Monday, October 3, 2022

Halloween Creature Feature

It's Spooky Season, and Halloween is fast approaching. Stuck on what to watch? Looking for something new and spooky? Or just need some movie inspiration? Take a look at my list of 31 horror movies, one for every day of October. If you want to weigh in on these movies or have any recommendations of your own, feel free to leave a comment or tag me in a Tweet.

1 - Pumpkinhead
Horror and tragedy often go hand in hand, but Pumpkinhead handles the two incredibly well. A grieving father seeks vengeance after his son is accidentally killed by some teens in a hit-and-run. With the assistance of a witch, he summons a demon to hunt down the people responsible but soon finds himself feeling remorse, as his link to the creature means he experiences the ensuing horror as it takes place. And the only person who can end the carnage is him.

2 - The Evil Dead
If you went to a cabin in the woods with your friends and found a creepy cellar filled with occult goodies and a voice recording that's likely to unleash literal hell on earth, would you:
A. Leave it alone, continue enjoying your break and never speak of it again.
B. Play the recording and mess with the mysterious artefacts.
Unfortunately for Ash and his friends, they chose B, freeing a race of ancient demons known as the Deadites. They probably should have stuck to a nice package holiday, but a film like that wouldn't have led to a series of cult movies, a TV series and multiple games. There's also a reboot, but I recommend starting at the 1981 original.

3 - Hellraiser
A must-watch with the reboot being released on the 4th of October. A Clive Barker classic, this dark and bloody horror is perfect for Spooky Season. Moving into her husband's childhood home with him, Julia soon realises that the worst thing about the house isn't that it's a bit of a fixer-upper; it's haunted by her long-lost lover, her brother-in-law, Frank. Having summoned a group of sadistic demons, he's now escaped them and enlists Julia's help in resurrecting his earthly body with human sacrifices. It's up to Julia's stepdaughter, Kirsty, to stop the duo's murderous rampage. That is if she can survive her family and the demons pursuing them.

4 - Critters
Think Lilo & Stitch...if Stitch was a group of hungry, murderous fuzzballs who have just escaped a maximum security interstellar prison and have landed on earth with no intention of beings friends with anyone. Gore galore in this excellent galactic comedy horror.

5 - The Decent
One of the most claustrophobic movies I've ever seen. A group of friends goes caving, but their trip soon turns into a nightmare as they find themselves trapped deep underground. As if that wasn't bad enough, it turns out that they aren't alone down there. The caves are inhabited by a race of subterranean humanoids, and they're hunting the girls.

6 - The Cabin in the Woods
Remote woodland cabins are never a good idea; horror movie fuel every time. A group of college students retreat to a cabin in the Woods, determined to relax and party, but their good time soon gets ruined as they fall victim to a family of zombies. But that's the least of their problems, as there's more going on here than meets the eye. Quick, clever and a little bit different to your average monster movie.

7 - Tremors
The classic monster movie that launched multiple sequels, a TV series and an as-of-yet unreleased TV series. Earl and Val are tired of their boring lives in their run-down little desert town, so they leave, searching for better things. However, their attempt at starting new lives for themselves is scuppered as they come across the horrifically mangled remains of some other locals and workmen fixing the road outside of town. What they initially take for the work of a serial killer turns out to be the result of something much worse, and Earl, Val and the townsfolk soon find themselves involved in the world's worst game of The Floor Is Lava.

8 - The Ritual
I'm not going to lie, Moder is one of the most well-designed monsters I've seen in a long while. Four guys go on a hike after the tragic death of their friend, but bonding goes out of the window when they take a regrettable shortcut.

9 - Willy's Wonderland
A mysterious, energy drink addicted stranger takes a job as a cleaner in an abandoned amusement center in exchange for repairs to his broken-down car. As if cleaning the place wasn't hard enough, he has to deal with a group of well meaning teens and a gang of killer animatronic critters at the same time. If you're a fan of the FNAF games then you'll love this manic, gory, funny horror movie.

10 - Dog Soldiers
Nobody warns a group of soldiers on a military exercise about what happens if you don't stay off the moors and beware the moon. The other best Werewolf movie in existence. Terrifying monsters, characters you'll want to survive and, eventually, no Spoons.

