Ahhh, September. Now is the time for studios to push hard to whet everyone’s horror appetites before Halloween. This September presents a strong showing, with blockbusters we all saw coming to surprisingly awesome looking indie flicks.
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 MONTH of 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
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GAGS THE CLOWN
09/02/2019 - VOD
An unidentified man in Green Bay, WI has captured worldwide attention for roaming the streets dressed as a clown. Many write it off as a harmless prank, others aren't so sure. When a group of friends cross paths with the clown everyone calls Gags, his true intentions are revealed.
Jack: Hey news reporter woman? Ain’t no in the god damn way that clown could ever be seen as “an attempt to entertain” the citizens. Just nope. I’m pretty interested in the found footage coulrophobia thing, and this looks well put together. This one’s a watch.
Jake: Interested to see where they go with the clown sighting backdrop and relieved that this movie is small enough that it won’t spark another bout of that shit. Also, this is going to get a few extra watches just because of IT, so good work I guess?
Mark: I’ll admit that the opening of the trailer had me thinking that this was just going to be another low budget forgettable clown-slasher something or other, but it really turned around in the second half. I am surprised by how excited I am for this movie. If there were a dude in a clown costume with black balloons standing outside my house I would shit a brick.
09/05/2019 - SHUDDER
In the household of Lee Gyeong-jin, a high-ranking official of Joseon Kingdom, three sons die from an unidentified horror. A woman pregnant with a child of the third son soon learns of the evil spirit that haunts the house.
Jack: Judging from the visuals alone, this kind of feels more like a J-Horror flick than it does some of the more arty and high-minded stuff Korean horror directors have given us in the past few years. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I love a good J-Horror flick, but it’s kind of interesting.
Jake: It’s pretty hard to tell how this will be without being able to understand any of the dialog, but this is a movie that’s been out for a minute and Shudder is gobbling it up to bring it to our market as an exclusive. I’ve been enjoying their recent entries, and I really like a lot of K-horror, particularly from a directorial perspective, so I’m excited that this could be a good flick. Looking forward to having English subtitles though...
Mark: I don’t speak Korean so I am just going to assume that this is a movie about a house haunted by a ghost that has a thing for knives. It’s actually kind of interesting watching a trailer where there is speech that you can’t understand because you have to pay attention to the other details. What I learned from this experience? This movie does not look particularly interesting from a visual perspective except for that snippet of the room filled with knives.
IT CHAPTER TWO
09/06/2019 - THEATRICAL
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
Jack: Yep. On board. Duh. I don’t even care that this is probably going to approaching the three-hour mark. I’m still excited.
Jake: Everybody’s got clammy hands for this one and the trailers sure make it seem like it’ll be a hell of a ride. Far and away the biggest thing we will get this month, if not this year.
Mark: Really though, what more can be added at this point? It Chapter One was absolutely stellar and this one has all that momentum rolling into a hellish second act. Also, have we talked enough about Bill Hader being in this? That was a rhetorical question, no we have not talked enough about it.
09/06/2019 - VOD
A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life - and her tips - when her last order of the night turns out to be high society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.
Jack: This looks hilarious. It’s going to be totally dependent on the performances of the leads to sell it, but it those are there, then this could be truly great. I am a little confused about the inciting incident. Did they not know they ordered pizza? Did she happen to just go to the wrong address? If they didn’t know the pizza was coming, what was their plan to acquire a virgin? Satanists never think things through these days.
Jake: Oh boy, I want this to be as fun and funny as the trailer makes it seem but I have no idea if it will have the legs for a feature-length movie. The trailer ended on the perfect note though, so I’m hoping that somehow says something about the movie too and I have never once been burned by this logic nope nope nope.
Mark: This month is off to a strong start. I have a special place in my heart for horror-comedies because the two genres are seemingly so opposed but share so much common ground. When you find one that works, they really work. Will this one fall into that category? We’ll have to wait until the 6th to find out, but I’m certainly not discouraged by the trailer.
