Last year, I shared my first-ever list of 31 horror films that I thought everyone should watch during October, leading up to Halloween night. There was also a Twitter thread dedicated to each day’s selection. The post was a success, so here we are with a sequel that will (hopefully) please once again.
Before I continue, it’s important for you, the reader, to know why I put this list together. Horror films have been an important part of my life. How important? Let’s just say that my Bar Mitzvah theme in 1992 was horror films, and I’m sure that many people kept their thoughts to themselves about it (because every other person had a sports theme). The genre (and its sub-genres) move all over the place, allowing people to find what appeals to them, whether it be found footage, zombies, or serial killers. I don’t stick to one particular sub-genre, but do prefer many over the others, which may be hard to tell based on my list below.
2018’s list featured films that both were easily accessible through a variety of platforms, such as Shudder, Tubi and Netflix, and delivered plenty of gore and scares. Unlike last year on Twitter, each day, I plan on including additional information in this year’s batch, such as a plot summary, a reason why I chose the film, and any official links (social media) that I can find to tag in the posts, as well as the film’s poster or trailer (if available), to each film below.
Feast your eyes below on this year’s list:
The Houses October Built (2014)
Five friends are stalked by a group of mysterious and disturbed individuals while on a road trip looking for the ultimate haunted house attraction.
As a fan of haunted houses, I wanted to start off the month with a film whose story is dedicated to finding the perfect one, but something has to go wrong, correct? The creepy costumes and characters make this a worthwhile film, but the sequel felt too much like a repeat of the first film.
10/02/2019: The Caller (2011)
A young divorcee is getting her life back together by moving into an apartment. But what will she do when a strange person repeatedly calls her, and threatens to change her new life around?
I found this movie years ago while searching for the lead actress (Rachelle Lefevre) on IMDb for an ex-girlfriend who liked her performance in Twilight. The movie’s slow, but in a good way, and builds up to a fantastic ending that ties it all together.
10/03/2019: Hell Fest (2018)
A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.
As a fan of horror festivals, Hell Fest was right up my alley. Sure, some of the acting was terrible, but there was plenty of good kills to make up for it. Also, that ending. Let’s hope there’s a Hell Fest 2…
10/04/2019: The Den (2013)
While studying the habits of web cam chat users from the apparent safety of her own home, a young woman’s life begins to spiral out of control after witnessing a grisly murder online.
Before Unfriended: Dark Web, there was The Den. We’ve all seen crazy things online, so what happens when you see something strange and take an extra step to figure out what it actually is? That’s where this movie comes into play.
10/05/2019: Shocker (1989)
After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.
Shocker’s ridiculous plot is what made me add this film to the list. That doesn’t mean it’s a terrible film. It’s spectacular. It’s full of terrible one-liners and sub-par acting, especially by a few actors who went on to accomplish great things in the entertainment industry. I remember my mother taking a few friends and I to see it in the theaters for my birthday. We all left the theater reciting a few lines from the film. What we all need is a Horace Pinker action figure!
10/06/2019: Scenic Route (2013)
Tensions rise between lifelong friends Mitchell and Carter after their truck breaks down on an isolated desert road as they start to attack each other’s life decisions with unwavering brutality.
I am not a fan of Josh Duhamel, so I went into this film preparing to be disappointed in everything. I was wrong. Scenic Route is a great film held together by both Duhamel and Dan Fogler, and gives you both feelings of hope and despair the moment a few minutes into the film when the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The tension between the two builds, which can also be said for the film as it’s a long downward spiral until about the very end. Just watch this film and see what happens.
10/07/2019: The Guest (2014)
A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
The Guest is one of the best films I have ever seen, easily landing in my top 10. Adam Wingard’s skills matched with Simon Barrett’s screenplay truly delivers a masterpiece. Watch it now.
10/08/2019: Revenge (2017)
Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting — a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.
This was one of those films that Shudder used social media to shove down our throats. And you know what? It was totally worth it. Aside from a beautiful, colorful setting, the cinematography and acting were fantastic. Also, the blood kept coming, which made one person in this household happy.
10/09/2019: It Stains The Sands Red (2016)
In the throes of a zombie apocalypse, a troubled woman from Las Vegas with a dark past finds herself stranded in the desert with a lone and ravenous zombie on her tail.
The world’s ending and you’re stuck in the middle of the dessert with a zombie hot on your trail. What do you do? Make him carry your bags, of course. Brittany Allen (“Smalls” deserves a nod, too) keeps this already great film alive until the every end.
