Summer is winding down, which only means that the best time of year is fast approaching. The stores are already starting to put out telltale signs that the Halloween season is on its way, signaling that peak horror programming is also almost here. While there’s been no shortage of horror so far, the 2018 Fall schedule is densely packed with genre offerings for all ages. Hotly anticipated sequels, a surprise reboot, and a ton of original content makes this Halloween season seem even more exciting. To help you prepare, here’s the fall movie preview:
Cold Skin – September 7
Based on a novel of the same name by Albert Sánchez Piñol, the latest by director Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), The Divide) follows a young man who takes a post at a remote island near the Antarctic Circle as a weather observer only to find himself in the middle of a war between the island’s signal official Gruner (Ray Stevenson) and hostile aquatic humanoids that inhabit the island. While Kalyn’s review out of Fantasia praises the film’s stunning cinematography and creature effects, the narrative runs too long. For fans missing The Shape of Water, this period creature feature might be for you.
Mara- September 7
Olga Kurylenko stars as criminal psychologist Kate Fuller, assigned to a murder case involved a man strangled by his own wife. The further she digs into the case and the mystery of a demon that kills people in their sleep, she begins experiencing the same symptoms as previous victims. Another horror movie revolving sleep paralysis, there’s been very little buzz on this one so far. Considering we’re just weeks away from release that doesn’t signal confidence. Horror favorite Javier Botet also stars as the titular demon Mara.
The Nun – September 7
The latest entry in The Conjuring universe is a spinoff revolving around The Conjuring 2’s terrifying demon Valak. A prequel spinoff set in 1952, this one follows a Catholic priest and a novice nun sent to Romania by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun. Written by Gary Dauberman (It, Annabelle: Creation) and directed by Corin Hardy (The Hallow), The Nun stars Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Bonnie Aarons, who reprises her super creepy character from The Conjuring 2. The marketing has been surprisingly light, but effective. This is a safe bet to be another big hit for the franchise, and one of the biggest releases this fall.
Lizzie – September 14
Not quite horror so much as a psychological thriller biopic based on Lizzie Borden and the infamous 1892 murders of the Borden family, Lizzie looks to delve into what drove the infamous killer to slaughter her family with an axe. Directed by Craig William Macneill (The Boy, Channel Zero), Lizzie stars Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristen Stewart as her maid, Bridget. Though this may focus more on what drove Lizzie to her homicidal tendencies, we can at least expect things to get pretty bloody.
Mandy – September 14
Co-Writer/director Panos Cosmatos’ latest looks downright insane in the best possible way. Starring Nicolas Cage, who recently revealed that he drew character inspiration from Jason Voorhees, this ‘80s set cult action horror film sees his character hunting a religious cult for murdering the love of his life. Colorful, intense, and bloody, the trailer gave us all we needed to know to be completely sold. If you need more, however, then here’s two promising words: Chainsaw Battle.
The Predator – September 14
While the posters for this sequel have been amazing, the trailers have been a little lackluster. But with Shane Black at the helm, and a screenplay that he co-wrote with Fred Dekker, there should be some interesting surprises in store. The plot for this entry has the lethal hunters returning to earth thanks to an accidental summoning by a young boy. An assembled crew of ex-soldiers and a science teacher is the only thing standing in the way of the end of the human race. Starring Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Jane, Boyd Holbrook, Jake Busey, Keegan-Michael Key, and Yvonne Stahovski, The Predator looks to pay homage to the previous films while carving out its own space in the series.
Assassination Nation – September 21
“This is a thousand percent a true story about how the quiet, all-American town of Salem absolutely lost its mind.” Between this and our own Fred Topel’s review out of Sundance, who says “the climax does not disappoint,” all signs are pointing to a thriller steeped in ultra-violence. And we can’t wait. Written and directed by Sam Levinson, and starring Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, Abra, and Bill Skarsgard, Assassination Nation looks insane.
The House with a Clock in its Walls – September 21
This kid-friendly genre film follows a young orphan named Lewis who assists his uncle in trying to stop the end of the world. Based on the gothic horror children’s novel by John Bellairs, this adaptation has the potential to turn into a series like its book counterpart. It stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, and Kyle MacLachlan, and the trailer indicates a festive Halloween set family film of spooky magic and holiday-themed iconography. All of that is enticing enough, but the biggest reason we’re intrigued? The director is Eli Roth.
Hell Fest – September 28
A masked serial killer makes a Halloween themed amusement park his playground, with attendees none the wiser. That is, until a group of friends start to suspect something might be very, very wrong. Directed by Gregory Plotkin, editor of Happy Death Day and Get Out and director of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Hell Fest marks the potential resurgence of the slasher just in time for the Halloween season. The film stars Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, and Bex Taylor-Klaus with appearances by horror vet Tony Todd.
