[Image credit: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.]
Fall is here, the Spirit Halloween store is open, and we're starting to see everything in shades of orange and black. That means one thing: It's horror movie season! Sure, horror is now a year-round event, but autumn is still the best time to watch some spooky stories on the big screen.
Starting with movies releasing in October and going straight through into the short winter days of the new year (which are also great for horror!), there are plenty of good choices for Halloween fans and horror hounds. The director of THE WITCH returns with THE LIGHTHOUSE, which watches two great actors, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, unravel while stuck in a remote location. And Stephen King's stories are back on screen when DOCTOR SLEEP, the sequel to THE SHINING, arrives in November. Those are just the beginning. Here are seven great horror films we’re looking forward to in the back half of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, to keep that Halloween spirit going well into the new year.
[Image Credit: A24]
Set the stage for the spooky Halloween season with this black and white chiller. Writer/director Robert Eggers captured arthouse horror audiences with THE WITCH in 2015; now he returns with THE LIGHTHOUSE, an even more stripped-down tale of terror that feels as if it has been dug up from some shadowy hiding place. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star in this black and white film about two lighthouse keepers who may have too much time on their hands — and whose isolated existence on a New England island in the 1890s leads to madness. There might also be a mermaid? Think of this as an update to the old Universal Monster movies that have long been October movie staples. [October 18]
[Image Credit: Warner Bros.]
In 2013, Stephen King published the sequel to his early novel “The Shining,” and now the feature film version is almost ready to scare anyone willing to venture back to the Overlook Hotel with a now-grown Danny Torrance. Dan (played by Ewan McGregor) has suppressed the “shining” power that turned his young life into hell. When messages begin reaching him in the night, however, he meets a young woman, Abra (Kyliegh Curran), who also has the “shine.” Together, they confront a group which preys on powers such as theirs — and Dan finally faces the fears that took such horrifying form in the corridors of an isolated old hotel. If you needed an excuse to run around with a (fake) axe as part of your Halloween costume, just say you're getting ready for this movie. [November 8]
[Image Credit: Blumhouse Productions / Universal Pictures]
Just because the Jack o' Lanterns have all collapsed doesn't mean we can't enjoy a horror movie in December. In 1974, Bob Clark’s BLACK CHRISTMAS, which is based on the old “the call is coming from inside the house!” urban legend, became one of the first slasher films, and the defining Christmas horror movie. (Context for the younger readers: Everything was different before cell phones.) Clark’s movie followed a group of college students whose sorority house is infiltrated by a killer. Now Sophia Takal is doing a new version, with co-writer April Wolfe, for Blumhouse. Imogen Poots stars in the remake, with Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue and Caleb Eberhardt also in the cast. [December 13]
[Image Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Call it "Halloween in July." Kristen Stewart plays a researcher who, along with a few other crew members, is stranded deep underwater after an earthquake wrecks their submerged lab. That's only the beginning of their problems, however, as it seems like there's something more than fish down in the depths. The first trailer for UNDERWATER gives off strong ALIEN vibes, which is all we need to get excited. T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel and John Gallagher Jr. co-star. [January 10, 2020]
[Image Credit: United Artists Releasing]
Osgood Perkins, the son of PSYCHO star Anthony Perkins, has become one of the best new directors of eerie horror movies. (Check out his movie THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER.) We wish his new take on a classic Grimm fairy tale would be around for Halloween 2019, but waiting is its own sort of horror. GRETEL & HANSEL follows a young girl (IT's Sophia Lillis) and her little brother (Sammy Leakey) into a dark wood, in desperate search of food and work. There, as you can probably guess from the title, they find a horrifying evil. [January 31, 2020]
[Image Credit: Paramount Pictures]
The sequel to A QUIET PLACE went into development almost as soon as the first film became a smash hit. Original director/star John Krasinski returned to write and direct, while Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are all back to reprise their original characters as the Abbott family. Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou also came on board to play important roles, but we don't know how they fit in. In fact, we have a lot of questions. Is Krasinski's character, Lee Abbott, alive? How will this sequel develop the story of a world dominated by aggressive creatures that respond to the slightest sound? And what have the survivors learned about fighting the monsters since we last saw them? We'll find out next spring. [March 20, 2020]
[Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]
In ANTLERS, a small-town Oregon teacher (Keri Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, discover that a young student (Jeremy T. Thomas) is harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences. Which sounds pretty nebulous, but the film's first trailer shows that the secret in question could be bloody, and monstrous. Part of the appeal of ANTLERS is that it is the first horror film from Scott Cooper, who previously made movies like CRAZY HEART, BLACK MASS and OUT OF THE FURNACE.