Halloween Horror | Shocktober 2020
Updated: Nov 1
Inspired by a few folk that I know who do a 31 Days Of October each year, but not wanting to commit to watching 31 or more movies myself, I have decided to limit to 10 horrors this year. I have chosen the 10 spread over various streaming platforms and I will go into a little more detail regarding each one as and when we reach them in the list below. Some of the movies I have seen previously and enjoy, and some of them are new and this will be my first viewing. There are actually 12 movies in the list below. This is because for the final one I have chosen Halloween, and I will be watching the 1978 original, along with the sequel Halloween II from 1981, finishing off with the 2018 remake/reboot. I will go into more detail as to why I have chosen all 3 later when we come to those movies in the list. The streaming services I have chosen to watch these movies on are Netflix, NowTV, Prime Video, Shudder and StarzPlay.
Open 24 Hours (2018)
Mary (Vanessa Grasse), recently released from prison for setting her serial killer ex-boyfriend on fire, gets a job on the night shift at a remote gas station. Still suffering from hallucinations and traumatised from the recent events, where her ex made her watch while he murdered his victims, it is not long before the body count at the gas station starts to rise and a game of cat and mouse ensues. This was a movie that I had not seen before, but I did enjoy it. It can be graphic at times with the violence, which will really appeal to the gore fans, and quite a claustrophobic atmosphere with most of the movie set in and around the small remote gas station. I would definitely recommend it, especially for fans of the slasher genre. It's one that you should check out if/when you get the chance. Open 24 Hours was directed by Padraig Reynolds and is available on NowTV, which is Sky TV's subscription based streaming service.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Most of the Earth's population has been wiped out by a mostly unseen extraterrestrial threat, with the creatures only having sound and hearing as a sense. The movie follows a family of 4, with John Krasinski and his real life wife, Emily Blunt, as the main leads. There is very little spoken dialogue in the movie, with sign language and subtitles for most of the time, and this adds to the tension throughout. As the movie moves along, we get to experience life in silence from the view point of the family, gradually finding out how the creatures get drawn to any sounds that are made. It's a very tense and at times unsettling movie, and definitely one that I would recommend for all horror fans. I had seen it before at the cinema and enjoyed this second viewing at home. A Quiet Place was directed by John Krasinski, who also co-wrote and starred in the movie, and it is available to watch here in the UK on Netflix.
The Wind (2018)
The Wind is a slow burning supernatural Western horror set in the American frontier in the late nineteenth century, starring Caitlin Gerard and Ashley Zukerman as Lizzy and Issac Macklin. When a new couple move into the cabin on the land opposite them, Caitlin and Ashley befriend the new neighbours, but things soon take a turn for the worse, after Lizzy is left alone for a few days in their cabin, and a supernatural force begins to torment her. The story is not told to us in chronological order, so it unfolds through time jumps between the present and past. The slow burning nature of the story and the Western setting make for a really good movie, and it is always nice to see horrors with a old Western setting. I also really enjoyed the cinematography (Lyn Moncrief) in this film. The Wind was directed by Emma Tammi and was her feature film directorial debut. It is available to stream now on Shudder.
After an earthquake destroys a deep underwater drilling facility, leaving only a handful of the crew alive, it's left to the facility Captain, Lucien (Vincent Cassel) and mechanical engineer, Norah (Kristen Stewart) to lead the other remaining survivors (including Jessica Henwick and TJ Miller) to another part of the facility along a one-mile stretch of the sea bed. They soon realise that the earthquake is the least of their worries and that something is down there with them. Claustrophobic at times, with some comic relief from TJ Miller, this was actually the last movie to be released under the 20th Century Fox name, before Disney rebranded them. I saw it at the cinema just before lockdown in February and enjoyed it then just as much as on this rewatch. Kristen Stewart has made some great movies over the past few years and this is no exception. Underwater was directed by William Eubank and is available on NowTV.
Jen (Matilda Lutz) is spending a few days at her lover Richard's secluded house in the middle of the desert when his two friends show up for a pre-arranged hunting trip. While Richard is away for a few hours on business, Jen is assaulted by one of the friends and threatens to tell Richard's wife. While trying to escape her attackers, she is left for dead out in the middle of the desert and when the 3 men return for her, they find her gone. What follows is Jen's revenge on the 3 men, which does get quite gory at times. This could be any revenge horror really, but it is very well filmed and has great cinematography and soundtrack, and I would definitely watch this movie again at a later date. Matilda Lutz is great in the lead role but does not actually have many lines in the movie, with the 3 men mostly speaking in French throughout. Revenge was directed by Coralie Fargeat and is available to stream on Shudder.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Shot in black and white with a 1.19:1 aspect ratio, The Lighthouse is a psychological horror with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson starring as a pair of Lighthouse keepers who arrive on a remote island off the New England coast in the late 19th century. Stationed initially for one month, their time on the island becomes much of a mystery to them both, after a heavy storm delays their relief from arriving. Slowly, the sanity of Pattinson's Winslow character starts to go as he starts to hallucinate and then doubt the actions of Dafoe's Wake character. The performances of both leads are exceptional and the film looks amazing in it's almost 4:3 ratio in black and white. I had not seen it before and will definitely be watching it again. I am sad that I had missed this movie at the cinema, as it would really have benefited from being on the big screen. The Lighthouse was directed by Robert Eggers and is available on NowTV.
