TLW's Horrorscope™ (Horror Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: May 19, 2017. Last Update: June 21, 2019.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to horror history, incl. Horror fiction and Horror movies. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
People love to be scared, and will pay money for the experience. Horror genres incl. body horror, Cthulhu Mythos, Dinosaur erotica, Fantastic, Fantastique, Ghost horror, Giallo, Gothic horror, Grotesquerie, Demonic horror, Japanese horror, Jiangshi fiction, Korean horror, Werewolf fiction, Lovecraftian horror, Macabre, Monster erotica, Monster lit., Mumblegore, New weird, Organ transplant horror, Penny dreadful, Personality horror, Psychological horror, Sci-fi horror, Southern (Ontario) Gothic, Splatter horror, Suburban Gothic, Survival horror, Tasmanian Gothic, Tokusatsu, Torture porn, Urban Gothic, Weird menace, Werewolf horror, Zombie horror.
In 1764 London-born Horace (Horatio) Walpole (1717-97) (son of Robert Walpole) pub. the Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto, founding the field of Gothic (supernatural) romance, set in a ruined haunted Gothic castle or abbey filled with secret passages and stairways.
In 1777 Ipswitch-born Clara Reeve (1729-1807) pub. the Gothic romance The Champion of Virtue (The Old English Baron); competition for Horace Walpole's "Castle of Otranto"; influences Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".
In 1789 London-born Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) pub. her first novel The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne - not in my house? In 1790 she pub. A Sicilian Romance. In 1792 she pub. The Romance of the Forest.
In 1800 Anglo-Irish Gothic novelist Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) pub. her first novel Castle Rackrent, becoming the first historical novel, the first regional novel in England, the first Anglo-Irishnovel, the first Big House novel, the first saga novel, and the first to use the device of an unreliable narrator. In 1817 she pub. Ormond.
In 1800 Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) of Italy makes the shocking discovery of the Voltaic Pile; the first one is made of zinc and copper metal plates and wet cardboard soaked in salt solution, and he later substitutes silver for copper and cloth for cardboard to build bigger piles from which he can draw sparks and shocks, amazing the world and causing a sensation; in May W. Nicholson and A. Carlile use a voltaic pile to decompose water, observing oxygen appearing at one pile and hydrogen at the other, adding to the sensationalism with the idea that atoms are held together by electricity - and hence immortality is just around the corner? In 1818 London-born Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) pub. the Gothic romance novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, about a mad scientist who makes a corpse live again via electricity; she got the idea while in a trance based on the writings of alchemists about creating a homunculus in a test tube, "a pale student of the unhallowed arts [grave-robbing] kneeling beside the thing he had put together"; "I beheld the wrath of the miserable monster whom I had created"; "I curse (although I curse myself) the hands that formed you" - could it have really been based on her hubby Percy's anatomy?
In 1807 Dublin-born Gothic novelist Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824) (who pub. under the alias Dennis Jasper Murphy) pub. his first novel The Fatal Revenge; or The Family of Montorio. In 1807 he pub. The Wild Irish Boy. In 1813 he pub. The Milesian Chief. In 1820 he pub. Melmoth the Wanderer; the sequel Melmoth Reconciled to the Church is written by Honore de Balzac in tribute after his death.
On Apr. 10, 1815 Mt. Tambora on Sumbawa Island in Indonesia erupts with a force 100x times Mt. St. Helens (most powerful recorded volcanic explosion in history), killing 90K, mostly from starvation after it destroys the crops; it affects the weather as far away as England, blackening skies around the globe and blocking sunlight for three years, triggering a blizzard in Upstate New York in June 1816 and killer frosts in New England in July-Aug. 1816, making 1816 "the year without a summer", causing a new genre of Gothic fiction incl. Frankenstein and human vampires to emerge?
On Jan. 1, 1818 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (nee Godwin) (1797-1851) anon. pub. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (3 vols.); Gothic romance novel about a mad scientist who makes a corpse live again via electricity; she got the idea while in a trance based on the writings of alchemists about creating a homunculus in a test tube, "a pale student of the unhallowed arts [grave-robbing] kneeling beside the thing he had put together"; "I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel"; "I beheld the wrath of the miserable monster whom I had created"; "I curse (although I curse myself) the hands that formed you" - could it have really been based on her hubby Percy's anatomy?
On June 23, 1819-July 1820 New York City-born Washington Irving (1783-1859) pub. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., which incl. Rip Van Winkle ("It's been 20 years since he went away with his gun") (first mention of the game of ninepins in Am. lit.), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (The Headless Horseman) Conn. schoolteacher Ichabod Crane of Greensburgh (Tarry Town) competes for the hand of 18-y.-o. Katrina Van Tassel with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, who tries to scare him off by dressing up as the Hessian Headless Horseman; "If I can just reach that bridge, I'm safe."
In 1830 Besancon-born Victor Marie Hugo (1802-85), known for writing in the nude so he can't be tempted to leave home bursts on the French scene with a spectacular output of novels, plays and poetry in his own anti-classical Romantic style, which makes him the #1 guy for three gens. of Frogs. On Jan. 14, 1831 he pub. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Notre Dame de Paris); Paris in the time of Louis XI starting on Epiphany (Jan. 6), 1482, the Feast of Fools; hunchback bellringer Quasimodo, Gypsy babe Emeralda, Capt. Phoebus, Pierre Gringoir, Archdeacon Claude Frollo; the criminal Truands and their Court of Miracles led by King Clopin Trouillefou; "Maitre Jacques Coppenole"; "A Tear for a Drop of Water".
On Dec. 24, 1896 Georges Melies' The House of the Devil (The Haunted/Devil's Castle) (Le Manoir du diable) debuts, starring Melies, Jehanne d'Alcy, and Jules-Eugene Legris, becoming the first horror film ever made; it shows the Devil (Legris) materializing from a bat form, becoming a movie cliche; watch film.
On May 26, 1897 Fairview, Ireland-born Abraham "Bram" Stoker (1847-1912) (distant relation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) pub. Dracula; original title "The Undead"; written after eight years of research on vampire lit. incl. William Wilkinson's "An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia" and visits to Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and the Church of St. John the Baptist in Fairview, Ireland; inspired by Vlad III Dracula the Impaler (1428-77); Dracula leaves his castle in Transylvania and the Three Sisters to go to Victorian London on the Russian ship Demeter along with 50 boxes of dirt to find fresh blood, and is taken on by Prof. Abraham Van Helsing; Jonathan Harker, Arthur Holmwood, and victim Lucy Westenra, who "went to the window and looked out, but could see nothing, except a big bat"; spawns a series of films, starting with "Dracula" (1931), dir. by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi. In 1914 his widow Florence Stoker (1858-1937) pub. Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories.
In 1897 Georges Melies' The Haunted/Devil's Castle (Le Chateau hante) debuts, a hand-colorized silent film about a man who enters a haunted castle and is taunted by spirits and the Devil himself; watch film.
In 1904 Goonestone, Kent-born Montague Rhodes "M.R." James (1862-1936) pub. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, launching the genre of the antiquarian ghost story. In 1911 he pub. More Ghost Stories. In 1919 he pub. A Thin Ghost and Others. In 1925 he pub. A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories.
On Mar. 18, 1910 J. Searle Dawley's Frankenstein by Edison Studios debuts, becoming the first film version of the 1818 Mary Shelley novel, starring Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein, Mary Claire Fuller (1888-1973) as his fiancee, and Charles Ogle as the monster; Fuller goes on to become a top film star, but in 1916 starts to tank, and by 1917 is kaput, ending up having two nervous breakdowns and living in a hospital for the last 25 years of her life.
On Aug. 22, 1913 Stellan Rye's and Paul Wegener's silent horror film The Student of Prague (Der Student von Prag) (A Bargain with Satan) debuts, based on the legend of Faust, set at the U. of Prague in 1820 and produced in Germany, about student Balduin (Wegener), who is tricked by sorcerer Scapinelli (John Gottowt) into giving up his mirror reflection, foiling his attempts to woo Countess Margit (Grete Berger); the first independent film in history?; refilmed in 1926, 1935, and 2004; watch trailer; watch movie.
In 1913 Herbert Brennon's and Carl Laemmle's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Universal Film Manufacturing Co.) debuts, based on the 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson story, starring King Baggot as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; re-released in Aug. 1927; watch movie.
On Jan. 15, 1915 Paul Wegener's and Henrik Galeen's The Golem (Der Golem) (The Monster of Fate) debuts, starring Galeen as an antiques dealer and Wegener as the golem; followed by "The Golem and the Dancing Girl" (1917) and "The Golem: How He Came Into the World" (1920).
In 1916 Richard Oswald's and Arthur Robinson's German horror film A Night of Horror (Nächte des Grauens) debuts, starring Werner Krauss, becoming the first feature-length film to portray vampires.
In Sept. 1917 Robert Wiene's German horror film Fear (Furcht) debuts, starring Bruno Decarli as Count Greven, and Conrad Veidt (film debut) as a turbaned Indian priest who gets pissed-off when Greven steals a sacred Buddha statue and gives him seven years to live life to the fullest, after which he will die by the hand of the one who loves him most, ending up shooting himself; watch film.
On Oct. 3, 1918 Ernst Lubitsch's The Eyes of the Mummy Ma (Die Augen der Mumie Ma) debuts, about a girl who is kidnapped and held in an ancient Egyptian temple before being rescued and fleeing to England, only to find her mysterious captor waiting, starring Max Laurence as Prince Hohenfels, Pola Negri as Ma, Harry Liedtke as painter Albert Wendland, and Emil Jannings as Radu the Arab; the first collaboration between Lubitsch and Negri; watch movie.
On Oct. 15, 1919 Conrad Veidt's German horror film Madness debuts, starring Veidt as Bankier Lorenzen, Reinhold Schuenzel as Jorges, and Grit Hegesa as Marion Cavello; art direction by Willi Hermann; one of two films dir. by Veidt.
In 1919 Providence, R.I.-born novelist ("America's Titan of Terror") Howard Philips "H.P." Lovecraft (1890-1937) first mentions the word Azathoth, which he works into his horror fiction as a deity in his Cthulhu Mythos and Dream Cycle stories, going on to inspire Am. horror writers incl. Stephen King; Cthulhu is part-dragon, part-octopus, and part-squid, with a mass of feelers on his face, and is hundreds of meters tall. Watch video; watch video; watch video; watch video.
On Feb. 26, 1920 Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari debuts, a German horror film starring Werner Krauss (1884-1959) as Caligari, co-starring Conrad Veidt as his somnambulist Cesare, who are visited at the carnival in Holstenwall, Germany by Francis (Friedrich Feher), and Alan (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski), whom Caligari correctly prophesies will die by dawn, causing Francis to begin investigating them; Cesare then kidnaps Francis' babe Jane (Lil Dagover), and after Caligari orders him to kill her, he falls in love with her and helps her escape, falling to his death; meanwhile Caligari is discovered to be head of a local insane asylum, obsessed with a medieval Dr. Caligari, after which the twist ending has Caligari revealed to be the insane asylum doctor who is trying to cure the narrator Francis all along - he's got documentation, play ball? Watch movie.
On Mar. 28, 1920 John S. Robertson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Famous Players-Lasky) (Paramount) debuts, written by Clara Beranger based on the 1886 novella "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson , starring John Barrymore as Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde, Brandon Hurst as Sir George Carewe, Martha Mansfield as his daughter Jekyll's fiancee) Millicent, Nita Naldi as Italian exotic dancer Gina, and Louis Wolheim as the music hall owner; watch movie.
On Jan. 1, 1921 Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage (Swedish "Korkarlen" = The Wagoner) (AB Svensk Filmindustri) debuts, based on the 1912 Selma Lagerlof novel "Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness!" about the legend that the last person to die each year as to drive Death's carriage and collect the souls of everybody who dies the following year, starring Sjostrom as David Holm, Hilda Borgstrom as Anna Holm, Tore Svennberg as Georges, Astrid Holm as Edit, and Concordia Selander as Edit's mother, featuring special effects and advanced narrative structure with flashbacks within flashbacks, later influencing Ingmar Bergman; watch movie.
On Mar. 4, 1922 Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) (Prana Film) (Gr. "nosophoros" = plague carrier) debuts, filmed in Bremen, Bavaria, starring Max Schreck as Count Orlok, becoming the first film to feature vampires; too bad, they make the mistake of advertising it as "freely adapted from Bram Stoker's Dracula", pissing-off his widow Florence Balcombe Stoker (1858-1937), who tries to get all the prints destroyed, winning her copyright lawsuit in July 1925; luckily some prints survive and the first U.S. screenings take place on June 3, 1929 - so who's under the red light of doom next? Watch movie.
On Nov. 5, 1922 Edward D. Venturini's The Headless Horseman (Sleepy Hollow Corp.) debuts, produced by Carl Stearns Clancy, based on the 1820 Washington Irving story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" set in 1790, starring Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane, Lois Meredith as Katrina Van Tessel, and Ben Hendricks Jr. as Abraham Van Brunt AKA Brom Bones, becoming the first B&W panchromatic feature film; watch video.
On Sept. 22, 1923 Wallace Worsley's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1831 Victor Hugo novel, starring Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda, Norman Kerry as Capt. Phoebus, Winifred Byrson as Fleur de Lys, Nigel De Brulier as Claude Frollo, Tully Marshall as Louis XI, and Ernest Torrence as King of the Beggars Clopin Trouillefou, making a star of "Man of a Thousand Faces" Leonidas Frank "Lon" Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) as Quasimodo; launches Universal's School of Horror; does $3M box office on a $1.25M budget; watch film; view video.
On May 6, 1924 Robert Wiene's Aistroam horror film The Hands of Orlac (Pan-Film) debuts, based on the story "Les Mains d'Orlac" by Maurice Renard, starring Conrad Veidt as concert pianist Paul Orlac, who loses his hands in a railway accident and has a surgeon transplant new ones from the recently executed murderer Vasseur, only to discover that he has inherited his murderous ways and can't play the piano anymore; watch movie.
On Sept. 24, 1926 Teinosuke Kinugasa's A Page of Madness (Kurutta Ichipeiji), written by Yasunari Kawabata is a silent horror film by the avant-garde Shinkankakuha (New Perceptions) School; it is lost then rediscovered in 1971; watch movie.
On Sept. 9, 1927 Paul Leni's The Cat and the Canary (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1922 John Willard black comedy play, starring Laura La Plante as Annabelle West, Forrest Stanley as Charlie Wilder, and Creighton Hale as Paul Jones in a comedy horror flick about millionaire Cyrus West, whose greedy relatives descend on him like "cats around a canary" when his will is read 20 years later and Annabelle and the other heirs spend the night in his haunted mansion on the Hudson River; Lucien Littlefield plays Dr. Ira Lazar, who has to decide that Annabelle is sane to inherit the fortune; refilmed in 1939 starring Bob Hope.
On Sept. 6, 1928 Roy Del Ruth's The Terror (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, written by Harvey Gates based on the play by Edgar Wallace about an English country inn where the guests incl. Mary McAvoy, Louise Fazenda, and Alex B. Francis are menaced by a slasher called The Terror, becoming the second "all-talking" motion picture released by Warner Bros. after "Lights of New York", and first all-talking horror film, made using the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system; does $1.22M U.S. and $243K foreign box office on a $163K budget; refilmed in 1934 as "Return of the Terror"; view video.
On Jan. 6, 1929 Paul Leni's The Last Warning (Universal Pictures) debuts, a companion film to "The Cat and the Canary" (1927) based on the 1922 play by Thomas F. Fallon based on the story "The House of Fear" by Wadsworth camp, father of Madeleine L'Engle, about a producer's attempt to stage a play five years after the original cast members were murdered in a theater that is now haunted; stars Laura La Plante as Doris Terry, Montagu Love as Arthur McHugh, Roy D'Arcy as Harvey Carleton, and Margaret Livingston as Evalynda Hendon; Leni's last film before his blood poisoning death in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sept. 2, 1929; view video.
On Feb. 12, 1931 Tod Browning's B&W Dracula (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1898 Bram Stoker novel, launching Hungarian-born Bela Lugosi (1882-1957) into film immortality, with trademark accent and the immortal soundbyte: "Listen to them, children of the night - what music they make"; also makes a star of dir. Tod Browning (Charles Albert Browning Jr.) (1880-1962); too bad, all of the Dracula stuff is censored by the govt. of Transylvania (Romania) until 1992; view clip.
On Nov. 21, 1931 James Whale's B&W Frankenstein (Universal Pictures), based on the 1818 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly novel and dir. by gay sockhusker James Whale (1889-1957) (sperm whale?) makes a monster star of English actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969) (makeup by Jack Pierce); English actor Colin Clive (1900-37) (descendant of Baron Robert Clive, founder of the British Indian Empire) plays Dr. Henry Frankenstein (in the novel it was Dr. Victor Frankenstein); Am. actor Dwight Frye (1899-1943) ("the Man with the Thousand-Watt Stare") plays hunchbacked lab asst. Fritz; does $12M box office on a $262K budget; "The monster was the best friend I ever had" (Karloff); "It's alive! It's alive!" (Clive); "When I was nine I played the demon king in Cinderella and it launched me on a long and happy life of being a monster" (Karloff); "His eyes mirrored the suffering we needed" (producer Carl Laemmle Jr.); "His face fascinated me. I made drawings of his head, adding sharp bony ridges where I imagined the skull might have joined" (James Whale); Frankenstein sideshows become the rage in the U.K. and U.S.; view clip; view clip.
On Feb. 20, 1932 Tod Browning's Freaks (MGM), based on the short story "Spurs" by Tod Robbins about a love triangle between midget Hans, trapeze artist Cleopatra, and strongman Hercules is so disturbing that it is a box-office flop ($316K budget), wrecking Browning's career and causing him to finally retire in 1942 and become a recluse in Malibu, Calif.; Olga Baclanova plays Cleopatra, Harry Earles plays Hans, and Henry Victor plays Hercules; also stars Leila Hyams as Venus, Daisy and Violet Hilton as the Siamese Twins, Josephine Joseph as Half Woman-Half Man, Frances O'Connor as the Armless Girl, Olga Roderick as the Bearded Lady, Prince Randian as the Living Torso, Peter Robinson as the Human Skeleton, Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow as the Pinheads Zip and Pip, Schlitzie the Pinhead as himself, Elizabeth Green as Koo-Koo the Bird Girl (Stork Woman), Johnny Ek as Stumpy the Half-Boy, Angelo Rossito as Angelino, Delmo Fritz as the Sword Swallower, and Edward Brophy and Matt McMcHugh as the Rollo Brothers; "We accept her one of us, Gooble Gobble Gooble Gobble". watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip; view clip; view film.
On July 28, 1932 Victor Halperin's B&W White Zombie (United Artists) debuts, based on William Seabrook's 1929 novel "The Magic Island and set in Haiti, starring Bela Lugosi as voodoo master Murder Legendre preying on Madeleine Short Parker (Madge Bellamy) in the first feature length zombie film; the sequel is "Revolt of the Zombies" (1936); "With these zombie eyes he rendered her powerless. With this zombie grip he made her perform his every desire." Watch trailer; watch movie.
On Aug. 3, 1932 Michael Curtiz' B&W Doctor X (First Nat. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1931 play "The Terror" by Howard W. Comstock and Allen C. Miller, starring Lionel Atwill as Dr. Jerry Xavier, Fay Wray as his daughter Joan Xaver, Lee Tracy as reporter Lee Taylor, and Preston Foster as surgeon slash cannibal monster Dr. Wells; watch trailer.
On Oct. 20, 1932 James Whale's B&W The Old Dark House (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1927 J.B. Priestley novel "Benighted", a horror comedy film about the haunted Welsh mansion of the Femm family incl. Horace, Rebecca, and Saul, starring Boris Karloff as mute alcoholic butler Morgan, Malvin Douglas as Roger Penderel, Charles Laughton as Sir William Porterhouse, Lilian Bond as Gladys DuCane Perkins, Raymond Massey as Philip Waverton, and Gloria Stuart as his wife Margaret; it's a flop in the U.S. but a big hit in England; Elspeth Dudgeon (billed as John Dudgeon) is the only actor who looks old enough to play the 102-y.-o. Femm family patriarch Sir Roderick Femm; watch movie.
On Feb. 18, 1933 Michael Curtiz's Mystery of the Wax Museum (Warner Bros.) debuts, filmed in 2-color Technicolor (last flick filmed using this process along with "Doctor X"), starring Lionel Atwill as 1921 London wax museum operator Ivan Igor, who is almost killed by his partner Joe Worth (Edwin Maxwell) and emerges cripped in 1933 in New York City with a new wax museum, which he fills with murder victims, which is exposed by reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) and her roommate Charlotte Duncan (Fay Wray); watch trailer.
In Nov. 1934 Hammer Film Productions is founded in London, England by Hammer and Smith comedian William "Will" Hinds (1887-1957) AKA Will Hammer (named after Hammersmith, London), who produes a stream of schlock films until he loses interest and it folds in 1937; in 1946 Will's son Anthony Frank "Tony" Hinds (1922-2013) (AKA John Elder) joins Hammer Film Productions, founding Bray Studios in 1952 out of the run-down Down Place manor house on the Thames River near Bray, Berkshire, acquring the rights to the Alan Quatermass sci-fi serial from BBC-TV in 1953 and producing "The Quatermass Experiment (Xperiment)" in 1955, which is a hit, going on to start producing Hammer Horror, vivid color versions of old B&W Gothic horror films along with some low-budget B&W "mini-Hitchcock" thrillers, becoming Britain's most successful film producer by 1964 until his 1970 retirement; films incl. "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) (starring Peter Cushing), "The Revenge of Frankenstein" (1958), "(Horror of Dracula" (1958) (starring Christopher Lee), "The Mummy" (1959), "The Brides of Dracula" (1960), "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll" (1960), "The Curse of the Werewolf" (1961), "Taste of Fear" (1961), "The Phantom of the Opera" (1962), "The Kiss of the Vampire" (1963), "The Evil of Frankenstein" (1964), "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" (1964), "The Gorgon" (1964), "She" (1965) (starring Ursula Andress), "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" (1966), "One Million Years B.C." (1966) (starring Raquel Welch), "The Witches" (1966) (starring Joan Fontaine), "Frankenstein Created Woman" (1967), "The Mummy's Shroud" (1967), "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" (1968), "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" (1969), "The Horror of Frankenstein" (1970), "Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1970), "Scars of Dracula" (1970), "The Vampire Lovers" (1970), "Lust of a Vampire" (1971), "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" (1971), "Vampire Circus" (1971), "Twins of Evil" (1971), "Dracula A.D. 1972" (1972), "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" (1973), "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" (1974), and "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires" (1974), ceasing production in 1979 after 295 films, then passing through a series of investors who finally begin producing more films in 2010, starting with "Let Me In" (2010), "The Resident" (2011), "The Woman in Black" (2012), and "The Quiet Ones" (2014). View clip.
