The 38 geek movies of spring, summer, and early fall 2012

Our annual tradition of previewing the geek-centric theatrical movie releases of the year rounds up the 38 sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and generally geek-related flicks that will hit U.S. cinemas between April and September of 2012.

Movies are rated on the following scale, best to worst: Full Price, Matinee, Rental, TV, or Never.

1. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope [trailer]

Super Size Me documentarian Morgan Spurlock teams up with Joss Whedon to capture the essence of Comic-Con International in San Diego, which is to say they follow Stan Lee and Kevin Smith around the world's biggest nerd-fest as they create and crush the dreams of artists, designers, and collectors desperate for validation. Can't be worse than Fanboys.

Release date: April 6 Geekend rating: Rental 2. The Cabin in the Woods [trailer]

Joss Whedon's long-delayed deconstruction of the horror genre, as written by Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard and Whedon, wherein a group of attractive 20-somethings are trapped in a mysterious cabin that adapts to torment and murder them. Think Scream meets Cube by way of Dollhouse. (That means "good.")

Release date: April 13 Geekend rating: Matinee 3. Lockout [trailer]

Guy Pearce collects a paycheck as the sociopathic superspy with a heart of gold sent to rescue the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) held hostage during a prison riot in space. Yes, that does read exactly like Diehard retold by a sucrose-overdosed five-year-old, which is pretty much what the trailer promises.

Release date: April 13 Geekend rating: Never 4. The Moth Diaries [trailer]

The writer/director of American Psycho cashes in on the teen vampire craze with the story of a boarding school orphan whose weirdly erotic friend might be undead, or simply a manipulative psychopath. Think Lost & Delirious meets Let The Right One In, only creepier and more exploitative.

Release date: April 20 Geekend rating: Rental 5. The Raven [trailer]

John Cusack plays Edgar Allen Poe as the author tracks down a serial killer inspired by his writings -- as directed by V For Vendetta's James McTeigue. The studio bumped it from early March to late April because early screenings did well, so it may not be as awful as it sounds.

Release date: April 27 Geekend rating: TV 6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits [trailer]

Another March release bumped into April because the feedback was positive, though it's unclear how anyone could have doubted the studio behind Wallace & Gromit doing a claymation version of Gideon Defoe's cleverly fun The Pirates! children's book series. Goofball swashbucklers battle rivals for the Pirate of the Year award, defeating Queen Victoria and teaming up with Charles Darwin along the way. Yes, please.

Release date: April 27 Geekend rating: Matinee 7. The Avengers [trailer]

The culmination of Marvel Studios' years-in-the-making superhero meta-franchise, wherein Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, and Samuel L. Jackson (disguised as Nick Fury) agree to let Joss Whedon direct their first big-budget big-screen team up. Pinch yourself, comics geeks, 'cause you ain't dreaming.

Release date: May 4 Geekend rating: Full Price 8. Dark Shadows [trailer]

Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and a surprisingly solid supporting cast team up for a campy big-screen remake of the 1970s quasi-horror soap opera of the same name. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, an 18th century English lord cursed with undeath and revived in 1972 -- with all that it implies. (It implies goofiness. Lots of goofiness.)

Release date: May 11 Geekend rating: Rental 9. Battleship [trailer]

Peter Berg (the guy who directed Hancock) somehow gets a few hundred million dollars to turn the old Hasbro board game into a giant Transformers-style brain-dead plot-optional action-fest (they have a budget for four hyphenated terms). Yes, Hollywood is officially out of ideas.

Release date: May 18 Geekend rating: Never 10. Chernobyl Diaries [trailer]

A classic horror premise in a mildly novel setting. Six tourists hire an unethical guide to show them around the irradiated remains of Chernobyl, only to discover they're being stalked through the abandoned ruins. Don't let the Oren Peli producer credit fool you (he made Paranormal Activity); this one is low-budget and run by first-timers, so it could be either genius or garbage.

Release date: May 25 Geekend rating: TV 11. Men in Black III [trailer]

A completely unnecessary sequel, which sees Will Smith sent back in time to the 1960s where he encounters Josh Brolin doing an uncanny Tommy Lee Jones impression. Also, there may be some awkward racial jokes, because those worked out so well in Wild Wild West. You've been warned.

Release date: May 25 Geekend rating: TV 12. Piranha 3DD [trailer]

Sequel to the gratuitously bloody, puerile, and campy Piranha 3D. Somehow, the producers have amped the sex, violence, and irreverence up even more, which is to say this is a feature-length R-rated Robot Chicken sketch filmed in widescreen live-action 3D. Should be fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

Release date: June 1 Geekend rating: TV 13. Snow White and the Huntsman [trailer]

Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron emo up the classic fairy tale for the Twilight set, as overseen by a rookie director relying heavily on green screen technology. Think Immortals meets The Brothers Grimm, for better and for worse.

Release date: June 1 Geekend rating: Never 14. Prometheus [trailer]

Ridley Scott's three-decades-in-the-making prequel to Alien, with an all-star cast headlined by Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Guy Pearce teaming up to divine the origin of humankind, and possibly the xenomorphs, too. It looks every bit as awesome as you always hoped it would be.

Release date: June 8 Geekend rating: Full Price 15. Safety Not Guaranteed [trailer]

A group of journalism interns seek out the man who posted a classified ad looking for partners for a time travel expedition. An indie-licious cast anchored by Aubrey Plaza give this plenty of quirky street cred. Think K-PAX crossed with Little Miss Sunshine, only as a date movie.

Release date: June 8 Geekend rating: Rental 16. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [trailer]

No, seriously, what if the Great Emancipator had spent his pre-Presidential youth scouring the wilds of 19th century America for nosferatu? It's Hellboy meets The Patriot by way of Bubba Ho-Tep, with all the historical respect and gravitas you'd expect from that breed of cinema.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Rental 17. Brave [trailer]

Pixar's first feature starring a female protagonist chronicles a young Scottish highland princess's quest to prove herself a warrior. Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, and Kelly Macdonald round out a solid voice cast for another guaranteed heartwarming hit.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Matinee 18. Seeking A Friend for the End of the World [trailer]

When an impending asteroid strike threatens to wipe out all life on earth, Steve Carell decides to spend his last days on a road trip with Keira Knightley (there are worse coping mechanisms). I have no idea who thought Date Night needed to be mashed up with Deep Impact, but I admire the chutzpah.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Rental 19. Beasts of the Southern Wild [director's featurette]

The story of a young Louisiana girl struggling to save her father from an environmental catastrophe she believes she caused, complete with revived prehistoric monsters. Why, yes, this was a Sundance Film Festival darling.

Release date: June 29 Geekend rating: Rental 20. G.I. Joe: Retaliation [trailer]

Adrianne Palicki, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Bruce Willis(!) headline the sequel to 2009's aggressively stupid G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The good news? Almost the entire cast of the last movie is killed in the first reel of this one (except Ray Park's Snake Eyes, of course). The bad news? The previous sentence included the word "almost."

Release date: June 29 Geekend rating: Never Read about geek flicks that will hit U.S. cinemas between July and September 2012.