Welcome to October 2016's Horror Release Roundup! HRR is a schedule of the horror flicks coming out over the next month, complete with links to trailers and a juicy little morsel of our thoughts on each release. Can't find the trailers? Well just click the movie's title or poster, and you'll be taken to a magical land of video content. You lazy son of a bitch. Is there a movie we missed? Likely. Let us know what we’ve omitted either on Twitter or in the comments at the bottom of the page. Pick your favorite. Do it.
9/30/2016 - Theatrical
Jack: So like, is there a weekly meeting where a bunch of creeps in clown get-ups get together and lay out the territory for this town? “Boffo, you take the southeast section over by the drug store; Jingles, you fire up north and sit in that tree by the welcome sign; I’ll head west and kip up by the adult literature shop. Then we all just sit there. Seriously, nobody move or do anything unless some tourists wander in. Got it?” That said, this movie has some real scare potential.
Jake: That trailer needed to be chopped by about 50%. The only really notable aspect was the old dude who inexplicably delivers a Captain Quint-esque monologue about the clowns. Soft ease into October, it seems.
Mark: Guys, you guys, neither of you seem concerned enough about the fact that she lost her phone. That’s like, you know, totally important to the plot or something. We’ve had a lot of entrants into “clown horror” this year with Eli Roth’s Clown of course Rob Zombie’s 31 . Neither of those two ended up garnering any good reviews so this one could easily leap to the head of the pack. Judging by how profoundly annoying the main girl is in the three lines she says about her phone I don’t have high hopes.
10/4/2016 - VOD
Jack: Uggghhh. This thing looks so fucking generic. Plus that slightly ominous and outrageously over-the-top classical music playing through the middle section was insanely distracting. There’s a chance this does something interesting, but fuck me it’s unlikely.
Jake: Low budget, indie possession flick. Don’t see a lot new or noteworthy here. Moving on.
Mark: Much as I would treat an obnoxious child, I’m just going to move right past this one without giving it the dignity of a response.
THERE ARE MONSTERS
10/6/2016 - DirecTV
Jack: Is this found footage or just filmed on a handi-cam? I honestly couldn’t tell. Shit looks bad. That said, it also looks unique, and low-budget but unique is something that intrigues me.
Jake: I’m generally against the tactics Mark employs by refusing to acknowledge or give real thoughts on movies that look just flat bad. Skipping over them seems like a cop out at best. I’m skipping this one and removing it from my brain immediately. Does that make me a hypocrite? Actually, don’t answer that. Fuck you. You jerk.
Mark: Ooh a Vimeo trailer. How artsy. I think they’re trying to go for realism with the camera that moves so much, but literally no one is that shakey. The Jason Bourne movies were less shaky than this. The trailer doesn’t inspire much confidence by highlighting the shaky cam, the guy filming his shoes as he’s running, what promises to be the worst written and acted script of the month, and the horrendous CG monsters. Hey at least the concept isn’t ridiculously played out.
10/7/2016 - Theatrical
Jack: Wasn’t the dead Facebook-ghost-chick from Unfriended named Laura? And please, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m not), but was that ‘number of Facebook friends dropping precipitously’ graphic both a thing that existed and also played for scares? Goodness gracious. If that’s what this movie is bringing to the table then . . . fuck.
Jake: How can someone who is hanging themselves let out a blood-curdling scream? This and other medical and scientific questions are sure to be answered. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll take Unfriended.
Mark: I wasn’t present when we reviewed Unfriended. If I had been I probably would’ve defended it as unique and strangely scary. That shit stuck with me for reasons I still can’t seem to figure out. This is the exact opposite. This seems like a blatant ripoff that is written by bitter millennials and Gen-Xers who are trying to make a point about how facebook-obsessed we all are. Who saw Unfriended and was like: “You know what would make this better? A swarm of flies and shitty jump scares that are given away in the trailer. Bam. Nailed it. Money please.”
