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2018 Q1 State of Horror Report

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Every 3 months, institutions prepare quarterly reports that provide historical analysis and projections for the future. It’s an attempt to steer their customers, shareholders, and interested parties towards what they feel are the best courses of action. They look at past trends in an effort to anticipate future successes by making educated recommendations.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to get quarterly State of Horror Reports every three months? A tool to help us calibrate our position with eyes towards the immediate past and future? We thought so. Such reviews would help us encapsulate our genre as a whole—as it unfolds. They’d combine into solid records of horror cinema and a way to identify emerging trends by evaluated successes and disappointments objectively.

Look, I know actually quarterly reports are filled with statistics and graphs, but that’s just not my bag, baby. Instead, I’m guided by my instincts as a horror journalist with a keen eye and mind towards meaningful reporting and significant events. Plus, this article is intended to promote conversations and interactions; it isn’t actually a report based on quantifiable facts.

Since we’re well into April, we’re pleased to present our first State of Horror Quarterly report for Q1 2018. Let us know what you think of our assessments in the Comments section and feel free to recommend ways we can improve our reporting in the future.


Top 5 Horror Movies of 2018 Q1 (January 1st-March 31st)

While everyone’s personal favorites are subjective, these 5 films were, objectively, the most significant, entertaining, and/or impactful of the past 3 months. Each deserves recognition for making a positive contribution to the State of Horror.

The Ritual

Synopsis:

Reuniting after the tragic death of their friend, four college pals set out to hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. A wrong turn leads them into the mysterious forests of Norse legend, where an ancient evil exists and stalks them at every turn.


Veronica

Synopsis:

A teen girl finds herself besieged by an evil supernatural force after playing Ouija with two classmates.


The Lodgers

Synopsis:

A family curse confines orphaned twins Rachel and Edwards to their home as punishment for their ancestors’ sins. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house after midnight.


Annihilation

Synopsis:

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.


Hellraiser: Judgment

Synopsis:

Detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to hunt down a gruesome serial killer who is terrorizing the city. Joining forces with Detective Christine Egerton, they dig deeper into a maze of horror, which may lead them into the depths of hell.


Peaks and Valleys of Horror in 2018 Q1

Release Date & Synopsis Revealed for Stephen King’s Next Novel

Early January brought details regarding Stephen King’s next novel; The Outsider will be released on May 22nd.

Synopsis:

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

You can pre-order your copy of The Outsider, HERE.


Critters TV Series Announced

The 1980s-era space monster franchise Critters will rebooted for the small screen via Verizon’s go90; we don’t have a release date for “Critter: A New Binge” but production is slated to begin sometime this year.

Synopsis:

The critters return to Earth in search of one of their kin, who was left behind years ago during an earlier mission. They land in Burbank, Calif., where they wreak havoc on a group of high schoolers and their families.

 


The New Mutants Delayed

The New Mutants was considered one of the most anticipated genre films of 2018 until its release date was bumped back a whopping 10 months (from this April until February 2019). While delays usually indicate problems within a production, those connected to the project insist the postponement is simply to ensure special effects are done correctly.

 


Production Begins on Blumhouse’s Halloween

The race is on for Blumhouse to complete their Halloween reboot in time for the film’s slated October 19th release date (planned to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s original Halloween). The cast and crew assembled near Charleston, South Carolina and reunited Jamie Lee Curtis with original Michael Myers actor Nick Castle.

As Q1 of 2018 comes to a close, Halloween has wrapped principal filming with Jason Blum teasing the first trailer for the much-anticipated film will be coming soon. Keep your fingers crossed, horror fans!


Slender Man Postponed

In Slender Man, the King of Creepypasta, is ready for his close-up, but despite releasing the first trailer in early January, Sony postponed the slated release date from May until August 24th. The reasons for the delay are unclear, but some suspect it may have to do with negative feedback the film is already receiving.

