As the dust settles on the rugged horror landscape of 2015 it’s time to look to the future and the films that have the greatest potential to impress, unnerve and amuse fright fans over the coming year.
What ? : “Five interlocking tales of terror follow the fates of a group of weary travellers who confront their worst nightmares – and darkest secrets – over one long night on a desolate stretch of desert highway.”
Why ? : Because the anthology movie ruled in 2015 and remains a great format to deliver short sharp horror jolts.
Look out for David Bruckner’s segment Accident sure to be one of the horror highlights of the year.
Its got Larry Fessenden in it.
When ? : UK – Early 2016 USA – 9th Feb (internet)
OUTLAWS AND ANGELS
What ? : “When Outlaws on the lam invade the home of an unsuspecting, seemingly innocent, frontier family to hide out for the night, an unexpected game of cat and mouse ensues, leading to seduction, role reversal, and ultimately, bloody revenge.”
Why ? : Because it’s the debut leading role for Francesca Eastwood the daughter of non other than Hollywood royalty Clint Eastwood and this will undoubtedly be the springboard for a glittering career.
The revenge western is ripe with horror tropes and the soundtrack is superb.
It is presented in a gratifying 35 mm format.
When ? : UK – 12th June USA – 25th May TRAILER
THE CONJURING 2 : THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST
What ? : OFFICIAL PLOT UNKNOWN. However the Guy Lyon Playfair penned source material is well renowned for being underwear stainingly scary.
Book synopsis : “This is the Amazing Story of the Enfield Poltergeist On August 31st 1977, normal life ended for Mrs Harper and her four children in their modest council house in a hitherto quiet corner of the north London suburb of Enfield. No other case of its kind has been so well witnessed from start to finish or so thoroughly documented. Incidents are described as they happened, without embellishment, from some six hundred pages of transcripts of live tape recordings. ”
Why ? : Because of all the genre pies James Wan (Saw) has his finger firmly planted in this franchise is the most likely to serve up a genuine slice of healthy horror goodness.
It’s the great white hope for mainstream scares in 2016 and a Conjuring movie set in 1970’s England should be a blast.
The recent success of The Enfield Haunting starring Timothy Spall (Dream Demon) showed there is plenty of scope for terror in the original book This House is Haunted.
When ? : UK – 17th June USA – 10th June
What ? : “Set at an all girls boarding school, February tells the story of two women bound together by a series of sinister events.”
Why ? : Because this artfully crafted shocker is directed by non other than the son of horror legend Anthony Perkins (Psycho).
This is the first time in the chair for Osgood Perkins and judging from the gushing praise for his movie it certainly wont be the last.
The always watchable Emma Roberts stars as she continues to dabble in the macabre after her stint in American Horror Story.
When ? : UK – Early 2016 USA – 9th Feb (internet) TRAILER
What ? : “Reeling from a terrifying assault, a 19 year-old boy enrolls into college with his brother and pledges the same fraternity. What happens there, in the name of “brotherhood” tests the boy and his loyalty to his brother in brutal ways.”
Why ? : Because exactly what the world needs right now is a scathing indictment of poisonous masculine values laced with horror neorealism.
Goat has transcended the Midnight sidebar of the prestigious and influential Sundance Festival and is competing in the US dramatic section.
Could well be one of the most talked about films of the year.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 USA – 22nd Jan premier
What ? : “Richard Sullivan has spent the past ten years as an innocent man on death row. Witnessing savage killings at the hands of the prison’s sadistic and psychotic Warden, Sullivan decides that in order to survive he must match the brutality occurring in the prison.But as he fights to escape his fate, Sullivan is forced to question his sanity and confront his own horrific past”
Why ? : Because it’s directed by the under rated Chad Ferrin who is not afraid to explore the dark and clammy caves of the cinematic universe as he did with the viciously nebulous Someone’s Knocking at the Door.
