31 Days of Halloween

I tried putting a wide range of horror in here: giallo, comedy, slasher, v gory, hammer films, and just cult classics in general. I haven’t seen everything though, so I can’t provide accurate content warnings for all films. Comments from me are italicized

1. Revenge

Haven’t seen yet.

Revenge is a 2017 French rape and revenge action horror film written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, and starring Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède. The plot follows a young woman who is assaulted and left for dead in the desert by three men, where she recovers and seeks vengeance upon her attackers.

It screened in the Midnight Madness section of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, in the Midnight Shivers programme of the 21st Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) and in the Midnight Premieres programme of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film was given a limited release in the United States by Neon on May 11, 2018, where it received a positive response from film critics.

2. The People Under the Stairs

I remember this vividly from when I was a kid.

The People Under the Stairs is a 1991 American horror comedy film written and directed by Wes Craven and starring Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames, and Sean Whalen. The plot follows a young boy and two adult robbers who become trapped in a house belonging to a strange couple after breaking in to steal their collection of rare coins.

Craven has stated that The People Under the Stairs was partially inspired by a news story from the late 1970s, in which two burglars broke into a Los Angeles household, inadvertently causing the police to discover two children who had been locked away by their parents. The film was a surprise commercial success and has received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics and audiences, and has been analyzed for its satirical depiction of gentrification, class warfare, and capitalism.

3. The Curse of Frankenstein

Haven’t seen yet. Hammer Films are legendary though.

The Curse of Frankenstein is a 1957 British horror film by Hammer Film Productions, loosely based on the novel Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley. It was Hammer’s first colour horror film, and the first of their Frankenstein series. Its worldwide success led to several sequels, and the studio’s new versions of Dracula (1958) and The Mummy (1959), and established “Hammer Horror” as a distinctive brand of Gothic cinema.

The film was directed by Terence Fisher and stars Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein and Christopher Lee as the Creature, with Hazel Court and Robert Urquhart.[5] Professor Patricia MacCormac called it the “first really gory horror film, showing blood and guts in colour.”

4. Open Windows

Haven’t seen yet. Nacho Vigalando rules.

An actress refuses to have dinner with a fan who won a date with her in an Internet contest. In return, a man posing as her campaign manager, helps the winner to follow in the footsteps of the actress from his own computer.

Open Windows is a 2014 found footage techno-thriller film directed and written by Nacho Vigalondo. The film stars Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey and Neil Maskell, and had its world premiere at South by Southwest on 10 March 2014. It is Vigalondo’s first English-language film.

5. Eyes Without a Face

Haven’t seen yet. Suggestion from bf.

Eyes Without a Face (French: Les Yeux sans visage) is a 1960 French-Italian horror film co-written and directed by Georges Franju and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli, based on the novel of the same name by Jean Redon. Brasseur’s character is a plastic surgeon who is determined to perform a face transplant on his daughter, who was disfigured in an auto crash. During the film’s production, consideration was given to the standards of European censors by setting the right tone, minimizing gore and eliminating the mad scientist character. Although the film passed through the European censors, the film’s release in Europe caused controversy nevertheless. Critical reaction ranged from praise to disgust.

6. Blood Feast 

Haven’t seen yet. First ‘splatter’ film.

Blood Feast is a 1963 American horror splatter film composed, shot and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis and starring Mal Arnold, William Arnold, Connie Mason and Lyn Bolton. The plot focuses on a psychopathic food caterer named Fuad Ramses (Arnold) who kills women so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his “Egyptian goddess” Ishtar. It is considered the first splatter film, and is notable for its groundbreaking depictions of on-screen gore. It was highly successful, grossing $4 million against its minuscule $24,500 budget. The film was followed by a belated sequel, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat, in 2002.

7. The Hunger

Who doesn’t like sexy vampires. ~ Erotic Thriller ~ bf suggestion

John (David Bowie) is the lover of the gorgeous immortal vampire Miriam (Catherine Deneuve), and he’s been led to believe that he’ll live forever, too. Unfortunately, he quickly deteriorates into a horrible living death, and Miriam seeks a new companion. She soon sets her sights on Sarah (Susan Sarandon), a lovely young scientist, who quickly falls under Miriam’s spell. However, Sarah doesn’t warm up to the concept of vampirism easily, leading to conflict with Miriam.

8. In Fabric

Haven’t seen yet.

A lonely woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), recently separated from her husband, visits a bewitching London department store in search of a dress that will transform her life. She’s fitted with a perfectly flattering, artery-red gown—which, in time, will come to unleash a malevolent curse and unstoppable evil, threatening everyone who comes into its path.

