imageYesterday while driving past a six-screen theater in my neighborhood that tends to play smaller, independent films, I noticed a title on the marquee that caught me completely be surprise.

Atlas Shrugged 3.

I knew the people behind the first two had been stubbornly discussing a third entry, despite the free market’s complete and utter financial rejection of the franchise, but I hadn’t heard a peep about anything actually going into production. And yet there it is, playing at a theater a couple of miles from my house. They even got Ron Paul to make a cameo! It’s not that I expected The Hollywood Reporter to continually post casting updates and set photos of this (clearly) tiny film, but the first two made just enough noise to catch the attention of objectivists and humanists alike. I guess I expected…something. Watching the trailer now, it’s clear that the stretching of the source material has gone past The Battle of the Five Armies territory and turned inward with a dopey love story about selfish people and their fabulous trains. When your central love story gets upstaged by an ice sculpture, you may not want to promise that this is “just the beginning.”

This morning, I stumbled across more. I was looking up matinee showtimes for No Good Deed, a film that looks like a lot of fun, but not full-price-ticket-fun. And because it’s the weekend and because we took a $325 bath on my fiancé’s car getting towed before realizing the door locks no longer work, I decided to retreat into fantasy and plan a day of theater hopping. So I perused another, much larger theater (26 screens) for something that might be worth seeing for free. And folks, let me tell you…there’s some weird shit going down this weekend.

The first film to catch my eye was something called, “The Remaining.” That’s clearly a horror movie title, so I clicked the link for more details and discovered that it’s a Christian horror film about the rapture sucking people out of their finery in the middle of a wedding. Christianity and horror go together like a polo shirt at a Murder Junkies show, so I naturally needed to know more.

This actually opened last weekend with a per theater average of $791.67 on 67 screens. Even the target audience wasn’t that curious. Sorry I even mentioned it.

But that brings us to Something Wicked, another eye-catching title, both because it was completely off my radar and because I’ll always give a glance to any horror film that actually manages to play in a theater these days. Turns out, it’s Brittany Murphy’s last film…

According to an interview with the one of the producers, the film’s delay spiraled out of control after Murphy’s death and only got worse when they couldn’t return to some of the outdoor locations for reshoots. It’s not unheard of for an actor’s final performance to screen years after their death, but half a decade is a long time by any measure. I guess I’d just assumed that Murphy’s last film had been released a long time ago, so seeing this—which from the looks of it, would not have been given a theatrical release if their biggest star had lived to see it—caught me off guard. The trailer itself is a total mess, but I could actually see having fun with this one. We need more trashy, Adrian Lynne-style thrillers (No Good Deed!) in theaters and and this looks appropriately trashy.

I’m not sure what the point of this article is any more, other than to point out how strange the post-Summer film landscape looks only a few weeks after the studios were trying to put their best foot forward with their most expensive and highly advertised films. After the worst Summer in years, we’re getting the worst dump month in years. Let’s hope the Fall treats us a little better.