"We are here to cleanse ourselves of this world…" Quiver Distribution has revealed an official trailer for an intriguing revenge horror thriller titled Candy Land, from filmmaker John Swab. This first premiered at FrightFest, Grimmfest, and the Locarno Film Festival a few months ago, and will be out in the US on VOD starting in early January 2023. A seemingly naive and devout young woman ends up finding solace in the underground world of truck stop sex workers also known as "lot lizards." Under the watchful eye of their matriarch, and an enigmatic local lawman, Remy navigates between her strained belief system and the code to find her true calling in life. Will she make her way out? The film stars Olivia Luccardi, Sam Quartin, Eden Brolin, Owen Campbell, Virginia Rand, Guinevere Turner, and William Baldwin. Not too sure about this one, but it's made by a talented indie horror filmmaker so it might be worth a watch after all.
"Time to roast this beast" XYZ Films has revealed an official trailer for another crazy holiday horror movie titled The Mean One, a slasher parody of The Grinch. Yes, this is real, and it exists, and it's dropping on VOD in December. Apparently they're releasing this for free, most likely because they can't use the Grinch copyright (from Dr. Seuss) and make money off of it, but they can release the finished film as a parody. In a sleepy mountain town, Cindy has her parents murdered and her Christmas stolen by a blood thirsty green figure in a red Santa suit - "The Mean One". When the ravenous, Christmas hating creature terrorizes the town and threatens to ruin the holiday, she finds a new purpose - trapping and killing the monster. Terrifer 2's David Howard Thornton stars as the green meanie, with Krystle Martin as the adult Cindy You-Know-Who out for revenge. Also starring Chase Mullins, John Bigham, Erik Baker, Flip Kobler, and Amy Schumacher. It actually looks like it might be a blast?! Take a look, just don't get caught by a hook.
"Believing what you fear will bring to the victim what they are afraid of." Hidden Empire has debuted an official trailer for Fear, yet another January horror film releasing at the end of the first month in the New Year. From director Deon Taylor, best known for his films The Intruder, Fatale, and Black and Blue. A year into living through a worldwide pandemic, a group of friends gather in the remote Tahoe Mountains to stay at the "Historic Strawberry Lodge". But celebration turns to terror as one by one each guest faces their own worst fear. Plenty of other films have had this "confront your fears" concept, so what's the hook in this one?? The horror movie stars Joseph Sikora, T.I., King Bach, Terrence J, Ruby Modine, Annie Ilonzeh, Iddo Goldberg, and Jessica Allain. Not a very good trailer, with erratic editing making it extra confusing to know what is real and what is their fear and what is going on. Don't think this will be a big hit in January.
"Hell shall come to Earth." Samuel Goldwyn Films has released the full trailer for a sci-fi horror film called The Devil Conspiracy, which is set to hit theaters in mid-January. They're hoping this one will be one of the big horror releases in January, since it's always that time of the year when not-that-great movies can end up becoming hits. The plot involves a biotech company creating a technique to clone the greatest minds and figures from history. However, the company is run by a cabal of Satanists whose ultimate goal is to resurrect Lucifer himself. They plan to do this by offering up Jesus once they've cloned him from a sample of his DNA found on his shroud. Let the religious battles ensue. The film stars Alice Orr-Ewing, Joe Doyle, Eveline Hall, Peter Mensah, Joe Anderson, Brian Caspe, and James Faulkner. This looks so hyper-stylized, with so many epic costumes it almost seems like an Asylum creation. This is an awful trailer, my goodness.
"Supremely disquieting " Neon has unveiled the first official US trailer for an indie British horror film titled Enys Men, the latest from acclaimed Cornish director Mark Jenkin, known for his indie hit Bait from a few years back. His latest creation premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar, and I was lucky to catch the world premiere of it back in May. Very mysterious film. Set in 1973 on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast, a wildlife volunteer's daily observations of a rare flower slowly turn into a metaphysical journey that forces her as well as the viewer to question what is real and what is nightmare. The film mainly stars Mary Woodvine as the volunteer working on the island, with a small cast including Edward Rowe and Flo Crowe. It's hard to describe this one – it's a lo-fi, grainy, quiet horror that is scarier to think about it than it is to watch, using editing and filmmaking tricks to make it unsettling.
"Have you ever experienced anything weird here before?" Shudder has revealed a trailer for A Wounded Fawn, which is described as an "artfully chaotic descent into bloodlust, monstrous misogyny, and euphoric comeuppances of the most punishing pleasures." The celebrated psychedelic horror film will be streaming on Shudder in December, after premiering at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. It also played at Fantastic Fest and FrightFest. A serial killer brings an unsuspecting victim on a weekend getaway to add another body to his ever-growing count. She's buying into his faux charms, he's eagerly lusting for blood. What could possibly go wrong? A Wounded Fawn marks the third feature directed by Travis Stevens (also of Girl on the Third Floor and Jakob's Wife), who has long been celebrated for his work as an indie producer. This stars Sarah Lind, Josh Ruben, and Malin Barr. Looks super freaky! A very uncomfortable watch.