The British director Peter Strickland is a man preoccupied with fantasies and fears, with the exploration of genre and the creation of highly curious cinematic worlds – from Berberian Sound Studio (2012), his chilling homage to the Italian Giallo films of the 1970s, to The Duke of Burgundy (2014), an S&M-centric lesbian love story. His latest offering, the horror-comedy In Fabric arrives in cinemas today and unites all of Strickland’s fascinations in a symphony of strangeness. It is the tale of a haunted crimson dress purchased in the Christmas sale of a very odd department store – run by witches, no less – by Sheila, a very normal, recently separated bank clerk. Sheila, played to perfection by Secrets & Lies’ Marianne Jean-Baptiste, hopes the dress will impress on a first date, but the sinister, somnambulatory garment has other plans: to destroy its wearers, as well as their washing machines.

9. You’re Next 

Top choice, I watch this about twice every year. Adam Wingard is amazing.

The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy — but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family ties, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Rob Moran) Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their children’s significant others to their weekend estate. The celebration gets off to a rocky start, but when crossbow-wielding assailants in animal masks suddenly attack, the Davisons must pull together or die.

10. Lifeforce

Tobe Hooper & Dan O’Bannon!

When a space mission involving American and British astronauts encounters an alien craft, the humanoids within are brought aboard the shuttle. Back on Earth, one of the extraterrestrials, who appears to be a gorgeous woman (Mathilda May), proceeds to suck the life force out of various Londoners, turning the town into a city of roaming half-dead people. When Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback), a surviving astronaut, realizes what is happening, he sets out to stop the ruthless alien presence.

11. A Bucket of Blood

Roger Corman!

Nerdy Walter Paisley (Dick Miller), a maladroit busboy at a beatnik café who doesn’t fit in with the cool scene around him, attempts to woo his beautiful co-worker, Carla (Barboura Morris), by making a bust of her. When his klutziness results in the death of his landlady’s cat, he panics and hides its body under a layer of plaster. But when Carla and her friends enthuse over the resulting artwork, Walter decides to create some bigger and more elaborate pieces using the same artistic process.

12. Blood and Black Lace

Haven’t seen yet.

Blood and Black Lace (Italian: Sei donne per l’assassino, lit. ‘Six Women for the Murderer’) is a 1964 giallo film directed by Mario Bava.

Bava co-wrote the screenplay with Giuseppe Barilla and Marcello Fondato. The film stars Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok. The story concerns the stalking and brutal murders of various scantily-clad fashion models, committed by a masked killer in a desperate attempt to obtain a scandal-revealing diary.

The film is generally considered one of the earliest and most influential of all gialli films and served as a stylistic template for the “body count” slasher films of the 1980s. Tim Lucas said that the film inspired “legions of contemporary filmmakers, from Dario Argento to Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino.” In 2004, one of its sequences was voted No. 85 in “The 100 Scariest Movie Moments” by the Bravo TV network.

13. Southbound

V v good.

Southbound is a 2015 American anthology horror film directed by Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, and Patrick Horvath. Produced by Brad Miska, the film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 16, 2015, and was released theatrically on February 5, 2016 in a limited release. The film was included on numerous Best Horror Films of 2016 lists including those by Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed and the Thrillist.

Interlocking tales of highway terror revolve around malevolent spirits at a truck stop, a mysterious traveller, a car accident and a home invasion.

14. Suicide Club 

It’s a lot! Might want to swap out with suggestions at the bottom, but this is v good. Def a cult j-horror.

Suicide Club, known in Japan as Suicide Circle (自殺サークル Jisatsu Sākuru), is a 2001 Japanese independent satirical horror film written and directed by Sion Sono. The film explores a wave of seemingly unconnected suicides that strikes Japan and the efforts of the police to determine the reasons behind the strange behavior.

Suicide Club gained a considerable amount of notoriety in film festivals around the world for its controversial, transgressive subject matter and overall gruesome presentation. It developed a significant cult following over the years, and won the Jury Prize for “Most Ground-Breaking Film” at the 2003 Fantasia Film Festival.

15. Sleepaway Camp 

cw: the ending could be v triggering, if you want to know specifically why hover here:

Spoiler

transmisogyny, gender identity, homophobia.

