’Tis the season to be scaring! The month of December (and the holiday season that comes with it) has long been part of the horror genre for many generations, as a time when ghosts come out to play (and not just to teach old misers to be better people).
This year, Hollywood is going rather light on the horror hijinks in December but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of exciting new films and shows for fans of the genre.
The first week of the month is a big one, with two new films emerging in theaters on December 6. Dark Light stars Jessica Madsen (Leatherface) as a divorced woman whose daughter is abducted by a mysterious creature, and who has to escape a correctional hospital to rescue her. That same day also sees the release of The Mandela Effect, a new film from David Guy Levy (Would You Rather?) which stars Charlie Hofheimer as a man whose investigation into collective memory confusion breaks down his sense of reality.
Over on Netflix, December 6 brings the release of The Confession Killer. Real-life murderer Henry Lee Lucas has notoriously confessed to killing hundreds of people, and the new docuseries investigates and challenges his incredible claims. And on Hulu, Julian Sands stars in Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work, the latest episode of the holiday horror anthology, about a work-related Christmas party that turns homicidal.
The biggest theatrical horror release of December is the latest remake of Black Christmas. The original film helped spawn the modern slasher genre, with its tale of a group of sorority sisters getting murdered by a maniac in their attic. The latest remake (after 2006’s Black X-Mas) comes from director Sophia Takai (Into the Dark: New Year, New You), and stars Imogen Poots and Cary Elwes in a new interpretation of the story that flips the script.
If you can’t get out to the multiplex on December 13, just sit back at home and turn on Shudder, where Joe Bob’s Red Christmas will be premiering. The latest watchalong event with the (sometimes controversial) horror host promises to be yet another marathon of cult favorites with clever commentary.
Shudder also has another big premiere this month. Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini is a feature-length documentary that has been in the works for years, and it’s finally making its streaming debut on December 16. It’s the story of one of the greatest practical effects artists in movie history, with classic gore effects in films like Friday the 13th and Creepshow, who also stepped in front of the screen to co-star in films like the Dawn of the Dead remake and From Dusk Till Dawn, and directed the popular 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.
If that’s not Christmasy enough for you, head on over to FX (in America) or BBC One (in the U.K.) and see an all-new, all-spooky version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on December 19. Guy Pearce and Andy Serkis co-star in this new production of the classic ghost story, which promises to be a lot less family friendly than usual. Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) writes the screenplay and Nick Murphy (The Awakening) directs.
Rounding out the month’s horror offerings are two streaming premieres. On Netflix, The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as a monster hunter, in an ambitious adaptation of the hit video game series. The series premieres on December 20. Then, on December 27, Hulu premieres another new installment of its Into the Dark horror anthology, Midnight Kiss. The plot largely seems to be under wraps, but with a title (and a release date) like that it seems to be New Year’s related. And it could very well be a perfect way to ring in 2020!