My October 2020 Horror Watchlist
My sixth annual 31 Days of Horror challenge is complete! I definitely had a little horror movie fatigue by the end of the month; it’s a “what the hell do I watch because there are too many options” sort of feeling. There was only one day this time around that I didn’t have a chance to sit down and watch a horror movie. But I did watch a movie that day and listed it here anyway.
I signed up for a Shudder subscription at the beginning of October and ended up watching a lot of my movies on there. It’s a great streaming service if you’re a horror fan!
October 1: Winchester (2018). I’d been wanting to watch this movie because I’m dying to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California someday. This movie was just okay; the most surprising thing is that Helen Mirren took the role of Sarah Winchester. Nothing too exciting here. BONUS: House (1977). I watched this bonkers Japanese film back in 2016. Now that it’s available on HBO Max I wanted to make John watch it with me. And we laughed so much. Seriously, watch it if you haven’t already.
October 2: Scare Me (2020). This new Shudder horror comedy was a lot of fun! Full disclosure: I know one of the producers. I don’t want to spoil it, but this film was quite unique and the cast was really great. They looked like they had a blast filming this! Also, I loved Aya Cash’s zombie hand print sweatshirt…I bet it will sell out, wherever it’s from.
October 3: The Invisible Man (2020). I’ve yet to watch the original film, but I enjoyed the updated version. Elisabeth Moss is such a strong, impressive talent to watch (though I don’t love that she’s a Scientologist). Prior to the closing credits I didn’t realize that Leigh Whannell of Saw fame wrote and directed this film. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a Blumhouse production.
October 4: Cannibal Holocaust (1980). Shudder has a warning note before this film, for very good reason. It’s one of the cannibal exploitation movies of the 70s/early 80s, and it features extremely graphic and upsetting content. Think of something, anything, that might offend or upset someone, and it’s probably in the movie. And of course, being an exploitation film, it’s rife with racist depictions of indigenous people. I’ve seen other similar films of this genre, but I think I somehow missed this entry until now. I wanted to watch it to understand the issues around it (and it actually has social commentary that’s quite relevant today), but it’s not a movie I would recommend.
October 5: Hell Night (1981). I’ll be honest…I paused this film a whole bunch due to distractions. Trump was getting released from the hospital that day and I kept checking Twitter and texting friends. But I always enjoy cheesy 80s “young partying people getting slashed” films, and this one falls solidly into that bucket. With Linda Blair as our final girl!
October 6: Deep Murder (2019). A recent horror comedy set on…a a soft core porn set. Starring plenty of familiar faces (Jerry O’Connell, Katie Aselton, Chris Redd, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Christopher McDonald), this was a silly but fun film that didn’t take itself seriously one bit. The scientist (Stephanie Drake) and the babysitter (Jessica Parker Kennedy) were my favorite characters.
October 7: The Hunt (2020). I knew very little about this film going in; I just had an inkling about the general story. And I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s kind of like if Hostel, The Purge, and 2020 had a filmbaby. I won’t say any more than that. This is a Blumhouse production and Damon Lindelof was one of the writers, so you can expect some good stuff.
October 8: The House That Dripped Blood (1971). A fun anthology of four horror stories, each taking place in the same house. Featuring legendary classic horror stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee! My favorite of the vignettes was the third, but I also really enjoyed the comedic tone of the fourth.
October 9: Blood Rage (1987). For some reason, the opening credits show this film’s name as Shocker. Confusing. This was a so-s0 80s slasher, with a weirdo mom of twins and little character development overall. The gore effects were pretty good for the time, though. As an 80s movie, the cheese factor, wardrobe, hair/makeup, and bad acting are always at least somewhat entertaining.
October 10: Midsommar (2019). I watched this film back in January and absolutely loved it, so I made John watch it with me this time because I had to share it with him. I loved it just as much the second time around.
October 11: Blood Diner (1987). A super gross but funny horror comedy inspired by Blood Feast, which I watched for the first time last year. More terrible acting and loads of hilarious gore effects.
October 12: Leprechaun (1993). Silly but enjoyable early 90s flick about a small group of people battling a demonic, homicidal leprechaun, played by Warwick, Davis. Also starring a young, pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston! Tarantula alert: you see one of these monsters not once, but twice within the first 15 minutes or so. UGHHH.
October 13: Black Box (2020). A Blumhouse film that’s more of a Black Mirror-esque technothriller than straight horror. I did like it, though…the possibilities of technology and what some people will use it for are pretty frightening. The acting was solid across the board, but Amanda Christine, the young girl who played Ava, really stood out. Child actors have come such a long way!
October 14: The Blob (1958). I LOVED the 80s remake of this classic horror when I was younger, but had never seen the original until now. I gotta say, Steve McQueen’s acting did not impress me; at times he looked like he was reading cue cards off-screen. This movie had to have been creepy back in the day; today, it’s mostly boring but funny when The Blob appears.
October 15: The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020). Sequel to horror comedy The Babysitter, which I watched a couple years ago and enjoyed. I was super tired from a routine infusion, so I had some trouble getting into this one, but once I was able to focus I liked it too. And I’ll never say no to a shirtless Amell (Robbie, in this case).
October 16: Bloodsucking Freaks (1976). I’ve actually seen this 1970s Troma exploitation film a couple of times and decided to revisit it. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart and includes all manner of torture and other problematic visuals. There are many WTF moments throughout. And it literally ends with a dick sandwich, which is never not funny to me.
