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Added by the giraffe on 2 Oct 2021 03:31
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October 2021 Horrorfest

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 53 feature films, 1 short film, and 3 holiday specials watched for a total of 57
39 first views, 18 re-watches
41 via streaming, 6 via DVD/BR, and 10 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1940s-2020s

As it turns out I had more options for the month than I actually had time to watch, which means some of my picks are getting moved elsewhere. I figure anything on streaming services can be picked up in the months ahead (minus Wait Until Dark, which left Max on 10/31), and anything I have a physical copy of will get watched in December when I focus on my collection first. Still, given how many movies I managed to watch this month, including 10 caught in theatres, I have zero regrets. Well, OK, maybe a couple of the films listed below could've been skipped entirely & I'd like that time back, but for the most part I had a good time overall. So that's another successful Horrorfest for the books. See you next time...
People who added this item 105 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Oct. 9th

Where I appreciated Raw well enough for what it was doing, Titane is where Julia Ducournau earns her horror crown. I knew she'd be a filmmaker to keep an eye on, and this one really proves that to be the case. It's thematically rich, expertly crafted, and fires on all cylinders from start to finish. It's dark with a sense of humor, twisted and heartfelt, and I love the clear Cronenberg influences which are updated for the present day. When it ended I sat in awe of it for a while before I was able to leave my seat. And in a way it had something in common with Lamb, despite them being two very different films. I'll gladly sit through it again.
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First viewing - Oct. 18th

I initially started watching Timo Tjahjanto's May the Devil Take You Too, only to quickly realize it's a sequel. Sadly, Shudder doesn't have the original film, or I would've watched it instead. Thus I decided to hold off for now & watch something else.

Heard great things about Anything for Jackson here & there online since its release, so I made it a priority this month. Went into it blindly, with just a glance at Shudder's summary, & it totally won me over. It's got scares & creepiness & surprises & a top notch cast. It alone would be worth their monthly subscription fee, & I'm leaving it in my list for future revisits. Highly recommended.

Streaming on Shudder
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Housebound horrors

First viewing - Oct. 1st

After trying in vain to get the kiddo to watch a horror movie with me to kick the month off, we eventually came to an agreement on giving this a look. And despite the G rating I wound up really enjoying it. The animation style is excellent, with lots of Easter eggs and homages sprinkled throughout. It's more fun than scary, naturally, but the fact that it's thematically perfect for this time of year made it well worth our time. I'd gladly sit through it again.

Streaming on Disney+
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First viewing - Oct. 2nd

After our trip to the theatre we watched some stuff on TV at home, none of which were movies. Since this was advertised by Disney as being Halloweenish, I figured we'd give it a look. I was skeptical of course, because the Star Wars universe doesn't share any of our Earthly holidays.

It was kinda lame. The kiddo even fell asleep during the last half of the special. I've come to expect that anything with Lego in the title will automatically come with a heavy dose of humor, and this one is no exception. If they were trying to make it into a horror-comedy that might not be so bad, but that's not the case. For something called "Terrifying Tales" there's nothing really scary present, and had they leaned into the title instead of striving to keep it kid-friendly this might have been more interesting. It's animated well though and the story was okay, but there's nothing here that left me with a feeling of recommending it to others. Feel free to ignore it, as I should have.

Streaming on Disney+
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People who added this item 296 Average listal rating (230 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Oct. 3rd

Finally we get to something that's horror and not so kid-friendly. I figured my daughter would enjoy this film, and I was right. As you can see we turned it into a double feature, and when the 2nd film ended she asked me if there's a 3rd. That makes two of us anticipating another entry to this series. Both films were just as good the second time around in my book.

I love the whole idea of this film, and Jessica Rothe impresses at every turn. I also appreciate the fact that it balances the horror and comedy aspects well enough that you never forget you're watching a horror movie, which makes it perfect for any horror marathon. This time around I picked up on a few background details I'd missed the first time too.
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Oct. 3rd

The second film takes the original's concept and opens it up and twists it in wonderfully entertaining ways. There's also emotional stakes this time around, and the pieces of that side of the puzzle are juggled well enough. If the film has a downside it's that it tends to forget the horror aspects as it rolls along, but I feel like the freshness of its approach makes up for the stretches where horror takes a backseat. And the cast is just a treat. Bring on the next entry.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.3
Fingers (2019)
First viewing - Oct. 4th