[collapse]

Sleepaway Camp (released as Nightmare Vacation in the United Kingdom) is a 1983 American slasher film written and directed by Robert Hiltzik, who also served as executive producer. It is the first film in the Sleepaway Camp franchise, and tells the story of a young girl sent to a summer camp, where a series of murders begin shortly after her arrival. It stars Felissa Rose, Katherine Kamhi, Paul DeAngelo, and Mike Kellin in his last screen appearance.

16. Dead Alive (Braindead) 

Peter Jackson!? ‘splatstick’ horror

Overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), spying on her grown son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), as he visits the zoo with the lovely Paquita (Diana Peñalver), is accidentally bitten by the fearsome Sumatran rat-monkey. When the bite turns his beloved mother into a zombie, Lionel tries to keep her locked safely in the basement, but her repeated escapes turn most of the neighbors into the walking dead, who then crash a high-society party thrown by Lionel’s boorish Uncle Les (Ian Watkin).

17. Beyond the Black Rainbow

Fair warning: A lot of people hate this movie. It’s slow, and it’s weird but I really love it.  

A heavily sedated woman (Eva Allan) with ESP tries to escape from the secluded commune where she’s been held captive.

18. Train to Busan

Haven’t seen yet, but everyone I know loves it.

A man (Gong Yoo), his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak in South Korea.

19. House of the Devil 

Ti West can do no wrong.

Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes a mysterious babysitting job. When she arrives at the house, Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) mentions a full lunar eclipse and explains there is no child, but that Samantha will be watching his mother instead. After exploring the sinister-seeming house, Samantha soon comes to realize that her employers are hiding a horrifying secret and have plans to use her, dead or alive.

20. The Thing 

Best practical effects.

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.

21. Halloween 

On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.

22. Halloween II 

After failing to kill stubborn survivor Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and taking a bullet or six from former psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) has followed Laurie to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where she’s been admitted for Myers’ attempt on her life. The institution proves to be particularly suited to serial killers, however, as Myers cuts, stabs and slashes his way through hospital staff to reach his favorite victim.

23. Halloween III: Season of the Witch 

(8 more days till Halloween)

Hospital emergency room Dr. Daniel “Dan” Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), the daughter of a murder victim, uncover a terrible plot by small-town mask maker Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), a madman who’s planning a Halloween mass murder utilizing an ancient Celtic ritual.

24. Black Christmas

As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder), begin to receive anonymous, lascivious phone calls. Initially, Barb eggs the caller on, but stops when he responds threateningly. Soon, Barb’s friend Claire (Lynne Griffin) goes missing from the sorority house, and a local adolescent girl is murdered, leading the girls to suspect a serial killer is on the loose. But no one realizes just how near the culprit is.

25. Audition 

Takashi Miike is amazing and this rules but one scene might be too much for some people.

This disturbing Japanese thriller follows Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend (Jun Kunimura), Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami (Eihi Shiina), they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn’t as reserved as she appears to be, leading to gradually increased tension and a harrowing climax.

26. Martyrs 

cw: child abuse, extreme gore.

Two young women who were both victims of abuse as children embark on a bloody quest for revenge only to find themselves plunged into a living hell of depravity.

27. Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Haven’t seen yet.

A “metal fetishist” (Shin’ya Tsukamoto), driven mad by the maggots wriggling in the wound he’s made to embed metal into his flesh, runs out into the night and is accidentally run down by a Japanese businessman (Tomorowo Taguchi) and his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara). The pair dispose of the corpse in hopes of quietly moving on with their lives. However, the businessman soon finds that he is now plagued by a vicious curse that transforms his flesh into iron.

28. Maniac

There’s an original from 1980 and a remake in 2012 starring Elijah Wood that’s also good as hell. Decide if you want a double feature, or pick whichever you want! Posting synopsis for both.

(1980)

Maniac is a 1980 American psychological slasher film directed by William Lustig and written by C. A. Rosenberg. It stars Joe Spinell as Frank Zito, an Italian-American serial killer residing in New York City who murders and scalps young women. Spinell was also co-writer of the film.

With a minuscule budget, many scenes in the film were shot guerrilla style. Originally considered an exploitation film, Maniac has since attained a cult following despite receiving polarized reviews and being released in limited theaters by Analysis Film Releasing Corp.

While not prosecuted for obscenity nor officially listed as a video nasty, Maniac was seized by various police forces across Greater Manchester and Lancashire during the video nasty panic, presumably based on the film’s notorious reputation overseas.

(2012)

Maniac is a 2012 psychological slasher film directed by Franck Khalfoun, written by Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur, and starring Elijah Wood and Nora Arnezeder. It is a remake of the 1980 film of the same name, and follows the violent exploits of a brutal serial killer.

