The Year Ahead in Horror

Spooky franchises will return to both big and small screens, plus some notable new titles for 2023 nightmares.

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M3GAN 
M3GAN 
Photo: Geoffrey Short/Universal Pictures

Cheryl Eddy is a senior writer for io9 as well as its news editor; she covers horror, books, sci-fi, fantasy, and weird culture, sometimes all at once. You can follow her coverage  here, and email tips to cheryl.eddy@gizmodo.com.

The top story:

Pop-culture trends come and go, but horror is always there, lurking in the shadows—except when it’s dominating the box office and TV ratings, which it often does, thanks to its habit of raking in huge returns on relatively low-budget projects. Horror fiends know what they like, and they’ll go see movie sequels and reboots as well as new projects that sound like can’t-miss moments. Horror TV is also experiencing a boom, as is horror literature. When the real world is scary as hell, there’s nothing like ghoulish, gruesome fiction to make you realize things could actually be worse.

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Note that release dates are subject to change.

What we’re waiting for at theaters:

Scream VI | Official Teaser Trailer (2023 Movie)
  • M3GAN - James Wan and Akela Cooper (Malignant) co-wrote the story about a lifelike doll powered by worrisomely advanced AI that becomes best friends forever with an orphaned little girl. A terrifying ad campaign made M3GAN a horror icon even before the movie hit theaters. (January 6)
  • Knock at the Cabin - Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s apocalyptic novel The Cabin at the End of the World, this is the latest from genre superstar M. Night Shyamalan, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista in the lead role. (February 3)
  • Scream VI - Ghostface takes Manhattan in this swift-turnaround sequel from the team who made 2022's Scream, which was really Scream V, but was so enjoyable we can now let that slide. (March 10)
  • Renfield - Nicolas Cage plays a luridly stylish Dracula in this much-anticipated comedic riff on the classic Universal Monsters vampire tale, with Nicholas Hoult as the title character and Awkwafina as Renfield’s love interest. (April 14)
  • Evil Dead Rise - Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground) wrote and directed the fifth Evil Dead movie, which has a new cast and takes place not in a cabin in the woods, but a haunted Los Angeles apartment building. Originally slated for HBO Max, it’s now getting a theatrical release, which absolutely fits the definition of “groovy.” (April 21)
  • Insidious: Fear the Dark and The Nun 2 and Saw X - James Wan is already on this list for M3GAN and yet here are three more films padding out the ridiculously successful portfolio of horror titles he’s been associated with over the years. Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut with the fifth Insidious movie; The Nun 2 brings back scream queen Taissa Farmiga and expert scream-inducer Bonnie “Valak” Aarons; and Saw X is, well, the 10th Saw movie, an achievement that lifts it into the rare air of horror franchises with double-digit entries. (July 7, September 8, October 27)
  • The Exorcist - Billed as a direct sequel to William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty’s 1973 classic, this features the return of Ellen Burstyn (yay!) but comes from the team behind the recent Halloween trilogy, which had its moments but wasn’t exactly an overall triumph. Still, Captain Howdy himself couldn’t keep us away from this one. (October 13)
  • Beau Is Afraid - “Ari Aster’s new horror movie” should be enough to lure you into the theater, because the guy who created Hereditary and Midsommar has yet to steer us wrong. This one stars Joaquin Phoenix in a surreal supernatural story set over a period of decades, about a man who sets out to find his long-absent father. Why is he afraid? We’ll find out sometime in 2023.
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What we’re waiting to watch, TV edition:

Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre | Official Clip | Netflix
  • The Fall of the House of Usher - Master of the horror miniseries Mike Flanagan’s final Netflix outing is inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Crystal Lake - Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller is behind this Friday the 13th prequel series coming to Peacock.
  • Alien - Noah Hawley’s series based on the Ridley Scott sci-fi horror franchise (non-Ridley Scott-endorsed) will hopefully burst onto FX this year.
  • Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre - The horror legend presents “20 macabre masterpieces brimming with his original worldview and fascinating characters drawn in his stunning style” for this animated series. It arrives January 19 on Netflix.
  • Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches - AMC continues its journey into Anne Rice’s “Immortal Universe” with this new series about a woman facing her witchy family history. It premieres January 8 on AMC and AMC+.
  • Zombies - The Walking Dead might be over, but spin-offs are on the way, with the Negan n’ Maggie-centric Dead City en route in April to AMC and Daryl Dixon to follow. Video game adaptation The Last of Us, meanwhile, hits HBO on January 15.
  • Returning favorites - Shows like AMC’s Interview With the Vampire, Paramount+’s Evil, and FX’s What We Do in the Shadows should be dropping next seasons in 2023. Still no season three announcement from Syfy and USA for Chucky, though.
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What we’re waiting to read:

Our bookshelves are screaming in anticipation for titles like How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (January 17), Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie (January 24), All Hallows by Christopher Golden (January 24), Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones (February 7), The Destroyer of Worlds: A Return to Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (February 21), Lone Woman by Victor LaValle (March 21), A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (March 28), Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward (April 11), and The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw (May 2).

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A longshot bet:

Have you seen the trailer for Cocaine Bear?


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.