My October 2019 Horror Watchlist
My fifth annual 31 Days of Horror challenge is complete! I watched 33 movies this year—there were two days in which I managed to watch two films. As per usual, this challenge got a little tedious near the end of the month, but fortunately there is no shortage of streaming horror movies to choose from. In fact, picking a movie each day was the hardest part. The infinite scroll struggle is real!
October 1: The Cabin in the Woods (2011). I’ve seen this movie two or three times before, but it’s always entertaining. I decided to kick the month off with it because I recently started listening to Cabin Minute Cast, which got me in the mood for a rewatch!
October 2: Witchboard (1986). Starring Stephen Nichols (Patch from Days of Our Lives!) and 80s video vixen Tawny Kitaen. Was this a quality film? No. Was it better than I expected? Yes. It held my attention, at least. And I appreciated the nods to The Shining and The Evil Dead in the final act. It also cracked me up that Ms. Kitaen’s nail color was different in every scene. Great job, continuity team!
October 3: The Evil (1978). A fairly standard “someone takes over a house that turns out to contain a presence” movie. I was entertained, though, and got a kick out of watching the actors flail their bodies around and fight against wind machines. The house itself was actually really cool. The movie felt influenced by 70s Italian horror, especially in the camerawork toward the beginning. And there were not one, but two men on fire.
October 4: Candyman (1992). I’ve seen this movie before, I believe during a high school slumber party. I remember it really freaking me out back then. (All horror movies freaked me out until college, when I really got into them.) So I was due for a rewatch of this one. It didn’t scare me this time around, but I can totally see why it scared me when I was younger. I rather enjoyed it upon rewatch.
October 5: The Final Terror (1983). A standard young-people-getting-picked-off-in-the-woods slasher. But I enjoyed it. Featuring Daryl Hannah, Mark Metcalf (Niedermeyer from Animal House/The Maestro from Seinfeld/The Master from Buffy) and a pre-Goonies Joey Pantoliano.
October 6: Creepshow 2 (1987). I wasn’t able to watch the whole thing on the 6th, but I finished it on the 7th. It was not good: boring stories, bad acting, and an unnecessary rapey scene. Plus Irish-American actor Holt McCallany (Tench from Mindhunter) as a Native American. Yeesh.
October 7: The Ritual (2017). A decent “hiking trip gone awry” tale with a creepy setting, solid performances, and a good enough story to hold my interest. Nothing super new here, really, but I enjoyed seeing Robert James-Collier (Thomas from Downton Abbey) in a very different role.
October 8: Blood and Black Lace (1964). This Mario Bava film is more thriller than horror, but it was probably pretty scary when it first came out. I didn’t realize until after I watched it, but it’s considered to be one of the first Italian giallo films. So I’m glad I finally saw it!
October 9: Aenigma (1987). My first Lucio Fulci film of the month! This one, set at a women’s’ college, felt semi-inspired by Suspiria. My favorite part was the signature Fulci gross-out scene involving snails and some hilarious sound effects. I found this film to be quite entertaining, and to me the scariest thing was a dorm room poster of Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
October 10: In the Tall Grass (2019). This new Netflix film is based on the Stephen King/Joe Hill novella, which I haven’t read. But you can see King’s fingerprints all over it. I thought it was average, with some creepy moments, and Patrick Wilson is always a welcome presence. There are also some subtle notes of The Shining here (and, more obviously, Children of the Corn).
October 11: Shock (1977). My second Mario Bava film this week. It was repetitive at times, but I liked the twist near the end. I felt like I should have seen it coming, but didn’t. There were some memorable visuals, and I always love the music in Italian horror films.
October 12: Killer Sofa (2019). When I spotted this low budget New Zealand film while browsing Fandango rentals, I knew I had to check it out. It looked ridiculous…and it was. The titular piece of furniture was actually a recliner, but I guess Killer Recliner is a bit of a mouthful. Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll file this one under Entertainingly Bad.
October 13: You Might Be the Killer (2018). Starring Joss Whedon players Alyson Hannigan and Fran Kranz, both of whom I love! I always appreciate a meta horror-comedy. This low budget flick isn’t as clever as The Cabin in the Woods but I still had fun watching it, most likely due to the two leads; had the roles been played by unknown-to-me actors I may not have been as into it. Bonus film: Blood Feast (1963). I’ve been aware of this cult classic for many years but somehow hadn’t seen it. The film is notable for being one of the earliest explicitly gory movies in cinematic history. Today, it’s cheesy as hell with atrocious acting, but I’m glad I finally watched it. I found it rather hilarious.
