YET AGAIN, I FAILED THE OCTOBER CHALLENGE

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I don’t know what it takes to watch 31 horror movies during October, because I can’t do it. I tried last year. I tried years before that.

The October Challenge, which, I believe, originated on the Internet Movie Database’s Horror message boards, asks that you watch 31 horror movies in October. 16 must be first time views and the other 15 you will have seen before.

Here’s what I (pathetically) managed:

*=first time view

  1. The Birds (1963)

I feel safe declaring THE BIRDS to be Hitch’s most out there movie. Legions of birds are turning against humans. Why? No one knows. But my favorite scene is the one where everyone in the coast town’s bar and grill has their own explanation. Absolutely classic.

2. Tales From the Crypt (1972)*

Fantastic British horror anthology film based on the E.C. comics. It’s hard to pick a favorite segment, but the one with Patrick Magee, playing a blind man who leads an uprising against his home-for-the-blind overseer, is the most memorable. Ralph Richardson is wonderfully sinister as the Crypt Keeper. And this film’s twist ending is one of the best ever.

3. Arachnophobia (1990)

A good, creepy, and warm-hearted popcorn movie for all the nostalgic children of the ’90s.

4. 13 Ghosts (1960)*

Another gimmick fest from William Castle in which a family moves in to a creepy old house. The previous owner of the said house collected ghosts as a hobby. Really corny and unbelievable, as the family is so utterly nonplussed by the ghosts. “Golly gee, our house sure is haunted.” Worth it, maybe, for Margaret “Wicked Witch of the West” Hamilton’s performance.

5. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

This one is considered by many to be the best Jason movie. I probably agree. It’s all here in spades: the formula, the terrible dialogue, the gore, the gratuitous nudity. And Corey Feldman takes down Jason in an unforgettable manner.

6. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

So much for The Final Chapter being final. This one tries to break the formula by placing the hatchet fodder–I mean, characters–around a mental asylum. (Hey, kind of like the 3rd Nightmare on Elm Street flick.) The sad thing: this is by far the most formulaic of any of the sequels. Yawn.

7. Warlock (1989)*

Really dumb movie. But, I guess, really entertaining, too. It’s sort of like THE TERMINATOR, but the bad guy comes from the past and not the future and is, well, a warlock and not a cyborg.

8. The Mummy’s Hand (1940)*

A slightly less intelligent sequel to the 1932 original with a lot more archetypal monster movie content. You’ll inevitably shake your head at the casual racism of the day in a few scenes. Tom Tyler makes a great Kharis mummy–maybe even a better one than Lon Chaney Jr.

9. The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)*

Kharis is back, this time played by Lon Chaney. Not the best Mummy movie by any means.

10. Night of the Creeps (1986)

Right up there among the best cheesy horror-comedies of the ’80s. It’s hard not to love this one. Tom Atkins kicks so much ass as a grizzled police detective. “Zombies, exploding heads, creepy crawlies . . . and a date for the formal. This is classic, Spanky.”

11. Madhouse (1974)*

A decent Vincent Price vehicle in which Price plays Paul Toombes, a method actor and horror star who starts to take his roles a little too seriously.

12. 10 to Midnight (1983)*

This is one of the most unintentionally hilarious Golan-Globus-produced Cannon films of the ’80s. It’s a hybrid action/slasher film starring Charles Bronson. Bronson is on the case trying to catch a serial killer who doesn’t wear a mask–he doesn’t wear anything at all, in fact. He’s a birthday suit killer. And Bronson has to crank the DIRTY HARRY formula way up to stop him.

13. Manhunter (1986)

This wonderfully atmospheric adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel, RED DRAGON is, I think, Michael Mann’s finest hour. Its use of noir-like visuals are amazing, and it has perhaps the definitive ’80s horror synth soundtrack. Tom Noonan (ROBOCOP 2, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) is terrifying as the Red Dragon serial killer. You’ll never hear Iron Butterfly’s “In a Gadda da Vida” in the same way again.

14. Starry Eyes (2014)*

The slow burn with a throwback synth soundtrack is turning into a sub genre unto itself, but STARRY EYES, though very much following this trend, is an excellent victim film about the Los Angeles struggling actor scenario going horribly awry. Just when you think there won’t be any gore in this one, it gets piled on heavy.

15. Vampires (1996)

VAMPIRES is John Carpenter’s last totally kick ass movie, filled with gritty action, gore, and dumb one-liners.

16. Housebound (2014)*

This horror comedy from New Zealand follows a young woman on the wrong side of the law who is sentenced to house arrest at her mother’s home, which happens to be filled with baleful secrets. This movie crosses genres quite well, and is chock full of twists and turns.

17. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Craven’s most meta horror movie.

18. Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1980)*

One of those made-for-TV-beyond-the-grave-vengeance flicks.

19. Zombie (1979)

This is, without a doubt, my favorite Lucio Fulci movie, maybe even my favorite zombie movie: melodramatic, corny, eye-poppingly gory, and apocalyptic.

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