On Apr. 22, 1935 James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, a sequel to the 1931 film debuts, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, and Elsa Lanchester as his mate as well as Mary Shelly; Colin Clive plays Henry Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger plays Dr. Septimus Pretorius; the music score is by Polish-born Am. composer Franz Waxman (1906-67); watch movie; view clip.
On May 13, 1935 Stuart Walker's B&W Werewolf of London (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Henry Hull as famous English botanist Wilfred Glendon, who journeys to Tibet in search of the elusive mariphasa plant and is bitten by a werewolf, transforming into one, and needs the juice of the rare moonlight-blooming Tibetan Marifasa Lupina flower as a temporary antidote, causing him to be stalked by Tibetan Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) while he tries not to kill his wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson); "The werewolf instinctively seeks to kill the thing it loves best" (Oland); makeup artist Jack Pierce later works on "The Wolf Man" (1941) starring Lon Chaney, but Hull doesn't want to sit still long enough to do all the stuff so he ends up looking like Eddie Munster; the first mainstream Hollywood movie to feature a werewolf; too bad, it's a flop, causing Univeral to drop monster movies from its production schedule until a theater owner revives their Dracula and Frankenstein films, causing them to go back into the monster film biz in 1939 with "Son of Frankenstein"; watch trailer.
In 1936 Rondo Hatton (1894-1946), whose grotesque acromegalic face makes him the perfect horror star is invited to Hollywood by dir. Henry King, and goes on to a short distinguished career freaking viewers out.
On Jan. 13, 1939 Rowland V. Lee's B&W Son of Frankenstein (Universal Pictures) debuts, a sequel to "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) starring Borliss er, Boris Karloff in his last appearance as the Monster, Basil Rathbone as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, and Bela Legosi as Ygor; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; watch movie.
On Apr. 25, 1941 Joseph H. Lewis' B&W Invisible Ghost (originally "Murder by the Stars", "The Phantom Monster") (Monogram Pictures) (Astor Pictures Corp.) debuts, starring Bela Lugosi as homocidal maniac Charles Kessler, whose wife (Betty Compson) left him for another man than got into an auto accident that left her brain-damaged, and is kept in the cellar in secret by Kessler's gardener Evans (Clarence Muse); the first of nine Lugosi movies for Sam Katzman at Monogram Pictures; watch trailer.
On May 14, 1941 Jean Yarbrough's B&W King of the Zombies (Monogram Pictures) debuts, starring Dick Purcell as pilot James "Mac" MCarthy, whose Capelis XC-12 transport plane crashes on a remote Caribbean island filled with zombies run by Dr. Miklos Sangre (Henry Victor after Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre turn it down); his passengers incl. Bill Summers (John Archer), his non-PC black valet Jefferson Jackson (Mantan Moreland), and Barbara Winslow (Joan Woodbury); watch trailer; view clip; watch movie.
On Aug. 12, 1941 Victor Fleming's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde debuts, a remake of the 1931 film based on the 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson novella, starring Spencer Tracy babing it up with Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner; music by Franz Waxman; watch trailer.
On Dec. 12, 1941 George Waggner's The Wolf Man (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Lon Chaney Jr. (Creighton Till Chaney) (1906-73), who is bitten by werewolf Bela Lugosi, and becomes one; features Maria Ouspenskaya as a gypsy; writer Curt Siodmak invents the transformation to lupine form in the light of a full moon, and the idea that silver bullets kill them; the plants on the Universal set have no roots?; "Night monster with the blood lust of a savage beast!"; watch trailer.
On May 18, 1942 Sam Newfield's B&W The Mad Monster debuts, starring George Zucco as mad scientist Lorenzo Cameron, who is rejected by his peers and gets even by transforming his gardener Petro (Glenn Strange) into a killer wolfman; watch trailer.
On Dec. 6, 1942 Jacques Tourneur's B&W Cat People (RKO Radio Pictures) debuts, written by DeWitt Bodeen based on producer Val Lewton's short story "The Bagheeta", starring Simone Simon as young Serbian babe Irena Dubrovna of New York City, who believes herself to be a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats when sexually aroused or deeply angered; Kent Smith plays her new hubby Oliver Reed, and Jane Randolph his asst. Alice Moore, who wants him; Tom Conway plays pshrink Dr. Louis Judd; does $8M box office on a $134K budget; the first film produced by Yalta, Russia-born novelist Val Lewton (Vladimir Ivanovich Hofschneider) (1904-51) for financially-ailing RKO Radio Pictures, with a limit of $150K budget and a time limit of 75 min. per film, going on to produce "I Walked With a Zombie" (1943), "The Leopard Man" (1943), "The Body Snatcher" (1945), "Isle of the Dead" (1945), "Bedlam" (1946), helping to turn them around before RKO head Charles Koerner dies in 1946 and he is fired, moving to Paramount, MGM, Universal, and Columbia before dying of a heart attack on Mar. 14, 1951, becoming the subject of the Kirk Douglas film "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952); watch movie; view video; view clip; view clip; view video.
On Mar. 29, 1946 Jean Yarbrough's B&W House of Horrors (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring acromegaly-sufferer Rondo Hatton (1894-1946) (who died on Feb. 2) as the mad Creeper, who is taken on by sculptor Marcel De Lange (Martin Kosleck) as his subject, turning him loose on them when they don't like his work; followed on Oct. 1, 1946 by Jean Yarbrough's B&W The Brute Man; view video; watch movie.
On June 15, 1948 Charles Barton's B&W horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (original title "The Brain of Frankenstein") (Universal Internat. Pictures) debuts, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as Chick Young and Wilbur Grey, who meet Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), the Wolf Man/Lawrence "Larry" Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), and Count Dracula/Dr. Lejos (Bela Lugosi) (his 2nd appearance as Dracula) at McDougal's House of Horrors in La Mirada, Fla.; Vincent Price voices the Invisible Man; the swan song of Universal's Big Three horror monsters, and first appearance since "House of Dracula" (1945); does $3.2M box office on a $792K budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
In Oct. 1950 the bimonthly horror comic book anthology series Tales from the Crypt by EC (DC) Comics debuts (until Mar. 1955), becoming a victim of the Comics Code; on June 10, 1989 the TV series Tales from the Crypt debuts on HBO for 93 episodes (until July 19, 1996), hosted by the ever-cackling Cryptkeeper ("boys and ghouls"); view clip; view clip.
On Apr. 29, 1951 Christian Nyby's and Howard Hawks' B&W sci-fi horror film The Thing (from Another World) (RKO Radio Pictures) debuts, based on the story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell (AKA Don A. Stuart); stars James Arness (brother of Peter Graves) as an 8-ft. carrot-like alien plant with green blood who terrorizes an Arctic research team; refilmed in 1982 and 2011; watch trailer.
On Dec. 8, 1951 Joseph Pevney's Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Door (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson short story "The Sire de Maletroit's Door", starring Charles Laughton as Alain, Sire de Maletroit, who has been imprisoning his brother Edmond (Paul Cavanagh) for 20 years for stealing his childhood sweetheart, and goes after his grown daughter Blanche (Sally Forrest) and her beau Denis de Beaulieu (Richard Stapley), tricking them into locking themselves in his prison chateau, and maneuvering them to their deaths until Alain's manservant Voltan (Boris Karloff) comes to their rescue.
On Apr. 10, 1953 Andre De Toth's House of Wax (Warner Bros.) debuts, starring Vincent Price as disfigured sculptor Prof. Henry Jarrod, who murders people and turns the corpses into displays, becoming the first 3-D horror movie; does $23.75M box office on a $1M budget; view clip.
On July 26, 1953 William Cameron Menzies' 3-D B&W The Maze (Allied Artists Pictures Corp.) debuts, written by Daniel Ullman based on the short story by Maurice Sandoz, starring Richard Carlson as Gerald MacTeam, a Scotsman who breaks off his engagement to his babe Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst) after inheriting his uncle's mysterious Craven Castle in the Scottish highlands with a big you know what, causing her to chase him to discover the big secret of an amphibious creature that really runs the castle and is turning him old with fright; watch trailer; watch movie.
On Feb. 12, 1954 Jack Arnold's B&W Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal Pictures) debuts, produced by William Alland based on a Maurice Zimm Story, a 3-D horror film starring Ricou Browning as the Gill Man, an Amazon fish monster who likes science coeds in bathing suits (Julie Adams); spawns "Revenge of the Creature" (1955) and "The Creature Walks Among Us" (1956); does $1.3M box office, single-handedly rescuing Universal Studios from bankruptcy; watch trailer.
0n Apr. 2, 1954 Am. Internat. Pictures (AIP) (originally Am. Releasing Co.) is founded in Los Angeles, Calif. by James Harvey Nicholson (1916-72) and Samuel Zachary Arkoff (1918-2001) to package independent low-budget B films as double features for teenagers, mainly by Detroit, Mich.-born "Pope of Pop Cinema" Roger William Corman (1926-) and British-born Alex Gordon (1922-2003), using the ARKOFF Formula (Action, Revolution, Killing, Oratory, Fantasy, Fornication), pioneering the use of focus groups; in 1960 Corman begins directing films based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, starting with "House of Usher" (1960), followed by "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961), "The Premature Burial" (1962), "Tales of Terror" (1962), "The Raven" (1963), "The Haunted Palace" (1963), "The Masque of the Red Death" (1964), and "The Tomb of Ligeia" (1965); in 1963 AIP releases "Beach Party" starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, launching a series ending with #7 "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" (1966); in 1979 AIP is acquired by Filmways Inc., becoming Filmways Pictures.
On Oct. 2, 1955 the horror-thriller-mystery anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents debuts on CBS-TV for 360 episodes (until June 26,1965) after switching to NBC-TV in 1960-2 and 1964, starting out at 30 min. per episode until 1962, when it expands to 60 min. per episode under the title "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"; the theme music is Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette", with the title sequence starting out with a line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile, ending with him walking to the center of the screen and saying "Good evening"; view clip.
On Sept. 12, 1956 Mervyn LeRoy's B&W The Bad Seed (Warner Bros.) debuts, written by John Lee Mahin based on the 1954 Maxwell Anderson play and the 1954 William March novel, starring Patty McCormack as 8-y.-o. blonde pigtailed enfant terrible Rhoda Penmark, who is doted upon by her parents Christine (Nancy Kelly) and Col. Kenneth Penmark (William Hopper) while going on a killing spree; does $4.1M box office on a $1M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Feb. 10, 1957 Roger Corman's B&W Attack of the Crab Monsters debuts, pioneering sci-fi horror humor; brings in $1M on a $70K budget; watch trailer.
On Feb. 10, 1957 Roger Corman's B&W Not of This Earth debuts, about strange sunglasses-wearing Paul Johnson (Paul Birch), survivor of the dying planet Davanna, who comes to Earth to check out human blood for transport; part of a double feature with "Attack of the Crab Monsters"; watch movie.
On May 2, 1957 Terence Fisher's The Curse of Frankenstein (Hammer Film Productions) (Warner Bros.) debuts, starring Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein, Melvyn Hayes as young Frankenstein, Christopher Lee as the creature, Hazel Court as Victor's fiancee Elizabeth, and Robert Urquhart as his tutor Paul Krempe; Hammer's first color horror film ("the first really gory horror film, showing blood and guts in color" - Patricia MacCormac), becoming a big hit that launches their distinctive gothic Hammer Horror film series; does $8M box office on a $270K budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Nov. 16, 1957 police search the property of Edward Theodore "Ed" Gein (1906-84) in Plainfield, Wisc., and discover his little habit of murder, grave-robbing, and human taxidermy, incl. "woman suits" made out of tanned skin; he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, and "the Butcher of Plainfield" spends the rest of his life in the Mendota Mental Health Inst. in Madison, Wisc., his life spawning a whole genre of horror movies incl. "Psycho" (1960), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974), and "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991); watch trailer.
On Dec. 17, 1957 Jacques Tourneur's B&W Night (Curse) of the Demon (Columbia) debuts, based on the 1911 story "Casting the Runes" by M.R. James, starring Dana Andrews as Am. pshrink Dr. John Holden, who investigates a Satanic cult suspected of murders run by Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis), who ends up mangled by a giant demon on the railroad tracks; watch film; view clip;
In 1957 Roger Corman's B&W The Undead (original title "The Trance of Diana Love") (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, inspired by "The Search for Bridey Murphy", starring Val Dufour as psychic researcher Quintus Ratcliff, who sends the mind of ho Diana Love (Pamela Duncan) back in time to the Middle Ages to share the body of Helene, who is slated to die at dawn for the crimes of witch Livia (Allison Hayes), giving Quintus the idea of going back in time with her to convince her to evade her execution, but she balks, causing Quintus to be stranded in the past, amusing Satan (Richard Devon); Billy Barty plays an imp; "A night filed with 1,000 years of horror!"; watch trailer; watch movie.
On Aug. 29, 1958 Kurt Neumann's The Fly (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, starring Vincent Price as Francois, the brother of mad scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison), who turns himself into a fly, but not quite, only his head, while his human head gets transplanted to a white-headed fly in the most shocking and sensational horror scene in 1950s film history?; Patricia Owens plays Andre's wife Helen; does $3M box office on a $495K budget; followed by "Return of the Fly" (1959) and "Curse of the Fly" (1965); remade in 1986 by David Cronenberg; "Once it was human - even as you and I"; watch trailer.
On Oct. 2, 1959 (Fri.) U.S. commercial TV deviates from its usual vapidity with the debut of The Twilight Zone (B&W), narrated by sterling silver genius Rod Serling (1924-75) for 156 episodes (until June 19, 1964); the cool Twilight Zone Theme was composed by Romanian-born French composer Marius Constant (1925-2004); the first episode is Where Is Everybody?, starring Earl Holliman; on Nov. 20 episode #8 Time Enough At Last debuts, based on a 1953 short story by Lyn Venable, starring Burgess Meredith as nearsighted bookworm Henry Bemis; on Jan. 22, 1960 episode #16 The Hitch-Hiker debuts, starring Inger Stevens as Nan Adams, and creepy Leonard Strong as the hitchhiker.
In Oct. 1959 Roger Corman's B&WA Bucket of Blood (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, a black comedy horror film (Corman's first), starring Dick Miller as young busboy and aspiring sculptor Walter Paisley at the Bohemian beatnik Yellow Door Cafe in Southern Calif. who accidentally kills his landlady's cat and covers it in clay, titling it "Dead Cat", going on to add people to his gallery, starting with "Murdered Man, becoming a local celeb but going too far until the police close in him and he turns himself into "Hanging Man"; does $180K box office on a $50K budget; watch trailer; watch movie.
In 1959 San Francisco, Calif.-born Shirley Hardie Jackson (1916-65) pub. the novel The Haunting of Hill House, about an 80-y.-o. mansion built by deceased Hugh Crain, where Dr. John Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the supernatural, renting it for the summer and invisting guests Eleanor Vance, Theodora, and Luke Sanderson, the young heir to the house; filmed in 1963 and 1999; "No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."
On Mar. 2, 1960 Georges Franju's horror film Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux sans visage) (Lux Film) (Champs-Elysees Productions) debuts, based on the Jean Redon novel, starring Pierre Brasseur as plastic surgeon Dr. Genessier, who performs a face transplant on his disfigured daughter Christiane (Edith Scot), with the help of his asst. Louise (Alida Valli) while eluding Inspector Parot (Alexandre Rignault); after censorship, it debuts in the U.S. under the title "The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus"; inspires the 1983 Billy idol song Eyes Without a Face; view clip.
On May 16, 1960 Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors) debuts, a horror film written by Leo Marks starring Carl Boehm as Mark Lewis, who murders women to observe their faces while he films them, and Anna Massey as his next victim, his fiancee Helen Stephens; Powell plays Boehm's daddy, who got him started; too bad, it's too good, and so freaks the moviegoers that it ruins Powell's dir. career in the U.K.; in the 1970s it gains a cult following, causing Powell to write the soundbyte: "I make a film that nobody wants to see and then, thirty years later, everybody has either seen it or wants to see it"; watch trailer.
On June 16, 1960 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (Paramount Pictures) (his last B&W film) debuts,, based on the 1959 novel by horror writer Robert Bloch (1917-94) based on an actual murder, starring Anthony Perkins as bird-taxidermy-loving momma's boy Norman Bates (based on real-life serial killer Ed Gein), owner of the 12-room Bates Motel (15 mi. from Fairvale), where fleeing (Fri., Dec. 11) Phoenix, Ariz. thief Marie Samuels, er, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) (license plate #NFB-418) (who stole $40K from 'her real estate employer of 10 years) checks into room #1 and receives a bloody shower death at the hands of a mad slasher grandma in the classic Psycho Shower Scene; first Hollywood film to show a flushing toilet; Bernard Hermann's scary music uses only strings; "She's as harmless as one of those stuffed birds" (Norman); also stars John Gavin as Leigh's beau Sam, Vera Miles as her sister Lila, and Martin Balsam as detective Arbogast; theater owners are told not to allow seating after the movie begins; shot on a low budget in only 1 mo.; uses chocolate sauce for blood in the 45-sec. 78-frame 70-camera-setup shower scene, which occurs 30 min. into the film, and changes the horror movie genre forever; a double is used for Perkins to make it harder to guess who it is; "A boy's best friend is his mother"; when an angry father writes to Hitchcock that his daughter quit bathing after the 1954 French film "Les Diaboliques", and now won't shower, he replies "Send her to the dry cleaners"; NYT film critic Bosley Crowther calls the film "a blot on an otherwise honorable career"; watch trailer; watch trailer.
On June 18, 1960 Roger Corman's House of Usher (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1893 Edgar Allan Poe story "The Fall of the House of Usher", starring Mark Damon as Philip Winthrop, who visits the Usher Mansion to see his babe Madeline Usher (Myrna Fahey), and discovers that she and her brother Roderick Usher (Vincent Price) have a mysterious illness based on a family curse; does $1.45M box office, causing Corman to go into the P oe horror movie biz, incl. "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961), "The Premature Burial" (1962), "Tales of Terror" (1962), "The Raven" (1963), "The Haunted Palace" (1963), "The Masque of the Red Death" (1964), and "The Tomb of Ligeia" (1965); watch trailer.
On Sept. 14, 1960 Roger Corman's B&W The Little Shop of Horrors (original title "The Passionate People Eater") (The Filmgroup) (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, a comedy written by Charles B. Griffith, starring Jonathan Haze as flower shop worker Seymour Krelboyne, who creates man-eating talking plant Audrey Jr. (voiced by Griffith) from seeds he got from a "Japanese gardener over on Central Avenue", and works to get it good food; Jackie Joseph plays his coworker babe Audrey Fulquard; Mel Welles plays shop owner Gravis Mushnick; Jack Nicholson plays Wilbur Force; gains a cult following before being turned into a musical in 1982, and refilmed in 1986; watch trailer; view clip.
On Dec. 7, 1960 Wolf Rilla's B&W Village of the Damned (MGM) debuts, a sci-fi horror film based on the 1957 novel "The Midwich Cuckoos" by John Wyndham about English children with ray-gun eyes who are the vanguard of an alien invasion, starring George Sanders as Prof. Gordon Zellaby; does $2.175M box office on a $320K budget; followed by the even better 1964 B&W sequel The Children of the Damned, dir. by Anton M. Leader, and a 1995 remake Village of the Damned, set in N Calif., dir. by John Carpenter and starring Christopher Reeve; "Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of the world"; watch trailer; view clip; watch trailer.
In June 1961 Roger Corman's B&W Creature from the Haunted Sea (Filmgroup) debuts, a horror comedy starring Antony Carbone as deported Am. racketeer Renzo Capetto, who helps a group of Cuban loyalists led by Gen. Tostada (Edmundo Rivera Alvarez) escape the Cuban Rev. with Cuba's nat. treasury for use in a counterrev., causing U.S. spy Agent XK150 (Robert Towne) (the narrator) to infiltrate them under the name Sparks Moran, almost pulling it off until a ridiculous fuzzy sea monster upsets their plans; Betsy Jones-Moreland plays Capetto's blonde babe Mary-Belle Monahan; watch trailer; view clip.
On Aug. 12, 1961 Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1842 Edgar Allan Poe story set in 16th cent. Spain, starring Vincent Price as Sebastian Medina, who is visited by his brother-in-law Nicholas to investigate his sister's mysterious death, and ends up strapped in amid maniacal laughs; does $2M U.S. box office on a $300K budget, becoming Am. Internat. Pictures' biggest hit; watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 31, 1962 Robert Aldrich's B&W What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Seven Arts Productions) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1960 Henry Farrell novel, starring Bette Davis as former child star Baby Jane Hudson, who is now a scary old hag, and Joan Crawford as her cripped sister Blanche, who go through a terrific set of increasingly scary games culminating with a turnabout as Jane has to confront what she did to her long ago, becoming one of the best movies of the decade, and launching the psycho-biddy (hag horror) (hagsploitation) (Grand Dame Guignol) subgenre; film debut of Victor Charles Buono (1938-82); does $9.5M box office on a $1M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
In 1962 Amicus (Lat. "friendship") Productions is founded at Shepperton Studios in England (until 1977) by Jewish-Am. horror filmmakers Milton Subotsky (1921-91) and Max J. Rosenberg (1914-2004), going on to produce low-budget portmanteau horror anthology films along with some thriller films, often getting confused with Hammer Film Productions because of use of actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, although the films are set in the present day not the Gothic era; films incl. "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors" (1965), "Torture Garden" (1967), "The House That Dripped Blood" (1971), "Tales from the Crypt" (1972), "Asylum" (1972), "Vault of Horror" (1973), and "From Beyond the Grave" (1974).
