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Autumn/winter horror preview 2013: In Fear, VHS2 and Carrie

A Nightmare on Elm Street and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones also among upcoming horror highlights

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Autumn/winter horror preview 2013: featuring In Fear, VHS2 and Carrie

Carrie

The latter end of the year feels like an ideal time for a horror movie round-up: hallowe’en is just round the corner, and the rapidly lengthening nights thereafter provide many more unlit hours in which to wet yourself at the sound of a creaky door. That said, it is a little disheartening that, of the eight films scheduled to hit cinemas between now and the New Year (plus an extra release just after the bells, because we cheated), only one has fresh blood in it: the rest are reissues, remakes or additions to pre-existing franchises.

Not that this is all bad news, of course – when a film gets reissued it tends to be because the quality level is high enough for it to be given another look, especially when as venerable an institution as the BFI is distributing it. Based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, 1961 ghost story The Innocents (Fri 13 Dec) is part of the BFI’s Gothic strand, and stars Deborah Kerr as a governess attempting to save her young charges from the attentions of malevolent spirits. Wes Craven’s sleepy-time slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street (Thu 31 Oct, natch) is similarly worth a rewatch – while its memory may be slightly tarnished by a chain of ever diminishing effects-centric sequels, the original has some starkly cinematic scares at its heart, not least the image of Freddie leering through a bedroom ceiling. Both 1922 silent horror Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Fri 25 Oct) and Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake, Nosferatu the Vampyre (Fri 1 Nov), also rise from the dead this autumn, perhaps arriving to remind the Twilight/Vampire Dairies crowd about the real power of Dracula.

In the remake camp, we have the new version of Stephen King’s Carrie (Fri 29 Nov), most memorably adapted by Brian De Palma in 1976. While messing with such an iconic property is a dangerous game, we’re given courage by the presence of a rock-solid cast (Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore) and a left-field choice of director: Boys Don’t Cry/Stop-Loss helmer Kimberly Peirce.

As for sequels, lo-fi anthology horror VHS introduces another five terrifying tales under the banner of VHS2 (Mon 14 Oct), with guest directors including Adam Wingard (You’re Next), Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun) and Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid). The Paranormal Activity franchise takes a sideways step with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Fri 3 Jan), a Latino/Catholic-themed ‘cousin’ to the series that’s not being sold as a sequel proper; while so-so 2009 possession flick The Haunting in Connecticut makes a similar sidestep with sequel The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (Thu 31 Oct), alleged to be a stand-alone story that has little to do with the original chapter (although both Hauntings are purported to be adaptations of ‘true’ stories).

Which brings us to the sole example of originality in these darkened months: In Fear (Fri 15 Nov), a no-budget horror that follows two young festival-goers who become lost among the narrow, winding roads of the British countryside. The trailer has done a very decent job of putting the frights up us, with a claustrophic in-car setting and a malevolent, shadowy force that could be anything from evil demons to disgruntled groundskeepers.

Nosferatu

  • 1922
  • Germany
  • 94 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: F W Murnau
  • Cast: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Alexander Granach, Ruth Landshoff, Wolfgang Heinz

Schreck is a truly terrifying figure as Bram Stoker's famous vampire, looking more like a skinned bat than a human being. A wonderfully visual movie, with twisted shadows and sexual undercurrents placing it well above the Kinski/Herzog remake.

Nosferatu the Vampyre

  • 1979
  • West Germany
  • 107 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Werner Herzog
  • Cast: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz

Disappointingly turgid remake of the expressionist classic, whose main redeeming feature is the splendid make-up and mesmerising presence of Kinski.

The Innocents

  • 1961
  • UK
  • 99 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Jack Clayton
  • Written by: Novella: Henry James; Screenplay: William Archibald, Truman Capote, (additional dialogue), John Mortimer
  • Cast: Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Franklin, Clytie Jessop, Isla Cameron

Simply put, one of the finest ghost stories ever committed to film. A shocking psychosexual/supernatural chiller adapted from Henry James's classic novel, The Turn of the Screw. Exceptionally ambiguous, it's unlikely to provide an obvious conclusion save that you'll want to see it again.

Carrie

  • 2 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 100 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
  • Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Celal Taskiran
  • UK release: 29 November 2013

Kick Ass's Moretz stars as the titular teen harbouring dark powers in this remake of the Brian De Palma classic.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

  • 1984
  • US
  • 91 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Wes Craven
  • Cast: Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, Heather Langenkamp

Perhaps the quintessential teenage slasher flick, A Nightmare on Elm Street obliterates the distinction between fantasy and reality. Nancy (Langenkamp) and her friends Glen (Depp), Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Rod (Nick Corri), discover they’re all being stalked in their dreams by the grotesque psychopath Freddie Krueger. As…

VHS 2

  • 2013
  • US, Canada, Indonesia
  • 96 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sánchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard
  • Cast: Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Hughes, Andrew Suleiman
  • UK release: 14 October 2013

Sequel to the handheld horror anthology, featuring a new series of films from a new selection of directors.

In Fear

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • UK
  • 85 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
  • Cast: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech
  • UK release: 15 November 2013

Tom (De Caestecker) and Lucy (Englert) are a new couple driving to a festival in Ireland, but they get lost – and then things start to happen. Director Lovering didn't tell his stars what would happen next, so their fear and uncertainty is real, and despite the story's inevitable turn towards obviousness it's an…

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

  • 2 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 101 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Tom Elkins
  • Cast: Abigail Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff
  • UK release: 31 October 2013

A young family moves into an historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house's only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path.

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