Life is scary. What better way to escape with something even more terrifying?
Like seasons past, the spine-tingling chill of autumn also rings in a new slew of horror movies. We’ve got slashers. We’ve got the supernatural. We’ve got Stephen King. We’ve got bloodshed so stupid you’ll be rolling over in the aisle. The horror genre contains multitudes, and the next four months promises to be gruesomely eclectic.
Here are the horror movies to watch out for this fall:
It: Chapter Two
Directed by Andy Muschietti, opening Sept. 6
The boys (and one girl) are back in town! The hotly anticipated follow-up to It is hitting theaters almost exactly two years later, and will be delving into the aftermath of The Losers Club’s run-in with Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). Having promised to return home to destroy the clown should it ever return, the gang — now all adults — make their way back to face their demons once again.
Directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, opening Sept. 13
The pair behind A Quiet Place break out on their own with a haunted house movie set on Halloween. According to the official synopsis, the group of friends that enters the nonchalant haunted pad go in assuming it’s all gag and walk out — er, try to walk out — confronting their darkest fears.
“Our approach to Haunt was informed by two infatuations; our love of simple, streamlined B-movies and our shared experience of growing up together in Iowa, frequenting the local haunts as teenagers,” Beck and Woods said in a director’s statement. “ If A Quiet Place was our ode to ‘prestige’ horror and an attempt to elevate tired genre conventions, then Haunt was our counterpoint — a feeling that horror doesn’t need to be ‘elevated’ to be wonderful. It was a return to the classic slasher staples, perfected by our heroes like John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper; films that strap you into a terrifying roller coaster and plague your nightmares long after the credits roll.”
One Cut of the Dead
Directed by Shinichiro Ueda, opening Sept. 13
Festival-going zombie fans lost their brains for this Japanese genre inversion, which starts as another low-budget zombie movie and jumps through meta hopes towards a jaw-dropping conclusion. Comparisons to Shaun of the Dead run rampant, but Shinichiro Ueda’s doing something different when he cheekily pits a movie crew against the undead, orchestrating mayhem with Rube Goldberg-like invention. The movie opens in limited release in September, with 60 one-night screenings across the US and Canada are slated for Tuesday, 9/17, and an eventual home on Shudder.
3 From Hell
Directed by Rob Zombie, opening Sept. 16
The killers Baby Firefly, Captain Spaulding and Otis Driftwood apparently survived The Devil’s Rejects. Now they’re back, and possibly in prison if the Rob Zombie’s shooting locations are any indication (the decommissioned women’s prison Sybil Brand Institute in Los Angeles is at least one of the movie’s backdrops). We don’t know much about this trilogy-caper except that it’s getting a smaller release than the previous installments, courtesy of Fathom.
“The journey of these characters has always been special to me and I am thrilled to finally let the fans experience the next episode of the Firefly madness,” Zombie said in a statement. “This project was a true labor of love for everyone involved and we know we have created something amazing for the loyal followers of these films. Let the insanity begin!”
Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire
Directed by Stephen Cognetti, premiering Sept. 19 on Shudder
After a surprise sequel to the 2016 original, the third Hell House LLC is here. Here’s the official synopsis: “ In the final installment, guests both past and present will be forced to battle for their souls in Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire, as all is revealed about the infamous Abaddon Hotel and the evil that dwells there. Set one year after the events of Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel, the hotel is on the verge of being torn down when it is purchased by billionaire Russell Wynn (Gabriel T. Chytry) as the new home for his popular interactive show, “Insomnia.” He invites journalist Venessa Sheppard (Elizabeth Vermilyea) and her crew to record everything happening inside the hotel leading up to the performance, but they soon encounter a more nefarious plot, one that threatens to unleash a veritable hell on earth.”
Directed by Patrick Brice, opening Sept. 20
The scathing look at corporate team building will make any office-dweller scream — out of terror and laughter. Demi Moore stars as a narcissistic CEO who leads a pack of underlings (Jessica Williams, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Karan Soni, and Nasim Pedrad to name a few) on a spelunking expedition. An earthquake traps them and their guide (Ed Helms) underground, and implodes the hierarchy. Blood is shed. Wisecracks are made. Brice works appropriately blue, while indulging in the horror side of the scenario. It’s wicked fun.
Wrinkles the Clown
Directed by Michael Beach Nichols, opening Oct. 4
The latest from Welcome to Leith documentarian Michael Beach Nichols follows in the footsteps of the original Blair Witch with an ambiguous blend of vérité and scripted horrors. After going viral on YouTube, Wrinkles becomes the subject of a feature-length investigation on his wacky job as a for-hire Pennywise in Naples, Florida.
The Addams Family
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, opening Oct. 11
Taking full inspiration from cartoonist Charles Addams’ original designs, the new Addams family once again clashing with the “normal” world, and a stacked cast bringing the wacky antics to life. Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler and Allison Janney top the main voice cast, with Snoop Dogg showing up as It.
Zombieland: Double Tap
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, opening Oct. 18
What if Zombieland became Ruben Fleischer’s Boyhood? The franchise, which began in 2009 and is returning a decade later, seems to raise that particular thought experiment given that the exact same cast is reuniting for the sequel. It’s the same principle that Richard Linklater was operating on, isn’t it? Check in every so often on the same cast, except instead of telling a story about a boy growing up in Texas, this is about a group of people getting by in the apocalyptic wasteland.
Directed by Robert Eggers, opening Oct. 18
The Witch is a tough act to follow, but director Robert Eggers has pulled it off with his Lovecraftian odyssey, The Lighthouse. A fascinating mix of styles and mythologies, the film is a wild ride from top to bottom, defying expectations and weaving a tapestry so grand and so grim that it overflows from its near-square aspect ratio.
Directed by Mike Flanagan, opening Nov. 8
Stephen King remains the reigning king of horror movie adaptations with Doctor Sleep, which is based on his sequel to The Shining. Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor), son of The Shining lead Jack Torrance, is still struggling to find peace after what took place at the Overlook Hotel. Peace, however, is nowhere to be found, as his extrasensory gift brings him into contact with a cult searching for the key to immortality.
Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, opening Nov. 15
From the directors of the supremely effed up Goodnight Mommy comes a film that had Sundance fest-goers saying “hmm, that was supremely effed up in a Goodnight Mommy way.” The Lodge stars Richard Armitage as a father who peaces out from his family’s winter cabin, leaving his kids (Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh) under the supervision of his new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough). A blizzard trapping them inside doesn’t help the fact that something is up with Grace. Something bad.
Brahms: The Boy II
Directed by William Brent Bell, opening Dec. 6
At the end of 2016’s The Boy, Brahms, the man who lives in the walls, is seen repairing his porcelain proxy. Now Brahms is back — and so his is doll! Also named Brahms! And a new family moves in to find him. Katie Holmes is the latest victim, and not looking too thrilled to be hanging out with this creepy doll boi.
Directed by Sophia Takal, opening Dec. 13
Just over a year after producer Jason Blum made waves over his search for a woman to direct one of Blumhouse’s theatrical features, fans of the female-centric Black Christmas will get their wish when Takal (Always Shine, Into the Dark: New Year, New You) takes a stab at Bob Clark’s notorious holiday horror film. Little is known about the writer-director’s approach, but the film will star Imogen Poots (Green Room, The Art of Defense), Aleyse Shannon (Charmed), Brittany O’Grady (Star), Lily Donoghue (The Goldbergs, Jane the Virgin) and Caleb Eberhardt (Broadway’s Choir Boy), and once again pick people off in slasher fashion.