The film is an international co-production produced by the French film companies La Petite Reine and Studio 37. Unlike the original 1980 film, which is set in New York City, writers Aja, Levasseur, and Rosenberg chose to set the film in Los Angeles.

29. Mandy

I saw this twice in theaters the week it came out. It’s amazing. Nicolas Cage is amazing.

In the Pacific Northwest in 1983, outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with deadly fire.

30. Suspiria

Another double feature if you want! Original is from Dario Argento in 1977, remake is from 2018 by Luca Guadagnino who directed Call Me By Your Name… however I actually haven’t seen this yet surprisingly so I’ll be watching both.

(1977)

Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one lets her in, and she sees Pat (Eva Axén), another student, fleeing from the school. When Pat reaches her apartment, she is murdered. The next day, Suzy is admitted to her new school, but has a difficult time settling in. She hears noises, and often feels ill. As more people die, Suzy uncovers the terrifying secret history of the place.

(2018)

Young American dancer Susie Bannion arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers.

31. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

It was hard to pick a movie for Halloween, but this seemed like a good fit.

When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather’s grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), set out with their friends to investigate. After a detour to their family’s old farmhouse, they discover a group of crazed, murderous outcasts living next door. As the group is attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), who wears a mask of human skin, the survivors must do everything they can to escape.

BONUSES

If some of the above doesn’t sound great to you here are some more to swap in 🙂

Knife + Heart

Only streaming on Shudder.
Paris, Summer 1979. Anne (French superstar Vanessa Paradis) produces third-rate gay porn. When one of her actors is brutally murdered, Anne is caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside-down. An ultra-stylish and bloodsoaked ode to ’70s era De Palma, Argento, and Friedkin, shot on 35mm and featuring a killer retro score from M83.

It Follows

After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings, until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.

Teeth

Dawn (Jess Weixler) is an active member of her high-school chastity club but, when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), nature takes its course, and the pair answer the call. They suddenly learn she is a living example of the vagina dentata myth, when the encounter takes a grisly turn.

The Witch

In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin, the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy and Jonas suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty and love to one another.

Innkeepers

When two employees at a New England hotel decide to investigate stories of hauntings and ghosts, their curiosity wakens an unwanted presence.

Strangeland

This movie is a hot mess and Dee Snyder sucks but if I watched it as a teen and laugh my ass off maybe someone else will.

A pierced and tattooed sadist, Captain Howdy (Dee Snider), trolls the Internet for naive teens, luring them to his home to torture and defile them. When Howdy kidnaps and tortures the daughter of police Detective Mike Gage (Kevin Gage), he is caught. Deemed insane, he is sent to an asylum but is released soon after, seemingly better. However, Gage knows it is only a matter of time before Howdy strikes again, and he’s ready to unleash his own form of retribution when the time comes.

Dr. Giggles

I got into horror because my mom and aunt would pick the weirdest looking tape covers at Blockbuster and this was one of them.

In 1957, Evan Rendell (Larry Drake) flees after his father is lynched for killing multiple patients in his effort to find a replacement heart for his ailing wife. After 35 years, Evan escapes from a mental institution and returns to town for revenge, killing off residents one by one. When Jennifer (Holly Marie Combs) and her friends break into the Rendell house out of morbid curiosity, Evan notices Jennifer has a heart condition similar to his mother and decides to make her his final victim.

Hellraiser

Hell yes Clive Barker.

Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while abroad. The act unleashes gruesome beings called Cenobites, who tear Frank’s body apart. When Frank’s brother (Andrew Robinson) and his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), move into Frank’s old house, they accidentally bring what is left of Frank back to life. Frank then convinces Julia, his one-time lover, to lure men back to the house so he can use their blood to reconstruct himself.

Cube

Without remembering how they got there, several strangers awaken in a prison of cubic cells, some of them booby-trapped. There’s onetime cop Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint), scientist Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), young math genius Leaven (Nicole de Boer), master of escapes Rennes (Wayne Robson), autistic savant Kazan (Andrew Miller) and architect Worth (David Hewlett), who might have more information on the maze than he lets on. The prisoners must use their combined skills if they are to escape.

Phantasm

The residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, leading young Mike (Michael Baldwin) to investigate. After discovering that the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), the town’s mortician, is killing and reanimating the dead as misshapen zombies, Mike seeks help from his older brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury), and local ice cream man Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Working together, they try to lure out and kill the Tall Man, all the while avoiding his minions and a deadly silver sphere.