You guys! Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. In October—the same month as Halloween!
Such a morbidly magical occurrence happens only once every…five or six years, depending on leap years. What a wondrous occasion demanding immediate recognition!
At the SML Haunted Mansion and Blog Laboratory, we’re celebrating with an epic, 19-day monster movie marathon. Starting tomorrow and running until Halloween Day, we’re watching a different horror movie every day. We encourage you to marathon with us. But not literally with us, of course—in your own haunted house with your own streaming channel logins. Unless you want to share your Starz login. In that case, give us a call.
Obviously, to take full advantage of the season, you need to start with Friday the 13th (or your favorite from the franchise) and end with Halloween (or your favorite from that franchise). But with so many SML-approved horror films out there, how do you choose what to watch in between?
Start with Your Block Categories
We had trouble deciding what to watch, too. Luckily, our roadie, Keith, helped us organize and prioritize, as roadies are known to do. Keith recommended building blocks of films based on a couple core categories. Then, picking films from each category until we hit 20 (we’re doing a double feature on Halloween to round out our selection).
If you’re feeling really manic, or you’re possessed by the spirit of a local movie reviewer, you could conceivably double that for 40 films. But we don’t recommend it.
Once you have, say, five categories chosen, it’s easy enough to pick films from each category to get you to your total. (Or rather, it’s terribly difficult to pick just a few films in each category. Then you briefly contemplate doubling up to 40 films, until you remember that adding additional screen time means time taken away from haunted trails and scaring the crap out of your neighbor kids.)
But what kind of categories can you pick? Here are some core examples, but feel free to get creative with your list:
Vintage Horror Movies
How many black and white horror films have you ever seen? Compile a playlist of Universal Monsters—the REAL ones, not this rebooted BS—or do a full week of the best of Vincent Price. Bonus points for hitting both at the same time.
There are so many great ones to choose from, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Murders in the Rue Morgue
- House on Haunted Hill
- The Fly
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Classic Horror Movies
Modern horror (and slasher films specifically) is said to have begun with Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1960. The 60s and 70s were a prime period for psychological thrillers, demon films, and the rise of the counterculture.
You already know many of the greats: Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, Young Frankenstein, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devote a few days this month to immersing yourself in the truly weird and wonderful of this period—there’s a reason why they have inspired so many reboots:
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- The Last House on the Left
- Peeping Tom
- Night of the Living Dead
Contemporary Horror Movies
The last 25 years have brought us a number of truly great films. They’ve also brought us just as many terrible sequels and reboots and low-budget straight-to-DVD (now streaming) fare.
We don’t judge what you’re into, but we are going to stick to the good stuff for these recommendations:
- The Babadook
Foreign Horror Movies
We recommend branching out and trying at least a few new-to-you movies this year. Depending on your experience with horror, adding foreign films to your list may be the easiest way to do that. And don’t worry, they don’t all have subtitles.
Here are a few foreign films that are sure to scare in any language:
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Let the Right One In
- Mr. Vampire
True Monster Movies
We know, we know. This is our Mega Monster Movie Marathon, but we’re talking a lot about scary people doing scary things. If you’re a monster purist, dive in! There’s plenty enough radioactive waste to go around.
From invented monsters to produce gone wrong, here are a few of our faves:
- Creature from the Black Lagoon
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!
There are countless spooky films that evoke the Halloween season. Some are truly terrifying, but many are cool for the whole family, too. This is also a good category to choose if you want to add a little nostalgia to your list.
These films deliver the tricks and the treats:
- Hocus Pocus
- The Addams Family
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- Trick ‘r Treat
- Halloween II (why not make your Halloween double feature a true double feature?)
Share Your Schedule
We’d love to hear how this unnecessarily organized movie-picking method works for you. What categories did you choose? Did you try some of ours, or did you create a category of nothing but vampire films and another just for weird celebrity cameos? Are you going to stick with 80s-era slasher films the whole season?—it’s possible.
Did you get friends, neighbors, or dead ones involved? Could you stick with the category method, or did you stray to stuff your faves on the schedule. Are you making finger food for the movies?
Share your Halloween horror film plans with us in the comments.