Setting the Stage for a Spine-Tingling October
Hello, horror aficionados! October is here, and you know what that means—pumpkins, fall leaves, and a month-long dive into the world of the macabre. If you’re a horror buff like me or just someone looking to explore the genre’s twisted nooks and crannies, you’ve come to the right place. And if you’re mad enough to take on the 31 Days of Horror marathon, well then, you are doubly welcome! After all, we loonies need to stick together, right?
As we’ve done since 2017, LOD is once again tackling the monolithic endeavor of watching 31 horror films in 31 days. In the seven years we’ve done this, we’ve only succeeded ONCE. For shame!
We’ve aimed for movies that range from cult classics to lesser-known gems. Most of them we’ve seen, but there are at least half a dozen that are completely new to us.
Here’s a short summary of each film to whet your appetite, and hopefully entice you to give these movies a watch. Not that I’m forcing any of you readers to follow my list; I just hope that there might be an entry or two that will end up on your October horror-menu.
1. “Perfect Blue” (1997)
This psychological thriller directed by Satoshi Kon is an exploration of identity, fandom, and the dark corners of fame. A former pop idol transitions into an acting career but finds herself stalked and her life becoming a nightmarish blur of reality and delusion. It’s a mind-bender and a modern classic.
2. “Phantasm” (1979)
This oddball American horror sci-fi combines elements of graveyards, dimension-hopping, and a malevolent, flying silver orb. You won’t forget this one easily.
3. Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack! (2012)
Based on a manga by Junji Ito, this anime film is genuinely unsettling. It tells the story of fish equipped with mechanical legs invading Tokyo, releasing a stench that turns people into zombies. It’s a unique blend of body horror and apocalyptic terror.
4. “Re-Animator” (1985)
Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, this dark comedy horror features a scientist obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. It’s gory, it’s funny, and it’s a cult classic.
5. “Donnie Darko” (2001)
A blend of science fiction and psychological horror, this cult film explores themes of existentialism, fate, and parallel universes, all wrapped up in a creepy rabbit suit.
6. “Dead Alive” (1992)
Before Peter Jackson gave us Middle Earth, he delivered this New Zealand horror-comedy filled with over-the-top gore and ridiculousness. You’ll laugh as much as you’ll squirm.
7. “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” (1989)
This Japanese cyberpunk body horror offers an industrial, black-and-white aesthetic and a storyline that defies traditional narrative structures. It’s weird, intense, and unforgettable.
8. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014)
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, this film is often tagged as an “Iranian vampire Western.” Shot in black-and-white, the film is set in the fictional Iranian ghost town of Bad City, where a vampire called ‘The Girl’ rides her skateboard at night, seeking prey…
9. “Terror Train” (1980)
This Canadian slasher features Jamie Lee Curtis and, bizarrely magician David Copperfield. Set during a New Year’s Eve party aboard a chartered train, the film plays out as a deadly game of cat and mouse. A group of college friends who played a cruel prank years earlier find themselves targeted by a masked killer who’s intent on derailing their celebrations—literally and figuratively.
10. Blood: The Last Vampire” (2000)
This anime film takes place in 1966 and follows a girl named Saya, who hunts bat-like creatures called Chiropterans. A blend of dark fantasy and horror, it explores themes of identity and purpose within a gloomy, atmospheric setting.
11. “Audition” (1999)
This psychological Japanese horror turns a romantic set-up into a nerve-shattering ordeal. It’s a slow burn with an explosive finish.
12. “Funny Games” (1997)
Austrian psychological horror at its best. This film challenges the audience, breaking the fourth wall and throwing morality out the window.
13. “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (1986)
A grim American indie film that delves into the mind of a serial killer. It’s a tough watch, but it’s a classic for a reason.
14. “The Wicker Man” (1973)
The British folk horror tale involving an isolated island and a mysterious cult. This is orobably one of Christopher Lee’s best films, and the ending is one for the ages.
15. “May” (2002)
This American psychological horror tells of a socially awkward young woman and her desperate attempts for human connection, leading to a gruesome path.
16. “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” (1971)
An American psychological horror offering a descent into paranoia and fear, set against a creepy rural backdrop.
17. “Inferno” (1980)
Another Dario Argento masterpiece, this Italian film serves as the thematic sequel to “Suspiria,” laden with vivid colors and unsettling scenes.
18. “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957)
One of the original Hammer classics, this film gave new life to Mary Shelley’s monster, presenting it in glorious Technicolor. Plus, there’s Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. ‘Nuff said!
19. “Ichi the Killer” (2001)
This Japanese horror-action film dives into the Yakuza underworld, blending gore and dark humor in a controversial mix.
20. “The People Under the Stairs” (1991)
This film serves up a hearty helping of social commentary alongside its scares. It’s both an adrenaline-pumping thriller and a thought-provoking piece that highlights the monsters that can lurk where we least expect them—sometimes right under our noses, or in this case, under the stairs.
21. “Basket Case” (1982)
A low-budget American horror comedy that explores sibling rivalry in the most grotesque manner.
22. “Pontypool” (2008)
This Canadian thriller provides a fresh angle on the zombie genre, centering the outbreak on language and communication.
23. “Inside” (2007)
A brutal French home invasion thriller that’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
24. “[REC]” (2007)
A Spanish found-footage film that takes the viewer into a claustrophobic, virus-infected apartment building.
25. “Ginger Snaps” (2000)
This Canadian horror film combines teen angst with werewolf lore for a unique feminist perspective.
26. “Dog Soldiers” (2002)
British soldiers square off against werewolves in this UK horror action flick. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
27. “Session 9” (2001)
This American psychological horror explores the dangers of asbestos removal in an abandoned mental institution. Trust me, it’s creepier than it sounds.
28. “The Plague of the Zombies” (1966)
This British Hammer film explores voodoo and the undead long before zombies became mainstream.
29. “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” (2006)
This American mockumentary takes a meta approach to the slasher genre, adding layers of dark humor.
30. “Lake Mungo” (2008)
An eerie Australian mockumentary that unveils a family’s haunting experiences following the death of their daughter.
31. “Titane“ (2021)
“Titane” is a French-Belgian film directed by Julia Ducournau. By all accounts it’s a genre-defying work, blending elements of body horror, drama, and psychological thriller. The film garnered a lot of attention when it won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. It’s one of the entries that we haven’t seen yet, so you can bet that we’re looking forward to it.
Alright, we’ve curated the list. Now it’s time for the fun part—watching these cinematic frightmares. And to everyone reading, don’t let the conversation die here. What are your horror plans this October? Whether it’s a movie marathon, an epic horror gaming session, or creating your own horror content, LOD wants to hear from you!
If this list adds a dose of terror to your October, make sure to share it far and wide. Let’s turn this month into a global horror festival! And if you haven’t already, click that subscribe button to get the latest updates, lists, and deep dives into the eerie unknown. Lastly, comment below to join the discussion and keep this frightful community thriving.
So, what are you waiting for? Dim the lights, and let the 31 Days of Horror begin 🎃