Happy New Year and New Decade, gorehounds! First, I would like to say that, though I really did think about it, I will not be compiling any top 10 / best of / worst of lists. While I try to put out a handful of articles a week, I am also engaged, have a full-time job in education, work as a promoter for multiple monthly club events, and have my own performance career to juggle. That in mind, I know for a fact that I would leave something off the list, and I know if I read a comment accusing me of leaving something off the list, or putting something on my list that had no business being there, I may be inclined to feed a troll or two. Besides, given recent events, I would just put Black Christmas and Child’s Play on my best films list, just to stir the shit pot. (In all seriousness, I enjoyed both of those films, and I’ve reviewed them both.)
Instead, I choose to look at the future. 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting year in the horror world, with a mix of original films, long-awaited sequels, and a could of old tales being reshaped and retold for a new audience. As such, I’ve chosen eight confirmed films that I am all the way excited for in the new year. While there are plenty of rumored releases and “they’re in talks, but nothing’s happened yet” projects out there, my list will consist of confirmed releases in the year. While I’m sure more will pop up throughout the year, this is what I have to work with so far, and I’ve double- and triple-checked the dates and confirmations to be sure. After all, there’s enough fake news out there as it is.
Fantasy Island (February 14, 2020)
Last year saw a horror spin on the classic series Banana Splits, and so the folks at Blumhouse are taking their chance with this adaptation of the beloved '70s and '80s television series. While the original show had its air of peril and suspense, the thrills are to be ramped up this go-round, with director Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf, Truth or Dare) at the helm. I’m a sucker for a “be careful what you wish for” story, and frankly, I really enjoyed the way Truth or Dare managed its concept and ending thereof. With names like Lucy Hale, Michael Rooker, and Kim Coates among the cast, this could be a fun Valentine’s Day horrorshow.
The Invisible Man (February 28, 2020)
After over a decade of development hell, this new lease on life for the H. G. Wells story is well on its way. With Leigh Whannell (SAW) writing and directing this new vision, I can’t help but be excited, especially after his latest horror triumph, 2018’s high-tech hellscape Upgrade. While the premise is less science experiment gone wrong and more abusive lover (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) haunts his widow (Elisabeth Moss) from beyond, I’m interested to see how Whannell handles the social commentary that is bound to be made, given the subject matter. Another Blumhouse production, The Invisible Man already has a female counterpart in the works, that work with Elizabeth Banks manning the ship. Here’s hoping this adaptation of the Universal Monsters classic fares better than The Mummy did.
A Quiet Place: Part II (March 20, 2020)
I don’t know that anyone expected a work of horror from the guy behind Jim fucking Halpert, much less a work of horror that would go on to be such a roaring success. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was a well-crafted chiller that made excellent use of sound design and suspense. While the ending of the first film practically begged for a sequel, it wasn’t until Paramount approached Krasinski that the thought of a second movie was given any credence. Better still, the story goes that the studio opted to let Krasinski write the script the way he wanted to, allowing him to continue the story in the universe that he created with the first film. Joining the cast this time are Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou, bringing even more star power to this aural apocalypse.
Antebellum (April 24, 2020)
Singer Janelle Monae stars as an author trapped in a dark alternate reality. A major selling point of this film is producer Sean McKittrick, known for his work on Get Out and Us. Writers/directors Christopher Renz and Gerard Bush (Kill Jay-Z, Against the Wall) are set to make their feature-length debut. At the time of this writing, there’s not a lot of information to be had about Antebellum, save for a tagline of “If it chooses you, nothing can save you.” With the enigmatic singer leading the cast, and the resumes of the directors, there is ample opportunity for this to be a surprise hit.
The Organ Donor (May 15, 2020)
While I thoroughly enjoyed the 2017 reboot Jigsaw, it left me feeling two things. First, when the hell is the next one coming? Second, how did you expect me to pull off that much mental gymnastics to understand what the fuck that final twist was about? Regarding the first feeling, this new entry into the most commercially successful horror franchise is based on a story by Chris Rock, who will also star as Zeke. Samuel L. Jackson is also confirmed for the cast, a choice that threw me for a loop upon learning about it. Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger return as writers, and Darren Lynn Bousman takes up the director’s helm, as he did for the second, third, and fourth SAW films. On a personal note, this comes out nine days before my 24th birthday, so happy twisted birthday to me on this one.
Candyman (June 12, 2020)
Candyman is one of the most overlooked horror films out there, and it’s a damn shame. Personally, I feel that it belongs at the forefront of the casual fan’s slasher conversation, right up there with the other heavyweights we all know and can name in our sleep. In a move that doesn’t happen that often with remakes, Tony Todd is returning to reprise his role as Daniel Robitaille, who had previously given his blessing to writer/producer Jordan Peele. In Todd’s words, Peele would hit the beats about racism that the story needs to succeed, but production reached out to the originator of the role, and Todd graciously accepted. This time, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II stars as Anthony McCoy, a visual artist who seeks out the legend of Candyman in a now-gentrified Chicago suburb. With the upstart Nia DaCosta directing, this could be another triumph in black horror, just as Peele’s previous works were.
Terrifier 2 (October 2020, rumored)
The first Terrifier was a gory, graphic gut-wrencher, with writer/director/editor Damien Leone’s practical FX work a gorehound’s dream in this grindhouse love letter. If you thought that hacksaw scene was a stomach-churner, Leone has promised that one scene from this next offering will “involve mass casualties and destruction of its location.” The Indiegogo campaign brutalized its funding goal four times over and then some, ensuring that this indie gem will double down on its predecessor. The excess funding was promised to bring a horror genre icon into the mix, and while this name has not been formally announced, David Howard Thornton is reprising his role as Art the Clown, and his performance is enough to make fans want more of the monochrome madman’s antics.
Halloween Kills (October 16, 2020)
The original slasher boogeyman is back, as we have not one, but two Halloween sequels awaiting us in the next two years. Halloween Kills will directly follow the 2018 film, which saw the beloved franchise get its highest box office in franchise history, with Jamie Lee Curtis not missing a beat as the legendary final girl Laurie Strode. This film knocked Scream off the first-place podium in terms of high-grossing slashers, so you know that co-writer/director David Gordon Green means business with this film and Halloween Ends. This new canon, ignoring the established sequels and Rob Zombie’s timeline entirely, set fire to the horror game, and this release prompted the folks behind The Organ Donor to push their release date forward by five whole months. In so many words, you really can’t kill the boogeyman, and no one can be bothered to even try.