Review: ‘The Craft: Legacy,’ starring Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, David Duchovny and Michelle Monaghan

October 28, 2020

by Carla Hay

Lovie Simone, Gideon Adlon, Cailee Spaeny and Zoey Luna in “The Craft: Legacy” (Photo courtesy of Rafy Photography/Columbia Pictures)

“The Craft: Legacy” 

Directed by Zoe Lister-Jones

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed U.S. city, “The Craft: Legacy” features a predominantly white cast (with some Latinos and African Americans) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: Four teenage witches use their witchcraft to turn a school bully into a politically correct, enlightened person, but they find out these actions cause a major backlash.

Culture Audience: “The Craft: Legacy” will appeal primarily to people who like stories about witches that play it very safe. 

David Duchovny, Michelle Monaghan and Cailee Spaeny in “The Craft: Legacy” (Photo courtesy of Rafy Photography/Columbia Pictures)

Just like Blumhouse Productions’ 2019 remake of the sorority horror flick “Black Christmas,” the foundation of Blumhouse Productions’ 2020 teenage witch film “The Craft: Legacy” (a reimagining of the 1996 movie “The Craft”) is about empowering women in the #MeToo feminist era. But “The Craft: Legacy” (written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones) makes the same mistake that the 2019 remake of “Black Christmas” did: By telegraphing these feminist intentions so early in the movie, it’s very easy to figure out who the “villains” are in the story.

The heavy-handed preachiness of “The Craft: Legacy” would be easier to take if the movie delivered a better story that wasn’t filled with major plot holes and had a more consistent tone. This movie needed more horror gravitas and more impressive visual effects instead of ill-suited comedic bits and cheap-looking visual effects that weaken the story’s message.

There are parts of “The Craft: Legacy” that work fairly well: The cast members do adequately good jobs in their roles, and there’s a realistic handling of awkward issues in blended families. But too many other parts of the movie don’t work well at all and are at times quite dull and predictable.

“Black Christmas” and its remakes at least made concerted efforts to be terrifying. By contrast, “The Craft: Legacy,” which obviously has a younger audience in mind than an adult-oriented slasher flick like “Black Christmas,” only has mild scares that are disappointing and often take a back seat to the movie wanting to look more like a teen drama than a horror film. That doesn’t mean that “The Craft: Legacy” had to have a lot of gore, but there are several noteworthy horror movies that are suitable for underage audiences and are still able to be effectively terrifying. Some examples include 1982’s “Poltergeist,” 2001’s “The Others” and 2002’s “The Ring.”

The basic premise of “The Craft” remains intact in “The Craft: Legacy.” Three teenage witches, who are social outcasts at their high school in an unnamed U.S. city, are powerless because they need a fourth witch to complete the circle of their coven. They find out that a new outsider girl at their school is also a witch, and they invite her to join their coven. The four teen witches then use their newfound magical powers to make their wishes come true and get revenge on people who hurt them in some way. The “new girl” is the story’s main protagonist.

In “The Craft,” Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, and Rachel True were the original trio of witches, while Robin Tunney played the “new girl” invited into the coven. In “The Craft: Legacy,” the “new girl” is Lily Schechner (played by Cailee Spaeny), while the original coven trio consists of sassy transgender Lourdes (played by Zoey Luna), goofy jokester Frankie (played by Gideon Adlon) and Afrocentric-minded Tabby (played by Lovie Simone).

Spaeny gets the most screen time of the four, and she does a fairly good job in portraying Lily’s angst, although she’s not as assertive as Tunney’s “newbie” character in “The Craft.” Lily is the only one of the four witches whose home life and family are shown in the movie. It’s a big change from the 1996 “The Craft,” where viewers got to see the home lives and family members of three out of the four witches.

Luna is memorable as Lourdes, the member of the coven who’s the most emotionally mature and the unofficial “alpha female” of the group. Adlon will either delight or annoy people with how she portrays Frankie, whose hyperactive and somewhat ditzy energy can get on people’s nerves after a while. Just like True’s character in “The Craft” movie, Simone plays the “supportive friend” whose personality is overshadowed by the other members of the coven.

“The Craft” was set in a private Catholic school where the students had to wear uniforms, whereas “The Craft: Legacy” is set in a regular public school. It’s a change of setting that alters the impact of what being an “outsider” in the school really means. Someone who wears Goth makeup (as does one of the teenage witches in each “Craft” movie) and who’s suspected of being a witch is less likely to be a considered a rebel or an outcast at a public school, compared to a private Catholic school with strict policies about religion, hair, clothes and makeup.

Because the school in the original “The Craft” movie was a private institution, there was more of an elitist aura to the school, which made the teen witches’ “outsider” status a little bit more socially dangerous for them at the school. The World Wide Web was fairly new in the mid-1990s. Social media and smartphones didn’t exist back then. Therefore, the teen witches of “The Craft” probably felt more isolated for being “different” than they would be in modern times when they could find other like-minded people on the Internet.

