The 31 Days of Halloween | 2023 Watchlist

No other holiday serves up the perfect excuse to binge movies all month long like Halloween. Some poor screenagers may partake in the 25 Days of Xmas (a marathon of Christmas-themed made-for-TV trash) and lonely hearts will always use February as an excuse to watch their favorite rom-coms but for everyone else who doesn’t fall into either of those categories and is too old for trick ‘r treating, the Halloween season is built for binge-watching movies, horror specifically. Many channels will be playing the classics all month long but unlike Xmas and lovey-dovey rom-coms, there are only so many Halloween-themed horror movies, which means their lineup is probably stale.

Luckily, the SAW crew has made a list of new classics you should watch this month. Some are psychological thrillers, others are splatter flicks and there’s even a kid-friendly movie or two thrown in. The only criteria was that it had to be horror or Halloween adjacent, so much like the trick ‘r treating of days past, every day will be a new surprise. If you’re looking for an alternative to the same old Halloween classics or want ideas for your own marathon, check out the recommendations below.

Day 1—Cat’s Eye (1985)

I’m a sucker for 80s anthology horror movies. You add Stephen King into the mix, and I am sold. And Cat’s Eye more than scratches that particular itch. The movie consists of three independent stories. “Quitter’s, Inc” tells the story of a man (James Woods) who enlists the services of a company called Quitters, Inc in order to stop smoking. The catch? The methods used by Quitter’s Inc are a bit unorthodox. Every time you slip up and smoke, something bad happens to one of your loved ones. “The Ledge” is about a tennis pro (Robert Hays) who has been caught sleeping with the wife of a mob boss (Kenneth McMillan). The mob boss gives the tennis pro the chance to live if he can travel the perimeter of the mob boss’s penthouse apartment using the window ledge. And “General” is about a little girl (Drew Barrymore) who is being hunted at night by a troll that lives in a hole in her bedroom wall. 

Cat’s Eye is not particularly scary these days, but each story has its own kind of charm, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the spooky season.

–Billy Dhalgren

Day 2—Terrifier 2 (2022)

Let me preface this by saying I don’t like this movie. Well, not so much the movie itself, but Art the Clown. I find him terrifying compared to the likes of clowns like Pennywise. He doesn’t don an elaborate costume and makeup and all he really needs to do is flash that large toothy grin of his to send a shiver down your spine. Not to mention, his kind of character feels real, like something more plausible. Someone could easily throw on an Art costume and go butcher some poor woman who he then force-feeds mashed potatoes (guess what happens to one of the characters?) Having said all of that, I think this is a fun watch for Halloween. It has spooks, blood, costumes, and what I think is one of the funniest scenes in a movie involving novelty glasses. My kids love the Terrifier movies as well, so this will absolutely be one on our October watchlist (I’m a good parent, I promise).

–Ricky Rat

Day 3—Practical Magic (1998)

If you need a break from the blood and scares this month, but you want to stay in theme, then I suggest you give Practical Magic a watch. Two sisters, both witches, struggle against the family curse that is destined to kill any man they truly love. There are some heavier themes at play, including death and resurrection and the isolated feeling of being different.

The New England backdrop and gorgeous Owens family home is enough to make you want to wrap yourself up in a flannel blanket with a hot drink while you watch. There is just something so cozy and magical about this movie, and both Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are mesmerizing together on screen. It’s the perfect Halloween movie when you want something light, fluffy, and romantic.

The message of family and female empowerment is strong in Practical Magic, and I find that just as satisfying as I do watching Sally finally get her happy ending. I watch this movie almost every Halloween, and I don’t see that tradition stalling any time soon.

–Romona Comet

Day 4—Scream (2022)

The Scream series is probably one of my Top 3 favorite horror franchises (with Psycho and Friday the 13th as the other two). I love the characters. I love the meta approach it takes. I also love the mystery angle. Unlike other horror franchises, we don’t know who is behind the Ghostface mask. Jason is (almost) always behind the hockey mask. Michael Myers is (almost) always under the William Shatner mask. Ghostface switches it up every single time (and sort of has to since every killer ends up dead).

