The best upcoming horror movies (August 2018)

Nic Cage in Mandy

The upcoming horror movies of 2018 are ridiculous. Seriously. This year has, of course, already thrown out brilliant, eclectic works like A Quiet Place, Unsane, the (almost) perfect Hereditary, the beautifully disturbing Ghost Stories, and the unsettling, existential odyssey of Annihilation. But that was just the start. We're still months off the traditional fall and winter haunting ground, and there's still so much more to come. 

The new Halloween feels like a wonderfully authentic return to Laurie Strode's story. The Suspiria remake sounds as harrowing as it is artfully innovative - which is to say, very. And then there's Mandy, the gore-drenched, Nic Cage starring, Clive Barker riffing return of the director behind the stunning Beyond the Black Rainbow, with an early '80s authenticity liable to make Stranger Things feel like a novelty costume party. This year is going to be downright ridiculous for horror, and there's a truckload more to come from the FrightFest 2018 line-up too. 

Slender Man

Release date: August 24, 2018

While the Slender Man myth has been around since 2011, when it reared its featureless face as a user-created entry to a horror Photoshop content on the  Something Awful forums, recently the skinny bogeyman has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Two twelve-year-old girls (both since committed to mental health facilties), thinking they were working under the Slender Man’s influence, attempted to murder their friend in the woods in 2014. Thankfully the young girl survived her knife wounds, but the appeal of the Slender Man as a fun source of scares has, quite understandably, waned since. 

Fast forward to 2018 and someone has thought it a good idea to fill a seven-year delayed Slender Man movie about the subject with troubled young girls, scary forests, and stabbing. Bad taste doesn’t really cover it. Also, it looks pretty bad. I’m just here to tell you it’s coming. If you’d like to know more about the whole Slender Man story, including the tragedy currently fuelling the movie backlash, head here

The Little Stranger 

 Release date: August 31, 2018

Sometimes, you just need to get back to basics. Tradition. The good old classic comfort zones. Sometimes you just need a big country house full of posh British people all being terribly polite and repressed about a clear case of eldritch, seething horror that no-one wants to acknowledge because doing so just wouldn't be the done thing at all. Must be delusions. Damn stress of the war. Ghosts? Barmy. 

That's what we've got with The Little Stranger, which, based on its first promo, looks to be an excellent iteration of the sub-genre. Directed with cold, staid atmosphere by Room's Lenny Abrahamson, and packing a premium-quality cast headed up by Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Charlotte Rampling, it might just be set to be one of the classiest - and most classically styled - horror movies of the year. 

The Nun 

Release date: September 7, 2018 

You can scoff at the blatant franchise milking and endless spin-offs from spin-offs from spin-offs, but delving further into The Conjuring has proved to be pretty worthwhile so far. While The Conjuring 2 was a bit of a hot mess - let’s not talk about the architectural 'observation' of an English council house with a creepy flooded basement - Annabelle: Creation was a delightfully scary surprise last year, and The Nun could easily follow suit. 

Starring American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga (real-life sister of The Conjuring's Vera) this origin story for the demonic nun, Valek, is set in 1952, where a young nun has died under mysterious circumstances. Cue much Christ-compelling as a Romanian Monastery becomes the battleground between heaven and hell. Given that It writer Gary Dauberman is on screenplay duties, working from a story by himself and James Wan, there’s plenty of delicious potential at work here. 

With the trailer for The Nun looking pretty damn fun indeed, it’s time to get back in the habit. And I apologise immediately for that joke. 

(No I don't) 

The Predator

Release date: September 14 

Yep, the Predator is back and this time, he’s directed and co-written by none other than Shane Black. Not only a fantastically sharp writer and director (responsible for Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3, and Robert Downey Jr's original comeback in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang), Black played Hawkins in the original Predator. After the drawn-out misery of the Alien Vs, Predator debacle, all signs now point to 'Finally the right person for the job'.  

Arnie sadly won’t be returning to the franchise, but Olivia Munn and Alfie Allen are primed to take on the dreadlocked one and Black’s trademark dark sense of humour is apparently making this a a funnier experience than previous entries. Not that it's exactly lightening the tone. Black has emphatically stated this take of a Predator in suburbia, as well as bringing back the series' sense of sci-fi wonder, will be a full-blooded, R-rated gorefest. 

“Just to be clear,” he says on Twitter. ”PG-13 is for pussies. Spines bleed… a lot.” 

