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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

31 Days of October – Celebrate the Horror!

Every year for October I try and watch at least one horror flick each day, sometimes more. It is sort of my tradition and helps get me in the mood for Halloween. I normally start with some new stuff and build my way up to the classics. There are some movies that always get a watch, like Carpenter’s Halloween and Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (my favorite all time movie!). I’m a huge geek for all things spooky!

This year I thought that I would work this tradition into the horror dude blog. I’m going to keep this post at the top of the page and update it as the month goes along. That way you can check in and see what I’ve been watching. I’d also to love to hear from you guys. Comment on this post or send me an email.

The other news for the blog is that I plan on posting every day in the month of October. Most of them will be movie reviews. But I also have some killer events that happen all month long so there will be some Road Trips mixed in as well. Halloween is my favorite time of the year so I plan on having as much fun as possible until November hits and the “normal” people go back to watching reality T.V. instead of awesome flicks.

October 1st
movie 1: The People Who own the Dark (1976) - Interesting end of the world movie starring Paul Naschy. Nuclear bombs fall and everyone goes blind except those in a sex dungeon... You have to love those wacky Europeans!

movie 2: Nightmare Sisters (1988) - I've not seen this one in years. Probably since I rented the VHS tape in the early '90s. Super low budget '80s horror with lots of nudity and the three biggest scream queens of the decade. 

movie 3: The Monster Squad (1987) - "Kids" movies used to be awesome! This Fred Dekker directed classic features some awesome monster makeup from Stan Winston. Took way too long to hit DVD/Blu-Ray but I'm glad we finally have it. A must watch October movie. 

October 2nd
movie 4: Demonoid (1980) - In all the years that I rented VHS tapes I don't think that I ever watched this. Crazy flick with demon possession that is transferred by chopping off your left hand. The demon wants Samantha Eggar and he is determined to get her no matter how many hands come off!

movie 5: Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) - This is an old favorite of mine. I grew up watching it on the late night movie shows of my youth. Of all the pre Romero zombie movies this is probably my favorite, though it plays more like a ghost story. 

October 3rd
movie 6: Frightmare (1983) - This is a new to me movie. I've never seen it before, but since it was Jeffrey Combs first horror movie I had to check it out. Sadly there was a reason I skipped it in the past. It isn't terrible, but very mediocre.

movie 7: Killer Bees (1974) - This is also a movie that I've never seen before. It is a made for television flick starring Kate Jackson and Edward Albert. It wasn't at all the kind of killer bee movie that I expected, but has a cool twist and a spooky ending. 

October 4th
movie 8: Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989) - This is an old favorite of mine. Director Anthony Hickox of Waxwork and Warlock fame, brings us the first and best vampire western ever made. We get a great cast including John Ireland, David Carradine, and Bruce Campbell to mention a few. I always watch this in October.

movie 9: Hobgoblins (1988) - My inner Ghoulies/Gremlins fan wanted so badly to like Hobgoblins. I had never seen this one before getting the Blu-Ray from Vinegar Syndrome. Sadly the movie is far too boring as we spend time with the human cast instead of the puppets. Can't blame the micro budget of $15,000 for that.

October 5th
movie 10: Eight Legged Freaks (2002) - I loved this from the first time that I saw it. The movie is a fun old school throwback to the creature features of the '50s. The CGI spiders haven't aged well but the dialogue and characters are still awesome. 

movie 11: Dance of the Dead (2008) - This is one of the better zombie movies from the batch that came out in the 2000s. Nuclear waste brings back the dead and they want to go to Prom! Silly lines, characters, and situations make for a fun time. 

movie 12: The Thing from Another World (1951) - This is another favorite of mine that gets watched every October. It has a creepy atmosphere with the isolated setting and excellent creature. The stellar cast includes Kenneth Tobey and James Arness. The word classic gets thrown around too much, but it applies here. 

