Fall is generally the season for horror movies, at least partly because of Halloween. Also, as the days get colder and shorter, outdoor activities tend to become less appealing, so fall’s a good season for movies in general. Summer is generally the season of the blockbuster, and most filmmakers prefer not to pit their movie against the latest superhero flick. Summer movies are also often aimed at teenagers or young adults. In the fall, most members of this demographic are back in school and thus have less time for the movies. While some horror movies are made that appeal to the young, most are aimed at adults.
Goosebumps (premiering October 16) is based on the children’s series by R.L. Stine (Jack Black). The monsters in Stine’s books turn out to be real, and he has somehow been keeping them captive in his books. Of course, the monsters escape their confinement, and Stine and his allies have to recapture them.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (premiering October 23) is the fifth movie in the Paranormal Activity series. The creatures from the titular Ghost Dimension go after a family who find a video camera and box of tapes in their garage.
Rings (premiering November 13) is the third movie in The Ring series. It’s a prequel that tells the origins of the evil Samara and that cursed video tape which kills the viewer within seven days.
Victor Frankenstein (premiering November 25) is yet another variation on the Frankenstein story. This one’s told from the point of view of Frankenstein’s assistant, Igor (Daniel Radcliffe). He and Frankenstein (James McAvoy) have been friends and colleagues since their med school days and are determined to discover the secret of immortality.
Krampus (premiering December 4) is unusual in that it’s a horror movie with a Christmas theme. In European folklore, Krampus was a demonic creature who worked with St. Nicholas. While St. Nicholas brought gifts for well-behaved children, Krampus punished the naughty kids. In the movie, a boy get fed up with his squabbling, dysfunctional family who’ve ruined another Christmas. He ends up accidentally summoning the title monster. The movie is also described as a comedy that skewers the clichés of Christmas movies.
It’s really too early to say how good these movies will be, but they may be predictable. Rings and Ghost Dimension are both sequels, while Goosebumps and Victor Frankenstein are at least loosely based on well-known books. That limits these movies’ capacity to surprise people which could limit their ability to scare people. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be bad, but they’ll need to compensate for their predictability. The makers of Victor Frankenstein seem to know that and have made the friendship between the two leads a major plot point. Krampus is a wild card since it’s not based on anything other than European folktales people may or may not know. It could be this generation’s Gremlinsand be both funny and scary, or it could be dreadful.
So as fall begins as of tomorrow, we shall see how these horror films do in theaters!