Let's face it. 2011 was not really the strongest year for horror. In fact, I'd say that it may just have been the weakest year since I began writing The Vault of Horror in 2007. Nevertheless, I'm pretty jazzed about what 2012 seems to have in store for us. If the Mayans are right, then I wouldn't really mind going down in a blaze of glory after witnessing this fine crop of fright flicks. Granted, some of these may very well turn out to be colossal stinkfests--only time will tell. I know I'll be checking out many a new horror film this year, and here are a bunch that I'm excited to see...
The Woman in Black
With Harry Potter now behind him, the grownup-ization of Daniel Radcliffe officially kicks off with this moody and atmospheric ghost thriller. I'm a big fan of good old-fashioned ghost stories, and this one has a great look to it. I'm hoping it delivers.
John Dies at the End
Phantasm maestro Don Coscarelli's return to horror has been making quite a stir at film festivals and gaining a lot of internet steam in the process. History has shown that this can all mean squat in the end, but I think it will at least be worth a look.
The Wicker Tree
The idea of a Wicker Man sequel written and directed by Robin Hardy, director of the original 1973 cult classic, is about as intriguing as it gets. This is something that Hardy has wanted to do for many, many years now, and I'll be lining up to see what he's come up with as soon as humanly possible. The cameo by Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle is worth it alone.
Not to be confused with Transylvania 6-5000, this one is an animated flick directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the genius behind Samurai Jack and Dexter's Laboratory, among other things. I'm thinking something along the lines of Igor, only hopefully it doesn't disappear in about two minutes flat.
I've been a staunch champion of [REC] since day one. The original was easily the most frightening horror film of the previous decade, and I thought the sequel was a hell of a movie as well. That said, I have some serious reservations about this third one, as Paco Plaza may just have jumped the shark without his longtime partner Jaume Balaguero.
Francis Ford Coppola, returning to the genre on which he cut his teeth some 50 years ago with Dementia 13? How could I not be interested in this, even with the participation of bloated, aging, pretentious hack Val Kilmer?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Goofy? Perhaps a little. But I've got a soft spot for the whole historical/literary horror mashup subgenre that's been all the rage the past few years. If I'm not mistaken, this would be the first cinematic adaptation in that subgenre. Could Pride and Prejudice and Zombies be far behind?
When I met William Lustig at a screening of the original Maniac last year at the Avon Theatre, even he seemed interested to see what the remake of his seminal serial killer exploitation movie would be like. Granted, that may have been due to the enormous paycheck he's sure to receive, but what the heck, I'm being optimistic. Elijah Wood in the Joe Spinell role? This I've got to see.
You can razz me all you want, but I had a hell of a lot of fun with Piranha 3D a few years back. Not to mention that it might have been the goriest film I've ever seen in my life! I'm not expecting anything life-changing here, but if the Piranha sequel is even half as much fun as the first one, then I'm there.
After 25+ years, Tim Burton at long last gives his classic short subject the feature film treatment. Still black and white, this time out, the story of a boy who reanimates his dead dog will be told through stop-motion animation. I do believe Burton has some experience with this technique...
World War Z
We've been waiting for it for years. Max Brooks' 2006 novel was one of a kind, taking the exploding zombie genre places it had never been before. And now, the movie is nearly upon us. A Brad Pitt vehicle, it promises to be zombie horror on an epic, big-budget scale. Yes, it's rated PG-13, deal with it. This could be the Citizen Kane of zombie films if done right.
Without a doubt, this is the genre project that has the majority of my attention this year. I have high hopes for this one, and almost can't believe it's actually happening. After all these years, Ridley Scott will at last be telling the story of that mysterious spacecraft discovered by the crew of the Nostromo in Alien. This one has the makings of a modern science fiction gem.
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And this is just a taste. Whether the world ends or not, clearly 2012 is going to be one terrifying year. Strap in, Vault dwellers, and I'll see you at the movies! Well, not really. I mean, if I saw you that would mean you were stalking me, which would be kind of weird, don't you think? Oh well, you get the point... Here's to a year of great horror cinema!