Right out of the gate, I want to reiterate once again what a grand slam Sam Raimi hit with last month's Drag Me to Hell. So great to see an original, awesome, kick-ass American horror film again, especially representing during the summer blockbuster season. However, it has been pointed out to me by the insightful Scott Weinberg of HorrorSquad that other than that, this has been one piss-poor year for horror.
And you know what? I can't disagree. In fact, looking back at the half-expired 2009, I am appalled at the pitifully slim collection of fright flicks that have made it into theaters thus far. I mean, prior to Drag Me to Hell, the last horror movie to be released theatrically in the U.S. was The Haunting in Connecticut, and that was all the way back in March!
Not to mention the fact that of the scant films that have been released this year, so very few of them have been worth our hard-earned dollars. The Unborn? The Uninvited? The Friday the 13th remake? What's going on here? Aside from the remakes of Last House on the Left and My Bloody Valentine at the beginning of the year, 2009 has been nothing to write home about whatsoever.
Since the release of Drag Me to Hell, we've only gotten Dead Snow just now released on American shores--if you can count a two-screen distribution as a legitimate release. And although I haven't seen it yet, I'm not getting overly enthusiastic from the feedback I've been hearing on that one. Next week we've got Blood: The Last Vampire, which is a pretty decent fun flick for which you'll be seeing a full review from me in the next few days.
And looking on the bright side, we've got the likes of Grace, Antichrist and Zombieland on the horizon for the second half of the year, so maybe there's a chance that 2009 can be pulled out of the crapper. But even disregarding quality, its the sheer lack of quantity in theatrical horror films that's surprising me. What gives here? Are filmmakers, studios and distributors losing interest in the genre en masse--after a near decade-long horror boom, is the scream machine at last grinding to a slow and painful halt?
I certainly hope not. Maybe this year is just a sad abberation. I'm just hoping we're not heading into a down period, a la the 1990s, a decade so bad I actually think that Return of the Living Dead III was a major highlight (seriously). Fingers crossed, people. Mr. Raimi, thanks for saving us. Now someone, anyone, please take the torch and run with it...