Yes, it’s that time of the year again, the most wonderful time of the year, Halloween month! And it has become a bit of tradition around these parts to do our 31 days of scary films to recommend to you fine folks! Everyday we’ll recommend a nice horror film guaranteed (no actual guarantee) to flip your hair back and scare the pants off of you (figuratively and hopefully, literally!) We’ll also stay away from the big kahunas – Halloween, Shining, Exorcist – as everyone already knows about those fine films and instead focus on some other shockers you may not be familiar with. Enjoy!
Hole in the Ground (2019)
Woman and her son movie to the countryside (never move to the countryside) where the kid discovers a large sinkhole deep in the woods. After he returns he’s, well let’s just say, he’s not quite the same. I’m a sucker for weirdo, creepy kids (what kid isn’t creepy and weird in some fashion?) in films and this one fits that bill.
I could have gone with the sweaty grimy original starring the sweaty grimy Joe Spinell but I opted to indulge you with the remake starring Frodo as the unhinged killer who’ll surely get under your skin. You may think twice about collecting mannequins!
The Eclipse (2009)
Ciaran Hinds plays a grieving widower in a small Irish town who may or may not haunted by his dead father-in-law. More a drama with great scenery and dialogue but with a touch of the supernatural that, when employed, is very effective. Give this little ghostly little number a ride.
Hounds of Love (2016)
Grim, nasty, intense little piece of the horror pie from the land of the talking koala, Australia. A crazed couple likes to kidnap and have unpleasant relations with the local school girls. But have they targeted the wrong lass. You tell me!
Of Unknown Origin (1983)
A giant rat invades Peter Weller’s house in Montreal! And it’s mean and has a grudge against Peter Weller for some reason. This film is tons of fun as Peter Weller descends into madness with his attempts to rid himself of the gnarly beast. It’s not particularity scary unless you don’t like rats (or Peter Weller) or have rats (or Peter Weller) in your house which I did (in my walls!) at the time I watched this. It freaked me out! It’s also featured on one of our podcast episodes. Listen here if you like!
Twitch of the Death Nerve aka Bay of Blood (1971)
Colourful fun weirdness from Mario Bava finds an elderly heiress being murdered for her fortune and then a whole bunch of other murders as there’s a murderer on the loose murdering folks left and right. Big influence on Argento and, especially, the Friday the 13th movies in the eighties. Dig in!
The Blob (1988)
What can I say? A glutenous blob from outer space eats it’s way through a small town. Wonderful special effects and a nice heaping of 1980’s cheese make for an excellent time at the movies! Belly up to the car bar! Another one featured on our podcast! Listen here!
No, not the Disney tripe. This is a “I’m cold and there are wolves after me” type of affair as three chums are stuck on a ski lift after the park shuts down for the weekend. Tense, grim and chilly.
Remake of the Argento classic is way better than anyone thought it might be (at least much better than I thought it would be). Great style, atmosphere, some horrific set pieces and a triple shot of Tilda Swinton elevate the proceedings. Might be a tad too long but worth the time for sure.
Terrifying Thai film about a couple involved in an accident that later have mysterious shadows and things appear in their photographs. I’ve always thought it downright scary when thing move in places that they shouldn’t – like photos or mirrors etc. Check this one out!
Five doctors, led by Hal Holbrook, go hiking in the scary Canadian woods only to have a mysterious figure steal all their shoes. Something’s up! What’s with the decapitated deer head? Who’s that weirdo in the shadows? Fun, tense, Canadian fun! As I’ve always said, never go into the woods.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Who knew that a film about an evil piece of particle board that spells out scary things very slowly could be so good? Mike Flanagan knew, that’s who. If you like good terrifying things, he’s your man – check out this or his Haunting of Hill House series or Oculus (both available at Black Dog Video – shameless plug).
Bug-nuts crazy psychedelic horror trip through the woods and Nic Cage’s thirst for revenge against a deranged hippie cult and some demonic bikers. Might not be for everyone but it was definitely for me.
The Invitation (2015)
I love a good “dinner party gone wrong” movie. This dinner party definitely goes wrong. Amazing ending.
A stylish, beautifully horrifying sojourn into the Swedish countryside of folk horror. The dude who made a splash on the horror scene with (IMHO the much scarier Hereditary) gives us some sunlit pagan rituals to feast upon. Might be a bit too long but it does a masterful job of maintaining the dreadful tense atmosphere throughout. One of the best of the year.
