October is almost upon us again. Like a little black kitten, learning to stalk, it only seems to sneak closer when I’m not paying attention. Or maybe my obliviousness is wilful denial. You see, my dark secret is that I hate the Halloween season.
Halloween is supposed to be Christmas for horror fans. For a month or two every year, the world aligns with our spooky tastes. A bloody torrent of horror films splatters our screens. Shops turn into perky goths, draping themselves with cheerfully macabre decorations. And the season ends in ghoulish celebrations that coax out the morbid little kid who lurks within most of us.
At the same time, the world feels like it’s dying. Night conquers day, plunging the northern hemisphere into long hours of darkness. The air turns chilly, bringing the first threat of real cold. Even the trees give up the ghost, shedding leaves in a brief flurry of colour before presenting us with their twisted skeletons for months on end. This whole season is one long memento mori.
The one thing that makes all this bearable is the October Horror Movie Challenge.
What is the October Horror Movie Challenge?
Simply, the October Horror Movie Challenge asks us to watch a horror film a day throughout the month. People have developed all sorts of variations, as people are wont to do. You might want to try picking films from a variety of countries, subgenres and eras, or seek out those made by women, LGBT filmmakers, or other voices underrepresented in the industry. Some try to pack in as many films as their eyes will take, while others watch what they can, knowing they’ll never make it to 31. Every approach is valid.
The only hard rule I have is to select films I’ve not seen before. I also aim to post a full review of each one on this site, along with a post mortem at the end, in which I pick the best, worst and weirdest films of the month.
Once again, I’m watching most of my films via streaming services. While this is mainly for my own convenience, it may also help anyone playing along at home.
For one reason or another, I’ve had to miss the October Horror Movie Challenge for around half the years the podcast has been running. I did take part in 2013, 2014 , 2020, and 2021, however, and you can find my reviews from these years on this site. Maybe they’ll help you find some choice films for your own challenge.
An Open Challenge
As much fun as watching these films is, talking about them is even better. If you fancy joining in, I would love to hear from you.
The main hub of discussion is our Discord server, where we have a channel dedicated to the October Horror Movie Challenge. Alternatively, you can contact me on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or by blowing that whistle you found on the beach.
If you would like to play along at home, my provisional selections are:
- Werewolves Within (USA, 2021)
- Crystal Eyes (Argentina, 2018)
- Super Dark Times (USA, 2017)
- Thirst (Australia, 1979)
- A Ghost Waits (USA, 2020)
- Cemetery of Terror (Mexico, 1985)
- I Came By (UK, 2022)
- 100 Monsters (Japan, 1968)
- Sea Fever (Ireland, 2020)
- Mill of the Stone Women (Italy, 1960)
- Glorious (USA, 2022)
- All the Moons (Spain, 2021)
- Broadcast Signal Intrusion (USA, 2021)
- Incantation (Taiwan, 2022)
- The Gore Gore Girls (USA, 1972)
- Luz: The Flower of Evil (Colombia, 2019)
- Butterfly Kisses (USA, 2018)
- The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (Italy, 1971)
- Saloum (Senegal, 2021)
- The Addiction (USA, 1995)
- Good Madam (South Africa, 2021)
- The Freakmaker/The Mutations (UK, 1974)
- The Long Walk (Laos, 2019)
- Errors of the Human Body (Germany, 2013)
- Eyes of Fire (USA, 1983)
- Caveat (Ireland, 2020)
- The White Reindeer (Finland, 1952)
- His House (UK, 2020)
- Tourist Trap (USA, 1979)
- Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Sweden, 1922)
- Flux Gourmet (UK, 2022)
Be warned that this list may change as the month goes on. I am fickle.
A Final Note
If you have been enticed here by these posts, please do look around at some of our other film reviews. We also have a podcast, called The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, which occasionally covers horror films. If that appeals, you might want to check out the following episodes.
- The Night House
- The Changeling
- The Endless
- Our favourite Cthulhu Mythos media
- 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!