know how many of you watch trailers with headphones on but this is one where I feel I need to mention that this trailer was made super solidly for someone watching with headphones on. That level of attention to detail alone has me excited for this, and on top of that, I think this could be a really interesting descent into madness. Something about it makes me feel like it could be a segment in Southbound, and it’s not because of the desert. Promise.
Mark: Oh hot damn, this is my jam. I like everything about this trailer. It’s relatively short. It doesn’t give much away, yet promises intrigue. It’s edited well, and establishes the cast and setting. Bang. That’s done. This is all you should ever put in a trailer.
06/14/2019 - HBO
A group of friends turns its love for horror into a peculiar business in a dreamy Latin American country where the strange and eerie are just part of daily life.
Jack: What in the sam hell did I just watch? Was that a bejeweled juice box? Are those still disposable? I think the english subtitles for spanish words and spanish subtitles for english words was a really nice touch. It seems impossible to come away from that trailer not being at least intrigued.
Jake: So this is going to be much more of a comedy series than a horror series but it belongs here. And this shit looks weiiird. I’d say it would be a really promising candidate to throw on while inebriated, but the dual language thing might break one’s brain...
Mark: Just when I think Fred Armisen couldn’t do anything weirder with his life he goes and does something like this, and totally redeems himself. Reader, you can’t tell but I took a substantial break after this trailer to A.) try and figure out just what the fuck I had just watched and B.) watch Fred Armisen do his impression of Ira Glass. That dude is so polished.
BED OF THE DEAD
06/18/2019 - DVD and Bluray
Disclaimer: This one came out on the festival circuit in 2016 and has been bouncing around since. It’s possible it’s been out there to find before now but it’s actually getting a definitive release this month (we think, maybe).
Four twenty-somethings find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death.
Jack: “No one on that bed is innocent!” might be the best line I’ve ever heard in a horror trailer. I frankly don’t much care what else was good or bad in that thing, because I am wholly sated by that line. Come at me.
Jake: this is a weird one because this movie has been around for a long time but it’s now getting a release, and as silly as a killer/possessed/ bed seems, this seems to hit that delicate balance of being funny by playing something that is absolutely bonkers with a completely straight face. Because of that, I really need to see this.
Mark: So, was Bed of the Dead aping Shed of the Dead or vice versa? Or am I to believe that there were legitimately two movies with nearly identical names that just happened to come out at the same time (and in the same month as The Dead Don’t Die). Can someone please provide me with a conspiracy theory on this one? As far as the movie goes it looks fine but it reminds me too much of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats and therefore is suffering in the rankings. Wait, is this actually a remake of Death Bed? Why would anyone do that to the world?
06/21/2019 - THEATRICAL
A mother gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.
Jack: I kind of love this series these days. They seem to have really figured out how to maintain the tone that made these movies special while continuing to up the effects and everything else. Part of me kind of wants to be cynical about the continuation of this franchise, but damn if the movies aren’t just good and fun. This looks to be no exception.
Jake: We recently had a discussion about horror remakes/reboots and one of the key factors to being successful with them is relevancy for a new audience. I really haven’t paid attention to this film, so watching this trailer is the first I saw of the tie in to Smart Homes/devices and I gotta say, that’s pretty promising and is something I was not expecting at all. I’m not really a Child’s Play guy, but I’ll probably give this a shot because of that (and Aubrey Plaza).
Mark: I am not and have never been a Child’s Play kinda guy. Not that it disagrees with me just that I didn’t ever see them as a kid and then having to jump into a whole franchise took too much work. As this is a remake/reboot I might just give this one a go for the sake of getting a little more exposure to the franchise. I still don’t understand why they don’t just fucking punt the doll into a woodchipper.
06/21/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Five strangers converge at a haunted movie theater owned by The Projectionist. Once inside, the audience members witness a series of screenings that shows them their deepest fears and darkest secrets over five tales.
Jack: Well, I certainly buy that Mickey Rourke is terrifying. Interesting that this is the second anthology horror flick to use “showing movies in a theater” as a frame narrative that I can think of (the first being Monsterland). I kind of wonder if that’s a bold and exciting choice, or a “we couldn’t think of anything else” kind of a choice. Seems unlikely that it’s in between.
Jake: I like anthologies and this frame narrative is simple which is generally a good thing. Plus, look at some of those directors. One thing I do have to mention though is that the choice to put a Rotten Tomatoes rating in a trailer makes me inherently distrust your movie. How many reviews are there before the film releases? As of the time of writing this there are 17 and the score is lower, at a still very good 88%, but still...
Mark: It’s an anthology movie driven by the star power of… Mickey Rourke? Meh, fuck it, whatever. I’m always down for an anthology movie. Plus, it has at least one spider in it which means Jake will be too scared to watch it and I’ll get some type of bravery points or something.
ANNABELLE COMES HOME
06/26/2019 - THEATRCIAL
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren keep a possessed doll locked up in an artifacts room in their house. When the doll awakens the room's evil spirits, it soon becomes a night of terror for the couple's young daughter and her friends.
Jack: At a minimum, this is going to be well put together and competently edited, so as far as I’m concerned, it can really only go up from watchable. There’s a chance it’ll be nothing but jump scares, but sometimes those can be halfway decent change of pace . . . if you’ve been drinking.
Jake: Ever since we first saw the Warrens’ little room of horrors, you know you’ve wanted the Cabin in the Woods-style extravaganza where everything is let out at once and just totally trashes that place like it’s some sort of paranormal frat party. Summer’s officially here, friends.
Mark: If I were the Warrens I would literally never ever ever ever let my child have friends over. Hell, I’d probably keep an invisible fence type shock collar on my kid just to be sure that they didn’t...you know.... walk in, touch everything, and probably bring about the end times for our planet. Oh man, she would be so grounded. This and the Insidious franchise have mostly been reduced to bad jump scares of late, and this trailer gives no indication that they’ve changed their ways in that regard. I’m betting on this one being underwhelming.
06/28/2019 - SHUDDER
In the harsh, yet beautiful Australian outback lives a beast, an animal of staggering size, with a ruthless, driving need for blood and destruction.
Jack: I always thought that Okkoto-nushi was far and away the scariest part of Princess Mononoke. And sure, that wasn’t a horror movie or whatever. But that sure as hell doesn’t mean that a boar can’t make a sweet-as horror villain. Like with most creature features, it’s probably coming down to the effects, but the few of them in that trailer look practical and awesome. In.
Jake: “That’s a load of shit, Ernie. And you know it!” is an insanely endearing quote from what is a pretty quotable trailer. Summer = big dumb monster movies and this is one of thos eand I love it. Practical/CG balance is going to be very important here and will either make this great, or just dumb and fun.
Mark: Oh hell yeah. It’s summertime and you need at least one bonkers creature feature. I hope this one can hang with the likes of Lake Placid or Anaconda. I don’t really care if it can’t because I’ll be watching it no matter what, but wouldn’t life be more fun if this movie wasn’t terrible? A man can dream. Wow. Good note to end on.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: The Dead Don’t Die - Duh.
Jake: The Dead Don’t Die - what Jack said.
Mark: Head Count - Great trailer and the underlying movie looks captivating.
Jack: They Come Knocking - Again, I really hope that I’m wrong about this thing and that Hulu turns the whole series around. I just don’t think this will do it.
Jake: Project Ithaca - This was the most immediately forgettable trailer in an extremely solid month. I’m still mildly intrigued by the idea that these actors may not actually be humans, but I’ll probably never find out.
Mark: Shed of the Dead - Why wouldn’t I just watch Shaun of the Dead again (or the Dead Don’t Die if I want something newer)?