The source material is a graphic novel that puts the emphasis heavily on the “graphic”.
It features perfecter of the sleeper hold Roddy Piper (They Live) in the eclectic cast.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 Trailer
What ? : “Two teenage yoga enthusiasts team up with a legendary man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence that is threatening their major party plans.”
Why? : Because it’s directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks) and his work is always original and charismatic.
Yoga Hosers is part of an insane trilogy sandwiched between a film about a man who turns himself into a walrus (Tusk) and a killer elk picture (Moose Jaws).
It features a character called Yogi Bayer.
When ? : UK – Mid 2016 USA – 24th Jan (Sundance Festival)
What ? : “New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another.”
Why ? : Because the festival buzz surrounding this sinister picture is universally positive.
The cinematography is ravishing and the score heavenly.
Could easily be the most grown up horror film of 2016.
When ? : UK – 11th March USA – 26th Feb TRAILER
THE UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS
What ? : “A homeless army veteran is besieged by a legion of demonic Ravens in the highlands of Scotland.”
Why ? : Because director Lawrie Brewster (Lord of Tears) is a leading light of the passionate and inventive Scottish horror scene.
The film raised a mighty £44,039 through its Kickstarter campaign proving that grass roots horror fans have faith in it.
Folk horror is coming back in fashion and the trailer looks genuinely bat-shit crazy.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 Trailer
What ? : “Part crime caper gone awry, part survival horror film, this 1970s set thriller depicts a harrowing fight for survival after a pair of wannabe crooks botch a bank heist and flee into the desert, where they inexplicably stumble upon Carnage Park, a remote stretch of wilderness occupied by a psychotic ex-military sniper.”
Why ? : Because director Mickey Keating’s star is most definitely on the rise. His movie Pod contained one of 2015’s few moments of true terror and the magnetic Darling was a festival favorite.
According to an interview with Bloody Disgusting Carnage Park is “a nod to the legendary Sam Peckinpah and his masterpiece The Getaway, the new French Extremism films of the 2000s, and The Most Dangerous Game.” Now that’s one tasty horror cocktail.
Its got Larry Fessenden in it.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 USA – Jan (Sundance Festival)
THE DEVILS CANDY
What ? : “Metal music, wet paint, and family are the passions of Jesse, a struggling painter who lives a happy life with his wife, Astrid, and their preteen daughter, Zooey. And things look even brighter when Jesse and Astrid are able to put in a bid on their dream home – a huge property in rural Texas with a barn big enough for a proper art studio – after the price is driven down due to the home’s mysterious past. After the trio moves in, Jesse’s work starts taking on a new, considerably darker flavour – and things get even more ominous when Ray, the hulking, clearly unbalanced son of the deceased former owners, appears on the doorstep one night, clutching a red electric guitar and asking to “return home.” It soon becomes clear that Ray and Jesse are both being influenced by the same satanic forces, and that Jesse’s family won’t be safe until they find a way to quiet the Devil himself.”
Why ? : Because this is the first offering from director Sean Byrne since the brilliant The Loved Ones in 2009 a movie that has been a touchstone for the genre ever since.
Deathgasm has paved the way for base metal horror and this flick should take up the baton.
It showcases another outstanding performance from the fantastic Ethan Embry on the back of Cheap Thrills, The Guest and Late Phases.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 – Possible festival inclusion.
What ? : “A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building.”
Why ? : Because this Turkish terror film is straight up nightmare fuel and accommodates some of the hardiest horror images since Martyrs.
Despite its low IMDB rating it owned the 2015 festival circuit and won best director at the epic Fantastic fest.
What ? : “A middle aged recluse psychologist who has stopped practicing years ago decides to take the case of Veronica, a young woman who’s treatment was mysteriously interrupted by the Psychologists old professor, whom has disappeared. As a condition, the Psychologist requires Veronica to stay with her in her country house for the duration of the treatment. Here, they will both discover what lies behind their deepest secrets.”
