Kicking Off My Monstrous Horror Movie Marathon in October
by Alex Billington
October 5, 2010
Every October when I return home from the always awesome genre festival Fantastic Fest in Austin, all I feel like doing is watching horror movies non-stop. As a kid I was honestly very scared of most horror (I'll admit it). My older brother showed me some but it would scare me so much that I literally couldn't sleep, so I've dodged the genre as much as humanly possible. Over the years I've toughened up and, with the help of friends and colleagues, been introduced to lots of great horror which has made me appreciate the genre. But, of course, there's still many great horror movies I haven't seen, which is why I'm kicking off this new series.
I made the decision during my film festival tour in September to come home and watch as much horror as I can throughout October. Most people go for one-a-day, but I've just decided to watch what I want, whenever I can, and write about my reactions as often as I can. I'll be watching mostly horror films that I haven't seen, good or bad, anything I've heard people mention that I've missed, anything that's been on my mind all these years. I won't include a lot of the good horror I have already seen, like The Shining, Poltergeist, Evil Dead, Gremlins, or any recent horror from the last few years (which I've seen a lot of), mostly because my focus here is to expand my knowledge and get into the genre like never before. I'm very excited to dive into this.
I officially kicked things off October 1st when I got to check out Darren Lynn Bousman's new film Mother's Day, the remake of classic 1980 Troma horror film. I'm only using it as my kick off movie, even though I've got plenty on my plate, because it was the only horror film I watched that day. I'm a fan of Bousman's work and I will admit that Saw II and Saw III were a few of the first horror films to get me sucked into the genre (though they're certainly not representative of my current taste in horror). I'm down for checking out a lot of the truly great classics, but I'm also more interested in going through all the cheesy must-see flicks as well.
Over this last weekend, I decided to catch a few more horror movies from my growing list (which I'll post online soon) that I've been anxious to finally watch. I started out with The Faculty, Club Dread (which I've already seen - a favorite of mine), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Fright Night, which is currently being remade. I'll provide some quick comments on the four of them below and we'll go from there. I'm really just taking my personal horror exploration experience and writing about all my thoughts for you guys to read, so there's no form or structure to any of this, just a free flow of my opinions. Let's get into with these first four!
The Faculty - I didn't even know this was directed by Robert Rodriguez until I put in the DVD. Although I remember hearing buzz about it when it first came out in 1998, I didn't know that much about it, but was still entertained. It's got a good cast (Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster), some fun moments, but it's not that memorable. I thought the (spoiler!) alien effects were pretty mediocre and by the end I'd almost lost all interest in the movie. Overall it was good, but fairly forgettable. The one thing this did do well is make me really want to watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1978 version) - which just arrived today on Blu-Ray, so I will be watching it soon!
Club Dread - This one is a big guilty pleasure mostly because I love the Broken Lizard guys and their mix of horror and comedy in this was perfect (for my tastes). It's a whole lot of fun to watch, which is why I think I like it so much. I'm only throwing it on here as one of the few films I have already seen because it's a good film to get out of the way early and it was the perfect way to get me in the mood for more serious horror.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - I'd hardly call this horror, but I guess for a low budget thriller from 1978, it would do the trick. Though I'd already knew of the movie, I didn't know that it was going to be extremely cheesy, nor that the tomatoes have no threatening features (no snarling mouth or anything), and that it was another Jaws inspired creature feature. But all that said, I still didn't hate it. I can see it for what it is and appreciate it, but that's about it. I will say one thing - I definitely can't wait to see the Ask a Ninja guys remake this!
Fright Night - Now this was exactly what I'd been looking forward to seeing! I really wanted to find a damn good, cheesy 80's horror flick (like Monster Squad or Gremlins - two of my other favorites) to get me in the mood for this horrific journey I'm embarking upon, and this was exactly what I wanted to watch. I loved the comedy, the vampire horror aspect was surprisingly creepy, overall I was quite impressed. I can definitely consider this one of my favorites so far. Plus, anything with Roddy McDowall is always awesome.
My goal is to watch at least one new horror film a day, and I'll write about them when I can. I'll be stocking up for my trip to New York this week (for NY Comic-Con) and will let you know if I catch anything on the road. To give you an idea of some of the other horror classics I need to see (and will be watching), here are a few from my list: The Car, The Haunting, Candyman, Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead trilogy, Scream trilogy, the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Dario Argento's Deep Red, The Howling, Stephen King's IT (I'm nervous about this one), Pet Sematary, Leprechaun, The Lost Boys, Swamp Thing, Videodrome and more. You're more than welcome to make suggestions or ask me if I've already seen a particular film and I'll answer in the comments below.
