Hello Freaks! It’s that time of year again and whether you are a horror connoisseur or a new to the genre, ’tis the season for frights. So here is a roundup of 31 films for every creepifying day of October. Some are classics that should be in any horror fan’s arsenal, but most of them are gems I have encountered thanks to the world of streaming that this future known as the present has gifted us.
Before I start hearing it: Yes, Hereditary blew my mind. I have Get Out on my wall. I love Freddy and Poltergeist, and yes I have seen A Quiet Place (Here’s a spoiler: STOP HAVING KIDS!) This list is not about what is hot right now, it is what you might not have heard of, or haven’t yet experienced from decades past.
Now without further ado, and in no particular order, THE FILMS!
1. SOCIETY (1992)
Let’s dive right into the thick of it, shall we? Brian Yuzna’s film creating a dialogue about the phenomenon of classes is a long forgotten but always relevant gem. And just prepare yourself for the bizarre and unbelievable with this one. Nothing can describe “shunting” unless you see it with your own eyes, unfortunately.
2. BETTER WATCH OUT (2017)
Hate the holidays? Maybe you’re just bitter about people invading your sacred October with carols and gift buying? Check out this fun little ditty by Chris Peckover and Zack Kahn. A true descendant of classics such as Black Christmas, it is surprisingly witty and keeps you guessing.
3. RAW (2016)
(French Subtitled.) A vegetarian veterinary student, (say that three times fast,) gets pushed a bit too far in her freshman hazing and cannot control her newfound cravings for meat. Garance Mariller gives a stellar performance, proving that growing up will really eat you alive sometimes.
4. OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016)
This film was unfortunately overshadowed by the unwatchable Ouija movie also put out by Blumhouse in 2014. The two films could not be more different, and little Lulu Wilson is one of the creepiest child actors I’ve seen since the Shining Twins. When a family loses their father, the youngest begin communicating with him through the titular spirit board. But there’s darker things afoot, as usual.
5. MAYHEM (2017)
Steven Yuen (The Walking Dead) and Samara Weaving (Smilf) star in this Shudder exclusive about a company building in quarantine due to a rage virus. Together, they battle their way to the top of the towering massacre that has erupted to speak to the big-wigs and deal with their own particular beefs. If Office Space had more blood, you would be looking at it.
6. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
The original seasonal slasher. A psycho goes nuts on a group of sorority girls making their holiday plans. As he picks them off one by one, you are left wondering who on earth it could be. If you are not a fan of the month of December, find some catharsis in some classic slashy goodness.
7. DEAD SHACK (2017)
When will people realize they shouldn’t wander in the woods? A family tries to mend some fences out in the middle of nowhere only to be hunted down for cannibals. It’s left up to three kids to find out who it is, and make it out alive. Clever, funny and most importantly bloody, it’s a nice mindless slaughter for your senses.
8. THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (2016)
Two coroners (Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch,) begin to work on their next body. But as things progress, the questions pile up, and the eerier their night becomes. Very mysterious and unique, The Autopsy of Jane Doe will leave you with chills up your spine for the rest of the night.
9. PHANTASM (1979)
The Lavender Lady. The Tall Man. The Spheres. This movie spawned four sequels and haunts the dreams of anyone who might see it. Cheesy at times, intense practical effects and plenty of fear to go around, Phantasm is one of those films that get you a sage nod of approval from even the pickiest of horror aficionados.
10. AUDITION (1999)
(Japanese Subtitled.) With some of the most disturbing themes and visuals set to film, Takashi Miike’s Audition is a title to check out. It is always relevant regarding how women are represented and seen in both movies and reality. Although it may be slow for some, the wait is worth it, and its that last 20 minutes that will leave you scarred for life.
11. CREEP (2014)
When a filmmaker answers an ad to film a man for a day, he thinks it will be an easy check. The guy says he wants to make a film for his unborn child, but as his requests become more and more bizarre, we are introduced to the definition of a “creep.” Mark Duplass is known for his comedy, but his recent forays into true crime and horror are gaining more notoriety than ever before.
12. AMERICAN MARY (2012)
Twin filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska shot to immediate fame with their first feature, Dead Hooker In A Trunk, but it’s what they followed it up with in American Mary that solidified their place in horror history. A disgraced ex-medical student finds a very lucrative career in the underground world of extreme body modification. Tons of creepy medical equipment and gore to be had, and Katherine Isabelle as Mary brings the vengeful sexiness along with her.
13. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (2016)
Zombie hordes have taken over the future, a fungus turning people into mindless, insatiable animals. When a girl is found who seems to be immune to the effects, it becomes a fight between survivors and the teacher who believes in her to keep her alive and safe. Glenn Close delivers the severity, and star Sennia Nanua delivers the innocence in an otherwise insane world.
14. GINGER SNAPS (2000)
There are two things ladies will see once a month, and this is about both of them. A perfect blend of werewolves and coming of age, Ginger Snaps takes a whole new look at lycanthropy. What you get is a tale of growing up and how as people change, it sometimes can be hard to tell if they ever were the person you knew.
15. TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL (2010)
An instant classic, this movie flips the script and wonders, “What if those weird hicks in the boonies have nothing to do with your savage murders?” A cabin in the woods tale told from the perspective of the two down-home friends just trying to enjoy a weekend fishing, but are met with death and tragedy at every college-aged turn. A sequel has been begged for since the movie came out, so let’s hope that one day, we’ll get to see poor Tucker and Dale dodge death once again.
16. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
John Landis’ comedic horror-de-force is a must watch for the practical special effects alone. A master class on how to make moviemaking history, Rick Baker changed film forever with his incredible transformations all done long before the use of CGI. Pair that with the incredibly dark and dry comedy threaded throughout, and you have a film that withstands the test of time.