In “The Craft: Legacy,” social media is not seen or mentioned at all, which is probably writer/director Lister-Jones’ way of trying not to make the movie look too dated when it’s viewed years from now. In fact, the movie has several “throwback” nods to pop culture from a past era. For example, during a car ride, Lily and her mother sing Alanis Morissette’s 1995 hit “Hand in My Pocket.” And in multiple scenes, Lourdes uses a Polaroid camera.

Lily is a pixie-ish and introverted only child who has recently moved to the area with her single mother Helen Schechner (played by Michelle Monaghan), who is a therapist from New Jersey. Lily mentions later in the story that she doesn’t know who her father is, and Helen has never told her. Helen and Lily have relocated because Helen is moving in with her boyfriend Adam Harrison (played by David Duchovny), a motivational speaker/author whose specialty is giving empowering advice and self-help therapy for men.

Adam has three teenage sons, who are introduced to Lily for the first time on the day that Lily and Helen arrive to move into their two-story house. Oldest son Isaiah (played by Donald MacLean Jr.) is about 17 years old. Middle son Jacob (played by Charles Vandervaart) is about 16 years old. Youngest son Abe (played by Julian Grey) is about 14 years old. People who see this movie and have knowledge of Judeo-Christian history will notice right away how biblical these names are.

Isaiah is a “strong, silent type” who’s somewhat of an enigma. Jacob is a popular but brooding heartthrob at school. (Goofball witch Frankie has a mild crush on Jacob.) Abe seems to be the kindest and most sensitive of the three brothers, and he’s the only one of the brothers to attempt to befriend Lily. It’s strange that Helen and Adam would wait until move-in day for their children to meet each other for the first time, but there are stranger things that have happened in real life.

Meanwhile, although Adam isn’t overtly sexist, he is very much about male bonding and men’s rights. Living with two females in the house is quite an adjustment for him and his sons. (The mother of Adam’s sons is not seen or mentioned in the movie.) Adam spends a lot of time traveling to host male-only retreats, where he helps men get in touch with their masculinity and innermost feelings. Adam has a mantra that he instills in his sons and his followers: “Power is order.”

Lily’s mother Helen has a different view of power: She constantly tells Lily, “Your differences are your power.” It’s clear that Lily and Helen both know that Lily has supernatural powers, but Lily hasn’t been able to harness those powers for anything major that would fully expose her for being a witch. That is, until she joins the coven.

Adam has gotten notoriety for a book called “Hollowed Masculinity,” which basically preaches that men shouldn’t be afraid of or apologetic for being dominant leaders. One day, while Lily is getting to know the different rooms in her new home, she goes in the home’s study/library and sees the book. When she picks up the book, she drops it quickly, as if the book could’ve burned her. This movie is not subtle at all.

Just like in “The Craft,” there’s a school bully who gets put under a spell by the witches. In “The Craft: Legacy,” the bully’s name is Timmy (played by Nicholas Galitzine), and he happens to be Jacob’s best friend. Lily has a humiliating experience in her first day at the school, when she gets her menstrual period while she’s sitting down at a desk in class. Lily doesn’t know that she’s gotten her period until Timmy announces it and points out the blood on the floor to everyone in the class. “Did you drop something?” Timmy sneers. And then he cruelly adds, “It looks like a crime scene.”

A mortified Lily runs into a restroom and locks herself into a stall to clean up after herself. And she’s soon followed by Lourdes, Frankie and Tabby, who give her sympathy and tell Lily that Timmy has bullied them too. Tabby offers her gym shorts for Lily to wear, since Lily’s jeans are too bloody to put back on again. It’s a generous and kind gesture that goes a long way, because Lily ultimately befriends this trio.

Another big difference between “The Craft” and “The Craft: Legacy” is that the newcomer fourth witch joins the coven a lot quicker in “The Craft: Legacy.” Lily becomes a part of their group within a few days of knowing Lourdes, Frankie and Tabby. They begin to suspect that Lily’s a witch when Timmy taunts Lily again in the school hallway, and she’s able to throw Timmy up against a locker and make him fall down, just by using her mind. This incident puts both Timmy and Lily in detention.

While she’s in detention, Lily begins to hear the voices of the other witches talking to her in her mind. They tell her to meet them in a hallway restroom, and she does. And that’s how Lourdes, Frankie and Tabby are able to confirm that Lily is a witch too. Not long after that, all of four of them start doing spell experiments, such as levitating, before they decide to unleash their full powers. And just like in the first “Craft” movie, snakes and butterflies are in some scenes in the movie where supernatural things happen.

One of the frustrating things about “The Craft: Legacy” is that it doesn’t really expound on the unique powers that each witch has in this coven. Lourdes represents the north, with her power derived from the earth. Frankie’s power represents the east, with her power derived from air. Tabby’s power represents the south, with her power derived from fire. And to complete the circle, Lily’s power represents the west, with her power derived from water.

You would think that these specific powers would be incorporated more into the spells that they cast on people. But aside from some cutesy colors that swirl around when they chant, their unique powers are all talk and almost no action. There are lots of ways to cause witchcraft terror by using the earth, air, fire or water, but those avenues are not fully explored in this movie. Maybe the movie’s budget was too low for the visual effects that would be needed.