On Jan. 25, 1963 Roger Corman's The Raven (Am. Internat.) debuts, set in the 15th cent., starring Vincent Price as Dr. ERasmus Craven, Peter Lorre as Dr. Adolphus Bedlo, Boris Karloff as Dr. Scarabus, Hazel Court as Lenore Craven, Olive Surgess as Estelle Craven, and Jack Nicholson as as Lorre's on Rexford Bedlo; does $1.499M box office on a $350K budget; watch trailer.
On Mar. 28, 1963 Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (Universal Pictures) debuts, his first film with Universal Studios, and longest gap between films since "Psycho" 1960), based on the 1952 Daphne Du Maurier short story with screenplay by novelist Evan Hunter AKA Ed McBain, and no score other than screeching birds, starring Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren (film debut) as Bodega Bay, Calif. losers Mitch Brenner and Melanie Daniels, who can't get along with fowls; there is no "The End" because Hitchcock wants to give an impression of unending terror, or does he want to leave it open for a sequel?; does $11.4M box office on a $3.3M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On July 6, 1963 Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast (Box Office Spectaculars) debuts, starring Mal Arnold as Egyptian caterer Fuad Ramses of Miami, Fla., who kills women to use their body parts to bring to life dormant Egyptian (really Babylonian) goddess Ishtar, while inept detective Peter Thornton (William Kerwin) tries to hunt him down; features a woman's tongue being ripped out onscreen; the first splatter film?; does $4M box office on a $24.5K budget; watch trailer.
On Sept. 18, 1963 Robert Wise's B&W The Haunting (MGM) debuts, written by Nelson Gidding based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel "The Haunting of Hill House", about 90-y.-o. Hill House in Mass. where women have a habit of dying, starring Richard Johnnson as the narrator Dr. John Markway, Julie Harris as Eleanor "Nell" Lance, Claire Bloom as psychic Theodora "Theo", Fay Compton as Mrs. Sanderson, and Russ Tamblyn as her son Luke; does $1.02M box office on a $1.05M budget; "You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror"; watch trailer; view clip. view clip.
In 1963 Herbert L. Strock's B&W The Crawling Hand debuts, starring Peter Breck as college student Steve Curan, who finds the hand of a dead astronaut on the beach and takes it home, allowing it to possess him and turn him into a killer strangler; watch trailer.
On Sept. 18, 1964 (Fri.) the B&W series The Addams Family, created by David Levy (1913-2000) based on The New Yorker cartoons of Charles Samuel "Chas" Addams (1912-88) about a socially superior family of ghouls debuts on ABC-TV for 64 episodes (until Sept. 2, 1966), starring mustachioed cheeky-grinning John Allen Astin (1930-) as Gomez Addams, Carolyn Sue Jones (1930-83) as his wife Morticia, Kenneth Patrick "Ken" Weatherwax (1955-) as pudgy son Pugsley, Lisa Loring (1958-) as daughter Wednesday, former child star John Leslie "Jackie" Coogan (1914-84) as Uncle Fester (known for lighting lightbulbs by putting them in his mouth), Blossom Rock (1895-1978) (Edith Marie Blossom MacDonald) as Grandmama, 6'9" Theodore Crawford "Ted" Cassidy (1932-79) as harpsichord-playing butler Lurch (known for the soundbyte "You rang"), and Felix Anthony Silla (1937-) as Cousin Itt, who all live at 0001 Cemetery Lane (inspired by Westfield, N.J.); while the series is running, the snooty New Yorker mag. refuses to pub. any new Addams Family cartoons; watch opening; not to be outdone in the Baby Boomer prime time horror comedy market, on Sept. 24 (Thur.) CBS-TV debuts an alternate blue-collar B&W version, The Munsters for 70 episodes (until May 12, 1966), starring Frederick Hubbard "Fred" Gwynne (1926-93) as Frankenstein lookalike Fred Munster, Yvonne De Carlo (1922-2007) as his catatonic wife Lily Munster, Al Lewis (1923-2006) as aging vampire Grandpa, Butch Patrick (Patrick Alan Lilley) (1953-) as the son Eddie, Beverley Owen (nee Ogg) (1937-) (for the first 13 episodes, after which she leaves to get married), and Patricia Ann "Pat" Priest (1936-) as "ugly" (beautiful) daughter Marilyn, who all live at spooky 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and think they're as normal as everybody else; watch opening; watch opening.
On Oct. 3, 1965 Roman Polanski's B&W Repulsion (Compton Films) (Royal Films Internat.) debuts, a horror film starring Catherine Deneuve as Belgian manicurist Carole Ledoux, who is left alone at her vacationing sister's apt. in Kensington, London, and is obsessed with fantasies of being seduced and/or raped, murdering any man who tries it; #1 in Polanski's Apartment Trilogy, incl. "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) and "The Tenant" (1976); does $3.1M box office on a £65K budget; watch movie.
On June 27, 1966 the campy daytime B&W Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows debuts on ABC-TV for 1,225 episodes (until Apr. 2, 1971), starring Joan Geraldie Bennett (1910-90) as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, and Canadian actor Jonathan Frid (1924-) as vampire hero Barnabas Collins; watch intro.
On Mar. 12, 1967 New York city-born Ira Marvin Levin (1929-2007) pub. his bestselling (4M copies) novel Rosemary's Baby, about Baby 666, born on June 6, 1966 in Jew York City; launches the contemporary horror genre; filmed in 1968.
On Feb. 19, 1968 Ingmar Bergman's B&W Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) debuts,k a surrealistic psychological horror drama film staring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as painter Johan Borg and his wife Alma going bonkers on an isolated Baltic island and meeting up with demons in the hour before dawn, when most people die; "The hour of the wolf is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful. The hour of the wolf is also the hour when most children are born"; does $250K box office in the U.S.; watch trailer; watch film.
Hollyweird cashes in on Millennium Fever bigtime? On June 12, 1968 Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (June 12 = 6, 6+6) (Paramount) debuts, based on the 1967 Ira Levin novel and Goethe's "Faust", becoming the first U.S. film for Polish dir. Roman Polanski (Rajmund Roman Thierry Polanski) (Liebling) (1933-); stars Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse, mother of baby 666, John Cassavetes as her Faustian actor hubby Guy Woodhouse, Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon as their warlock-witch neighbors Roman Castevet (really Steven Marcato, son of warlock Adrian Marcato) and Minnie Castevet, Charles Grodin as Dr. Hill, Ralph Bellamy as Dr. Abraham Sapirstein, and Tony Curtis as the voice of actor Donald Baumgart, who is blinded so that Guy can get his big break to seal the deal; the film debut of Charles Grodin (1935-); does $33.4M box office on a $3.2M budget; Vidal Sassoon does Farrow's hair for $5K; filmed in the Dakota Apts. in New York City's Upper West Side on W 72nd St. and Central Park West (later made famous by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who rent the Woodhouse apt.) and called the "Black Bramford"; "What have you done to its eyes?"; "He has his father's eyes"; "Satan is his father, not Guy. He came up from Hell and begat a son of mortal woman. Satan is his father and his name is Adrian. He shall overthrow the mighty and lay waste their temples. He shall redeem the despised and wreak vengeance in the name of the burned and the tortured. Hail, Adrian! Hail, Satan!"; "God is dead! Satan lives! The year is One! The year is one! God is dead!"; the name Adrian comes from the Latin "man from Hadria", a town in N Italy that gave us 2nd cent. C.E. Roman emperor Hadrian, but could be Hades?; part of a trilogy by Polanski on the horrors of apt.-dwelling incl. "Repulsion" (1965), and "The Tenant" (1976); "Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby" (1976) is made for TV; "Son of Rosemary" is written in 1997, and filmed in ?; watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 1, 1968 George A. Romero's B&W Night of the Living Dead (Walter Reade Org.) debuts at Fulton Theater in dreary Pittsburgh, Penn., a horror movie set in rural W Penn. that's so bad it's great, starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea as humans Ben and Barbra, who hole-up in a farmhouse fighting hordes of zombies brought back to life by radiation; #6 grossing film of 1968 ($12M U.S. and $18M worldwide box office on a $114K budget); spawns sequels "Dawn of the Dead" (1979), "Day of the Dead" (1985); watch trailer; view clip.
On Nov. 8, 1969 Boris Sagal's, Steven Spielberg's, and Barry Shear's Night Gallery, debuts, Spielberg's first film, a made-for-TV pilot for the 1969-1973 NBC-TV series, consisting of three stories, incl. #2 "Eyes", in which Spielberg directs Joan Crawford; Boris Sagal and Boris Shear direct the other two stories; "Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector's item in its own way—not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare. Our initial offering: a small gothic item in blacks and grays, a piece of the past known as the family crypt. This one we call, simply, 'The Cemetery.' Offered to you now, six feet of earth and all that it contains. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Night Gallery"; becomes the pilot for the Night Gallery NBC-TV series, narrated by Rod Serling, which runs for 43 episodes (until May 27, 1973); view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Jan. 14, 1970 Daniel Haller's The Dunwich Horror (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1929 H.P. Lovecraft story, starring Ed Begley as Dr. Henry Armitage, and Dean Stockwell (after Peter Fonda turns it down) as Wilbur Whatley of Dunwich, Mass., who has a monstrous twin that attacks student Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee); does $1.043M box office; "A few years ago in Dunwich, a half-witted girl bore illegitimate twins. One of them was almost human!"; watch trailer.
On July 15, 1971 Jesus Franco's German language Vampyros Lesbos (Las Vampiras) (Fenix Films) debuts, shot in Turkey, starring Soledad Miranda as beautiful lezzie vampire Countess Nadine Carody, who uses her seductive nightclub act to lure unwary victims, setting her sights on Linda Westinghouse (Ewa Strömberg), causing her to have a series of erotic dreams that trigger when she travels to an island to settle an inheritance; the film score is incl. on the album Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party, which becomes a hit in Britain; watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 20, 1971 Al Adamson's Dracula v. Frankenstein (Blood of Frankenstein) (The Revenge of Dracula) (Teenage Dracula) (They're Coming to Get You) (Independent-Internat. Pictures) debuts, starring J. Carrol Nash as mad Dr. Durea/Frankenstein (last descendant of the original), who murders young girls to perfect his serum along with his mute asst. Groton (Lon Chaney Jr.); Count Dracula (Roger Engel under the alias Zandor Vorkov) promises to help him revive the original Frankenstein's monster (John Bloom) that he exhumed from a secret grave in Oakmoor Cemetery in return for the serum in hopes it will make him immune to sunlight, setting up shop in the Creature Emporium on the boardwalk in Venice, Calif., reviving the monster and setting it loose on Durea's enemies, going on to take on some hos, hippies, and bikers before the final battle of you know who vs. you know who; watch trailer; watch movie.
On Feb. 25, 1972 Mario Bava's Baron Blood (Jumbo Cinematograica) debuts, starring Joseph Cotten as Baron Otto von Kleist, a notorious sadistic mass murderer, whose great-grandson Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) visits his old castle to see if the legend that he will rise from the dead is true; Elke Sommer plays Eva Arnold; "Behind dank walls a nightmare world of horror and butchery awaits as a rotitng corpse crawls from the Earth to terrify the living... Beware of Baron Blood... He earned his name through torture and death. The screams of his victims still echo in his chamber of horrors" "He returns to avenge a witch's curse and reclaim his empire of evil"; does £269.812M box office; watch trailer.
On Aug. 25, 1972 William Crain's Blacula (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, a good horror film starring William Marshall as African Prince Mamuwalde, who was turned into a vampire by Count Dracula in Transylvania in 1780 and now stalks the streets of Los Angeles; does $1M box office; followed by "Scream Blacula Scream" (1973) and "Blackenstein" (1973), launching the Blaxploitation Horror Genre; watch trailer.
On Aug. 30, 1972 Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (Hallmark Releasing) debuts, produced by Sean S. Cunningham based on Ingmar Bergman's 1960 film "The Virgin Spring" about two teenie girls who are taken into the woods and tortured by a gang of murderous thugs, becoming the dir. debut of Cleveland, Ohio-born Wesley Earl "Wes" Craven (1939-2015); "To avoid fainting, keep repeating, 'It's only a movie'"; grosses $3M box office on an $87K budget; remade in 2009; watch trailer.
On Nov. 21, 1972 Bill L. Norton's made-for-TV movie Gargoyles debuts, starring Cornel Wilde as anthropologist Dr. Mercer Boley, and Jennifer Salt as his daughter Diana, who disturb a monster's skeleton in Mexico, discovering the ancient curse of the Gargoyles; first film for makeup artist Stan Winston; Bernie Casey plays the Gargoyle; narrator Vic Perrin introduces the film: "The Devil was once the most favored of the host of angels serving the Lord. But pride welled in his breast. He thought it unseemly for him to serve. The Devil and his band of followers who likewise suffered the sin of pride were defeated in battle by the Lord and his host, and were banished to the outermost depths of Hell, never to know the presence of the Lord, or look on Heaven again. Smarting with his wounds, but all the more swollen with pride, the Devil cried out from the depths, 'It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven'. The Devil proclaimed what was lost in Heaven would be gained on Earth. He said, 'My offspring the Gargoyles will one day rule the Lord's works, Earth and Man.' And so it came to pass that while Man ruled on Earth, the Gargoyles waited, lurking, hidden from the light, reborn every 600 years in man's reckoning of time. The Gargoyles joined battle with Man to gain dominion over the Earth. In each coming the Gargoyles were nearly destroyed by men, who flourished in greater numbers. Now it has been so many hundreds of years that it seems the ancient statues and paintings of gargoyles are just products of man's imagination. In this year, with man's thoughts turned on the many ills he has brought upon himself, man has forgotten his ancient adversary the Gargoyles"; watch trailer; watch movie.
On Mar. 16, 1973 George A. Romero's The Crazies (Code Name: Trixie) (Cambist Films), set in small town Evans City, Penn. sees the release of a military biological weapon virus turn the town into you know what, bringing in the military with shoot-on-sight orders; a flop, doing $143.7K box office on a $275K budget, later becoming a cult hit, causing a remake to be released in 2010; watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 19, 1973 David Lowell Rich's Satan's School for Girls debuts, an ABC-TV movie produced by Aaron Spelling starring Roy Thinnes as Dr. Joseph Clampett, who runs a Satanic serial murder cult in the Salem Academy for Women, filled with gorgeous dames incl. Pamela Franklin, Jamie Smith Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, and Kate Jackson; refilmed on Mar. 13, 2000, starring Kate Jackson as the Dean; watch trailer; watch trailer.
On Oct. 16, 1973 Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (British Lion Films) debuts, a Gothic horror film set based on a Daphne du Maurier short story, starring Donald Sutherland and Julia Christie as married couple John and Laura Baxter, who lose their daughter Christine in a drowning in England, and go to Venice, where they meet blind psychic Heather (Hilary Mason), who claims to be able to see her, after which they begin seeing a mysterious childlike figure wearing a red coat; a daring sex scene by Sutherland and Christie causes the film to be rated X in Britain and R in the U.S., and is so explicit that it causes rumors that it wasn't faked; does ? box office on a $1.1M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 16, 1973 Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man (British Lion Films) debuts, written by Anthony Shaffer based on the 1967 David Pinner novel "Ritual" and with a soundtrack by Paul Giovanni, starring "The Equalizer" Edward Woodward as Anglican Police Sgt. Neil Howie, who investigates the disappearance of young Rowan Morrison (Gael. "rowan" = sacred tree) on the remote island of Summerisle in the Hebrides, where the owner Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) runs a neo-pagan Sun-fertility cult suspected of human sacrifice; after discovering the delights of nubile Willow (Britt Ekland), he attends the May Day festival disguised as Punch, then finds that Rowan is alive and he is the real human sacrifice, getting put in a wicker statue of a man and set ablaze, reciting Psalm 23 while they sing "Sumer Is Icumen In" in a study of a 20th cent. Christian-pagan confrontation; initially released in a cut-down form and doing only $58K box office, a "Cinefantastique" issue calling it "the Citizen Kane of horror movies" gets it rereleased in full form in 1979; watch trailer.
On Nov. 30, 1973 Paul Morrissey's Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (Flesh for Frankenstein) (Gold Film) debuts, filmed at Cinecitta in Rome,spresented in the Space-Vision 3D process and rated X for sexuality and violence/gore; stars Udo Kier as Baron von Frankenstein, who wants to create the perfect Serbian race with or wihout the help of his horny wife-sister Baroness Katrin Frankenstein (Monique van Vooren) using kidnapped horny farmhand Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro); watch trailer.
On Dec. 26, 1973 William Friedkin's The Exorcist (Warner Bros.) debuts, based on the 1971 William Peter Blatty novel, starring Linda Denise Blair (1959-) as devil-possessed, green-pea-soup-puking girl Regan Teresa MacNeil, and is given an R-rating, becoming the Jesuits' Deep Throat, causing mass hysteria in some theaters as it draws on all 2K years of Catholic superstition, incl. the ancient god Pazuzu (voiced by Mercedes McCambridge, with the face of Eileen Dietz), aided by special effects by Dick Smith, and spooky music by Mike Oldfield; #1 film of 1973, grossing $232.6M domestic and $402.5M worldwide on a $12M budget by 2010, passing "The Godfather" standing still; Ellen Burstyn plays actress mommy Chris MacNeil, Jason Miller plays Father Damien Karras (whose body double tumbles down the Exorcist Steps at the end of M St. in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.), Max von Sydow (who once played Jesus) plays Father Lankester Merrin; an avg. of 3 men and 2 women faint during each showing; six people die during the making of the film, causing rumors that it's cursed; "Somewhere between science and superstition there is another world, a world of darkness"; "The power of Christ compels you"; spawns sequels "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977), "The Exorcist III" (1990), "Exorcist: The Beginning" (2004), "Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist" (2005). Watch trailer, view clip.
In 1973 the Saturn Award (Golden Scroll) is established by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
On Apr. 5, 1974 Portland, Maine-born Stephen Edwin King (1947-) pub. his first novel Carrie, submitted to Doubleday after his wife Tabitha fishes it out of the trash, receiving a $2,500 advance; about 16-y.-o. Carietta "Carrie" White from Chamberlain, Maine, whose vindictive fanatical Christian fundamentalist mother Margaret causes her to develop telekinetic powers, getting persecuted then getting even; based on his job as a h.s. janitor, where he saw tampon machines; a big hit, it allows him to quit his day job and become the best-selling U.S. author for the rest of the cent.; filmed in 1976 starring Sissy Spacek; turned into a 1988 Broadway musical.
On Oct. 1, 1974 Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Bryanston Pictures) debuts, loosely based on the true story of necrophiliac murderer Ed Gein (1906-84), thrilling movie audiences with its new anti-hero Leatherface (played by Gunnar Hansen), pioneering the use of power tools in the slasher gentre; so gross it's good, getting banned in the U.K. and Germany, making it more popular?; #10 grossing film of 1974 ($30.8M); spawns a franchise incl. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" (1986), "Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III" (1990), "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" (1994), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (2006), "Texas Chainsaw 3D" (2013), "Leatherface" (2018?) - fear of the German sausage-making lobby?
On Nov. 13, 1974 (3:00 a.m. local time) the Amityville Murders in Amityville, Long Island, N.Y. sees Ronald Joseph "Butch" DeFeo Jr. (1951-) murder his parents and four siblings with a .35 Marlin 336C rifle, then unsuccessfully try to lie his way out of it; he is convicted of six counts of 2nd degree murder on Nov. 21, 1975, and given six consecutive 25-life sentences after claiming to be possessed; the house at 112 Ocean Ave. is later claimed to be haunted, inspiring the 1977 book and 1979 film "The Amityville Horror"; watch video; watch video.
On Dec. 15, 1974 Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, a comic sendup of the 1818 Mary Shelley novel, starring Gene Wilder as Dr. Baron Friedrich von Frankenstein (that's pronounced "frankenstien"), Marty Feldman as his pop-eyed asst. Igor, Teri Garr as his babe Inga, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, Kenneth Mars as Inspector Kemp, and Peter Boyle as the Creature, who helps Wilder do a great rendition of the Irving Berlin classic Puttin' on the Ritz; #4 grossing film of 1974 ($86.2M box office on a $2.78M budget).
On June 20, 1975 Steven Spielberg's horror-thriller film Jaws (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1974 Peter Benchley novel, starring Roy Scheider as Police Chief Martin Brody, Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss as oceanographer Matt Hooper, with an ominous shark theme composed by John Williams, becoming Hollywood's first $100M blockbuster ($133.4M U.S. and $470.7M worldwide box office on a $9M budget), and highest-grossing film until "Star Wars" (1977); spawns three sequels, all flops; the robot shark is named Bruce after Spielberg's atty.; "You're gonna need a bigger boat" (Brody); "There is a creature alive today who has survived millions of years of evolution without change, without passion, and without logic. It lives to kill, a mindless eating machine. It will attack and devour anything. It is as if God created the Devil and gave him jaws"; the book and the movie are based on real-life shark fisherman Frank Mundus (1925-2008), skipper of Cricket II; Universal Studios sets up a Jaws exhibit featuring a mechanical shark that menaces the tour bus; watch trailer; watch video.