"Bringer of misery, taker of children… It'll make you see things, feel things… that aren't real." Decal has revealed an official trailer for an indie horror titled The Offering, which first premiered at Fantastic Fest a few months ago. It's now set for release in early January. In the wake of a young Jewish girl's disappearance, the son of a Hasidic funeral director returns home with his pregnant wife in hopes of reconciling with his father. Directly beneath them in the family morgue, an ancient evil with sinister plans for the unborn child lurks inside a mysterious corpse. The horror film stars Nick Blood, Emily Wiseman, Allan Corduner, and Paul Kaye. This looks crazy scary!! It earned positive reviews at the fest: "benefits from magnificent production design which interweaves character information & subtly obscured plot points whilst combining with Lorenzo Senatore’s cinematography to create a heady atmosphere." A must watch if you're a horror fan.
"What if the snow is contaminated?" Lionsgate has unveiled an official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Snow Falls, the latest from young filmmaker Colton Tran. This one is being released direct-to-VOD in January and hasn't played at any festivals, which should be a pretty good indication of the quality. After a winter storm strands five friends staying in a remote cabin for New Years Eve with no power and little food, disorientation slowly claims their sanity as each of them succumbs to a fear that the snow itself (that they ate as snow cones) may be contaminated or somehow… evil. But maybe it's not really the snow?? The film stars Victoria Moroles, Anna Grace Barlow , Johnny Berchtold, Jonathan Bennett, and Patrick Fabian. This looks really cheesy and cheap, not surprised they are dumping it in January. How much you want to bet all this happening is just in their heads? I don't really care anyway, it doesn't seem that scary…
"Ho ho ho!!" RLJE Films + Shudder have revealed an official trailer for a hilariously crazy, brutally violent new holiday horror film titled Christmas Bloody Christmas. While there have been other animatronics-come-alive horror films this year already (see Spirit Halloween and The Curse of Bridge Hollow) this one looks like the best. It's the latest film from director Joe Begos, known for his gritty indie features Bliss and VFW previously. It's Christmas Eve and Tori just wants to get drunk and finally party, but when a robotic Santa Clause at a nearby toy store goes haywire and begins a rampant killing spree through her small town, she's forced into a battle for survival. The film stars Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, Jeff Daniel Phillips, & Abraham Benrubi. Uh looks awesome?!?! WTF! What an incredible trailer - great choice of music and footage. He has laser eyes?! Okay I'm totally in.
"They don't belong here! This is our home, not their home!" But maybe… it is their home after all?! We're the invaders. What do you do if you have mice in your apartment? Is there any safe and humane way to get them out? This horror short film tries to answer that question, with fatal results. This Is Our Home is a horror short written and directed by filmmaker A.K. Espada, who is based in Georgia making movies and more. When a bleeding-heart vegan and her pragmatic roommate's rodent infestation intensifies, they find themselves at odds regarding removal methods that are inhumane yet effective. "We are so thrilled to share this creepy-crawly short that came from the bottoms of our hearts and the depths of our souls." Starring Mor Cohen and Ruba Thérèse Mansouri. After a festival run, the short is now online to watch and was debuted on Halloween by our friends at Short of the Week. It's only creepy if you hate mice! Cute lil' fuzzies.
Have you heard about this one?! Maybe you've seen it already?! This crazy, grotesque, indie horror film is a huge hit in theaters this fall. Terrifier 2 is a surprise sequel to the cult hit Terrifier from 2016 and it first opened in theaters back in October. After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween. Starring David Howard Thornton returning as the demonic clown killer, as well as Lauren LaVera, Griffin Santopietro, plus Samantha Scaffidi reprising her role as Victoria Heyes. The film was made & released by the horror site Bloody Disgusting, and they've made a funny "Oscar submission" trailer to enjoy. It's all a joke! Calm down, everyone. "No, it will never actually happen. Yes, it’s a total goof. But you know what? The thought of having members of the Academy endure an extreme unrated horror movie that they would otherwise consider beneath them? That’s just too hilarious of an opportunity to pass up." Agreed! Slash on.
The horror genre has been a tad inconsistent this year, not everything has ended up that good. The chances of leaving the theater either disappointed or quite satisfied are very similar, but curiously, the most praised horror films of 2022 are the ones that have most often negatively surprised me. This "curse" has been fading slightly over time, but it has been difficult to enter the theater with high expectations and end up having those expectations met. Barbarian is another movie in the genre that has been incredibly complimented by the vast majority of viewers so far… This time, I'm happy to say that it deserves all of the hype received.