I'll give anything Jeremy Gardner is involved with a chance, so I was really happy to find that Shudder had Fingers waiting for me. Gardner delivers a great performance, a fact helped along by the fact his character is well-written. Ah, but he's the antagonist here and yet his character endeared himself to me all the same. The opposite can be said of the protagonist, though I came to better understand her character as the film rolled along. The opening stretch was a little rocky, but once it found its groove I was really into everything going on here. I'd totally watch this again, and hopefully Shudder will hang onto it for a while if I can't find a physical copy.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Oct. 5th

As a long-time fan of Romero, I've been wanting to see this ever since it was announced. The Amusement Park is really well made overall, and I dug the construction of its centerpiece and the themes and issues it explores are still relevant today. Its bookends prevent it from being a pure horror experience, but they still feel necessary at least insofar as the intentions (and money) behind the work, and I don't see how Romero could have dropped them without upsetting those who hired him. Still, if you're a fan of George's craft it's well worth a look, and at 53 minutes it won't take too long to sit through.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Seek (2021)
First viewing - Oct. 7th

A bunch of the people I follow on Twitter have talked this one up, so when Fangoria made a post with the short embedded in it I made time during my lunch break to watch it. And it's effectively creepy, making the most out of its small budget. I don't want to say too much and give anything away, so just trust me that it's absolutely worth a look and click that link to see for yourself.
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People who added this item 80 Average listal rating (69 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.5
Peninsula (2020)
First viewing - Oct. 7th

I was tempted to put on Peninsula as soon as I got home from seeing Train to Busan, but it was late and I had work the next morning. Thus it had to wait until after dinner the next night. And while I didn't expect this sequel to be as good as the original, I was still curious to see what Sang-ho Yeon would do with it.

It brings me no joy to say it's just OK. A lot of the film's issues stem from having too many characters with not enough time spent on establishing them in ways that make the audience care deeply about any single one of them. The first film shines thanks to the central relationship between father and daughter, and the way it carries emotional stakes from start to finish (plus the ever-present threat of death, crafted masterfully with non-stop suspense). This one seems to only seek to entertain, and when it tries to craft emotional moments in its finale it falls short. That's not the cast's fault either, as they each strive to make the most of their respective roles.

That's not to say the film is without its moments, however. There are some action set-pieces that work well, including one really amusing sequence with an RC car. The whole film moves at a pace that keeps you engaged, even if it's only delivering surface-level entertainment. I was never bored with it, but I did wish that there was more connection with the characters or something more thematically deep than a heist movie set in a zombie apocalypse. Between this and Seoul Station I'm really left wishing they'd not tried to turn Train to Busan into a franchise.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
Angel (1983)
First viewing - Oct. 8th

Joe Bob's Halloween Hoedown



I've known who Joe Bob Briggs is for years, but haven't actually checked him out. I figured now was the time to finally fix that since his now-annual Shudder event was airing the first night of my vacation. And as fate would have it, the first film was Angel which I'd never heard of. But before I get into that, I want to comment on the experience. Briggs is fascinating & a joy to listen to thanks to his extensive knowledge of film history. And he brought on David Gordon Green, who picked Angel, which also led to some interesting discussions. My only issue was thanks to all the breaks from the film to return to Briggs & Co., a 90 minute film was stretched to 3 hours. Granted, I was entertained the entire time, but I was also ready to tap out for the night & thus slept instead of watching Terror Train (a film I'll get to, just not this way).

Angel was pretty decent & I had no real issues with it until the killer shows up at our protagonist's home without knowing who she is or where she lives. Dick Shawn steals every scene as a drag queen & is by far the best character. The rest of the cast is solid, & the story is entertaining. It strives for emotional resonance, but didn't fully earn it in my book (though that could be in part due to all the breaks along the way). Overall it's worth a look & I'm glad I took a chance on this event since I would not have seen the film otherwise.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 465 Average listal rating (315 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.1
Critters (1986)
Re-watch - Oct. 10th

My daughter has tomorrow off from school for Indigenous Peoples Day, so I picked her up Sunday afternoon to spend more time with her. She wasn't feeling 100%, so we watched movies around dinner.