11 - The Unnamable
Another film based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft by the same name. Two groups of university students head to their town's local haunted house, one to party and the other to find their missing friend. While the house has been rumoured to have been haunted since the 18th century, the two groups soon discover that they're up against something worse than a ghost. A demon had been sealed in the house for decades, but now it's loose and angry.

12 - 13th Child
There aren't that many good movies about the Jersey Devil out there, but I'm sure there are some. This isn't one of them, but it is a fun watch for Spooky Season. People are being murdered, seemingly by an untraceable assailant with superhuman strength. Intrepid District Attorney Murphy sets out to solve what could be the most significant case of her career but soon realises that the killer she's hunting is far from human.

13 - The Thing
If you're worried about what will be found as the ice caps melt, this might not be the movie for you. A research team on a remote Antarctic base find themselves besieged by an unknown creature that can mimic any living thing...or any living person. As tensions run high, they battle fear and paranoia in an attempt to stop the Thing before it can kill them all and escape the base.

14 - Antlers
Teacher Julia takes a particular interest in the well-being of one of her students, Lucas, as she fears the boy is being abused. Her investigation soon takes a horrifying turn because Lucas is guarding a dark and terrible secret, one that's about to get out.

15 - The Mist
A father and son, David and Billy, become trapped in a supermarket when a strange mist takes over the town. To their horror, they and the other people stuck in the building discover that the abnormal weather condition is home to a large variety of hideous creatures, all of which are preying on the helpless humans trapped within the store. As tensions rise and the attacks grow more frequent, some of the humans inside become just as dangerous as the monsters outside, and the real fight for survival begins. A word of warning, the ending of this movie is heartwrenching.

16 - It Follows
And it has no intention of stopping until it's killed you. In this chilling and dreamlike film, Jay finds herself cursed after sleeping with her boyfriend. Chased by a creature that only she can see, which can take on any form it pleases, she and her friends find themselves in a race for time to stop the Thing or at least slow It down.

17 - The Reanimator
Based on the H. P. Lovecraft story Herbert West - Reanimator, this 1985 comedy horror is one of my all-time favourite movies. When medical student Dan puts out an advert for a new flatmate, and the position is taken by new student Herbert West, his life takes a turn for the bizarre and horrifying. Herbert isn't just any ordinary medical student. He's a modern day Doctor Frankenstein obsessed with halting death itself, but the only way to advance scientific theories is to test them out, and their medical school offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. As everything spirals out of control, Dan finds himself dragged along for the ride.

18 - The Fly
More mad science with 1986's The Fly, a reboot of the 1958 film of the same name. Scientist Seth Brundle decides the best way to test his new teleportation tech is on himself, but in the process finds his DNA fused with that of a fly. Although nothing seems wrong initially, Brundle soon finds himself mutating into a grotesque hybrid. Can he save himself, or is he doomed? 

19 - Killer Klowns From Outer Space
We can all agree that clowns are creepy, but what if they were worse? What if clowns were aliens from outer space that had come to earth to feed on the citizens of a small American town? That's the problem our heroes face in this cheesy 1988 horror comedy. Well worth a watch, especially if you intend to play the game based on this movie, due in 2023.

20 - American Werewolf in London
Two college students discover what happens when you ignore people's warnings to stay off the moors and beware the moon. Friends David and Jack are on a walking holiday in England when they're attacked by a Werewolf. Although Jack is killed, David survives, waking up in a hospital in London where he suffers from terrifying hallucinations and dreams. By the time he realises that he's become a werewolf, it's too late, and David is loose in the city. 

21 - Gremlins
You'll never want an exotic pet ever again after watching Gremlins. Billy is gifted an adorable new pet by his Father, a sweet fluff ball named Gizmo, who comes with a simple set of rules to follow when caring for him. Despite this, two of these rules get broken, unleashing a hoard of maniacal Gremlins on the town. Far from being mischievous, these little creeps are out for blood, and it's up to Billy and Gizmo to save the day.

22 - The Mummy
The 1999 classic, not the 2017 flop. Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan dreams of discovering great archaeological treasures, especially in the lost city of Hamunaptra. In an attempt to find the city she enlists the help of her brother Jonathan and a charming rogue, Rick O'Connell, who knows the city's location. The trio compete with other archaeologists seeking treasure and accidentally set free a cursed Egyptian priest, Imhotep, who was mummified alive. Now the race to find treasure becomes a race to save not only the world from the vengeful Imhotep, but also Evelyn because Imhotep is convinced she's his lost love reincarnated. This much-loved monster movie is iconic and perfect for any moviegoer.