It's Halloween night and two friends, Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Victoria (Samantha Scaffidi), are returning home drunk from a party. With a flat tyre on Victoria's car and a some time to wait until Tara's sister arrives to pick them up, they soon run into Art the Clown, and try to seek refuge from him in a nearby abandoned building. The movie and the main character were developed from the director's previous anthology All Hallow's Eve and it features a lot of practical effects and some way over the top gore, which will appeal to fans of the genre. I have not seen the previous movie All Hallow's Eve, but I think it is one that I will need to check out now, before Terrifier 2 come out, which like many other movies is delayed for the moment. I had seen this movie before when it first came out, and really enjoyed it then and again now. Terrifier was directed by Damien Leone and is available to stream on Shudder.
Evil Dead (2013)
5 friends meet up at a secluded cabin in the woods. What could possibly go wrong? Well the aim of the meetup is to help Mia (Jane Levy) overcome her nasty drug addiction. Her brother David and 3 other friends Eric, Olivia and Natalie, come along so they can all support her. After they find an ancient book - the Necronomicon - in the basement, things start to take a turn for the worse when Eric reads a passage out loud and unleashes a full-on demonic hell. This is a remake/reboot of the 1981 Sam Raimi directed classic horror The Evil Dead, and I absolutely love everything about this movie! It has got plenty of gore as well as apparently 70,000 litres of fake blood. There are also plenty of nods and references to all of the previous movies in the franchise and it is definitely one of my favourite horror movies of recent years. Evil Dead was directed by Fede Alvarez and is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
The Void (2016)
When they get trapped inside a hospital by a large gathering of hooded cultists, a group of people, including local Sheriff Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), Doctor Powell (Kenneth Welsh) as well as the Sheriff's wife, Nurse Allison Fraser (Kathleen Munroe) soon realise there is a much bigger threat inside the hospital with them, than the one facing them outside. It is a horror with more than a few nods to both John Carpenter and Lucio Fulci, and some great practical and at times very gory creature effects, which were crowdfunded separately from the movie's actual production budget. It is a supernatural horror that fans of Carpenter and Fulci will all enjoy and has familiar faces in the cast with Kenneth Welsh, Art Hindle and Ellen Wong. I had seen this movie before, way back when it was first released and enjoyed it a lot. The Void was directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie and is available to stream on Shudder.
This is absolutely THE classic Halloween horror movie. It is a John Carpenter masterpiece that I was lucky enough to see on the big screen a couple of years ago. Michael Myers, the killer, having spent most of his life locked up after murdering his sister, escapes from the institution and makes his way back to his hometown of Haddonfield on Halloween night. Local babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends, Lynda and Annie, become the prey, as Michael tears up the town with a large knife and a William Shatner mask. I have lost count how many times that I have seen this movie over the years. It is a wonderful classic horror, a classic Halloween movie, with a soul-less brutal killer on the loose in a small town, fand ilmed on a very small budget. It is still an iconic horror movie to this day. Halloween was directed by John Carpenter and it is available to stream in the UK on Amazon Prime Video.
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween II is often overlooked, especially now with the new reboot movies out, but is still for me just like a proper continuation of the first movie and one that needs to be seen. It continues literally in the moments after the first film with Laurie taken to the local hospital, and Michael on her trail, ripping up each department in the building trying to get to her. Doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasance) is back on the hunt for Michael and eagle-eyed viewers will notice Dana Carvey (Garth from Wayne's World) in this movie with a small part. It often gets labelled a TV Movie, and it was only written and produced by John Carpenter, as he chose not to direct it. You could literally join both movies together and make a 3 hour film from them. I actually used to watch part I, then part II and finish off with Halloween H2O for a perfect trilogy. Halloween II was directed by Rick Rosenthal and is available on StarzPlay.
I was very sceptical when I first heard about this, not only because of the nonsense that was the Rob Zombie reboots that preceded this, but because they changed the back story and pretty much wiped out all of the movies made after the original one, calling this new one the official part 2. But once you do accept that, this is very good movie. It can be over the top with the violence at times, and with so many little nods to the original as well as to part 2, you can just about forgive them for erasing the great part 2 from the official back story. It is set in present day, as Michael once again escapes an institution and grabs his mask and big knife and sets about on another murderous rampage on the trail of Laurie Strode, played again by Jamie Lee Curtis. Two sequels have already been finished and will be released in 2021 and 2022. Halloween was directed by David Gordon Green and is available on Netflix.
Thank you for reading this little Halloween themed movie watching Shocktober Blog of mine for 2020. I have really enjoyed watching these movies and also rewatching some that I had seen already. I will most likely do something like this each year, but for now I will leave you with some information regarding the five streaming services that I used to watch all of my movies on with a link to their websites and a little bit about each of their subscription prices.
The information below applies to the streaming services I used here in the UK, so make sure you check in your region as there may be differences in prices and availability of the services.
Prime Video - is Amazon's streaming service and it costs £7.99 per month or £79.99 annually.
Netflix - is maybe the most popular streaming service and it costs £5.99 per month upwards.
NowTV - is Sky TV's streaming service here in the UK and costs £11.99 per month for a Pass.
Shudder - is an AMC owned and mostly horror streaming service and costs £4.99 per month.
StarzPlay - is available in the UK through Prime Video Channels and it costs £4.99 per month.