UNDER THE SHADOW
10/7/2016 - VOD
Jack: Alright, this looks awesome. Proper awesome. I genuinely have no idea whether or not this thing is going to be supernatural, and I have a feeling that every second of the journey to figuring out whether that’s the case is going to be tense as a motherfucker. Did you know motherfuckers were tense? Never say we didn’t teach you anything.
Jake: I’m very, very intrigued by this one. Not only is it coming at us from Iran, but the story it brings in tow also seems to be fresh and rooted in legitimate, historical fears. If you’re looking to see something different this month, I’d be willing to bet nothing else on the release slate hits the mark like this one.
Mark: Wait a minute. Wait. Did we figure out how to bomb ghosts into people’s houses? Good lord. That’s some next level shit. Mess with Texas? Bam, now you’re haunted. Make an obscene gesture at our warships? Wammo, enjoy being possessed. On a related note, I really really hope that we are the only ones with this technology.
THE GREASY STRANGLER
10/7/2016 - VOD
Jack: What in the hell did I just watch? I’d talk about how weird that was, but this is clearly a weird-for-weird’s sake kind of a jam, and I’m not about to give them exactly what they want . . . except that I totally the fuck am because that movie looks bananas. If the whole movie can keep the insanity and irreverence of the trailer, then hot damn.
Jake: … And immediately, my statement above is fuckin’ irrelevant. If you’re looking for, uh, different, Look no further. Good god.
Mark: This looks bad. I won’t be seeing it. But hey, at least it’s colorful and a mercifully short trailer. Horror comedy is a fickle mistress, and this seems like it was written with the intention of being a badly written over-the-top movie. The issue is those movies have to happen organically. If they don’t then what you get is analogous to that kid in high school who wouldn’t stop telling you that he was cool because he was doing things ironically. Nobody wants that.
10/7/2016 - VOD
Jack: You know. It’s a Phantasm movie. It’s probably not going to bring anyone new into the fold and it honestly doesn’t even seem like it’s trying. But fan service has its place, and that place is here.
Jake: As the fifth installment in the Phantasm series, fans will be served, and I’m doubting the uninitiated will pay much mind. If nothing else, some great action is promised in this one.
Mark: Having never seen any of the other Phantasms I have virtually nothing to say here. The trailer looks pretty terrible, but it might fit perfectly with the rest of the series. I assume it’s best to start at the beginning with stuff like this, so go back and start from the front if this seems interesting.
10/11/2016 - Limited Theatrical
Jack: Their whole thing with this is that the vibe has to be right. For this to work, it’s got to feel like a proper Godzilla movie. Modern ‘takes’ on the subject just don’t work (sorry Brian Cranston, still love you). And fuck me if the vibe in this trailer isn’t downright great. This could be another instance of a great trailer propping up a mediocre movie, but I sincerely hope that it isn’t.
Jake: The award for best trailer of the month is on lockdown. Holy shit. The only downside is that my expectations for a legitimate, proper Godzilla flick are now astronomically high. Don’t let me down, guys. Don’t do it.
Mark: If you are interested at all in seeing this then here is the link to buy tickets. It’s also in the description of the Youtube video if you prefer to click through there. I’m not a huge Godzilla fan, and in general I consider the franchise more horror-adjacent than proper horror, but hey variety is the spice of life, right? I’ll see this when it eventually meanders it’s way into my Netflix queue.
10/11/2016 - VOD
Jack: Some of the effects shown here (though shown admittedly fleeting) look bad. Also, don’t stories about mental illness have more of psychological feel to you than they do a crazy-non-stop-action-effects-driven-spectacle feel? They damn sure do to me. I’m not sure what it is, but this did nothing for me.
Jake: The idea of an anthology flick centered around the topic of various mental illnesses is pretty intriguing. The trailer didn’t quite deliver enough pop to excite me for the film beyond its central premise, but if handled well, this could be a fun ride. No better month than October for anthology horror. Here’s hoping this is worthy of throwing on for a good time.