Why ? : Because horror savant extraordinaire Alan Jones of Frightfest fame loved the Mexican movie when he saw it at Argentina’s Ventana Sur Film Market.
The film evolves slowly from stark black and white into glorious technicolor as it progresses.
When ? : UK – Expect festival appearances in 2016
What ? : “31 tells the story of five carnies in 1976 kidnapped on the morning of Halloween and held hostage in a remote industrial Hell. While trapped, they are forced to play a violent game called 31. The mission is to survive 12 hours against an endless gang of grease-painted maniacs.”
Why ? : Because it’s a Rob Zombie film and despite the fact that he attracts more trolls than a Scandinavian folklore festival he still makes rip-roaring, kick – ass horror movies.
Currently in a pitched battle with the censors 31 might actually refer to the number of times this film will have to be submitted before it can shimmy past the dreaded NC -17 rating.
It features cult legend Malcolm McDowell ( A Clockwork Orange ) playing a character called Father Murder.
When ? : UK – Dependent on censorship issues USA – 23rd Jan (Sundance Film Festival)
What ? : “10-year-old Nicolas lives on a remote island, inhabited solely by women and young boys. He spends his days exploring the sea and the rocky shore, and playing with the other lads from the island. But after making an eerie discovery that no-one else will believe, Nicolas is due to keep an appointment at the island’s hospital, where he will confront the mysteries of his origins and his destiny. ”
Why ? : Because director Lucile Hadzihalilovic is a former cohort of one of cinemas truest auteurs Gaspar Noé ( Enter the Void ) and has not made a film since her highly controversial debut Innocence 10 years ago.
The film has already been likened by some to Under the Skin arguably the best horror of 2013.
Features a soundtrack that draws from a deliciously pretentious album called Wounded Galaxies Tap at the Window.
It clocks in at a decidedly non art-house 81 mins.
When ? : UK – Expected early to mid 2016 USA – April 2016
AMERICAN GUINEA PIG: BLOODSHOCK
What ? : “A man finds himself trapped and used for medical experiments in an abandoned mental facility. He doesn’t understand why or how he got there, but the surgical tortures allow him to experience a new level of pain, sadness and reality he has never felt before. As the levels of maniacal mutilation enfolds, he finds himself down the rabbit hole. Grasping onto anything, the tormented finds a way out. Clutching onto what every human being is desperate for…little does he understand, his ending is all of our endings.”
Why ? : Because someone has to resurrect the most vile and nihilistic franchise in cinema history and remind us how nasty horror really can be.
The film makers seem more than willing to put their heart and soul into constructing a multi level dream kennel for gore-hounds and that kind of commitment only rises from the murky depths of the underground.
Charlie Sheen (All Dogs Go to Heaven 2) could do with another encounter with the F.B.I. to bolster his career.
When ? : UK – Should be off the leash sometime in 2016 TRAILER (discretion advised)
What ? :”An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.”
Why ? : Because director William Brent Bell has earned this shot at the big time with a series of lively entries in the teen horror (Stay Alive), possession (The Devil Inside) and werewolf (WER) genres.
A fear of dolls has long been a staple of scary cinema from spooky ventriloquists dummy films such as Dead of Night (1945), Devil Doll (1964), Dead Silence (2007) and the amazing Magic (1978) to the more modern terrors of Child’s Play (1988) and Annabelle (2014). This entry appears to know its history.
It stars the lovely Lauren Cohan who plays Maggie in The Walking Dead.
When ? : UK – 19th Feb USA – 22nd Jan TRAILER
What ? : “A cybernetic super-soldier kicks, punches and parkours his way across Russia to save his wife from a psychotic paramilitary psychic bent on world domination, in this non-stop, white-knuckle, crackerjack thrill ride.“- TIFF.
Why ? : Because it’s all shot from an unbroken first person perspective like Lady in the Lake (1947) but 18 billion times more violent.
