As Autumn wraps us in a fleecy embrace, the scent of freshly-brewed tea fills the air and the trees let out an audible sigh, shaking off their golden old leaves like an elderly dog come in from the rain. We need these comforting images as the nights get long and cold, for October is creeping around the bend, bringing with it all manners of terror and eldritch concern. October is of course the hallowed month of spook and dread, and we as cinema-goers revel in the chance to have unsightly horrors cast before us in the most gruesome and unflinching manners available to cinema, and I’m just talking about those re-designed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Eurgh. Still, if ye have yet the stomach to face more gruelling trials of will, nerve and cinematic intrigue then follow me for what is truly going to be a big month…
October 2nd – Gone Girl
It seems there are more and more books turned into film these days. This news should be rather welcome to websites whose names are two-thirds about books and film, but elsewhere it could be getting a bit tiresome. If only there was someone who could instil a gripping sense of pace, artistically brandish a recognisable aesthetic style and deliver an original-yet-respectful depiction of the source material all whilst set to the tune of a soundtrack by that lad from Nine Inch Nails. The fact it’s worked for the creation of Facebook, the most successful Scanda-wegian thriller of all time (probably) and an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story shows this style’s versatility. Let’s just hope that in the mitts of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike that Gillian Flynn’s tale of suspicion and nationwide paranoia over a missing woman achieves similar, critically-lauded heights.
October 10th – The Maze Runner
What? Another one? I know I said there were more and more “based-on-the-super-fantastic-best-seller” coming out but this is getting silly. Frequency of best-sellers aside, this one looks like a gem; a whole mess of young boys mysteriously find themselves stuck inside a spooky trap-filled labyrinth that nobody ever survives a night in. When a new recruit, Thomas, (Dylan O’Brien) finds himself in the boys’ camp, he unknowingly sets off a chain of events that warps their maze prison around them (trippingly literally) and brings about the appearance of the only girl in the camp: Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). Now, I ain’t ever read me the books that these are based on, but with any shred of luck this one will turn out better than The Giver did. Fingers crossed.
October 10th – Annabelle
I get the feeling James Wan doesn’t like people, that or he is solely sustained by their shrieks of terror and sense of fear and dread. After seeing the trailer for the spin-off from his 2013 horror The Conjuring it’s clear he is so obviously the latter. Annabelle, whilst not directed by Wan, is all about the backstory of the creepiest doll in all of Christendom, who made the ending of ‘The Conjuring’ what it is (spoilers spoilers spoilers). If you’re going to watch the trailer below, I would suggest doing so in a darkened room with the sound turned up. I would suggest it, but that just may ruin the next few night’s sleep for you. Challenge accepted.
October 10th – ’71
After acting up what can only be described as ‘a barn-load of prize chops’ in the rather-rather-good Starred Up, everyone was eager to see more of Jack O’Connell and the kind of mesmerising, leading performances he can pull out from his sly bag of actor-man tricks. It’s with that in mind we find him in ”71′, a thriller set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland in which O’Connell is an English soldier sent off in one of England’s ill-advised attempts at peace-keeping in Belfast. When his squad accidentally abandons him on the violent, rioting streets of the city, O’Connell has to survive long enough to find a way out and back to his regiment. That is, unless the IRA find him first.
October 10th – Gold
You can’t say that the 10th of October is going to be a slow day at the cinema. Not only do we have science fiction adventure, super-creepy horror and a thriller set against a controversial period of time, we also get this little adorable, indie nugget. Gold sees David Wilmot (y’know, that psycho fella dressed in white from 2011’s brilliant The Guard. What do you mean you haven’t seen The Guard? For fu-) trying to reconnect with the family he left behind, in particular his daughter, Abbie (Maisie Williams). This well-meaning plan has a most profound hitch in the fact his old P.E teacher (James Nesbitt) is now living with his ex-wife (Kerry Condon). Expect the awkward, the heart-warming and the silly to run into each other with this one.
October 17th – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Whilst our own Dave Griffiths found enough to enjoy out of Michael Bay’s new attempt to produce and bludgeon the intellectual properties of the 1980s, I personally have no such objectivity and can just about afford the temerity to say two words about it all: oh dear. You can read our review here.
October 17th – The Judge
Did you know Robert Downey Jr can do more than Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes? I know! It sounds like the mad ramblings from a fever dream, but he’s actually done a lot of films that have nothing to do with comic books or Conan Doyle (including one of my all-time favourites Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, seriously go watch it right now. I can wait.). RDJ is Hank Palmer: the slickest, most amoral city lawyer the guilty can throw money at. When he learns that his mother has passed away, he begrudgingly heads back to his hometown to pay his respects and deal with his stern father, and town judge, Robert Duvall. Already-complicated matters just up and exacerbate themselves further when his father finds himself accused of murder most foul, and only RDJ himself can defend him. Sounds like a good ‘un.
October 24th – Fury
Okay, so, Percy Jackson, Sam Witwicky from all those Transformers films, Shane from The Walking Dead, Tyler Durden, Cesar Chavez and Clint Eastwood’s young and sexy clone are in this Sherman tank, right… kinda sounds like the start of an elaborate, yet ultimately confusing joke, doesn’t it? Well it’s precisely that which is the basis for David Ayer’s new double-yuh-double-yuh-two film about a tank crew facing the end of the war with the push into Germany. Tasked with a dangerous mission and saddled with a greener-than-purest-green rookie, Brad Pitt’s tank crew find themselves losing a whole of German lives and innocence in their pursuit of German surrender.
October 24th – The Book Of Life
We don’t get all that much in the way of Mexican culture here in the UK, which is generally a shame seeing as even a cursory glance at things such as El Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), the sheer number of UNESCO world heritage sites and the local cinematic talent (thanks Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro et al) tells us that there’s a lot to love. In a strange combination of the above, Guillermo del Toro’s animation company has created for our viewing pleasure The Book of Life which combines the antiquity of ancient central American iconography with the Day of the Dead in a lavish-looking animated film about scheming gods, facing your fear and surmounting all for the sake of love. Dawh.
October 24th – The Babadook
Y’know, it being October and all that we really should have had more spooky films than we have. I don’t want you to feel dejected by the lack of horror, so here’s a little Australian film that’s been wowing/creeping-the-flip-out-of audiences: The Babadook. A single mother (Essie Davis), still dealing with her husband’s death, finds a story book on her door step about a creature called The Babadook, which gives her the super-smart idea of reading said book to her son. When this gives him nightmares she disposes of the offending literature, only for things to get so much worse they’re just… seriously, nope. Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.
October 29th – Horns
We started this month with a couple of ‘based-on-the-best-seller’s, might as well end with one too, don’t you think? Horns sees Daniel Radcliffe further shed himself of the moniker of ‘The Boy Who Lived’ and become more ‘That Lad Who Acts’ as he takes the central role, and a pretty damn good American accent, in the adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel. Radcliffe’s Ig Perrish is accused of the murder of his girlfriend, but predictably nobody believes him. When he starts to develop a set of horns coming out of his head the townsfolk start acting wild and hedonistically around him, whilst all Dan wants is to find out who is responsible for his ex’s murder. But with the world changing around him so much, does he really want to give up the power of his new headgear?