On Aug. 14, 1975 Jim Sharman's The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Michael White Productions) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on the 1973 musical by Richard O'Brien and filmed at Oakley Court, owned by Hammer Film Productions, starring Tim Curry as punk rock transvestite scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter, while Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick play it straight as couple Janet Weiss and Brad Majors; O'Brien plays butler Riff Raff; Patricia Quinn plays maid Magenta; Meat Loff plays ex-delivery boy Eddie; Peter Hinwood plays Rocky Horror; does $140.2M box office on a $1.4M budget; turns the young set onto musicals and generates a midnight cult following at the Waverly Theater in NYC in 1976 that loyally shows up weekly for years dressed in TV clothing carrying rice and squirt guns, ready to sing along with songs incl. Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite, I Can Make You A Man, and Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me; a "Lips" poster is created parodying the Jaws poster, with the legend: "A different set of jaws." Watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On June 6, 1976 Richard Donner's The Omen (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on the David Seltzer novel, starring Harvey Stephens as young 666-birthmarked kid Damien the Antichrist, and Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as his clueless wealthy powerful adoptive parents Ambassador Robert and Katherine Thorn; features the theme song Ave Satani by Jerry Goldsmith; #5 grossing film of 1976 ($54.6M U.S. and $60.9M worldwide box office on a $2.8M budget); spawns sequels "Damien: Omen 2" (1978), "The Final Conflict" (1981), and made-for-TV "Omen 4: The Awakening" (1991); remade in 2006 starring Liev Schreiber; watch trailer.
On Nov. 3, 1976 Brian De Palma's Carrie (United Artists) debuts, based on the 1974 Stephen King novel, starring Sissy Spacek as teenie Carrie White with abusive mother Margaret (Piper Laurie), who uses her telekinetic powers to get even with everybody at the prom incl. John Travolta, Amy Irving, and Nancy Allen; does $33.8M box office on a $1.8M budget; "It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It's me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things"; contains the first modern jump scare, starting a trend that is taken to the max by 1980s slasher movies, causing a backlash; watch trailer; view clip.
On Apr. 13, 1977 Peter S. Traynor's Death Game (The Seducers) (First Am. Films) debuts, starring Seymour Cassel as a wealthy San Francisco businessman who invites a pair of young women (Sondra Locke, Colleen Camp) into his home to wait out an evening thunderstorm, and they seduce him then scare him about statutory rape before tying him up and torturing him; remade in 2015 as "Knock Knock" starring Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas; watch trailer.
On July 22, 1977 Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (Vanguard) debuts, starring creepy bald pointy-headed John Berryman as Pluto, James Whitworth as Papa Jupiter, Cordy Clark as Mama, Lance Gordon as Mars, and Arthur King as Mercury, a family of deranged inbred mutant cannibals who attack the Carter family at Fred's Oasis en route from Ohio to Los Angeles in a desert atomic test site, incl. Brenda Carter (Susan Lanier), Bobby Carter (Robert Houson), Lynne Wood (Dee Wallace); John Steadman plays Fred; helps give Dee Wallace her rep as a scream queen; does $25M box office on a $700K budget, becoming a cult classic; spawns sequels "The Hills Have Eyes Part II" (1984), "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006), "The Hills Have Eyes 2" (2007), "The Hills Have Eyes III (Mind Ripper)" (1995); watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 20, 1978 John DeBello's Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (NAI Entertainment) debuts, about tomatoes banding together against human abuses, vying for the worst film of all time award, so bad it's good?; does $567K box office on a $100K budget, becoming a cult film and spawning three sequels; watch trailer.
On Oct. 25, 1978 John Carpenter's Halloween (Compass Internat.) debuts, a scare flick featuring screaming Jamie Lee "the Body" Curtis as Laurie Strode, and an apocalyptic Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis taking on white-masked (modified Capt. Kirk mask?) slasher Michael Myers (b. 1957) (Will Sandin/Tony Moran/Nick Castle) in the most successful independent motion picture to date, costing only $325K to make and becoming the #9 grossing film of 1978 ($47M box office in the U.S. and $70M worldwide); spawns the sequels "Halloween II" (1981), "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" (1982), "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" (1988), "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" (1989), "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" (1995), "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later", (1998), "Halloween: Resurrection" (2002), "Halloween" (2007), "Halloween II" (2009), "Halloween" (2018); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Mar. 28, 1979 Don Coscarelli's Phantasm (AVCO Embassy Pictures) debuts, introducing 6'4 Kansas City, Kan.-born former journalist Angus Scrimm (Lawrence Rory Guy) (1926-2016) (who uses elevator shoes) as the Tall Man, an evil supernatural undertaker with yellow blood armed with flying metal killer robot balls who turns the dead into dwarf zombies to be sent to his home planet as slaves, and is fought by young Mike (Michael Baldwin), his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury), and family friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister); does $12M box office on a $300K budget, becoming a cult classic, spawning sequels incl. "Phantasm II" (1988), "Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead" (1994), "Phantasm IV: Oblivion" (1998), and "Phantasm V: Revenge" (2016); watch trailer; view clip.
On May 25, 1979 Ridley Scott's Alien (20th Cent. Fox, London) debuts, a quantum leap in sci-fi and horror flicks, starring manly woman Sigourney (Susan Alexander) Weaver (1949-) (who named herself after Sigourney Howard in "The Great Gatsby") as space hero Ripley, taking on the ultimate ET cockroach infestation on the mining ship Nostromo; the scene of the baby alien popping out of John Hurt's chest in the mess hall is a keeper, and the flick is a big hit, spawning three sequels, "Aliens" (1986), "Alien 3" (1992), and "Alien: Resurrection" (1997); "In space no one can hear you scream"; #8 grossing film of 1979 (104.9M U.S. and $203.6M worldwide box office on an $11M budget). On July 18, 1986 James Cameron's Aliens (Brandywine Productions) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, a sequel to the 1979 hit "Alien" set 57 years later; stars Sigourney Weaver as manly woman Ellen Ripley, who leads a hunter-killer mission to planet LV-426, where they find lone human survivor Rebecca "Newt" Jorden (Carrie Henn), and are then wiped-out by the mean aliens; Michael Biehn plays Cpl. Dwayne Hicks after James Remar leaves during filming; Lance Henriksen plays the android Bishop; Paul Reiser plays company man Carter Burke, who tries to sabotage the mission so he can bring a live specimen back, the dope?; Jenette Goldstein plays manly woman Pvt. Vasquez; watch trailer; watch video.
On July 27, 1979 Stuart Rosenberg's The Amityville Horror (Am. Internat. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1977 book by Jay Anson, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz, who move into a haunted house and call Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) to bless it, until it orders him to get out and blinds him; does $86.4M box office on a $4.7M budget; "It's the kind of house they don't built anymore, the relic of a time when the world wasn't in such a hurry, when there was still time for a little charm and elegance. It has stood empty for along while, and at the price it is a bargain. For a growing youn family it is almost too good to be true"; "28 days after the Lutz family moved into their dream house, they were running for their lives. What happened to them is an experience in terror you will never forget. And you will believe in the Amityville Horror"; spawns the Amityville Horror film series, incl. "Amityville II: The Possession" (1982), "Amityville 3-D" (1983), "Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes" (1989, "The Amityville Curse" (1990), "Amityville 1992: It's About Time" (1992), "Amityville: A New Generation" (1993), "Amityville Dollhouse" (1996), "The Amityville Horror" (2005), "Amityville: The Awakening" (2017); watch trailer; view clip.
In Aug. 1979 Robert S. Fiveson's Parts: The Clonus Horror debuts, about wealthy powerful people incl. pres.-elect Jeffrey Knight (Peter Graves) breeding clones for replacement organs in a remote desert area; "The only thing they don't use... is the scream"; watch trailer.
On Feb. 7, 1980 Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust (United Artists) debuts, an English-speaking Italian horror film about an Am. film crew who are sent to the Amazon rainforest to film a documentary about cannibal tribes, and end up becoming dinner; does $2M box office on a $100K budget after getting banned in Italy, Australia and several other countries for graphic content and animal cruelty, and Deodata gets arrested for obscenity and murder, making it more popular?; watch trailer; view video.
On May 9, 1980 Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th (Paramount Pictures) (Warner Bros.) debuts, introducing undead hockey-masked slasher Jason Vorhees (Ari Lehman) having fun at Camp Crystal Lake in N.J. with six counselors trying to reopen it 20 years after "accidental" deaths close it; SFX by Tom Savini; does $59.8M box office on a $550K budget; spawns a seemingly endless series of sequels, incl. "Friday the 13th Part 2" (1981), "Friday the 13th Part III" (1982), "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" (1984), "Friday the 13th: A New Beginning" (1985), "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" (1986), "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood" (1988), "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan" (1989), "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" (1993), "Jason X" (2001), "Freddy vs. Jason" (2003), "Friday the 13th" (2009); also spawns "Jason Voorhees v. Michael Myers" (2015); Auburn, Calif.-born Kane Warren Holder (1954-) plays Jason in four movies from Part VII to Jason X; watch video; view clip.
On May 23, 1980 Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (Peregrine Productions) (Hawk Films) (Warner Bros.) debuts, filmed at EMI Elstree Studios in England using the new Steadicam, based on the 1977 Stephen King novel about failed writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) getting cabin fever at the secluded Overlook Hotel in Colo. during the winter; features the great climax where he goes after his family with an axe, crying, "Here's Johnny!"; title is inspired by John Lennon's "Instant Karma" and its line "We all shine on"; Joe Turkel plays creepy Joe the Bartender; the disturbing 1967 photograph Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J. of Lisa and Louise Burns (1968-) by Diane Arbus is used for effect; Danny Lloyd plays the psychic kid who talks with his finger and spouts "Redrum!"; bizarrely skinny scarecrow Shelley Duvall plays his freaked wife, and Scatman Crothers plays psychic vacationing chef Dick Hallorann, who returns to get axed; the photo at the end shows the hotel on July 4, 1921 as "Midnight, the Stars, and You" is being played; "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy"; the film contains numerous codes revealing that Kubrick directed a govt.-backed fake Apollo 11 moon landing based on his experience filming "Doctor Strangelove" (1964) and "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)?; it's no surprise that the record for altitude was 853.8 mi. (1,374.1km) for Gemini 11 on Sept. 14, 1966?; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Sept. 12, 1980 Paul Lynch's Prom Night (AVCO Embassy Pictures) debuts, starring scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Kimberly "Kim" Hammond, one of a group of Hamilton H.S. seniors incl. Wendy Richards (Eddie Benton), Kelly Lynch (Mary Beth Rubens), and Nick McBride (Casey Stevens) who are stalked by a mysterious masked killer in revenge for their guilt in the officially accidental death of 10-y.-o. Robin Hammond on prom night in 1974 six years earlier, timing it on the anniv. when her older sister is being crowned prom queen; Leslie Nielsen plays school principal Mr. Hammond; its disco soundtrack makes it a big hit in drive-in theaters, becoming a cult film; "If you're not back by midnight... you won't be coming home!"; does $14.7M box office on a $1.5M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 3, 1980 Roger Spottiswoode's Terror Train ("Halloween on a train") (Astral Bellevue Pathe) (Sandy Howard Productions) (Triple T Productions) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, about a group of medical school students holding a New Year's Eve costume party aboard a train and being preyed on by a killer who dresses in their costumes, starring scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Alana Maxwell, Ben Johnson as Carne the conductor, and David Copperfield as the Magician; Timothy Webber plays Mo; Spottiswoode's dir. debut; does $8M box office on a $4.2M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On July 24, 1981 Michael Wadleigh's Wolfen (Orion Pictures) (Warner Bros.) debuts, based on Whitley Strieber's 1978 novel "The Wolfen", starring Albert Finney as NYPD det. Dewey Wilson, who partners with pshrink Rebecca Neff (Diane Venora) to investigate a string of violent murders in Battery Park and discovers a pack of werewolves led by Old Indian (Dehl Berti), who are higher on the food chain than humans and cull the herd while remaining invisible; does $10.6M box office on a $17M budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 21, 1981 John Landis' An American Werewolf in London (PolyGram Pictures) (Gruber-Peters Co.) (Universal Pictures) debuts,, filmed in Wales and Surrey, England, starring David Naughton as David Kessler, and Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman, two Yank college students who decide to go on a hike in the Yorkshire Moors and get mixed up with werewolves, who kill Jack and turn David into one, after which he is taken to a London hospital where he hooks up with hot Nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter); does $62M box office on a $10M budget; followed by "An American Werewolf in Paris" (1997); watch trailer.
On Oct. 15, 1981 Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (Renaissance Pictures) (New Line Cinema) debuts, a "splatsick" about four Mich. State U. students led by Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), who vacation in an isolated cabin in rural Tenn., where they find the Naturan Demanto, a Sumerian version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which resurrects a demonic being who gives them hell; does $2.4M box office on a $400K budget, going on to become the #1 cult horror film of all time?; followed by "Evil Dead II" (1987), "Army of Darkness" (1992); watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Dec. 18, 1981 Ghost Story (Universal Pictures) debuts, set in winter 1979 in a peaceful New England village, starring Fred Astaire as Ricky Hawthorne, Melvyn Douglas as Dr. John Jaffrey, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as Edward Charles Wanderley, and John Houseman as Sears James, four old fart members of the Chowder Society, who like to tell horror stories to each other, and father to discuss the late Eva Galli (Alice Krige), who they killed in 1929 (drowned alive in a car in a lake), and whose ghost is haunting them; last film featuring Astaire, Fairbanks, and Douglas, who dies on Aug. 4; does $23.37M box office; watch trailer.
On Apr. 7, 1982 Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case (Apr. 7) (Basket Case Productions) debuts, starring Kevin Van Hentenryck as Duane Bradley, who arrives in New York City with his deformed conjoined twin brother Belial locked in a wicker basket and searches for the doctors who separated them; "The tenant in Room 7 is very small, very twisted, and very mad"; "What's in the basket, easter eggs?"; film critic Rex Reed pans it as "the sickest movie ever made", making it more popular?; does ? box office on a $16K budget; watch trailer.
On Apr. 29, 1982 Jack Clayton's Something Wicked This Way Comes (Walt Disney Productions) debuts, based on the the 1962 Ray Bradbury novel with title taken from Shakespeare's "Macbeth" Act 4, about two young boys Will Halloway (Vidal Peterson) and Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson) in Green Town, Ill. who attend Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival, run by Mr. Dark the Illustrated Man (Jonathan Pryce), and meet a collection of freaks intent on taking control of the town and sending innocent souls do Hell; Pam Grier plays the Dust Witch; does $19M box office on an $8.4M budget; view clip; watch film.
On May 16, 1982 George A. Romero's Creepshow (Laurel Entertainment) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, filmed on location in Pittsburgh, Penn. and written by Stephen King (his screenwriting debut), with an ensemble cast incl. Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, and E.G. Marshall, plus King in his acting debut; King's son Joe plays Billy, who is punished by his father for reading horror comics; does $21M box office on an $8M budget; followed by "Creepshow 2" (1987); watch trailer; watch movie.
On June 4, 1982 Tobe Harper's Poltergeist (MGM) debuts, co-written by producer Steven Spielberg, starring Heather O'Rourke (1975-88) as 5-y.-o. as Carol Anne Freeling, who begins communicating with a group of spirits led by the Beast via the static on her TV, allowing them to kidnap her, after which parents Steven and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams) call in spiritual medium Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein) to help rescue her; does $76.6M U.S. and $121.7M worldwide on a $10.7M budget; spawns sequels "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" (1986), and "Poltergeist III" (1988); real human skeletons are used in the swimming pool scene, causing rumors of the Poltergeist Curse on the actors; Heather O'Rourke dies on Feb. 1, 1988 in San Diego, Calif. of heart failure from congenital bowel obstruction and/or Crohn's Disease; watch trailer; view clip.
On June 25, 1982 John Carpenter's The Thing (Universal Pictures) debuts, a remake of the 1951 flick based on the John Campbell short story, starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley et al. as scientists in a remote Antarctic outpost facing a shape-shifting people-eating creature from outer space; does $19.6M U.S. box office on a $15M budget, gaining a cult following complete with a 1982 novel, a comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, and the video game sequel in 2002; a prequel film The Thing is released on Oct. 14, 2011, dir. by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead; watch trailer; watch video; watch video; watch video; watch video.
On Oct. 22, 1982 Tommy Lee Wallace's Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Dino De Laurentiis Corp.) (Debra Hill Productions) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Tom Atkins as Dr. Dan Challis, who tries to solve the mysterious murder of a patient in his hospital, ending up in Santa Mira, Calif. with his daughter Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), controlled by Silver Shamrock Novelties and its owner Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), who are into Celtic witchcraft and their horrible Halloween (Samhain) sacrifices, with a plan to kill children all over the U.S. with booby-trapped masks powered by a piece of Stonehenge; "No one came home"; only "Halloween" series movie sans Michael Myers; does $14M box office on a $2.5M budget, making it a flop compared to the others in the series, becoming a cult film because of its focus on the real Celtic death cult of Halloween; watch trailer; view clip. view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Oct. 10, 1983 Scarborough, North Yorkshire-born Susan Hill (1942-) pub. the novel The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story; a female ghost haunts a small English town heralding the death of children; turned into a play in 1987 by Stephen Mallatratt, which becomes the 2nd longest-running play in the West End after "The Mousetrap"; filmed in 1989 and 2012. In 1992 she pub. The Mist in the Mirror: A Ghost Story, about traveler Sir James Monmouth and his obsession with explorer Conrad Vane.
On Oct. 21, 1983 David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone (Dino De Laurentiis Co.) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on the 1979 Stephen King novel, starring wacked-out Christopher Walken as schoolteacher Johnny Smith of Castle Rock, Maine, who awakens from a 5-year coma with psychic powers allowing him to read a person's mind when he touches them; Martin Sheen plays U.S. Senate candidate Greg Stillson, whom he volunteers for until he reads his mind and sees that he intends to nuke Russia after reaching the White House, making it necessary to assassinate him; does $20.8M box office on a $10M budget; watch trailer.
On Dec. 9, 1983 John Carpenter's Christine (Columbia Pictures) debuts, based on the 1983 Stephen King novel set in Sept. 1978, starring Keith Gordon as unfortunate haunted bright red-white 1958 Plymouth Fury buyer Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham of Rockbridge, Calif., and John Stockwell as his friend Dennis Guilder; does $21M box office on a $10M budget, becoming a cult classic; watch trailer.
On June 8, 1984 Joe Dante's Gremlins (Warner Bros.) (Amblin Entertainment) debuts, written by Chris Columbus and produced by Steven Spielberg is a comedy horror film starring Hoyt Axton as inventor Randall "Rand" Peltzer, who visits Chinatown and buys a cute small furry mogwai (Chin. "devil") from Mr. Wing's (Keye Luke) grandson (John Louie), who warns him that there are three mandatory rules: 1) Do not expose them to bright lights; 2) Do not let it get wet; 3) Never feed it after midnight"; he then returns to his home in Kingston Falls and gives it to local bank employee Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan), who names it Gizmo, then breaks the rules on Christmas Eve, creating a horde of hungry evil devils who take over the town; Phoebe Cates plays Billy's barmaid beau Kate Beringer; its massive success spawns the PG-13 rating; does $153.1M box office on a $11M budget; followed by "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990); watch trailer, view clip.
On Nov. 8, 1984 Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (New Line Cinema) debuts, set in fictional Springwood, Ohio, starring Robert Englund as fedora-wearing razor-fingered-glove nightmare slasher Freddy Krueger, becoming a big hit for New Line Cinema, spawning six sequels; does $25.5M box office on a $1.8M budget; the feature film debut of Owensburg, Ky.-born John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II (1963-); "If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all"; watch trailer.
On Nov. 9, 1984 Charles E. Selier Jr.'s Silent Night, Deadly Night (Slayride Productions) (TriStar Pictures) debuts, about disturbed psycho Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson), who turns into an axe-wielding killer Santa Claus; "You made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas"; too bad, a backlash by outraged mommies causes TriStar to pull it after it does only $2.5M box office, which doesn't stop a later resurgence, with Quentin Tarantino et al. becoming fans; watch trailer; view clip.
On Jan. 18, 1985 Luca Bercovici's Ghoulies (Empire Pictures) debuts, about a haunted house with a basement full of occult paraphernalia, which are used to conjure some demonic creatures who like to come up through toilets, starring Michael des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Liapis, Lisa Palikan, Scott Thompson, and Mariska Hargitay in her film debut; Bercovici's dir. debut; "Once they show up you can never get rid of them"; "They'll get you in the end!"; too bad, it is released after "Gremlines", and only does ? box office on a $5.5M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On June 14, 1985 Larry Cohen's The Stuff (New World Pictures) debuts, about an irresistible white yogurt-like substance that bubbles out of the ground and tastes yummy, getting marketed and becoming an addictive craze, after which it is discovered to be an eveil parasitic organism that turns people into zombies; stars Michael Moriarty as David "Mo" Rutherford; "Are you eating it... or is it eating you?"; watch trailer.
On Aug. 2, 1985 Tom Holland's Fright Night (Aug. 2) (Vistar Films) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, starring William Ragsdale as 17-y.-o. Charley Brewster, fan of the horror TV series you know what, hosted by movie vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) (named after Peter Cushing and Vincent Price), who discovers that his creepy new next-door neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a real vampire, and has to go to his house and kill him on you know what night, but everybody thinks he's the boy who cried wolf; Amanda Bearse plays Charley's girlfriend Amy Peterson; Stephen Geoffreys plays Edward "Evil Ed" Thompson; does $24.9M box office on a $9.25M budget; "There are some very good reasons to be afraid of the dark"; spawns sequels "Fright Night Part 2" (1988), "Fright Night" (2011) (remake), and "Fright Night 2: New Blood" (2013); watch trailer; view clip.
