You survived the first 16 days of Alex’s picks, huh? Well, turn off your devices, dim the lights and brace yourself for the last 2 weeks of October!
October 16: Night of the Living Dead (1968). Seriously, is there ever a bad time to return to this classic? Personally, I get hit with something new every time I watch it. Just don’t accidentally fire up the 20th anniversary edition – I can’t be held responsible for that.
October 17: Night of the Comet (1984). A comet crosses Earth’s orbit for the first time since the dinosaurs walked, turning people into either zombies or piles of red dust. The ’80s is strong with this one (in a good way), and the Belmont sisters are among the most badass ladies in horror.
October 18: Session 9 (2001). This film is a straight-up masterpiece of subtlety that I appreciate more with each watching. Bonus points: for a film with no female leads, its critique of the pressures of patriarchy is actually feminist AF.
October 19: Onibaba (1964). I’m a sucker for foreign horror movies about folklore and history. Whether you give yourself over to the supernatural, cautionary fairy tale elements or the sobering depiction of feminine wartime hardship, this one’s hard to forget.
October 20: Pin (1988). It might be a mission to find this Canadian made-for-TV gem, but trust me, it’s worth it. The story of a young man who learns about the birds and the bees from a medical mannequin and his emerging mental illness is told from the perspective of his sister, and the results are surprisingly moving.
October 21: I Walked with a Zombie (1943). Think of this film as something of a palate-cleanser – an incredibly beautiful and sensitive film that’s also one of the more accurate cinematic representations of Haitian Voodoo zombie lore.
October 22: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971). This movie‘s poster should appear next to the dictionary’s definition of “gaslighting”. Told entirely from the point of view of a woman who was recently discharged from a mental institution (internal commentary and all), Zohra Lampert’s empathetic portrayal of Jessica is sure to hit you in the feels.
October 23: Deranged (1974). Move over, Norman Bates! Ezra Cobb loves his mom just as much and boasts a higher body count. Based on the life of Ed Gein, Deranged uses a unique pseudo-documentary format that sneaks some clever satire into its narrative.
October 24: Buried (2010). 95 minutes of nothing but Ryan Reynolds to look at! I’m a sadist, I know. Most people caught on to the conceit of a whole movie spent in a coffin with someone who’s been buried alive, but people who didn’t see it missed out on some inventive cinematography, a politically-charged plot and a surprisingly raw performance from someone we mostly know for making fart jokes. Give it a chance.
October 25: Wyrmwood (2014). Billed as “Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead“, this one came at a time where post-apocalyptic zombie movies were well-trodden territory. Still, the feature film debut of Australian filmmaker Kiah Roache-Turner lulls you into a state of familiarity before smacking you upside the head with some incredible fight scenes and introducing you to a very powerful lady. I’m looking forward to the upcoming sequel in 2017.
October 26: Suicide Club (2001). Kids these days. You never know when the next big fad will hit. In Suicide Club, a rash of teens offing themselves in huge numbers has a pair of detectives baffled. You’ll be pretty baffled too, in the end, but not before witnessing some chilling scenes, including an unforgettable musical sequence by actual Japanese musician Rolly.
October 27: Cube (1997). This horror/sci-fi feature debut by Vincenzo Natali proves that low budget is no constraint on high concept. Watch it in a big, spacious room, preferably with a window open.
October 28: Beneath (2013). Not to be confused with Larry Fessenden’s sub-par creature feature of the same name that came out the same year (because that’s not confusing), Beneath is a story of coal miners who get trapped in a mine shaft with limited air. Go crazy? Don’t mind if they do!
October 29: Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012). Don’t be fooled by the cheerful anime; this bizarre-o body horror tale still haunts my dreams. The less I say about the plot, the better. It starts with fish; I’ll leave it at that.
October 30: The Gate (1987). It’s Devil’s night, and what better way to celebrate than inadvertently opening a portal to a demon-realm! The Gate is fun, funny and ’80s nostalgic as all heck. Plus, best see it now in case Alex Winter’s proposed 3-D remake actually happens and ruins it for everyone.
October 31: Hausu (1977). It’s Halloween night already? Let’s face it, you’re probably either wasted or being interrupted every 5 minutes by some pumpkin-costumed brat at the door, so here’s a super-fun, wack-a-doodle oddball that doesn’t require too much concentration.
Happy Halloween, everyone!