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Horror for Halloween

Hey everyone! Hope your Shocktober is going great!

Thanks to everyone who picked up a free Kindle copy of Crow Creek the first week of October. It was a fantastic promotion charging my books up the horror charts for a while there. Hopefully, everyone likes what they read. Please do me a favor and leave a rating on Amazon!

Shocktober Horror Movie Challenge

I’ve been watching one horror movie or show per day throughout the month of October. Most of these films are obvious and you’ve probably seen them a time or a hundred, like me. But here are just some of my favorites I’ll be watching this month…

Halloween (1978) – This was my gateway horror movie. Saw it on TV with my brother when I was maybe ten years old and was changed forever. It’s the father of slasher flicks directed with surprising maturity and restraint by the great John Carpenter, who also created the iconic theme music. Halloween single-handedly gave birth to a whole audience of genre-loving fanatics for filmmakers to prey upon in the 80’s and beyond.

The Shining (1981) – Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick, both at the top of their respective games, a harrowing performance by Shelley Duvall, and two of the creepiest twin girls you’ll ever not want to meet at the end of a hotel hallway. The performances are brilliantly over the top and the atmosphere is positively claustrophobic. A masterpiece (no matter what Stephen King says about it).

The Changeling (1981) – No, not the one with Angelina Jolie. This one is from 1981 and stars George C. Scott in a highly influential haunted house tale. There are some images in this film that stay lodged in your head, including the scariest seance scene ever put to screen. It’s a truly frightening film.

Lake Mungo (2009) – It’s a slow burn meditation on family grief, so make sure you’re in a patient mood. It’s not one to watch while you’re doing other things. But if you let yourself get caught up in its spell, you’ll be rewarded tenfold with one of the creepiest payoffs I’ve ever seen. Lake Mungo is a hidden gem.

Trick ‘r Treat (2007) – Artfully constructed in terms of story structure as well as visual design. Visually, it perfectly captures everything we love about Halloween night; its art direction is almost Tim Burton-esque. Through a clever anthology setup, a handful of separate stories are tied together over the course of one small town’s Halloween festivities. Trick ‘r Treat is a modern classic.

The Witch (2015) – Forget La La Land and Moonlight–no, actually, don’t forget them they were both great movies–but for my money, the best film of 2015 was Robert Eggers’ The Witch. In fact, it’s in my top 5 horror films of all time. A dark fairytale filled with ominous sound design and powerful imagery, The Witch finishes with a third act so shockingly intense, you’ll be left breathless. “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” 

The Exorcist (1973) – Right when movies were just figuring out how to be scary, there came one of the all-time scariest films. Shocking even by today’s standards (heck, a certain crucifix scene would probably not make it to the screen nowadays), The Exorcist remains firmly planted in a league of its own.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Just when it seemed the slasher genre was on its last legs, Wes Craven sprang Freddie Kruger on us and a whole new wave of horror spilled forth. Though he became a bit of a comical character in most of the sequels, Freddie was a truly disturbing figure in the original. If you haven’t seen Nightmare in a while, give it another shot–it still holds up.

Scream (1996) – Noticing how dark my list was becoming, I figured it’s time for a little levity. Craven once again re-energized the genre by turning the mirror back on itself, mixing in dark humor and real chills. Set in the Halloween season, Scream is a great slasher to watch in October.

The Thing (1982) – Another Carpenter classic and the rare remake that surpasses its predecessor in every conceivable way. It’s gritty, gut-wrenching, and at times wildly gory. Carpenter’s direction is spare and Kurt Russell is fantastic. It’s a suspenseful work by a master at the height of his game.

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch and 4: The Return of Michael Myers  (1982 and 1988) – If you go onto Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll find a whole lot of hate and low ratings for these movies from the critics. Screw them! Season of the Witch is a truly original horror movie, and Halloween 4 is by far the best of the Michael Myers sequels–including an opening credits sequence containing some of my favorite shots and sound design of any film in the series. If nothing else, both of these movies are miles better than, 5, 6, H20 and the Rob Zombie reboots.

Hereditary (2018) – One of the best movies of the year, regardless of genre. The performances by the actors, especially Toni Collett, are top notch and the direction is brilliant. Equal parts family drama and dark horror, Hereditary is almost perfect.

Given time constraints in my schedule, I will be kind of winging it most days, but here are some others I intend to watch at some point.

Others on my viewing list:

Friday the 13th 1, 2, and 3

The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix Series)


Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Claw



Halloween (2018)

The Brood

Nightmare Before Christmas

Monster House



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