I've been a fan of Critters since I first saw it on HBO back in 1987. I seem to recall that it & its sequels got frequent rotation on the service back then, which makes it appropriate that we watched it via Max. She enjoyed it but also poked a little fun at it here & there. So we had a good time watching it together. Too bad they don't have the second film or we might have watched it too (they have 1, 3, & 4).

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Duel (1971)
Re-watch - Oct. 10th

After dinner I put Duel on, which I haven't seen since I first caught it at Alamo Drafthouse 10 years ago. I bought it on Blu not long ago, and it looks great. I gave my daughter an introduction before playing it, telling her the tale of how it launched Spielberg's career & made its way from TV in the U.S. to theatres overseas. And it was just as intense the second time around, and she was really into it. It's so well plotted and staged, and Dennis Weaver gives a terrific performance. I'm still impressed with it, & after she went to bed I watched the supplemental interview with Spielberg just to soak up more info about the making of it & spend a little more time with it. Worth the purchase.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 83 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
Saint Maud (2019)
First viewing - Oct. 11th

I've been excited to check out Saint Maud since before the pandemic came along and shuffled its release date. To my knowledge, none of the theatres here screened it even when it did finally manage a release. Thankfully it's on Hulu.

And overall it's pretty good. I like the character study approach and the fact we experience pretty much everything from Maud's perspective. The story is intriguing & well plotted, as well as feels fresh. Rose Glass clearly has talent, and I look forward to seeing where she goes from here. I didn't love the film, though there was much to appreciate including one scene that made me squirm. But it was worth the wait, and while I don't need to watch it again I might just to see if my feelings toward it change.

Streaming on Hulu
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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Oct. 11th

I've been seeing Spell pop up in On Demand options, but beyond that knew nothing about it. Now that it's moved to streaming services I figured I'd give it a look. Overall it's a solid horror movie that I really enjoyed. The entire cast is really good, & I dug the exploration of coming to terms with one's past in a different and thus fresh scenario. The effects are very good and feature one excellent cringe-inducing situation. I did question at times how our protagonist (played wonderfully by Omari Hardwick) was able to make so much noise without others hearing him, but that was the only issue I had. I'd gladly watch this one again.

Streaming on Hulu
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Oct. 12th

I've seen the other films in this franchise, so naturally I couldn't skip the newest entry. Plus Timo Tjahjanto is involved, and that guy is a mad genius worth keeping tabs on. We get 4 stories plus one wraparound to tie it all together, and as the title suggests everything is set in the '90s. For the most part each story started out well, and then the ending came along and took it to another level. The effects are really good all around, and I mostly enjoyed it overall. Timo's entry was my favorite by far, & the frame story was my least favorite. My main issue with the frame story was that by committing to a certain visual aesthetic you lose some of the clarity of the details. There's some great set design going on, but the distortion diminishes the impact somewhat. And by the end of it I thought it was the least interesting story. Still, I'd say this is well worth a look.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 2968 Average listal rating (1935 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Oct. 12th

I haven't seen Final Destination in probably 20 years. I know I caught it in the theatre, but I'm unsure whether I watched it on video (if I did, it was only once). I've also never seen any of its sequels, but since all 5 films are on Max I figured I'd try to run the series this month (they're also leaving the service on 10/31).

And hey, it holds up OK for the most part. The cast is solid, the effects are mostly good, and it moves fast enough that it's never boring while ensuring we get to know the characters somewhat. I dig the rules it establishes, and there's even a dark sense of humor running through it. It's also a good reminder that if the world around you is giving you clear signs of impending doom you should heed them (especially as many as are layered into the opening stretch of the film). I also really appreciated that they gave most of the characters names that reference other key names in horror. I don't love it and it's nothing I'd watch a bunch of times, but it's good enough that I'm encouraged to see where the franchise goes from here.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 2034 Average listal rating (1299 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Oct. 12th

Not surprisingly this entry is a mixed bag. The cast is fine, there are some highly entertaining kills, and at 90 minutes there's no dragging in the plot department. I had issues, however, with the film breaking the rules the first film established. Not the order side, but like half the deaths nobody gets a warning sign. The film is not helped by having so many characters to keep track of, which means you can forget about them being developed beyond the surface. It also goes a little overboard in my opinion with trying to connect its characters to those from the first film. I quickly abandoned trying to take it seriously & thus had a decent time with it, but it's nothing I'd need to sit through again.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5
First viewing - Oct. 13th

