I’ve been wanting to post this playlist since the beginning of September, but I forced restraint upon myself. Now that we are officially in October, it’s time!
For several occasions each year, I make horror movie playlists. I love horror movies. I love good horror movies, decent horror movies, and I have a particular fondness for delightfully crappy horror movies.
If a horror movie has atmosphere, that goes a long way with me.
I should also say that I have a robust list of horror movies I have but haven’t seen yet, and I’m hoping to get to those this month, too. I will include that list at the bottom in case anyone has any specific recommendations, either from the list, or in addition to it.
(Also, I know Wednesdays are usually game writing days, but movies are media, so I figured it was okay. Plus, this is my website, so, if I want it to be okay, it’s okay! But, if I disappointed anyone, I do apologize.)
Here is my curated playlist for October 2017!
In alphabetical order:
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
I found this by accident years ago while looking through Netflix. I didn’t know what to expect, and I found this movie both hilarious (Paradise Lost? Found it.), as well as strangely thought-provoking. Parts were filmed just outside of my hometown, and the atmosphere brings me back to crisp autumns in the pacific northwest.
The Blair Witch Project
I saw this in the theatre when it released back in 1999 and it freaked me the heck out. That was long before I watched horror movies all the time, and the story back then was that this was still potentially real (which, if anyone thought about it logically, was ridiculous) which added to the creepiness factor. After watching the special edition with commentary from the directors, I found their ideas and approach brilliant. I’d recommend that commentary to anyone interested in film making or creativity in general.
Back in 2005 when I first started my Horror Movie Fridays, I saw this movie in the theatre and quite liked it. The premise was interesting and Bon Jovi was in it, so what’s not to like? Also, it takes place right around Halloween, so, bonus!
fear dot com
This movie is really something. Back in the early ’00s, before I was super into horror, I recall seeing a poster for this at a military base in Germany. The poster alone freaked me out. I remember wanting to see it, but also being too scared to see it.
Years later, I rented it, and wow. Something about this is a shade away from an art house film. It’s not terribly good, but it’s also almost great. The atmosphere is oppressive. It’s overall quite bizarre and I like bizarre.
The Halloween Series
I love all the Halloween movies, but each for different reasons.
The first is a classic. Heavy on atmosphere (Carpenter is a master of atmosphere). The second is interesting as a continuation of the first. The third is bat sh*t crazy and I love it. The fourth has even more great atmosphere and an interesting story premise. The fifth had a great setup for the young girl, but I felt it wasn’t as fully realized as it could have been. The sixth has a ridiculously young Paul Rudd in a weird role. The seventh has the return of Jamie Lee Curtis. The eighth is over the top and silly and I love it.
The House of the Devil
I really like this movie. I am a huge fan of the slow burn horror movie, and I think this is one of the best examples out there. I’d never heard of director Ti West before, but after this, I sought out his films. Every shot feels deliberate and purposeful. The atmosphere becomes so tense by the last act, it’s almost a relief when what has been coming finally arrives.
The Houses October Built
I found this by chance on Netflix and wound up really liking it. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the premise and the execution. I felt like the film deliberately folded in upon itself and I always like when media can do that.
The Houses October Built 2
I found out last week that this movie even existed! I was able to rent it via Amazon instant video, and I jumped at the chance since I liked the first one so much.
The sequel has a very different tone and way too many drone shots (seriously, it’s like, Drone Shots: The Movie). The first two acts were a little weak (with the exception of the zombie 5k which looks super rad and I’d love to do that in reality), but the third act was legitimately tense. Most horror films (to me) excel at the first two acts but fall apart in the third. This was the opposite. I also think this sets up a third film very well, should they choose to go that route.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
This movie is unique and terribly interesting. It makes you wonder exactly what’s going, and what is reality and what…isn’t. I don’t watch this one all too often, but every time I do, I’m reminded of how good it is.
This is another movie with decent atmosphere. It isn’t fantastic, but I enjoy visiting it now and then.
Oh man, this movie definitely has atmosphere. I like how it deals with the negative aspects of revenge and how they ultimately ruin the one taking the revenge. The making of featurette was also fascinating.
I love the over the top feel of this movie. I remember seeing this in the theatre back in the day and, believe it or not, at that time I didn’t know it was based on a video game! There was a period of my life where I wasn’t as up on gaming, and this fell into those “dark days.”
I also love the soundtrack. It’s almost unsettling.
This may be my favorite contemporary horror movie.
I saw this in the theatre in Seattle when it released and it messed with me. As I would go back to watch it again and again, I would appreciate more and more about it. The color saturation. The atmosphere so thick and moist you could practically feel it. The spare use of any actual reveal only makes the experience more powerful. I think Gore Verbinski beyond nailed it. He used unsettling imagery and left nearly all the rest to the imagination.
The Ring Two
While not as good as the first film, I also enjoyed this entry. It was filmed relatively close to where I grew up, and it nailed the atmosphere of that area.
Another movie I didn’t know was based on a video game when I saw it in the theatre! I hold fast that this is the best video game movie out there. The atmosphere (can you tell atmosphere is a major sticking point for me?) is off the charts, and the production value is fantastic. Just thinking about it makes me want to go watch it right now…except it’s almost 2am and I need to finish writing this so I can go to sleep! Otherwise I would!
Trick ‘r Treat
This is my favorite Halloween movie, and I don’t mean from the franchise. This movie embodies Halloween in a way I think other movies can only aspire to. Sure, it’s gross in parts, but this captures that Halloween essence. The atmosphere of the ideal Halloween festivities in the ideal Halloween town. This is another movie where the color saturation carries over into my memories of it. I sincerely hope the rumors are true and a sequel is in the works.
When a Stranger Calls
I watched this on a whim many years back and I wound up liking it a lot more than I thought I would (that opening scene stays with me years later). The autumn weather feels present and oppressive.
This is another movie I watched on a whim on Netflix and wound up loving (also, Ti West makes an appearance in the cast!). It doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween, but it feels like an autumn movie.
And the lead actress is badass.
So there you have it! There is my robust October horror movie playlist for 2017!
And here is the list of movies I have but have yet to watch and am hoping to get to:
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The Bye Bye Man
The Children of the Corn series
A Dark Song
The Devil’s Candy
Don’t Hang Up
Don’t Knock Twice
The Final Girls
Freddy vs. Jason
The Hills Run Red
The Legend of Boggy Creek
Lost After Dark
Martyrs (US version)
The Watcher in the Woods
We Are Still Here
If you have any recommendations from that list (or any others for that matter), please send them my way!
Which horror movies do you love to revisit at this time of year? What are your favorite horror movies in general?