On Feb. 28, 1986 Steve Miner's House (New World Pictures) debuts, starring William Katt as horror writer and Vietnam vet Richard Cobb (William Katt), who inherits a haunted house where the bathroom medicine cabinet is a door into the other world, allowing him to rescue his missing son Jimmy (Erik and Mark Silver) while fighting off madass Vietnam War buddy Big Ben (Richard Moll); features cameos by George Wendt, Mindy Sterling, and Steven Williams; "This is a house where no one should live. Roger Cobb has come here alone, but no one is ever alone in the house. This house knows everything about you. It has been waiting for him. Now it wants you, has found a hew home. House, enter at your own risk"; "You are cordially invited to spend an evening with Roger Cobb and his friends. Don't come alone!"; does $22.2M box office on a $3M budget; followed by "House II: The Second Story" (1987), "House III: The Horror Show" (1989), and "House IV: The Repossession" (1992); watch trailer; watch film; view clip.
On Apr. 11, 1986 Stephen Herek's Critters (New Line Cinema) debuts, a sci-fi comedy horror film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, and Scott Grimes as the Brown family, who are visited by the escaped prisoner Crites from outer space, who like to roll up into balls and eat people; Herek's dir. debut; does $13.2M box office on a $2M budget; spawns sequels "Critters 2: The Main Course" (1988), "Critters 3" (1991), "Critters 4" (1992), and "Critters: Bounty Hunter" (2014); watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Aug. 15, 1986 David Cronenberg's The Fly (Aug. 15) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, a remake of the 1958 film starring Jeff Goldblum as mad scientist Seth Brundle, who mistakenly transmutes himself into Brundle-Fly while his equally long-legged babe Veronica "Ronnie" Quife (Geena Davis) freaks; does $60.6M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Aug. 22, 1986 Fred Dekker's sci-fi horror comedy film Night of the Creeps (TriStar Pictures) debuts, starring Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, and Jill Whitlaw, who have to fight zombies created by slug creatures from an alien spacecraft that landed in 1959; "The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is they're dead"; "What is this, a homicide or a Grade B movie?"; "I personally would rather have my brains invaded by creatures from space than pledge a fraternity"; does $591.3K box office, becoming a cult film; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
In Sept. 1986 Portland, Maine-born Stephen Edwin King (1947-) pub. It, becoming the #1 bestseller in the U.S. in 1986; seven children in Derry, Maine are terrorized by an evil being who appears as Pennywise the Dancing Clown AKA Bob Gray; filmed as a ABC-TV miniseries on Nov. 18-20, 1990 starring Tim Curry as Pennywise.
On Dec. 19, 1986 Frank Oz's Little Shop of Horrors (The Geffen Co.) (Warner Bros.) debuts, based on the 1960 Roger Corman film and the 1982 musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and filmed on the James Bond 007 stage at Pinewood Studios in England, starring Rick Moranis as florist Seymour Krelborn, Ellen Green as his coworker babe Audrey, Vincent Gardenia as flower shop owner Mr. Mushnik, Steve Martin as Audrey's beau dentist Orin Scrivello, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II; features cameos by Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, Bill Murray et al.; does $39M box office on a $25M budget, gaining a cult following. watch trailer; view clip.
On May 15, 1987 Tibor Takacs' PG-13 The Gate (Alliance Entertainment) (New Century Entertainment) (Vista Org.) debuts, writen by Michael Nankin about a backyard hole that is a gateway to Hell, starring Stephen Dorff in his film debut; does $13.5M box office on a $6M budget; followed by "Gate II: Trespassers" (1990). watch trailer; view clip.
On July 31, 1987 Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys (Warner Bros.) (named after J.M. Barrie's Neverland stories) debuts, starring Kiefer Sutherland as David Powers, leader of a vampire biker gang terrorizing the beach town of Santa Carla, Calif., esp. the Emerson family incl. Michael (Jason Patric), Sam (Corey Haim), and their parents Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and Grandpa (Barnard Hughes), who join with the Frog brothers Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) to fight back; Jami Gertz plays Kiefer's and Michael's babe Star; a partying vampire flick; "It's fun to be a vampire"; features the Gothic rock anthem Cry Little Sister by Gerard Thomas McMahon (McMann) (AKA G Tom Mac); soundtrack also features I Still Believe by Tim Capello; does $32.2M box office on an $8.5M budget; spawns sequels "Lost Boys: The Tribe" (2008) and "Lost Boys: The Thirst" (2010); watch trailer.
On Aug. 14, 1987 Fred Dekker's The Monster Squad (Taft Entertainment Pictures) (Keith Barish Productions) (TriStar Pictures) debuts, a children's horror comedy written by Shane Black about a club of pre-teenies led by Sean (Andre Gower), who love classic monster movies and meet in a treehouse in Baton Rouge, La., and search for a magic amulet in order to use an incantation from Van Helsing's (Jack Gwillim) diary on it to cast a collection of real-life movie monsters into Limbo; features Duncan Regehr as Count Dracula, Tom Noonan as Frankenstein, Carl Thibault as the Wolf Man, Tom Woodruff Jr. as Gill-man, and Michael McKay as the Mummy; a poor ripoff of "Gremlins" and Stephen King's "It"?; a flop ($3.8M box office on a $12M budget), gaining a cult following; watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 10, 1987 Clive Barker's Hellraiser (Sept. 10) (Film Futures) (New World Pictures) (Entertainment Film Distributors) debuts, based on the 1986 novella "The Hellbound Heart", starring Sean Chapman as Frank, who has his body torn to pieces by Cenobites (formerly human monsters who harvest human souls to torture in S&M experiments, opening a door to another dimension) led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley); Andrew Robinson plays Frank's brother Larry Cotton, Clare Higgins plays his wife Julia Cotton, and Ashley Laurence plays his daughter Kirsty Cotton; does $14M box office on a $1M budget; the dir. debut of Liverpool, England-born Clive Barker (1952-); spawns sequels incl. "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" (1988), "Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth" (1992), "Hellraiser: Bloodline" (1996), "Hellraiser: Inferno" (2000), "Hellraiser: Hellseeker" (2002), "Hellraiser: Deader" (2005), "Hellraiser: Hellworld" (2005), "Hellraiser: Revelations" (2011), "Hellraiser: Judgment" (2018); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Oct. 2, 1987 Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark (De Laurentiis Entertainment Group) debuts, a neo-Western horror film starring Adrian Pasdar (as Caleb Colton), Jenny Wright (as Mae), Lance Henriksen (as Jesse Hooker), Bill Paxton (as Severen), and Jenette Goldstein (as Diamondback), about modern Am. vampires in Okla. is a box office flop ($3.4M box office on a $5M budget), but develops its own cult; "Caleb Colton no longer belongs to our world, he belongs to hers, he belongs to theirs, and they all belong to the night"; watch trailer; watch video; watch video.
On Oct. 23, 1987 T.C. Blake's (Robert Collector)'s Nightflyers (The Vista Org.) debuts, a sci-fi horror film based on the 1980 George R.R. Martin novella about a group of scientists on a space voyage to find a mysterious alien being getting victimized by the ship's evil computer; does $1.15M box office; made into the Nightflyers TV series on Syfy that debuts on Dec. 2, 2018 (until ?); watch trailer.
On Dec. 11, 1987 Peter Jackson's Bad Taste (WingNut Films) (Image Entertainment) debuts, about the Kiwi village of Kaihoro being invaded by disguised aliens that want to harvest humans for their intergalactic fast food franchise, and face a bumbling 4-man paramilitary force; helps Jackson's budding film career take off; does $150K box office on a $25K budget; watch trailer; view video.
On Mar. 30, 1988 Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (Geffen Film Co.) (Warner Bros.) debuts, starring Michael Keaton (Michael John Douglas) (1951-) as poltergeist Betelgeuse, who has fun with recently deceased couple Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin), who haunt their former home and its new inhabitants Delia, Charles, and Lydia Deetz (Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Winona Ryder); does $73.7M box office on a $15M box office; "The name in laughter from the hereafter." Watch trailer.
On May 13, 1988 William Lustig's Maniac Cop (Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment) debuts, about a serial murderer ex-cop, starring Bruce Campbell as Richard Roundtree as Commissioner Pike, William Smith as Capt. Ripley, Officer Jack W. Forrest Jr. and Robert Z'Dar as Officer Matthew Cordell; "You have the right to remain silent... forever"; does $671.3K budget on a $1.1M budget, becoming a cult film; followed by "Maniac Cop 2" (1990), "Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence" (1993); watch trailer; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; watch film; watch film.
On June 3, 1988 Stephen Chiodo's Killer Klowns from Outer Space (Trans World Entertainment) debuts, cheesefully promoting clownphobia with a cool title tune by the Dickies, and continuing the film slander of ice cream truck salesmen; does ? box office on a $1.8M budget; "See the rubber nose on the painted face bringing genocide to the human race"; "Their cakey white faces and yellow eyes and dingy teeth were tormenting me"; "Whadya gonna do, knock my block off?" - one of TLW's all-time favorites, inspiring his 1998 novel "Interdimensional Clownz"? Watch trailer.
In Oct. 1988 Michael Lehmann's Heathers (Cinemarque Entertainment) (New World Pictures) debuts, about the four Heathers at Westerburg H.S. in Sherwood, Ohio incl. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty), Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk), and Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), who lord it over the other students and get jealous of each other, causing one of their beaus Jason "J.D." Dean (Christian Slater) to start committing murders and finally plan to blow everybody up with dynamite taped underneath the bleachers; does $1.1M box office on a $3M budget; refilmed in 2018; watch trailer; watch trailer.
On Nov. 9, 1988 Tom Holland's Chucky (MGM/UA) debuts, written by Don Mancini and filmed at the landmark Brewster Apts. in Chicago at Diversey and Pine Grove, starring the voice of Brad Dourif as Chucky (Charles Lee Ray) (puppetry by Brock Winkless), a voodoo serial killer who transfered his soul into a Good Guys doll after his archenemy Det. Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) killed him, and frames 6-y.-o. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) for his crimes, freaking out his widowed mother Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), who gave him the doll for his birthday; does $44.2M box office on a $9M budget; spawns the Child's Play Franchise, incl. "Child's Play 2" (1990), "Child's Play 3" (1991), "Bride of Chucky" (1998), "Seed of Chucky" (2004), "Curse of Chucky" (2013), and Cult of Chucky (2017); watch trailer.
On Apr. 21, 1989 Mary Lambert's Pet Sematary (Apr. 21) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on the 1983 Stephen King novel, starring Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, who moves with his family from Chicago to Ludlow, Maine to take a job as a physician at the U. of Maine, and befriend their elderly neighbor Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne), who introduces them to a pet cemetery behind their new home, which has a barrier beyond which the ground is "sour", causing anybody buried there to turn into a zombie; Denise Crosby plays Louis' wife Rachel Goldman-Creed; does $57.5M box office on a $11.5M budget; followed by "Pet Sematary Two" (1992); refilmed in 2019 starring Jason Clarke and John Lithgow. watch trailer.
On Oct. 12, 1989 David Schmoeller's Puppet Master (Full Moon Features) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, starring William Hickey as puppeteer Andre Toulon, Paul Le Mat as psychic Alex Whitaker, Irene Miracle as psychic Dana Hadley, and Jimmie F. Skaggs as Neil Gallagher, along with sinister homicidal puppets Blade, Gengie, Jester, Leech Woman, Pinhead, Shredder Khan, and Tunneler, who are animated by an Egyptian spell; becomes a cult hit, spawning 12 sequels; watch trailer; view video.
On Aug. 17, 1990 William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist III (Morgan Creek Productions) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on Blatty's 1983 novel "Legion" set 17 years after the 1973 film, starring George C. Scott (replacing the late Lee J. Cobb) as Lt. William F. Kinderman, Ed Flanders as Father Dyer, Jason Miller as Damien Karras, Scott Wilson as Dr. Temple, Nicol Williamson as Father Morning, and Brad Dourif as James Venamuni the Gemini Killer; features cameos by Patrick Ewing, Fabio, Larry King, and Samuel L. Jackson; does $39M box office on an $11M budget; watch trailer; view video; view video.
On Dec. 7, 1990 Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, a revisioning of the Frankenstein story, starring Johnny Depp as a freak with you know whats for hands, who finds sympathy from Kim (Winona Ryder) and Peg (Dianne Wiest) before the Am. suburban mob comes with torches; O-Lan Jones plays Esmeralda; does $86M box office on a $20M budget; "The story of an uncommonly gentle man"; watch trailer.
On Jan. 30, 1991 Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (Orion Pictures) debuts, a horror-thriller based on the 1988 Thomas Harris novel, featuring a duel of wits between FBI cadet Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) (Michelle Pfeiffer was originally cast?) and serial killer, psychiatrist, and Renaissance man "Hannibal the Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who tries to mimic a wildcat with his eyes and body language, models his voice after Truman Capote, Katharine Hepburn, and HAL 9000, and is transported wearing a hockey mask so he can't bite off your face; Ted Levine is perfectly cast as the sexually mixed-up serial murderer Buffalo Bill, which Hannibal helps Clarice catch only after she reveals her inner self to him so he can mess with her mind; #3 movie of 1991 ($131M U.S. and $272.7M worldwide box office on a $19M budget); first horror film to win a Best Picture Oscar, and 3rd to be nominated after "The Exorcist" (1973) and "Jaws" (1975); followed by the sequel "Hannibal" (2001) and the prequels "Red Dragon" (2002) and "Hannibal Rising" (2007); features the Buffalo Bill Dance to the 1988 song "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus; "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti [slurp slurp slurp]" (Hannibal) - the con bites male flesh? Watch trailer.
On Sept. 11, 1992 Bernard Rose's Candyman (Sept. 11) (Propagnda Films) (TriStar Pictures) debuts, based on the short story "The Forbidden" by executive producer Clive Barker, about graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), who is completing a thesis on urban legends, and encounters the legend of Candyman (Tony Todd), a black slave's son who in 1890 fathered a child by a white woman and had his hand severed before being murdered by a white lynch mob by being coated with honey and fed to the bees; does $25.7M box office; music composed by Philip Glass; followed by "Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh" (1995), "Candyman: Day of the Dead" (1999); watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 23, 1992 Manny Coto's Dr. Giggles (Largo Entertainment) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Larry Drake as Dr. Evan Rendell Jr., who likes to rip out patients' hearts to help bring his dead wife back to life, and escaped from a mental asylum to his home town of Moorehigh, attacking 19-y.-o. Jennifer Campbell (Holly Marie Combs) and her boyfriend Max Anderson (Glenn Quinn); does $8.4M box office; "If you think that's bad wait until you get my bill"; watch trailer; view clip.
On Nov. 13, 1992 Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (American Zoetrope) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, starring Gary Oldman as Count Vlad Dracula in 1462, who goes nuts after his wife Elisabeta thinks him dead and commits suicide, earning the curse of the Church, causing him to renounce his faith and vow to rise from the grave to avenge her, emerging in 1897 in Transylvania and leaving his brides Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick to feed on solicitor Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) while he sails to London with vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) hot on his trail, wooing Elisabeta's reincarnation Mina Harker (Winona Ryder), who helps him achieve eternal peace; does $215.9M box office on a $40M budget; "True Love Never Dies"; meanwhile British author Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula is finally translated into Romanian, and the first Dracula films are shown to Romanians, who are surprised by the whole new and strange saga - so that's why they thought Nadya never smiled? Watch trailer; view video; view clip.
On Jan. 8, 1993 Mark Jones' Leprechaun (Trimark Pictures) debuts, starring 3'6" English "Willow" star Warwick Ashley Davis (1970-) searching for his stolen pot of gold in a little town in S.D. whose luck may have just run out; the film debut of Jennifer Joanna Aniston (1969-); does $8.6M box office on a $1M budget; spawns the Leprechaun series incl. "Leprechaun 2" (1994), "Leprechaun 3" (1995), "Leprechaun 4: In Space" (1997), "Leprechaun in the Hood" (2000), "Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood" (2003), "Leprechaun: Origins" (2014), and "Leprechaun Returns" (2019); watch trailer; view clip.
On July 16, 1993 Kenny Ortega's Hocus Pocus (Walt Disney Pictures) (Buena Vista Pictures) debuts, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as sister witches Winifred "Winnie", Mary, and Sarah Sanderson from 1693, who are inadvertently resurrected by a teenie boy Maximilian "Max" Dennison (Omri Katz) in Salem, Mass. on All Hallows' Eve after his virgin babe Allison Watts (Vinessa Shaw) lights the Black Flame Candle, and they begin a crusade to suck the souls of all of Salem's children; does $39.5M box office on a $28M budget, becoming a cult film; watch video.
On Sept. 3, 1993 Jennifer Lynch's Boxing Helena (Main Line Pictures) (Orion Classics) debuts, starring Sherilynn Fenn (after Madonna and Kim Basinger turn it down) as a woman who gets in a car accident in front of the home of lonely horny Atlanta, Ga. surgeon Nick Cavanaugh (Julian Sands), who is obsessed with her and amputates her limbs and boxes her so that he can have pure poontang, only to discover she's got a vicious sass mouth, then wakes up and realizes it's a wet dream; features Bill Paxton as Ray O'Malley, Kurtwood Smith as Dr. Alan Palmer, and Art Garfunkel as Dr. Lawrence Augustine; does $1.8M box office - does he use her diaper for a napkin? Watch trailer.
On May 13, 1994 Alex Proyas' The Crow (May 13) (Dimension Films) (Miramax) debuts, based on the comic strip by James O'Barr, starring Brandon Lee as Eric Draven, who is resurrected on Devil's Night a year after his death to avenge his own murder and that of his babe; too bad, Lee dies from a set accident, and a stunt double is used to complete the flick, which is mostly filmed in the night or rain anyway, so no one can tell?; does $50.7M box office on a $23M budget; "People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right"; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On June 17, 1994 Mike Nichols' Wolf (June 17) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, starring Jack Nicholson as senior lit. exec Will Randall, who is bitten by a werewolf and slowly becomes one along with his babe Laura Alden (Michelle Pfeiffer after Sharon Stone turns it down, and Mia Farrow is turned down as too controversial because of the Woody Allen-Soon-Yi Previn affair); James Spader plays his rival Stewart Swinton; Christopher Plummer plays his boss Raymond Alden; Kate Nelligan plays his cheating wife Charlotte Skylar Randall; the movie is best when the actors are maneuvering for position, but the poor SFX at the end make it lame?; "I'm just marking my territory and you got in the way" (Nicholson while peeing on the lavatory floor in front of James Spader); does $131M box office on a $70M budget; watch trailer. view clip.
On Oct. 12, 1994 Kenneth Branagh's (Mary Shelley's) Frankenstein (TriStar Pictures) debuts, based on the 1818 novel with an attempt to stick to it this time, starring Branagh as Victor Frankenstein, and Robert De Niro as Frankenstein's monster (the Creation); does $112M box office on a $45M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 24, 1994 the animated TV series Gargoyles (Buena Vista Television) debuts for 78 episodes (until Feb. 15, 1997), about nocturnal creatures from medieval Scotland in modern-day New York City that turn to stone during the day, protecting the city at night; the voiceovers feature several actors from the "Star Trek" franchise incl. Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Kate Mulgrew, Brent Spiner, Avery Brooks, Colm Meany, LeVar Burton, and Nichelle Nichols; watch opening theme.
On Nov. 11, 1994 Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire (Geffen Pictures) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, based on vol. 1 of Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" (1976), starring (miscast?) Tom Cruise as 18th cent. New Orleans vampire Lestat, who recruits new blood Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) and Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) to create an unholy dysfunctional family, which proves that selling one's soul to the Devil in exchange for extended life has its Catch-22s; does $223.7M box office on a $60M budget; Christian Slater (who replaced the late River Phoenix) is the interviewer; "Drink from me and live forever" - you make me feel like I am young again? Watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On May 9, 1995 Norman Apstein's Ice Cream Man debuts, produced by porno film dir. Apstein and written by "Wedding Crashers" dir. David Dobkin, starring Clint Howard as Gregory Tudor, a deranged mental hospital inmate who opens an ice cream factory and likes to kill people and mix their body parts into his ice cream; "There are no bad days Gregory, only happy happy happy days"; "Oh, don't worry about that little boy, it's just my grenadine stick"; "You little turd you're gonna have to learn you can't run from the ice cream man"; develops a cult following. watch trailer; view video.
On Sept. 15, 1995 David Fincher's Se7en (New Line Cinema) debuts, written by Andrew Kevin Walker, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as homicide detectives David Mills and William Somerset, who chase incredibly sick serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey), who likes to punish each victim for being too much into one of the Seven Deadly Sins; Gwyneth Paltrow plays wife Tracy Mills, and R. Lee Ermey plays the police captain; #7 movie of 1995 ($100M in the U.S. and $327.3M worldwide on a $33M budget); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Jan. 19, 1996 Robert Rodriguez' From Dusk till Dawn (Dimension Films) debuts, an action horror film written by Quentin Tarantino, starring Tarantino and George Clooney as bank robber brothers Richard "Richie" and Seth Gecko, who kidnap the Fuller family in their RV and force them to drive them to Mexico to the Titty Twister Strip Club, which is run by vampires, resulting in a bloody shootout that lasts you know how long; co-stars Harvey Keitel as Pastor Jacob Fuller, Juliette Lewis as his daughter Katherine; Michae Parks plays Texas Ranger Earl McGraw; Salma Hayek plays Santanico Pandemonium; Cheech Marin plays Chet Pussy; Danny Trejo plays Razor Charlie; Tom Savini plays Sex Machine; does $25.8M box office on a $19 budget, becoming a cult film; watch trailer; view clip.