I'm simply trying to get caught up with the horror genre, where I feel like I'm very far behind, and enjoy as many of the great (and maybe not-so-great) horror classics as I can while it's still the month of Halloween. I'm ready to be scared out of my mind, to a certain degree (I still hate aliens) and I've been waiting all year to finally start this. And instead of doing it without telling anyone, I thought why not share my experiences and my thoughts with all of you guys, so here we go. There is plenty more to come, as I'm truly diving head first into the genre and will be watching as much as I can over the next 26 days, so stick around. I'll be back!
Reader Feedback - 55 Comments
yo alex watch DEAD BIRDS. some love it, some dont like it but i thought it was great. very tense and atmospheric. An impressive low budget horror IMO.
guvna on Oct 5, 2010
You haven't seen a horror move until you've seen INSIDE and FRONTEIR(S).
Jazzed on Oct 5, 2010
Want to watch a good 80's horror with some comedy in it? Watch the movie House.
L on Oct 5, 2010
DoomCanoe on Oct 5, 2010
the original cut of john carpenters "the fog" and "the thing"..........great halloween fun.
beavis on Oct 5, 2010
Martyrs is horrendous
Rashad on Oct 5, 2010
Don't forget the Phantasm series.
KP on Oct 5, 2010
Two words, one actor. Devil Bat. Lugosi. Check it out.
Delvis Crasho on Oct 5, 2010
You aint seen NOTHING until you have seen A Serbian Film... It's not a traditional horror, but the imagery in there will fuck with your brain until the day you die.
The Dr on Oct 5, 2010
House of the Devil.
Bud on Oct 5, 2010
Voice of Reason on Oct 5, 2010
Whoa yeah, #9. A Serbian Film was off the wall batshit wonderful/depraved. I still think about alot of those scenes... they just... stay with you. Lol, but man... I saw The Faculty at the perfect age when it came out. I still love it to this day.
Cracky on Oct 5, 2010
#7 - the original "phantasm" is a classic! the other movies in the series weren't as good.
beavis on Oct 5, 2010
I'd skip Swamp Thing if I were you, but that's just me. To make a personal suggestion: Check out "Killer Klowns from Outer Space." It's a super-cheesy 80's film, but it pretty much defines the scary Clown concept. When I was a little boy (I'm talking 4 or 5) I somehow saw this film on television, and I've been cripplingly afraid of Clowns ever since. People say "It" is a scary clown movie, but Pennywise never impressed me. The clowns from "Killer Klowns..." though, will haunt your waking dreams for the rest of your life. ---
DRM on Oct 5, 2010
Some good classics that haven't been mentioned yet are Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator, Hellraiser 1 and 2, and (I think at least) The original Salems Lot. Creepy little vampire kids. One of my guilty pleasure favorites is Exorcist 3.....here me out. The unfortunate downfall of the movie is they tried to market it as a direct sequel to the first movie, its not. Exorcist 2 was a piece of shit that was punched out to capitalize on the first. 3, which was based off of William Blatty's actual book, is the only one of the two "sequels" that is cannon. The story has very little supernatural subject matter for the majority, and is more of a serial killer story. The film also suffers from a really bad finale, but has some of the creepiest moments I've ever seen in a movie. The White Sheet scene at the hospital is worth the shit ending. The scariest element though are subtle environment shots. There is a scene in the film where the detective is in a church waiting to see a priest and hears noises in the dark. The hall he looks down is CREEPY AS SHIT. Not gonna give it away, but the catholic church has some messed up imagery. Anyway, the film is subtle so watch it carefully and, well, try to forgive the last 10 minutes or so.
Weird-Coma on Oct 5, 2010
If you are interested in vignette Stephen King style horror movies that sort of intertwine pieces together then you may enjoy the "Creepshows." For some reason they have always stuck with me as something that I could enjoy again and again especially if you enjoy cheesy horror.
Hairu on Oct 5, 2010
Reanimator and Origninal Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
zack on Oct 5, 2010
#15 - i can't believe i forgot about the original "salems lot" ! that's another classic. #16 - creepshows was excellent.........i loved the story where the guy (i think it was hal holbrook) finds the monster under the stairs and decides to have it kill his wife (adrienne barbeau)
beavis on Oct 5, 2010
And American Werewolf in London
zack on Oct 5, 2010
"The Devil's Rejects" was pretty solid and a pull no punches horror flick. Nothing supernatural here, just straight up messed up sociopaths doing their worst...little unsettling but it has one of the best uses of Freebird I've ever heard and stellar folk music soundtrack to boot!
