I love October. Major League Baseball starts their playoffs, NCAA football is in full swing, the nights are crisp, Octoberfest beers populate the landscape, and 90+ degree days are as far away as they’ll ever be. And, most importantly, it’s the month for Halloween and, by proxy, a whole mess of horror films. Here are eight that I try to watch every year in October.
1. The Wolf Man (1941)
I’ll write about this in much greater detail later, but for now, you should know this- it’s 100 times better than anyone gives it credit for and it’s easily my favorite classic monster flick from Universal.
2. The Changeling
The image of a child’s red ball slowly bouncing down a stairwell is one of the best you’ll find in terms of slow suspense and creep factor. Fun fact: the Clint Eastwood-directed film of the same name, while vastly different, used the same source story as this horror starring George C. Scott.
3. Trick R’ Treat
A smart horror that pays homage to everything from slashers to vampires to ghosts and even the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And Creepy Bag Face Kid, Sam Hain, is a fantastic totem for the film.
The original J-horror, Kwaidan is a spectacular ghost story anthology, perfect Halloween viewing for film geeks.
5. Bride of Frankenstein
It’s probably blasphemy to say it but I think ‘Bride’ is even better than the original starring her groom. The pacing in the sequence where they bring her to life is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
6. Dead End
Admittedly, this is a guilty pleasure. You can see the twist coming from a mile away. And yet, there’s a decent dark humor element to it and it’s well made for a low budget horror. Speaking of horror and humor…
7. Shaun of the Dead
I’m a sucker for Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. ‘Shaun’ is a perfect blend of zombie movie homage, horror, and humor.
8. Carnival of Souls
The best part of Herk Harvey’s creepy little b-movie is that he aimed high, very purposely giving it a taste of Bergman, Resnais, and Antonioni.