There's a lot going on beneath the surface of this film, & it's one I'll be thinking about. I mostly dug it, but I feel like it's a film I'll need to watch again to solidify my thoughts & feelings toward it. All I know for sure is Brea Grant continues to impress me & I'll keep following her career.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Oct. 13th

After watching Lucky I wanted something kinda similar but more straightforward, & wound up landing on this film. And it's a good time overall. I dig the concept & the main protagonist's journey. There are some very good effects & kills, & the cast is a lot of fun. It's nothing great, nor is it trying to be, & it was exactly what I needed.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 1734 Average listal rating (1113 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Oct. 13th

I think this is my favorite entry of the entire series so far. After the 2nd film lowered my expectations going forward, this one stepped up in a lot of ways & left me with no complaints. It's not great, but of the 3 films I've watched so far in this series I'd watch this again before the others.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 924 Average listal rating (593 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - Oct. 14th

I knew this one would be a step down again the moment I saw it was the same director as the 2nd film in the franchise. The effects rely too much on CGI to the film's detriment, the story is centered on NASCAR, & there's little suspense to the way the deaths play out. To its credit, however, the main couple is a bright spot & helped keep me invested in the story. Plus they kill off a racist twice, & I kinda liked the ending. So it wasn't too bad, but definitely not one of the better sequels.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 690 Average listal rating (453 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Oct. 14th

New director apparently means good things, for the most part. The cast and story are solid, & it kept me engaged with it. Again there's a little too much reliance on CGI for the effects, but not quite as bad as the 4th film. I thought the ending was a really nice touch even though I'm not sure it tracked given the technology used throughout the rest of the film. Since this seems to be the end of the series (unless they reboot it, which wouldn't surprise me), at least it went out on a stronger note than it would've by stopping at 4.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - Oct. 14th

I've heard positive things about Psycho Goreman and I'm happy to say they're all true. It's bonkers in the best ways, full of great lines & plenty of weirdness, plus enough gore to earn its title. The costumes are especially impressive & I'd gladly tag along should they decide to make a sequel. Of course if they want to leave it as is, that's fine too & I'll just revisit it every so often.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 3483 Average listal rating (2328 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
The Village (2004)
Re-watch - Oct. 15th

I wanted to see what my daughter would think of The Village since she's enjoyed all of Shyamalan's films so far. And she did, but when it ended she deemed it not spooky enough. I hadn't seen it since it was in theatres, & at the time I recall walking out of it thinking the twist was a messed up one. Now, however, I find it less messed up & more just an overreaction taken to an extreme. Ultimately I was glad she gave me an opportunity to revisit it.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 277 Average listal rating (206 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Re-watch - Oct. 17th

I picked up a copy of Lights Out on the cheap last month, mainly so I could watch it with my daughter. This one was creepy enough for her, & she said the use of sound scared her more than the visuals. That led to a discussion about how sound is key in horror. I liked it as much as I did the last time I watched it, & will likely revisit it every several years.

Just a thought: For those keeping score, this was the 21st movie I watched during my vacation. I'd say I've made the most of the time off.
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First viewing - Oct. 17th

I've been wanting to watch this since it dropped, & figured it'd be a good palate cleanser for my daughter after Lights Out. We both had a good time with it. There are some really funny moments, & I liked how they brought in as many characters as possible. I especially appreciated the ballroom scene, as a lifelong fan of The Muppet Show. And at 52 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome. I personally would've preferred less songs, but at least what's there didn't turn me off. I don't foresee it becoming an annual tradition, but I'd watch it again.

Streaming on Disney+
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People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Oct. 20th

This was different, & not quite what I'd anticipated. I'd argue that's probably a good thing though. The characters are very well-written, the story is most told well, & overall I thought this was worth a look. After it ended I kept thinking about the protagonist & how that character was realized & his arc. I'm not sure that some of the motivations & other aspects were as clearly tied in/communicated as they could have been, but I appreciated this different approach for what it is. I might need to watch it again to see if it grows on me.

