Who needs a horror marathon when you’re living an apocalypse movie? Well, I do, for one. This year’s list includes a few pandemic inspired selections, and a healthy infusion of horror comedy. A laugh a day keeps the contagion away!
If you haven’t seen my Halloween list before, every year I set a movie watching challenge. 30 horror movies in 30 days (not 31 because I have stuff to do Halloween night!) These are my rules for movie selection and watching:
- No more than 10 movies can be films I’ve seen before
- At least 10 of the movies must be foreign films
- Cross over genres like Sci-Fi and Fantasy are permissible if the horror element is dominant
- Movies may be watched in any order
I rarely manage to watch all 30 movies in October, but it’s fun trying! So without further ado, here’s the 2020 selection!
1. Extra Ordinary – 2020
This Irish horror comedy romance is about a woman with “abilities” who can exorcise ghosts, an aging pop star satanist, and a haunted widower and his daughter, who’s been chosen to be sacrificed on the blood moon.
R: I’m cheating a little. I put this on my list, and was so intrigued by it, I went ahead and watched it early. And it is BRILLIANT!!! It’s funny. It’s gross. It’s the best romantic comedy ever made. Do yourself a favor and just watch it.
[New/Foreign] Horror Comedy Romance
2. One Cut of the Dead – 2017
A B-movie director and his crew get attacked by real zombies while shooting a low budget zombie movie at an old WWII Japanese base.
R: If any horror genre lends itself to comedy, it’s the zombie film! (See Cockneys vs. Zombies!) And the Japanese have such a droll sense of humor, this should be fun.
[New/Foreign] Horror Comedy
3. Yummy – 2020
A man and woman and her mom go to a low budget plastic surgery center in an Eastern European nation for boob reduction surgery. Then zombies.
R: This is one of the grossest, funniest horror movies (Zombies again!) I’ve ever seen. There is even one scene that managed to make me a bit queasy. It’s foreign, but mostly in English. And so, so good. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. Yummy is a Shudder exclusive. If you’re not already a member of the service, it’s worth it for this film.
[Foreign] Horror Comedy
4. Return of the Blind Dead – 1973
A.K.A. Return of the Evil Dead is a Spanish zombie flick (I’m just into zombies this year…) about a group of people trapped in a cathedral by…blind zombies.
R: Never seen this 1973 classic, but it has been recommended to me more than once, so it finally makes the list.
5. Intersect – 2020
Lovecraftian time travel monster movie set at Miskatonic University. This indie film had good advance buzz and looks promising, but has had mixed reviews.
R: Bonus movie, see The Void. Brilliant Lovecraftian horror!
6. Event Horizon – 1997
A deep space rescue team is sent to Jupiter’s orbit to recover the long lost experimental ship, Event Horizon.
R: A classic space horror story. I didn’t particularly like it in theaters, so many plot holes…But I’m in the minority, so I’ve decided to give it a second look.
7. Haunted Palace – 1963
Vincent Price plays a warlock burned at the stake for his evil ways, but not before cursing the town. Generations later, Vincent Price plays his own descendent who returns to town, awakening the curse and ancient evil! The film stars Price and horror stalwart Lon Chaney, Jr., was directed by Roger Corman, and is based on an H. P. Lovecraft story.
R: Another classic I’m only now getting around to watching. But did you see that list of talent associated with this story? I’ll watch anything with Vincent Price.
8. Thir13en Ghosts – 2001
A.K.A. Thirteen Ghosts, is a remake of the classic William Castle horror film about a family that inherits a haunted house from their eccentric uncle. This big budget remake stars Tony Shalhoub with a script by James Gunn.
R: I saw this one when it came out and really enjoyed it, despite the really poor reviews. I thought the shifting house and ghost designs were really well done, the performances were appropriately over the top, and every death executed with loving detail. I haven’t seen the film since it was in theaters, but I’m in the mood for some good, clean, family horror.
Remake, Ghost Story
9. Crawlspace – 2012
Not to be confused with the exceptional 1986 Crawlspace starring Klaus Kinski, or its 2013 remake, the 2012 film finds an elite special forces squad descending into the Pine Gap secret underground base where they’re attacked by something…or someone?