After an 11-year hiatus, Scream was rebooted with a legacy sequel that brought back the original surviving cast with a new group of victims. Jenna Ortega (before she made it big as the lead on Wednesday) plays a supporting role in this installment that is really just a lot of fun. I know there are some naysayers in the Wasteland who don’t agree that Scream 5 is easily the third-best film in the franchise, but they’re wrong. Scream is just as good as Scream 3, 4, and VI only it’s better. So, yeah, go watch Neve Campbell’s Sidney get her happy ending in the legacy sequel, Scream.

–Marmaduke Karlston

Day 5—Talk to Me (2023)

Ghosts as a metaphor for drug use and peer pressure is a novel one and while I do wish the filmmakers did a bit more with it, they still delivered a haunting, dread-inducing future classic. A group of friends discover how to conjure spirits with an embalmed hand and then become hooked on the new thrill and high-stakes party game — until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces. Like most A24 horror films, Talk To Me is a slow-burn character study that periodically sprinkles in the spooks and is more concerned with a couple of showstopping set pieces than being a jump scare machine. Like most A24 horror films, it pulls off this structure flawlessly. Even if you walk away wishing it was scarier, the big moments will stick with you for years to come.

–Sailor Monsoon

Day 6—La Llorona (2019)

I actually confused La Llorona for a time with The Curse of La Llorona, which came out in the same year but is a completely different take on the legend. La Llorona is set in modern Guatemala and follows a former dictator and his family as the sins of the dictator’s past begin to catch up with him in the form of La Llorona, a mysterious spirit seeking vengeance for her murdered children.

Given what I knew about the legend of La Llorona and past films that feature this mysterious being, I was honestly expecting a story with a lot more jump scares in it. However, that’s not the type of story being told in La Llorona. While the spirit (disguised as a woman) is most unsettling, the terror she brings is more mental than physical for most of the story. That’s almost more terrifying, as how can one possibly combat something that’s taking place inside their own head?

That being said, the horror and terror still build to a fever pitch by the climax of the film, albeit not in the way I expected. It’s a credit to the director that the film is able to carry the audience along at a steady pace until the terrifying truth is finally revealed and you see why the ghosts have risen up to attack and terrorize. On a final note, it’s also fitting that the film ends with a shot that implies the cycle has begun anew. Having seen what just happened, this last moment is all you need to know what will happen next even if it’s never shown.

–Becky O’Brien

Day 7—The Blackening (2023)

The Blackening follows a group of African-American friends as they head to a cabin in the woods for a chance to relax and reconnect. Needless to say, things don’t quite go according to plan. It’s no doubt a familiar setup for fans of the genre, and that’s entirely the point.

What The Blackening looks to do with its all-black cast is put a different lens on a classic Horror scenario and mine the cultural specificity of its characters for humor. It’s adapted from a sketch where a killer gives their potential victims an ultimatum: all die, or sacrifice the member of the group deemed the blackest. Whatever that might mean. The sketch is now a pivotal scene in the feature film, and a number of similarly comical dilemmas are introduced, along with a major subplot about the value of friendship.

The star of the show is Dewayne Perkins, who wrote and stars in the movie — definitely a talent to watch out for. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween watch that’s a little bit different, why not throw on The Blackening and start guessing who the killer’s initial victim will be? They can’t all die first.

–D.N. Williams

Day 8—Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

When railroad baggage handlers Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) deliver a couple of crates to a “McDougal’s House of Horrors,” they find themselves mixed up in a plot by Dracula to revive Frankenstein using Wilbur’s brain. The Wolf Man shows up to try and help defeat the vampire and his minions.