On May 3, 1996 Andrew Fleming's The Craft (Columbia Pictures) debuts, about four outcast teenie L.A. girls incl. Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney), Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie Harper (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle Zimmerman (Rachel True) who pursue witchcraft and form a coven dedicated to Manon before encountering negative repercussions; does $55.7M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 25, 1996 Tom Holland's Thinner (Spelling Films Internat.) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on the 1984 Stephen King novel, starring Robert John Burke as morbidly obese atty. Billy Halleck, who gets crime boss Richie "the Hammer" Ginelli (Joe Mantegna) off for murder, and accidentlly runs over gypsy woman Suzanne Lempke (Irma St. Paule), then uses his connections to avoid charges, causing her 106-y.-o. father Tadzu Lempke (Michael Constantine) to place a "thinner" curse on him, which makes him waste away; after failing to convince the old gypsy to lift the curse, he gets help from Ginelli, who pressures him until he relents, but puts in a catch, which results in his cheating wife Heidi getting a curse, along with his daughter Lucinda, and Heidi's lover Dr. Mike Houson (Sam Freed); too bad, critics pan it and it becomes a flop; does $15.3M box office on a $14M budget; watch trailer; view video; view video.
On Dec. 18, 1996 Wes Craven's Scream (original title "Scary Movie") (Dimension Films) debuts, written by New Bern, N.C.-born Kevin Meade Williamson (1966-) (his breakthrough) based on the Gainesville Ripper, starring Neve Campbell as Woodsboro, Calif. H.S. student Sidney Prescott, who is targeted by serial killer Ghostface, satirizing slasher and horror films along the way, becoming a cult film and spawning a series, revitalizing the horror film genre, whose market had been killed by direct-to-video and endless sequels of 1970s-1980s horror flicks; "What's your favorite scary movie"; also stars David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Drew Barrymore, and Skeet Ulrich; does $173M box office on a $145 budget, becoming the highest grossing U.S. slasher film; "Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far. Solving this mystery is going to be murder"; followed by "Scream 2" (1998), "Scream 3" (2000), and "Scream 4" (2011); watch trailer.
In 1996 William Lustig's Uncle Sam (A-Pix Entertainment) (Solomon Internat. Pictures) debuts, written by Larry Cohen, starring William Smith as Major, and David Fralick as Master Sgt. Sam Harper, who was killed in his chopper in Kuwait and comes back to life; "Just when you thought it was safe again to stand up and salute the flag, Uncle Sam is back, with a vengeance. Now Uncle Sam has a contract on America. Draft dodgers, watch out!... No one will ever burn another flag.... And no politician will ever lie again. And the Fourth of July will never be the same... Uncle Sam wants you... dead!"; watch trailer; view video.
On Mar. 10, 1997 the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, based on the 1992 film debuts on UPN-TV for 144 episodes (until May 20, 2003), starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977-) as Buffy Summers, who is aided by a Watcher and surrounds herself with her loyal Scooby Gang.
On May 14, 1997 Michael Haneke's Funny Games (Osterreischischer Runfunk) (Concorde-Castle) (Rock/Turner) debuts, starring Frank Giering and Arno Frisch as young Viennese killers Peter and Paul, who impose themselves on families by asking to borrow eggs then move in and torture them with sadistic games while Paul breaks the 4th wall; refilmed in the U.S. in 2007; watch trailer; watch trailer.
On Sept. 9, 1997 Vincenzo Natali's Cube (Odeon Films) (Viacom Canada) (Trimark Pictures) debuts, inspired by the Twilight Zone episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" (Dec. 22, 1961), starring Maurice Dean Wint as police officer Quentin McNeil, Nicole de Boer as math whiz Joan Leaven, David Hewlett as cynic David Worth, Nicky Guadagni as physician Dr. Helen Holloway, and Wayne Robson as prison escape artist Rennes AKA The Wren, who are trapped in a giant cube filled with cube-shaped rooms (26x26), each of which is a deadly trap; does $565K box office on a $350K budget, developing a cult following; watch trailer.
On Oct. 17, 1997 Jim Gillespie's I Know What You Did Last Summer (Mandalay Entertainment) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, written by Kevin Williamson based on the 1973 Lois Duncan novel, about four young friends Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Barry Cos (Ryan Phillippe), and Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jr.) who accidentally hit pedestrian Ben Willis (Muse Watson) on a costal highway on July 4, 1996 in Southport, N.C., and think they killed him and try to cover it up, only to find out a year later that he survived and is out to get revenge with a hook; does $125.2M box office on a $17M budget; followed by "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" (1998) and "I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer" (2006); watch trailer.
On Jan. 31, 1998 Hideo Nakata's Ring (Toho) debuts, based on the novel by Koji Suzuki about the Japanese folk tale of Bancho Saryashiki, a servant who was wrong and returns from the dead to haunt the perps, starring Nanako Matsushima as a reporter on the run to investigate the mystery behind a cursed videotape that kills the viewer seven days after watching it; does 1 billion yen box office; followed by Rasen (1998), which is released the same day; inspires the Am. film "The Ring" (2002); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Aug. 21, 1998 Stephen Norrington's Blade (Amen Ra Films) (New Line Cinema) debuts, based on the Mavel Comics char., starring Wesley Snipes as samurai sword-swinging half-vampire vampire hunter Blade (Eric Brooks), who fights a gang of vampires led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) with his hematologist partner Dr. Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright) and mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson); porno queen Traci Lords plays sexy vampire Racquet; does $131.2M box office on a $45M budget; watch trailer.
On Dec. 25, 1998 Kevin Williamson's The Faculty (Dimension Films) (Los Hooligans Productions) (Miramax Films) debuts, set in Herrington H.S. in Ohio, where the teachers get infected by an alien cephalopod parasite called a mesozoan, causing the students to fight back, incl. Casey Connor (Elijah Wood), Zeke Tyler (Josh Hartnett), and Delilah Profitt (Jordana Brewster); Robert Patrick plays coach Joe Willis; does $40.3M box office on a $15M budget; "The students of Herrington High have always suspected their teachers were from another planet. This time they're right"; watch trailer.
On Jan. 25, 1999 Daniel Myrick's and Eduardo Sanchez's The Blair Witch Project Haxan Films) debuts, starring Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard as student moviemakers who get lost in Oct. 1991 in the woods in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Md. and disappear, their home video equipment found a year later; home-made for only $22K, but grosses $141.5M in the U.S. and $240.5M worldwide (1:10,931 ratio), becoming the first major motion picture in which the three principal players shot nearly all of the complete film; a good ad for Maryland not?; followed by "Blair Witch" (2016); watch trailer.
On Aug. 2, 1999 M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (Aug. 2) (Hollywood Pictures) (Spyglass Entertainment) (Buena Vista Pictures) debuts, starring precocious boy actor Haley Joel Osment (1988-) as 9-y.-o. Cole Sear, who has the power to see dead people, and Bruce Willis as child pshrink Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who doesn't know he's dead and tries to cure him, creating a great revelation at the end the first time you see it; puts Shyamalan (the king of shamelessly shamming the audience until the end?) on the map; #2 movie of 1999 ($293.5M U.S. and $672.8M worldwide box office on a $40M budget); "There are ghosts walking among us, looking for help."
On Nov. 12, 1999 after the 1996 pilot "The Chicken from Outer Space" is nominated for an Oscar, the Hanna-Barbera animated horror series Courage the Cowardly Dog debuts on Cartoon Network for 52 episodes (until Nov. 22, 2002), about pink fraidy-cat dog Courage (Marty Grabstein), who lives near Nowhere, Kan. with Muriel and Eustace Bagge, fighting horror chars. incl. zombies, demons, monsters, mad scientists, and aliens along with fortune-telling chihuahua Shirley the Medium; watch intro.
On Nov. 16, 1999 Peter Hyams' End of Days (Beacon Pictures) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as former NYPD detective Jericho Cane, who protects innocent young Christine York (Robin Tunney) from Satan (Gabriel Byrne) on the Millennium; Mark Margolis plays the pope, Rod Steiger plays Father Kovak, Derrick O'Connor plays Thomas Aquinas, and Kevin Pollak plays Bobby Chicago; does $212M box office on a $100M budget; "Lethal Weapon meets The Omen"; watch trailer; view clip.
On Jan. 21, 2000 Mary Harron's American Psycho (Lionsgate Films) debuts, based on the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel, starring Welsh-born English actor Christian Bale as New York City investment banking exec and psycho axe murderer Patrick Bateman, and Reese Witherspoon as his babe Evelyn Williams; does $34.3M box office on a $7M budget; "I am simply not there"; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Mar. 17, 2000 James Wong's Final Destination (Hard Eight Pictures) (New Line Cinema) debuts, starring Devon Sawa as h.s. student Alex Browning, who boards Volee Airlines Flight 180 with his classmates for a senior trip to Paris, and is plagued by premonitions that the plane will explode in mid-air and kill everybody aboard, starting a fight that gets him and several others removed before takeoff, after which the plane explodes on takeoff, killing all remaining passengers, causing the FBI to suspect Alex; meanwhile the survivors all meet their deaths so that Death can even the score; does $112.9M box office on a $23M budget, spawning sequels incl. "Final Destination 2" (2003), "Final Destination 3" (2006), "The Final Destination" (2009), and "Final Destination 5" (2011); watch trailer; view clip.
On Aug. 18, 2000 Uli Edel's The Little Vampire (Propaganda Films) (Cometstone Pictures) (New Line Cinema) debuts, a comedy horror film based on the children's book series by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, starring Jonathan Lipnicki as Tony Thompson, a 9-y.-o. Calif. boy who tries to save a young vampire Rudolph (Rollo Weeks) and his family from a ruthless vampire hunter Rookery (Jim Carter) in Scotland; does $28M box office on a $35M budget; watch trailer.
On Dec. 16, 2000 Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale (Toei Co.) debuts, written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Larry Wilson based on the 1996 novel by Koushun Takami, about a future Japan called the Repub. of Greater East Asia where each h.s. class is forced to bloodily fight to the last student, popularizing the term "battle royale"; banned in several countries, making it more popular?; makes a fan of Quentin Tarantino; does $26M box office on a $4.5M budget; followed by "Battle Royale II: Requiem" (2003); watch trailer; view clip; watch film.
In 2000 Blumhouse Productions is founded in Los Angeles, Calif. by Jason Ferus Blum (1969-) to produce micro-budget horror films, many of which make fantastic ROI (return-on-investment), incl. "Paranormal Activity" (2007), "Insidious" (2010), "Sinister" (2012), "The Purge" (2013), "The Gift" (2015), "Happy Death Day" (2017), "Get Out" (2017), and "Halloween" (2018).
On Apr. 20, 2001 Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (Canal+ Espana) (Sony Pictures Classics) debuts, produced by Pedro Almodovar, a Gothic horror film set in 1939 Spain, starring Federico Luppi and Marisa Paredes as orphanage operators Casares and Carmen, which is a front to hide gold for the Repub. loyalists, which is haunted by the ghost of the child Santi; does $6.5M box office on a $4.5M budget; followed by "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006); watch trailer.
On Aug. 10, 2001 Alejandro Amenabar's The Others (Warner Sogefilms) debuts, partly based on Henry James' 1898 haunted house horror novella "The Turn of the Screw", starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart who looks after her two photosensitive children Anne and Nicholas in 1945 Channel Islands, and Fionnula Flanagan as old servant Bertha Mills; does $209.9M box office on a $17M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Aug. 24, 2001 the animated series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy debuts on Cartoon Network for 86 episodes (until Oct. 12, 2008), about children Billy and Mandy, who win a limbo game to save Billy's pet hamster and gain the Grim Reaper as their best friend in eternal servitude and slavery; watch intro.
On Aug. 31, 2001 Victor Salva's Jeepers Creepers (Am. Zoetrope) (United Artists) debuts, starring Jonathan Breck as the mysterious winged black Creeper, who sleeps for 23 years then feeds for 23 days on people; does $59.2M box office, spawning sequels incl. "Jeepers Creepers 2" (2003), "Jeepers Creepers 3" (2017); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Oct. 19, 2001 The Hughes Brothers' From Hell (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on the Alan Moore graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell about the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888 London stars Johnny Depp as Inspector Frederick Abberline, and Heather Graham as young ho Mary Kelly; does $75M box office on a $35M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 26, 2001 Steve Beck's Thirteen (THIR13EN) Ghosts (Dark Castle Entertainment) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, a remake of the 1960 William Castle film, starring F. Murray Abraham as ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos, Matthew Lillard as his asst. Dennis Rafkin, and Tony Shalhoub as Cyrus' nephew Arthur Kriticos, who inherits his father's haunted mansion, where he gets trapped with 13 you know whats along with his daughter Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth); does $68.4M box office on a $42M budget; watch trailer; view video.
On July 17, 2002 Ellory Elkayem's Eight Legged Freaks (Centropolis Entertainment (Village Roadshow Pictures) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, a horror comedy starring David Arquette as Chris McCormick, and Kari Wuhrer as Sheriff Samantha Parker of Prosperit, Ariz., who fight giant jumping man-eating mutant spiders created by toxic waste; does $45M box office on a $30M budget; dedicated to David Arquette's father Lewis Arquette, who died in 2001 of heart failure, and producer Dean Devlin's parents Don Devlin and Pilar Seurat, who died of lung cancer in 2001 and 2002; watch trailer.
On Oct. 18, 2002 Gore Verbinski's The Ring (DreamWorks Pictures) debuts, a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film "Ring" based on the Koji Suzuki novel, starring Naomi Watts and David Dorfman as Rachel and Aidan Keller, who investigate a cursed videotape that kills anybody who views it seven days later; does $249.3M box office on a $48M budget; followed by "The Ring Two" (2005) and "Rings" (2017); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Nov. 1, 2002 28 Days Later (DNA Films) (U.K. Film Council) (Fox Searchlight Pictures) debuts, about a post-apocalyptic world where a zombie-making virus has spread, becoming a hit and reinvigorating the zombie horror film genre; "Day 1: Explosion; Day 3: Infection; Day 8: Epidemic; Day 16: Evacuation: Day 20: Devastation"; does $85M box office on an $8M budget; followed by "28 Days Later" (2007); watch trailer.
On Jan. 25, 2003 Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on: The Grudge (Pioneer LDC) (Nikkatsu) debuts, a Japanese supernatural horror film, #3 in the Ju-on Series, and first to be theatrically released, about a house in Nerima, Tokyo that spreads a curse of crushed-throat Kayako Saeki (Takako Fuji) to the place a person dies in intense rage or extreme sorrow; does $3M box office; followed by "Ju-on: The Grudge 2" (2003), as well as the Am. remake "The Grudge" (2004) and sequels; watch film; view clip.
On May 30, 2003 Rob Schmidt's Wrong Turn (Constantin Film) (Summit Entertainment) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, an attempt to gross-out the audience with hideous in-bred mountain men in W. Va. who catch motorists and make them into stew; Julian Richings plays Three Finger; does $28.7M box office on a $12.6M budget; spawns sequels incl. "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End" (2009), "Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings" (2011), "Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines" (2012), "Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort" (2014); watch trailer.
On Sept. 19, 2003 Len Wiseman's action horror film Underworld (Lakeshore Entertainment) debuts, about the secret war between vampires and lycans (werewolves), with 600-y.-o. vampire Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) hunting lycans while falling for human medical student Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), who is bitten by a lycan and becomes a hybrid, conflicting her; does $95.7M box office on a $22M budget, spawning the Underworld film series, incl. "Underworld Evolution" (2006), "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" (2009), "Underworld: Awakening" (2012), and "Underworld: Blood Wars" (2016).
On Oct. 26, 2003 Open Water (Lions Gate Films) debuts, based on a real-life story, about Am. couple Daniel Kintner (Daniel Travis) and Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan), who go on a scuba diving vacation in the Caribbean and are accidentally left behind by the dive-boat crew in shark-infested waters; does $55.5M box office (incl. $30M in North Am.) on a $500K budget; followed by "Open Water 2: Adrift" (2006), "Open Water 3: Cage Dive" (2017); watch trailer.
On Jan. 19, 2004 James Wan's Saw (Jan. 24) (Twisted Piectures) (Lionsgate Films) debuts (Wan's dir. debut), written by Leigh Whannell, starring Tobin Bell as John Kramer, and Cary Elwes as oncologist Dr. Lawrence Gordon who is chained along with photographer Adam Stanheight (Whannell) in a dilapidated bathroom by the mysterious Jigsaw Killer, and learn that Lawrence must kill Adam by 6:00 or his wife and daughter will be killed by Zep Hindle (Michael Enderson); meanwhile detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) pursues Lawrence in the belief that he's the Jigsaw Killer, who turns out to be Bell after it's too late; does $103.9M box office on a $1.2M budget, becoming the first big horror film hit since "Scream" (1996), launching the Saw franchise that grosses $975M, incl. "Saw II" (2005), "Saw III" (2006), "Saw IV" (2007), "Saw V" (2008), "Saw VI" (2009), "Saw 3D" (2010), and "Jigsaw" (2017); critics call it "torture porn"; watch trailer.
On Mar. 30, 2004 Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy (Revolution Studios) (Dark Horse Entertainment) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, based on the Dark Horse Comics series by Mike Mignola, starring Ron Perlman as the Baby Ruth candy bar-munching half-man half-devil hero with a right hand of stone Abe Sapien, and Selma Blair as pyrokinetic babe Liz Sherman, who fight the demon Sammael, then have a flaming kiss, proving that what makes a man is "not how he starts things but how he decides to end them"; followed by "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2008); does $99.3M box office on a $66M budget; watch trailer.
On May 7, 2004 Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing (Sommers Co.) (Stillking Films) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Hugh Jackman as monster hunter Gabriel Van Helsing, Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious, Will Kemp as her brother Velkan Valerious, Richard Roxburgh as Count Vladislaus Dracula, Shuler Hensley as Frankeinstein's monster, Kevin J. O'Connor as Frankenstein's ex-servant Igor, David Wenham as Friar Carl, Silvia Colloca as Dracula's concubine Verona, Elena Anaya as Dracula's concubine Aleera, Josie Maran as Dracula's concubine Marishka, Samuel West as Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Tom Fisher as Transylvanian grave digger Top Hat, and Robbie Coltrane as the voice of Mr. Hyde; does $300.3M box office on a $160M budget; watch trailer.
On June 26, 2004 Paul Etheredge-Ouzts' Hellbent (Regent Releasing) debuts, billing itself as the first gay slasher film; does $183K box office; watch trailer.
On Oct. 22, 2004 Takashi Shimizu's The Grudge (Ghost House Pictures) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, a remake of the 2003 film "Ju-on: The Grudge" about a curse that is born when someone dies in extreme sorrow or powerful rage, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as U. of Tokyo exchange student Karen Davis, and Jason Behr as her beau Doug McCarthy; does $187.2M box office on a $10M budget; followed by "The Grudge 2" (2006), "The Grudge 3" (2009), and "Grudge" (2019); watch trailer; watch trailer.
On Jan. 24, 2005 Greg McLean's Wolf Creek (Film Finance Corp. Australia) (South Australian Film Corp.) (Roadshow Enterainment) (Dimension Films) debuts, se in 1999 Broome, Western Australia, about two British tourists Liz Hunter (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy Earl (Kestie Morassi) who are attacked by serial murderer Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) in Wolf Creek Nat. Park; does $35M box office on a $1.4M budget; watch trailer.
On Feb. 17, 2005 R-rated Constantine (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts (Lawrence's dir. debut), based on the "Hellblazer" comic books of Jamie Delano and Garth, starring Keanu Reeves as chain-smoking evil soul hunter John Constantine, who attempted suicide, damning him to Hell, and Rachel Weisz as LAPD Det. Angela Dodson, whose twin sister mysteriously committed suicide, and wants him to rescue her; Shia LaBeaouf plays John's driver Chas Kramer; Tilda Swinton plays Archangel Gabriel; Djimon Hounsou plays witch doctor Papa Midnite, who plays both sides; Peter Stormare plays Lucifer Morningstar; does $230.9M box office on a $100M budget; "What if I told you that God and the Devil made a wager for the souls of all mankind. No direct contact with humans, that would be the rule, just influence, see who would win. Demons stay in Hell, angels in Heaven. They call it the Balance."; "You see them, they see you"; - 2K years of Christianity have been reduced to a comic book movie? Watch trailer; view clip.
On July 6, 2005 Neil Marshall's claustrophobic horror film The Descent (Celador Films) (Pathe Distribution) debuts, about six women who enter a cave system filled with evil crawlers; does $57.1M box office on a £3.5M budget; followed by "The Descent Part 2" (2009); watch trailer.
On Aug. 26, 2005 Bruce Hunt's The Cave (Lakeshore Entertainment) (Screen Gems) debuts, set in the Carpathian Mts. of Romania during the Cold War, where a group of British-Soviet explorers search for a lost 13th cent. Eastern Orthodox abbey, finding it only to find it's built over the world's largest underground cave system and get trapped in a landslide; 30 years later a team of archeologists led by Dr. Nicolai (Marcel Ires) and Katheryn Jannings (Lena Headey) along with a team of Am. spelunkers led by Jack McAllister (Cole Hauser) and his brother Tyler McAllister (Eddie Cibrian) return with a ton of scientific equipment to investigate, encountering mutated parasites that turn them into demonic mutants; does $33.2M box office on a $30M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 9, 2005 Scott Derrickson's The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Lakeshore Entertainment) (Screen Gems) debuts, based on Felictas Goodman's book "The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel", starring Laura Linney as agnostic atty. Erin Christine Bruner representing parish priest Father Richard Moore (Tom Wilkinson), who is on trial for negligent homicide for performing an exorcism on 19-y.-o. Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), based on real-life devout German Roman Catholic Anneliese Michel (1952-76; does $144.2M box office on a $19.3M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Sept. 17, 2005 Eli Roth's Hostel (Raw Nerve) (Lionsgate) (Screen Gems) debuts, filmed in the Czech Repub., Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson as two college students traveling through Europe who are captured and tortured by a mysterious group called the Elite Hunting Club; does $80.6M box office on a $4.8M budget; "There is a place where all your darkest sickest fantasies are possible. Where you can experience anything you desire. Where you can torture, punish, or kill for a price"; followed by "Hostel: Part II" (2007), "Hostel: Part III" (2011); watch trailer; view video.