October 6th
movie 13: Pledge Night (1990) - Another new to me movie. It was pitched to me as a slasher, but is really more of a possession/demon movie. The first half of the movie is stupid hazing hijinks which I found boring! The second half picks up with Sid the killer shows up. Sort of mediocre.

movie 14: The House of Seven Corpses (1974) - Growing up I remember three movies constantly playing on the late shows. Night of the Living Dead, Horror Express, and The House of Seven Corpses. This was the movie that introduced me to John Ireland and of course I recognized John Carradine from the Universal movies. Still not sure if this is a zombie or ghost story.

October 7th
movie 15: Presidents Day (2016) - This movie is bonkers. Kids go into the woods to party on President's Day and end up summoning their angry spirits when they read from a magical book. Who can possible help them stop the homicidal Commanders in chief? Well the book does let them summon John Wilkes Booth...

movie 16: Claws (1977) - I had never seen this movie and honestly wish I had kept it that way! Let me explain the proceedings as they played out. Stock footage of animals, people walking, more stock footage of animals, and then more walking. Repeat this for an hour and forty minutes! 

October 8th
movie 17: Cat's Eye (1985) - This is an excellent anthology of King stories. The first two are adaptations from Night Shift, while the third that ties them together was written by King for the movie. Great cast, awesome stories, and a hero cat! Why isn't this more popular?

movie 18: Feast (2005) - This is a favorite of mine that always finds its way into the DVD player. It is the last movie that I "discovered" in Fangoria. Read the article and made sure that I caught one of the screenings in its limited theatrical run. Awesome creature design, great cast, and a plot that lovingly pokes fun at the tropes of the genre. 

movie 19: Super 8 (2011)Monster kids making a zombie flick accidentally witness an alien escape from a train crash. Said alien terrorizes their town as does the military who is trying to hush things up. This is a great creature feature with a healthy dose of nostalgia and I love it! Saw Super 8 in the theater during it's first run and have watched it every October since then. 

October 9th
movie 20: Salem's Lot (1979) - I remember watching this when it was new. It was a really big deal and had an awesome cast. I still think that the vampires are scary looking and overall the movie holds up. When given the chance Tobe Hooper could really shoot an atmospheric spooky movie. 

movie 21: Satan's Triangle (1975) - I've been looking for this mad for T.V. movie for years. Finally found it on YouTube. The final scene with Doug McClure in the water has always stuck with me. Sadly the movie doesn't hold up. Glad that I finally tracked it down but I probably won't need to watch it again ever. Be warned sometimes things aren't as good as you remember them.

October 10th
movie 22: House II: The Second Story (1987) - I haven't seen House II in a while. It has a much different tone to the first movie. Instead of a real horror movie we get something a bit silly and more family orientated. It is interesting that I like House II as much as the first but in a completely different way. 

movie 23: House on Haunted Hill (1959) - This is a classic that I watch every October. I love William Castle movies and Vincent Price is one of my favorite actors. Price is given every opportunity to chew up the scenery and get in touch with his evil side! I dig everything about House on Haunted Hill. It always puts a smile on my face. 

October 11th
movie 24: Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse (2015) -  This is another newer movie that I decided to give a chance. I give them props for the practical effects work and the design of the zombies is decent. It also had some funny moments, but overall I wasn't thrilled. This falls into the okay but not great category. Glad that I watched it but don't need to revisit it again. 

October 12th
movie 25: Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) - This one is a guilty pleasure of mine. It isn't that great of a movie and is very much a formula movie. Bad guy/monster traps people in a building and picks them off one at a time. But it has a great cast and gives Dick Miller more than just a cameo. Plus you can never have too much Billy Zane in your life. 