This is the first film in which the comedic duo meet some classic Universal monsters (and thwart their sinister scheme), and it is arguably the best of them. Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. reprise their iconic roles as Dracula and the Wolf Man, bringing a level of class and sophistication that surprisingly meshes perfectly with Abbott and Costello’s artful combination of sardonic and bumbling.

It had been many years since I’d seen this one, but it was just as fun rewatching it today as it was the first time I saw it as a kid in the early ’90s. I’m not big into the horror genre, but I’ll take 75-year-old horror-comedy every day of the week.

–R.J. Mathews

Day 9—Overlord (2018)

This was one of those Bad Robot films that everyone thought was going to tie into Cloverfield and it definitely doesn’t do that. What it does do is tell a pretty cool story that follows American soldiers that are dropped behind enemy lines the day before D-Day and discover terrifying Nazi experiments involving genetic mutations/zombies. This alternative history of World War II does a great job with keeping the story tight and takes you on quite the rollercoaster ride. It keeps things fast paced, but also has some really solid bloody and gory moments in it. It doesn’t just rely on jump scares but knows how to build some good tension without things getting too silly. I Just rewatched this one on PlutoTV not too long ago and I still enjoyed it. Plus the score by Jed Kurzel is pretty damn good too.

–K. Alvarez

Day 10—Project Wolf Hunting (2022)

It feels as if there’s a trend amongst some directors within the horror community as of late to make the ultimate splatter epic. While films like Terrifier 2 and The Sadness are desperately trying to one-up the video nasties they’re clearly inspired by, Project Wolf Hunting has its sights set on Riki-Oh. A mash-up of Con Air and Predator, the film is about a cargo ship filled with the worst, most violent South Korean criminals who are forced to team up with the cops tasked with transferring them against a much more dangerous threat. While it’s not the perfect action movie (the plot does start to get unnecessarily convoluted due to its franchise baiting and the runtime is a bit too long) nor is it really a horror film, it does excel at satiating the bloodlust of gore hounds looking for their next fix. It caters to a very specific demographic that can’t get enough of parades of violence and fountains of blood, and if you consider yourself a fan of either, Project Wolf Hunting delivers.

–Sailor Monsoon

Day 11—Army of Darkness (1992)

The sequel to Evil Dead II is one of the greatest horror-comedy films of all time. Maybe more comedy than horror? Eh, I dunno. It’s one of those movies that most can quote line for line. Who hadn’t watched the film, then grabbed their significant other and said, “Gimme some sugar, baby.”? Come on you know you did! Of course, the usual Evil Dead crew is represented- Sam Raimi directing/co-writing and of course starring Bruce Campbell as hapless “hero” Ash Williams.

The story picks up after the events of Evil Dead II with a very brief flashback to set up the movie then it’s off and running. You probably don’t need to see Evil Dead II to enjoy the film, but I recommend it. Let’s cover the basics of the film. Is it gory? Not very. Are there intense suspenseful moments? Oh yes, the “jump scares” are plentiful! Is it jam-packed with testosterone and sexism? Absolutely! One thing this film does give you is Bruce Campbell at his macho over-the-top best! Quick nerd fact: In the opening credits, the film is tongue and cheek titled Bruce Campbell vs the Army of Darkness. But Ralph, it’s a Sam Raimi movie, are there Three Stooges references? Of course, what a silly question. If you haven’t watched this masterpiece, be warned that there are alternate endings and extended cuts of the film… you should just watch them all then watch the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV show!

–Ralph Hosch

Day 12—Little Monsters (1989)

Before there was Monsters, Inc. there was Little Monsters.

The shorthand version: Monsters inhabit a realm lurking beneath the beds of children. Their task—to cause mischief and relish in the terror they generate in the real world.

So, you’ve heard this premise before, only much later, much lighter, and much cleaner (better). But, if you want some 80s grime and a good deal of cruelty in your otherwise family-friendly monster movie, Little Monsters is the way to go.

