by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Screen Frights Accumulate During September & October

As quarterbacks fading back behind scrimmage looking for a sprinting receiver near the goal line replace special effect/CGI bursting "tentpole" productions, Hollywood turns to its aisle packing, auditorium screaming horror/thriller genre to woo viewers until superheros (and friends) return for Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.

Stephen King, the equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock in cinema's "golden" 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, reels in a crown on September 8. Bill (Hemlock Grove) Skarsgard takes the roll of the scariest clown in history, Pennywise (played by Tim Curry in the TV min-series) in the big screen adaptation of "It." 

Screen Frights Accumulate During September & October

King's longest novel (over 1,100 pages) pits seven friends in Derry , Maine, against an epitome of evil --- a shapeshifter. When children begin to disappear, townspeople must come together to defeat the 'being' whose history dates back to 1715 when he emerges from hibernation in a crashed space vessel.He returns to wreck havoc every 30 years thereafter.

Known too as Dancing Clown, Eater of Woods, and Consumption, director Andy Muschietti envisions a two part production.

Pennywise has allegedly been "spotted" in The Tommyknockers, Dreamcatcher (...'Pennywise lives...' written in graffiti ) , and  is "mentioned" in "Gray Matter," "11/22/63," and "Insominia." 

Screen Frights Accumulate During September & October

Curry's mini-series character had only two forms the clown and a giant pregnant spider. Those who have braved the novel know that he can be  The Creature from the Black Lagoon, a giant crow, Rodan (the pterodactyl of J-Horror), the Werewolf, a leper, the Mummy, flying leeches, a swarm of piranhas, the shark from Jaws, Dracula, Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein’s Monster, an 8’ tall Doberman Pinscher,  The Witch from Hansel and Gretel, or a decomposed zombie.

 Mother (Sept. 15) stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion, and sacrifice where uninvited guests turn tranquility into chaos. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) directs.

Screen Frights Accumulate During September & October

Friend Request (Sept. 22) Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is one of the most popular girls in her high school. She is then sent a Facebook friend request by lonely Marina (Liesl Ahlers). Having initially accepted, Laura finds herself being obsessively pursued by Marina and not long afterward hits the ‘unfriend’ button. But something demonic appears when after Marina commits suicide online, a supernatural presence pursues Laura.


Till Death Do Us Part (Sept. 29)  opens with the seemingly perfect marriage of  Michael (Stephen Bishop) and Madison Roland (Annie Ilonzeh)  but controlling Michael begins to abuse Madison. With the help of her best friend Chelsea (Robinne Lee), Madison flees. After adopting a new identity, she meets and falls in love with Alex Stone (Taye Diggs). But her 'ex' discovers her whereabouts and pursues her. 

Flatliners (Sept. 29), a  horror fantasy remake,  has a Frankenstein's monster origin as a  group of medical students  experiment with “near death” experiences from  past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their current lives.   Instead of abandoning their lab work, they  embark on a more daring and dangerous experiment: Stopping each of their hearts which trigger paranormal activity , contending with past sins, and making sense of their experience.

Screen Frights Accumulate During September & October

The scary month of October brings fresh horror ops nearly each weekend.


Happy Death Day (Oct. 13) may revive thoughts of Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day," but its a 180. Jessica Rothe starts as Tree Gelbman who must relive her birthday slashing again and again until (hopefully) she figures out how to stop it.

 Snowman (Oct. 20) has a detective investigating the disappearance of a victim on the year's first snowfall  and fears the evidence point to cold cases which suggest another killing the next time snow falls.

Jugsaw (Oct. 27) returns to subject people to gruesome fatal puzzles which lead to uniquely gory deaths. Michael and Peter Spierig direct the seventh film in the "Saw"  franchise with eyes on reinventing the franchise.

Two science fiction films await, the "Blade Runner 2049" sequel which features Harrison Ford and "Geostorm" (Oct. 20), where a satellite designer  tries to save the world from a storm of epic proportions caused by malfunctioning climate-controlling satellites.