09/10/2019 - VOD
A comic book obsessed serial killer teaches his son how to get away with a series of brutal murders until the boy befriends a mysterious man who threatens to expose everything.
Jack: Between Arctic and Polar that both came out recently starring Mads Mikkelsen, there is no way I will remember in a few months that this a) was a horror movie and b) did not star Mads Mikkelsen. Does that say nothing about how good this looks and more about how dumb I am? Yes, probably. But I thought it was worth mentioning anyway.
Jake: Interesting name. Assuming it’s related to a comic… Anywhooo, there looks like there’s gonna be some wrasslin’ in this one. Seriously, there’s gonna be some brutal, hand-to-hand violence when that dad and dude with the barcode neck tat get ahold of each other and I am down.
Mark: I love me a good stylish serial killer romp and the sultry vocals sure are intriguing. I get a bit of a Devil’s Candy vibe out of this one that I hope it can capitalize on.
09/13/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
A disillusioned field surgeon suffering from PTSD makes a man out of body parts and brings him to life in a Brooklyn loft.
Jack: This looks like a cool take on Frankenstein, and despite its obviously low budget looks like it’ll be a good watch. But what about the Frankenstein story is perfectly reflective of our time? Don’t get me wrong, the world is presently a nightmare and there’s plenty to pillory about it, but I’m just not seeing the prescience of Frankenstein’s themes. Again though, probably wrong. Dumb guy.
Jake: This looks like an interesting and entertaining enough flick to have on around this time of year and you add onto the pile that there is a 100% chance for a Fessenden sighting, and there’s basically no way I’m not going to throw this one on.
Mark: Up to this point in my life I’ve only had exposure to The Fess as an actor and sometimes as a producer. Looking into his background I see he actually also has pretty storied chops as a director and writer as well. Who knew? (That was another rhetorical question, everybody other than me probably already knew.) If nothing else this will at least be a break from the same old storylines, which is a bit ironic since this is an incredibly old story with a modern twist.
09/13/2019 - VOD
On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an "extreme" haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.
Jack: Between Hell House LLC and the Houses October Built, the “extreme haunted house is too extreme” genre is already full of some great flicks. This has a lot to live up to. I’m not saying it can’t do it, but I also didn’t necessarily see anything in that trailer that would make me watch this instead of one of those again.
Jake: Ok, movie - to say “A Quiet Place writers” is horseshit and you know it. It should say “From the writers of A Quiet Place except for the person you give any fucks about”. That has a better ring to it. Also, with Eli Roth involved, it’ll be interesting to see how much of a gore-hound flick this is.
Mark: Equal parts Funhouse Massacre and Houses October Built, this movie is right up my alley. You throw in some heavy hitting names and a decent budget and I am all the way on board. Yes, I’ve effectively already seen this movie. But also yes, I will still be watching it and probably throwing it into my stable of “people are killed in a theme park” horror movies that I rotate through on an annual basis.
09/13/2019 - NETFLIX
Lured back to her hometown, a famous horror writer discovers that the evil spirit who plagues her dreams is now wreaking havoc in the real world.
Jack: Oh hell yeah. I love these kinds of movies with a supernatural element that lets them tie terrifying vignettes of dread and jump scares together with a vague plot. The best ones have strong thematic overtones that pervade the whole thing, but I don’t even care, because some of these scares look downright great. I just hope they didn’t give all the best scares away in the trailer. Also, I speak French, so that probably helps.
Jake: Given the language barrier, it’ll probably take me awhile to get to something like this, if I do at all. I still haven’t watched Dark and I’ve heard that’s amazing. This looks good, but it probably won’t be me you hear talk about it anytime soon.
Mark: I would like to start by saying a big “thank you” to Netflix for actually releasing a trailer this time and not just a cryptic title with no other information. As with most Netflix horror content, this looks very promising. Barrier to entry is a little higher than usual due to it being in French, but I’ll still probably get around to it eventually. Just let me watch through Hill House a few more times...