Brian, played by Fred Savage, befriends an incredibly obnoxious Beetlejuice rip-off in Howie Mandel’s Maurice, a blue-skinned punker monster. Together the pair indulge in the anarchy of the monsters’ clubhouse realm while terrorizing friends and bullies alike in the human realm. There’s a price to pay in all this fun and mischief (along the lines of Marty McFly erasure), but it’s when the film’s antagonists Snik and Boy get shoehorned into the third act that the stakes and genuine horror really start to shine. Creature effects that are downright disturbing for any age, a nightmarish funhouse wherein buzzsaws and explosions seem to genuinely place kids in danger—it all adds up to a rough 80s classic that would do well to make some Halloween rotations.


Day 13—ParaNorman (2012)

I am a huge fan of stop-motion animation, especially when it deals with spookiness (looking at you Corpse Bride and TNBC), so choosing ParaNorman for the list this year seemed like a no-brainer. It’s a family film that does a masterful job in dealing with the isolation many young kids feel, especially when they’re “different” than their peers. When young Norman, who can speak with the dead, has to stop a centuries-old witch’s curse on his town, he has to come out of his shell to save the people he cares about most. ParaNorman beautifully handles the theme of death in a way that helps kids understand it, rather than using it as a tool to scare them -though I am sure some would find some parts of ParaNormal rather creepy! ParaNorman isn’t just for the kids either. Adults will find the film just as entertaining as the children do, though perhaps for different reasons. Check it out for the fantastic animation and the lovely story about accepting differences, all wrapped up in one spooky package.

–Romona Comet

Day 14—Thinner (1996)

Thinner is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Like most King adaptations, Thinner is not a great film. It’s got some pretty hokey acting, dodgy makeup work, and it’s honestly not that scary. But it’s got some throwback appeal, some decent humor, and a bit of a surprise ending. All in all, worth a watch if you’ve never seen it.

–Billy Dhalgren

Day 15—Werewolf by Night (2022)

Superhero fatigue may or may not be a thing depending on who you ask, but even the most diehard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have found themselves craving a little variety from the production powerhouse whose formula has become all too familiar in recent years — enter Jack Russell, aka Werewolf by Night.

Something of an experiment for everyone involved, this is the first holiday special set in the MCU, as well as the mega-franchise’s first black-and-white production. It’s also the directorial debut of composer Michael Giacchino and quite a departure for indie darling Gael Garcia Bernal in the lead. Putting the emphasis on the supernatural over standard super heroics, the special is a must-watch homage to classic Horror filmmaking, and clocking in at just under an hour is easily squeezed in during your Halloween marathon.

–D.N. Williams

Day 16—Pearl (2022)

I was a big fan of the 2022 film X, so when I heard a prequel was due to be released only 12 months later I was delighted. After much anticipation, I got around to watching Pearl earlier this year, and I wasn’t disappointed. It improves on nearly every aspect of X, with the most important decision being to put the focus solely on Mia Goth’s titular character. Goth has impressed me in every role I’ve seen her in, and she is phenomenal here. She plays the ambitious, socially restricted, and completely unhinged main character to perfection, switching up and down the gears with ease. It culminates in a breathtaking final monologue that lasts nearly 8 minutes, with a single shot of this done in one take, lasting over 5 minutes. It’s completely captivating. Ti West has a way of creating a uniquely eccentric and vintage atmosphere, and I can’t see any reason why Pearl won’t become a future cult classic. 

–Lee McCutcheon

Day 17—Pulse (2001)

Pulse is another Japanese horror film that I’d heard a lot about but never gotten the time to see until recently. The film was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa) and takes place at the dawn of the Internet age when many were just beginning to explore the digital world for the very first time. The thing is, something appears to be wrong with our world now that digital technology and the Internet is everywhere. People are disappearing at an alarming rate and….there might be ghosts involved.