Streaming on Epix Now
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Oct. 21st

A Korean zom-com? Yes please. I thought this was a lot of fun, if a little slight. The cast does an excellent job all around, & I was very amused by the nods to Train to Busan & Land of the Dead. I felt like the comedy far outweighed the horror aspects, but the story was told well enough that that was a minor issue. The effects & overall attention to detail were really good too. It's not a film I'd need to own a copy of, but I might watch it again.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 5.7
Sugar Hill (1974)
First viewing - Oct. 22nd

I knew this would pair well with Scream, Blacula, Scream!, but I had no idea how complementary they'd be. Both involve using voodoo to bring back the dead to get revenge, they were released the same year by the same production company, they have a main investigator who has to convince the police chief that his hunch that everything going on is tied to the occult, & they both have Richard Lawson in their cast. It really made for a perfect pairing.

Sugar Hill is fairly entertaining, though it gets a little repetitive after a while. Thankfully I don't mind watching racists get their comeuppance. It's neither great nor essential, but despite its flaws I was entertained by it.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.7
First viewing - Oct. 22nd

Blacula meets up with Pam Grier? Of course I was going to watch this. It's pretty fun, almost as good as its predecessor, though toward the end of it my interest waned. Definitely worth a look despite its flaws.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (236 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Halloween (2018)
Re-watch - Oct. 23rd

I wanted to revisit this film before seeing its sequel since I only saw it once & figured it'd put me in the right headspace. I still really enjoy this film, even though the podcasters are idiots. It fires on all cylinders & delivers a satisfying alternate sequel to Carpenter's original film. I also really dig all the ways it engages with the original, those little moments bring me joy. Bonus points for working in a nod to Halloween III.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 35 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.9
Censor (2021)
First viewing - Oct. 23rd

Ended my Saturday night by catching Censor, which I'd heard good things about. Story-wise I thought it was fairly fresh, & I liked the real-world setting. The cast does a good job all around, & on technical levels it's pretty darn good. I felt like the pacing could've been better though, & it wound up being a film I more respected than really enjoyed. Perhaps it's just not my taste, but it's worth a look.

Streaming on Hulu
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People who added this item 57 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - Oct. 24th

I realized I hadn't watched any films with Vincent Price yet this month, so it was time to fix that. I'm not familiar with the source material by Poe, but thought the story was decent overall. I liked the commentary on colonialism, & the cast is excellent all around. I was engaged and entertained. It's got a couple issues though, the biggest of which was with regard to Edward being able to track down his first victim as he leaves town unannounced. Some of the effects could also be better, & it strikes me as odd to see a throat get cut down each side instead of from ear to ear. Still, it was worth a look & I'm glad I finally managed to track it down.

Streaming on Epix Now
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People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.7
Witchboard (1987)
First viewing - Oct. 24th

Here's a cinematic blind spot I'm thankful to be able to cross off my list. It's a very 80s horror film centered on the Ouija board, & a reminder to never mess with them. The cast, led by Tawny Kitaen, is umm okay I guess. This was my first time seeing her act that I can think of & she does a decent job. When I was young I knew her from music videos, but never knew her name until later when I didn't care who she was anymore so she doesn't mean as much to me as she may others. The whole film is cheesy but keeps a sense of humor & that helps. It's nothing great, but I thought it was worth sitting through.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (109 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Oct. 24th

Train horror double feature


I decided to end my Sunday with a train-centric double feature beginning with Horror Express. Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing are in it, so you know it's worth a look. Then Telly Savalas shows up & brings it up another notch. Love that guy. The story is a kinda bonkers precursor to Carpenter's The Thing & I'm here for it. It's not great but it's a mostly fun time & I'm glad I gave it a look.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 140 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 5.8
Terror Train (1980)
First viewing - Oct. 24th

Train horror double feature


I've wanted to check out Terror Train for a whole now but never managed to track it down. Shudder to the rescue. And man I really loved it. The story, the cast, the decision to bring in David Copperfield to perform, the costumes, the effects, all good stuff. If it has a flaw it's with regard to the handling of the villain. Unless this is your first horror movie ever you know who it is, & they aim for a misdirect that falls flat as a result. I just shrugged it off though because everything else was aces. I loved it & would totally buy another ticket to ride this train again.