Hold the Dark – September 28 (Netflix)
This thriller doesn’t sound remotely connected to horror at all; the plot follows a writer hired by parents to help with the search for their missing son in the Alaskan wilderness after the deaths of three children suspected to be by wolves. But the director is Jeremy Saulnier whose previous film was the edge-of-your-seat intense thriller Green Room. Saulnier has recently stated that Hold the Dark has the highest body count of all his films so far, which sounds right in our wheelhouse. This one is a Netflix exclusive.
Venom – October 5
Thanks to the marketing so far, it’s still unclear whether this will be an ultra-violent introduction to the cinematic iteration of this Marvel antihero, or a turd on the wind. Either way, it’s long overdue for Venom to get his own feature, and just in time for Halloween. Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, a down on his luck journalist that comes into contact with an alien symbiote that grants him superpowers and really, really sharp looking teeth. Venom also stars Michelle Williams and is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also helmed Zombieland and the upcoming Zombieland Too.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – October 12
The sequel to the 2015 family-oriented horror movie based on the works of R.L. Stine follows two boys who unwittingly release Slappy on Halloween Night. The boys then must enlist help to stop Slappy from teaming up with his monster allies to unleash a Halloween Apocalypse. Personally, a Halloween Apocalypse sounds like something that should actually exist, which means that this sequel should be a fun time. Featuring a whole new cast led by Jeremy Ray Taylor (It), Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween might become a new holiday staple for the burgeoning horror fan.
Apostle – October 12 (Netflix)
In 2014, Dan Stevens impressed as the badass but creepy villain David Collins in the Adam Wingard directed, Halloween set action horror film The Guest. Four years later he looks to be playing another badass in period action thriller Apostle, a Netflix exclusive. Written and directed by Gareth Evans, who previously wrote and directed the ultra-violent film The Raid and the V/H/S 2 segment “Safe Haven,” we can anticipate that Evans will unleash the carnage and mayhem here, too. Stevens plays a man attempting to rescue his sister from a religious cult. We’re so in.
Halloween – October 19
The biggest event of the Halloween season; the highly anticipated sequel set 40 years after final girl Laurie Strode’s first battle with boogeyman Michael Myers finally arrives. Directed by David Gordon Green, based on a script that Green co-wrote with Danny McBride, Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their roles from the original film for one epic final showdown. This sequel ignores everything that came after the first film and instead follows a Laurie Strode that spent the last four decades preparing for the return of Myers. John Carpenter serves as executive producer as well as handles the new score. Go ahead, box office, take our money now.
Suspiria – November 2
By now, the post-Halloween blues are setting in, which makes this release a surprising salve. What was once a maligned reboot of a beloved classic has since become one of the year’s most anticipated thanks to a killer trailer and brilliant marketing. Written by David Kajganich and directed by Luca Guadagnino, this reboot is smartly taking a very different approach to the vivid colored world Dario Argento introduced in 1977. Dakota Johnson stars as Susie Bannion, the ambitious young dancer who finds her world-renowned dance school may harbor some dark, deadly secrets. The cast also harbors some intriguing secrets. Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, and Chloe Grace Moretz also star, but so does a mysterious Lutz Ebersdorf, an elder actor with no other prior film credits and a rather intriguing IMDb profile. Well played, Suspiria, well played. This is the reboot we may not have wanted, but we absolutely need.
Overlord – November 9
A World War II set horror film by producer J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company finds its American paratroopers at the center of the film contending with more than the grim realities of war when they discover monstrous Nazi experiments lurking behind enemy lines. Abrams has announced that Overlord is not a part of the Cloverfield series, which I hope is the truth as it’d be nice to have a straightforward action horror film. We can always use more creature features. Wyatt Russell stars.
Anna and the Apocalypse – November 30
The perfect signal for the conclusion of Fall is this Christmas zombie musical, which Trace said is “sure to earn a spot on your annual holiday viewing list” and promises that “the blood flows.” The quiet town of Little Haven becomes inundated with zombies at Christmas, forcing Anna and her friends to fight, and sing, their way through the horde of undead to get to their loved ones. This looks to be much grimmer than any high school musical we’ve seen before. Ella Hunt stars as Anna.
Climax – TBD
The latest by Gaspar Noe (Irreversible) by way of A24 is said to be a “Satanic Step Up.” A hallucinatory descent into madness over one night of partying when a celebrating dance troupe pounds drinks laced with LCD, we can expect Climax to be a surrealistic nightmare. And judging by Noe’s previous films, this could very well be brutal, too. Starring Sofia Boutella, Climax doesn’t have a release date yet but should be coming this year.
Slice – TBD
Another A24 film, writer/director Austin Vesely’s feature debut should have a release date soon. Not much is known about it yet, other than an intriguing plot synopsis: “When a pizza delivery driver is murdered on the job, the city searches for someone to blame: ghosts? drug dealers? a disgraced werewolf?” Yes, please. All of it. Especially the bit about the disgraced werewolf. If that’s somehow not enough to get you on board, Slice also stars Chance the Rapper.