North Shore Flick Chick: Theater Tricks & Treats

It’s October, and you know what that means—horror film fans unite!

Not to worry, scaredy-cats—the box office has some fearless fall treats for you, too.

If you crave guts and gore, or thrills and chills, this month’s for you. If you cringe at the sight of fake blood, or the sound of squeaky doors and floors, this month’s for you, too. The pre-Halloween cast of characters on screen include a possessed doll, a suspicious widower, a kid who’s having the worst day EVER, two (or is it three) former superheroes, an Englishwoman with an American accent, a hairy (and some say imaginary) beast and, well, Bill Murray. Boil, boil, toil and trouble… 

Something Wicked This Way Comes 

Annabelle (R)

If you saw “The Conjuring,” then you’re already familiar with Annabelle—the creepy, life-size doll that is among the collectibles in the Warrens’ locked room of possessed objects. There is a scene in this trailer that is absolutely terrifying—I’m not sure if the rest of the film can compete (but I’m going to find out). Now playing. 

Dracula Untold (PG-13)

True horror fans are well versed in the legend of Dracula. This version—featuring Luke Evans(“The Hobbit,” “Fast and Furious”), Sarah Gadon (“The Nut Job”) and Dominic Cooper (“An Education,” “My Week with Marilyn”)—smartly avoided an R rating, so teenagers (and pre-teens, if parents go with or theater staff turn a blind eye) are sure to flock to it. Opens Oct. 10.

Ouija (PG-13)

You may have had a Parker Bros. Ouija board as a kid, but this movie is about the real deal…you know, the kind of old-fashioned, carved from the wood of a tree “spirit board” that supposedly allows users to communicate with the dead (if you believe in that sort of thing). This movie is for and about teenagers, but I wouldn’t be above seeing it on a chilly Sunday afternoon (just not alone). Opens Oct. 24. 

Exists (R) 

From the director of “The Blair Witch Project” (which still haunts me) comes this piece of “found footage” about a group of friends who stumble upon one of the world’s most elusive creatures. My Bigfoot-obsessed boyfriend can’t wait for this one, which takes place in a cabin in the woods. (Go figure.) Opens Oct. 24.  

Fall Releases for the Entire Fam 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

Based on the classic children’s book, this release caters to parents and kids alike. Alexander (newcomer Ed Oxenbould) feels like an outsider in his own family, where everyone except him seems to be happy. Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner portray his persistent parents. Look for a cameo by Dick Van Dyke, as himself. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a kangaroo. (You heard me.) Opens Oct. 10.

The Book of Life (PG) 

Forget Halloween…Happy Day of the Dead, everyone! Both kids and adults should love this visually sensational animation about two young men competing for one girl’s heart. Voiced by Magic Mike (er, Channing Tatum), Zoe Saldana, Ice Cube, Ron Perlman and Christina Applegate; directed by Jorge Gutierrez; and produced by Guillermo del Toro. (Move over, Tim Burton.) Opens Oct. 17. 

Dramas, Comedies, Dramedies 

Men, Women & Children (R)

“Discover how little you know about the people you know.” From the director of “Up in the Air” and “Juno” comes this painfully real examination of sex, desire and loneliness among men and women, boys and girls, in this digital age. The all-star cast: Jennifer Garner, Angsel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”), Judy Greer (from the sitcom “Married”), Emma Thompson, J.K. Simmons, Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”) and funny man Adam Sandler. Now playing.

Gone Girl (R)

While Ben Affleck is under some scrutiny for his upcoming role as Batman, the actor really can do no wrong since “Argo.” Here, his innocence is doubted after the disappearance of his wife (newcomer Rosamund Pike)—did he have something to do with it? Watch and decide for yourself. (Note: Neil Patrick Harris takes a serious turn in this mystery.) Now playing.

The Good Lie (PG-13)

Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon is tough as nails in this story, based on real-life events, about a woman who assists a group of Sudanese refugees (better known as “The Lost Boys”) adjust to life in America. Writer Margaret Nagle spent some 10 years trying to get this socially responsible movie made, which makes it all the more worth supporting. Now playing. 

Left Behind (PG-13)

I don’t care for Nicolas Cage, and I dislike “One Tree Hill” alum Chad Michael McMurray even more, but I’d be remiss not to mention this film, given the subject matter, which will hit close to home for many. Perhaps it is too soon for a feature film about lives lost both in the air and on the ground, and a pilot who may be held accountable in the wake of the terrorist attack. Now playing.  

The Judge (R)

Robert Downey Jr. has removed his Iron Man costume (for good, he claims) and replaced it with a traditional suit and tie for this drama about a lawyer who bonds with his father (the one-and-onlyRobert Duvall) after the latter is accused of murder. Leighton Meester (of “Gossip Girl” fame),Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order”), Billy Bob Thornton (fresh off the success of his TV series, “Fargo”) and Vera Farmiga (from A&E’s “Bates Motel”) star. Opens Oct. 10. 

St. Vincent (PG-13)

Two words: Bill Murray. Need I say more? Melissa McCarthy. Still not enough? Just watch the trailer. You won’t be disappointed. Opens Oct. 10. 

The Best of Me (PG-13)

It’s said that everything happens for a reason. Leading man James Marsden (ooh-la-la) andMichelle Monaghan share another one of the greatest love stories ever told by Nicholas Sparks, which smacks of “The Notebook,” but will never measure up. (Sorry—you can add all the kissing in the rain scenes you like.) But, as you know, I’m not above seeing it. Please pass the Kleenex…Opens Oct. 17.

Fury (R) 

I’m not one for movies about war (or Brad Pitt), but I must mention this upcoming release, also featuring Shia LaBeouf (who I thought gave up acting—darn), which takes place in April of 1945. Is this the next “Saving Private Ryan”? You be the judge. Opens Oct. 17. 

Birdman (R)

Art imitates life imitates art in this crazy tale of an actor (Michael Keaton—how apropos) once famous for his role as a superhero (oh, the irony) who struggles to remain relevant years later. A (well-groomed) Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone (showing her blond roots) and Edward Norton(in his skivvies) add to the high jinks in this black comedy, alternately titled “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” Opens Oct. 17. 

Laggies (R) 

The release date for this quirky film starring Brit chick Keira Knightly, fresh off the success of “Begin Again” (a must-see), has changed, but no bother. A woman’s quarter-life crisis drives her to befriend a teenage girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and hide from adult life for a while. Enter said teen’s father, the always-delightful Sam Rockwell. Sparks fly…but not in a predictable, annoying kind of way. (How’s that for a change?) Opens Oct. 24.  


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