October 13th
Monster Bash at the Canton Palace Theater

movie 26: Frankenstein (1931) - I've seen this in the theater before on one of the revival screenings a few years ago. It was on a double feature with Bride of Frankenstein and was a blast. But nothing compared to watching it in a great theater like the Palace. It was also awesome to see it with a crowd that was really into the movie. 

movie 27: Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Karloff is back and even better as the creature. This time around he has dialogue and gets a lot more screen time. The lighting, sets, and music is way better than the original. Yeah a sequel that is better than the original. 

movie 28: Son of Frankenstein (1939) - I haven't seen the rest of the series on the big screen before so this was fun. I also haven't seen Son of Frankenstein in years! Fans of Young Frankenstein will recognize where Brooks got his inspiration for several characters from this movie. It is also the last time that Karloff played the creature on the big screen. Not as good as Bride but a lot of fun. Bela Lugosi steals the show as Ygor and I was surprised that the creature is back to not speaking. Maybe that is why this is the last Karloff performance.

movie 29: Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) - Lugosi is back as Ygor somehow surviving the hail of bullets in Son of Frankenstein. This time the creature is played by Lon Chaney Jr. Not a huge fan of Chaney as the creature as he seems to be doing his best Karloff impression. This one is also a bit crazy with brains being replaced by another son of Frankenstein! It is fun but you can see the quality of the movies slipping a bit. 

October 14th
Monster Bash at the Canton Palace Theater 

movie 30: Frankenstein meets the Wolfman (1943) - Lugosi is back, but this time he is playing the creature. Honestly he isn't a very good Frankenstein. Lon Chaney Jr. was the great again as the Wolfman. It takes way too long for the Frankenstein creature to show up and that kind of drags the story down. This is another example of the quality dipping a bit again. 

movie 31: House of Frankenstein (1944) - Glen Strange takes over the role of the creature with Lon Chaney Jr. again in the role of the Wolfman. We also get John Carradine as Dracula, but he dies way too quick. But the real gem is Karloff out of makeup as the mad scientist. The movie is much better when he is on screen. It is an improvement over Ghost and meets the Wolfman.

movie 32: House of Dracula (1945) - No Karloff in any way makes this another weak entry. Lon Chaney doesn't get much screen time and again they kill off Dracula (John Carradine) way too quickly. Also we don't get any throw-downs between the creatures because the Wolfman is cured by the time the Frankenstein creature is active. 

movie 33: Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948) - I love this movie! Abbott and Costello are very funny and the creatures look great. Plus we get Lugosi back as Dracula for the first time since the original! This was a nice way to end the Universal Frankenstein series. 

October 15th
movie 34: Freaks of Nature (2015) - This is a surprisingly good newer horror/sci-fi/comedy with an excellent cast and special effects. Vampires, zombies, humans, aliens, and yes werewolves. There is something here for everyone and they manage not to mess it up. 

movie 35: Rawhead Rex (1986) - This was a favorite of mine from back in the VHS days. I can't tell you how many times I rented it, so it is nice to see a legit release with special features. Kino Lorber did a good job with the Blu-Ray. That said I think that Rawhead Rex is one of those movies that benefited by not being seen. The creature effects don't hold up well and the movie isn't as bloody as I remember. Still like it, just not as much as I remember.

movie 36: Doomwatch (1972) - I had seen this one years ago but didn't remember much about it. I saw the Blu-Ray at Monster Bash this past Saturday so I picked it up. It is interesting and is less a horror movie than it is a warning about pollution. There are some mutated islanders and a murder, but all in all it is pretty tame. It makes sense that I didn't remember much about it. 

October 16th
movie 37: The Frighteners (1996) - With all due respect to the Hobbits this is one of director Peter Jackson's best. This and Dead Alive switch positions between one and two. I do love the horror and here we get plenty of it with some laughs. Michael J. Fox plays a man who sees ghosts and makes his living having his help haunt places so he can cleanse them. Cool idea that goes horribly wrong as a mysterious figure starts killing off everyone. 

movie 38: Army of Darkness (1992) - This is one of my favorites. Doesn't have the scares like the first two Evil Dead movies, but it does have a lot of laughs. I like to say that this one goes full Stooges on us. Eye pokes, sound effects, slaps to the face, and many more. I will be watching Evil Dead and Evil Dead II as part of this marathon, but Army of Darkness seemed like a good place to start. 