Hardcore is helmed by Ilya Naishuller the man who masterminded the Bad Motherfucker music video with over 31 million You Tube views.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 TRAILER
What ? : “Uptake Fear invites the viewer to break the limits of social behavior as the journey goes from real to surreal in a path of violence, blood and the metastases of reality. Join the rising of a psychopath as he loses control of his reality and his fears.”
Why ? : Because the trailer looks like the kind of insane that only South America can do.
One of the trio of directors is Kapel Furman (Beyond the Grave) who is one of the best orchestrators of special effects gore and violence in the world. Some of his work along side the fearless Brazilian director Dennison Ramalho (Ninjas) is truly demented.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 (Especially the festival circuit) Trailer (discretion advised)
What ? :”Prequel about teenage Leatherface who escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge”
Why ? : Because directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury helmed the flag ship of the French horror new wave À l’intérieur a movement that along with Martyrs, Frontière(s) and Haute tension irreparably shaped the face of modern horror.
The origin story of the most famous chainsaw wielder in cinema history has to be awesome right ?
Bizarre casting sees the young aficionado of the engine driven saw played by non other than Sam Strike (Eastenders) leaving UK audiences with the delicious prospect of seeing Johnny Carter going postal with a power tool.
When ? : UK – Expected mid 2016
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
What ? : “Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge — an army of undead zombies.”
Why ? : Because the book by Seth Grahame-Smith that this film is based on is actually very funny.
You will get to see Lily James from Disney’s Cinderella hacking up the walking dead.
The special and visual effects departments are jam packed with some of the best the industry has to offer.
When ? : UK – 12th Feb USA – 5th Feb Trailer
What ? :”Owen and Isabel’s love story simmers with spiteful rage, but unfortunately, for everyone, Isabel is pregnant with Owen’s child. In order to prove to her that he could become a stable father, Owen agrees to reconnect with his only living relatives at Isabel’s request. The couple takes a trip to visit his perversely devoted grandmother and his sister Pearl, who was severely burned in a fire, to finally bury the hatchet. But sometimes the ties that bind can cut off all circulation.” – Sundance festival.
Why ? : Because director Richard Bates Jr. has two superb under the Radar movies under his belt in Excision and Suburban Gothic and this movie should herald a maneuver into the horror fast lane.
The film features the fantastic best actress Oscar nominee Sally Kirkland (Anna).
When ? : UK – Expected 2016 USA – Jan 2016 (Sundance)
What ? : “While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.”
Why ? : Because it has played an incredible 22 film festivals and appears on a plethora of best of 2015 lists.
Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama has emerged from the horror wilderness to deliver a masterful slow burn horror thriller that should thrive on wider release.
The 3rd act is a killer.
When ? : UK – Early-Mid 2016 USA – 25th March
THE MIND’S EYE
What ? : “A drifter with psychic powers takes on an evil doctor and his crew of telekinetic assassins.”
Why ? : Because from his beginnings as stage manager on Re-Animator: The Musical to his infectious debut feature Almost Human director Joe Begos is showing incredible potential.
The Mind’s Eye recalls the golden era of telekinesis based terror such as The Fury (1978), Scanners (1981) and Firestarter (1984) so expect much vein popping, head detonations and all round tumefacation in general.
Its got Larry Fessenden in it.
When ? : UK – Expected 2016
What ? :”In a desolate community full of drug-addled Marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a wild night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions as she struggles to get a grip on reality while stories of conspiracy spread.”
Why ? : Because director Danny Perez is well known for having a strong leaning towards the experimental side of film making – with the accent heavily on the”mental”.
Endless bong sessions, psychosomatic episodes and drug rattled veterans wrapped up in a visual maelstrom.
Chloe Sevigny returns to the horror movie fold after her astonishing performance in the bewildering #Horror.
When ? : UK – Expected mid 2016 USA – Jan 2016 (Sundance)