|fall's final girls: Scout Taylor-Compton and Caitlin Gerard|
Here comes the fall with Christmas to follow. It’s the beginnings of the nine month football season here in the UK and the Americans have a presidential election to look forward to – or to dread. UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones will fight and defeat Vitor Belfort1. Welterweight champion GSP will do the same to Carlos Condit2. Middleweight champion Anderson Silva can then pick and choose which of the two he will destroy in a super fight.
It’s good times for sport fans. Not so good for horror. There’s a third of the year left but nothing much happens after Halloween. The studios dump their Oscar® cringe worthy fare for senior citizens and atheists celebrate Christmas. January 1st – October 31st is the Horror calener and at this point there hasn’t been a Scream 1996, The Exorcist 1973 or even a Candyman 1991.
This fall will see television bring the genre into disrepute with the third season of TheWalking Dead and second season – egad – of American Horror Story. Mitt Romney will concede defeat and Kim Kardashian will announce her new reality show starring the fast losing credibility Kanye West.
In the meantime here are ten films to watch to keep out the white noise.
Films mentioned in The Top 10 Coming Soon Horror Movies of 2012 are not repeated. All release dates are American and wide unless otherwise stated. Each date is subject to change at an executive’s whim.
When the Lights Went Out Sep 14 UK (Limited)
The reason Spanish and J-Horror are successful outside of their countries is that they offer foreigners a look at their cultures as story. British horror used to do this in the 60s and 70s. Today British horror offers The Woman in Black 2012 and The Awakening 2012 as picture postcard propaganda.
Along comes When the Lights Went Out. It is set in the 70s but is cultural specific. This is northern working class terrain. It was a hardscrabble life then and it isn’t that different now. If this film is successful then ‘kitchen-sink horror’ could be the next big export.
Jack and Diane Sep 27 US (Video-on-Demand)
Those over 40 may remember this title as a John Cougar Mellencamp song.
John Cougar what?
Rob Zombie directs horror films. Dr Dre is producing a horror film3. John Cougar Mellencamp belongs in an 80s nostalgia barn musical off off Broadway.
Broadway in Seymour, Indiana.
The 80s musical connection doesn’t end there. Kylie Minouge, a onetime Britney Spears without the sex appeal and scandal, co-stars. The subject matter of this film would be daring if it had been released in the 80s. It’s a lesbian film – with werewolves.
Sounds like the LGBT are jumping on the horror bandwagon. Next stop; the Tea Party hires Taylor Swift to star as a minuteman fighting off an invading horde of Latino zombies.
Sinister Oct 5 US & UK
In 2005 Ethan Hawke said “Training Day (2001) was my best experience in Hollywood”4. It won Denzel Washington an Academy Award®. Since then Hawke has divorced Uma Thurman and disappeared from the multiplexes. He’s now headlining a horror film. Once upon a time people in his position used to headline TV shows. This could be a case of movie-star-go-home or – judging from the trailer – movie-star-elevates-genre.
Welcome back Hawke.
#Holdyourbreath Oct 5 US (limited)
A gimmick can circumvent a saturated market. The hashtag before the unpunctuated title means #Holdyourbreath will appear as number one on every horror list – as long as that list is in alphabetical order.
The premise is of an urban legend no one has ever heard of – because it is bespoke to the film. This is acknowledged in the trailer thus the filmmakers are sending a pre-meta message; this is the type of story where the audience goes on discovery with the characters. It’s a slasher in 80s tradition.
Disclaimer: in the 21st century women in peril don’t show their tits.
The Arrival of Wang Oct 8 UK (DVD Premiere)
Every so often there comes a film with promise and intrigue. Such a film is validation for the fans - for the horror genre touches and provokes core emotion, curiosity and intellect beyond all others.
The Arrival of Wang is validation.
Bedevilled Oct 9 US (DVD Premiere)
J-Horror, in this case by way of South Korea, is an acquired taste. One has to accept subtitles. One has to accept cultural idiosyncrasies in the art of storytelling. One of those idiosyncrasies can be called ‘torture porn’.
Debutant director Chul-soo Jang is a former assistant director to Kim Ki-duk. The latter directed The Isle 2000 and whilst not torture porn The Isle had its moments.
There are moments in the trailer when Bedevilled looks like The Isle.
That’s high praise..
Smiley Oct 11 US (ltd)
Keith David dominates the start of this well executed trailer the way he dominates in John Carpenter’s The Thing 1982. The score inflates the tension of the interrogation scene and the soundtrack punctuates the enthusiasm of the filmmakers.
This trailer promises a lot – but as good as it is it fails to cover the flaws: the movie is shot on DV, the premise sounds like Candyman 1992, Keith’s role looks suspiciously like a cameo, the monster is revealed in the trailer – to limp effect.
However, when the final girl looks like Caitlin Gerard everything else might fall into place. Flaws and all.
247ºF Oct 23 US (DVD Prem)
Scout Taylor-Compton is most famous for her role in Rob Zombie’s contribution to the Halloween franchise. It is with that notoriety that 247ºF arrives all the way from Georgia (the country not the state). Perhaps Taylor-Compton is a competent actress who was smothered by Rob Zombie’s ‘vision’. Her performance in this by-the-numbers looking genre piece is yet to be seen.
All things considered the premise actually looks good.
Wrong Turn 5 Oct 23 US (DVD Prem)
The gap between Wrong Turn 4 2011 and the designated release of Wrong Turn 5 is 53 weeks. It is unofficial: Wrong Turn is the new Saw.
It wasn’t always like this. Wrong Turn 2003 was a vehicle for then rising star Eliza Dushku (10 years later that star is now a guest on television shows). The first two sequels were good enough to exceed expectations for a Straight-to-Dvd franchise. Last year’s entry was a crash landing in a video nasty cesspit.
Wrong Turn 5 is a last chance to rescue the series. The franchise can broaden its scope and flourish or it can flutter to extinction – like Eliza Dushku’s career.
The Collection Nov 30 US
To describe The Collector 2009 as torture porn is to repeat the same mistake of describing Saw 2004 as such. The two films have more in common than misconception; they are puzzle movies in the vein of Cube 1997 and to a lesser extent Se7en 1995.
This sequel has gestated a perfect three years (it takes 18 months to write a screenplay, three months to shoot a feature, and 12 months in post production including editing). This should succeed where the Saw sequels failed.
October is top heavy but it is the September release When the Lights Went Out that holds most promise. However, with capitalism teetering on the brink of the abyss, the coming horror may well surpass anything imaginable.
I’d watch that movie.
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