#340 October 30, 2018


Matt writes: Just because you’re stuck at home answering the door for trick-or-treaters on Halloween doesn’t mean you can’t have a delightfully spooky evening yourself. Two ten-hour programs ripe for seasonal binging recently premiered on Netflix and received enthusiastic reviews at RogerEbert.com. Mike Flanagan’s limited series “The Haunting of Hill House,” reviewed here by Brian Tallerico, is a genuinely unnerving, often brilliant reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel about ominous ghosts, mental illness and frayed familial bonds. The other must-see show is “Riverdale” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” a marvelously acted, richly provocative new vehicle for the supernaturally inclined Archie Comics heroine, played by a perfectly cast Kiernan Shipka. In my review of the first season, I explore how Osgood Perkins’ masterful debut feature, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” (starring Shipka), served as a major influence on Aguirre-Sacasa, and could serve as ideal Halloween programming itself (check out the trailer embedded below…)


The Prodigy (2019). Directed by Nicholas McCarthy. Written by Jeff Buhler. Starring Taylor SchillingBrittany AllenColm Feore. Synopsis: A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him. Opens in US theaters on February 8th, 2019.

The Curse of La Llorona (2019). Directed by Michael Chaves. Written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. Starring Linda CardelliniPatricia VelasquezRaymond Cruz. Synopsis: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. Opens in US theaters on April 19th, 2019.

The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018). Directed by Diederik Van Rooijen. Written by Brian Sieve. Starring Stana KaticShay MitchellGrey Damon. Synopsis: When a cop who is just out of rehab takes the graveyard shift in a city hospital morgue, she faces a series of bizarre, violent events caused by an evil entity in one of the corpses. Opens in US theaters on November 30th, 2018.

The Clovehitch Killer (2018). Directed by Duncan Skiles. Written by Christopher Ford. Starring Charlie PlummerDylan McDermottSamantha Mathis. Synopsis: A picture-perfect family is shattered when the work of a serial killer hits too close to home. Dylan McDermott stars in this chilling portrait of all-American evil. Opens in US theaters on November 16th, 2018.

Vice (2018). Written and directed by Adam McKay. Starring Christian BaleAmy AdamsSteve Carell. Synopsis: A bureaucratic Washington insider quietly becomes the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways still felt today. Opens in US theaters on December 25th, 2019.

Destroyer (2018). Directed by Karyn Kusama. Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Starring Nicole KidmanToby KebbellTatiana Maslany. Synopsis: A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace. Opens in US theaters on December 25th, 2018.

Vox Lux (2018). Written and directed by Brady Corbet. Starring Natalie PortmanJude LawChristopher Abbott. Synopsis: An unusual set of circumstances brings unexpected success to a pop star. Opens in US theaters on December 7th, 2018.

Bird Box (2018). Directed by Susanne Bier. Written by Eric Heisserer (based on the novel by Josh Malerman). Starring Sandra Bullock, Sarah PaulsonRosa Salazar. Synopsis: A woman and a pair of children are blindfolded and make their way through a dystopian setting along a river. Debuts on Netflix on December 21st, 2018.

All Creatures Here Below (2018). Directed by Collin Schiffli. Written by David Dastmalchian. Starring David Dastmalchian, Karen GillanJennifer Morrison. Synopsis: A desperate young couple on the run seek refuge in Kansas City. US release date is TBA.

The Aftermath (2019). Directed by James Kent. Written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse (based on the novel by Rhidian Brook). Starring Alexander SkarsgårdKeira KnightleyJason Clarke. Synopsis: Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house. Opens in US theaters on April 29th, 2019.

Unlovable (2018). Directed by Suzi Yoonessi. Written by Charlene deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith and Mark Duplass. Starring Charlene deGuzmanJohn HawkesMelissa Leo. Synopsis: A sex and love addicted woman learns what real intimacy is when she starts making music with a reclusive man. Opens in US theaters on November 2nd, 2018.

Speed Kills (2018). Directed by John Luessenhop and Jodi Scurfield. Written by David Aaron Cohen and John Luessenhop (based on the book by Arthur Jay Harris). Starring John Travolta, Katheryn WinnickJennifer Esposito. Synopsis: Speedboat racing champion and multimillionaire, Ben Aronoff, leads a double life that lands him in trouble with the law and drug lords. US release date is TBA.

The World Before Your Feet (2018). Directed by Jeremy Workman. Synopsis: For over six years, and for reasons he can’t explain, Matt Green, 37, has been walking every block of every street in New York City, a journey of more than 8,000 miles. This documentary follows the story of one man’s unusual personal quest and the unexpected journey of discovery, humanity, and wonder that ensues. Opens in US theaters on November 21st, 2018.

Cold Pursuit (2019). Directed by Hans Petter Moland. Written by Frank Baldwin (based on the movie written by Kim Fupz Aakeson). Starring Liam NeesonTom Bateman, Emmy Rossum. Synopsis: A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Opens in US theaters on February 8th, 2019.

The Front Runner (2018). Directed by Jason Reitman. Written by Matt Bai, Jay Carson and Jason Reitman (based on the book by Matt Bai). Starring Hugh JackmanVera FarmigaJ.K. Simmons. Synopsis: American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair. Opens in US theaters on November 21st, 2018.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019). Written and directed by Dean DeBlois (based on the book series by Cressida Cowell). Written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. Starring Jonah HillCate BlanchettKristen Wiig. Synopsis: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away. When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind. Opens in US theaters on February 22nd, 2019.

Escape Room (2019). Directed by Adam Robitel. Written by Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik. Starring Deborah Ann WollTyler LabineTaylor Russell. Synopsis: Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive. Opens in US theaters on January 4th, 2019.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968), 50th anniversary edition. Written and directed by Roman Polanski (based on the novel by Ira Levin). Starring Mia FarrowJohn CassavetesRuth Gordon. Synopsis: A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life. US release date is TBA.

Disability Employment Awareness Month

Matt writes: Chaz Ebert’s latest special edition of Thumbnails celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which ran through the entirety of October. Out writer Scott Jordan Harris assembled a superb list of articles detailing the lack of inclusivity in media and why it must be changed. Click here for the full round-up, which includes Jordan’s review of Jenni Gold’s documentary, “CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion.”

Peter Bogdanovich on Buster Keaton

Matt writes: The great filmmaker and cinema historian Peter Bogdanovich recently spoke with our Editor-at-Large Matt Zoller Seitz about his new documentary, “The Great Buster: A Celebration.” Click here to read their full conversation.

Free Movies

The Return of Dracula (1958). Directed by Paul Landres. Written by Pat Fielder. Starring Francis LedererNorma EberhardtRay Stricklyn. Synopsis: After a vampire leaves his native Balkans, he murders a Czech artist, assumes his identity, and moves in with the dead man’s American cousins.

Watch “The Return of Dracula”

Blood for Dracula (1974). Written and directed by Paul Morrissey. Starring Udo KierVittorio De Sica, Joe Dallesandro. Synopsis: An ailing vampire count travels to Italy with his servant to find a bride.

Watch “Blood for Dracula”

Count Dracula (1977). Directed by Philip Saville. Written by Gerald Savory (based on the novel by Bram Stoker). Starring Louis JourdanFrank FinlaySusan Penhaligon. Synopsis: The vampire count leaves his Transylvanian home to wreak havoc across the world.

Watch “Count Dracula”


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