31 Days of Horror – a film every day

I haven’t updated the blog in ages. I’m not happy about that fact. However, with October approaching, I couldn’t resist to write another article and kick-start the blog again. So, here it is:

31 Horror Movies for each day to watch in October

1st – Sinister (2012)
Start October with this fairly modern horror starring Ethan Hawke as a crime writer who moves into a house with a grisly past. A wonderfully creepy twist of the haunted house genre, Sinister doesn’t go anywhere you expect. A flawed, though refreshing and well-paced horror, Sinister is a great way to start Halloween.
Alternative: Insidious.

2nd – Creepshow (1982)
A classic 80’s anthology, Creepshow is gruesome fun. From the campy segment Father’s Day, which follows a man who yearns from his Father’s Day cake, even when dead, to the stomach churning They’re Creeping Up on You, a story of a man with a cockroach infestation, it’s no wonder why this movie’s a classic. Skip the segment The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, a stupid tale of a man infected by a meteorite.
Alternative: Trick ‘r Treat

3rd – The Haunting (1963)
Though tame by today’s standards, The Haunting is a thoroughly entertaining and beautifully shot gothic horror which follows a group of people staying in a haunted house known as Hill House. Psychological thrills and supernatural chills elevate a simple story, making The Haunting be one of the most memorable haunted house horrors.
Alternative: The Changeling (1980)

4th – The Omen (1976)
Classic 70’s chiller, The Omen may be old, but is a wonderful combination of psychological horror and Satanic horror (more so than Rosemary’s Baby). Where The Omen truly succeeds is in the horrifying set-pieces which range from a nanny gleefully yelling “it’s all for you, Damien” before killing herself, and the ending (I don’t want to spoil it). One of the more memorable Satanic horrors, that’s for sure.
Alternative: Witchfinder General

5th – Us (2019)
Jordan Peele managed to prove he was more than a one-trick pony in his immensely effective sophomore horror. While Get Out was an instant classic, I thought it did have some flaws, and Us is an improvement in almost every way. The movie goes from tense home-invasion to sci-fi mystery to apocalyptic horror – all while not feeling overstuffed, nor does it drag on too long. One of the best horror films in a long time, Jordan Peele seems to be the future of horror.
Alternative: Get Out

6th – The Invitation (2016)
Another modern classic, The Invitation is a slow-burn, suspenseful thriller. A man goes to his ex-wife’s dinner party and begins to question her and her new spouse’s intentions. A tad predictable at times (is he crazy? Of course not!) though a solid effort. Karyn Kusama may be the best female horror director working today.
Alternative: XX

7th – The Birds (1963)
I debated putting Psycho on here, but I thought that isn’t so much horror – more thriller. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, however, may be the most terrifying film featuring birds (not that there’s much competition) and is a vastly effective Creature Feature. Hitchcock can make BIRDS scary!
Alternative: Psycho

8th – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Probably my favourite low-budget exploitation horror films of the 70’s (I Spit on Your Grave, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc), The Hills Have Eyes was Wes Craven’s sophomore feature. This movie will leave you feeling dirty and grimy. Cheap but shocking, The Hills Have Eyes is a great pick for Halloween.
Alternative: The Serpent and the Rainbow

9th – Suspiria (1977)
A surreal, candy-coloured nightmare, Dario Argento’s Suspiria is one of the better Giallos (Italian slashers). A horrifying fairy-tale, Suspiria throws blood, bright lights, style at the viewers. Suzi joins a ballet school and believes its home to a coven of witches. Simple plot, though the execution is brilliant.
Alternative: Tenebrae

10th – Deep Red (1975)
In some ways superior to Suspiria (Deep Red is more cohesive), Dario Argento proves he’s the master of Italian horror in this mystery. A man witnesses a grisly murder and takes on a role of an amateur sleuth. Gripping, Deep Red is gory, imaginative and stunning.
Alternative: Bay of Blood

11th – Misery (1990)
Kathy Bates stars as deranged nurse Annie Wilkes who holds author Paul hostage. While not an obvious horror, Misery has some genuinely frightening moments (the ankle hobbling scene!) and is unbearably tense. Bates definitely deserved the Oscar.
Alternative: Pet Sematary

12th – Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Another Oscar-winning horror, Anthony Hopkins made fava beans terrifying in this serial killer thriller which follows Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) who enlists the help of the cannibalistic Hannibal Lector, to track down serial killer Buffalo Bill. Chilling and disturbing, Silence of the Lambs is iconic for a reason.
Alternative: Red Dragon.

13th – Friday the 13th (1980)
Yes, October 13th isn’t Friday this year. I don’t think that should prevent you from watching this classic summer camp slasher which follows counsellors being picked off one by one. Cheap suspense and cheesy acting make this a fun watch.
Alternative: Friday the 13th part 2

14th – Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Absolutely hilarious, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a fun, fast-paced, and gory twist on a slasher film in a time when the sub-genre was crowded in remakes. Light-hearted and silly, this goofy little movie is a fun parody.
Alternative: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

15th – The Fly (1986)
Be afraid! Be very afraid! A tragic and stomach-churning body horror, this is my favourite horror movie remake (yes, I prefer it to The Thing). Science goes horribly wrong when Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) invents teleportation but accidently merges his genes with a fly.
Alternative: Splice

16th – The Thing (1982)
Just as gruesome, though not as poignant as The Fly, John Carpenter’s The Thing is a brilliant sci-fi horror that holds up remarkably well today. Kurt Russel is among an Antarctic research crew who struggle to stay alive against a shape-shifting alien. Paranoia ensues. Claustrophobic and memorable, The Thing is a good remake.
Alternative: They Live

