Movie Reviews: Best and Worst Halloween Movies of 2012

Poptional Reading ranks the best Halloween movies of 2012: House at the End of the Street, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie, V/H/S, Sinister, and Paranormal Activity 4



Hotel Transylvania photograph courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation © 2012 Sony Pictures Animation, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Last week, I recommended that you check out Dark Shadows — the originals — which were shot in Tarrytown. But if that’s not enough Halloween horror for you, here’s a round-up of this year’s current scary movies (and how each fared with audiences and critics).

House at the End of the Street
Opened: 9/21
Opening weekend box office: $12,287,234 (#2 rank, 3,083 theaters, $3,985 average)
Metacritic metascore: 31/100
The deal: The Jennifer Lawrence haunted-house tale has received some of the worst reviews of the season. Usually that doesn’t affect horror audiences, but they didn’t seem to like it, either — it did okay on a weekend where the box office was weak overall. Looks like we’re going to need something better from Lawrence to tide us over until the next Hunger Games.

Hotel Transylvania
Opened: 9/28
Opening weekend box office: $42,522,194 (#1 rank, 3,349 theaters, $12,697 average)
Metacritic metascore: 47/100
The deal: Adam Sandler is the voice of Dracula in this family-friendly animated monster movie — and that’s all families needed to hear. Despite wishy-washy reviews from critics, this movie dominated the box office, leading the year’s three kid-friendly Halloween flicks (beating out stop-motion movies Frankenweenie and Paranorman).

Frankenweenie
Opened: 10/5
Opening weekend box office: $11,412,213 (#5 rank, 3,005 theaters, $3,798 average)
Metacritic metascore: 74/100
The deal: Tim Burton’s stop-motion homage to classic monster movies was a hit with the critics, garnering some of the best reviews of the season, but no so much with families, who preferred to see the more colorful (and more slapstick) Hotel Transylvania. (Frankenweenie also suffered from being the last-released, kid-targeted Halloween movie of the three mentioned above.) Personally, I love all of Burton’s grim visions of suburban living, and Frankenweenie is no exception — I think we could have a greater appreciation of this movie than the rest of the country.

V/H/S
Opened: 10/5
Opening weekend box office: $36,402 (#52 rank, 16 theaters, $2,275 average)
Metacritic metascore: 54/100
The deal: This horror flick is an anthology of six cheaply made, found-footage-style shorts, each with a different director. The film has kept a low profile, but horror fans were really excited about it, causing Salon to ask if it is the harbinger of a horror Renaissance.

Sinister
Opened: 10/12
Opening weekend box office: $18,007,634 (#3 rank, 2,527 theaters, $7,126 average)
Metacritic metascore: 52/100
The deal: The Ethan Hawke-led ghost story is neither here nor there: critics didn’t love it, and audiences gave it enough money but didn’t rush out to see it in droves. This might be the point where horror fatigue begins to set in. 

paranormal activity 4
Paranormal Activity 4 photograph (c) 2012 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved

Paranormal Activity 4
Opened: 10/19
Opening weekend box office: $30,200,000 (#1 rank, 3,412 theaters, $8,851 average)
Metacritic metascore: 43/100
The deal: Since Hollywood believes that all good things must never come to an end, we have the fourth installment of a found-footage scare-a-thon. Audiences showed that they’re starting to get weary of the franchise, making this the lowest-grossing installment yet — but it’s still No. 1 at the box office and a huge financial success, so expect part five next year.

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY


Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.

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