Streaming on Shudder
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People who added this item 109 Average listal rating (74 ratings) 4.2 IMDB Rating 4.1
Critters 4 (1992)
First viewing - Oct. 25th

'90s sequels double feature


I decided to have a 90s sequels double feature, starting with the last Critters movie from the franchise's initial run. After barely getting through the 3rd entry, I didn't have much hope for this one. But I was pleasantly surprised when this one turned out to be watchable. I think some of the credit is due to the cast, which includes Angela Bassett & Brad Dourif, both of whom elevate the quality a bit. The story is fairly predictable, but it's got some fun moments & I liked it well enough. The production is clearly low budget, but at least the sets look lived in & they're making the most of what they've got. Among all the sequels I feel like it's underappreciated & I don't regret giving it a look. Now all that's left is tracking down Critters Attack & I'll have seen the whole series.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 234 Average listal rating (156 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9
First viewing - Oct. 25th

'90s sequels double feature


I should've known that having Brian Yuzna on board for this one would make it worthwhile. It's a big step up from the 2nd film, & most of my appreciation for it is credited to the effects team who really deliver across the board. The zombie make-up & designs are really impressive. The cast is solid & the story is decent enough. It's not without flaws, but I felt like the good outweighed the bad. I wouldn't need to watch it again, but I also wouldn't object to sitting through it with someone who hasn't seen it.

Streaming on HBO Max
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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Oct. 26th

I wanted to check this out since it's listed as an animated horror film & very well rated. I love the animation style. The art of it is unique & presents a visual feast, which explains why it's so well liked. I made an error in my timing for watching it, however, as I threw it on less than 2 hours before I usually go to bed, & the combination of soft voices & mellow music kept lulling me to sleep. Which I'm sure was not the filmmakers' intent, but that softness of sound was persistent throughout the entire film. I did watch it all, more or less, but I couldn't fully appreciate the story & feel like I should give it another chance in the future. From what I was able to experience I'm not sure it's really a horror film, or at least not the kind I'd usually expect & evaluate as such. It's far better classified as an art film, & I'd say if you give it a look adjust your expectations accordingly.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 4.6
First viewing - Oct. 27th

Sometimes you just want to watch something dumb but festive & that's why I'm here. This is really the kind of film best watched with friends to make fun of it together and/or play a drinking game with. Sadly, I watched it alone. But that's ok. This is one of those films that stops to make you sit through a music video, or keeps cutting away to footage of extras enjoying live music at a party. The acting is mostly awful, there's a whole lot of "Satanic cult" nonsense, & almost every female character with a name is forced to disrobe. I sat through it with a lot of shaking my head & rolling my eyes, & I wouldn't bother with it again, but if you can hang with this much nonsense you can make it more fun than it actually is.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 724 Average listal rating (491 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Re-watch - Oct. 27th

I appreciated this even more on this second watch. I like the structure, having an anthology that's truly interconnected with all the stories weaved together & united in celebration of Halloween. It helps that Dougherty wrote & directed the entire thing so that the tone & quality is consistent throughout. It falls just shy of greatness, but it's satisfying enough that I'll gladly revisit it periodically in Octobers to come.

Streaming on HBO Max
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Oct. 29th

I don't recall having ever seen this film in its entirety, but I know I'd at least seen the final stretch of the Sleepy Hollow part of it before. I figured it'd be seasonally appropriate to watch with the kiddo, & that half was at least. Not so much the Mr. Toad tale, though as a fan of Wind in the Willows I'd anticipated that'd be the case. For an animated film from the 1940s there's some impressive art within both tales, though Sleepy Hollow wins with that ending. I definitely didn't realize how much music was present throughout, & while it's not bad it also felt unnecessary at times. And beyond their status as classic works of literature there's nothing tying the two tales thematically, & thus it's kind of an odd pairing I think. The Sleepy Hollow tale does lose some points for its male-centric storytelling & treatment of its female characters, whereas Toad's tale lacks a single female character; I guess that could count as an unintentional connection between them. Overall it's worth checking out if you've never seen it, but not really essential.

Streaming on Disney+
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Oct. 30th

Figured my daughter needed to see this one, so we watched it together. Such a great film with a cast that's excellent all around. Still holds up all these years later. It's a classic for good reasons & I'm glad she liked it.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 809 Average listal rating (590 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.3
Split (2017)
Re-watch - Oct. 30th

The best part about watching this with the kiddo was seeing the expression on her face when the credits scene happened. It was also amusing that she had favorites among the personalities. I remain impressed by McAvoy & Taylor-Joy's performances, & I'm forever grateful Shyamalan got to make this film.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 364 Average listal rating (235 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Oct. 31st

My daughter & I agreed that we'd tackle Elvira's 40th Anniversary Special on Shudder for Halloween, & this was the first film. Unlike the Joe Bob experience, there were no guest stars, & fewer & shorter pauses during each film. And that was more what I'd expected from a horror host. We had a great time all around, even though we watched this film not long ago, & I thought we were headed for success...