On Oct. 6-9, 2005 the first Fantastic Fest is held in Austin, Tex., founded by Tim League, Harry Knowles, and Tim McCanlies to debut horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, Asian, and cult films, expanding to eight days in 2006.
On Dec. 20, 2005 David Steiman's Santa's Slay (Media 8 Entertainment) debuts, a black comedy horror Christmas film starring prof. wrestling star Bill Goldberg as an evil Santa who drives a sleigh pulled by hell-deer and arrives at Hell Township, proceeding to slaughter the pop. based on his Naughty List; "I'm just trying spread a little yuletide fear"; "Christmas is over when I say it's over"; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Mar. 10, 2006 Alexandre Aha'a The Hills Have Eyes (Dune Entertainment) (Fox Searchlight Pictures) debuts, a remake of the 1977 Wes Craven film, a splatter flick about a suburban Am. family being stalked by a group of inbred mutant cannibal desert psychos on a former atomic test site, proving that tomcats are fighters?; stars Aaron Stanford as Doug Bukowski, Kathleen Quinlan as Ethel Carter, Vinessa Shaw as Lynn Carter-Bukowski, Emilie de Ravin as Brenda Carter, Dan Byrd as Bobby Carter, Billy Drago as Papa Jupiter, Robert Joy as Lizard, Ted Living as Big Bob Carter, Desmond Askew as Big Brain, Ezra Buzzington as Goggle, and Michael Bailey Smith as Pluto; does $69.6M box office on a $15M budget; "Between 1945 and 1992 the United States Government conducted 311 nuclear tests in the desert of New Mexico"; watch trailer.
On Apr. 21, 2006 Christophe Gans' Silent Hill (Davis Films) debuts, adapted from the 1999 Konami video game about the Brethren pagan cult that burns those deemed witches to maintain a sinless existence and prevent the Apocalypse, starring Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva, Sean Bean as her hubby Christopher, Laurie Holden as police officer Cybil Bennett, Jodelle Ferland as psychic Alessa Gillespie, and Deborah Kara Unger as her mother Dahlia; Alice Krige plays Brethren high priestess Christabella; Roberto Campanella plays Pyramid Head; does $97.6M box office on a $50M budget; followed by "Silent Hill: Revelation" (2012); watch trailer; view clip.
On Apr. 27, 2006 Adam Green's Hatchet (Apr. 27) (ArieScope Pictures) (Anchor Bay Entertainment) is a slasher flick set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, starring Joel Moore as Ben, Tamara Feldman as Marybeth Dunston, Deon Richmond as Marcus, Mercedes McNab as Misty, and Robert Englund as Sampson Dunston; does $208K box office on a $1.5M budget; spawns "Hatchet II" (2010), "Hatchet III" (2013), and "Victor Crowley" (2017).
On May 19, 2006 Gregory Dark's See No Evil (original title "Eye Scream Man") (WWE Films) (Lionsgate Films) debuts, about axe murderer Jacob Goodnight (WWE star Kane), who gouges out eyes, Christina Vidal as Christine Zarate, Samantha Noble as Kira Vanning, and Luke Pegler as Michael Montross; does $18.6M box office on a $8M budget; watch trailer.
On May 27, 2006 Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) (Warner Bros.) debuts, about 11-y.-o. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) during the Spanish Civil War and her meetings with a remarkable beast is a remake of Hansel and Gretel combined with the 1997 72-day kidnapping of del Toro's father in Mexico, which caused his family to move to Spain; does $83.3M box office on a $19M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Jan. 15, 2007 Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider (Columbia Pictures) (Sony Pictures Releasing) debuts, written by Mark Steven Johnson based on the Marvel Comics char., starring Nicolas Cage as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who sells his soul to fight Blackheart (Wes Bentley), son of Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda), and turns into you know what at night, while his reporter babe Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes) waits in the wings; the Ghost Rider Theme (Ghost Riders in the Sky) by Spiderbait is a trip in itself; does $228.7M box office on a $110M budget; followed by "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" (2012); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Apr. 6, 2007 Quentin Tarantino's and Robert Rodriguez' Grindhouse (Troublemaker Studios) debuts, a horror double feature consisting of Rodriguez' "Planet Terror" and Tarantino's "Death Proof", bookended with fictional trailers, ads, and in-theater announcements, starring Rose McGowan as machine gun-legged Cherry Darling, Freddy Rodriguez as El Wray, Marley Shelton as Dr. Dakota Block, Michael Biehn as Sheriff Hague, Jeff Fahey as J.T. Hague, Bruce Willis Lt. Muldoon, Kurt Russell, Fergie et al.; does $25.4M box office on a $53M budget.
On May 20, 2007 J.A. Bayona's The Orphanage (El Orfanato) (May 20) (Warner Bros.) is a Spanish horror film starring Belen Rueda as Laura, who returns to her childhood orphanage and plans on turning it into a home for disabled children until her adopted Simon (Roger Princep) goes missing; Bayona's dir. debut; "There are children who can see a hidden world, whose imagination opens their eyes"; "A disappearance, a dark place, and the games children play when they're alone in the dark"; does $78.6M box office on a $4M budget; watch trailer.
On June 22, 2007 Mikael Hafstrom's 1408 (Dimension Films) (MGM) debuts, based on a 1999 Stephen King short story, starring John Cusack as skeptical cynical haunted house debunking author Mike Enslin ("Nothing would make me happier than to experience a paranormal event"), who receive an anon. postcard telling to not enter Room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel on Lexington Ave. in New York City, and takes the dare; Samuel L. Jackson plays hotel mgr. Gerald Olin, who warns Enslin that 56 people in the last 95 years died after entering the room, with nobody lasting more than an hour; does $132M box office on a $25M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On July 6, 2007 Sebastian Gutierrez's Rise: Blood Hunter (Ghost House Pictures) (Destination Films) (Samuel Goldwyn Films) debuts, starring Lucy Liu as reporter Sadie Blake, who wakes up in a morgue and discovers she's now a vampire, vowing revenge on the vampire cult that did her in and hunting them down one by one; Michael Chiklis plays Det. Clyde Rawlins; does $2.85M box office; watch trailer.
On Oct. 14, 2007 Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity (Blumhouse Productions) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, shot with a home video camera, starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat as Katie and Micah, who move into a new house in San Diego, Calif. and set up a camera in their bedroom, discovering that they're haunted by a demon; does $108M U.S. and $193.4M worldwide box office on a $15K budget, becoming the highest ROI film to date (until ?); spawns sequels incl. "Paranormal Activity 2" (2010), "Paranormal Activity 3" (2011), "Paranormal Activity 4" (2012), "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" (2014), and "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" (2015); watch trailer; view clip.
On Nov. 21, 2007 Frank Darabont's Stephen King's The Mist (Nov. 21) (Dimension Film) (MGM) debuts, based on the 1980 Stephen King novel, starring Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden, William Sadler et al. as suckers trapped in a supermarket in Bridgton, Maine while a mysterious mist descends bringing horrific Lovecraftian monsters; does $57.3M box office on an $18M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Nov. 23, 2007 Jaume Balaguero's and Paco Plaza's REC (Filmax Internat.) (Magnet Releasing) debuts, starring Manuela Velasco as TV recporter Angela Vidal, and Pablo Rosso as her cameraman Pablo, who cover the night shift for a fire station in Barcelona, ending up inn an apt. bldg. full of horrors; becoming one of the first successes of the found footage horro genre; does $32.5M box office on a $2M budget; followed by "REC 2" (2009), "REC 3: Genesis" (2012), and "REC 4: Apocalypse" (2014); refilmed in the U.S. as "Quarantine" (2008); watch trailer.
On Dec. 7, 2007 Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat (Legendary Pictures) (Bad Hat Harry Productions) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, set on Halloween in Warren Valley, Ohio, where the mysterious child trick-or-treater Sam (Quinn Lord) enforces the rules; Dylan Baker plays Principal Steven Wilkins, Anna Paquin plays Laurie, and Brian Cox/Gerald Paetz play Kreeg; does $12M box office, becoming a cult film; watch trailer; view clip.
On Jan. 18, 2008 Matt Reeves' Cloverfield (Bad Robot Productions) (Paramount Pictures) (named after Santa Monica Airport, located near the HQ of Bad Robot Productions) debuts, seen through a personal camcorder in the area "formerly known as Central Park" stars Lizzy Caplan (as Marlena Diamond), Michael Stahl-David (as Rob Hawkins), T.J. Miller (as Hud Platt), and Jessica Lucas (as Lily Ford) in an "Omigod" flick about a sea monster attacking New York City, but this time the tables are turned and the viewer only sees dust clouds like in 9/11?; does $170.8M box office on a $25M budget; "Something has found us"; followed by "10 Cloverfield Lane" (2016), "The Cloverfield Paradox" (2018); watch trailer.
On Jan. 19, 2008 Michael Lichtenstein's horror comedy film Teeth (Roadside Attractions) (Dimension Extreme) stars Jess Weixler as Dawn O'Keefe, who suffers from vagina dentata ("It's Latin for teeth"); does $2.340M box office on a $2M budget; watch trailer.
On May 30, 2008 Bryan Bertino's The Strangers (Vertigo Entertainment) (Rogue Pictures) debuts, based on the Manson family Tate murders and shot in rural S.C., about three masked men invading the home of Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman); what really sells tickets are Tyler's nude scenes?; does $82.4M box office on a $9M budget; followed by "The Strangers: Prey at Night" (2018); watch trailer.
On Oct. 10, 2008 John Erick Dowdle's Quarantine (Andale Pictures) (Screen Gems) debuts, set on Mar. 11, 2008, about a mad-dog cannibal Armageddon Virus stolen from a lab by a doomsday cult and let loose as seen through the lens of reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and camerman Scott Percival (Steve Harris); does $41.3M box office on a $12M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Mar. 15, 2009 Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (Ghost House Pictures) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Alison Lohman as loan officer Christine Brown, who refuses to extend the mortgage of elderly Hungarian gypsy Mrs. Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver), causing her to go down on her knees to beg, only to be shamed when security is called, vowing revenge by placing a death curse on her to suffer three days of torment then plunge into Hell to burn for eternity; does $90.8M box office on a $30M budget; watch trailer.
On Mar. 27, 2009 Peter Cornwell's The Haunting in Connecticus (Gold Circle Films) (Lionsgate) debuts, set in 1987, based on the 1982 book "Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting" by Ray Garton, starring Virginia Madsen as Sara Campbell, Kyle Gallner as her cancer patient son Matthew Campbell, Martin Donovan as her husband Peter Campbell, who move into a former mortuary run by necromancer Ramsey Aickman that turns out to be haunted; Elias Koteas plays Rev. Nicholas Popescu; does $77.5M box office on a $10M budget; followed by "The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia" (2013); watch trailer.
On July 21, 2009 Jaume Collet-Serra's Orphan (Dark Castle Entertainment) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard as marrieds Kate and John Coleman, who adopt 9-y.-o. Russian girl Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), who turns out to be 33-y.-o. Leena Klammer, who likes to play a little girl then murder her adopting family; does $78.8M box office on a $20M budget; "There's something wrong with Esther"; watch trailer.
On Aug. 30, 2009 Tom Six's Dutch horror film The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (Six Entertainment) (Bounty Films) debuts, starring Dieter Laser as mad Nazi, er, German surgeon Dr. Josef Heiter, an expert in separating conjoined twins, who gets the idea of joining three people mouth-to-anus to create a you know what who share a single digestive system, incl. Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) (front), Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) (middle), and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) (rear); does $252K box office; followed by "The uman Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)" (2011) and "The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)" (2015); "Their flesh is his fantasy"; watch trailer; watch trailer.
On Sept. 25, 2009 Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland (Relativity Media) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, an update of zombie flicks starring Jesse Eisenberg as Austin, Tex. college student Columbus (his preferred destination), Woody Harrelson as Twinkie-loving Tallahassee, who likes to paint "3" on the sides of his vehicles, Emma Stone as Wichita, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock, and Amber Heard as 406; Bill Murray makes a cameo appearance as a non-zombie playing a zombie; Derek Graf plays Clown Zombie; "Rule #1: Cardio; Rule #2: Double Tap; Rule #7: Travel Light"; "Time to nut up or shut up"; grosses $60.8M in 17 days and $102.4M box office on a $23.6M budget to become the #1-grossing zombie film in the U.S. (until ?); "It's been two months since Patient Zero took a bite of a contaminated burger at a Gus 'n' Gulp, just two months and I might just be the last non-cannibal freak in the country"; watch trailer.
On Jan. 22, 2010 Scott Stewart's Legion (Bold Films) (Screen Gems) debuts, starring Paul Bettany as Archangel Michael, who falls to Earth in L.A., cuts off his wings, and becomes a heavenly Terminator of a legion of demon-possessed, getting into a ridiculous fight with Archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) after sprouting new wings, all pissing-off Christian groups; Adrianne Palicki plays Charlie, a waitress pregnant with humanity's savior in a ripoff of "The Terminator"; Jeanette Miller plays possessed old hag Gladys Foster, who walks on the ceiling; Doug Jones plays a possessed ice cream man; does $67.9M box office on a $26M budget; watch trailer.
On Jan. 29, 2010 Joey Stewart's The Final (Agora Entertainment) (After Dark Films) debuts, about teenie h.s. students Emily (Lindsay Seidel), Jack (Eric Isenhower), Ravi (Vincent Silochan), and Andy (Travis Tedford), who kidnap and torture fellow students to get even for bullying; "I know what Hell is. Hell is believing that the suffering you're doing in life somehow has meaning"; watch trailer.
On Mar. 15, 2010 the supernatural fantasy children's TV series Dead Gorgeous (originally "Dead Normal") debuts on BBC2 for 13 episodes (until Apr. 21), about the Ainsworth sisters Rebecca (Melissa Howard), Sophie (Poppy Lee Friar), and Hazel (Alexandra Coppinger), who died in a carriage crash along with their nanny in Victorian England, are given another chance at life by the ghost council, and return 150 years later as Living Ghosts, becoming baffled by modern life; watch intro.
On June 11, 2010 Srdan Spasojevic's A Serbian Film (Contra Film) (Jinga Films) debuts, an erotic horror film about porn star Milos, his wife Marija, and 6-y.-o. son Peter, and his corrupt police office brother Marko, who wants Marija; the film bill itself as an art film, but has so many disgusting graphic scenes of rape, child sexual abuse, and necrophilia that it ends up banned in seven countries, making it more popular?; watch trailer; view clip.
On June 24, 2010 Daniel Stamm's The Last Exorcism (Strike Engertainment) (StudioCanal) (Lionsgate) debuts, about evangelical rev. Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) of Baton Rouge, La., who wants to expose exorcism as a fraud, and has filmmakers Iris Reisen (Iris Bahr) and Daniel follow him during his last one, on farmer's daughter Nell Margaret Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), which turns into a nightmare; does $67.7M box office on a $1.8M budget; followed by "The Last Exorcism: Part II" (2013); watch trailer; view video.
On Sept. 14, 2010 James Wan's Insidious (Blumhouse Productions) (FilmDistrict) debuts, about couple Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne), whose son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) goes comatose and becomes a vessel for ghosts; "It's not the house that's haunted, it's your son"; does $97M box office on a $1.5M budget; inspires sequels incl. "Insidious: Chapter 2" (2013), "Insidious: Chapter 3" (2015), and "Insidious: The Last Key" (2018); watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Sept. 17, 2010 John Erick Dowdle's Devil (The Night Chronicles 1: Devil) (Media Rights Capital) (The Night Chronicles) (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, starring Chris Messina as Det. Bowden, who investigates an elevator stuck in a Philly skyscraper containing five persons, one of whom is the Devil himself; "If the Devil is real, then God must be real too"; does $62.6M box office on a $62.6M budget; watch trailer; watch video.
On Oct. 31, 2010 the horror drama series The Walking Dead, based on the comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard debuts on AMC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), featuring phony zombies being massacred en mass, becoming super-popular the more bloody and stupid it gets until audiences begin to tire?; stars Andrew Lincoln (Andrew James Clutterbuck) (1973-) as former sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes, leader of Alexandria, a group of survivors. view clip.
On Nov. 6, 2010 Troy Nixey's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (Miramax Films) debuts, a remake of the 1973 ABC-TV movie written by Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro based on the book by Nigel McKeand and filmed in the Drusilla Mansion in Mount Macedon, Victoria, Australia, starring Katie Holmes as Kim Raphael, Guy Pearce as Alex Hurst, and Bailee Madison as 8-y.-o. Sally Hurst, who move into the 19th cent. Blackwood Manor mansion in Providence County, R.I., where evil creatures begin emerging from a sealed ash pit in the basement; does $36M box office on a $25M budget; watch trailer.
On Feb. 25, 2011 Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry 3-D (Millennium Films) (Summit Entertainment) stars Nicholas Cage as undead criminal Milton, who breaks out from Hell after 10 years with Satan's personal gun the Godkiller in order to save his granddaughter from the Accountant (William Fichtner) and Jonah King (Billy Burke) with help from friend Webster (David Morse) and hot waitress Piper (Amber Heard) from Stillwater, La.; does $28.9M box office on a $50M budget; watch trailer; view video; view video; view video.
On Mar. 7, 2011 Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood (Appian Way Productions) (Warner Bros.) debuts, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and based on the Charles Perrault folk tale, starring Amanda Seyfried/Megan Charpentier as Valerie, Virginia Madsen as Suzette, Billy Burke as Cesaire, Julie Christie as the Grandmother, Shiloh Fernandez/D.J. Greenburg as Peter, and Gary Oldman as Father Solomon; does $89.1M box office on a $42M budget; watch trailer.
On Mar. 13, 2011 Detention (Sony Pictures) debuts, about mysterious serial murderer Cinderhella preying on Grizzly Lake H.S., freaking out principal Karl Verge (Dane Cook), who locks the suspects incl. Riley Jones (Shanley Casell), Ione Foster (Spencer Locke), and Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson) in detention on the day of the prom; "Like Scream meets The Breakfast Club meets Close Encounters meets Juno meets Back to the Future meets The Fly"; "Scream meets Scott Pilgrim with a dash or two of Kaboom"; "Time traveling teen pop culture comedy Detention is a runaway freight train of frenetic energy"; does ? box office on a $10M budget; watch trailer.
On June 9, 2011 J.J. Abrams' Super 8 (Bad Robot Productions) (Amblin Entertainment) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, produced by Steven Spielberg, a sci-fi horror film starring Joel Courtney (film debut), starring Elle Fanning and Kyle Chandler as teenies Joe Lamb Alice Dainard, and in Lillian, Ohio, who are filming their own Super 8 zombie movie when a train derails, releasing dangerous ETs, becoming a cross between "E.T.", "Stand by Me", and "The Goonies"; Kyle Chandler plays Deputy Joe Lamb; the town's factory has a sign reading "Accident-Free"; does $260.1M box office on a $50M budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 14, 2011 Craig Gillespie's Fright Night (DreamWorks Pictures) (Reliance Entertainment) (Michael De Luca Productions) (Walt Disney Studios) debuts, a remake of the 1985 film stars Anton Yelchin as Las Vegas teenie Charley Brewster, who discovers that his weird next-door neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell) is a vampire, and nobody believes him; David Tennant plays Las Vegas magician and vampire expert Peter Vincent; Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Charley's friend Edward "Evil Ed" Lee; Imogen Poots plays Charley's babe Amy Peterson; does $41M box office on a $30M budget; watch trailer; ; watch video.
On Sept. 10, 2011 Adam Wingard's You're Next (HanWay Films) (Lionsgate) debuts, about slashers Fox Mask (Lane Hughes), Lamb Mask (L.C. Holt), and Tiger Mask (Simon Barnett), who attack the Davison family led by Erin (Sharni Vinson) during a wedding anniv. getaway, raising the bar on home invasion horror flicks?; does $27M box office on a $1M budget, becoming a cult hit; watch trailer. view clip.
On Feb. 3, 2012 James Watkins' The Woman in Black (Alliance Films) (Hammer Films) (Momentum Pictures) (CBS Films) debuts, based on the 1983 Susan Hill novel set in the English village of Crythin Gifford in 1910, starring Daniel Radcliffe as lawyer Arthur Kipps, Ciaran Hinds as landowner Sam Daily, Janet McTeer as his wife Elizabeth, and Liz White as Jennet Humfrye, the Woman in Black; does $127M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer.
On Mar. 9, 2012 Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods (Mutant Enemy Productions) (Lionsgate) debuts, about a group of college students incl. Kristen Connally as Dana Polk, Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan, Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden, and Fran Kranz as Mary Mikalsi, who go on retreat to a remote forest cabin, where they are attacked by backwoods zombies; meanwhile it's really a setup manipulated by two technicians from an underground facility where a menagerie of monsters is imprisoned; also features Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, and Sigourney Weaver; does $66.5M box office on a $30M budget; watch trailer; view clip; watch video.
On June 18, 2012 Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Tim Burton Productions) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on the 2010 Seth Grahame-Smith novel and filmed in La., starring Benjamin Walker and Lux Haney-Jardine as Lincoln, Dominic Sturges as his mentor Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln, Jacquelin Fleming as Harriet Tubman, John Rothman as Jefferson Davis, Marton Csokas a plantation owner-vampire Jack Barts, and Joseph Mawle as Lincoln's father Thomas Lincoln; does $116.4M box office on a $99.5M budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 30, 2012 Ole Bornedal's The Possession (Ghost House Productions) (Lionsgate) debuts, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick as recently-separated Clyde and Stephanie Brenek, whose children Emily "Em" Breneck (Natasha Calis) and Hannah Brenek (Madison Davenport) get messed up by an old wooden box with Hebrew letters engraved on it they got at a yard sale that is possessed by a dybbuk named Ayzou (Taker of Children); "Once the box is open people die"; does $78.5M box office on a $14M budget; watch trailer.