3 FROM HELL
09/16/2019 - THEATRICAL
Crazed killers Baby Firefly, Captain Spaulding and Otis Driftwood return to unleash bloody mayhem.
Jack: I guess now some of the triplet imagery from the Devil’s Rejects makes a little more sense. I don’t know that we really needed a third installment in this series, but I do know that the people who loved those first two movies--and there are people who loved those first two--are going to be giddy about this. And hey, if it makes people happy, then who am I to say we didn’t need it?
Jake: My god that trailer was annoying. Shut the fuck up, Sheri Moon Zombie.
Mark: I like that they can toss out “A modern masterpiece of horror” but then cite absolutely no one person or media outlet who is attached to that quote. Actually, they don’t even have quotes around it so they’re just labeling it that themselves. It’s a bold move, Rob, let’s see how it plays out.
09/17/2019 - VOD
It's Halloween weekend and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast, Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he's resurrected to seek revenge against those that wronged him.
Jack: Diner tip: do not use the paper you’re intending to read with your breakfast as a coaster for your coffee. You’re at a diner, you probably don’t even need to be worrying too much about coasters, that’s why the have the laminate countertops. Diner faux pas aside, this thing looks stylistic as all hell, right down to the choice of vehicles that appear in every scene. This looks amazing.
Jake: there was a weird sensation that washed over me as I watched this trailer. I can’t place whether the melancholy autumnal vibe and general low-budget sheen is going to be a boon for the movie (it worked for Halloween) or if it is truly going to be empty. The total lack of any words spoken in the trailer could be a stylistic choice but it’s also making me somewhat hesitant.
Mark: Gags The Clown Producers: “We have a bunch of scary clowns. What do you got?”
Candy Corn Producers: “We only have one clown.”
GTC: “HA! Suck it!”
CCP: “He’s played by a little person.”
CCP: “And our trailer has only ominous music and no spoken words at all.”
GTC: “Shit, we better get ours out first.”
09/17/2019 - VOD
A stillborn baby girl is abducted by a morgue attendant and brought back to life by electrokinetic power. On her 16th birthday, she escapes captivity and sets out to find her birth mother, leaving a trail of destruction behind her.
Jack: I don’t want to just come on here and do nothing but bash on a thing I’m sure people worked hard on, but this trailer isn’t leaving me too much choice. I know what I’ll do. I’ll talk about how the past tense of the verb “fuel” is “fueled” in American English but “fuelled” in the Queen’s English. What? Why? This isn’t like adding an unnecessary “u” into words ending in “or”. I cannot fathom the reason for this difference.
Jake: Holy mackerel this looks awful. Lips don’t approach matching the audio, there are multiple perplexing and horrible looking (probable) deaths in the trailer, and the thing used two pull quotes from the same outfit. Not even barbara Crampton can save this from bottom 1 territory.
Mark: That baby looks like it’s 80 years old. I just wanted to say that. Holy shit. This movie looks terrible.
HELL HOUSE LLC 3: LAKE OF FIRE
09/19/19 - SHUDDER
The doors of the Abbadon Hotel will once again be opened to the public, and its horrors will be unleashed upon the world.
Jack: I did really dig how short that trailer was. In and out. That said, I want to be so much excited for this movie than I am. The first Hell House just absolutely ruled. I wish I had not watched the second. Really hoping this follows the path of the first, although it seems to already be taking after the second in the unnecessary subtitles game.
Jake: Hell House LLC was incredibly awesome and I got all excited for the 2nd installment, got really drunk, and had a BAD time. I should go back and watch it again before this comes out to have a more enlightened (sober) viewpoint as I prep for this one, but I can tell you that despite my feelings towards the second, the fact that I’m planning for my viewing of the 3rd means something.