Family members of a young woman accused of attempting murder in the name of Slender Man launched a petition asking Sony to completely shutter the film, arguing it will glamorize violence while exploiting a real-life tragedy. We’ll know by the end of Q2 whether or not Sony gets cold feet again, further delaying or canceling Slender Man all together.

Synopsis:

Slender Man tells the story of a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens.


The Cloverfield Paradox Surprises Yet Disappoints

Super Bowl audiences were flabbergasted by the announcement that The Cloverfield Paradox, the third film in the Cloverfield franchise launched in 2008, would be making its surprise debut on Netflix immediately following the game. It was an unprecedented event that sent ripples of excitement around the globe.

Unfortunately, the film proved disappointing for many long-time fans of the franchise (especially those who spent thousands of hours attempting to decipher the franchise’s intricacies by playing the Augmented Reality Game online). Still, fans are excited about a 4th Cloverfield film (currently dubbed Overlord) slated for release in December.


The Predator Delayed

Shane Black’s reboot of 1987’s Predator, The Predator, was originally scheduled for release in February but was pushed back until August 3rd at the end of 2017. In mid-February, The Predator was postponed a second time; the film now stands with a September 14th release date.

While this latest bump is a small one, rumors of negative test-screenings have many fans nervous; reports that Black has taken a decidedly comedic tone is also raising eyebrows. Writer Fred Dekker recently confirmed that The Predator is undergoing reshoots. It’s also been reported that the film is being converted to 3D, a move that suggests (at least to me) producers will attempt to distract from a poor script with razzle-dazzle.


The Nun Delayed

By mid-February, 2018 was characterized by delays of hotly anticipated horror movies. Following the postponements of The New Mutants and The Predator, horror fans got news that The Nun, originally slated for a June release, was also being pushed back by several months; the film now stands with a September 7th debut date.

The Nun is the latest spinoff of The Conjuring Universe, featuring the dastardly Valak (played by Bonnie Aarons) in The Conjuring 2.

Synopsis:

Vatican officials send a priest and a novitiate to investigate the suicide of a young nun in Romania. They soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they encounter a demonic force that takes the shape of a nun.


Fangoria Announces Their Return to Print

One of the casualties of the Internet Age was Fangoria Magazine; the seminal horror periodical struggled as the market for print media shrank to almost zero in the 21st Century. Though it continued in digital form online, the demise of Fangoria was felt by many (and taken especially hard by fans who came of age in the 1980s).

But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, February brought news that Fangoria was returning to print, thanks to new owners Cinestate! Publication mainstays Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold have returned to the fold, and fans can look forward to holding Fangoria in their hands again by Halloween.


Carl Grimes Dies on The Walking Dead

He may not have been a series favorite, but fans of The Walking Dead expected Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs) to be around for the long-haul. He’s still alive and well in the comic book series the show is based on, and many of the character’s most anticipated adventures there are still ahead of him. Still, producers made good on Carl’s demise, presented as all but certain in the midseason finale of 2017.

Carl’s death came at a time of plummeting viewership for what was once AMC’s flagship program. Whether caused by poor writing or viewer fatigue, no one can deny that The Walking Dead seems destined to implode.


The Crow: Reborn Release Date Announced

After languishing for years at financial-strapped Relativity Media, The Crow: Reborn rose like a vengeance-driven revenant, finding a new home at Sony. Though we’ve been hearing murmurs of the project since 2017, the announcement of a release date in early March proves the film is on the fast track. Look for The Crow: Reborn in US theaters beginning October 11th, 2019.

Corin Hardy will direct and Jason Momoa is attached to play Eric Draven/The Crow. While many are excited to see the franchise “reborn”, expect the response to the film to be divisive even before it hits big screens.

Many (including original Crow director Alex Proyas) believe the 1994 movie should stand alone as a tribute and memorial to Brandon Lee (who was tragically killed on set before the film was completed). On the other hand, creator of The Crow comic that inspired the film, James O’Barr, is on board as a creative consultant, giving the project legitimacy. Time will tell if The Crow: Reborn will prove a fitting addition to the franchise’s legacy.


