Okay, you’ve answered the door a thousand times and have run out of candy. Time to shut out the lights, crack open a beer or wine (blood red, of course) and watch a scary movie, something to haunt your dreams. Sure, you could stick with the tried and true like Halloween or Night of the Living Dead. But why not explore new dark territory this year? Here are 5 movies guaranteed to give you shivers…
5. THE SENTINEL
3. THE DESCENT
2. THE ORPHANGE
- THE NIGHT STALKER
For my money, ghost/haunted house movies are by far the creepiest. Luckily for us, there have been a ton of spine tingling ghost flicks over the years. This Horrortober, if you’re looking to scare yourself before heading off to bed, why not give one (or all ten) of these movies a try?
What are some of your favorites?
10. LADY IN WHITE
9. THE ENTITY
8. THE INNOCENTS
6. THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE
5. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
4. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
3. THE CHANGELING
2. THE SHINING
- THE HAUNTING
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Is there any month finer than October? I don’t have to list all the reasons why October…ahem, Horrortober…kicks ass to my Hellions. I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement here.
Now begins the quest to once again watch at least 1 horror movie a day, read only horror books, and attend only horror parties and functions. Naturally, I’m also in the midst of writing a new horror novel, so I literally cannot escape the genre I love during Horrortober.
Every year, I set aside books and movies just for Horrortober, a bit o’ curation for the season of dark terror. Typically, I read about 6 books or more (some of them novellas). This year, I’ve decided to tackle 2 BIG books and 1 graphic comic.
I prefer the uncut version Stephen King’s THE STAND, reveling in all 1,156 pages. I’ve come to realize that reading this book is a young man’s game. It’s literally too heavy for me to hold for any length of time. Looks like it’ll be a lap book this go around. I’m also looking forward to reading CRAB MONSTERS, TEENAGE CAVEMEN, AND CANDY STRIPE NURSES, a beautiful book crammed with glossy pages of Roger Corman’s oddball, incredible film career. Somewhere in between those two massive books, I hope to sneak in the Howling Commandos graphic comic. Any book with Man-Thing is a must have for me.
For your own TBR pile, click here to get a free copy of my ghost novella, THE GRAVEYARD SPEAKS. Nothing better on Horrortober than a haunted cemetery!
As for the movies I’ve set aside, here’s a few sitting on my queue…
THE DARK HALF
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
THE CRAZIES (GEORGE ROMERO’S ORIGINAL)
THE LOVED ONES
THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOO TRILOGY
HALLOWEEN (1, 3, 4 & 5)
And sooo many more. Last year, I watched 50 movies in Horrortober. I’m not sure I can top that, but dammit, I’m going to try!
As always, I’ll tweet the movies I watch with the hashtag, #Horrortober, along with my rating system of 1 through 9 tana leaves. The Mummy is always proud. I encourage you to do the same thing so we can all see what we’re watching, loving and hating.
I’ll also be at Chiller Theatre at the end of the month (milling around and having fun) along with several other spooky events.
So, what are your plans for Horrortober? Share your to-read and watch lists. There just may be some special surprises for those Hellions who want to get in on the fun.
You know, we Monster Men always go the extra mile for our fans, especially during Horrortober. With soooo many pumpkin ales out there now to choose from, which one should you be chugging while you watch Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Jack and I are here to help.
In our third annual Horrortober Booze Fest, which we call Beers for Fears, we tackled 4 pumpkin ales and ranked them for you. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you’ll see that taste is in the buds of the tongue. Enjoy a couple of beer slobs (not snobs) sipping ale and munching on pumpkin spice Oreos. We’re also giving away signed copies of Dark Dossier Magazine, so find out how you can get one!
It’s getting chilly outside and I see a smattering of brown crunchy leaves on the ground. That means it’s time to dive headfirst into the pile of books I curate just for the Halloween season, or as I call it, Horrortober. This year’s list may be a bit ambitious, but I think I can do it. That’s along with watching 1 horror movie a day and other decadent things. So, if you’re looking for a hot read when the nights are dark and our spirits colder, pluck one of these off the shelf…
THE NIGHT PARADE BY RON MALFI
First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .
They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .
EAT THE NIGHT BY TIM WAGGONER
For Joan Lantz, it starts with a dream of a death-cult’s mass suicide in the jungle of Suriname thirty years ago, followed by the discovery of a hidden basement in her new house, where heavy metal music echoes on humid tropical air.
For Kevin Benecke, long-suffering employee of a mysterious organization known simply as Maintenance, it starts with the violent death of his co-worker at the hands of a madman who tells him, The Big Dark is coming for you.
Long-dead cult leader and former rock star Mark Maegarr has returned from beyond the grave, and Joan and Kevin have front-row seats to his apocalyptic comeback. Maegarr’s waited decades to finish what he started, and this time no one will stop him from putting on a killer show designed to hasten the universe’s end.
LOVECRAFT’S CURSE BY BRIAN LETENDRE
A horrific childhood incident cast a shadow over Fela Barton’s life for fourteen years.
Now a 20-year-old college student, Fela survived her first semester of living on campus and is finally ready put the past behind her.
Until the nightmares start again.
Fela’s dreams hold the key to the madness that has plagued her family for generations. But as she searches for answers, a terrible evil gets closer to finding her.
Only one person can help Fela now–and he’s been dead for over 70 years.
LITTLE SECRETS BY MEGAN HART
They’re not alone in the house.
With a baby on the way and a brand new house, it seems Ginny and her husband, Sean, are on their way to a fresh start. But strange occurrences and financial strain seem determined to keep Ginny and Sean stuck in the past. Ginny begins to believe the house may be haunted…or that her husband might be trying to trick her into thinking so. As Ginny researches the house’s former owner and the tragedy that happened there, it becomes clearer than ever that something is in the house with them. The question is, who…or what…is it?
CHELSEA AVENUE BY ARMAND ROSAMILIA
On July 8th 1987, in Long Branch, New Jersey, The Haunted House Pier and Murphy’s Law club fires destroyed not only local landmarks, but everything Manny Santiago found dear.
And it isn’t over.
The entity responsible for killing Manny’s family and wreaking devastation in the small seaside community has reappeared. Again. As it has every year since. And is growing in power.
Every July 8th it returns, as survivors of the fires, including Manny, are mysteriously led back to the now-vacant seaside lot on Chelsea Avenue, where the entity intends to finish what it started in 1987 once and for all.
TAR BY IAIN ROB WRIGHT
How do you go on living when you’re already dead?
The world has ended, yet a few places still cling to life, dragging out their final, dwindling moments until the last second. The United Kingdom is one of those places still left alive, but it is only a matter of time before it too is wiped from the face of the earth.
The Tar is coming, covering every inch of the globe. There is no escape.
It means the clock is ticking for Finn, who needs to find the monster that murdered his sister. The world might be over, but vengeance never dies.
By bestselling author, Iain Rob Wright, comes an apocalypse like no other. Follow a broken brother’s vengeance as he seeks to kill a man who is already dead.
Today being the official start of Fall (even though it’ll feel like summer here), I’m as excited as a bat at sundown. #Horrotober, my month long celebration of the Halloween season, is just a week away. As always, I want you to revel in all things horror with me, which means filling our days and nights with scary movies, books, magazines and fun things to do.
So, first thing you need to do is line up movies to watch. I try to do 1 horror movie a day and always post them on twitter with the old #Horrortober hashtag. As a public service, here are some pretty good horror flix you can catch on Netflix to fill your schedule.
This rare Turkish horror movie starts out with five asshole cops sitting around a late night eatery. Kinda like Reservoir Dogs, except they’re not planning a crime and doling out funny names. They get called to a break in and then, my friends, all hell breaks loose. The visuals here are some of the most disturbing I’ve seen in years. This is high strangeness, a Clive Barker inspired fever dream with an antagonist that might make Pinhead shiver.
