5. Zombieland 2
If you want to feel old, think about this: we are officially at the point where people are feeling nostalgic for the mid-2000’s zombie craze. The craze took off with 28 Days Later and Zack’s Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and led legions of mindless automaton film critics to suggest that the fad was the result of numerous people believing that mankind is the real enemy, as zombies are allegedly the most human of monsters.
The godfather of the zombie genre, George A, Romero, said that the resurgence in zombie media at the time was simply a result of video game developers realizing what good villains zombie made for first person shooters.
Regardless of what the trend did or did not mean, it’s come back from the dead with Zombieland 2. It’s been a bit of a long wait for a sequel, but tell that to the people who made Incredibles 2 and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Zombieland 2 should satisfy the cravings of those who miss the lighter side of zombie movies, as well as those who would like to see Bill Murray make a cameo in something that isn’t awful.
Prior to the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman was one of very few visitors from outer space that popular culture did not portray as a monster. Since the character has been around for eighty years and exerted wide influence over comic books, television and film, it’s shocking that it took till now for someone to turn him into a scary alien.
Brightburn has no official relationship with the Superman franchise, but its trailer is about a couple who discover a super-powered extraterrestrial child who crash lands on their property, an obvious reference to The Daily Planet’s most famous reporter.
The catch here is that the child in Brightburn wields his powers more like Carrie White than like Clark Kent. It’s an interesting idea for a film, and it will work if director James Gunn can make an eight-year old in a red cape seem frightening.
3. It: Chapter Two
Stephen King’s work is experiencing a major revival. What sparked the revival? Perhaps it’s the current wave of 1980’s and 1990’s nostalgia. Perhaps it’s because, after watching Stranger Things, millions of American want the real deal rather than a clever imitation, or the fact that Kings’ Twitter feed constantly makes Huff Po headlines.
Whatever the reason, the King renaissance led to a remake of It that lacked both the original’s chintzy production values and a performance worthy of Tim Curry. Because King’s novel is so long it makes War and Peace look like a pamphlet, the film had to be split in two, with the second half of the “duology” (their word not mine) due later this year. The filmmakers will tell you that they made two movies out of one book for artistic reasons, but let’s be honest: they just wanted you to buy two tickets. We can only hope the film is worth the mark-up.
2. UsUs is an upcoming horror film which is clearly being made to cash in on the ever-lucrative two letter title horror film market that began with It. In the next few years, expect such classic scary movies like No, We and As. Us is a story about an African -American family who are targeted by evil, supernatural doppelgangers of themselves.
The hype for the film isn’t due to its premise, but rather the fact that it was directed by Jordan Peele, the popular comedian who scared his way into the hearts of critics and audiences the world over with his debut feature, Get Out.
By using doppelgangers as the film’s villains, Peele is putting his own spin on the classic “evil twin” archetype found in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson. Get Out was a film with very modern sensibilities; it will be interesting to watch Peele do something old-school.
1. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
For those too young to read Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley, as well as those who will never read Stoker or Shelley unless they are forced to in school – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a classic gateway into horror. The trio of anthology books is just scary enough for kids to handle.
To paraphrase the immortal words of Dr. Frank N. Furter, those who like the anthology will taste blood and want more. As such, the books have a special place in the hearts under horror fans’ floor boards. What adds to the anticipation surrounding this film is that it’s not just any children’s horror film; it’s a children’s horror film produced by the current king of classy horror: Guillermo del Toro.
Why del Toro is making an adaptation of the horror equivalent of a Dr. Seuss book when he could finally be making his long-awaited film adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece, At the Mountains of Madness, is beyond me, but I’ll take what I can get. One of the other reasons to get excited by this new film is that it stars no one you’ve heard of. This is a brilliant move on del Toro’s part, since the vast majority of great post 1960’s horror films lack familiar faces.