Halloween Horror Films 2012: Your guide to this year’s releases

by Michael Clancy

October is the best time of year to be a horror fan. Not only is there an atmospheric change in season, bringing with it 30 days of  Halloween-themed  goodness, but there are plenty of parties, film festivals, and opportunities to break out your Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees costume. This is also the one time of year where there are plenty of new horror film releases on offer at your local cinema – and this year is no exception. Here at Film Jam we have assembled a helpful (or horrifying) horror film preview to aid you in planning your weekly dose of seasonal terror for the month of October. Let us know in the comments section below which films you’re looking forward to seeing in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Sinister (Oct 5th):

From Scott Derrickson, the writer/director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, comes this tale of a true-crime writer, Ellison Osborne (Ethan Hawke) who moves into a new home as he attempts to write a successful book. While clearing out the attic, he discovers a box of old home movies that depict the murders of previous families who lived in the house. As Ellison delves further into the mystery of the tapes, he discovers a link to a supernatural entity who exists in the images, and places him and his family in danger.

Sinister looks set to merge the ‘found-footage’ genre with traditional cinematic story-telling. Early buzz from critics has been extremely positive, and the trailer definitely suggests a creepy and disturbing slow-burner of a mystery.

Hotel Transylvania (Oct 12th):

The first of two family-oriented ‘classic Hollywood horror’ homages on release this month, Hotel Transylvania tells the story of Dracula, owner of the titular hotel – a resort where the world’s monsters can take a break from terrorising the masses – who invites some of the most famous monsters, including the Mummy, the Wolf-Man, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Invisible Man, to the hotel in celebration of his daughter Mavis’ 118th birthday. However when the party is crashed by an unsuspecting human named Jonathan, Dracula must try to prevent Mavis from falling in love with him.

While the film features a voice cast ranging from the sublime to the awful (Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Kevin James), the clips and trailers released so far seem to promise plenty of laughs, and it was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory; so we’ll reserve judgement on this one for the moment.

Paranormal Activity 4 (Oct 19th):

Another year passes, another Paranormal Activity film claws it’s way from development hell – but don’t roll your eyes just yet! Last year’s Paranormal Activity 3 was an immense improvement on the first sequel, providing some of the series’ most memorable scares thanks to directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost and an ingenious fan-mounted camera. The pair return for this latest installment. The film takes place five years after Paranormal Activity 2 as a family begin to experience supernatural phenomena when a new family arrive in the neighborhood.

Frankenweenie (Oct 19th):

While Tim Burton seems to have lost his way lately, there’s no denying the creative wealth of his early days. Frankenweenie sees him teaming up with Disney and returning to his much-loved 1980s short of the same name, expanding it into a full-length stop-motion animated feature.

When his beloved dog Sparky dies, Victor uses the power of science to bring him back to life. Victor attempts to hide his creation, but Sparky gets out and unintentionally causes havoc around town.

Presented in black and white, Frankenweenie looks set to be a loving homage to the Universal horror films of the 1930s. The cast is suitably quirky with the likes of Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Christopher Lee, lending their voices to the characters. Frankenweenie could prove a welcome return to for for Burton.

Stitches (Oct 26th):

Clowns have always had the power to ignite a primal fear in people, a trait exploited perfectly in the both the novel and film IT; but not since Pennywise has a truly terrifying clown graced our screens. A killer clown is the main antagonist in Irish director Conor McMahon’s latest film.  A clown comes back from the dead to haunt those responsible for a fatal party mishap which caused his death. Homegrown horror is always a welcome treat, with the Irish horror films being quite rare in recent years. Stitches also marks the acting debut of comedian Ross Noble.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (Oct 26th):

Nothing screams Halloween quite like a mysterious town shrouded in fog; zombie nurses; and demonic cults. Luckily all these can be found in this sequel to the 2006 film adaptation of the successful Silent Hill video-game franchise.

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Heather Mason discovers that her presumed identity is false, and as a result, she is drawn to an alternate dimension that exists in the town of Silent Hill.

Joining returning cast members Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell, are Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Kit Harington (making this a mini Game of Thrones reunion). The biggest question we have about this film is…will Sean Bean’s character survive?

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