And speaking of visual effects, the witch characters in “The Craft: Legacy” mention being fans of the 2008 teen vampire film “Twilight” multiple times. And it’s somewhat ironic, because the much-ridiculed “sparkling vampire” aspects of “Twilight” get sort of a nod in “The Craft: Legacy,” in scenes where there are sparkly effects around the witches, most notably when Lily takes a bath in sparkly purple water.

It’s an aesthetic that’s more like “My Little Pony” instead of “Mistress of the Dark,” and it’s really hard to take “The Craft: Legacy” seriously as a horror movie at that point. There are scenes in the Disney movie “Maleficent” that are scarier than “The Craft: Legacy,” and that’s a major disappointment because Blumhouse movies shouldn’t skimp on the scares.

Another aspect of the film that’s dangled in front of viewers and never quite comes to fruition is that it’s mentioned fairly early on that the foursome coven will get to enact four stages of their full powers: Stage One is telekinesis. Stage Two is mind infiltration. Stage Four is shapeshifting. Frankie tells Lily that Stage Three will be revealed later. But that reveal is another big disappointment. And the shapeshifting (which was used to great effect in the 1996 “Craft” movie) becomes an abandoned idea for the witches in “The Craft: Legacy.”

Whereas the original “Craft” movie had the over-the-top, unhinged performance of Balk as the “loose cannon” witch of the group, there is no such unpredictable personality in this “Craft: Legacy” coven. In fact, all of the witches in this coven are extremely cautious of not going too far to hurt people. If you can believe it, these witches are too politically correct, which doesn’t really work in a story that’s supposed to be about teen witches who want to get revenge on people who’ve tormented them.

Instead of a variety of individual spells that made the original “Craft” movie entertaining to watch, the story of “The Craft: Legacy” focuses on one big group spell, which they put on Timmy. After the spell, he goes from being a sexist bully to a “woke” guy who’s a walking stereotype of an uber-sensitive, progressive liberal. While that mindset might be scary to people on certain ends of the political spectrum, this movie should have been more about horror instead of the political leanings of people who aren’t even old enough to vote.

“The Craft” had a spell put on the class bully so that he would be lovesick over the newbie witch. “The Craft: Legacy” goes one step further and makes the reformed bully not only a potential love interest for the newbie witch (Lily), but he also becomes a feminist who would rather pal around with all four of the witches than hang out with his male buddies. It’s the movie’s way of saying that men can be feminists too, but the message ultimately isn’t that great if the only way a male in this story becomes an “enlightened” feminist is if he’s “tricked” into it by a witch’s spell.

Galitzine is quite good in his role as Timmy, who goes through this drastic personality change. One of the best scenes in the movie is when Timmy and his four new gal pals hang out together and confess some of their biggest secrets. Timmy’s biggest secret is one of the movie’s few major surprises. It’s an emotional scene, but it’s completely different from the “jokey teen antics” tone that the movie was going for in the first half of the film.

After Timmy’s secret is revealed, things take a dark turn in the movie, which would’ve benefited from a dark tone from the beginning. But by the time the big showdown happens at the end of the movie, there are two major plot holes that just can’t redeem this disappointing film.

The first major plot hole involves a “bound spell” that prevents a witch or witches from casting any more spells to do harm. And yet during the big showdown, this “bound spell” is completely forgotten in the plot, as if it never happened. The second big plot hole involves the reveal of the chief villain, who should have several allies in the movie’s climactic showdown, but the villain inexplicably and strangely is the only adversary in this big fight.

And this crucial action sequence in the movie is more talk than suspenseful action. The action just brings more sparkles instead of true terror. There are other parts of the movie that are even more tedious and might induce boredom or the urge to go to sleep.

There’s a “surprise” cameo at the end of the film that isn’t much of a surprise. (And if people really want to know who does this cameo, it’s not a secret, because this person’s name is in the Internet Movie Database list of cast members for “The Craft: Legacy.“) The cameo isn’t that big of a deal because this person does not speak any lines in the movie and is only seen in the last few seconds of the film.

“The Craft: Legacy” seems to have had the right intentions when it was conceived as an updated version of “The Craft.” But somewhere along the way, the filmmakers made the mistake of diminishing the horror of the original “Craft” movie and making “The Craft: Legacy” more of a sparkly teen soap opera.

Columbia Pictures released “The Craft: Legacy” on digital and VOD October 28, 2020.

Halloween 2020: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallows’ Eve

October 1, 2020

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2020, there are some horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October. Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2020 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “Rent-A-Pal” (not rated); “Ten Minutes to Midnight” (not rated); and “Shortcut” (not rated).

Here are the movies that have an October 2020 release in theaters:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

“12 Hour Shift”

Hospital nurse Mandy (played by Angela Bettis) is having a very bad day at work, where’s she’s doing a 12-hour shift. She’s been illegally selling organs of dead people, and now one of those sales has gone horribly wrong because she’s been paid for a stolen kidney that is now missing. Mandy has to find another kidney before some thugs come after her and her ditzy cousin Regina (played by Chloe Farnworth), Mandy’s partner in crime who lost the kidney. “12 Hour Shift,” written and directed by Brea Grant, has a dark comedic tone and cast that includes David Arquette, Mick Foley, Nikea Gamby-Turner and Kit Williamson. The movie, which is rated R, opens in select theaters and on VOD on October 2, 2020.