This film was more of a slow burn with practically no jump scares. As a result, the feeling you get throughout is this almost unbearable tension that makes your hair stand on end as the film does very little, if anything, to explain what is going on. It feels like a lot of the exposition is hidden in little background details, forcing you to pay very close attention to what’s going on, which only increases the tension even more.

The last act is by far my favorite part of the film, as things have clearly gone terribly wrong and you begin to wonder what you would do in such a situation. Pulse proves that not all horror movies have to be filled with jump scares to be terrifying.

–Becky O’Brien

Day 18—The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

The Last Voyage of the Demeter came and went earlier this year in theaters without a peep. I don’t know if Universal just mismarketed this horror film or what, but it’s a damn shame that more people did not come out to see one of the more enjoyable experiences I have had in theaters lately. The Last Voyage is a slow build, keeping Dracula largely hidden for most of the film’s runtime. As the crew of the Demeter race to figure out what is happening aboard their ship, Dracula continues to grow stronger as he picks them off one by one. Longtime horror fans should be satisfied with the amount of gore (and jump scares) on the screen, so do this film a solid and watch it. If you can only watch one new Dracula film this year, watch The Last Voyage of the Demeter and not Renfield. This film doesn’t deserve to be forgotten about.

–Marmaduke Karlston

Day 19—Moon Garden (2022)

Does a mood piece have to be original? If a film is explicitly aiming for style over substance or rather, prioritizing creating a vibe over focusing on a narrative, do its obvious influences matter? Remove Švankmajer, Gilliam, Gaiman, and Del Toro from this film’s DNA and all you’re left with is the credits. Moon Garden doesn’t have an original bone in its body but dismissing it for merely being derivative is missing the forest for the trees. The director knows you know the references they’re pulling from; pointing them out is about as pointless as trying to use Tarantino’s homages as ammo against him. Moon Garden is its references. The film is every fantasy you’ve ever seen smashed together. Even the plot is reminiscent of a million other plots: A comatose five-year-old girl (the director’s five-year-old daughter Haven Lee Harris) journeys through an industrial wonderland to find her way back to consciousness. You’ve seen this movie before but the director knows this and uses that to his advantage.

Because you’re already intimately familiar with the film’s Alice in Wonderland-esque structure and the obvious visual nods to other films, the director’s job is really just to ladle as much style onto every frame as possible and that’s exactly what he did. Moon Garden is a phantasmagoria of horror and fantasy filled with practical effects and miniatures and a Slenderman-looking monster (who’s got teeth!) and more aesthetically pleasing images than you can shake a stick at. It’s a love letter to the entire genre of grimdark fantasy that you won’t soon forget.

–Sailor Monsoon

Day 20—The Raven (2012)

For the unfamiliar, The Raven is a fictionalized account detailing the last days of Edgar Allan Poe. There has been some mystery surrounding his death that this film “tries” to solve by placing Poe in the center of a string of murders. John Cusack is having a blast as Poe, as is the rest of the cast (Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, among others). Do you like period-piece murder mysteries? If you do, watch The Raven.

–Marmaduke Karlston

Day 21—Smile (2022)

Blending ideas from two of my all-time favorite horror movies, Smile is one of the only films in recent years to properly send shivers down my spine. The central premise focuses on Rose, a psychiatrist who witnesses a horrifyingly traumatic incident, and then goes on to suffer distressing psychological episodes of her own. The plot takes a good few twists and turns and overall is well-paced. Things do go off the rails in the final act, but for me, it most definitely worked. Smile manages to harness the impending sense of dread that It Follows conjured up so well, along with the feeling of inevitability that Ringu crafted many years ago. And the wonderfully creepy smiles that signify something awful is about to happen bring a refreshing sense of originality all of Smiles own. 