10/10/2019: Upgrade (2018)
Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.
I’ve heard people say that Logan Marshall-Green is the poor man’s Tom Hardy, but I disagree. LMG can handle his own, as proven in Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade. The set designs and technology throughout the film are eye-poppers, but the film itself is a must-see.
10/11/2019: Mayhem (2017)
A virus spreads through an office complex causing white collar workers to act out their worst impulses.
Straight after having his eye pop out on The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun returns to the screen in this (soon to be!) cult-classic. Teaming up with the lovely Samara Weaving, recently seen in Radio Silence’s Ready or Not, the two start from the bottom, and work their way up an office building while battling work colleagues infected by a temporary airborne virus. There’s plenty of blood, one-liners, and… mayhem.
10/12/2019: Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
A teen comes into possession of a new laptop and soon discovers that the previous owner is not only watching him, but will also do anything to get it back.
This film was a breath of fresh air. Unlike the first film’s evil ghost spirit, Unfriended: Dark Web takes us to the darkest parts of the Internet, where anything illegal goes, such as murder, money transactions, and kidnapping setups. One by one, we see each character face their death in creative ways, from being pushed in front of a subway car to a police shootout. The film’s tied up at the very end in a clever manner, and I hope that Blumhouse continues this franchise.
10/13/2019: Long Lost (2018)
When Seth receives a mysterious letter inviting him to spend the weekend at a secluded mansion in the country, he soon realizes the people inside the house may know him better than he knows himself.
I always have trouble writing a review for this film. While I really enjoyed the film, I don’t consider it a horror film, which helps brings new life to this year's list. Along the way, we learn about the true intentions of each character, but then you question if their intentions are true or not, once again leaving you to scratch your head as to what’s going on. It includes characters who are hard to read (a good thing), which is helpful as it builds up for an ending that is a pure mind-fuck (another good thing)
10/14/2019: Hush (2016)
A deaf and mute writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window.
We had Bird Box. We had The Silence. Before these two, we had Hush, which is far better than the two aforementioned pieces of junk. Also, this premise works as sound is the main character’s weakness as she struggles to stay alive while a(n) (un)masked killer patrols the property around her, both inside and out.
10/15/2019: Escape Room (2019)
Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms and must use their wits to survive.
This was a nice January surprise. While I rolled my eyes at some of the dialog, I was taken aback at how great this film is (It was also a box office success, and a sequel will be arriving in late 2020). While it was a little predictable, it’s properly tied up at the end, and makes the viewer want more.
10/16/2019: The Divide (2011)
Survivors of a nuclear attack are grouped together for days in the basement of their apartment building, where fear and dwindling supplies wear away at their dynamic.
10/17/2019: The Crazies (2010)
After a strange and insecure plane crash, an unusual toxic virus enters a quaint farming town. A young couple are quarantined, but they fight for survival along with help from a couple of people.
I know I’m going to get some slack for this, but I think this version is better than the original. Don’t @ me.
10/18/2019: Evidence (2013)
A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station.
10/19/2019: Pontypool (2008)
A radio host interprets the possible outbreak of a deadly virus which infects the small Ontario town he is stationed in.
10/20/2019: +1 (2013)
Three college friends hit the biggest party of the year, where a mysterious phenomenon disrupts the night, quickly descending into a chaos that challenges their friendships — and whether they can stay alive.
10/21/2019: The Lost Boys (1987)
After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.
10/22/2019: Pledge (2018)
A group of college freshmen pledge an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there’s more at stake than they could have ever imagined.
10/23/2019: Crawl (2019)
A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.
10/24/2019: Downrange (2017)
Stranded at the side of the road after a tire blowout, a group of friends become targets for an enigmatic sniper.
10/25/2019: Eden Lake (2008)
Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences.
10/26/2019: The Invitation (2015)
A man accepts an invitation to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife, an unsettling affair that reopens old wounds and creates new tensions.
10/27/2019: The Belko Experiment (2016)
In a twisted social experiment, eighty Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
10/28/2019: Shuttle (2008)
A late night airport shuttle ride home descends into darkness.
10/29/2019: Cam (2018)
Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.
10/30/2019: Exam (2009)
Eight candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a final test with just one question. It seems simple yet confusing that soon, tensions begin to unravel.
10/31/2019: Haunt (2019)
On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.