Well, it was inevitable wasn’t it. Last year’s 31 Days of Halloween went over big with you Lunatics and believe me, Oscar and myself were surprised. But our modesty doesn’t make us immune to the follies of the very genre we’re programming. To put it in the terms of the great Star Magic Jackson Jr… the studio has a hit on it’s hands and so, it’s time to drop a deuce.
IT’S THE GODDAMN SPOOKY SEASON SON! Sorry, I’m excited. It’s 2020, so I’m taking wins where I can. Anyway if you’re returning from last year, welcome back. Feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph as you already know how this works or you can just be patient and read it again. It’s your call really, no judgements. NEWBIES! This is how it works. Once a year Oscar and myself meet in the woods, each with a list of 31 movies we feel should be on the program. We then sacrifice a goat to Marbas for wisdom as we whittle down the 62 movies to 31. After that we email back and forth shifting, moving, nudging and replacing till we reach the perfect order to spookify the season.
Now, last year we had audio and video commentary tracks BUT seeing as it’s 2020, we ended up getting a late start on all this so like a great horror sequel that’s lost its director, no matter how good this year is, it will just be missing something. Nonetheless we have a hell of a list for you if we do say so ourselves and we just did, I spoke for both of us I AM THE GOD MARBAS. So look out to the sky and steer clear of Gypsies on the outskirts of town ‘cause VictorMoranLive is programming the 31 days of Halloween!
The Changeling (1980)
This year we’re starting off your 31 day voyage in an old Seattle mansion where a grieving music professor is staying after the death of his wife and daughter when an unexplainable presence in the attic begins to make itself known and pull him into a murder case. This is the perfect movie to begin with. It’s moody, suspenseful, the score is classic and it has THE GREAT George C. Scott in the lead role. GEORGE C. SCOTT for fucks sake, just trust me, turn down the lights and prepare to second guess the mansion life you’ve always desired.
Day 2 takes us to a rural town in Sweden where a troubled couple has traveled for a world famous mid-summer festival. But don’t let the idyllic landscapes and quaint rustic customs fool you ’cause, you know… cult. Now I don’t know about the rest of you but as an atheist myself there are few things as terrifying as a weird creepy cult so mix that with the unsettling aesthetic of director Ari Aster and you got yourself a disturbing tale that works as both beautiful metaphor and BRUTAL horror. So steer clear of the punch and stretch up before the orgy because the festival has begun.
The Babadook (2014)
Onward to the land down under for day 3 where a single mother deal’s with her son’s growing paranoia that a storybook character is going to kill them. Is he having an emotional breakdown or is he just seeing something that his mother isn’t ready to deal with. Director Jennifer Kent makes her feature debut with this atmospheric film full of creepy sounds, moody shots and a child performance that drops a line read that reaches Ricky from Sleepaway Camp levels. Keep the lights on ‘cause the Babadook lives in the shadows.
The Exorcist (1973)
Day 4 keeps the child actor train rolling with one of the craziest of all time. Linda Blair plays Regan, a 12 year old girl that’s possessed by a demon or maybe even the devil itself. If you don’t want to see a little girl repeatedly shout, “Let Jesus fuck you” while masturbating with a crucifix, heads up… this movie may not be for you. Throw in Max Von Sydow and special effects make-up by the legendary Dick Smith to give it some class and you’re looking at a best picture nominee that ends in the greatest exorcism scene ever put on film.
On day 5 we move over to a new housing lot in the California suburbs where a home begins to be visited by, yeah you guessed it… poltergeists. But when the paranormal occurrences go from moving chairs to sucking their daughter into another dimension, the family brings out the figurative big guns (psychic Tangina as played by the irreplaceable Zelda Rubinstein) to save kidnapped Carol Anne and clean the house of spirits. Well… kinda. Believe it or not this movie is PG but I DO NOT recommend any child see this unless you want them to be afraid of literally EVERYTHING in your house or just flashing lights in general. Hide your kids, hide your wife because the poltergeists are here.
Pet Sematary (1989)
We close our suburban nightmares on day 6 in Maine where a young family has just moved to a house in the countryside by a main road, but when the family cat gets run over by a speeding truck their new neighbor informs them that this is Stephen King’s Maine. Which means there’s an ancient native american burial ground that will bring anything placed in it’s soil back to life. This is classic 80’s Stephen King full of creepy characters and possibly traumatizing story twists that will make you never want to step foot in Maine and realize that sometimes dead IS better.