Braindead aka Dead Alive (1992)
Before the Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson grossed the world out with this insane splatter-fest. What’s a poor boy to do when his mom gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey and turns into a cannibalistic zombie nightmare? One of the best “get your friends together and pop a few cold ones” party movie ever.
The Haunting/The Haunting of Hill House (1963/2019)
The original Haunting, based on the Shirley Jackson book – also great , is a master class in atmosphere and sound design. It’s my favourite haunted house movie (skip the terrible 1999 version). The mini-series remake, under the watchful eye of emerging horror master, Mike Flanagan, is a great, terrifying re-imaging that had me riveted for the whole thing. It’s just released on DVD in director’s cut form. Interested to see what that means!
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Wanna see a crazy film that will flip your hair back? Look no further than this twisted tale of revenge and murder. Insanely violent and crazily intense, this Korean masterpiece follows a tough cop bent on revenging his girlfriend’s murder by catching and then releasing the killer again and again. Zoinks!
The reason I’m picking Scream today is not just that it’s a fine horror/comedy film in it’s own right – it is – (and we miss Wes Craven) but that today is International Independent Video Store Day across the globe and it’s one of the character’s, the uber-knowledgeable horror movie nerd Randy’s, home turf. You don’t see the charming video store in movies much so I thought that it would be fitting. Scream if you want to!
The Wailing (2016)
Let’s go back to Korea for a moment, shall we, and visit a small village where a mysterious stranger appears at the same time a series of brutal baffling deaths occur. This mash-up of genres takes it’s time to tell it’s engrossing crazy story but it’s worth the ride. Strap in and get on board.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
What would a Halloween horror movie list be without a John Carpenter film? Sure I could have gone with The Thing or Halloween or The Fog but I thought I’d dig a little deeper into this nightmare starring Sam Neil as a writer going mad. Maybe, or is his madness real? Tons of fun film and featured on the Black Dog After Dark podcast!.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Early Guillermo Del Toro effort finds a war-orphaned boy in 1939 Spain being dropped off at an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. Scary janitors and ghostly ghosts are just some of the terrors living (or not living) there. Great stuff.
The Descent (2005)
A woman, just have suffered a family tragedy, goes spelunking with some friends in an uncharted cave. Bad idea. I found the cave adventure part more terrifying then what they run into down there. Top notch horror!
Some folks go into the Australian outback (never a good idea!) and stumble across an enormous crocodile that’s hellbent on eating all of them! Great croc, some fine tension and good eating scenes make this a fine night of dining at the movies. From the director of Wolf Creek. Pair it with this year’s Crawl and Bob’s your uncle!
Black Christmas (1974)
Before Halloween or Jason’s exploits there was this fine little Canadian shocker about a maniac murdering coeds at a sorority house. Great POV shots, terrifying phone calls and a great cast including Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon and Art Hindle make for a creepy holiday (notice that this pick falls on the 25th?) movie ride. Also featured on the Black Dog After Dark podcast!
Crazy freaky strange horror number about a kid and an ice cream trucker driver who face off against a ghoulish, very tall, grave robber who turns dead bodies into small Jawa-like creatures. Or something like that. Oh and there’s a flying silver ball with spikes and a drill. Love this film!
It Follows (2014)
An unseen (or seen) force is following Jay after sexual encounter. Terrifying and relentless with a great soundtrack and visuals make this such a treat. I know it’s a fairly divisive film but it’s aces in my books. Yours?
Fright Night (1985)
Guy obsessed with horror movies has a real-life (well, real-dead) vampire move in next door. Chaos ensues. I loved this film when it came out all those years ago. It was awesome to see the vampire as an actual monster. And it was funny and scary and had Roddy McDowell! The remake in 2011 wasn’t half bad either. Our podcast of this film just dropped today! Go figure.
Killer slugs are on the loose and it’s up to Mike Brady (!) to take them down! Is this a great movie? No. Is this a good movie? Probably not. Is this a fun movie to watch with your friends that features exploding heads and naked people writhing around in a sea of gross flesh-eating slugs? Yes, yes indeed it is.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
OK, let’s do that! Forgotten gem from 1971 finds a woman, fresh from a stint in the local asylum moving to the country with her husband to regain her marbles. But what follows does no help her one bit. No it does not.
Sure, I could have gone with Halloween or Trick r Treat but that’s too obvious. Instead try on this fun little horror/comedy gem from New Zealand. A woman is forced to return to her childhood home to be under house arrest. But is there something sinister waiting for her? You tell me!
Have a great Halloween everyone and thanks for playing along!