OK, maybe that’s a wee bit hyperbolic, but this year is on track to be crowned the most successful 12-month-periodever for the gruesome genre.
While audiences continue to turn their noses up at Hollywood blockbusters and should-fire sequels, movies like Stephen King’s “It” and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” have collected both commercial and critical success. Even the RottenTomatoes splat “Jigsaw” brought in over $16 million this weekend, and that happened while many horror fans chose to stay home and binge-watch the second season of “Stranger Things.”
So, what is it about 2017? Is it the tumultuous political climate or simply superhero overload attracting audiences to Hollywood’s dark side?
That may not be a question we can sort out right away, but while we wait for answers, let’s take a look at the Utah Film Commission’s list of five horror movies filmed right here in the state of Utah.
1962 was the year audiences first learned about the tragic tale of church organist Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss). Since that time, “Carnival of the Souls” has continued to scare up audiences in film classes and classic screenings. According to the Utah Film Commission, “Carnival of the Souls” was filmed right here in Salt Lake City, and “has been contemporarily noted by critics and film scholars for its cinematography and foreboding atmosphere.”
After the crazy success of William Friedkin’s original “Exorcist,” it was only a matter of time before filmmakers were asking Linda Blair to reprise her role as Regan, the demonically troubled teenager. “Heretic” wouldn’t find the same success of its 1973 predecessor, but fans of the series claim the sequel earns a so-bad-it’s-good rating, and since parts of it were filmed in Glen Canyon, this is a title that might be worth an add to some especially long movie marathon.
“Exorcist II: The Heretic” is rated R for mild nudity, violence and gore, language and frightening and intense scenes.
Troll 2 PG-13
You know why “Troll 2” is great? Not because of its quality — dear goodness, no. In fact, it’s considered by many as one of the worst movies ever made.
No, “Troll 2” is amazing because it’s not the sequel to “Troll.” As the Utah Film Commission notes, “Although produced under the name “Goblins,” the film’s distributors renamed the feature ‘Troll 2,’ in an attempt to market it as a sequel to the 1986 film ‘Troll.’ The two films, however, have no connection.”
While I’m glad this trend never caught on, I can’t help but want to high-five whoever came up with the plan to pretend their terrible movie was a sequel to another terrible movie. Regardless, “Troll 2” was filmed in several locations around the state including Morgan, Heber, Porterville and Sundance.
So, maybe not the best movie in the series, but this Halloween movie does star Paul Rudd, and who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?
“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” comes in as the sixth chapter of the horror franchise, and is the third shot here in Utah.
The reason “Curse” makes this list, is first, Paul Rudd. But second, as the Utah Film Commission points out: “The feature shot in various Utah locations including Salt Lake, Midvale, Ogden, during the winter of 1994-95. The crew was hit by an unexpected early winter snowstorm which complicated production and, as a result, several scenes which were due to take place outdoors were quickly moved to indoor locations.”
“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” is rated R for strong horror violence and some sexuality.
I don’t think there are many people out there necessarily calling “Species” a good movie, but the 1995 sci-fi/horror did find an audience that wanted more. The Utah Film Commission says, “The feature turned out to be a box office success. A theatrical sequel, ‘Species II,’ was later produced, followed by a book adaptation and two comic book series.”
Sporting a cast which includes Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker and Alfred Molina, “Species” made over $113 million on a $35 million budget, and according to the Utah Film Commission, “Several scenes were filmed in Utah, including the opening scenes, which were captured at the Tooele Army Depot, and a Victorian-era train station in Brigham City.”
“Species” is rated R for strong sexuality, sci-fi violence/gore and language.