[New/Foreign] Monster Movie
10. Wolf Guy – 1975
Sony Chiba stars in this Japanese action horror movie about the last survivor of a clan of werewolves who uses his powers to solve crimes.
R: Sony Chiba. Werewolves. I’m not sure any more reason is required to watch this. It’s been sitting on my shelf now for almost a year so I’m pretty excited to finally be getting around to it. Bonus werewolf movie, Wer. Definitely worth a watch!
[New/Foreign] Action Horror
11. Species – 1995
A scientist intercepts an alien transmission and follows the instructions to create SIL, an alien-human hybrid, who escapes her captivity and immediately sets out to find a mate to impregnate her with world conquering alien babies!
R: I must be feeling nostalgic for movies I didn’t think were all that. Species, like Event Horizon, did not impress me on first viewing back in 1995 and I haven’t watched it since. But as it has come up in conversation a number of times this year, I put it on the list.
12. Crawl – 2019
College student Haley ignores a hurricane warning and goes to the family home looking for her father. Both end up trapped under a flooding house as woman eating ‘gators come ever closer to making them meat snacks.
R: I love a good fish story. Jaws. Pirana. Deep Blue Sea. While there have been many gator movies, based on the previews, I’m optimistic that this is one of the better ones! Also, a rampaging mother nature movie just feels so 2020 to me.
[New] Mother Nature is the Enemy
13. As the Gods Will – 2014
A group of high school students are forced to play a game of death, and the only way to stay alive is to keep winning.
R: As the Gods Will is based on a critically acclaimed manga series and has overwhelmingly positive reviews. If you’re a fan of endurance horror like Saw, The Hunt or Battle Royale, this seems like a sure thing. Bonus movie: The Hunt is a brilliant satire.
14. Dagon – 2001
When a storm founders a yacht just off the coast of Spain, Paul, one of the passengers, seeks help in a nearby village. But the locals’ strange and erratic behavior, and the appearance of a mermaid from Paul’s dreams, lead him to believe that the nightmare world of his dreams is becoming a reality.
R: Despite the name, this is actually based on the Lovecraft short story Shadow of Innsmouth. It’s also directed by long time Lovecraftian film maker Stuart Gordon, who wrote Reanimator.
15. Dracula’s Daughter – 1936
Although Count Dracula was destroyed by Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), who is now being tried for his murder, Dracula’s daughter, the Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden), is still alive — and her father’s death has brought her no closer to eradicating her vampiric thirst for blood.
R: My second favorite of the Dracula movies (the first being the Spanish language version of Dracula!) Although I’ve seen them all, it wouldn’t be October without at least one Universal Horror film!
16. Necromentia – 2009
Sinister scares following four people tattooed with a Ouija Board. While Hagen aims to revive his dead wife, Travis yearns for the afterlife, Morbius seeks revenge and Mr Skinny harbours a secret.
R: Okay, I’ll admit the reviews for this aren’t great. But I’ve been told by other horror aficionados that it’s better than the reviews suggest. Which is what I always say about Deep Blue Sea (seriously, it has one of the best scenes ever shot on film in it.) So I’m giving it a shot.
17. Santo vs Frankenstein’s Daughter – 1972
Santo joins forces with a hulking monster to battle a mad scientist who uses virgin blood to remain eternally youthful.
R: I love Santo, and maybe, just maybe, he’s the hero 2020 needs right now. Besides this is one of the most highly rated of the Santo films and I thought it was time I saw it.
18. The Final Girls – 2015
Max, recently orphaned, goes to see a screening of a B-horror movie that her mother made 20 years earlier. When Max and her friends find themselves in the world of the film itself, they must apply their knowledge of horror tropes to survive.
R: I admit it…I love the slasher genre, nearly as much as I love the slasher comedy genre, of which there are not nearly enough. I’ve been meaning to watch this indie for years, so I put this one on the 2020 list to take a break from zombie comedy.
[New] Comedy Slasher
19. The H-Man – 1958
Radiation from the hydrogen bombs is turning some people into monsters that kill with a single touch. The police go on the hunt for one such person, a drug dealing criminal who’s slaying his way through Japan.
R: A classic of the post WWII Japanese atomic fixation, and one of my favorites of the era! It plumbs some of the same themes as Godzilla, but in a radically different way that is much more humanizing.
