Think it’s a horror show in the real world? Just wait till you get a load of 2019’s darkest cinematic offerings.
Last year was a banner year for fright-fests: Jamie Lee Curtis and masked maniac Michael Myers brought the "Halloween" franchise back in a big way, “The Conjuring” spinoff “The Nun” and "A Quiet Place" scared up serious box-office returns, and critically acclaimed freakouts “Hereditary” and “Suspiria” found their way into the awards-season conversation.
Thankfully, no one has to wait until Halloween anymore to get creeped out, with horror infesting almost every month of the year. Here’s what fans can look forward to, from bold returns to more chapters from a true master:
Hide your eyes, Jordan Peele's back.
With his acclaimed breakthrough “Get Out,” Peele came on like Hitchcock 2.0, tackling racism in a modern social-thriller setting. But in his new film “Us” (in theaters March 22), starring Lupita Nyong'o, the filmmaker is just trying to scare the stuffing out of everybody with the tale of an African-American family faced with their evil doppelgangers. From the high-profile trailer that landed on Christmas Day to lots of weird in-movie mythology, this one’s on every horror fiend’s must-see list. (It’ll also act as a high-profile hype machine for Peele’s new “Twilight Zone” streaming series that premieres later this year on CBS All Access.)
Stephen King's legend still looms large.
It’s not just about the new voices of horror – the master is still here and as relevant as ever, no matter what medium. "It: Chapter Two" (Sept. 6), a sequel to 2017's hit adaptation of King's novel, revisits the original main characters as adults (including Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader) once more dealing with the malevolent dancing clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Also on tap: a redo of “Pet Sematary” (April 5), featuring a host of undead critters and John Lithgow as an oddball neighbor.
Say hello to some old faces and sequels.
Retro devil doll Chucky gets a reboot in the new “Child’s Play” (June 21) with Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry. And speaking of toys you don’t want anywhere near you, “The Conjuring” villain Annabelle gets another solo vehicle with “Annabelle 3” (July 3), which reunites the possessed girl doll with the ghost-busting Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The baby-mask killer of “Happy Death Day,” a comedy/horror take on “Groundhog Day,” strikes again in the time-loopy sequel “Happy Death Day 2 U” (Feb. 14). "Grudge" (June 21) is the second redo of the popular 2000s Japanese haunted-house flick. As for some A-list returns, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone take on the undead in the horror comedy “Zombieland 2” (Oct. 11), while that infamous creepy, kooky clan moves into animation with “The Addams Family” (Oct. 18), starring Oscar Isaac as Gomez Addams and Charlize Theron as his beloved wife Morticia.
Prestige horror isn’t going anywhere.
The genre has taken great strides in recent years becoming more thoughtful, complex and straight-up artsy with its scare tactics. There’s more to come: Following up his debut “Hereditary” (which snagged two Critics’ Choice Awards nominations), writer/director Ari Aster offers up “Midsommar” (Aug. 9), about a couple traveling to Sweden for a festival and running afoul of a pagan cult. This month's Sundance Film Festival unleashes "The Hole in the Ground" (on DirecTV Jan. 31, in theaters March 1), a supernatural thriller about a mom fretting about her son after he falls down a sinkhole and emerges a very different boy. And for those who dug the vibe of 2018’s “Suspiria,” Gaspar Noe’s “Climax” (March 1) follows the hellish, psychedelic bacchanalia resulting from a dance troupe downing cups of LSD-laced sangria.
And look out for freaky-deaky fare from familiar names.
“Conjuring” guru James Wan is producing “The Curse of La Llorona” (April 19), a 1970s-set chiller that borrows its haunting antagonist from Mexican folklore. Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the genre as a writer/producer for “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (Aug. 9), an adaptation of the kids’ book centered on young teens investigating a rash of mysterious deaths in their hometown. Plus, 2019 features the return of “Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn, who was fired by Disney but produces the intriguing “Brightburn” (May 24), a horror take on the Superman legend in which an alien baby boy with powers lands on Earth, is raised by loving parents but acts out in sinister fashion.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Every must-see horror film in 2019, from Jordan Peele's 'Us' to Stephen King's 'It' sequel