It’s October! The most wonderful month of the year. The leaves are turning, the chestnuts are falling and cracking off the tops of cars, stouts are pouring thick and foamy and it’s time to get out the horror films and celebrate all that is scary! We here at Black Dog love a good terror ride and we want to share some of our favourites with you. Every day of the month I’ll post a new delightful horror number here to flip your hair back. It will culminate on the 31st with the publication of Black Dog’s Top 100 Horror films of all time! How cool is that? (All titles are available at your local Black Dog Video)
Are you slitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.
October 31st – Trick ‘r Treat (2007) – All right, it’s the big day! It’ll probably come as no surprise that I picked this fine, fun anthology horror number as the last pick. It kind of reminds me a bit of A Christmas Carol as in I feel like I need to watch it almost every Halloween. It does a good job at capturing the spirit of Halloween – parts scary, parts funny, parts whatever you want Halloween to be. And bonus points for being the second film on this year’s list that features a creepy kid with a burlap sack on his head! Sweet. Have a great Halloween everyone!
October 30th – Angst (1983) – Creepy, disturbing, weird home invasion serial-killer flick from Austria (so you know it’s not going to be nice!). The camera work, the ambient sounds and realistic performances help to fuel the atmosphere of tension and dread. One of Gaspar Noe’s (Irreversible) favourite films!
October 29th – Demon Seed (1977) – Dude creates a super computer (by 1977 standards) robot thing to run his house and what-not. Unfortunately it becomes obsessed with Julie Christie (his wife). Nightmares ensue. I remember watching this as a kid and loving it while being quite freaked out at the same time.
October 28th – Re-Animator (1985) – A fine (one of the best for sure!) Lovecraft adaptation finds the always awesome Jeffery Combs as a weirdo (go figure) med student with a flair for raising the dead. Crazy, gory and hilarious film boasts, probably, the best (or one of the best) oral sex scenes ever laid down on celluloid! A must-watch for all medical students and everyone else as well!
October 27th – Housebound (2014) – A woman is placed under house arrest in her childhood home (after a hilariously botched criminal activity) where she discovers that something (possibly) evil may be lurking there. At turns, funny, scary, violent and intriguing. Get this one in your player asap!
October 26th – The Descent (2005) – A group of women decide to go hiking for a little getaway in some uncharted caves. Of course things go horribly wrong and, not only do they get lost and scared and run out of supplies – that would be enough to make a fine horror film, but they also run into some pasty blood-eating underground dwellers who want to feast on their gooey innards! Good times!
October 25th – The Haunting (1963) – What better movie to recommend for the 25th pick than The Haunting? I can’t think of one! I’m a sucker for a good haunted house or ghost story and this one is still one of my all-time favourites.. Some folks spend some time in the legendary Hill House to see if it’s haunted. Guess what? A master class in the use of sound and editing to heighten the scares. Dig in!
October 24th – Hatchet (2006) – Not a great movie by any stretch but a whale of a good time by my stretch. That make any sense? Kane Hodder (Jason!) plays an mutant unstoppable killing machine (sound familiar?) in the swamps of Louisiana. The kills are fast and furious and funny. Invite some friends over, pop a couple of brews and enjoy the carnage. Spawned a couple of sequels that are fairly entertaining as well.
October 23rd –The Orphanage (2007) – Scary, creepy, nicely-paced atmospheric chiller from Spain about a family who revisits their former home which used to be an orphanage for handicapped kids. The boy soon starts to hang out with some invisible friends including one with a burlap sack on his head. Put a burlap sack on a creepy kid’s head and I’m sold!
October 22nd – Phantasm (1979) – I remember seeing this weirdo flick on late night TV when I was a kid and being totally freaked out by it. I can’t really say what it’s about – a mystical, terrifying Tall Man is robbing graves and turing the bodies into short burlap-sack clothed minions that work as slaves in another dimension – or something like that. He also has flying metal balls that bury into your head and drill your brains out. It’s pretty awesome. Spawned a bunch of not-so-great sequels (the last of which can be seen at the Rio next week!)
October 21st – The Howling (1981) – In honour of the full moon that we had last week, I give you one of our favourite werewolf movies! After surviving an attack by a deranged serial killer, E.T.’s mom takes some time off at a rural mountain retreat. Too bad that it’s staffed by werewolves (for her, not for us). It’s fun, gory, funny and sexy. What else can you ask for in a werewolf movie? Thanks, Joe Dante!
October 20th – Martyrs – (2010) – The last selection from France on this list (maybe) is possibly the best, most intense and most disturbing film on this list. After escaping a demented family who imprisoned and tortured her, a young woman, with the aid of a friend, embarks on a quest for revenge only to end up back in a living hell of depravity. Does that sound alluring? Thought so. A nasty, excellent piece of business.
October 19 – The Mist – The Stephen King short story (novella?) that this film is based on still freaks me out and I read it, like, a thousand years ago. And the movie is no slouch either. A mysterious thick misty mist envelops a small town (and most of the eastern seaboard). No big deal, right? Well it is if it’s filled with all sorts of terrifying monsters! What’s are folks to do? Watch and find out. And what an ending!
October 18th – Inside – (2007) – One of my favourite flicks from that cool French new wave of horror films that emerged form France about 10 years ago. A pregnant woman, who just lost her husband in a car accident, is stalked by a deranged woman who really, really wants her unborn child. And she’s stop at nothing, and I do mean nothing, to obtain it. So much crazy blood and gore and suspense, just writing this makes me want to watch it again!
October 17th – Legend of Hell House (1973) – Roddy McDowell leads a team of mediums to check out a supposedly haunted house. This is one of the better haunted house movies ever made. Creepy and cool and 1970’s! I dunno, if I were to spend an evening in a house and it’s name was “Hell House” I might think twice.