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Release date: September 21, 2018 (US)/September 28, 2018 (UK)

Family-friendly kids' lit adaptations aren't the first thing you think of when Eli 'Hostel and The Green Inferno' Roth pops up in conversation but here we very much are. The director is taking a break from his long-standing predilection for graphic dismemberment to steer Jack Black, Kyle MacLachlan, and Cate Blanchett through the tale of a house with a heart ticking away inside its walls. A heart with the potential for supernatural disaster. 

All Hell literally breaks loose when a ten year old boy accidentally awakens the dead - elbow on the reanimate button when distracted by Twitter, happens all the time - and a sleepy town becomes filled with all kinds of interesting, dark, and decidedly non-living creatures. With a script from Supernatural writer Eric Kripke, expect plenty of laughs alongside the kid-friendly scares. 

Halloween

Release date: October 19, 2018  

To everyone’s delight last year, the original Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, revealed that she’ll be back in a brand new addition to John Carpenter’s legendary franchise. Not only that, but this time it really will be John Carpenter's, as the long0-absent master of horror (and brutally atmospheric synth) is stepping back into the breach to oversea the quality and authenticity of the film. 

Coming from Blumhouse Productions - who saw that coming? - the new Halloween will see Curtis taking on the role of poor Laurie Strode once again, in a film wiping to be a direct sequel to the original 1978 movie. What does that mean? Strode has been free of Michael for the last 40 years and, helpfully, hasn’t actually been murdered. Not only is Carpenter executive producer on the project, he’s also promised a fresh new soundtrack (arguably as important as any other part of the equation), meaning this might just be the truesequel we’ve been waiting for all these years. The new Halloween trailer certainly looks and feels right in every single way. 

Suspiria

Release date: Fall 2018   

I know, okay? There’s no way this one should even be acceptable as a concept, let alone promising as an actual film. A remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria? One of the most classic of classics? The relentless, claustrophobic, atmosphere-drenched, burning hot Technicolor nightmare against which all surreal supernatural horror Must Henceforeth Be Judged? No way. Not happening. But actually, yes way, Bill and Ted. Because this thing sounds savagely good.

Smartly eschewing a straight remake in favour of a reinterpretation of the original film’s core idea (young ballet dancer moves to prestigious academy, finds all-pervading, witchcraft-driven horror), the new Suspiria, helmed by Luca Guadagnino (Oscar and BAFTA-nominated director of Call Me by Your Name and A Bigger Splash), sounds like a serious slab of finely crafted, uncompromising horror. Swapping Argento’s throbbing, primary coloured palette for something colder and “really dark”, Suspiria 2018 follows through with a cast headed up by Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, and Chloe Grace Moretz, and an original score composed by Thom York of Radiohead.

And apparently the early preview footage recently shown off behind closed doors is downright horrific, in thunderously inventive ways (you can get a small taste of that in the trailer). Oh, and it’s two and a half hours long, which should make it one of the most imposing, gruelling, and entirely head-spinning horror films of the year.

Mandy

Nic Cage in Mandy

(Image: © Universal)

Release date: TBA 2018

The chances are that you haven’t seen Beyond the Black Rainbow. Released in 2010, it remains relatively obscure, despite its profoundly disturbing, consummately stylish recreation of Cronenbergian, ‘80s sci-horror. It’s also bloody brilliant, like Stranger Things grew up and got into heavy cyberpunk nihilism on the back of a really nasty comedown. It’s beautifully made, and will leave you feeling very weird for a few days afterward. Exactly my kind of horror, basically. But its director, Panos Cosmatos, hasn’t made a follow-up. Until now.

And oh God, what a follow-up. I can’t entirely yet evoke its potential splendour in complete sentences, so let me just give you a few keywords and see how you react. 1983 American wilderness setting. Bloody, supernatural revenge drama. Sinister cultists, and demons on motorbikes. Chainsaw duels and NICOLAS GODDAMN CAGE. Nicolas goddamn Cage with a spear on his back, madness in his eyes, and positively painted with other people’s blood.

Oh, I see you’re vibrating with excitement. Welcome to the party, friend. Fingers crossed we don’t explode into bloody gibs of fevered anticipation before Mandy gets a firm release date. But no promises. Early word from festival screenings is that it's really, really good. Oh, and the new trailer confirms that Predator's Bill Duke is in it so YES INDEED.