Marc on Oct 5, 2010
This is the first comment I've left on this site (which I keep tabs on religiosly). If you haven't seen "The Night of the Hunter" you really should make room for it. It was one of the most frightening, and beautifully filmed black and white movies I've yet to see. Watching it is very much like experiencing a surreal childhood nightmare. As soon as I finished seeing it or the first time, I bought it the next day. set in the great depression, Robert Mitchum plays Harry Powell, an evil psychopath who poses as a preacher and murders widowed women (by switchblade) to take their money. The movie centers on two little children (john and pearl) who are pursued by him as he tries to find the money their recently executed father hid from the police after a bank robbery gone wrong. You won't regret this one.
Travis on Oct 5, 2010
other suggestions, Nosferatu, the Invisible Man, Silver Bullet, and the original Cape Fear (also classic Mitchum).
Travis on Oct 5, 2010
#13- True but it is rare that a horror series/sequels actually continue a real story and relate back to the prequels.
KP on Oct 5, 2010
Watch The new Nightmare on Elmstreet that's pretty scary but not in the right way.
Moon on Oct 5, 2010
I emphatically support the suggestions of House, John Carpenter's The Thing, Phantasm, & Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Of course, if you haven't seen John Carpenter's Halloween it is a MUST see for the genre. Night Of The Hunter is an excellent creepy psychological scary movie. Don't forget the classic Hitchcock's Psycho & The Birds.
Swann on Oct 5, 2010
#21 - i'll check out "night of the hunter"........it sounds good. #23 - agreed. but the phantasm sequels just didn't scare like the first one did. #25 - agree on the original "halloween" - it's a classic for everyones library. i'm not sure why - but i really liked halloween 4 as well.
beavis on Oct 5, 2010
I was fairly certain that Martyrs ruined my life. Until I saw A Serbian Film. That's when I knew my life was completely ruined. Holy shit. I still think about certain parts of that movie. I actually feel bad for liking it. I agree with everyone else about the good old school ones. Creepshows are great. Re-Animator. I actually have the dvd cover tattooed on my thigh. The Fog. Some others that I've always loved - The Frighteners, Prince Of Darkness, Demon Knight, Motel Hell, The Monster Squad, The Stuff. I know a lot of these are silly horror but they're fun.
Brian Ricci on Oct 5, 2010
Silver Bullet, Thinner, The Burrowers, The Janitor, Jeepers Creepers, 3 Extremes, Eden Lake, The Feast Trilogy.
Brian Ricci on Oct 5, 2010
@15 - Much respect for mentioning Exorcist 3. One of my favorites. Yes, even though the ending was a little flat, the rest of the movie was killer and Brad Dourif is simply mesmerizing to watch. @ Mr. Billington - here's a few I haven't seen mentioned yet: Changeling - 80's Ghost story featuring George C. Scott - Creepy as fuck Near Dark - If you're in for some decent "pre-sparkly" vampire goodness, highly underrated flick Vamp - Starts off comedically then spins a a little darker. Plus it has Deedee Pfeiffer. Rowr. In the Mouth of Madness - John Carpenter Opus and really, really, creepy and scary. I love this one. and now I mention a movie that's not a horror per se, but it is scary and that is a little known flick called Miracle Mile starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham. It is one of those "end of the world is coming" type movies as Anthony Edwards finds out there will be a nuclear strike early in the morning and he runs around for the rest of the night trying to get ready. It was one of those movies I found in the video store way back when, but it's always stuck with me. Not blood and gore and monsters type scares, but it's tense. I could go on forever, but....I won't. Also give Wes Craven's a New Nightmare a go. Not the rebootamakening featuring JEH, but the one that came out a few years ago. Good scares! http://www.dlmentertainment.com/?p=132371
DLM Entertainment on Oct 5, 2010
#28 - origianl jeepers creepers was a great halloween movie!
beavis on Oct 5, 2010
I have seen every movie mentioned here, except for A Serbian Film, but I read the whole plot on wikipedia and even -that- made me wanna scrub my eyeballs and brain with bleach. >.< One of the scariest movies for me, still, is Event Horizon. Sam Neill is one creepy motherfucker. I love that movie! Ravenous is another one that I stumbled upon on accident, and I quite liked it it. Guy Pearce ftw.