Mark: This is probably going to be my darkhorse pick of the month. The trailer makes it seem like this was made with some pretty awful graphics and cinematography, but with anthologies you never really know what you’re going to get. It’s a solid concept, but I’ve seen plenty of those go by the wayside before. Maybe I’ll just hunker down and watch Seven Psychopaths again instead.
10/14/2016 - Theatrical
Jack: Holy shit, the brothers Curaon making a horror movie huh? The song played by that bear seems like it will bore its way deep into my psyche. Also, I’m sorry, I really hate that racist motherfucker and everything he’s about, but a dog that awesome and obedient is going to sucker me in every time. It’s not the dog’s fault his owner is a racist.
Jake: This is a movie about how racists are scary. And their racist German shepherds are also scary. All the money I or my family have and will ever make is on the dog dying.
Mark: The risk here is that this movie will probably be more suspense than horror. The trailer has it’s moments, and it certainly looks competently made, but it’s just hard for me to envision Cuaron making a proper horror movie. That being said the trailer looks great and I’m excited to see this movie if for no other reason than to potentially win the fortunes of Jake and his family.
JACK GOES HOME
10/14/2016 - VOD
Jack: Aaaaand there’s the psychological jam that I wanted Patient Seven to look like. Horror veteran Rory Culkin looks like he’ll deliver a believable performance. I had grand piano in my house growing up that had a dead key that just didn’t make a note. Turned out to be a broken hammer, and not an ominous sign of mysterious experimentation on me while I was a child . . . I think . . . unless that memory is a part of it . . . oh shit.
Jake: Surprisingly unsettling, this. And not just because Rory Culkin looks more and more like one of the aliens from Signs with each passing year.
Mark: I always watch all of the trailers in our posts twice separated by a few days to see what sticks out in my head. I liked watching this trailer both times, but honestly completely forgot about it between viewings. The cast is good. The trailer is well shot and edited. I also have to give it huge props for avoiding the ubiquitous single-piano-key trailer soundtrack. It just seems that all of those things will be for naught and the movie might just fly past without anyone really noticing.
THE DARK STRANGER
10/14/2016 - VOD
Jack: This seems like it either paints a misunderstood picture of mental illness or one that sweeps the actual ‘illness’ part under the rug in favor or a much more 90-minute-friendly supernatural explanation. Either way it seems lazily written. Also wasn’t the dark stranger what Dexter would call himself when he killed people? I didn’t finish season 1 of that thing, so I can neither confirm nor deny.
Jake: This seems like a mildly interesting concept. Artists are weird and scary, so it’s low hanging fruit. It will live and die by how well it implements the reveal of the eponymous stranger. I don’t think the ceiling is very high, but I don’t think the floor is terribly low either.
Mark: Wait, is this just that one episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark where the kid writes that jester demon into existence? I swear to god if this ends with her just using a gigantic pink eraser to “kill off” the stranger than I call shenanigans. I think this looks like a novel enough concept despite riffing on a few familiar tropes, and it’s always interesting to see movies play with both live action and animation at the same time. If I was forced to make a call right now I would bet on this not being good, but I’m willing to wait on this one to see how it turns out. Also, how many releases does “Terror Films” have this month?
RAZORS: THE RETURN OF JACK THE RIPPER
10/14/2016 - VOD
Jack: The dead talking back to you is the whole fucking point of talking to the dead. Otherwise you’re just talking at the dead. Either she doesn’t know of what the fuck she speaks or he doesn’t, but either way it’s going to piss me off. Also the extended shot of the generically creepy doll makes me feel like this is going to throw every trope it’s got at you. And it has a lot.
Jake: It’s one thing if your film sounds like the audio was piped through an array of tin cans. It’s another altogether when the fucking trailer sounds that way. For the love of god and marketing, just dress it up for the one minute you have to make your film not seem like a complete goat rodeo.
Mark: The REAPER CHOSE YOOOOOOOOUUUUUU. Just look at the dude’s face when he says that. How many takes do you think they took? Do you think they were satisfied when they were done? It doesn’t matter because regardless of the answer it makes the filmmakers look incompetent. This one is a hard pass for me. Sidenote: what the hell does this have to do with Jack the Ripper?