“The Call” (2020)

Taking place in 1987, some teenage friends play a prank that goes too far at the home of sinister married couple Edith Cranston (played by Lin Shaye) and Edward Cranston (played by Tobin Bell). The teens then find themselves back at the home, where Edward tells them that they can inherit $100,000 if they make a phone call and can stay on the line for 60 seconds. Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr., “The Call” has a cast that includes Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders and Judd Lormand. The movie, which is rated R, will be released in select theaters on October 2, 2020.

“Come Play”

 Oliver (played by Azhy Robertson) is a lonely young boy who is overly attached to his cell phone and computer tablet. These devices become portals for a mysterious creature to enter the world, and Oliver’s parents (played Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr.) must fight to save their son from this monster. Written and directed by Jacob Chase, “Come Play” (which is rated PG-13) is due out in theaters on October 30, 2020.

“The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw”

Set in 1973 on the outskirts of a remote Protestant village, a young woman named Audrey Earnshaw (played by Jessica Reynolds) and her mother Agatha (played by Catherine Walker) are accused of witchcraft. Mysterious deaths and plagues have been happening in the area, but Audrey and Agatha’s farm remains mysteriously unaffected. Written and directed by Thomas Robert Lee, “The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw” has a cast that also includes Jared Abrahamson, Hannah Emily Anderson, Geraldine O’Rawe, Don McKellar and Sean McGinley. The movie, which is unrated, arrives in select theaters on October 2, 2020, and on digital and VOD on October 6, 2020.

“Do Not Reply”

A young woman named Chelsea (played by Amanda Arcuri) connects with a man named Brad (played by Jackson Rathbone) over social media. When they meet in person at a Halloween party, he kidnaps her and brings her to his home, where he’s been keeping other abducted women. Written and directed by Walt Woltosz and his son Daniel Woltosz, “Do Not Reply” has a cast that includes Kerri Medders, Elise Luthman, Ashlee Füss, Ivon Millan and Thom Gossom Jr. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in select theaters and on VOD on October 2, 2020.

“Don’t Look Back” (2020)

After a young woman named Caitlin Kramer (played by Courtney Bell) and several other people witness a man being murdered and don’t step in soon enough to help him, the bystander witnesses are mysteriously killed, one by one. Is it a coincidence or something else? And will Caitlin survive what might be revenge serial killings? “Don’t Look Back,” directed by “Final Destination” writer Jeffrey Reddick, has a cast that also includes Bryan Batt, Will Stout, Skyler Hart, Jeremy Holm, Jaqueline Fleming, Amanda Grace Benitez, Damon Lipari, Han Soto, Dean J. West and Stephen Twardokus. The movie, which is unrated, is set for release in select theaters and on VOD on October 16, 2020.

“The Empty Man”

When a girl goes missing, a former cop encounters a secretive group that’s trying to conjure up an evil spirit called the Empty Man. This movie is based on “The Empty Man” graphic novel series. “The Empty Man” written and directed by David Prior, has a cast that also includes James Badge Dale, Stephen Root, Joel Courtney and Marin Ireland. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in theaters on October 23, 2020.

“Halloween Party”

A college student named Grace (played by Amy Groening) investigates the mysterious murder of her best friend after they set off a sinister Halloween-themed computer meme.  Grace gets assistance from a fellow student/computer whiz named Spencer (played by Jason Daley), and they find out that their college has a terrible secret. Written and directed by Jay Dahl, “Halloween Party” also stars Bradley Bailey, Scott Bailey, Zach Faye and Lisa Hackett. The movie, which is unrated, arrives in select theaters and on VOD on October 2, 2020.

“Love and Monsters”

In this movie, a Monsterpocalypse has devastated the world and forced humans to live underground to hide from the giant monsters that have taken over the world. Seven years after this invasion, Joel Dawson (played by Dylan O’Brien) reconnects over the radio with Aimee (Jessica Henwick), his girlfriend from high school, who is 80 miles away. When Joel falls in love with Aimee again, he decides to risk it all to go above-ground to reunite with her. Directed by Michael Matthews, “Love and Monsters” has a cast that includes Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt. The movie, which is rated PG-13, arrives in theaters, on digital and on VOD on October 16, 2020.

“Possessor Uncut”

In “Possessor Uncut,” an elite, corporate assassin named Tasya Vos (played by Andrea Riseborough) uses brain-implant technology to take over other people’s bodies and murder her intended targets. But then she becomes trapped inside a mind that can destroy her. Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, “Possessor Uncut” has a cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Sean Bean, Rossif Sutherland and Tuppence Middleton. The movie, which is unrated, is due in theaters on October 2, 2020.

“Save Yourselves!”