17. THE HUNGER (1983)
Katniss Everdeen is nowhere to be found in this slinky, sexy vampire flick. David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon star in this stylized and sensual film that drips with eighties opulence. Surreal and sad, it takes a hard look on the concept of love and trust.
18. THE BABYSITTER (2017)
Many a kid has gotten a crush on the high school sitter. But when Cole (Judah Lewis) stays up too late and sees that his dream girl is actually a cold-blooded killer, he has to take matters into his own hands to survive. A great poke in the ribs to a standard slasher with clever stereotypical tropes, it is a surprising find and a great popcorn movie on a chilly, October night.
19. PREVENGE (2016)
When the father of her child is tragically killed in an accident, Ruth (writer/director Alice Lowe,) begins to hear the voice of her unborn child telling her to seek out and kill those they feel should be held responsible. A British comedy with plenty of bloody kills, it becomes a great double feature to pair with Shaun of the Dead.
20. YOU’RE NEXT (2011)
Family is tough, and when the parents of a dysfunctional brood invite their grown children over to dinner in hopes to mend fences, they are met with nameless killers out to pluck them off one by one. Inventive deaths and surprises area bound, keeping things fresh and intense at every turn all the way up to the very last moment. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett bring the pain to this family reunion.
21. DEAD ALIVE (1992)
We’ve all heard this old chestnut. A rat monkey on King Kong’s island is brought to a New Zealand zoo, where his infectious bite turns people into melting, multi-colored ghouls. Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame creates what is touted as the bloodiest horror movie of all time, but it is also pack with enough cheese and low-budget laughs to get even the most jaded of horror fans to grab the pepto. If you aren’t a believer of B-movie horror, you will be.
22. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014)
Another New Zealand success story but more in the style of This Is Spinal Tap, Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) create a mockumentary following vampire flatmates Vladislav, Viago and Deacon in their night-to-night lives as your average, run-of-the-mill vampires. There are still dishes to do, and cobwebs to dust, and there is the imperative matter of looking hot when going out for club night. A weird, wonderful palate cleanser that will leave you quoting it for the rest of your natural life.
23. THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN (2014)
A documentarian wants to do a film on living with and caring for a family member with dementia. What is uncovered seems too improbable to believe, but as Deborah descends deeper into darkness, elements of possession become impossible to ignore. A smart concept and a well-directed piece of found footage film.
24. BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE AND FALL OF LESLIE VERNON (2006)
Another documentary-style feature and a definite inspiration for things like the above Creep and Deborah Logan, we meet Leslie, a man who has a very specific and well-crafted career plan. Where others grow up dreaming of being architects or doctors, Vernon is hell bent on being the next Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers. He asks a crew to document all of his hard work behind-the-scenes of his plan to make him the next killer legend. Full of dark laughs and unsettling moments, the charismatic Leslie Vernon is sure to win your heart before stabbing it out the back of your chest.
25. WE GO ON (2016)
An agoraphobic man puts an ad in the paper, offering $30,000 for indisputable proof of life after death. Through hundreds of submissions he meets sinners, saints, and things from beyond the grave. A diamond in the rough of ghost movies, this will keep you looking into the dark corners of your rooms for the rest of the night.
26. MONKEY SHINES (1988)
Romero’s first big studio movie follows law student Allan after a tragic accident that leaves him only able to use his head. His mad scientist best friend gets him a hyper-smart monkey, Ella, to help him with his daily life. But secret experiments have their drawbacks, turning the tiny capuchin into a vengeful and vicious killing machine. A film that treads the thin line of trying to be serious and being downright absurd, it is a personal favorite of mine to show someone who asks, “Hey Stephanie, you know weird horror movies, let’s watch one!”
27. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)
A comet crashes into a small town and unleashes a squad of hideous and adorable clown aliens that seek to munch on the delectable human race. As cheesy cheese horror as you can possibly achieve, this 80’s cult legend is without a doubt a great time for anybody, whether you are afraid of clowns or not. Who’s got the cotton candy?
28. STITCHES (2012)
Now for a real take on coulrophobia for you. This movie still has the laughs, but dives deep into the ancient and honestly roots of clowndom. A dead clown seeking revenge is no laughing matter. I can only imagine how people with and actual fear of clowns react to this. With inventive deaths on top of clowny gags, it’s a treasure.
29. THE THING (1982)
What was once considered a flop has now grown to superstar status, garnering remakes, nods in modern television and film, and even a board game. The isolation of an arctic station breeds an alien organism, capable of looking like whatever or whoever it likes. As friends and colleagues are plucked off, paranoia descends, leading to more attacks and animosity on each other rather than the entity at hand. A study in sequestering and trying to contain a problem. The bleak setting complies the hopelessness and fear, making this an ageless piece of film history.
30. THEY LIVE (1988)
Horror icon John Carpenter makes a film that not only satisfies your alien invasion horror cravings, but makes an impactful statement on consumerism and what advertising does to the human race. Also, Rowdy Roddy Piper is the star. Also, he fights Keith David. But most importantly…………he’s all out of bubblegum.
31. CANDYMAN (1992)
Virginia Madsen plays Helen Lyle, a grad student who is researching superstitions in Chicago. When her friend Helen (Vanessa Williams,) tells her about an urban legend known as the Candyman, a legend known as the Candyman, a legend who is summoned by saying his name five times. As a bee-covered Tony Todd begins stalking her and his description is tied to a horrific murder, she is scared that’s she may have unleashed something that is uncontrollable.