2015: Sam’s Most Anticipated

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2015 kicks in proper and we’re all back to work. So what do we have to look forward to? Movies. Between the holidays, I ran down the films I’ve been lucky enough to see already, and which I know will take many of you by storm this year. Here, you and I are in the same boat. What am I, as a horror fan, anticipating? Disregarding the films we’re not even aware of, I think the following is a tidy, diverse peek at the horrors ahead. 

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• Crimson Peak

It seems horror hero and monster lover Guillermo del Toro is bringing the more intimate, personal stamp of his Spanish language films to his English language moviemaking. Described as a Gothic romance and ghost story, Crimson Peak has already revealed some of its stunning, windswept design. This might be a haunted house, and a haunted house movie, for the ages. (October 16th)

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• Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

The incomparable Spike Lee remakes Bill Gunn’s experimental cult vampire oddity Ganja & Hess? Sounds amazing. 

• Friday the 13th

Though there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding it, it’s hard to forget there’s a new Friday the 13th film scheduled for release in 2015. We all know we’ll be there, whatever it ends up being. (November 13th)

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• Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier’s beautiful, violent American revenge road tale Blue Ruin was one of the best films of 2014. Where does he go next? A punk show. Alongside Blue Ruin star Macon Blair, as well as a killer cast including Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Mark Webber, Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart (as a neo-nazi), Saulnier is crafting a punks vs. skins thriller entitled Green Room. Yelchin leads a band who witnesses a murder and finds themselves trapped and under attack from a group of skinheads. I’ll headwalk to wherever it’s playing.

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• High-Rise

Ben Wheatley—he of violent, visceral and darkly funny work like SightseersA Field in England and Kill List—has adapted J.G. Ballard’s seminal High-Rise, with a cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Reece Shearsmith. Wheatley’s filmography, written with regular co-scripter Amy Jump, should make it apparent just how perfect this is. 

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• Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 2 did something special. It got kind of weird. Following the first’s nifty spin on a haunted tale, which included moving house and astral projection, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell upped the garish, colorful design, made the scares meaner and the plot stranger. Now Whannell, a horror mainstay for years, is poised to make his directorial debut with this third film, after penning the acclaimed The Mule and writing and co-starring in the upcoming Cooties (where he kills). As an introduction to the directorial vision of Whannell, Insidous: Chapter 3 (which acts as further adventures of Elise, Specs & Tucker) is already something to look forward to. As the next film in a series that distinctly hasn’t run its course, it’s one of the most anticipated. (June 5th)

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• Krampus

Where the hell is Michael Dougherty? Since his all-timer Halloween anthology Trick ‘r Treat was unceremoniously released to home video, and subsequently found a loyal and expanding cult, the question of a follow-up has lingered. There was talk of his helming an adaptation of legendary Warren horror comics Creepy/Eerie and in 2013, a Trick ‘r Treat 2 was even announced, with little word since. What is happening however is Krampus. Scheduled for release next holiday season and teased with greeting cards just recently, Krampus is Dougherty’s horror-comedy vision of the Germanic Christmas folk beast. (December 4th)

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• POD / Darling

Mickey Keating is an up-and-comer. The young filmmaker, who got his start at NYC horror house Glass Eye Pix (headed up by Larry Fessenden), made his feature debut with the simple, stylish, Lynchian Ritual. In 2014, he completed production on two new features, POD and Darling, both of which star Jug Face’s Lauren Ashley Carter. The former, and the one we’re likely to catch first at festivals, is a paranoid, Twilight Zone-inspired tale of a family intervention gone wrong. The latter is a black-and-white chronicle of a woman in a Manhattan mansion losing it. Both have that special appearance-by-Fessenden touch.

• Putney

In 2014, filmmaker Stewart Thorndike released her feature debut Lyle online, completely free. Starring Gaby Hoffmann and produced in just eight days, the microbudget “lesbian Rosemary’s Baby” (as the director lightly refers to it) is an intimate, anxious affair of one mother convinced “they’re” out to get her. Lyle both introduced Thorndike as a director, as well as her vision: a trilogy of female-focused art-horror films. Lyle’s online debut accompanied a Kickstarter for the second of the envisioned trilogy, which met its goal this past September. Entitled Putney, the film is about four estranged women who look to reconnect in a long-closed hotel, their trip inspired by… a haunted TED Talk.

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• Some Kind of Hate

The feature debut of director and comic writer Adam Egypt Mortimer, Some Kind of Hate is looking like a hard-edged supernatural slasher, one that will twist perceptions of popular Disney stars Sienna McCormick and Grace Phipps in the process. Mortimer tells Shock, “Some Kind of Hate began when I discovered that my writing partner on a previous project – novelist Brian DeLeeuw – was a Slayer fan.  I said, ‘Brian, we should write a Nightmare on Elm Street-styled paranormal slasher movie, but we should approach it like an emotionally intense indie drama.’ The idea was to make the emotional violence equal to the physical violence. To find our 2015 Freddy, we came up with Moira Karp — an enraged 17 year old girl who died as the result of high school bullying and who has returned on a revenge bender. We made a slasher movie that tries to really be about something, while being super violent and even beautiful.” Promised to be anamorphic and brutal, Some Kind of Hate is expected at fests in 2015.

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• Tales of Halloween

Currently in the midst of a “moment,” It seems anthologies are also not content to contain just a handful of segments anymore. Here, producers Axelle Carolyn, Neil Marshall and Mike Mendez (the three of which are also directing) pack ’em in for a 10-story, interconnected omnibus set on and around Halloween. Contributors include the aforementioned, as well as Darren Lynn Bousman, Adam Gierasch, Lucky McKee, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin and celebrated horror author John Skipp, who co-directs with Andrew Kasch. 

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XX / The Invitation

Perhaps it isn’t surprising we haven’t heard much from Karyn Kusama after Jennifer’s Body was so unfairly savaged. That pretty fantastic teen horror-comedy brought out the worst in the anti-Diablo Cody crowd and the great work done by Kusama seemed overshadowed, underrated and maligned in the process. Thankfully, Kusama returns this year, with a new feature, The Invitation, and as part of the upcoming all female-directed horror anthology XX (alongside directors Mary Harron, Jennifer Lynch and Jovanka Vuckovic). While it’s unclear what her segment for XX will entail, The Invitation  boasts an intriguing premise (a man is reunited with his once-missing wife and the new crowd in her life) and a hope it’ll hit fests soon.

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• The Witch

World Premiering in just a matter of weeks at Sundance, Robert Eggers’ The Witch is a Colonial New England horror film. A production designer and filmmaker, Eggers authentically recreates the setting in the film, which seems to herald the best kind of horror movie: a stark, eerie, witchy period chiller.

Of course that’s just a small sampling of what’s ahead. What are you most looking forward to?

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Weekend: Sep. 19, 2019, Sep. 22, 2019

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