The horror/sci-fi comedy “Save Yourselves!” centers on a New York City hipster couple in their 30s named Su (played by Sunita Mani) and Jack (played by John Reynolds), who decide to go on a weeklong getaway at a remote cabin and “unplug” from all technology. During their retreat, they find out that the world is being invaded by deadly fuzzy creatures that Su and Jack call “poofs,” which have reached their remote area of the woods. Written and directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, “Save Yourselves!” has a cast that includes Ben Sinclair, John Early and the voice of Amy Sedaris. The movie, which is rated R, is due out in theaters on October 2, 2020, and on digital and VOD on October 6, 2020.

“Spell”

Marquis T. Woods (played by Omari Hardwick) is a successful corporate attorney who travels by private plane with his wife and two teenage children to his West Virginia hometown in the Appalachian area to attend the funeral of his late father. But when the plane crashes, Marquis wakes up to find that he is being held captive by a crazy voodoo priestess named Eloise (played by Loretta Devine), who uses body parts for her rituals. Directed by Mark Tonderai, “Spell” has a cast that also includes Lorraine Burroughs, Hannah Gonera, Kalifa Burton, John Beasley, Steve Mululu and Tumisho Masha. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in select theaters and on digital and VOD on October 30, 2020.

“Spontaneous”

In this horror/sci-fi comedy, Mara (played by Katherine Langford) and Dylan (played by Charlie Plummer) are two students in high school who fall in love with each other, even though their world is experiencing a mysterious plague where people are spontaneously exploding. Written and directed by Brian Duffield, “Spontaneous” has a cast that includes Piper Perabo, Ron Huebel, Hayley Law and Yvonne Orji. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in theaters on October 2, 2020, and on VOD on October 6, 2020.

“Synchronic”

New Orleans paramedics and best friends Steve (played by Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (played by Jamie Dornan) are on the scene of some gruesome accidents that are being blamed on a mysterious new party drug. But after Dennis’s oldest daughter disappears, Steve finds out the horrifying truth. Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Benson, “Synchronic” has a cast that includes Katie Asleton and Ally Ioannides. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in theaters on October 23, 2020.

“Tar”

For 40,000 years, creatures have been living under the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Barry Greenwood (played by Timothy Bottoms) and his son Zach (played by Aaron Wolff) have had to shut down their office business because of city construction on the land. But the construction triggers a nightmarish reaction from a creature down below, and the humans above have to fight for survival. Directed by Wolff, who co-wrote the movie with Timothy Nutall, “Tar” has a cast that includes Graham Greene, Tiffany Shepis and Max Perlich. The movie, which is rated PG-13, is set for release in select theaters on October 2, 2020, and on digital and VOD on October 20, 2020.

“The Wolf of Snow Hollow”

A small-town sheriff has to solve a series of murders that happen only when there’s a fool moon. He doesn’t believe in werewolves, and he’s also having problems at home with his wife and rebellious teen daughter. Jim Cummings is the writer and star of “The Wolf of Snow Hollow,” whose cast also includes Riki Lindhome, Robert Forster, Jimmy Tatro and Chloe East. The movie, which is rated R, is set for release in select theaters and on digital and VOD on October 9, 2020.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“The Addams Family” (2019)

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, “The Addams Family” is the animated version of Charles Addams’ comic-strip that ran in the New Yorker from 1938 to 1988. The comic strip , which is about a spooky clan that has a hard time fitting into a “normal” world, would go on to spawn a live-action TV series in the 1960s, an animated TV series in the 1970s and live-action films in the 1990s. The all-star voice cast of “The Addams Family” animated film includes Oscar Isaac as patriarch Gomez Addams; Charlize Theron as matriarch Morticia Addams; Chloë Grace Moretz as daughter Wednesday Addams; Finn Wolfhard as son Pugsley Addams; Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Gomez’s brother; Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, Gomez’s cousin; Bette Midler as Grandmama, Gomez and Fester’s mother; and Allison Janney as reality TV host Margaux Needler, the story’s villain. “The Addams Family” is rated PG-13.  Cinépolis will show the movie on October 23, 2020. The screenings for Alamo Drafthouse locations will vary by location, and audience members are encouraged to wear costumes.

“Annabelle”

The 2014 film “Annabelle” is an origin story of the evil doll Annabelle from “The Conjuring” movies. In the movie, a loving husband has given Annabelle as a gift to his pregnant wife. And all hell breaks loose. Directed by John Leonetti, “Annabelle” has a cast that includes Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Eric Ladin and Brian Howe. “Annabelle,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 9, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Annabelle: Creation”

In this 2017 prequel to “Annabelle,” a dollmaker and his wife, who are grieving over the death of their young daughter, welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. Little does this couple know that a doll named Annabelle will unleash some deadly terror on the people in the home. Directed by David F. Sandberg, “Annabelle: Creation” has a cast that includes Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman and Talitha Bateman. “Annabelle: Creation,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 2, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Beetlejuice”

Tim Burton’s classic 1988 horror comedy tells the story of deceased young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), who haunt their former home and try unsuccessfully to scare away the house’s new residents: Charles and Delia Deetz (played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) and their moody teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). In desperation, the Maitlands conjur up the obnoxious ghost Betelgeuse (played by Michael Keaton) to enlist his help in terrifying the Deetz family into moving out of the house. “Beetlejuice” (which is rated PG) will have screenings at several movie-theater chains. Cinemark will show “Beetlejuice” on October 2, 2020, while Cinépolis will show the movie on October 9, 2020. The screenings for Alamo Drafthouse locations will vary by location.

