October Movie List 2016

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.

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
Image of Phenomena

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
Another one I’ve seen before and one of my favorite Argento film
Image of Flesh for Frankenstein

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.
Image of Frankenhooker

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.)
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
Image of A Nightmare on Elm Street

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
I haven’t seen this one since it came out in theaters. Gave me nightmares then, curious to see if it holds up.
Image of The Tomb of Ligeia

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.
Image of Thir13en Ghosts

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
Stupid name thing aside, I’ve heard good things about this one. Plus I enjoy Tony Shalhoub in pretty much anything.
Image of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

8. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders. (78 mins.)
Director: Robert Wiene
This is a classic of cinema that somehow I’ve never managed to watch.
Image of Spiral

9. Spiral (2000)

The inhabitants of a small Japanese town become increasingly obsessed with and tormented by spirals. (90 mins.)
Director: Higuchinsky
The Japanese know how to do Horror. I have it on good authority that this is a fun one.
Image of Young Frankenstein

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
R.I.P. Gene.
Image of Raw Meat

11. Raw Meat (1972)

There’s something pretty grisly going on under London in the Tube tunnels between Holborn and Russell Square… (87 mins.)
Director: Gary Sherman
I’ve heard about this film a number of times but never seen it. From what I’ve been told, it’s a pretty shlocky affair, but a fun one.
In honor of the great El Santo’s 99th birthday, I’ve included one of his many, many horror themed films to the list. I haven’t seen this particular one, but I have seen other Santo “horror” movies. They aren’t really frightening affairs, but hey, it’s Dracula and the Wolf Man!
Image of Parents

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.
Image of Onibaba

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.
Image of Shivers

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.)
Cronenberg films aren’t always good, but they’re always interesting. I’ve been curious about this one for a while.
Image of Feast

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.
Image of The House by the Cemetery

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.
Image of Student Bodies

18.Student Bodies (1981)

A killer named the Breather tallies up a score of teenage bodies in this scathing parody of slasher films. (86 mins.)
Director: Mickey Rose
I admit in advance that this movie is stupid. It was stupid when I saw it back in the 80’s. But I’m curious about watching it again, just for the phone scene (you know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen it)
Image of Mr. Vampire

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
I’ve seen very little Chinese horror (Korean and Japanese, lots) and this series has always been well reviewed. I finally tracked down a copy so it makes it into horror movie marathon ’16.
Image of Wither

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.)
Wither, aka Cabin of the Dead, is a Swedish take on Evil Dead, or so I’ve been told. The original Swedish promotions for the film make it look like a lot of fun.
Image of The Comedy of Terrors

21. The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

Dishonest undertaker Waldo Trumbull and his sidekick Felix Gillie are creating their own customers when they cannot find willing ones. (84 mins.)
Vincent Price made so so many horror movies, and I love horror comedy, so I’m finally getting around to this one.
Image of The City of the Dead

22. The City of the Dead (1960)

A young coed (Nan Barlow) uses her winter vacation to research a paper on witchcraft in New England… (78 mins.)
Director: John Moxey
City of the Dead, AKA Horror Hotel, is a frequently touted Christopher Lee film that has never quite risen up in queue high enough to watch, until now
Image of Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

23. Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

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.
Image of Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde

24. Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll attempts to create an elixir of life using female hormones stolen from fresh corpses… (97 mins.)
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Speaking of Dr. Jekyll, here’s the Hammer Horror take on the classic story, complete with their sexploitationist angle.
Image of John Dies at the End

25. John Dies at the End (2012)

A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion? (99 mins.)
Director: Don Coscarelli
I keep seeing this recommended on Netflix…so I’m watching it.
Image of The Bad Seed

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.
Image of Messiah of Evil

27. Messiah of Evil (1973)

A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult. (90 mins.)
Director: Willard Huyck
Honestly, I know nothing about this one, but I love the title.
Image of House of Dark Shadows

28. House of Dark Shadows (1970)

Vampire Barnabas Collins is released from his prison and searches for a cure to his affliction, so he can marry the incarnation of his lost love. (97 mins.)
Director: Dan Curtis
I love all things Dark Shadows, and only recently learned about this theatrical adaptation of the soap opera by the actual creator of Dark Shadows.
Image of Hell Comes to Frogtown

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.)

 

Because…Well…Guilty pleasure…
Image of At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul

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.)
I’ve never seen this but it sounds spooky as all hell, so I’m in. (Plus there is a really well reviewed sequel!)

The full list at IMDb

David Cronenberg’s Shivers

David Cronenberg's ShiversBeen 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.