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Friday, November 10, 2023

The Halloween After Party: November Horror Releases from 1970 to 2023

Who on earth would want to release a horror movie in November?! That’s like showing up to Thanksgiving dinner on a full stomach or going for a jog after a marathon. Surely, studios don’t purposefully plan to release their movie during the four weeks AFTER the entire world is consumed with the dead, dying, maimed and dismembered, right? The calendar says spooky season is over (although you and I know differently) and as the grumpy neighbor in Halloween II says, the general audience has “been trick or treated to death” by October’s end.

On the contrary, November Horror has had some shockingly great runs over the years. And maybe there’s a method to the madness. If horror fans are lucky, October is packed tighter than a Black Friday sale at Target during a live in store Taylor Swift performance. Why not wait a couple of weeks and be the only show in town rather than compete for the same spotlight? Or maybe some movies just finish up late and can’t make their intended October release date.

Either way, I find this idea fascinating and decided to take a deep look at every horror movie released during the month of November from the year 1970 to 2023.


No-Release November

Although there is a surprising amount of success, there are some extremely dry November months when it comes to horror over the last half century. Over the last fifty-three years, sixteen November months didn’t feature a single wide release horror film. Do note that ten of those years took place during the ’70s and early ’80s when movies were released far more sparingly in general (at least one of those Novembers had no films released at all).

More recently, horror put up a goose egg on the scoreboard for the month of November during 2010, 2011 and 2017. Some of these can probably be attributed to the invention of online streaming where many indie horror films are released in limited fashion in select theaters or online only.


The 1980s Horror Legends of November

A Nightmare on Elm Street

So, unsurprisingly, there are some dry horror months post October. What shocked me, however, are the absolute undeniable bangers that we received during November. Specifically, during the 1980s.

The following horror films were all released during the month of November during the ’80s:

Creepshow (1982), Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), They Live (1988) and Child’s Play (also 1988-a mere week apart). All released during the month that was supposed to be walk out music for October.

The lone 1970s November release? Also a classic. It was Carrie (1976).


Shopping Spree: 1990s November Horror

It was a good run for November horror in the ’80s but surely the ’90s couldn’t keep it up, right?

The nineties kicked off Turkey season with a bang. In a SINGLE MONTH, November of 1990 brought us Child’s Play 2Predator 2 and Stephen King’s Misery. In 1991, we’re talking quantity and quality with a double ticket of Wes Craven’s classic The People Under The Stairs and Scorsese’s underrated DeNiro stalker, Cape Fear.

Things slowed down a bit as November of 1992 brought us a singular horror film. But that film did happen to be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The following year brought us the campy and fun Man’s Best Friend (1993) starring Lance Henriksen. And 1994 was full of “fancy horror” like Dracula, with both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Interview With A Vampire.

Though November horror was on a killer win streak, the train came to a screeching halt as 1995 featured not a single film. Probably for the best when you look at the other releases. This single month (in one of the greatest movie years of all time) featured the new releases of Goldeneye, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Toy Story, Casino, Money Train, Nick of TimeThe American President; and even William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford got in on the action (literally) with Fair Game.

The second half of the 1990s featured an average of one horror movie every November and was nothing to stick your nose up at, even if things were definitely getting a little more hit and miss. These five Novembers gave us Bad Moon, Sling Blade, The Crucible, Starship Troopers, Alien: Resurrection, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Sleepy Hollow and End of Days (which ruled and I won’t hear otherwise).


The Sloppy 2000s

With the 2000s came further unpredictability. Alien horror flick The Fourth Kind released in November of 2009. We were provided with total winners with Unbreakable (2000) and The Mist (2007). The 2000s also provided the questionable cranberry sauce that was Seed of Chucky (2004) and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s The Return (2006). Throw in some stuffing like P2 (2007), They (2002), Gothika (2003) and something for the kids table with The Haunted Mansion (2004) and the table is all set.

Not the best, but not the worst of October leftovers.


Terror Turducken: The 2010s to Today

2010 to current day is a bit hard to calculate in totality as the introduction of streaming had a lot of fun films like The Bay (2012), The Hallow (2015), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), The House That Jack Built (2018) and V/H/S: Viral (2014) hitting limited theaters and/or video on demand.

Following The Collector (where’s that third movie at, guys?!) in 2012, not a single November horror movie was released wide in theaters again until of all things, box office bomb Victor Frankenstein in 2015. The Babadook (2014) thankfully was a bright spot as it still managed to make a huge splash in the genre despite its initial limited theater run. 2016’s Naomi Watts film Shut In came and went with no fanfare. 2017 was another goose egg, and finally Julius Avery’s Overlord gave us something fun to gawk at in 2018.

But 2019 was one for the ages as in the span of one month Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, Robert Eggers’ mermaid pleasure-fest The Lighthouse and Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner Parasite all graced the big screen. This may have had something to do with an Oscars push but who am I to decide what gets stuffed in the November turkey? Just don’t invite the guy from Don’t Breathe to baste it. Some things just can’t be cleaned.

Going forward and overall, I’m finding more often than not that November horror is absolutely the opposite of the dreaded January horror slate where thoughtless projects often go to die. Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City (2021) sticks out like a sore thumb as the rare IP driven November horror of late amongst the likes of original projects The Dark and the Wicked (2020) and The Menu (2022).

Not to mention the Covid years and experimentation of release formats where movies like Freaky should have been sure-fire wide releases. They aren’t all winners, of course, but there is a shocking amount of quality over quantity. Which should give us hope for 2023’s main November horror entry: Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving on November 17. Christmas horror comedy It’s a Wonderful Knife also has a limited release this November 10. Here’s hoping both films absolutely crush it and let everyone in on the secret that you and I already know…

November Horror actually kicks ass.

Silent Night Deadly Night parody poster

The post The Halloween After Party: November Horror Releases from 1970 to 2023 appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



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