October 17th
movie 39: Prophecy (1979) - Part monster movie part environmental warning. A doctor and his wife are sent to Maine to investigate some problems with a paper mill. They discover that mercury is being used to treat the wood and it has leached into the ecosystem. Not only are there giant fish and tadpoles but also a mutated bear that has a taste for people. 

movie 40: Return of the Living Dead part II (1988) - Not as good as the original. The makeup isn't as good and the kills not as bloody, but I still like it. Several funny bits and the fact that two characters basically return inexplicably and even reference that makes me smile. Plus look for a young Mitch Pileggi as a random soldier/zombie chow. 

October 18th
movie 41: Broken Lizard's Club Dread (2004) - I get a lot of heat for liking this movie mostly from Slasher movie fans. If you read my stuff here at the horror dude blog you know that I love Slasher movies as much as anyone else. Club Dread is a funny, but loving send off of the genre. The humor and horror is spot on making this one of the best horror flicks of the 2000s.  

movie 42: Warlock (1989) - Here is a blast from the past. I realized recently that I never owned a copy of any of the Warlock movies in any format! They were on cable all the time in the late '90s so I've seen them a lot. I finally picked up all three of the movies on Blu-Ray and now have checked out the first entry. Unlike my earlier experience with Rawhead Rex, Warlock holds up nicely. It is a great movie with an awesome villain. I can only hope the sequels hold up as well. 

October 19th
movie 43: The Babysitter (2017) - I hadn't planned on watching a new movie at this point in the month but I kept hearing how good The Babysitter was. We get plenty of kills and laughs with some real emotion mixed in along the way. Between this and Freaks of Nature I'm starting to think there might be some new horror directors coming along that are worth paying attention to.

movie 44: Shock Waves (1977) - Back to the classics. This is one of my favorite non-Romero zombie movies. It has a great cast with John Carradine and Peter Cushing! Plus zombies... Nazi zombies that emerge from the Ocean and that are programmed to kill. Toss in some spooky stuff with a ghost ship and the abandoned hotel for an excellent way to spend ninety minutes. God I love this one!

October 20th
movie 45: Night of the Demons (1988) - This was a common rental back in my High School and College days. Linnea Quigley is awesome in her role here and well you know... Demonic possession was a common theme in '80s horror but no one else did it better than Kevin Tenney did directing this gem. 

movie 46: Night of the Creeps (1986) - "Thrill Me". One of the greats lines ever uttered in a horror flick and the fact that it is Tom Atkins saying it makes this one of my favorites. This one mixes horror and comedy nicely, has some aliens, and has flashbacks to the marvelous '50s. Plus we get a zombie axe murderer! Sucks that one bad movie derailed director Fred Dekker's career. 

October 21st
12 Hours of Terror at the Capital Theater

movie 47: Hellraiser (1987) - Never been a huge fan of the Hellraiser series. It just never connected with me, but I have to say that seeing it at the 12 Hours event was an excellent experience. The audience was a blast and honestly the movie was much better than I remember it. Might have to check out the sequels in the near future. 

movie 48: Rawhead Rex (1986) - I hadn't watched this movie in years. But between this showing and purchasing the new Blu-Ray at Cinema Wasteland a few weeks ago I've seen it twice this month! It wasn't nearly as good as I remember it being (more on this when I finally post the review to the horror dude blog) when I watched it at home. But seeing the audience react to some of the crazy shit that happens was a lot of fun. Much better with an audience. 

October 22nd
12 Hours of Terror at the Capital Theater

movie 49: Day of the Dead (1985) - This was the surprise screening at 12 Hours of Terror. In spite of the recent passing of George Romero it never occurred to me that they would show one of his zombie movies. The cheer that went up the second the music started and everyone realized what was next made the entire evening for me. This was very special and the first time that I've seen Day on the big screen. 

movie 50: Motel Hell (1980) - This movie is nuts and I love it. This was another staple of video rentals back in my younger years. I never thought I'd see this one in the theater so when I saw it on the list for 12 Hours of Terror I was very excited. Not only is it a fun and cheesy horror movie, but it plays extremely well to an audience. It was a blast!

