Every year I make a list of 30 horror movies to watch in October. A countdown of sorts. My rules are that at least 15 have to be movies I’ve never seen (although it can be more) but only 15 can be movies I’ve seen before and want to watch again. I’ve written about the movies as I watched them in the past, but people have asked for my list, so this year I’m posting the whole Halloween movie marathon in advance. A couple caveats. I don’t always watch the movies in order, and I don’t always get to all 30 – I do actually have a life – but I usually come close. If you want to play with the list yourself, there’s a link at the bottom to my IMDb list.
1. The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Vampire hunter Van Helsing returns to Transylvania to destroy handsome bloodsucker Baron Meinster, who has designs on beautiful young schoolteacher Marianne. (85 mins.)
Director: Terence Fisher
This is classic Hammer Studios at it’s best
2. Phenomena (1985)
A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders. (116 mins.)
Director: Dario Argento
3. Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)
In Serbia, Baron Frankenstein lives with the Baroness and their two children. He dreams of a super-race… (95 mins.)
Flesh for Frankenstein is legendary for it’s weirdness (it has Udo Kier, to be expected,) but a film I’d never seen before, figured it was time.
4. Frankenhooker (1990)
A medical student sets out to recreate his decapitated fiancée by building her a new body made of Manhattan street prostitutes. (85 mins.)
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Shlocky horror comedy at it’s best. I saw this film in theaters when it came out and I still think about it on occasion. There is a lot of Frankenstein in the list this year, in part because of the passing of Gene Wilder and the inclusion of Young Frankenstein in the marathon
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep. (91 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
6. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
A man’s obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride. (81 mins.)
Director: Roger Corman
Roger Corman knows how to do horror, especially with Vincent Price starring. I hadn’t seen this particular film and decided it was time.
7. Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
When Cyrus Kriticos, a very rich collector of unique things dies, he leaves it all to his nephew and his family. All including his house, his fortune, and his malicious collection of ghosts! (91 mins.)
Director: Steve Beck
10. Young Frankenstein (1974)
An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. (106 mins.)
Director: Mel Brooks
13. Parents (1989)
A young boy living in 1950s suburbia suspects his parents are cannibalistic murderers. (81 mins.)
Director: Bob Balaban
I’m a sucker for suburbia gone bad. Plus Randy Quaid. Always wanted to watch this one, so it makes the list.
14. Onibaba (1964)
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask. (103 mins.)
Director: Kaneto Shindô
Another J-horror and a highly regarded classic. I saw it many, many years ago and remember it being quite chilling.
15. Shivers (1975)
The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact. (87 mins.)
Director: David Cronenberg
Cronenberg films aren’t always good, but they’re always interesting. I’ve been curious about this one for a while.
16. Feast (2005)
Patrons locked inside a bar are forced to fight monsters. (95 mins.)
Director: John Gulager
I thought Project Greenlight was pretty stupid, honestly, but friends who’ve seen this film have mentioned it over the years as worth a watch, so I’m getting past my hangups and putting it on the list.
17. The House by the Cemetery (1981)
A New England home is terrorized by a series of murders, unbeknownst to the guests that a gruesome secret is hiding in the basement. (86 mins.)
Director: Lucio Fulci
A recent Blu-Ray release is what gets House by the Cemetery on the list. I’ve seen most of Lucio Fulci’s filmography more than once, but never seen this one in decent quality.
19. Mr. Vampire (1985)
The planned reburial of a village elder goes awry as the corpse resurrects into a hopping, bloodthirsty vampire, threatening mankind. Therefore, a Taoist Priest and his two disciples attempt to stop the terror. (96 mins.)
Director: Ricky Lau
20. Wither (2012)
Ida and Albin are a happy couple. They set off to a cabin in the vast Swedish woodlands to have a fun holiday with their friends. But under the floorboards waits an evil from Sweden’s dark past. (95 mins.)
Two bumbling American cops hunt for the mysterious Mr. Hyde in London, England. (76 mins.)
Director: Charles Lamont
Abbot and Costello actually made a lot of “Meet” movies, The Mummy being one of my favorite Abbot and Costello films of all time, and since I do love me my horror comedy, this year we get Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego.
26. The Bad Seed (1956)
A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight year-old daughter is a heartless killer. (129 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Haven’t seen this one in 20 years, but I recall it being a very atmospheric chiller and love a good evil child story.
29. Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
‘Hell’ is the name of the hero of the story. He’s a prisoner of the women who now run the USA after a nuclear/biological war… (86 mins.)
30. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964)
A gravedigger prowls the city in search of a female to bear him a son. (84 mins.)
Director: José Mojica Marins
I’ve never seen this but it sounds spooky as all hell, so I’m in. (Plus there is a really well reviewed sequel!)
Been digging deep into the Cronenberg back catalog and rediscovered Shivers, a film that could pretty much only be made by Cronenberg and only in the sexed up 70s.
A crazy doc develops a sexually transmitted parasite with the hopes that it will kickstart a free love ongoing orgy. The only problem is that it turns people into sex crazed maniacs hell bent on spreading their parasitic passengers with willing, or unwilling, partners. Of course it’s not long before the things start to spread through a remote and exclusive luxury apartment building and plump old ladies start jumping delivery men moaning “I’m hungry! I’m hungry for love!!”
Shivers is akin to many other 70s films exploring identity and the individual and generalized fears of the loss of self. If you’ve seen films like the Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Romero’s zombie films or The Crazies, you’ll instantly recognize the existential angst pervasive in 70s sci-fi.
It’s a poster child for sick and twisted, but if you’re a Cronenberg fan and haven’t seen it, it’s a fascinating look at themes and visuals he would continue exploring in future films. But I will warn you up front, it is a really messed up, disturbing film.