10/21/2016 - VOD
Jack: I love this concept. This movie looks like I’ll never know what’s real and what’s simulated, but I’ll be having fucking fun the whole damn way. If the movie nails the hinted at gore that’s conspicuously absent from the trailer, then this just might hit an awesome trifecta.
Jake: Let’s play pros and cons. Pro: this movie features Hamilton the Ham Porter. Con: the 2 minute long trailer shamelessly blows its load and lets you know pretty much errrrybody dies. Thanks, fuckers. Yet another example of improper marketing. Want to know where the trailer should have ended? 1:01. That’s where. Don’t watch past there. Although I already spoiled things for you too, so do what you want I guess. Pro: you no longer need to spend time watching the trailer?
Mark: I’m in. Self-commentary doesn’t always work particularly well, but this seems smart enough that I’m at least not going in anticipating it to be shitty. The only thing is that this thing better be full of twists and turns because if it just turns out to be a straightforward home invasion movie then I’m gonna be pretty annoyed. If you are boring and self-aware that still makes you boring.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
10/24/2016 - Theatrical
Jack: Hey, you know what was great about the Conjuring movies? I think it was the setting in another decade with accompanying pop music rather than the terrific writing, great and understated direction of James Wan, and unstoppable chemistry of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, right? Right?! Wrong. Fuck you movie. Including a set and pop songs from the 60’s won’t make your movie good.
Jake: Another (albeit expected) possession flick! Is it weird that I think this doesn’t look horrible? Maybe it’s because Mike Flannigan is behind the helm. Maybe it’s because Universal has the chops and budget to make a good trailer (along with Michael Bay’s involvement (note: that didn’t help the first Ouija)). Maybe I’m drunk. Take your pick, kids.
Mark: The first Ouija film was a right-down-the-middle commercially bland horror movie. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, especially when you compare it to the whole depth and breadth of horror. It doesn’t seem like this one is going to be that much different. I do dig the 70s vibe though. That should be kinda fun for about 10 minutes.
24 HOURS TO DIE
10/24/2016 - VOD
Jack: I simply do not have the mental fortitude to describe how bad this looks. We have seen some genuinely incredible horror movies made on almost no budget, and this will not be one of those movies. Just listen to the fucking most bland heavy metal instrumental song they chose over this thing. It’ll tell you all you need to know.
Jake: There are certain atrocities that can be described as nothing other than crimes against humanity. This is one of those abominable acts.
Mark: I’m lumping this one in “ignore it’s existence and breeze by it” category. However, I will say that I am inclined to hate it less because the trailer makers kept it short, and thus wasted less of my time. Good work, trailer makers.
10/24/2016 - VOD
Jack: Hey pranksters, pro tip: When you’re literally hiding your pranks in the nooks and crannies of a place and then the first thing your mark says is that he’s aware of all of the fucking nooks and crannies that exist in that place, pick a different mark! It’s not rocket science people.
Jake: Similar in concept to Fear Inc. but with a lot less winking and a lot less Ham Porter. Also, a lot more Aussies.
Mark: So… is this just The Good Neighbor? Relatively innocent prank unearths dark and mysterious violence? I’ll take Good Neighbor because James Caan and because found footage, but this one seems promising. I wonder how many of these movies (Fear Inc. included) grew out of people watching Punk’d and thinking about what would happen if the bits went horribly awry.
WHAT LIES WITHIN (THE PERFECT HUSBAND)
10/25/2016 - DVD
Jack: Couple things. One, that guy is just a more handsome Steven Tyler. Second, when you’ve killed multiple people and have duct tape covering a defensive wound on your neck, it’s too late to play the ‘good guy’ card. Also, how did that blood spurt on that woman in that way about halfway through? It was like two arrhythmic squirts from off screen which . . . ohhhh.
Jake: This had an Italian release in 2014 but is just making its way to our side of the pond. Looks intense. Looks sweaty. Looks like gnarly domestic violence. All staples of Italy. So that’s about par for the course, eh bud?
