Every time I look at the calendar lately, I get giddy. October – uh, I mean HORRORTOBER, is almost here! That means one month of complete horror immersion, from books to movies and things to do.
I’m looking forward to Horrortober more than ever this year because the slate of horror flicks that have come out in 2018 have left a lot to be desired. I feel as though I’ve been bombarded by duds like Unfriended : Dark Web, The Nun and Winchester. Yep, time in the local movie has has not been time well spent, although A Quiet Place and Hereditary are a couple of bright spots. Hell, Puppet Master : The Littles Reich is now in my top 10 for 2018! That’s all that needs to be said.
For me, Horrortober means going back to revisit the movies that are the reason for the season. My goal, that I’ve been able to surpass most years, is to watch at least one horror movie a day. Every year, I rewatch Halloween (natch), It Follows, Motel Hell and The Funhouse and several other staples. But each year, I also add a bunch I haven’t seen in a while. So, what’s on this year’s to-watch list?
2018 is the year of Fred Dekker for me. I’ve added House and The Monster Squad to the old queue. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the top 10 rat movies to see. On that list is Of Unknown Origin, which is now on my Horrortober list. I’m a HUGE John Carpenter fan, but it’s been too long since I revisited They Live. I’m rectifying that this year. The Changeling was just restored in what I hear is a wonderful Blu Ray, which I may buy to give us nightmares in the Shea lair. Or I’ll just watch my old, grainy DVD. Oh, gotta have vampires, so Near Dark is in the rotation.
Now, I have two questions – are you here to chew bubblegum or kick ass? No, that’s not it. What movies do you think I should add to my list? We can watch them ‘together’ and discuss on Twitter. Also, what’s on your Horrortober list? Let’s make this a month long party and swap movie ideas. Those who comment here and share are in the drawing to win free ebooks of Rattus New Yorkus, Jurassic Florida and more. So come on you hellion horror hounds, let’s get pumped for Horrortober!
In honor of the release of my novella, RATTUS NEW YORKUS, I decided to share a list of 10 horror movies centered around those disease-bearing rodents. If rats make you squeamish, this makes a great double dare to watch a few of these selected horrors.
Now, in no particular order, here are 10 flicks straight from the sewer. Click the movie poster to watch the trailer and see which one ‘squeaks’ your interest.
I named one of my hamsters Ben, and he was appropriately mean as hell. With a theme song performed by young Michael Jackson, this was my first foray into rat horror films. A young boy befriends old Ben, who just happens to be the ringleader for a horde of menacing rats. I always tell people, this is the rat movie to start with.
9. THE FOOD OF THE GODS
This is my favorite because it’s a Bert I. Gordon joint. That man is my hero. When the animals on a pacific northwest island start slurping up some white goo, they get, well, they didn’t call him Mr. B.I.G. for nothing. I saw this in the theater when it first came out and buy it on every new format.
I’m not gonna lie. This one is not so great. Also known as Altered Species, its the common rat trope of a chemical getting exposed to rats and making them…well…rattier. If this came out now, it would be in Red Box with a bitching cover image and nothing else.
7. OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN
You know, I had forgotten all about this until now, and I don’t know why, considering how much I liked it back in the 80s. It stars Peter Weller (Robocop), a man possessed with figuring out what unseen terror us lurking in his home. Is he out of his mind, or is there something furry and lethal stalking him? Pure 80s goodness.
6. THE RATS ARE COMING! THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE!
This wins, hands down, for best title. Not sure how easy it will be to find this early 70s shlock (ahem) classic that’s more about werewolves than rats. If you like watching loonies do bad things to rats, this might be for you.
5. THE KILLER SHREWS
I have to tell ya, the giant shrews in this 50s scifi romp are kinda icky. They made my skin crawl when I first saw it many moons ago. Yes, I know a shrew isn’t technically a rat, but watch this one and tell me if it makes a difference. You know it’s worth a watch when it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
4. DEADLY EYES
I fell in love with this VHS cover back in the day. I rented it quite a few times over the years. Now, it’s not the greatest, but there is some fun to be had here. We’ve got rats as big as dogs invading homes and an entire city. I’d love to see this movie remade with a The Meg sized budget.
3. RATS – NIGHT OF TERROR
Ok, this is an Italian horror movie, and we all know how I feel about that. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it. I will give it props for being a post-apocalypse rat horror flick. And there is a pretty cool twist in the end.
2. GRAVEYARD SHIFT
Maybe not the best Stephen King adaptation, but it’s still fun to watch. And how about that movie poster, huh? There’s tons of rats in the old textile mill, and a little somethin’-somethin’ extra. I actually dig this movie and have to remember to watch it during this year’s Horrortober.
Whether you watch the original (co-starring Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein) or the remake with the supremely odd Crispin Glover, you can’t go wrong. The lesson here is, beware of dudes who have a posse of rats as their only friends. Considered a classic for a damn good reason.
And there you have it, 10 movies with high ick factors starring armies of furry beasts. Once you’ve seen them all and want more, don’t forget to check out Rattus New Yorkus and find out what happens when you take a blowtorch to thousands of rats in Grand Central Station.