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 450 Average listal rating (278 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - Oct. 31st

But then we moved on to the second feature, & the kiddo quickly checked out. I wound up watching most of it alone while she entertained herself, which wasn't my preference but better than her bugging me the entire time. I'm finding she generally doesn't appreciate black & white films, which meant there was no point in moving to the 3rd film, City of the Dead.

Her loss though, because House on Haunted Hill is such a good time. It had been long enough since I last watched it that I'd forgotten some details, which helped boost my enjoyment. The cast is solid & I love the effects & overall vibe of the film. The story is a good one too. It was perfect for me for Halloween.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1523 Average listal rating (953 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - Oct. 31st

I gave the kiddo some options for how we could end the night, & she opted for something set on Halloween because "we can watch other scary movies any time." Thus we settled in with Hocus Pocus, a film I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. It was more fun than I'd recalled, and you can tell Midler, Najimy, & Parker had a blast in their respective roles. The child actors are a mixed bag, but in a way the weaker ones help keep it fun too. It wound up being a good way to end the month, & I'm glad she chose it. Happy Halloween!

Streaming on Disney+
the giraffe's rating:
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Theatre of Blood

Films caught for the big scream experience
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 5.4
First viewing - Oct. 2nd

The kiddo and I remain die-hard Addams Family fans, and I think we're in the minority on enjoying the previous animated outing. Naturally we wanted to catch its sequel. And despite the reviews, we wound up enjoying it well enough for what it is. It's got some fun and funny moments throughout, and while it's nothing deep we were both entertained well enough. Sure there are some missteps, and those expecting it to reach the heights of the live action adaptations from the '90s will be disappointed, but for a family-friendly film it's fine. I wouldn't need to sit through it again, but if my daughter wanted me to watch it with her I would.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1930 Average listal rating (1331 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Skyfall (2012)
Re-watch - Oct. 2nd

This will be the first of a couple detours from horror this month. I asked the kiddo if she wants to go with me to see No Time to Die, and she does, so I figured we should at least catch Skyfall before we go into it. I don't know that we'll manage to squeeze Spectre in too, but mostly I just hoped this would help solidify her interest in Craig's string of films. Plus, let's face it, if you get the chance to see Skyfall in a theatre, you take it.

And hey, she enjoyed it. It's just as good the second time around, easily among the better of Craig's outings as Bond as you likely know. Javier Bardem delivers a great performance and creates a compelling villain, and I love that there's actual emotional stakes to the story. I'd gladly sit through it again.
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It's my favorite month of the year! Time to gorge myself on horror movies like children will do with candy, only stretched out all month long. Will I get everything watched that I hope to? Time will tell, but usually by the end of the month I'm left with at least a few leftovers. I've picked out some stuff to watch with my daughter, and that's most of the re-watches. The R-rated re-watches are purely for me.

I've got a lot to work with this year too. As we kick off the month I've got Shudder, HBO Max, Hulu, and (to a lesser extent) Disney+ to choose from in addition to my collection. I'm taking a full week off work soon too, and during that time I intend to pick up Paramount+ for 7 days (EDIT: Too much on my plate, so no Paramount+ this time around). Oh, and I've got a handful of horror films I'll probably just rent so I can see them, and there's plenty of goodness at the theatre this month. All I need is enough time to see everything.

Hope those of you marathoning horror like me have a great month! As I encounter your lists I'll link them below, and you're welcome to head to the comments section to link me to yours if I've missed it. Happy Halloween!

Related lists:
31 Days of Horror (Halloween) 2021 by AVPGuyver21
2021 ScaryMovieFest by Content Homebody
Movies Viewed in 2021 by PvtCaboose91 (which has gone mostly horror this month)
Watched in October 2021by Hootsaidtheowl

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Listal 2021: Viewing/Reading/Listening Logs (44 lists)
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