October 16th – The Beyond (1981) – Cool, gory and funny (probably not intentionally) weirdo-fest from iconic Italian director Lucio Fulci finds a women inheriting an old hotel in Louisiana that happens to built atop a doorway to hell. Zombies, dog attacks, eye-gouging, strange goings-ons and, best of all, an horde of killer tarantulas make for such good times!
October 15th – Drag Me to Hell (2009) – Wow this film is 7 years old already?! How time flies when you’re being haunted by demons that want to drag you to hell because you’ve been cursed by a mean old gypsy. I love when Sam Raimi does horror. Much better than those dreadful Spiderman movies or the one about Oz. Anyway, this is Raimi in top form – scary, funny, exciting and boasts probably the best fight scene in a parking garage with a nasty old hag ever! Love this film!
October 14th – Salem’s Lot – (1979) – Pretty darn fun adaptation (for TV no less) of the famed Stephen King novel about vampires invading a small New England town. Scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid (book is still better though). Wonder how it holds up today? Pretty good I hope. Bonus points for having Hutch and James Mason in it. Great vampire as well!
October 13th – Frontier(s) (2007) – A few years back France was the hub of a great new wave of horror films. High Tension and a few others (that will show up on this list – stay tuned!) promised a future full of gritty, bloody nastiness. Whatever happened with all of that? Anyhoo, this is one fine, messy gross-out. A bunch of small-time Muslim criminals flee Paris only to fine themselves holed up at a bed and breakfast complete with free room and sex. Sounds great, right? Well not when your hosts are a bunch of Nazi cannibals! Make a nice triple bill with yesterday’s picks.
October 12th – Dead Snow 1 and 2 (2009 & 2014) – Oh, what a lovely day – two recommendations for the price of one! These movies are a total blast. Nazi zombies (yes I said Nazi zombies), buried in the snow in Norway, come back to wreak total gooey vengeance on some hapless vacationers in Part 1 and then acquire a tank and attempt to eradicate an entire village in Part 2 (bonus points for Part 2 for having Martin Starr in it!). Hilarious and bloody and awesome. You’re welcome.
October 11th – The Fly (1986) – One of my favourite Cronenberg flicks tells the sad and gross tale of Jeff Goldblum, inventor and crazy man, who invents a teleportation machine but didn’t see that little fly inside when he tried it out. Good disgusting stuff.
October 10th – Braindead – (1992) – The fully uncut zombie classic from Peter Jackson (aka Dead Alive)! Now with more lawnmower! More eating! More hilarity! This might be considered the granddaddy of all zombie gore films. It’s bloody and bloody hilarious. Great for parties!
October 9th – Starry Eyes (2014) – A young Hollywood hopeful uncovers some creepy weird-ass going-ons among some producers and such as she enters into an unsavoury agreement for fame and fortune. Pretty good gross little adventure. Hollywood, man, it’ll eat you alive!
October 8th – Shutter (2004) – After a tragic car accident, a photographer and his wife discover creepy images in some photos they took. What do they mean? Where did they come from? Is there something in their past that is haunting them? Why are they so damn scary? I’m not too sure what it is about things that show up in photographs that aren’t supposed to be there, but I find them utterly horrifying. Is it because they’ve been there all along and you’re finally seeing them? Maybe. I don’t know but it messes with my mind, man. Give this nice terrifying treat from Thailand a shot.
October 7th – Ravenous (1999) – Just in time for Thanksgiving! There’s a sadistic cannibal lurking in the woods feasting upon Guy Pearce and his band of army buddies at a remote military outpost somewhere in the woods at the turn of the century. Reportedly based on true events! Happy eating!
October 6th – I Saw The Devil (2010) – Nasty piece of revenge business from Korea finds a psycho cop on the hunt for the psycho killer who murdered his bride. Once he finds him it turns into a bloody, and I do mean bloody, game of capture and release. Not for the squeamish. I loved it.
October 5th – Return of the Living Dead (1985) – “I can smell your brains!” is one of several memorable lines from this awesome 80’s comedy/zombie flick. Some government barrels leaking mystery fluids cause the dead to rise and the fun to begin. Great gory effects, plenty of laughs and a dynamite ending make for a perfect Halloween treat. “Send more cops!”
October 4th – It Follows (2015) My favourite horror film (and favourite film) of 2015. It’s fresh, original and terrifying. Is it an allegory for sexually transmitted diseases? Is it just a straight up living nightmare? Whatever it is, despite the fact that it sometimes doesn’t follow it’s own rules laid out in the film, it has a wonderful sense of dread and paranoia and foreboding and is so well acted with an amazing score that it will haunt you for days.
October 3rd – The Innocents (1961) – Lovely, terrifying adaptation of Henry James, Turn of the Screw, finds Deborah Kerr trotting off to a mansion in the country to look after a couple of kids. Are the grounds haunted? Is she losing her marbles? Nice black and white photography adds to the chilling atmosphere. Haunted house/things movies are the best!
October 2nd – Excision (2012) – Weird and odd and fairly disturbing, Excision follows a weird and odd teenager who has grand designs in the medical field. Reviled at school and home, Pauline retreats into a fantasy/dream world filled with nightmarish surgical procedures. Not going to say much more, and some may like and some may not, but give this little nasty piece of pie a taste.
October 1st – Ils (Them) (2006) – Here’s a nifty home invasion thriller from France that clocks in at a lean and mean 74 minutes of non-stop tension. There’s been lots of these types of films in the past few years but none done as well as this. Great ending to boot. And it’s reportedly based on true events to add to the nail-scraping suspense.