“Casper”

Based on the beloved ghost character from Harvey Comics, this 1995 live-action/animated movie tells the story how a greedy heiress, an after-life therapist and the therapist’s daughter find some ghosts in an old mansion. Casper is a friendly ghost, but the same can’t be said for Casper’s ghost uncles Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie. Directed by Brad Silberling, the movie’s cast includes Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle and Amy Brenneman, as well as the voices of Malachi Pearson, Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey and Brad Garrett. Alamo Drafthouse locations will show “Casper,” which is rated PG, with screening information varying by location. Audience members are encouraged to wear costumes.

“Coco”

In the Oscar-winning animated 2017 film “Coco,” a Mexican boy named Miguel, who is an aspiring musician, travels to the Land of the Dead to learn more about being like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. “Coco” (directed by Lee Unkrich) has a voice cast that includes Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía and Edward James Olmos. “Coco,” which is rated PG, will have screenings at multiple movie-theater chains. AMC Theaters and Cinépolis will show “Coco” on October 9, 2020.

“The Conjuring”

Based on a true story, the 2013 film “The Conjuring” shows how paranormal investigators/married couple Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) were called in 1971 to help a family who have moved to Harrisville, Rhode Island, in a farmhouse that is possessed by an evil spirit. Directed by James Wan, “The Conjuring” has a cast that includes Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston. “The Conjuring,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 23, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Conjuring 2”

In the 2016 film “The Conjuring 2” (the sequel to “The Conjuring”), it’s 1977, and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) go to London to help a single mother who is raising four children in a haunted house. Directed by James Wan, the movie’s cast includes Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney and Franka Potente. “The Conjuring 2,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 30, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Craft”

In this 1996 film, four teenage girls in high school find out that they have the power to practice witchcraft. Directed by Andrew Fleming (who co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Filardi), “The Craft” has a cast that includes Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor and Breckin Meyer. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “The Craft” (which is rated R), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Curse of La Llorona”

The 2019 film “The Curse of LaLorona” is based on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, the ghostly weeping woman who drowned her children and then committed suicide. In 1970s Los Angeles, La Llorona is stalking a troubled widowed mother who is being investigated by social workers. Directed by Michael Chaves, the movie’s cast includes stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez and Marisol Ramirez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen and Roman Christou. “The Curse of La Llorona,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 23, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Exorcist”

The 1973 classic “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, is often ranked as the scariest horror movie of all time. In the story, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) is distraught when she sees her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Linda Blair) begin to act strangely, such as speaking in tongues. When Regan starts levitating, Chris is convinced that Regan might be possessed by the devil. Chris asks a local priest named Father Damien (played by Jason Miller) for help. He then requests to perform an exorcism, and the Catholic Church sends an exorcism expert Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) to assist in the exorcism. “The Exorcist,” which is rated R, received 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning two Oscars: Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. The Cinépolis theater chain is showing “The Exorcist” (which is rated R) on October 23, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Frankenstein” (2011 National Theatre stage production)

In 2011, Fathom Events released a screening of the U.K.’s “Frankenstein” National Theatre stage production, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein and Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein’s Creature. Directed by Danny Boyle, this special screening (which is not rated) is getting a re-release in select U.S. cinemas on October 28, 2020. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Friday the 13th” (1980)

The horror legend of Jason Vorhees began with 1980’s original “Friday the 13th” film (directed by Sean S. Cunningham), a classic slasher flick where a serial killer is on the loose and murdering teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake. According to local folklore, Jason Vorhees was a boy who drowned in the lake due to bullying. Did he really die? And is he out for revenge? The movie’s cast includes Kevin Baker, Betsy Palmer, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Harry Crosby and Adrienne King. The 40th anniversary of the release of “Friday the 13th,” which is rated R, will be celebrated with a restored and remastered release in select theaters on October 4, October 6 and October 7, 2020. The screenings will include a featurettes called “Secrets Galore Behind the Gore,” with commentary by special-effects and makeup artist Tom Savini, who worked on the movie. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Ghost”

The pottery-making scene in the blockbuster film “Ghost” has been widely parodied, but this 1990 film remains a fan favorite for romantic supernatural movies. “Ghost” tells the story of banker Sam Wheat (played by Patrick Swayze) and potter Molly Jensen (played by Demi Moore), a live-in couple who are deeply in love. Sam is tragically murdered, and Molly believes his spirit is contacting her, with the help of a sassy psychic named Oda Mae Brown (played by Whoopi Goldberg, in an Oscar-winning performance). The 30th anniversary of “Ghost” will be celebrated with Turner Classic Movies commentary in select theaters on October 24 and October 25, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