October 14: Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon House (2018). I enjoyed watching the first film two years ago so I figured, why not continue with the series (there’s a complete trilogy). I liked this one too; the acting isn’t top notch by any means but the scare factor is high.
October 15: Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire (2019). I figured I might as well watch the final film of this trilogy while the middle installment was still fresh. I was sold from the beginning, when Sleep No More knockoff Insomnia was revealed as the latest attraction taking place at the abandoned hotel. Again, nothing groundbreaking here, but it was creepy and fun.
October 16: Bloody Birthday (1981). A very 80s horror about a trio of psychopathic, homicidal 10-year-olds born the night of an eclipse. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of this one before; it was a disturbing yet entertaining watch.
October 17: One Cut of the Dead (2017). A friend recommended this Japanese meta-horror…and I loved it. This film was quite unique and a blast to watch, and it actually got better as it went along. I’d recommend it to anyone who has ever worked in movie or TV production.
October 18: Brain Damage (1988). Directed by Frank Henenlotter, who also helmed a fave of mine, Basket Case. This B-movie is just as hilariously gross as Basket Case (and even contains a cameo from that movie)…except for yet another fucked up sexual assault scene involving a monster. Yikes.
October 19: I Drink Your Blood (1970). My guess is this Grindhouse feature was a reaction to the Manson family murders that took place the year prior. As far as B-horror films go, this one’s fairly inventive in terms of plot. Plenty of problematic content, but the cast is surprisingly diverse for its time.
October 20: Monster Party (2018). A bit of a Purge vibe, with a good cast: Robin Tunney (The Craft!), Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck!), Lance Reddick (The Wire! Fringe!), among other familiar faces. Not the best horror, but I liked it.
October 21: The Changeling (1980). I somehow hadn’t seen this classic before. Time has taken some of the bite out of this film, but there are still some legit chill-inducing and disturbing scenes, and the story is well constructed.
October 22: Bride of Re-Animator (1989). I rewatched Re-Animator last year but had never seen the sequel. These movies are full of campy dark humor, and I’m here for it. And the gore effects are a hoot.
October 23: The Gate (1987). I’m such a sucker for 80s creature flicks, so I’m amazed that this one, starring a young Stephen Dorff, wasn’t on my radar until this year. The creatures and special effects probably didn’t even look that good back then, so they’re pretty hilarious now. This was a fun movie to watch.
October 24: Eli (2019). This new Netflix horror had a cast of familiar faces (Lili Taylor, Sadie Sink, Max Martini, Kelly Reilly), which I always appreciate. The third act twist made everything that came before it seem…I dunno, just kind of nonsensical. I had to google it to understand WTF happened…and I definitely missed some details along the way. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say any more here.
October 25: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). I don’t know how I’d never seen this movie before either. I knew it wasn’t well received upon release because its story is completely outside the Michael Myers saga. It’s ridiculous, but also a whole lot of fun.
October 26: Haunt (2019). I’m guessing the pitch for this movie was “Saw meets The Houses October Built.” In my opinion, that’s a good thing! You couldn’t pay me to go to an extreme haunt, so movies like this creep me out. And I didn’t even realize until the end credits that Eli Roth produced this film. It’s also written by the same screenwriters as A Quiet Place. I recommend it!
October 27: A double feature! The Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987). I’ve seen the first installment many times, and have also seen the second at least a couple times. These are always hilarious to watch!
October 28: Inferno (1980). This Dario Argento film has Suspiria vibes but lacks that movie’s intense visual and auditory punch. The plot is similarly WTF, and I’m worried that animals (cats, rats, mice) might not have been treated well during filming. Hopefully they were okay!!
October 29: The Stuff (1985). I guess you’d call this a creature feature? It’s kind of in the same vein as The Blob remake, which I loved when I was younger. Nothing in this movie makes sense…so its super funny. The special effects are laughably terrible. And it features both Scott and Brian Bloom, who I thought were so cute back in the Teen Beat/Bop magazine days! I’m not sure how I hadn’t seen this movie before.
October 30: It (1990): I know I’ve seen this miniseries before, but I’m not sure when I saw it. I can’t imagine I saw this when it first came out; it would have scared the absolute crap out of me at the age of 12. It actually still holds up pretty well, despite the overacting and the bad special effects. Tim Curry’s Pennywise is CLASSIC.
October 31: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I’ve seen this remake before but didn’t remember it well. The cast is good (Connie Britton, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Jackie Earle Haley) but the movie itself is just average. Not the best film to end the month, but there are worse for sure.
Number of Horror Films By Decade:
- 1960s: 2
- 1970s: 3
- 1980s: 14
- 1990s: 2
- 2000s: 0
- 2010s: 12
Previous years’ watch lists:
Share your favorite horror movie in the comments!