I loved the movie Don’t Breathe, which was the second half of what I call 2016’s disability horror. Hush is a home invasion movie where a deaf woman in a remote cabin is put through hell by an absolute psycho. The fact that she can’t hear him as he moves about the cabin, breaking windows, or even know the sounds she makes as she tries to lurk around really amps up the tension. It’s a little movie that packs a big punch.
Being an Irishman, I can never resist any movie set in Ireland, horror or otherwise. In this little surprise, an arborist moves his family to the woods, settling into an old house with iron bars on all of the windows. Why? Oh, you’ll find out. Very cool creature effects abound in this taut bit o nastiness.
Man gets invited by flaky ex-wife to come over for dinner with their old friends and some new ones. He obviously doesn’t want to be there, but the new woman in his life urges him on. We know right away something bad happened between these two. But that’s not what makes this little shindig so strange. You can file this under slow burn but with a great third act. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year.
THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE
Another low budget indie horror that has to depend on story and strong performances by a cast of folks you’ve probably never seen before. I honestly had no idea where this one was going. A down and out dude gets taken in by his friend but maybe he should have been left to his own devices. Because he’s getting strange calls and hearing voices and is a powder keg ready to explode.
It’s Halloween, the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Ghosts and demons lay in wait for little boys and girls who prefer tricks over treats!
What better way to spend the season than watching great horror movies? Here are what I consider the 5 best haunted house movies of all time. For my money, ghosts are far scarier than monsters because we’re potentially looking at our own destinies. Will you be among the trapped spirits some day, haunting the family living in your former home?
5. THE SENTINEL
The 70s were a treasure trove for horror. This is the decade that gave us true frights like The Exorcist, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left and Halloween. Lost in the mix is this chilling classic about a NY fashion model who moves into a creepy brownstone apartment. The residents are the most disturbing cast of characters you’ll ever meet. Part ghost story, party possession tale, some scenes in The Sentinel will haunt you for the rest of your life. And it’s loaded with stars, including Christopher Walken, Chris Sarandon, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Beverly D’Angelo, Ava Gardner. John Carradine and so much more.
4. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
This flick needs no introduction. Even if the story the Lutz family told the world is total B.S., this is still a spine tingling movie.This one has it all – evil spirits, bleeding walls, mystery rooms, imaginary friends with bad intentions and a home clouded by the spectre of a mass murder. James Brolin is brooding and terrifying as the spirit of the house drags him down. Almost 40 years later and this one still gives me chills.
3. THE CHANGELING
George C. Scott plays a composer who lost his family in an accident. Trying to put his life back together, he moves into a huge old house that, as we come to find out, is quite haunted. First of all, Scott may be the biggest-name actor in a horror movie – ever. His performance gives a gravitas rarely seen in the genre. As the story unfolds, you’ll find your goosebumps just won’t go away. That’s one haunted house I might skip if invited to spend the night.
2. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
I wasn’t a fan of The Blair Witch Project and the whole found footage dealio, but Paranormal Activity changed my mind. This one actually made my wife and I nervous when we went to sleep that night (it doesn’t help that we live in a haunted house). I can think of better things to film in the bedroom, but I’m glad they concentrated on the demonic spirit here. I just watched it again last week and it’s still unsettling. Find the BluRay with the alternate ending if you can!
Hands down, this is my favorite ghost movie ever. Short on special effects because it doesn’t need them, a college professor gathers willing subjects to live in a haunted mansion in Massachusetts. As the caretaker warns them in the beginning, “No one can hear you scream in the dark. In the night.” Using the twisted history of the house to put your nerves on edge, The Haunting is all about atmosphere and odd sounds and tortured souls. This is a must watch for any true horror fan.
So, what would make your top 5 list? There were so many I could have added here, but I forced myself to whittle it down to the 5 that deeply affected me, long after the end credits.