SuicidalOptimist on Oct 5, 2010
Talk about classics: The Twilight Zone! ======================= "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." -Don Vito Corleone, Godfather (1972) Watch movies online for free here:Movies Online
Eula McNinch on Oct 5, 2010
I'm in the middle of my own Halloween-season horror-movie-marathon! I started off a week early this year because the first six Friday the 13th movies were on Netflix instant streaming until Oct 1st. It was my first time to see any of the sequels, and I must say it was an awesome journey! Gotta love campy '80s horror! I'm a huge fan of early John Carpenter films. Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, and Prince of Darkness are absolutely brilliant and are on my must-watch list every year. I just watched In The Mouth of Madness for the first time last night and was totally impressed with how creepy the visuals were. I'm also a "Halloween" fanatic and would absolutely recommend working your way through the entire series. But if you need to fast-track it to fit in other movies I would watch Halloween 1, 2, and H20 (they make for a self-contained storyline). Gotta say I love Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, though - quite possibly the scariest Michael Myers in the series besides the first. Chucky scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, so naturally the Child's Play movies are favorites of mine every year (especially the first two). I live just a couple blocks away from the apartment building from the first movie! I'm leaving my highest recommendation for last: TRICK 'R TREAT - I never thought there would be a better Halloween inspired movie than John Carpenter's masterpiece, but this little gem blew me away when I picked it up last year. TRICK 'R TREAT is guaranteed to get you into the Halloween spirit while serving up everything you'd want out of a horror movie. Looking forward to hearing about your movie marathon as I continue my own.
Brett on Oct 5, 2010
I'm just gonna stick to the classics , because mentioning anything other than that is open for debate. Like others mentioned that you MUST SEE: The Exorcist Hitchcock's Psycho & The Birds Original Nightmare on Elm Street & Wes Cravens New Nightmare Some others that should be taken under consideration: Carrie Stephen King's Christine (Oh man Good Movie) Clive Barker's Hellraiser (Just the first two) Friday the 13th (Don't worry not too scary, but how can you not see it?) Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Tony Gomez on Oct 5, 2010
i love horror. Friday the 13th (1980) The Howling Night of the Kreeps Returen of the Livingdead The Omen Daminen: The Omen II The Beyond Zombi2 Dont Tourcher a Duckling Susperia Grizzley
d on Oct 5, 2010
Sleepaway Camp 2 but your gonna need a joint and a stiff drink to really enjoy this gem!!! also fyi just watch the last 15min of the first one and your good to go!
Happy Camper on Oct 5, 2010
I saw alot of awesome suggestions but no one mentioned BASKET CASE. This one was a weird, creepy movie that didn't get much attention and I highly recommend it. Can't wait to read what you were able to see next...
GrandDoc on Oct 5, 2010
@ 29 - Thank you for mentioning Near Dark. Katherine Bigalow's finest!! Creepshow - The original one is a fantastic homage to EC horror comics. The Brood Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1978 version, very underrated. Ginger Snaps The original Dead Trilogy - Night, Dawn and Day. Children shouldn't play with Dead Things The Horror Show Pumpkinhead I apologize if anyone has mentioned these already. I wasn't able to read everyone's posts thoroughly.
Alex O on Oct 5, 2010
If you're afraid of aliens and looking for a classic horror film then FIRE IN THE SKY is a must watch. There is a specific scene in that film that completely terrifies me which you'll be able to pick out after you see it. It's got some 80's feel to it too even though it came out in 93, and the director has done work directing episodes of Dexter and The X Files as well. One of the scariest films ever made, and one of the best alien films I've ever seen too.
peloquin on Oct 5, 2010
@29 - "Changeling - 80's Ghost story featuring George C. Scott - Creepy as fuck" Very well said that man. I have to totally second this. Very few people I know are aware of it but byjesus did it spook me when I saw. Proof that decent horror doesn't need blood and gore (not that those don't have a place). Defo worth seeing. I'm also impressed with those that have mentioned Prince of Darkness. A real gem from John Carpenter with a great concept and brilliant staging.