20. Haxan -1922
Benjamin Christensen’s silent classic anthology of grave robbing, possessed nuns and a satanic Sabbath was ground breaking for its time, blending genres in a frightening, gothic horror film.
R: I like to throw at least one film into the mix that I probably wouldn’t otherwise make the time to watch. This year it is Haxan. It is an oft cited example of early genre benders and many a horror film director has referenced it as an early influence. The link above is actually for the full length film.
21. Phase IV – 1974
Ants begin to exhibit strange new behaviors, so two scientists set up shop in the Arizona dessert to study what may be the most significant threat humanity has ever faced.
R: Saul Bass, of Rankin Bass fame, makes his one and only live action movie and it is a super tripy sci-fi horror film about ants. Entertaining in its original cut, but make sure to seek out the “original ending” for the full impact of this wild classic!
Mother Nature is the Enemy
22. The House that Screamed – 1970
A strict headmistress runs a secluded school for wayward girls in 19th century France, whose students are disappearing under mysterious circumstances.
R: Has any school for wayward girls ever not ended up badly? This is on my new (to me) for 2020 list, but I did see at least part of it at one point thanks to Elvira.
23. The Blob – 1988
High school students discover a goo that melts the flesh of any living creatures it comes in contact with. Naturally, it gets into the town’s sewer system, emerging to devour the town folk when they least expect it.
R: I absolutely love the original, but I may actually like this remake, starring Kevin Dillon, even more. It has a satirical edge and a grim sense of humor that makes the idea of a semi-sentient flesh eating slime a bit easier to swallow. And it is so delightfully 1980s that it’s easy to just get lost in the visuals. Shout Factory’s collector’s edition really delivers too, with a great transfer and shudder inducing sound. I may not watch all 30 movies this year, but I’m definitely re-watching this one.
24. All Cheerleaders Die – 2013
Supernaturally enabled social outcasts take their revenge on the cheerleaders who, while looking good on the outside, are ugly on the inside, in this remake of the 2001 film by the same name.
R: Yes, more horror comedy. I liked the original and this remake is by the same film making team so I have high hopes for lots of gore and laughs.
[New] Witches, Remake, Comedy
25. Beast of Blood – 1970
The sequel to “Mad Doctor of Blood Island,” the insane Doctor Lorca attempts to graft a head on a green blooded monster in this Filipino horror classic!
R: I’ve seen the original and another of the horror films by director Eddie Romero and producer Kane W. Lynn. They aren’t “good” films, so if you’re not a fan of cheesy horror and terrible special effects, you might want to skip this one.
26. Black Magic – 1975
A widow seeks romantic help from an evil magician who makes a living casting deadly spells on the objects of people’s desire. One of the magician’s victims enlists the help of a master magician to take down the evil magician and break the spell.
R: I’m a huge fan of the Shaw Brothers work, and practically grew up on their kung fu movies, so I’m pretty excited to finally get to one of their relatively few horror films.
27. Night Tide – 1963
While on shore leave, sailor Dennis Hopper becomes enamored of Mora (Linda Lawson), a young woman who works as a “mermaid” at a sideshow attraction. But for Mora it’s no act. She actually believes that she really is a mermaid who is destined to murder men on the night of a full moon. Drake is still captivated by the mysterious woman, however, and begins to suspect that her boss, Capt. Murdock (Gavin Muir), may have something to do with Mora’s murderous thoughts.
28. Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat – 1990
An engineer and his wife come to a Western town to repair an artificial blood plasma plant for a town full of vampires in this horror comedy.
R: More comedy. But vampires this time! The film stars David Carradine, Bruce Campbell and M. Emmet Walsh. Somehow, I’d never run across this film until I started doing research for this year’s list.
[New] Vampire Comedy
29. Genocide – 1968
Genocide, A.K.A. War of the Insects, follows a group of military personnel transporting a hydrogen bomb, whose plane is taken down by a swarm of murderous insects.
[New/Foreign] Mother Nature is the Enemy
30. The Masque of the Red Death – 1964
R: Last, but not least, is this Edgar Allen Poe and Vincent Price pandemic classic. It just wouldn’t be 2020 without watching a movie about Death sneaking into your party.
Edgar Allen Poe