Get Out Wins Best Screenplay

While genre fans were happy to see The Shape of Water take home top honors at the Oscars, Get Out/Jordan Peele’s win for Best Original Screenplay was the true win for horror. The fact that a film written by a man best known as a comedian and released in the cinematic wasteland of February could receive such an award is stunning.

Get Out struck a chord with its mix of established horror tropes and timely social commentary. Blumhouse Productions’ model for producing genre films on a budget paid off exponentially, establishing the studio as a major contender in 21st Century horror. March 4th was the most validating night for horror at the Oscars since Silence of the Lambs took home the “Top 5” way back in 1991.


Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects 2: 3 From Hell Begins Filming

In an age when we often know everything about a film from the moment it’s conceived, it’s nice to be surprised when something unexpected goes before the cameras. Such was the case in mid-March when horror fans woke to the news that filming had commenced on Rob Zombie’s long awaited, often rumored sequel to The Devil’s Rejects.

3 From Hell will reunite Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie as the Firefly Clan, as well as a slew of familiar faces from Zombie’s past filmography. The shock-rocker-turned filmmaker left fans divided with his last offering, the extreme clown horror 31, but diehards expect nothing but the best with his return to the franchise launched with 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses.


Happy Death Day 2 Production Date Announced

Happy Death Day was one of the surprise horror hits of 2017. No one expected much from a PG-13 flick that was obviously a revamp of Groundhogs Day, but writer Scott Lobdell and director Christopher Landon delivered a film with shades of brilliance. Happy Death Day was further propelled by a knock-out performance from Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman and an instantly iconic masked villain.

Not long after news of 3 From Hell can word that Happy Death Day 2 would begin filming this May. While we don’t have a synopsis, chatter suggests the sequel will break out of the cyclical formula and employ straight-up time travel, Back to the Future style! We could end up seeing Tree crossing paths with previous versions of herself and, for the sake of history, helping Baby Face kill them!


The New Mutants Delayed Again

Okay, once is forgivable… twice, maybe—but three times? That’s really pushing it. 2018 Q1 ended with yet another sour-note courtesy of The New Mutants. The film has been delayed, once again, and not by just a month or two. Previously slated for release on February 22nd, 2019, the film won’t hit theaters now until August 2nd, 2019 (although at this point, you have to wonder if it will ever materialize).

Producers and director Josh Boone have maintained brave faces, insisting the delays will result in improved effects, addition characters, and more horror, but sources like Collider suggest Boone may be overwhelmed, and creative differences are reaching breaking points.


Future Forecast

In my opinion, horror fans should put most of their stock for 2018 Q2 into these 5 films. Remember, predations never come with guarantees, so this advice is no substitute for your own research. Either way, we’ll have a 2018 Q2 State of Horror Report ready for your review in the first weeks of July.

A Quiet Place (Release Date: April 6th, 2018)

Synopsis:

If they hear you, they hunt you.


The Endless (Release Date: April 6th, 2018)

Synopsis:

Two brothers receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t find as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult.


Truth or Dare (Release Date: April 13th, 2018)

Synopsis:

A seemingly harmless game of truth or dare turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse a dare.


Cold Skin (Release Date: June 1st, 2018 via VOD)

Synopsis:

On the edge of the Antarctic Circle, a ship approaches a desolate island far from all shipping lanes. On board is a young man, on his way to assume the post of weather observer, to live in solitude at the end of the earth. But on shore he finds no trace of the man whom he has been sent to replace, just a deranged castaway who has witnessed a horror he refuses to name. Then the night falls, and the young man will soon realize that with each night comes an army of humanoid killer amphibians…


Hereditary (Release Date: June 8th, 2018)

Synopsis:

When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun their sinister fate.

 

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