Payne by name on Oct 5, 2010
Lot's of EXCELLENT suggestions given. I'm going to try and give you some that aren't your "typical" horror classics, but are off the beaten path. TENEBRE - Argento classic with amazing visuals. DEMONS - It's like an extended 80's metal music video with Zombies. Fast, running zombies. Before there were fast, running zombies! BLACK CHRISTMAS - Inspiration for Carpenter's Halloween? SHOCK WAVES - Talk about cheezy! The best of the Nazi Zombie movies, and with Grand Moff Tarkin, too! How can you beat it? ENJOY!
tommyturner on Oct 5, 2010
Stephen King's IT The Omen (1976) Halloween (1978) Scream 1-3 Young Frankenstein Evil Dead 1 & 2 Army of Darkness Jeepers Creepers (really cheesy) SAW 1-6 Halloween 2 (2009) Creepshow Manhunter; Silence Of The Lambs; Red Dragon; Hannibal Rising Child's Play House Of 1,000 Corpses The Devil's Rejects
Peace Love & GaGa on Oct 5, 2010
I know you mentioned watching an Argento flick. So not sure if that means you've seen Susperia, Inferno, and Phenomena yet or not. If you haven't definitely watch them! Others I suggest are: Carrie Poltergeist Transylvania 6-5000 Dead Alive The Old Dark House The Return of the Living Dead The Lost Boys Demons And if you haven't already, by all means see The Rocky Horror Picture Show!
Caitie on Oct 5, 2010
With you being a Burton fan do you like "Sleepy Hollow"? I think that's one that is pretty well done and deserves a little more recognition than it got. Also "The Frighteners" is a good Halloween flick I think. And if you haven't seen Guy Pearce's "Ravenous" it might be a good one if you're looking for stuff off the beaten path.
Marc on Oct 6, 2010
I really liked Silver Bullet, and I forgot about "Fire in the Sky" which is the scariest alien movie ever, (when my cousin was 15 he slept in his parents room the night he saw it.) But I strongly suggest "Night of the Hunter" above all, I think the reason a lot of people regard it as one of the scariest films ever made, it how similar it is to experiencing a surreal childhood nightmare where one is helplessly escaping a malevolent presence. Plus the cinematography is horrifying and beautiful at the same time. A very unconventional ending as well.
Travis on Oct 7, 2010
The Changeling is the scariest of all movies brought up so far... have you seen it Alex?
Lesley on Oct 10, 2010
id watch the movie audition very messed up cool film
pulp fiction212 on Oct 10, 2010
Check out Wickerman (73) if you haven't already. A little weird, but forgiveable for how creepy it is.
Al on Oct 10, 2010
Great suggestions so far, going to check out the ones I haven't seen yet! Totally agree with the Killer Klowns and American Werewolf, saw them both when I was too young and it left me messed up! Definitely watch the Evil Deads and Audition and I love the classics Alien, The Exorcist and The Shining, plus being a Lynch fan I'd recommend the opening of Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me. Also you should try the original version of The Vanishing, a chilling European film which will stay with you for a long time, and Alexandre Aja's first film Haute Tension (or High Tension or Switchblade Romance depending on where you are in the world) - brilliant scares and awesome gore!!
DJ on Oct 10, 2010
I'm a big fan of Italian horror so I have to recomment Argento's "Suspiria" and Fulci's "Zombie" (in my opinion the greatest zombie movie ever made." One other foreign horror i recommend is the Norwegian horror-comedy titled "Dead Snow." Hope you enjoy these films if you haven't yet seen them. I highly recommend Zombie if you haven't seen it yet. Email me back if you have any suggestions for me. I'm a horror fanatic also
mike on Oct 11, 2010
How about Scar 3D? I saw it last Friday at Culver Plaza Theatres in LA last Friday. An impressively frightening movie. Full of fun and gore. Some of the scenes are still haunting me. Really can’t get those images out of my head. I still can remember how the audience held their breath and gnashed their teeth while experiencing the big-screen horror in the theater. The story was strongly engaging and filled with bloody surprise. It kept me guessing and expecting the most satisfying ending and I wasn't disappointed. So glad to hear the DVD already came out yesterday. It definitely will become one of my collections!
LuiYang on Oct 12, 2010
Not exactly a horror movie, but really creeped the hell out of me - Dread. If you IMDB it and sigh because it 'has one of those guys from Twilight', don't not watch it. The majority of it builds up to the huge end climax, but it has me wincing as soon as it gets gory. And weirdly, The New Daughter I found to be rather creepy too. Not screaming out loud scary, but it's that weird scary. Open ended, too, which makes it even worse.
Courtney on Oct 13, 2010
if you are a movie nerd like me, you might enjoy this article as well: http://www.move.com/trends/halloween-real-estate-locations-of-your-favorite-slasher-films/ it is about where the films were shot and set, sometimes the same place but not always... good for trivia, too!
Katie on Oct 22, 2010
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