Summer Horrors 2017

Find out what horrors await you this summer on the big screen. Here’s a rundown of the fear-filled films I’m most looking forward to seeing in a dark, cold room.

Our proto-Ripley, portrayed by real-life chameleon Katherine Waterston

Our proto-Ripley, portrayed by real-life chameleon Katherine Waterston

Alien Covenant

After nearly forty years, Ridley Scott is back at the helm of a film called Alien. His landmark 1979 film of that name is one of my all-time favorites, a seminal film that synthesizes sci-fi with horror and then elevates that extraterrestrial lovechild into art. In 2012, Scott returned to this world with Prometheus, a very ambitious film that didn’t quite land everything it attempted. But it was entertaining nonetheless and it made me grateful to see Scott return to the world he created, this time with a blockbuster-sized budget. Alien Covenant will begin to bridge the time between Prometheus and the original Alien. And at 79 years old, Ridley’s still got it. I can’t wait.

Nicole ain't kiddin' around (I instantly regret that joke)

Nicole ain't kiddin' around (I instantly regret that joke)

The Beguiled

This shot in my backyard, echoing earworms of plot details at me. I try to avoid being spoiled, but I did get a sense of what the movie might be, and the trailer for this film confirmed those whispers: this movie will be more horror/thriller than romance.

 What is it? It’s a re-adaptation/reimagining (coughremakecough) of the novel A Painted Devil, a gothic romance novel about a wounded Union soldier taken in by a girl’s school in Virginia. It was famously adapted into a 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood. That flickerfest was ALSO called The Beguiled, a title so intriguing that the book was later re-published under the same name. This time, Sophia Coppola is at the helm and she, dear friends, is a different bird than the first film’s director, Don Siegel, who famously directed Dirty Harry. And it’s her take on this dark material that I’m most excited for.

/hardpass

/hardpass

It Comes at Night

Arthouse distributor A24 has earned my trust as tastemakers of the first order. They don’t specialize in genre films, but they’ve released some great ones, including The Witch, Ex Machina, Tusk and Under The Skin. That’s in addition to pulling down a Best Picture win for Moonlight earlier this year. So, they know what they’re doing.

Directed by Trey Edward Schultz, It Comes at Night stars Joel Edgerton as a father who has successfully protected his family against an unnatural threat while living in a remote cabin in the woods. They take in another family desperate for shelter. And paranoia creeps in.

Edgerton directed his own psychological thriller, The Gift, which turned out great. So I assume he also saw something great in this script. So, here’s hoping.

Hair on point

Hair on point

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Another promising horror thriller from A24. I’m excited to see Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka on the big screen alongside Emma Roberts. Both are incredible talents. I met Emma a few years ago while she was shooting American Horror Story in New Orleans and found her to be cool and super-sharp. She’s got a big career ahead of her and I love that she’s building it inside the horror genre.

I don’t know an enormous amount about this movie, but the trailer alone sells me. Also, A24.

Prop stolen from the set of 1997'S WISHMASTER

Prop stolen from the set of 1997'S WISHMASTER

Wish Upon

This script made the 2015 Black List (the annual list of the best unproduced screenplays), and the trailer makes clear it’s a high-concept horror thriller. It’s directed by John R. Leonetti, the cinematographer who rode shotgun with horror master James Wan on The Conjuring, Insidious: Chapter 2, Dead Silence and Death Sentence before directing Annabelle, a prequel to The Conjuring. Can’t wait to see what he does with such a great script.

"Hey, Hey, Hell."

"Hey, Hey, Hell."

The Dark Tower

Was there any doubt this would make the list? I’ve avoided the trailers for this film so that it’s not in my head as I read Stephen King’s series. I don’t know how much this movie will spoil the books. It’s thought to be a mix of story from The Gunslinger and The Waste Lands with elements from The Wind Through The Keyhole. All I can do is enjoy the fantastic posters that feature Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and keep reading.

The Aslyum's mockbuster title: "The Succubus Mummy"

The Aslyum's mockbuster title: "The Succubus Mummy"

The Mummy

I’d heard Universal was attempting to make a cinematic universe from their treasure trove of iconic horror characters - think Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, The Invisible Man - so, when I saw this film on their release slate, I assumed it would be another big-budget, origin-story entry into that budding world. So, surprised was I when cinema superhero Tom Cruise was cast - and the He-Mummy turned out to be a She-Mummy.

The trailer makes it out to be as much action as horror, similar to Dracula Untold, a film that took a critical beating, but I found a lot of bright points in it. I think Universal is still fine-tuning the look and feel of these films, but if you remember, so was Marvel in the early days. Iron Man was the first film that nailed the tone that has minted billions for Marvel, but go back and look at The Incredible Hulk. It’s technically a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but came before Iron Man and feels slightly different. I hope Universal finds their stride this time and we see a creatively and financially fruitful revival of their monsters. They’ve been stuck in a sarcophagus for too long.

Another /hardpass

Another /hardpass

Annabelle: Creation

“A prequel to a spinoff?” says you. “Hell, yeah,” says I. And a large part of my enthusiasm for this upcoming film is that David F. Sandberg directed it. Last year, he helmed Lights Out, one of my favorite theatrical experience of 2016. The trailer doesn’t give too much away, and I don’t want to know anymore. I love the idea of Annabelle and I’m pumped to see what suspense Sandberg brings to the franchise.

If I’ve missed some upcoming movies that you’re interested in, please tell me in the comments and I’ll check them out!

- Micah