23 - Ravenous 
The most subtle kind of monster is the one that appears human. A bloody, dark comedy with an insane soundtrack, Ravenous is an enjoyable introduction to Wendigo mythology. Sent to work at Fort Spencer, Captain John Boyd is soon involved in a mission to rescue a lost party of settlers when a lone survivor finds their fort. It becomes apparent that the party has been cannibalised, and the one responsible has lured them there for his next meal. Before he knows it, Boyd's promotion turns into a nightmarish game of cat and mouse between him and the sinister killer Colquhoun.

24 Fright Night
An excellent horror comedy and the perfect Halloween monster movie. Teenager Charley loves horror, but things get a bit too real when he discovers his charismatic new neighbour is a vampire. Although people are clearly dying, nobody believes Carlie when he tries to tell them what's happening, so he decides to slay the beast himself, enlisting the help of his friends and washed-up horror host Peter Vincent to do so.

25 - Night of the Demon
Released in 1957, this is the oldest film on this list, but I highly recommend it. Based on the M.R James story Casting the Runes, it follows Doctor Holden as he arrives in England to attend a convention and finds himself investigating the mysterious death of a colleague and possibly cursed by the cult that may have been involved with it. Even if you haven't heard of this film before, you might still be familiar with it thanks to the Kate Bush song Hounds of Love, which opens with a sample from the movie; "It's in the trees! IT'S COMING!"

26  - Frankenstein Theory
A team of documentary makers discover that Frankenstein is based on a true story, thanks to one of them possibly being his only descendant. The crew set off to Canada to investigate some possible sightings of what could be the infamous monster, but in their attempt to separate fact from fiction, they end up biting off more than they can chew. A fun-found footage movie; a little low budget, but enjoyable.

27 - Lost Boys
Sometimes people fall in with the wrong crowd, but Michael takes it a bit too far when he finds himself in too deep with a group of bikers, who also happen to be vampires. Luckily for him, while he was messing around with the creatures of the night, his little brother Sam was making friends with the local vampire hunters. A mix of dark comedy and thrilling horror, it's hard to find a more perfect vampire film than this.

28 - Night Breed
Have you always sided with the monsters instead of the humans? Then this film from the mind of Clive Barker is for you. Dark and strangely beautiful. While a brutal serial killer haunts the city where he lives, Aaron Boone is haunted by dreams of a mysterious place known as Midian and feels strangely drawn to the place. Because of these dreams he's been seeing a psychiatrist, Doctor Decker, who's the one responsible for the killings, but pins the blame on Boone, persuading him that he's the one responsible. Rather than hand himself in to the police, Boone goes on a quest to find Midian, believing that it's the only place he can find the answers and peace he seeks. Meanwhile, he's pursued not only by the police and his loyal girlfriend but by Decker, who isn't finished with him yet.

29 - The Return of the Living Dead
A clumsy duo of employees in a medical supply company accidentally crack open a barrel full of chemicals, releasing dangerous gas into the air. This gas gets mixed into the rain outside, soaking into the local cemetery and resulting in the bodies returning to life, searching for delicious brains.

30 - Ginger Snaps
Being a teen is hard, especially if you're the odd one out at school, but things get more complicated for sisters Ginger and Brigitte when, on their way to prank a school bully one night, they are attacked by an unknown creature. Ginger is bitten by the beast, and as she begins to go through some weird changes that can't be blamed on puberty, it becomes clear that her attacker was a Werewolf. The race is on for Brigette to save her sister before the upcoming full moon, but can she do it and does Ginger really want to be saved?

31 - Trick r Treat
A delightfully ghoulish collection of tales, interwoven into a true Halloween classic, with monsters abound. Some of those monsters, however, are more human than others. Beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, this film is a true love letter to Halloween and quickly developed a cult following. Fans have been after more for ages and got good news recently when director Mike Dougherty announced that he's involved in active development with Legendary Entertainment on a sequel. I can't wait to see what that will be like, and I'm sure you'll be looking forward to it after watching this.

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