Ah, what’s Halloween without destroyed Christmas gifts, New Year’s hangovers, and seasonal depression?

No, I’m not talking about Halloween One, in October, when all the ghost movies come out. I mean Halloween Two, in January, when all the blood starts spilling. That’s how it works now: Jump-scares in the fall (Paranormal Activity, Sinister), people getting stabbed in winter. Often in remakes.

With seven genre flicks slated for winter or early spring release – three of them remakes – those of us on the east coast who are about to have our Halloween rained out by Hurricane Sandy can take solace. For us, the party starts on January 4.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3DThat’s when Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D comes out. Followed two weeks later by the Guillermo del Toro-produced Mama, then Hansel and Gretel – Witch Hunters a week after that. The latter film stars Jeremy Renner and reminds me of that abomination Van Helsing, which is probably why it’s being dumped in January.

February offers a zombie love story and early candidate for worst title of the year, Cold Bodies Warm Heart, as well as I, Frankenstein, which, if possible, is an even worse title. Rounding out the pre-blockbuster season are the Carrie and The Evil Dead reboots in March and April.

In a recurring segment here called “Trailer Trashing,” PFC’s head writer and editor James Killough posts theatrical trailers for upcoming films, discusses their potential to be good or shitty, and offers unique industry insights based on the two-minute clips. If you will permit me to indulge in one of my music analogies… James takes the experimental jazz approach to film appreciation: He seeks movies that challenge the viewer and offer complex visual compositions that may not connect with general audiences – but are ultimately rewarding if you give yourself over to them.

I’m a little more punk rock in my viewing habits. That’s why I’m not trailer trashing but simply showing some trashy trailers.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D


Few movies series are more confusing to follow than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. I don’t mean the plots are hard to follow… You could watch one dubbed into Esperanto and understand what’s happening. Rather, this film appears to be a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, from 1986, regarding its place in the storyline. Except, plot-wise, it sorta looks like the Jessica Biel reboot from 2003. Except they changed the killer’s last name back to the one they used in the second movie. Does this mean the prequel from 2006 didn’t happen? Are they ever going to do a reboot of Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III? That one had nothing to do with any of the others, but it did star Viggo Mortensen. And Viggo Mortensen is cool.

Potential: Meh. A bunch of catalog models stupidly wandering into a scary house has been done before (in the last two Texas Chainsaw movies, for example). On the plus side, Leatherface in the poster looks like a fat inbred, which is how a chainsaw-wielding yokel should appear, not like the power lifter seen in the recent remakes.

Mama


Like Texas Chainsaw, Mama’s scares are unleashed by someone opening a door they should not have opened. Cool. I love metaphors for things, whatever they are. Let that be a lesson to you kids: Stop opening doors of scary houses.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro protégé Andres Muschietti, Mama starts out looking like an October ghost movie, but, by the end of the trailer, it’s clearly a monster movie. Did you catch a glimpse of the deformed titular character? She appears to have all the right parts, but in the wrong places, a very Guillermo del Toro-esque attribute. Is that all it takes to be your protégé, Guillermo?

Potential: A tick higher than meh. I confess to not being a big del Toro fan, but he’s got a unique creative vision, and I doubt he’d mentor some hack. I just hope there’s a bit more to the story than a monster mom coming for her children.

Carrie


Though this trailer lacks a scary house, you know the movie has one. For once, the house in Brian De Palma’s 1976 original was legitimately creepy. Too bad the whole movie was almost ruined by the split-screen shot of the hose at the end. Oh my God, hoses are freaking scary! Don’t do that to me Brian.

The new version stars Chloë Grace Moretz who everybody knows is going to be a star once they see her on screen for the first time. My experience with such happened when watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I remember thinking, “Why in the world is this kid not the star of this movie?” I’m not sure if that happened before or after I thought, “Why the hell am I sitting here watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid?”

These days I’m thinking, “Why the hell is Chloë Grace Moretz starring in a horror movie?” I guess she’ll either elevate this film, or it’s actually going to be good. We’ll find out on March 15.

This is the second remake of Carrie, by the way. No one remembers the 2002 TV movie. Sad clown.

Potential: Probably Meh, but I’ll reserve full judgment until we see actual footage from the film.

The Evil Dead

Watch this disgusting shit at your own peril:

As soon as I heard the words “Could Atlas,” I knew it was going to be a movie, and I knew that James Killough was going to do a review it. Above all, when I was talking about challenging, inventive, daring films, this is what I meant. Visually sweeping, fascinating but inevitably flawed by its very nature… I knew James was going to gobble this up.

I wonder if he thought the same thing about me when the trailer for The Evil Dead remake was released. The original is exactly what I love about punk-rock filmmaking: No money. No actors. No problem. We’ll get by on grit and wit and come up with something that still, after 30 years, shocks people.

Judging from the one and a half minute teaser above, the remake is skipping all pretenses and going straight for the gut. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies – some pretty rough ones at that – and few things are more disturbing to me than sensuality mixed with self-mutilation. After all these years, the moment in the original Evil Dead when the character Shelly chews off her own hand – and enjoys it – still makes me shudder. If you made it to the end of the trailer above, it looks like the remake’s director Fede Alvarez may have one-upped Sam Raimi, if that’s possible.

Potential: Good, if the trailer is an accurate reflection of the film’s tone. A horror film should be horrifying, regardless of it artistic merit. Yeah, I know they go into a scary house. Someone needs to make a movie that takes place in a field.

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