Reflections on Reviewing 31 Films in a Month and a Commitment to Return to the Madness
By Scott Dorward
What is the October Horror Movie Challenge?
I can’t remember where I first heard about the October Horror Movie Challenge. It is one of those internet memes that just suddenly seemed to be everywhere, starting some 7 or 8 years ago. The premise is simple — watch a horror film a day throughout October to get yourself in a properly ghoulish mood for Halloween.
Of course, the internet being the internet, things grew more complex. People started suggesting different categories — horror movies from specific countries, or black-and-white films, or some directed by women, for example. Others started trying to pack as many films in as possible, watching three or four a day. Regardless of the individual approach, however, it is a pure expression of love for the genre.
I took part in 2013 and 2014, back in the early days of the podcast. Using our shiny new blog, I posted a review per day throughout October. While I did try to pick films that represented the diversity of horror, in terms of nationality, age and the types of people behind the camera, the only hard rule I had was that the films had to be ones I hadn’t seen before. Considering the number of horror films I watch throughout the rest of the year, this can be tricky.
New Horrors, New Challenges
Unfortunately, I’ve not participated in the challenge since 2014. There always seem to be conflicts and work that needs more urgent attention. This year isn’t any different. But, dammit, I’ve missed doing this, both as an excuse to watch lots of horror films and a chance to write about them. Barring the occasional spot on the podcast and the odd chat on our Discord server, I don’t get enough opportunities to talk about the films I love.
All this means that 2020 is going to be the first time in six years that I’m attempting the challenge. I shall post a new review here every day throughout October, barring catastrophe. Please feel free to join in and share your own thoughts with us about these or any other films as the month goes on. You can usually find us on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, or lurking in the darkest corners of your home.
If you would like to play along at home, my provisional selections are:
- 1 – Baskin (2015)
- 2 – The Bar (2017)
- 3 – The Editor (2014)
- 4 – The Beach House (2019)
- 5 – The Mummy (1959)
- 6 – The Wind (2020)
- 7 – Tigers are Not Afraid (2018)
- 8 – Voices From Beyond (1991)
- 9 – Dearest Sister (2016)
- 10 – Patrick (1978)
- 11 – The Transfiguration (2016)
- 12 – The House at the End of Time (2013)
- 13 – The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
- 14 – The Hallow (2015)
- 15 – Night of the Demons (1988)
- 16 – Deep Dark (2015)
- 17 – The Witch Who Came From the Sea (1976)
- 18 – Black Sheep (2006)
- 19 – The Battery (2012)
- 20 – Eaten Alive (1976)
- 21 – Satan’s Slaves (2017)
- 22 – Evolution (2015)
- 23 – The Mortuary Collection (2019)
- 24 – Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973)
- 25 – The Dead Center (2018)
- 26 – Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)
- 27 – Here Comes the Devil (2012)
- 28 – Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)
- 29 – Gretel & Hansel (2020)
- 30 – The Stepfather (1987)
- 31 – In Fabric (2018)
Be warned that I may alter this list according to availability, what I feel like watching at the time, and sheer capriciousness.
A Final Note
If you have been enticed here by these posts, please do look around at some of our older film reviews. We also have a podcast, called The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, which occasionally covers horror films. If this appeals, you might want to check out some of the following episodes.
- The Fly
- A Dark Song
- The Thing
- The Ritual
- The Wicker Man
- The Stone Tape
- Event Horizon
- The Witch
- INLAND EMPIRE
- Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions
- Maléfique and The Ninth Gate
- Re-Animator and From Beyond
- Repulsion and The Babdook
- Man Bites Dog, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and S&man
- A selection of weird films
- David Cronenberg
- The films that scared us most
If you dig through the archives, you will also find episodes about a wide variety of horror stories and games. Happy nightmares!