It’s pretty safe to say that I love horror films. I love watching them, I love talking about them, and I even enjoy writing the occasional review. Horror films have been a big part of my life since I was old enough to know what they were. While my passion for them goes through ebbs and flows, it’s never gone away and probably never will.
Off and on over the past 10 years, the October Horror Movie Challenge has been part of that love. It’s great to have an excuse to watch a lot of horror films and to talk about them afterwards. But it is also a lot of work. Watching the films is no chore at all (well, unless the film is particularly terrible), but writing a full thousand-word review every day can be. Trying to fit that into my work schedule can leave me worn out by the end of the month. More than once, I’ve promised that I’m never going to do this again, and this year has come close.
What is the October Horror Movie Challenge?
Simply, the October Horror Movie Challenge asks us to watch a horror film every 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 stick to 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, 2021, and 2022 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.
What’s Different About My October Horror Movie Challenge 2023?
This year, I’m going to try to avoid burnout by being taking things a bit easier. The most obvious change initially is that I’m not going to publish a full list of films ahead of time. In previous years, I’ve found myself getting to some film or another and wishing I hadn’t picked it. Having announced it, however, I feel obligated to watch and review it, even if I’m in the mood for something very different. This time, I’m just going to go with what I feel like watching every day, with little forethought. I’ll update my list each time I watch a film, but generally not before then.
One side effect of this approach may be that my choices skew a bit more modern than usual. A lot of the films I’ve been looking forward to seeing are recent releases, and I’m going to indulge myself. There will still be some classics in there, but maybe not as many as in previous years.
Also, I anticipate the reviews being shorter this time. Some films may warrant more extended discussion, bit I shall try to keep things brief. October is already shaping up to be a busy month and fitting a short novel’s worth of reviews into the mix would be exhausting.
Finally, and most importantly, I can guarantee posting a review every day. I shall try to, but it may be beyond me this year.
An Open Challenge
As much fun as watching these films is, talking about them can be 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 Bluesky, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or by speaking aloud my true name.
You’ll find links to my 2023 reviews below, as well as a handful of provisional selections. This list will grow in real time as the month goes on.
- Dark August (USA, 1976)
- Huesera: The Bone Woman (Mexico/Peru, 2022)
- The Banishing (UK, 2020)
- Brooklyn 45 (USA, 2023)
- Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell (Japan, 1995)
- Pyewacket (Canada, 2017)
- Grave Robbers (Mexico, 1989)
- You Might Be The Killer (USA, 2018)
- No One Will Save You (USA, 2023)
- The Sect (Italy, 1991)
- Last Night in Soho (UK, 2021)
- Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (Spain, 2017)
- 47 Metres Down (UK/USA, 2017)
- The Oskars Fantasy (Philippines, 2022)
- In the Earth (UK, 2021)
- Something in the Dirt (USA, 2022)
- Blood Flower (Malaysia, 2023)
- Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (Canada, 1987)
- Older Gods (UK, 2023)
- Come to Daddy (New Zealand, 2020)
- Shrew’s Nest (Spain, 2014)
- Totally Killer (USA, 2023)
- The Premonition (USA, 1976)
- Murder Me, Monster (Argentina, 2018)
- The Gruesome Twosome (USA, 1967)
- Talk to Me (Australia, 2023)
- Gaia (South Africa, 2021)
- Demon (Poland, 2015)
- Juju Stories (Nigeria, 2022)
- El Conde (Chile, 2023)
- The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (Hong Kong/UK, 1974)
If you have any suggestions of films I should review, please let me know on social media.
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.
- Nightmare Alley
- Kill, Baby… Kill!
- 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!