–Lee McCutcheon

Day 22—Hocus Pocus (1993)

How on earth have we had three Halloween watch lists and it took the fourth to finally mention Hocus Pocus? This movie is a textbook cult classic. It did nothing of note when it was released in 1993 – one reason may be that they released it in July, of all months. What were they thinking!? But since then, it’s become a movie beloved to people of all ages.

It’s the perfect family film to watch around this time of year, with fun performances by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy and spooky set pieces that thrust you right into the middle of a Salem Halloween. I can see why so many people love this movie and if you’re looking for a bit of Halloween fun with the kids and don’t want things to get too scary, Hocus Pocus is the movie for you this month.

–Romona Comet

Day 23—Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Somehow this movie has not received the praise it so rightfully deserves. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Leatherface fan but this movie is fantastic. It has a fresh plot, stellar performances, and what is without a doubt one of the best kill scenes I have ever seen in a movie. Even the ending takes you by surprise and leaves you questioning what the heck just happened. I can’t wait to sit and watch this one again because it is just… *chef’s kiss*

–Ricky Rat

Day 24—Haunted Mansion (2023)

Another horror film that underperformed at the box office this year, Haunted Mansion doesn’t deserve the hate thrown at it. What did you all expect? This is a Disney movie that doesn’t get made anymore. It’s fun. It’s got a great cast. It’s spooky, but not too scary. There are also some really emotional moments that I was not expecting to see in this film. Haunted Mansion is going to get thrown into my Halloween rotation. There’s something for everyone here, so give it a shot.

–Marmaduke Karlston

Day 25—Beetlejuice (1988)

When Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) die tragically in a car in their little Connecticut town, they find themselves as ghosts, trapped in their old home. Their house is soon bought by the Deetzes (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara), who immediately begin turning the quaint country house into a modern art nightmare — which is a pretty a traumatic experience for the Maitlands.

Mr. Deetz’s daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) is sympathetic to the Maitlands’ plight and makes friends with them. The ghostly couple turn to self-proclaimed “bio-exorcist” Beetlejuice, an off-putting ghost who specializes in spooking humans out of the homes of the deceased. When Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) gets too extreme for the Maitlands, they banish him back to the Netherworld in a hilarious and dark series of events that include a botched seance, a creepy wedding, and Beetlejuice being eaten by a sandworm ridden by Barbara.

As an 80s kid, there are few movies more fun and nostalgic to me than Beetlejuice. Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice is delightfully disgusting. The Maitlands are kind and sympathetic protagonists, and their ordeal gives an interesting perspective on the afterlife. The Deetzes are quirky and obnoxious but in an entertaining way. And the film ends on a happy note, with the Maitlands having made peace with the Deetzes, and the rest of us getting “Day-O” and “Jump in the Line” stuck in our heads for the next 35 years.

–R.J. Mathews

Day 26—Neon Maniacs (1986)

I can’t tell you the first thing about the plot for Neon Maniacs. I know there are mutant-like creatures that come out from under the Golden Gate Bridge at night and attack unwitting, sexually promiscuous teens, but I have no idea why. All I know is that a young girl who is interested in filmmaking (who wears a USCSS Nostromo hat) has to defeat these monsters before…something. I don’t know what. But it doesn’t really matter. You don’t watch Neon Maniacs because the plot is deep. You watch it for the makeup, creature effects, and gore. Invite some friends over, pop some popcorn, and have a few laughs.

–Billy Dhalgren

Day 27—Nope (2022)

Creepy aliens don’t make enough Halloween lists in my (professional scaredy-cat) opinion, and it only makes sense that the latest offering from Get Out and Us Director Jordan Peele be among those considered! On the pure Horror thrills front, NOPE features one of the coolest creatures ever put on screen, and some truly memorable moments of it stalking and taking out its unsuspecting victims. On another level, the film presents a metaphor about the relationship between entertainment and audiences that’ll really get you talking. As if the substance and the spectacle weren’t enough, Peele reunited with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, who is teamed with Kiki Palmer — both giving excellent performances, with Palmer’s effervescence bouncing off Kaluuya’s restraint perfectly.