After a good night's sleep... aka. not 12 Hours of Terror

movie 51: Cabin in the Woods (2011) - This wasn't on my list for this October. I honestly had forgotten about it when I was working on what I wanted to watch this month. But I heard some folks talking about it at the 12 Hours of Terror event and got the itch to pop it back in the Blu-Ray player. It is just as good as I remember it being when I saw it in the theater. Nice to see some new horror that ages well. 

October 23rd
movie 52: Popcorn (1991) - It has been a couple of years since I last watched Popcorn. It has always been a favorite of mine and continues to be. The body count is a bit low for what is basically a slasher flick with only four deaths. But the identity of the killer is interesting and the setting of an all night horror movie marathon is a blast. The movie has issues, but none of them kill the fun. Plus it has Dee Wallace playing a Mom! Only the best horror movies have that.

October 24th
movie 53: Tremors (1990) - This is a special movie to me. I had somehow missed that it was being made and released. I was wandering around the mall with some friends and saw the poster at the theater that was attached. There was a giant creature on it and Fred Ward. I was sold. The fact that it kicked that much ass and had a nice looking monster was a bonus. All these years later and it still makes me smile. 

movie 54: The Fog (1980) - This is maybe the best ghost story not set in a haunted house that I've ever seen. John Carpenter knows how to push the buttons of an audience to maximize the chills and here he is at his best. The story is solid, the cast is great, and the ghosts have a damn good reason to be pissed off! A must watch for October and at least a couple of other times a year. I love this movie. 

October 25th
movie 55: StageFright (1987) - A group of actors lock themselves into a theater to prepare for a new show. What they don't realize is that a maniac is locked in with them. The bodies start to pile up and they do the smart thing. No really they arm themselves and go hunting for him! Not a great movie but one that I do enjoy watching every few years. 

movie 56: The Thing (1982) - I watch a lot of John Carpenter movies during October and The Thing is always one of them. The isolated setting with the alien threat coming from anywhere creates a sense of paranoia and fear that still gets me no matter how many times I've watched the movie. The special effects are insanely good and we have the majesty that is Kurt Russell's beard. This movie rocks!

October 26th
movie 57: Evil Dead (1981) - Another bad ass classic horror movie. As I get further into the month and closer to the 31st the more familiar favorites will get watched. What can I say about Evil Dead? The unique camera work, blood spraying everywhere, and Bruce Campbell getting tossed around. Does it get better than this? I think not!

movie 58: Bio-Zombie (1998) - This is a movie that I haven't seen in at least fifteen years. I remember buying the DVD off of the internet in the early 2000s just as I was discovering Asian horror flicks. Zombies attacking a mall sounded familiar and fun. I liked it a lot then but it hasn't aged well. The silly characters, video game references, cheap zombie makeup, and constant yelling of dialogue has been so overused in the intervening years that it makes Bio-Zombie a chore to get thru. 

October 27th
The last weekend before Halloween. I need to make it count! I have a couple events that I'm attending on Saturday but I still hope to hammer some movies out tonight. With that in mind I'm going to start off with...

movie 59: The Legend of Hell House (1973) - Roddy McDowell is one of my personal favorites and this might be his second best role in a horror movie. It also might be the best haunted house movie that I've ever seen. The ending with him taking on the ghost of Belasco is crazy good.

movie 60: The Crazies (1973) - Speaking of crazy I always watch this Romero flick in October. It is very low budget and was shot around Evans City like Night of the Living Dead. It also shares a bleak ending with Night. In my opinion this is an underrated gem from the master of horror. 

movie 61: My Bloody Valentine (1981) - This is my favorite slasher movie and I felt that way before they found and restored the gore that was cut by the MPAA. The killer in the miner's gear and pickaxe has an awesome look and setting the last third of the movie in the mine is fantastic. Plus people forget that the reveal of the killer was a huge surprise. 

