Here’s a quick rundown of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, focusing on some spooky selections to help kickstart your Halloween celebrations.
Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
Bad Times at the El Royale – Six whole years ago, Drew Goddard’s debut feature Cabin in the Woods brought the meta-horror of Wes Craven works like New Nightmare & Scream to a new level of comedic what-the-fuckery. His only credits as a director since have been a couple (excellent) episodes of The Good Place, so this twisty, star-studded neo-noir follow-up feature is much-anticipated (and is supported by one of the year’s best trailers).
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – I didn’t expect to love 2015’s Goosebumps movie nearly as much as I did, but it ended up excelling as a children’s primer for life-long horror fandom, like a Monster Squad update for a generation raised on CGI. I’m going into this sequel with a much higher level of anticipation, for better or for worse.
The House with the Clock in Its Walls – Eli Roth made a name for himself in one of horror’s worst creative slumps: the torture porn nu-metal aughts. He hasn’t been of much interest to me as a result, but recent tongue-in-cheek pranks like the Keanu Reeves head-scratcher Knock Knock have been slowly changing my mind on that, so his directing a PG-rated haunted house comedy for children certainly has an unignorable allure to it. I’m foolishly optimistic.
Hell Fest – It’s October, which means it’s time to indulge in as many gimmicky, mainstream horrors as possible before Halloween comes & goes. This one is set at a haunted house amusement park, appearing to fall halfway between the grime of The Funhouse & the slick production of the Final Destination series in its basic aesthetic. It almost doesn’t even matter if it ends up being any good; it’s just the exact right season to see a ridiculous horror movie big & loud with an early-run crowd.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
Halloween (1978) – Catch John Carpenter’s genre-pioneering slasher on the big screen before its latest decades-late sequel hits the multiplexes next week. ‘Tis the season! Playing Friday 10/12, Saturday 10/13, and Sunday 10/14 as part of Prytania’s Kill-o-rama series.
Dracula (1931) – Tod Browning’s Universal Monsters classic is mostly notable for its killer lead performance from Bela Lugosi as its titular vampire (and most enjoyable when accompanied by Philip Glass’s 1990s score, which likely won’t be included with these screenings), but it’s also too legendary to be missed in a proper theatrical setting. Playing Sunday 10/14 & Wednesday 10/17 as part of Prytania’s Classic Movies series.
Mandy – Panos Cosmatos’s follow-up to Beyond the Black Rainbow is being sold as a badass psychedelic freakout starring an unhinged Nic Cage in a heavy metal revenge fantasy. The truth is much stranger than that, as the film is in actuality a slow descent into the Hell of personal grief, much more grotesque & distressing than anything that could be considered feel-good badassery. It’s metal. It’s psychedelic. It deserves to be seen as big & as loud as possible. Just don’t expect it to be a party. Only screening at The Broad Theater.
Venom – A C-grade superhero movie that treads water for at least a half-hour, then mutates into an A+ slapstick body-horror comedy with an outright Nic Cagian lead performance from Tom Hardy. Venom is a less satirically pointed, big-budget version of Upgrade or a modernized Henenlotter, but its highs are also much funnier (and surprisingly queerer) than either of those reference points. It’s a lot of fun if you maintain your patience through the first act.