Mark: Unlike 3 From Hell, Hell House 1 actually was a masterpiece of modern horror. And although Hell House 2 was a bit divisive amongst our group, I liked it for what it was. If number 3 just stays the course I’ll be happy. If it improves recaptures the magic we had from number 1 I would be thrilled.
09/20/2019 - VOD
Evan (Seann William Scott) values family above all else, and anyone who gets between him, his wife, and newborn son learns that the hard way. But when it comes to violent tendencies, it seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Jack: Seann William Scott is a much better actor than people give him credit for, and he looks to be on full display in this. Not the most original story, but it looks well made. I will say that, from all the stuff Blumhouse has produced (a lot), they chose three very strange movies to sell this one with (Sinister, the Visit, and Upgrade). All good movies, but weird choices.
Jake: So it’s Stiffler as Dexter sorta. Seems like a fit, honestly.
Mark: I am always interested to see what Blumhouse has coming down the pipe. It seems like they’ve really been concentrating on varying their offerings over the last few years. They’re not all winners but they’re at least trying some new things. This looks more like a thriller than your typical honest to god horror fare, but we’re an inclusive outfit over here so we decided to include it.
09/20/2019 - VOD
An egotistical megalomaniac CEO leads her staff on a corporate team-building caving weekend to New Mexico. When disaster strikes, not even their useless guide can save them. Trapped underground by a cave-in, this mismatched and disgruntled group must pull together in order to survive.
Jack: This looks hilarious and has a stacked cast, but I don't care. You stole the “team / meat” joke from Shaun of the Dead, and a meta commentary on that joke theft would have been totally appropriate, but none was displayed. Shame on you.
Jake: This isn’t horror but people are going to eat Ed Helms and crack jokes and therefore we are including it here because you’ll probably be on board for that, too.
Mark: Okay so this trailer makes it seem like this isn’t a horror movie except some light cannibalism. Actually, that description sounds a lot like Bone Tomahawk. Here’s the thing, it’s tagged as horror on imdb and it is a movie about being trapped in a cave starving to death with your coworkers. If nothing else, that's a pretty horrifying scenario in its own right.
09/20/2019 - THEATRICAL
After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.
Jack: Jeffrey emm effiing Donovan. Yes. This looks absolutely bonkers. Not much to say here. If you didn’t get a giddy gleefulness from that trailer, then there’s nothing I can do. You’re too far gone.
Jake: Wow, what a cast. Bill Skarsgård is the official dude of September horror movies. The crown was already on his head before this came around, but now he’s just swinging his nuts around. Also,this has Jeffrey Donovan with one hell of an accent. Looks awesome. Will watch.
Mark: I. Fucking. Love. Jeffrey Donovan. My favorite part of Sicario was his four lines of dialogue and the fraction of a second that they cut to him during that one gun fight. I actually kinda liked Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. This looks incredible. I am all the way in. Now I’m just sitting here curious if the little girl is a demon or a zombie. Maybe both?
THE BLACK STRING
09/24/2019 - VOD
Jonathan is a lonely twenty-something, stuck in his home town working night shifts at the local convenience store. When an unexpected encounter with a mysterious woman turns his life upside down, Jonathan is stricken by illness and nightmarish visions. Paranoid and desperate, he launches on a quest across the suburbs to find the seductress who started it all.
Jack: Wow. I was not expecting much at the beginning of the trailer, but damn if that didn’t suck me in. Weird supernatural stuff with some likely body horror elements? Yes please.
Jake: It was really hard to listen to this trailer while the narration was ripping me back to the 90’s and rendering me incapable of anything but thinking about the last time I heard this voice in a trailer. It would have been the last time I played a VHS, probably.
Mark: Wow what is with that voiceover? Honestly, the last time we had earnest VO like that Frankie Muniz was still on TV. Heyooo. What a transition… While we’re on the topic of Frankie Muniz, my understanding was that he had retired to pursue his passion of being an unapologetic millionaire. I’m a little curious what caught his eye about this movie that inspired him to come back to the game.
