It may be the awkward younger sibling to October’s horror-heavy line-up, but September still has some great scary movies releasing in 2021.
With Venom: Let There be Carnage delayed to October, there aren’t any big blockbuster horror flicks on offer. This means most of the biggest horror movies releasing in September 2021 are original properties. Which is something not a lot of other film genres can boast. With some big-name directors and stars, even the lesser known titles mentioned here should be on any horror fan’s radar.
If you’re after some great movies to watch now, make sure to check out these great picks:
Responsible for the mega-horror-hits Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring, director James Wan recently broke into the Hollywood big leagues with Aquaman. He returns to his horror roots with the eagerly anticipated Malignant, releasing September 10 in theatres and HBO Max.
The story follows Madison (Annabelle Wallis), who experiences gruesome nightmares only to realise she is witnessing actual events. Throw in a creepy imaginary friend, and it seems like traditional horror-movie-fodder.
What’s interesting about Wan’s newest film is that he has described it as more of a thriller, despite the major horror vibes that the trailer gives. Taking inspiration from old Italian “Giallo” films, the plot will centre on a murder-mystery.
With an interesting premise, decent budget, and a proven director, Malignant is shaping up to be the biggest horror movie release this September.
2. Prisoners of the Ghostland
Nicolas Cage sure does know how to turn up in the weirdest films.
Directed by Sion Sono, the movie is more of a neo-noire western than a straight-up horror offering. Hero (Nicolas Cage) must travel to a supernatural land to rescue Bernice (Sofia Boutella), the daughter of The Governor (Bill Moseley) of Samurai Town. To ensure the criminal complies with this request, The Governor straps several bombs to him that will self-destruct in five days.
Having premiered at Sundance Film Festival during the start of the year, the action-heavy flick has been both praised, and derided, for being “weird”. Cage even called the movie “the wildest” he’s ever made.
Audiences can decide for themselves whether the wildness is too much for them when Prisoners of the Ghostland hits theaters and VOD on September 17.
3. Night of the Animated Dead
George A. Romero’s seminal zombie movie gets an animated reboot.
Fans of any modern zombie tale have the iconic black-and-white movie to thank for its existence. It created the template for the modern ‘walking dead’—lurching, groaning, and brain-eating included. It’s also important in the history of Black cinema, as casting Duane Jones as Ben, the hero who takes charge of the situation, was seen as a huge step-forward for actors of colour.
Here’s the Red Band trailer for my animated remake of ‘Night of the Living Dead’! This is all we could show because the film is WALL TO WALL with intense gore and violence, and is somehow only Rated R. https://t.co/Tpcuwpztkc#NightOfTheAnimatedDead
— Jason Axinn (@Axinn) August 12, 2021
This animated retelling sticks close to the original script, but will feature some updated gory visuals. Director Jason Axinn (To Your Last Death) says the remake is filled with intense gore and violence. While the original was gory for its time, it pales in comparison to the gross-out standards of zombie flicks today.
Axinn’s version includes the voice talents of Dulé Hill, Josh Duhamel, Katee Sackhoff, Jimmi Simpson, and Nancy Travis. Any self-respecting zombie-fan will want to check out this stellar cast at work in Night of the Animated Dead when it releases this September 21 on VOD.
4. Martyrs Lane
An atmospheric paranormal tale about a child’s fear that her mother doesn’t love her, and a creepy ghost friend who won’t leave her alone makes Martyrs Lane a top pick to watch this September 9 on Shudder.
Having already premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival earlier in August, there are good impressions of the movie already making the rounds. The story of Leah (Keira Thompson), a young girl who tries to piece together a mystery night-after-terrifying-night has been met with favourable reviews. Nearly every critic has praised its atmosphere, but warns that anybody looking for a scare should look elsewhere.
If it’s creepy vibes you’re after, the Ruth Platt (The Lesson) written and directed film seems like a great offering. Even better, it’s included at no extra cost for Shudder subscribers.
5. Bad Candy
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, and Gremlins alum Zach Galligan star in the horror anthology Bad Candy, releasing September 10 on VOD.
Taylor and Galligan play two spooky disk jockeys for New Salem’s radio station, Psychotronic FM. They recount local legends on Halloween night, serving as the narrative frame for the various tales directors Scott B. Hansen and Desiree Connell weave throughout the story.
The trailer promises Ghouls, Werewolves, Vampires, Clowns, and “Ghosties with the mosties”. It looks like a fun premise, and if it’s anything like recent anthology hits Trick ‘R Treat or Scare Package, it should be a great watch for all types of horror fans.
This modern tale follows the adventures of travel vloggers Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning) as they attempt to raise their dwindling follower count. Things look promising when the content they get from “Superhost” Rebecca (Gracie Gillam) is juicier than they were hoping for. Events take an even weirder turn with Rebecca, and Teddy and Claire find themselves at their host’s mercy.
Shudder has found great success with “found footage” style films, and Superhost seems like another fantastic modern premise that slots perfectly into the horror genre. Unlike the atmospheric Martyrs Lane, this movie seems to land more on the “fun wild ride” side of scares, balancing out the streaming service’s September offerings.
If the interesting premise isn’t enough to convince potential viewers, there’s even a cameo from horror-legend Barbara Crampton. Written and Directed by Brandon Christensen (WITH, Stillborn), this Shudder original releases September 2.
What horror movies releasing in September 2021 are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!