–D.N. Williams

Day 28—Audition (1999)

I remember when I told my friends that I wanted to watch more Japanese horror films and asked them for suggestions as to where to start. Almost all of them recommended Audition as an excellent starting place and having seen it, I can absolutely see why. Audition is a fiendishly twisted tale that sees one man’s search for a new marriage go horribly wrong.

What makes the horror element of Audition so shocking is the fact that most of it is confined to the last act of the film. There’s absolutely no hint of what’s to come at the start of the story, in fact if you didn’t know better you’d think this was a romance film. That’s where the brilliance of the story comes in: the director slowly adds in more and more hints that something is very wrong until it suddenly bursts forth in an explosion of pure, sadistic horror that is guaranteed to produce nightmares.

Audition is by far one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. That last act, full of unmentionable horror, grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the bitter end. This is a horror film par excellence.

–Becky O’Brien

Day 29—Ghostwatch (1992)

Ghostwatch is a once-banned BBC special from 1992 that features a “live” broadcast from a purported haunted house. It was presented by actual BBC on-air talent, including Michael Parkinson (who sadly passed away this year), and done in a way that was similar to other BBC holiday “Specials,” with a live broadcast leavened with expert interviews and a call-in line. It seemed real, and many viewers took it at face value – leading to shock, dismay and overwhelmed phone lines as supernatural shenanigans began to pile up. Far from being just a cultural artifact – the BBC still hasn’t allowed it to be re-broadcast – it’s a clever, slow-burn spook fest that builds to a satisfyingly creepy ending. A precursor to and inspiration for The Blair Witch Project, it’s a classic ghost story told in an interesting and arresting format that still gives me pleasant chills after multiple watches. A recent Blu-ray release from 101 Films means it’s easier than ever to find and watch. A perfect October-season chiller, and one of the best Made for TV horror films ever.

–Bob Cram

Day 30—Evil Dead II (1987)

How could this movie NOT be on your Halloween watch list? It’s quite possibly the greatest low-budget horror-comedy ever made. This is the film that really put Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on the map. Now, I should say that Evil Dead II is basically a soft reboot of the first Evil Dead, which is chock full of squirm-inducing gore and very little humor. In essence, you don’t need to see the first to understand the second. This film is a horror movie first and a comedy second; Evil Dead II will give you moments of “was I supposed to laugh at that?” uncomfortableness.

The plot is as vanilla as they come; college kids on a weekend getaway, cabin in the woods, the Necronomicon Ex Mortis (Book of the Dead) is found, demons appear, people die. Got it so far? Now, it’s not so much the plot that works, but it’s the, pardon the pun, execution. There are characters you really, really want to die and there are those you root for. There is ample gore and very intense moments. Sam Raimi is a master at building intensity in a horror setting. Also, this is a movie you want to crank up that surround sound system, because that’s part of the fun…trust me on that. When the Demons/Dead appear, there is sound everywhere!

–Ralph Hosch

Day 31—Cobweb (2023)

Cobweb is the best gateway horror to come out in quite some time. It’s a slow-burn mood piece that’s not too scary for youngsters but deliverers Raimi level thrills in the third act to reward their patience. The film involves a young boy hearing the voice of a little girl coming from behind his bedroom wall and his increasingly suspicious-acting parents. Since it’s from the point of view of a child (who are the most unreliable narrators in existence), you’re left guessing whether or not the parents are actually becoming more sinister or if their behavior is informed by his point of view. There’s one of of two options (the girl is real and they’re evil captors or he’s imagining the voice) and whether or not you correctly predict which one it is, the end will most definitely deliver regardless.

–Sailor Monsoon

Need more horror suggestions? Check out past editions of ScreenAge Wasteland’s 31 Days of Halloween!

2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

How many 31 Days of Halloween films will you commit to watching this month?