09/27/2019 - THEATRICAL
Rose, a sweet, lonely driving instructor in rural Ireland, is gifted with supernatural abilities. When a local girl is cursed and starts levitating she must overcome the fear of her supernatural gift & work with the girls father to save the girl, get the guy and be home in time for a light snack...maybe a yogurt or something...
Jack: That was the most unexpected Will Forte I dare say I’ve ever experienced. Came out of nowhere, he did. Look, this looks funny, and the cast looks like they have good chemistry, but I’m a hair concerned that it’s diving a little bit in the pointing out its own shortcomings as jokes thing. Like when he points out how unnecessarily gross the situation is. Funny joke, but pointing out your problems just becomes a problem at some point.
Jake: This one’s got a wee bit o’ whimsy. It looks pretty funny, but I’m not necessarily running towards this kind of content with great frequency. It’ll probably take some additional mentions or accolades down the line to make me remember this exists after I stop typing this sentence.
Mark: So I’m guessing a marketing firm released a report on the success of horror comedies in the month of September? This just seems like a notable uptick in frequency is all I’m saying. Will Forte is incredibly fun to watch and Maeve Higgins seems charming so I’m thinking they’ll have something fun to watch here. I’m only concerned that they might get lost in the wash.
09/27/2019 - VOD
A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.
Jack: So this unquestionably took inspiration from Gaspar Noe, but I’m sincerely hoping they combine the cool and stunning visuals with some actual coherence of narrative. Because Gaspar Noe is still out there doing his thing. Making straight up pornography and calling it an “art film.” This does look beautiful though.
Jake: “Plays like Gaspar Noe meets…” That sentence does not need to be completed to be completely understood. This movie will be artsy for the sake of being artsy. It will have colors and camera tricks and probably at least one POV sequence with random credits in random places with random orientations. It’s high-concept, man.
Mark: So wait are they vampires or just artistic? Also, wasn’t bliss the name of the drug from Far Cry 5? Well, those are my two pieces of input for this one. Glad I could help.
THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD
09/27/2019 - VOD
A college class project on creation and destruction of modern myth, turns terrifying when a trio of young people come to realize the urban legends surrounding the famed Buckout Road may, in fact, be real.
Jack: I don’t know if it’s the frame rate or something from the compression or uploading, but why the hell was that so choppy? They clearly had a decent enough camera, so why not fix that issue before releasing the trailer? I really couldn’t focus on anything else.
Jake: Why the fuck is Danny Glover in this movie?
Mark: I mean, they can’t all be winners right? This looks like the generic low budget “hope they had fun making it” adventure for the month.
FREAKS is getting a wider release 09/13/2019. We talked about it last month when it got a limited theatrical release.
POLAROID is apparently actually coming out now. We talked about this, like, a year ago or something like that.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
TOP 1 (THAT ISN’T JUST IT CHAPTER TWO WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY ALL OF OUR TOP PICK)
Jack: Maryanne - I really like the look of this one. And the fact that it’s on netflix puts the barrier to entry at effectively zero. I think this is going to be downright scary.
Jake: Villains - This would obviously be IT Chapter 2, but this is an incredibly strong looking movie in its own right. It seems like it will have something unique to offer and the cast is incredible.
Mark: Haunt - This is basically tied with Villains for me, but Jake already said that one and I like to bring you some variety. Haunt is exactly the type of movie that I like to watch, and it looks good to boot. Why not lean into that synergy?
Jack: Reborn - Sorry Barbara, it just really doesn’t look good.
Jake: Reborn - I had to do it. Sorry. The Curse of Buckout Road was close but that seems like it’s more well constructed within the low budget arena, and it has Danny Glover for some absurd reason so I’m at least mildly interested in taking a peek.
Mark: Reborn - I hate it when Jake, Jack, and I are in lock-step because it usually means I’m wrong but this is a pretty strong month and this looks like a massive whiff.