This October I decided to take on a big challenge that would lead me through some dark alleyways and strange realms. As a massive fan of the Halloween season and an equally big fan of horror movies, I decided I would watch thirty-one Halloween films before the end of the month. To top it all off, I wanted the list to be made up almost entirely of films I had never seen before.
Without further ado, here is my completed list, along with thirty-one single sentence reviews of each film:
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
Beautifully shot in lovely black and white, the subtlety and slowness of this movie will turn some viewers away, but the twist on the common vampire theme here is done gorgeously.
A vampire tale with just the right amount of camp and weirdness, this flick became an instant vampire classic in my book.
Genuinely well acted and frightening, Poltergeist impressed with its great pace and expertly creepy atmosphere.
Very strange and very slowly paced, this film is worth it for the beautifully surreal imagery and fantastic third act that will leave you sweating.
Surprisingly endearing characters and a wacky set of plot beats made this a relatively enjoyable flick, while the last act of the film became a truly suspenseful and unnerving climax.
With great creature effects and a lot of originality, the only place Hellraiser fails to deliver is in a satisfying pay off or sense of focus.
What starts as a pretty straight forward B-horror flick soon turns into a highly intelligent, wild, and funny gore-fest that became an instant Halloween classic for me.
Stressful and uncomfortably well-acted, Starry Eyes is a film that builds wonderfully to a true horror movie last act, but quickly loses focus by the very end.
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
With amazing creature effects and a real sense of claustrophobia, this film is funny and heartbreaking, though the pacing gets strange and the ending feels tacked on and abrupt.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
With a very slow start that ramps up the suspense, this flick features some wonderful talent and an unnerving plot that ends in a nail-biting final act.
As expected, David Lynch’s masterpiece is almost unintelligible and very tough to get through, though the surreal imagery and soundtrack are enough to keep one seated until the end.
A truly unsettling documentary about sleep paralysis, this film ambles somewhat lazily through several different creepy stories told by those who have experienced this phenomenon.
THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI
While the silent film aspect of this movie may make it tough for some to watch, the pacing and frenetic style of this flick made it a very interesting and surreal viewing.
Messy and uncomfortable with a few great horror scenes and some amazing color work, Suspiria is overall a disappointment for anyone looking for good scares or a coherent plot.
THE LOVED ONES
A surprise from Australia, The Loved Ones is a quickly paced romp with gore and bombast that delivers on the gut punches and twists.
Rather tame for what it was advertised as, Green Inferno is a quick watch with little to offer beyond some interesting character makeup and ham-fisted social commentary.
A quick watch with a gorgeous score and beautifully eerie scenery, The Fog does not stack up well with other Carpenter classics like Halloween, but it does deliver some thrills and chills.
Well acted, disgusting, and cleverly set up, The Thing is a well-paced alien flick that rides the line between sci-fi horror and action romp.
This little oddball film delivers on the laughs and a few good scares, though the acting and final act are what really stand out in this low budget surprise.
Slow and steady, The Omen benefits from Gregory Peck being truly convincing as a confused and frightened father stuck in the middle of a series of iconic horror scenes.
THE KILL LIST
Straight forward until the last fifteen or so minutes, The Kill List takes a long time to feel like a horror movie and leaves you wanting more of something you never really got enough of in the film.
GOOSEBUMPS (the movie)
Goofy, but surprisingly sharply written in many places, Goosebumps will speak to the kid in you who was creeped out by killer clowns and ventriloquist dummies.
Completely worth it for the beautiful cinematography and gorgeous ending, The Orphanage slows down in the middle but manages to deliver some great scares throughout its runtime.
Corny and confused, Hostel makes one wonder why Eli Roth blew up in the way he did. The concept is there, but the execution fails on almost every level except for a few instances toward the end of the second act.
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES
Odd and stitched together, this bit or horror satire is dirty and uncomfortable all the way through, though the ending is genuinely scary and nail-biting.
Paced like a Russian novel, The Others is a showcase of Nicole Kidman being convincingly confused and scared, though the film only becomes truly entertaining in the last bits of the final act.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
A short peek into a world before zombies were all the rage, Night feels like a refreshingly scary take on the mythology it eventually inspired.
TALES OF HALLOWEEN
This extremely hit-or-miss anthology has some brilliantly creepy shorts mixed in with messy bits that water the whole experience down.
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW (1949)
A classic Disney retelling, Sleepy Hollow is a fun and musical time that culminates in a surprisingly frightening final chase with the Headless Horseman.
Though it can be difficult to watch at times with its shaking camera moving up and down stairs, the wonderful acting and genuinely uncomfortable scares make this one to come back to.
Not a new one on my end but one I get something new from every time, Halloween is a John Carpenter masterpiece full of gorgeous shots and one of the greatest horror villains ever created.
The challenge was a tough one at times, but it helped build to a fantastic Halloween. Which of these films have you seen? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!