On Sept. 11, 2012 Adrian Garcia Bogliano's Here Comes the Devil (MPI Media Group) debuts, a Mexican horror film starring Francisco Barreiro and Laura Caro as a couple who lose their children Adolfo and Sara (Alan Martinez and Michele Garcia) in a cursed cave that changes them; watch trailer.
On Nov. 30, 2012 Steven C. Miller's Silent Night (Buffalo Gal Pictures) (Anchor Bay Films) debuts, a remake of Charles E. Seller Jr.'s 1984 "Silent Night, Deadly Night", starring Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff James Cooper, and Jaime King as Deputy Aubrey Bradimore, who chase a killer Santa Claus in a town filled with Santas; watch film; view clip.
On Jan. 18, 2013 Andy Muschietti's Mama (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse as two young sisters Victoria and Lilly Desange abandoned in a forest cabin by insane stockbroker Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) that is haunted by cherry-dispensing Mama (Javier Botet), who becomes their caretaker and follows them to their new suburban home where foster parents Annabel and Luke Desange (twin brother of Jeffrey) (Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are waiting; Muschietti's dir. debut; does $146.4M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Mar. 8, 2013 Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead (GhostHouse Pictures) (FilmDistrict) (TriStar Pictures) debuts, produced by Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Robert Tapert (#4 in the Evil Dead franchise), starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessi Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore in a super-gory superntural horror flick about five friends in a cabin in the woods who are possessed in turn by the Abomination after summoning him via the Naturom Demonto, which carries the warning: "Leave this book alone"; Alvarez's dir. debut; does $97.5M box office on a $17M budget; watch trailer.
On May 2, 2013 James DeMonaco's The Purge (Blumhouse Produtions) (Why Not Productions) (Universal Pictures) debuts, set in 2022 U.S., which achieves a low crime rate and 1% unemployment by sponsoring the annual 12-hour Purge starting on June 7 evening, where all criminal laws are suspended by the New Founding Fathers of America, making the homeless into fair game; too bad, a stranger (Edwin Hodge) begs to be let into the fortified house of James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), and they wing it from there; does $89.3M box office on a $3M budget, becoming the lowest-budget film to hit the top of the box office charts in 25 years; spawns sequels incl. "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014), "The Purge: Election Year" (2016), and "The Purge: The First Purge" (2018); watch trailer; view clip.
On May 25, 2013 Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (May 25) (Recorded Picture Co.) (Pandora Film) (Soda Pictures) debuts, a vampire flick starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (after Michael Fassbender drops out) as rock and roll-loving ancient vampires and lovers Eve and Adam, and John Hurt as Christopher Marlowe, who faked his 1693 death and claims to have written most of Shakespeare's plays; features music by Dutch lute player Jozef van Wissem; does $7.6M box office on a $7M budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 15, 2013 Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) (1989-) becomes the most-subscribed user on YouTube, and the most-viewed YouTube channel, with 19B views by Nov. 2018; his content incl. commentaries on video games, mostly of the horror genre, becoming their Oprah; his fans become known as the Bro Army. PewDiePie on Amnesia: The Dark Descent. PewDiePie on Layers of Fear. PewDiePie on The Deepest Sleep.
On Sept. 8, 2013 Eli Roth's horror film The Green Inferno (Worldview Enertainment) (Open Road Films) (Universal Pictures) debuts, about a group of activists who travel to the Amazon rainforest to stop logging and crash-land, ending up being captured by a tribe of cannibals; does $7.2M U.S. and $12.9M worldwide box office on a $5M budget; "They will eat you alive"; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Sept. 8, 2013 Mike Flanagan's Oculus (Blumhouse Productions) (Relativity Media) debuts, starring Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaits as adult siblings Kaylie and Tim Russell, who try to destroy an antique mirror harboring a malevolent entity that killed their parents along with 40+ others in four cents.; does $44M box office on a $5M budget; watch trailer.
On Jan. 17, 2014 Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (Screen Australia) (Entertainment One) (Umbrella Entertainment) debuts, starring Essie Davi as widow Amelia Vanek, whose 6-y.-o. Samuel "Sam" becomes plagued by an imaginary monster, and asks mommy to read the pop-up storybook "Mister Babadook", about a tall pale-faced humanoid monster with taloned fingers who wears a top hat and torments anybody who becomes aware of its existence; "A rumbling sound then three sharp knocks, ba BA-ba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK! That's when you'll know that he's around. You'll see him if you look"; "You can't get rid of the Babadook"; Kent's dir. debut; does $7.5M box office on a $2M budget; watch trailer.
On May 17, 2014 David Robert Mitchell's It Follows (Northern Lights Films) (Animal Kingdom) (Two Flints) (RADiUS-TWC) debuts, filmed in Detroit, Mich., starring Maika Monroe as Oxford student Jaimie "Jay" Height, who is pursued by a shape-shifting demonic entity after a sexual encounter with Hugh (Jake Weary), who tells her: "This thing, it's going to follow you. Somebody gave it to me, and I passed it to you. Wherever you walk, it's somewhere walking straight for you. All you can do is pass it to someone else. It can look like someone you know, or it can be a stranger in a crowd, whatever helps it get close to you"; a parable about AIDS?; does $23.3M box office on a $2M budget; watch trailer.
On May 30, 2014 the Slender Man Stabbings see two 12-y.-o. girls in Waukesha, Wisc. stab a 12-y.-o. classmate 19x to become proxies of the Slender Man, an online char. created on June 10, 2009, becoming the first publicized creepypasta (horror-related stories or images copy-pasted around the Internet); they face up to 65 years in prison each.
On Jan. 25, 2015 Robert Eggers' The Witch (THE VVITCH) (A24) debuts, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin, daughter of a 1630s English settler Separatist family that encounters evil witches outside their New England farm and is dragged down to their level; Eggers' dir.-writing debut; does $40.4M box office on a $4M budget; watch video; watch video; watch video.
On June 24, 2015 Rob Letterman's Goosebumps (Sony Pictures Animation) debuts, based on the R.L. Stine book series, starring Jack Black as Stine and Slappy the Dummy, Dylan Minnett as Stine's new neighbor Zachary "Zach" Cooper, Odeya Rush as Stine's daughter Hannah, and Amy Ryan as Zach's mother Gale; does $150M box office on an $84M budget; followed by "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" (2018); watch trailer.
On July 20, 2015 Grant Harvey's, Steven Hoban's, and Brett Sullivan's anthology horror film A Christmas Horror Story (Image Entertainment) debuts, four interwoven stories centering around DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner); watch trailer.
On July 24, 2015 Mark Neveldine's The Vatican Tapes (Lakeshore Entertainment) (Lionsgate) debuts, written by Christopher Borrelli, starring Olivia Taylor Dudley as Angeloa Holmes, who is suspected of being possessed by her pshrink Dr. Richards (Kathleen Robertson), causing the Vatican to investigate, Father Oscar Lozano (Michael Pena), Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson), and Vicar Imani (Djimon Hounsou), who find out that she is possessed by the Antichrist and is too hot to handle; does $13.5M box office on a $13M budget; watch trailer.
On Nov. 20, 2015 Michael Dougherty's Krampus (Legendary Pictures) (Universal Pictures) debuts, a scary Christmas movie about the dysfunctional Engel family, incl. Tom (Adam Scott), Sarah (Toni Collette), and Max (Emjay Anthony), who are chased by a you know what (Gideon Emery) to punish them for losing the Xmas spirit; does $61.5M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Mar. 8, 2016 Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane (Bad Robot Productions) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, a different take on "Cloverfield" (2008), a psychological sci-fi horror film starring John Goodman as conspiracy nut Howard Stambler, who kidnaps Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and imprisons her in his underground bunker in rural La., claiming that aliens have invaded and it's unsafe to leave; co-stars John Gallagher Jr. as Emmett DeWitt; does $110.2M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer.
On Mar. 12, 2016 Fede Alvarez' Don't Breathe (Ghost House Pictures) (Good Universe) (Screen Gems) (Stage 6 Films) debuts, starring Dylan Minnette as Alex, Daniel Zovatto as Money, and Jane Levy as Rocky, three Detroit juvenile delinquents who break into blind man Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang)'s house and get trapped inside with a murderous monster; does $157.1M box office on a $9.9M budget; watch trailer; watch video.
On May 13, 2016 Yeon Sang-ho's Train to Busan (Next Entertainment World) debuts, a South Korean horror film about a sudden incursion of a zombie apocalypse in the country that threatens the passengers on a you know what; does $100M box office on a $8.5M budget; watch trailer; watch video.
On May 14, 2016 Julia Ducournau's Raw (Grave) (Wild Bunch) debuts, a horror drama film starring Garance Miller as Justine, who starts out as a vegetarian and ends up a raving cannibal; does $3.33M box office on a $3.8M (3.48M Euro) budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 3, 2016 Colm McCarthy's The Girl with All the Gifts (Warner Bros. Pictures), based on the 2014 novel by M.R. Carey about a world where the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus turns humans into mindless cannibals ("hungries") stars Glenn Close as Dr. Caroline Caldwell, who experiments on hybrid children who turned cannibal but retained their intelligence, led by test subject Melanie (Sennia Nanua); Gemma Arterton plays hybrid teacher Helen Justineau; does $2.3M box office; watch trailer.
On Sept. 10, 2016 Greg McLean's The Belko Experiment (MGM) (Orion Pictures) debuts, starring John Gallagher Jr. as Belko Industries employee Mike Mich, who arrives at his office bldg. in rural Bogota, Colombia, and becomes the subject of a sick experiment on the employees, who must kill each other to survive; "Office Space meets Battle Royale"; does $11.1M box office on a $5M budget; watch trailer.
On Sept. 26, 2016 M. Night Shyamalan's Split (Blinding Edge Pictures) (Blumhouse Productions) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has 24 personalities, and kidnaps three teenie girls and holds them in an underground room; they must talk one of the personalities into setting them free before #24 appears, the Beast, a cannibal murderer; does $278.5M box office on a $9M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 11, 2016 Nick Antosca's creepypasta series Channel Zero debuts on Syfy for ? episodes (until ?); watch trailer; view video.
On Oct. 31, 2016 the comedy horror series Stan Against Evil debuts on IFC for ? episodes (until ?), starring John C. McGinley as Stanley Miller, the former sheriff of a N.H. town built on the site of a mass witch-burning, who was forced to resign after a violent outburst at his wife Claire's funeral, and Janet Varney as new sheriff Evie Barret; watch trailer.
On Jan. 23, 2017 Jordan Peele's Get Out (Blumhouse Productions) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Daniel Kaluuya as black photgrapher Chris Washington, who hooks up with white Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), and drives with her to the country to visit her family, pshrink Missy (Catherine Keener) and neurosurgeon Dean (Bradley Whitford), who hypnotize blacks and transplant the brains of white people into them to gain their superior physical and artistic talents; does $256.4M box office on a $4.5M budget; watch trailer; view video; view video.
On June 16, 2017 Johannes Roberts' 47 Meters Down (Entertainment Studios) debuts, starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as sisters Lisa and Kate, who go in holiday in Mexico and get suckered into a shark cage dive, only to end up trapped on the ocean floor while being stalked by great whites; does $52M box office on a $5M budget; watch video.
On Aug. 25, 2017 Julien Maury's and Alexandre Bustillo's Leatherface (Millennium Films) (Lionsgate Films) (Texas Chainsaw Massacre #8) debuts, a prequel to the original 1974 film, filmed in Bulgaria and starring Stephen Dorff as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman, and Sam Strike as Jedidiah Sawyer, who an escaped mental institution inmate who morphs into a mentally disabled serial murderer who likes to wear masks of human skin and use a chainsaw and mallet; does $956K box office; watch trailer; watch video.
On Aug. 25, 2017 Paco Plaza's supernatural horror drama Veronica debuts, starring Sandra Escacena as 15-y.-o. Veronica of working class Vallecas, Madrid, who likes to conducts seances using a Ouija board, ending up getting trapped by a demon; scariest horror film ever?; watch trailer.
On Sept. 5, 2017 Andres Muschietti's It (Lin Pictures) (New Line Cinema) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1986 Stephen King novel set in summer 1989 in Derry, Maine, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, lead of the Losers' Club, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Wyatt Oleff as Stan Uris, Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers, and Jackson Robert Scott as 7-y.-o. Georgie Denbrough; does $700.4M box office on a $35M budget, becoming the highest-grossing horror film (until ?), and most profitable (until ?); view clip.
On Sept. 22, 2017 John McPhail's Christmas zombie musical film Anna and the Apocalypse (Blazing Griffin) (Orion Pictures) debuts, starring Ella Hunt as Anna, whose sleepy town of Little Haven is threatened by zombies; on Nov. 30, 2018 it is relaunched in the U.S. and U.K.; "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all the through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Anna was nestled, all snug in her bed, not knowing that tomorrow, she'd meet the undead"; "Oh no, Justin Bieber's a zombie"; watch trailer.
On Sept. 25, 2017 Darren Aronofsky's psychological horror film Mother! (mother!) (Protozoa Pictures) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, an allegory of the Garden of Eden starring Jennifer Lawrence as mother (Mother Earth), Javier Barden as him (God), Ed Harris as man (Adam), and Michelle Pfeiffer as woman (Eve); does $44.5M box office on a $30M budget; watch trailer.
On Oct. 8, 2017 Andy Nyman's and Jeremy Dyson's Ghost Stories (Attitude Film Entertainment) (Lionsgate Films) debuts, based on the 2010 stage play, starring Nyman as Jewish psychic debunker Philip Goodman, becoming the best British horror film of the year; also stars Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther, and Paul Whitehouse; does $3.9M box office; watch trailer.
On Oct. 13, 2017 Christopher B. Landon's Happy Death Day (Blumhouse Productions) (Universal Pictures) (original title "Half to Death" debuts, starring Jessica Rothe as Theresa "Tree" Gelbman, who is killed on her birthday by a slasher, and begins reliving the day over and over, with the only way to stop it being to figure out who it is; does $125.5M box office on a $4.8M budget; followed by "Happy Death Day 2U" (2019); watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 22, 2017 Zak Hilditch's horror drama film 1922 (Campfire Productions) (Netflix) debuts, based on the 2010 Stephen King novella, starring Thomas Jane as 1922 Hemingford Home, Nebr. farmer Wilfred "Will" James, who commits murder and gets away with it so long that he goes mad in a house infested with rats.
On Oct. 27, 2017 Michael Spierig's and Peter Spierig's Jigsaw (Twisted Pictures) (Lionsgate) (Saw #8) debuts, a sequel to the supposed final installment "Saw 3D" (2010) set a decade after the death of the Jigsaw Killer, starring Callum Keith Rennie as Det. Halloran, Cle Bennett as Det. Keith Hunt, Matt Passmore as Logan Nelson, Paul Braunstein as Ryan, Mandela Van Peebles as Mitch, Brittany Allen as Carly, and Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John Kramer; does $103M box office on a $10M budget; watch trailer.
On Jan. 12, 2018 Vikram Bhatt's 1921 (LoneRanger Productions) (Reliance Entertainment) debuts, starring Karan Kudra as Ayush, who takes care of the haunted Wadia Manor in York, and Zareen Khan as Rose, who has second sight and helps him investigate; does 22.74 crore rupees on a 15 crore rupees budget; watch trailer.
On Jan. 21, 2018 Ari Aster's Hereditary (A24) (PalmStar Media) debuts, about the demon Paimon haunting a family consisting of Steve and Annie Graham (Gabriel Byrne and Toni Collette) and their teenie children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro); does $79.3M box office on a $10M budget; watch trailer; view clip; watch video; watch video; watch video; watch video.
On Feb. 2, 2018 Michael Spierig's and Peter Spierig's Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built (Lionsgate) (CBS Films) debuts, starring Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester, widow of gunmaker William Wirth Winchester, who uses her inheritance to begin endless improvements to her mansion in San Jose, Calif. to atone for those killed by Winchester firearms, sealing rooms spiritually with 13 nails, causing it to be named the Winchester Mystery house, causing the Winchester Co. to hire Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to assess her mentally, only to encounter ghosts after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake demolishes the house; does $41.3M box office on a $3.5M budget; watch trailer.
On Feb. 13, 2018 Alex Garland's Annihilation (Skydance Media) (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on the 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, a sci-fi horror film about eerie aliens called the Shimmer who crash underneath a lighthouse in Area X and create an environmental disaster zone with mutating landscapes and animals, starring Natalie Portman as Lena the Biologist, Jennifer Jason Leigh as the Psychologist, Gina Rodriguez as the Anthropologist Anya Thorenson, Tessa Thompson as the Surveyor, Tuva Novotny as the Linguist, and Oscar Isaac as Lena's husband; does $43.1M box office on a $55M budget; watch trailer.
On Feb. 21, 2018 Steven Soderbergh's Unsane (Bleecker Street) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, shot with an iPhone 7 Plus, starring Claire Foy as Sawyer Valentini, who is stalked by David Strine (Joshua Leonard) and ends up being tricked into being committed to Highland Creek Behavioral Center; does $7.7M U.S.-Canada and $14.2M worldwide box office on a $1.5M budget.
On Mar. 10, 2018 Fritz Bohm's Wildling (Maven Pictures) (IFC Midnight) debuts, about a child-eating monster that roams the woods, starring Brad Dourif as Daddy, Bel Powley as Anna, James LeGros as Wolf Man, and Liv Tyler as Sheriff Ellen Cooper; does ? box office on a $2M budget; watch trailer.
On Aug. 10, 2018 Sylvain White's Slender Man (Screen Gems) (Sony Pictures) debuts, filmed in Ayer, Mass., about friends Wren (Joey King), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso), who summon the Slender Man (Javier Botet); does $50.4M box office on a $10M budget; watch trailer.
On Sept. 4, 2018 Corin Hardy's The Nun (Sept. 4) (New Line Cinema) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, a spinoff of "The Conjuring 2" (2016) (Conjuring Franchise #5), based on a story by Gary Dauberman and James Wan set in Carta Abbey in 1952 Romania, starring Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, Demian Bichir as Father Burke, and Bonnie Aarons as Valak the Nun, a demon who possesses them; does $359.8M box office on a $22M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 8, 2018 David Gordon Green's Halloween (Miramax) (Universal Pictures) (Miramax) (Blumhouse Productions) debuts, Halloween Series #11, a sequel to the 1978 film set 40 years later, featuring Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) facing Michael Myers (Nick Castle) in a final confrontation; does $91.8M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer.
On Sept. 21, 2018 Gareth Evans' Apostle (XYZ Films) (Netflix) debuts, about a remote Welsh island run by a mysterious cult, starring Dan Stevens as Thomas Richardson, Michael Sheen as Malcolm Howe, Lucy Boynton as his daughter Andrea Howe, Paul Higgins as Frank, Bill Milner as Frank's son Jeremy, Kristine Froseth as Quinn's daughter Ffion, and Sharon Morgan as Her, the cult's goddess. watch trailer; view clip.
On Sept. 22, 2018 Julius Avery's Overlord (Paramount Pictures) (Bad Robot Productions) debuts, about Yankee paratroopers on D-Day caught behind enemy lines in Normandy, encountering a haunted Nazi-filled fort; watch trailer.
On Oct. 13, 2018 Peter Sullivan's Cucuy: The Boogeyman debuts, based on the Mexican legend, starring Marisol Nichols, Brian Krause, and Jearnest Corchado; watch trailer.
On Oct. 14, 2018 Eli Roth's History of Horror debuts on AMC-TV for ? episodes (until ?); watch trailer.
On Nov. 12, 2018 Susanne Bier's Bird Box (Bluegrass Films) (Chris Morgan Productions) (Netflix) debuts, based on the 2014 Josh Malerman novel, starring Sandra Bullock as Malorie Hayes, who must lead her children Boy and Girl (Julian Edwards and Vivian Lyra Blair) blindfolded through a forest and river while being chased by supernatural beings that take the appearance of their victims' worst fears, causing them to go insane and commit suicide; Malorie adopts some pet birds who can detect crazies and warn them; does ? box office on a $19.8M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Nov. 30, 2018 Diederik Van Rooijen's The Possession of Hannah Grace (Cadaver) (Screen Gems) (Sony Pictures Releasing) debuts, a ripoff of "The Exorcist" starring Kirby Johnson as possessed resurrected Hannah Grace, who is encountered in a morgue by former policeman Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell); Stana Katic plays Megan's nurse friend Lisa Roberts, and Grey Damon plays Megan's ex-boyfriend Andrew Kurtz; does $36.6M box office on a $9.5M budget; watch trailer.
On Jan. 4, 2019 Adam Robitel's Escape Room (original title: "The Maze") (Columbia Pictures) (Original Film) (Sony Pictures) debits. a psychological horror film starring Taylor Russell as Zoey Davis, Logan Miller as Ben Miller, Jay Ellis as Jayson Walker, Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda Harper, Tyler Labine as Mike Nolan, and Nik Dodani as Danny Khan, who volunteer to be locked into the Minos Escape Room Facility for the chance to win $10K, and end up in a life or death struggle; Yorick van Wageningen plays the Gamemaster; "Saw plus Cube?"; "Everyone is dying to play"; does $24.2M box office on a $9M budget; watch trailer; view clip.
On Mar. 8, 2019 Jordan Peele's Us (Monkeypaw Productions) (Blumhouse Productions) debuts, a psychological horror film starring Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke as married black couple Adelaide and Gabriel "Gabe" Wilson, who have to deal with strangers in their beachhouse called the Tethered who are their doppelgangers; does ? box office on a $20M budget; watch trailer; watch video; watch video.
On May 31, 2019 Tate Taylor's Ma (Blumhouse Productions) (Universal Pictures) debuts, starring Octavia Spencer as "Ma" Sue Ann, who befriends a group of teenies looking for booze and invites them to party in her house, but confines them to the basement, closing her murderous trap when they venture upstairs; "Don't make me drink alone"; "How does it feel to be on the outside looking in"; "Get home safe"; watch trailer.