October 28th
Small Town Monsters Double Feature at the Canton Palace Theater

movie 62: Invasion on Chestnut Ridge (2016) - This is the first of two Small Town Monsters documentaries that were shown at the Canton Palace Theater. Bigfoot and his connection to UFOs in the rural countryside of Pennsylvania. Weird but a fun watch. It is on Amazon Prime if you are interested in checking it out.

movie 63: The Mothman of Point Pleasant (2017) - This was the second and newest from Small Town Monsters. Honestly this has been done to death with the Mothman and the tragedy surrounding Point Pleasant. If you have no idea about any of that check it out. But I've already seen documentaries on this subject so it was a bit boring. 

Back home for some movie fun

movie 64: Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978) - I've been looking for a copy of this movie for years. Thanks to my VHS collecting buddy Eric I now have one. Cheesy, dumb, silly, and awesome are all appropriate adjectives for this bit of fun from the '70s. You don't have to be a Kiss fan to enjoy it. I mean they fight an evil scientist, robots, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman! 

October 29th
movie 65: Fright Night (1985) - This is my favorite Roddy McDowell horror flick. Peter Vincent is such a badass character and do vampires get any creepier or suave than Chris Sarandon? Plus Brewster is so cool and his dinner is in the oven! This was a favorite rental of mine and holds up more than thirty years after it's release. 

movie 66: Arachnophobia (1990) - I hadn't seen this one in a few years. Not sure how it kept getting left off my October marathon. This is one of the few movies on this list that I actually got to see during it's initial theatrical run. Spiders are creepy and this movie does a wonderful job making my skin crawl. Probably won't sleep all that well tonight. Good job movie!

movie 67: Waxwork (1988) - This is the second or third Anthony Hickox directed flick to show up on the marathon. It was also a movie that I rented a lot back in my younger days and was an early DVD purchase. I still have that old DVD, probably should upgrade. This movie has an amazing cast and a tongue in cheek style that I love. 

movie 68: Night of the Living Dead (1990) - I had a chance to see the original Night of the Living Dead a couple of times with the passing of George Romero. So I figured that the remake could take it's place this October. Now I'm not a fan of remakes but Romero wrote the script and Tom Savini directed it. It turned out great and was a wonderful updating of the story without ignoring what made us all love the original. 

October 30th
movie 69: Phantasm (1978) - I'm disturbed. Phantasm is one of my go to movies for this time of year and I love it. But this time I noticed some pacing issues and the dreamlike "is this real or not" stuff didn't play well for me. Do I not like this movie as much as I used to? This is really bugging me. I'm going to have to give it a week and watch it again. 

October 31st
movie 70: Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2017) - I wanted to toss one more new movie into the October mix. I love cheesy zombie movies so I figured this was a good choice. Good production values and a goofy story make for some fun. Could have done without all the extreme snowboarding though.

movie 71: Dawn of the Dead (1978) - Every Halloween for years I've watched this. I also watch it a couple other times a year. This is my favorite movie, not just horror movie. Seriously I spent my 15ht and 20th wedding anniversaries at the Monroeville Mall where it was shot. My wife is a very patient and lovely woman. 

movie 72: Silver Bullet (1985) - Speaking of my wife this movie wasn't even on my list. In fact I didn't own a copy of it and haven't seen it in years. So I popped onto iTunes (sometimes technology is awesome) and a few minutes later we were watching it. I had forgotten how awesome this movie is. Great cast and a decent looking werewolf make for a good time.

movie 73: Halloween (1978) - This is the other must watch for me. Michael Myers is the boogeyman and returns home to kill. Lots of stalking leads up to a decent body count. Donald Pleasence is great as Dr. Loomis. But how does Michael Myers know how to drive a car? Wait that is a stupid thing to worry about... This is one of the best movies ever. 

Wrap Up: 

73 movies watched including all my favorites. I also managed to post on all but one day of the month. Attended some great events and generally celebrated the heck out of October and Halloween. It was a lot of work trying to post every day but it was fun. That said I'll not be doing it again until next October. Hope everyone had as much fun keeping up with this. I appreciate all the emails and messages you sent me. Happy Halloween!





© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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