October 17: Satanic Panic (2019). An enjoyably silly and gory horror comedy starring Rebecca Romijn and featuring her real-life husband, Jerry O’Connell (the second horror comedy with him that I’ve watched this month). Also featuring Ruby Modine, Matthew Modine’s daughter, who appeared in the Blumhouse flick Happy Death Day.
October 18: From Beyond (1986). This Stuart Gordon-directed H.P. Lovecraft tale is another film that has escaped me until now. I’ve enjoyed the other Gordon films I’ve seen (Re-Animator is probably his best known), and I liked this one as well. Starring frequent Gordon collaborators Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs, both totally game for whatever insanity is thrown at them. As always with this director’s work, the creature and gore effects are a hoot. There’s a very demogorgon-looking creature in this movie and I wonder if it influenced Stranger Things!
October 19: Season of the Witch (1972). Not the same as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which I watched for the first time last year. Directed by George A. Romero and originally released as Hungry Wives. This film was weird and incredibly 70s, and I really liked it.
October 20: Mom and Dad (2017). Starring a fantastic Selma Blair and a standard, totally unhinged Nic Cage (I don’t mean that in a bad way; his scenery chewing is always a VERY entertaining sight to behold). I really enjoyed this movie! The premise was unique and there was one scene in particular that disturbed me…which, honestly, is hard to do. Bravo!
October 21: 1BR (2019). This was a rather unique psychological thriller with horror elements. The lead, Nicole Brydon Bloom, has a strong resemblance to Natalie Dormer, aka Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones. It wasn’t the best movie ever, but I was into it and very curious where they would go with the plot. BONUS: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019). This documentary was very enlightening and I highly recommend it, especially for horror fans.
October 22: The Witches (2020). A remake of the 1990 film adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s book. I know I’ve read the book and have seen the original movie, but I don’t remember much about either. This update had a solid cast (Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, Kristin Chenoweth) and centered around Black protagonists, which is refreshing to see. Jahzir Bruno, who played the hero boy, is yet another impressive child actor. The rodent CGI looked kind of chintzy but the witch visual effects were pretty unsettling, particularly the Grand High Witch’s mouth…I think it would have scared me had I seen this as a child. The ending felt a little wrapped up too nicely; I don’t know how closely it adhered to the book. I’ll have to reread it someday.
October 23: Bad Hair (2020). A story about a Black woman who gets pressured into getting a weave to advance her career…and the weave turns out to be evil. Weavil? Haunted hair is a new one for me; it’s a unique idea and I liked the movie. Lots to unpack here in terms of the history of Black hair in American culture. Elle Lorraine was great as Anna, the lead, and the film also featured lots of familiar actors: Vanessa Williams, Kay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Blair Underwood, Usher, Kelly Rowland (whom I didn’t recognize at all), and James Van Der Beek.
October 24: Class of 1984 (1982). Ostensibly more of a thriller than a horror, yet…a high school teacher with a gun, a punk student wearing a swastika shirt, racism, school police officers and metal detectors, gang rape…the themes feel quite prescient. With a babyfaced Michael J. Fox (as Michael Fox) in an early film role! Also starring Timothy Van Patten, who went on to become a revered prestige television director of The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Perry Mason, and more
October 25: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). Not a horror movie; it was John’s birthday and I didn’t have time to watch a horror movie that day. However, one could argue that the attitudes of some of the people in the film are pretty frightening.
October 26: Mausoleum (1983). I found myself second-screening a bunch during this low budget movie. The story was not very compelling, and the special effects were pretty cheesy even for the time. I wouldn’t recommend this one.
October 27: Wishmaster (1997). Not a super exciting story, but it was a great showcase for gore effects master Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead fame. The special effects were the real treat in this Wes Craven-produced film. I enjoyed the cameos by horror legends Tony Todd (Candyman) and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees in a bunch of Friday the 13ths). Plus Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)!
October 28: Random Acts of Violence (2019). I really liked this modern-day slasher, written and directed by Jay Baruchel (who also had a role in the film). There were some surprisingly emotional beats later on in the movie. Starring Jesse Williams from The Cabin in the Woods!
October 29: The Lie (2018). This Blumhouse movie was more of a thriller than a horror; I guess the production company has begun breaking out of its horror box. Written and directed by Veena Sud, producer of The Killing, and starring two consistently excellent actors from that show: Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard…along with the always stellar Joey King. This film had a similar atmospheric vibe as The Killing, and even though it wasn’t straight-up horror, I thought it was pretty well done.
October 30: Impetigore (2019). An Indonesian film…probably the first I’ve ever seen. This movie was super creepy and had some really disturbing shit going on…and I loved it. I had Midsommar vibes a little toward the end. I will say I didn’t 100% understand the film’s explanation of events, but I enjoyed it enough to not get too tripped up. Do not watch this if you’re sensitive to violence against children.
October 31: The Baby (1973). I chose this film on the final day because Shudder described it as one of the weirdest horror films of the 70s. This movie about an adult baby and his disturbed family was definitely weird. Was it also deeply unsettling? YUP. Additionally, I found the “adult baby” to be profoundly sad. So, bravo to David Manzy for his portrayal of Baby.
That’s it for my sixth 31 Days of Horror!
Number of Horror Films By Decade:
- 1950s: 1
- 1960s: 0
- 1970s: 5
- 1980s: 7
- 1990s: 2
- 2000s: 0
- 2010s: 17
Previous years’ watch lists:
Share your favorite horror movie in the comments!