17th – Frankenstein (1931)
It’s alive! Tame, but entertaining. A good adaption of the Mary Shelley novel of the same name, Frankenstein follows a mad scientist and his creation that goes horribly wrong. Controversial upon release due to a child drowning, Frankenstein is an essential Universal Monster Movie.
Alternative: Horror of Dracula

18th – Alien (1979)
The plot is simple – a space crew are preyed upon by an alien. However, the remarkable effects, claustrophobic atmosphere, and brilliant camerawork elevate an otherwise simple story into one of the most famous sci-fi horrors of all time.
Alternative: Event Horizon

19th – The Witch (2015)
A Puritan family move into the woods and fall victims to a witch – that’s all Roger Eggers needs to construct a horrifying tale of death, superstition, paranoia, and the supernatural. At the centre of all this horror is a family drama – a family that falls apart.
Alternative: The Ritual

20th – An American Werewolf in London (1981)
One of the best horror-comedies, An American Werewolf in London follows an American who gets bitten by a werewolf. Probably my favourite soundtrack in a horror film.
Alternative: The Howling (1981)

21st – Dead of Night (1945)
Classic, goose-bump raising horror, Dead of Night is a surprisingly scary and creepy 40’s anthology. From the tale of the haunted mirror to the murderous dummy, Dead of Night doesn’t have a single dud (okay, honestly, I hate the golfing story, but the others make up for it). The ending also left me cold.
Alternative: Tales of Halloween

22nd – Zombieland (2009)
I’m not a fan of zombie movies. I watch The Walking Dead, but other than that, I’m not a massive zombie fan. That’s me being honest. However, Zombieland is a meta and funny comedy that pokes fun at the sub-genre while being effective itself. I can’t wait for the sequel.
Alternative: Shaun of the Dead

23rd – Nosferatu (1922)
A classic silent film, Nosferatu is an unofficial adaption of Dracula. This film is iconic and makes the most of shadows. Surprisingly good make-up effects for the time, too.
Alternative: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

24th – The Conjuring (2013)
Lean, mean and scary, The Conjuring is one of the best horror films of the 21st century. Boasting kinetic camerawork, great acting, and creepy set-pieces, The Conjuring is perfect for the 31 days of horror.
Alternative: Annabelle: Creation

25th – It Follows (2014)
Horror films often use jump scares and gore to get the audience to react. It Follows doesn’t. instead, it makes the most of lighting, cinematography and sound. Atmospheric and paranoia-inducing, It Follows will make you never want to be alone again.
Alternative: 28 Days Later

26th – Peeping Tom (1960)
Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? Peeping Tom asks this question. A master-class effort from Michael Powell, who brings us the story of an amateur cameraman who kills in his spare time. A classic, voyeuristic masterpiece.

27th – Saw (2004)
While the sequels use gore for the sake of gore, James Wan’s original was a grimy, gritty thriller. Two men wake up in a dirty bathroom. Only one can make it out alive. A very refreshing film.
Alternative: Saw III

28th – The Sixth Sense (1999)
My first horror film, The Sixth Sense is a brilliantly acted, spooky and engaging. Bruce Willis stars as a child psychologist who befriends a boy who can see ghosts. A great film.
Alternative: The Others

29th – Scream (1996)
I don’t know much more I can say about this film than I’ve already said. I gave an entire article to defend this beloved film. I can only tell you to watch this witty, unique, and brilliant film.
Alternative: Urban Legend (nowhere near as good as Scream, but one of the better imitators)

30th – The Exorcist (1973)
Truly the most terrifying films ever made, The Exorcist is a battle of good and evil. Battle of faith. Young Reagan gets possessed, and two priests battle to save her soul. Infamous for making audiences faint upon release, The Exorcist is one of the best horror movies ever.

Honourable mentions (watch if you have time):
Candyman
The Orphanage
The Devil’s Backbone
The Tale of Two Sisters
Pulse
Insidious: Chapter 3
Paranormal Activity
Black Christmas

31st – Halloween (1978)
On October 31st, Halloween is definitely the movie to watch. A 6-year-old murders his sister, then escapes years later and stalks teenagers. An undisputable classic, Halloween is the prototype slasher film. Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode through isolated streets, accompanied by the amazing score, is nothing short of chilling. A great, great film.
Alternative: Halloween (2018)

Here are the films I’ll try be watching at Halloween:
The Pact
Some Kind of Hate
House of 1000 Corpses
The Devil’s Rejects
See No Evil
Frankenstein (2015)
Dark Skies
The Devil’s Candy
Joy Ride
Curse of Frankenstein
Kiss of the Vampire
Vampires
Ginger Snaps
Hell House LLC
Honeymoon
Grave Encounters
White Zombie
The Old Dark House

Do you have any recommendations?

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2 thoughts on “31 Days of Horror – a film every day

  1. Charles,

    Great list of films and some true classics!
    One note from me: you mentioned that you were not sure about the inclusion of Psycho, as its a thriller more than a horror. I would suggest that Misery and Silence of the Lambs also fit in the thriller category, but these were included?

    Like

  2. Fair point, however, I like to categorise thrillers and horrors different to everyone else. Psycho is a film that never really wonders into the traditional horror territory. Psycho is more about a build-up and psychological frights rather than flat-out horror. Silence of the Lambs and Misery edge towards horror due to gruesome, disturbing and pretty horrifying scenes (the escape scene in Silence of the Lambs for example).

    Like

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