The original 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie is considered a horror-comedy classic. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the movie tells the story of three paranormal investigators (played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis), their first recruit (Ernie Hudson), their socialite client (played by Sigourney Weaver), her neighbor (played by Rick Moranis), and how they stumble upon ghosts and demons in New York City. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “Ghostbusters” (which is rated PG), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is considered one of the most influential horror movies of all time, and certainly one of the top films representing the “slasher” subgenre of horror flicks. The mask-wearing, knife-wielding, mute serial killer Michael Myers has become a much-parodied and imitated horror icon, but at the time that “Halloween” was released, many of the terror-inducing elements of this movie were considered groundbreaking. The slow-burn suspense of “Halloween,” which spawned numerous inferior sequels, can be fully appreciated on the big screen, considering that most modern “slasher” movies follow a formula of someone getting killed every 15 to 20 minutes. Jamie Lee Curtis, as teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, made her movie debut in “Halloween,” one of many horror films in which she’s had a starring role, including the 2018 movie sequel of the same name. Donald Pleasence also stars in the original “Halloween” as Myers’ psychiatric doctor, who doggedly tries to find his patient after Myers escapes from a psychiatric institution. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of the original 1978 “Halloween” (which is rated R) on October 30, 2020. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Hocus Pocus”

The supernatural comedy film “Hocus Pocus,” directed by Kenny Ortega, tells the story of three ancient sister witches (played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) who are accidentally conjured up by a teenage boy (played by Omri Katz) after he and his family move from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts. “Hocus Pocus,” which is rated PG, will have screenings at several movie-theater chains. AMC Theaters, Cinemark and Cinépolis will show “Hocus Pocus” on October 2, 2020. The screenings for Alamo Drafthouse locations will vary by location.

“The House With a Clock in Its Walls”

Based on the children’s novel written by John Bellairs, the 2018 movie “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” tells the story of an orphaned 10-year-old boy who goes to live with his uncle in a creepy hold house and finds out that the town in inhabited by witches and warlocks. Directed by Eli Roth, the movie’s cast includes Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams and Sunny Suljic. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” (which is rated PG-13) on October 30, 2020. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“It”

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the 2017 blockbuster “It” (also known as “It Chapter One”) is a story that features one of horror entertainment’s most terrifying clowns. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of 13-year-old misfit kids who call themselves the Losers Club are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård), whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries. The movie’s cast include Jaeden Martell as Bill Denbrough; Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom; Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh; Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier; Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris; Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon; Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak and Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers. “It” author King has a cameo in the movie. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of “It” (which is rated R) on October 2, 2020. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“It Chapter Two”

In this sequel to the 2017 horror blockbuster “It,” the members of the Losers Club once again join forces in their quest to get the evil clown Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård) out of their lives. It’s now 27 years since the Losers Club last saw Pennywise as 13-year-olds in their hometown of Derry, Maine. Pennywise is back, and the adult members of the Losers Club reunite to do battle against him. The cast of “It Chapter Two” includes Jessica Chastain as the adult Beverly, James McAvoy as the adult Bill, Bill Hader as the adult Richie, Isaiah Mustafa as the adult Mike, Jay Ryan as the adult Ben, James Ransone as the adult Eddie, and Andy Bean as the adult Stanley. Reprising their roles as the original members of the Losers Club are Jaeden Martell as Bill, Wyatt Oleff as Stanley, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben. Bill Skarsgård returns in the role of Pennywise. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of “It Chapter Two” (which is rated R) on October 2, 2020, with tickets available here.

“Jack-O” (RiffTrax version)

RiffTrax comedy stars Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett give their running commentary during the 1995 campy horror flick “Jack-O.” In this R-rated movie (directed by Steve Latshaw), Jack the Pumpkin man is an evil warlock who rises from the grave to seek revenge on the Kelly family, who are descendants of the man who buried Jack years ago. The movie’s cast includes Linnea Quigley, Maddisen K. Krown, Gary Doles and Ryan Latshaw. The RiffTrax version of “Jack-O” is set for select theaters on October 21, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Lights Out”

In the 2016 film “Lights Out,” a young woman named Rebecca and her kid brother Martin experience a terrifying evil spirit when the lights go out. They begin to suspect that it has something to do with their mother. Directed by David F. Sandberg (in his feature-film debut), the movie’s cast includes Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, Alexander DiPersia and Maria Bello. “Lights Out,” which is rated PG-13, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 9, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Lost Boys”

This 1987 comedic horror film is about a group of teenagers who discover that a gang of teenage vampires has invaded the California beach city where they live. Directed by Joel Schumacher, “The Lost Boys” has a cast that includes Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jamie Gertz, Dianne Wiest and Edward Hermann. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have various screenings of “The Lost Boys,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Memories of Murder”

Originally released in 2003, Oscar-winning director Bong Joon Ho’s “Memories of Murder,” which is based on true events, follows the hunt for a serial rapist and murderer who has been targeting a small province in 1980s South Korea. Three detectives are at the center of trying to solve the case: Park Doo-man (played by Song Kang-ho), the leader of the trio; Cho Yong-koo (played by Park Kim Roi-ha), his aggressive cop partner; and Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung), the youngest of the trio. (In real life, the killer was caught in 2019.) The rerelease of “Memories of Murder,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters on October 19 and October 20, 2020. These screenings will include an exclusive prerecorded conversation with filmmakers Bong Joo Ho and Edgar Wright, the director of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Baby Driver.” More information and ticket purchases can be found here. The VOD release of “Memories of Murder” is on October 27, 2020.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

