You’ve heard of Christmas in July? This week’s like Halloween in May.
While everyone is gearing up for the fall haunting season, when Pennywise hits the big screen again in September’s “It: Chapter Two,” this weekend brings James Gunn’s superhero horror flick “Brightburn” to theaters and musically tinged psychological thriller “The Perfection” to Netflix to unnerve fright-fest fans. This summer is actually pretty full of scares, from the return of not one but three killer dolls to a villainous Octavia Spencer.
Here are the horror movies to put on your must-see list the next three months, with something for every film taste.
Preview: Every must-see horror film in 2019, from ‘Us’ to the ‘It’ sequel
If you like superheroes: ‘Brightburn’ (Friday)
This ain’t the Avengers, folks. Produced by James Gunn, the new film puts an evil spin on the Superman origin story as it centers on a Kansas farm couple (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) raising an alien boy (Jackson A. Dunn) who crash-landed on Earth as a baby. Unfortunately, this kid’s not down with truth, justice or the American way.
If you like classical music and/or frenemies: ‘The Perfection’ (Friday)
The very twisty thriller stars “Get Out” actress Allison Williams as a one-time cello prodigy who befriends the star student (Logan Browning) of her former teacher (Steven Weber). A sinister symphony awaits this string duo, though, as things get seriously crazy quickly for both women.
If you like unconventional antagonists: ‘Ma’ (May 31)
Octavia Spencer is a cool lady known for playing kind, motherly types, which is why her role here is so intriguing: She plays a middle-aged Ohio woman who opens her home as a party place after local teens ask her to buy them alcohol, and the youngsters hanging out in her basement find out she’s got a weird obsessive streak.
If you like quirky zombies: ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ (June 14)
Indie director Jim Jarmusch unleashes the walking undead on a sleepy small town with an absolutely stellar cast along for the ride, including Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny as embattled cops, Tilda Swinton as an oddball Scottish mortician, Iggy Pop and Carol Kane as zombies, and Tom Waits as a wise hermit.
If you like devil dolls: ‘Child’s Play’ (June 21)
The infamous Chucky, who originally appeared in 1988, is reborn for a modern age as a robotic (and somewhat murderous) toy/new best friend for young Andy (Gabriel Bateman). None other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, voices Chucky – he’s known for doing the animated Joker, so he’s got evil cred – and Aubrey Plaza co-stars as Andy’s frazzled mom.
If you really like devil dolls: ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ (June 26)
The possessed plaything from “The Conjuring” gets her third solo movie, with paranormal experts Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) locking Annabelle in their room of occult artifacts. Unluckily for them, Annabelle awakens the other malevolent spirits in the place and they all turn their attention on the Warrens’ 10-year-old daughter (Mckenna Grace).
If you really, really like devil dolls: ‘Brahms: The Boy II’ (July 26)
Brahms, the porcelain child who looks way, way too real, returns in the sequel, which receives an infusion of star power: Katie Holmes headlines as the mom of a young family that moves into the super-creepy Heelshire Mansion, and Christopher Convery plays the real boy who befriends the eerie fake one.
If you like creepy cults with attractive Europeans: ‘Midsommar’ (July 3)
Director Ari Aster hailed demon king Paimon with “Hereditary” and takes audiences on a wholly different and strange trip with his new horror project. Florence Pugh stars as a young woman who travels to Sweden with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his pals to a midsummer festival featuring a pagan cult and ultra-bizarre rituals.
If you like things scarier than climate change: ‘Crawl’ (July 12)
A Florida town is beset by a Category 5 hurricane but raging winds and rain have nothing on humongous chomping alligators. Kaya Scodelario stars as a young woman who ignores evacuation warnings to find her missing father (Barry Pepper), and growing floodwaters bring some hungry, terrorizing reptiles.
If you like to freak out your kids: ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ (Aug. 9)
Monster-movie guru Guillermo del Toro is the co-writer and producer behind this adaptation of the children’s book series. Set in 1968, the film follows the teenagers of small-town Mill Valley, who find a tome of terrifying tales penned by a tortured young girl and deal with the consequences when the stories come alive.