It's getting closer to Halloween, and that means scary movies. Of course, I love scary movies and I watch them all year long, but I watch them with a purpose in October. Most critics don't bother with scary movies, or pre-judge them, and that has led to the recent rash of horror films being withheld from the press. It goes without saying, also, that the studios know they're making bad movies by playing it safe with their remakes and sequels, rather than rolling the dice on a new idea. Most of the current horror movies have this in common: they're remakes or sequels, they were withheld from the press, and they flopped.

Hmm. I wonder if this is a pattern that ought to be avoided in the future?

Despite being directed by Neil LaBute -- a filmmaker whose entire reputation was established by critics who singled out his great debut In the Company of Men (1997) -- The Wicker Man remake (233 screens) was withheld from those same critics, and it has officially flopped, returning only $23 million on a $40 million budget.

categories Columns, Cinematical