Mark: I wonder how many views this movie is going to get just because people that the main dude is Kit Harington. Woof. Can I just never weigh in on these oh-my-god-my-lover/SO/stalker/whatever-is-crazy movies? They aren’t fun. They aren’t ambitious. They aren’t breaking new ground. I liked Honeymoon but that was a bit of a different monster. Different strokes for different folks I guess, but I’m steering clear of this one.
10/25/2016 - VOD
Jack: Why does this look like a good movie to me? It’s damn sure not the plot, acting, or effects, but fuck me if there isn’t something drawing me in there. I guess it might be that my whole family was murdered by a surprise windmill attack when I was kid, so that shit really speaks to me.
Jake: “In Amsterdam, anything can happen.” Isn’t the batshit supernatural fuckery this thing is selling taking place in the countryside squarely outside of Amsterdam? How does Amsterdam even matter? Is that a line for the American audience? Are we really that stupid? I mean, probably, but damn.
Mark: “Without windmills there would be no Holland.” [...] “There are no windmills around here.” In those two sentences you managed to piss off three different groups of people: geographers, who are well aware of the fact that Holland definitely exists without windmills; people from Holland, who know that you are never not within a stone’s throw of a windmill; and people who were paying attention, who were paying attention enough to realize how stupid that succession of lines was. With that out of the way I’ve basically blown my load on what I thought about the trailer and I’ll just leave it at “meh.”
STRANGER IN THE DUNES
10/28/2016 - VOD
Jack: I did not like the trailer. Strangely though, I’m still interested in seeing the movie. Maybe it’s because I recognize that the song just pissed me right the fuck off and am intrigued because I have no idea what’s happening.
Jake: I get almost nothing from this trailer other than that there are insane people in this movie that smear blood on things and drive ORV’s into the ocean.
Mark: This film looks like it will heavily feature various combinations of guns and taught attempting-desperately-to-be-psychological drama. Like Jake, I got virtually nothing from this trailer, which is more or less because it doesn’t show anything at all about the plot or the characters. I reserve judgement for now.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1:
Jack: Shin Godzilla - Why is there so little to choose from in fucking October? With that said though, I am genuinely excited for Shin Godzilla. If the movie matches the tone of the trailer, then I’d wager we’re finally getting the Godzilla movie we’ve been waiting for.
Jake: Under the Shadow - With Rings getting bumped back to February, 2017 (presumably to clear a bit of space for Sadako vs. Kayako), horror’s signature month took a massive hit. There are myriad horror flicks coming out this month that are simply ho-hum. You know what’s not ho-hum? The one coming at us from Iran. I am intrigued, and that’s about all you need. Honorable mention goes to Shin Godzilla for using the proper Godzilla roar multiple times in the trailer.
Mark: Desierto - It’s not really fair when Alfonso Cuaron makes a horror movie. The dude shoots a mean script. Couple this with the fact that October is a shockingly dry month for horror releases, and you get a recipe for what I’m looking forward to most. The floor for this movie is higher than the ceiling of all but maybe two or three of the others. The only risk is that it might not actually be a horror movie.
Jack: Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper - Look, I could take the layup and call 24 Hours to Die, because that is going to be a pile of wet, hot garbage. But this movie actively sought out existing lore, used none of the interesting parts of it, and instead added in a bunch of god-awful seemingly unrelated dialog. Why the fuck did they do this?
Jake: 24 Hours to Die - Nooooooope.
Mark: Jack Goes Home - Maybe this is a bit of a harsh fate for this movie, but I also choose to pretend that literally half the movies on this list don’t exist. Is this really the best we can do for October? Get your collective heads in the game, people. I’m choosing Jack Goes Home because, like I said earlier, it just doesn’t stick with me. The movie might wind up being good (it certainly has promise based on the cast), but the trailer really doesn’t do a lot to inspire confidence. The actual real honest-to-god answer is Unbidden, but seeing as the world is a better place without that movie existing, then that is the reality that I choose to live in.