The 1993 animated musical “The Nightmare Before Christmas”—produced and conceived by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick—tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town, who accidentally goes through a portal to Christmas Town.  When he returns to Halloween Town to celebrate Christmas and share  his knowledge about Christmas, chaos ensues. Danny Elfman, who wrote the film’s songs and score, provided the singing voice of Jack. The voice cast also includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, and Ed Ivory. “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which is rated PG, will have screenings at several movie-theater chains. AMC Theaters and Cinépolis will show “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on October 16, 2020. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have a costume element for their screenings of the movie, which vary by location.

“The Nun”

In this 2018 prequel in “The Conjuring”/'”Annabelle” universe, “The Nun” tells the story of a Catholic priest sent by the Vatican to investigate a nun’s suicide in Romania. Directed by Corin Hardy, the movie’s cast includes Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Charlotte Hope, Ingrid Bisu and Bonnie Aarons. “The Nun,” which is rated R, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 2, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Poltergeist” (1982)

In the original 1982 “Poltergeist” movie, the Freeling family, which has three underage kids, has moved into a new house, where strange things starts happening and the youngest child mysteriously disappears. Directed by Tobe Hooper, “Poltergeist” has a cast that includes Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Dominique Dunne, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins and Zelda Rubinstein. The 2015 “Poltergeist” remake flopped with critics and audiences, unlike the original “Poltergeist.” The 1982 “Poltergeist” film, which is rated PG, will have screenings at AMC Theaters on October 16, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Psycho” (1960)

The most influential film ever directed by Alfred Hitchcock is 1960’s “Psycho,” a horror masterpiece that is considered the “grandfather” of slasher movies. In the beginning of the movie, embezzler Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) is on the run from the law with stolen cash, when she checks into the creepy and isolated Bates Motel, whose caretaker is Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins). What happened to Marion in her motel room’s shower became one of the most iconic horror scenes in movie history. It isn’t long before Marion’s sister Lila Crane (played by Vera Miles) goes looking for Marion, and she also ends up at the Bates Motel, where Lila discovers how dangerous the Bates Motel really is. “Psycho” spawned the 1983 sequel “Psycho II” (starring Perkins and Miles) and director Gus Van Sant’s 1998 “Psycho” remake, both of which got mixed-to-negative reviews. The “Bates Motel” TV series, which was on the air from 2013 to 2017, was the origin story of a teenage Norman Bates. The 60th anniversary of “Psycho” will be celebrated with an uncut version of the movie (and Turner Classic Movies commentary) in select theaters on October 11 and October 12, 2020. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Scream”

This 1996 classic film features a masked serial killer on the loose with an ultimate target: high schooler Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell). The psycho also likes to call his victims before he murders them. Directed by Wes Craven, “Scream” has a cast that includes, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich and Drew Barrymore. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have various screenings of “Scream,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Shaun of the Dead”

The 2004 horror comedy “Shaun of the Dead” shows what happens when two best friends (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) try to survive during a zombie apocalypse in England. Directed by Edgar Wright (who co-wrote the screenplay with Pegg), the movie’s cast includes Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have various screenings of “Shaun of the Dead,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Shining”

“The Shining” is director Stanley Kubrick’s version of the Stephen King novel, which tells the story of an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), who takes a job as a live-in caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain area during the hotel’s off-season. He moves there with his wife Wendy Torrance (played by Shelley Duvall) and kindergarten-aged son Danny Torrance (played by Danny Lloyd), who shows signs of having psychic abilities. The hotel cook Dick Hallorann (played by Scatman Crothers) notices Danny’s unusual abilities, which Dick calls “the shining.” When Danny’s visions become more menacing and Jack starts descending into madness, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. The 40th anniversary of the release of “The Shining,” which is rated R, will be celebrated with Turner Classic Movies commentary in select theaters on October 17, October 20 and October 22, 2020. More information and ticket purchases from can be found here. In addition, the Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of “The Shining” on October 16, 2020, with tickets available here.

“Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight”

The 1995 film “Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight” features a serial killed named The Collector who’s on a murderous rampage. Directed by Ernest Dickerson, the movie’s cast includes Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett, Brenda Bakke, C.C.H. Pounder, Dick Miller and Thomas Haden Church. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have screenings of “Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

The original 1974 film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” introduced horror audiences to the chainsaw-wielding serial killer Leatherface. In the movie, a group of unlucky young people end up being targeted by cannibals. Directed by Tobe Hooper (who co-wrote the screenplay with Kim Henkel), “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” cast includes Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have screenings of the 1974 version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Thing” (1982)

In the original 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R, 12 researchers at a remote Antarctic research station discover a deadly alien that had been buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Directed by John Carpenter, the movie’s cast includes Kurt Russell R.J. MacReady, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis and Thomas G. Waites. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have screenings of the 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.