“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.” ― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Hello, friends! It’s October 1st, the beginning of Persephone Magazine’s annual 31 Days of Halloween series during which we — and by we, we mean mainly Slay Belle, who waits for October to roll around every year with barely contained zeal— dedicate a daily slot on the schedule to all things spooky, creepy, and Halloweeny. In previous years, we’ve looked at Chick Tracts, your own true ghost stories, urban legends, and horror movies, both family friendly and decidedly family -unfriendly. We’re looking forward to another month exploring the spirit of the season.
What to See in Theaters this October
With Halloween looming on the 31st, there are always a slew of horror and horror-lite movies that are scheduled for release during October. This year, the offerings include a much delayed Daniel Radcliffe vehicle, a Day of the Dead animated film, another foray into the Dracula mythos, and shockingly, not a single Paranormal Activity film. What’s the world coming to?
The Book of Life
Release date: October 17, 2014
Produced by genre stalwart and advocate Guillermo del Toro, The Book of Life is this season’s family-friendly entry. Based around Day of the Dead imagery and rendered in computer animated 3D, the film features the voices of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, and Christina Applegate. It’s unfortunate that official movie synopsis is so dry and lifeless compared with the incredibly vibrant, lush clips found in the trailers:
“From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.” Written by 20th Century Fox
Release date: October 10, 2014
Yet another retelling of the origins of Dracula, aimed squarely at suckers like me who keep buying tickets to see these things. In this version, Dracula is a lord or knight or something, and he turns to a vampire for assistance in resisting an evil sultan who tries to draft his son into military service. One assumes that he becomes evil in the course of resisting evil, as one does. It’s like he never even heard that whole “he who fights monsters” adage.
Look, let’s just be real here. This is probably going to be pretty craptastic, but Dracula is played by superb eye candy Luke Evans, so let’s all go support his career as a leading man, preferable of the brooding variety.
Release date: October 23, 2014 (VOD), November 21, 2014 theatrical release
The third entry in the horror anthology series promises a little more insight into the “cursed video tape” frame story, as well as segments about a deranged illusionist, a death cult, and an organization tracking a serial killer. The anthology series has been to date, as anthology series tend to be, uneven, but there’s always an entry or two well worth the price of admission.
Release date: October 3, 2014
Last year’s The Conjuring, based on the career of notorious demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, was a surprise hit at the box office, meaning this year we get a quickie follow up film. This entry is based around the legend of the possessed doll, Annabelle, who stared in The Conjuring’s opening sequence. While in “real life” Annabelle was actually a large Raggity Ann doll that may or may not have been possessed by a devil, the film version swaps out the soft stuffing of Raggity Ann for an appropriately sinister looking porcelain faced vintage doll. All the better to haunt your nightmares, my dear.
Look at that face in the poster. What dingbat buys a doll like that for anyone? It practically screams, “I will stab you in your sleep.”
Release date: October 31, 2014 (finally!)
Based on the Joe Hill novel of the same name, Horns follows Ig Perrish, who mysteriously begins to grow horns after being accused of the murder of his girlfriend. The supernatural nature of the horns makes those who see them forget their existence, but also entices people to act out their darkest impulses. The film originally premiered at the Toronto film festival in 2013, but it’s release was pushed back multiple times after less-than-glowing reviews. The trailer looks fantastic though, so hopefully the extra months since its premier has tightened the film’s narrative.