The Howling (1981)
Day 7 and the full moon is rising over a mountain resort where a television anchor is taking some much needed “me” time. Unfortunately for her… werewolves. This Joe Dante directed creature feature is a hall of famer and it’s mainly due to Dee Wallace’s feverish lead performance and special effects supervisor, Rob Bottin’s jaw dropping ON CAMERA werewolf transformation sequence. Hypersexual, self aware and complete with a Dick Miller cameo for good measure, The Howling is a different kind of werewolf movie that will leave you genuinely feeling for this classic monster.
The Fly (1986)
Well it’s day 8 and scientist Seth Brundle is on the cusp of mastering the revolutionary concept of teleportation but after sending himself through as the first human test subject something goes horribly wrong. Look, there are few films that can make you squirm as much as this David Cronenberg body horror tragedy. The effects hit you on a visceral level and will make you want to look away while remaining glued to the screen. If that’s not enough for you, the score is great, Gina Davis is pitch perfect in her performance and there’s a naked Jeff Goldblum in his prime. I mean, for as long as it lasts. So give in to the dreamlike atmosphere and get ready for a scare ‘cause now the dream is over and the insect is awake.
The Thing (1982)
Day 9 takes you to the frozen tundra of Antarctica where a small group of scientists are about to have a close encounter of their own. The Thing is the rare quadruple masterpiece as it’s possibly the best work from director John Carpenter, special effect supervisor Rob Bottin, Cinematographer Dean Cundey and lead actor Kurt Russell. In fact EVERY performance in this movie is magnificent. The acting is nuanced, the music is subtle, the lighting & camera work is moody and the effects are WILDLY inventive. Every aspect of this movie is DRENCHED in a fear fueled paranoia designed to leave you AND the characters on screen wondering just who exactly IS the thing?
Event Horizon (1997)
To outer space on day 10 aboard the Lewis and Clark with a rescue crew on route to the Event Horizon, a ship that has been lost in space for 7 years that has recently appeared in Jupiter’s orbit. Long story short, it’s a haunted spaceship movie and I can see you rolling your eyes, NO. This movie is genuinely terrifying and finds a perfect blend of science fiction and gothic horror. Not to mention it gets GRUESOME and has a great cast led by Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill. If you’ve already seen this, you know what’s up and if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a ride.
The Blob (1988)
Down to small town America for day 11 where what seems to be a small meteorite turns out to be an amorphous blob that slowly begins to consume everything in its path. You know, along with The Fly and The Thing this rounds off a nice little trinity of 80’s remakes of 50’s horror classics that are arguably better than the originals. Just like the other two, The Blob ups the ante with mind blowing practical special effects done by 23 year old Tony Gardner, and by having the good sense to change the story enough to make it feel like its own thing. Fun, action packed and FUCKING BRUTAL, The Blob takes a classic horror vibe and slaps on some modern horror aesthetics. Run for your lives, the blob is coming.
Day 12 takes you back to space where a crew of space truckers receive an unknown transmission coming from nearby planet LV-426. While investigating, a mysterious lifeform attaches to a crew members face and when taken back to the ship it turns out that thing was fucking him and heads up, their baby is super agro ya’ll. The set design is brilliant, the alien creature is LITERALLY out of H.R. Giger’s nightmares and it stars Segorney Weaver as one of the easiest picks for the Baddest Bitch Mount Rushmore, Ellen Ripley. Yes it’s technically just a creature feature but director Ridley Scott really does elevate it to something just a little more terrifying.
The Mist (2007)
Back down to Stephen King’s Maine for day 13 as a thick mist covers a small town. Trapped in the local supermarket with someone rushing inside claiming that there is something in the mist, a father keeps his son safe from the monsters outside when he realizes there are bigger monsters INSIDE. This Frank Darabont directed adaptation of King’s novella is like a love letter to classic twilight zone episodes, in fact he even made a black and white version. Every performance in this movie is so on point I can’t even name them all and the ending will punch you in the fucking gut. Keep your eye on the lady with the bible and your revolver fully loaded ‘cause the mist is rolling in.
The Brood (1979)
Day 14 takes us to Toronto for another Cronenberg horror classic about a man who suspects his institutionalized wife’s doctor is doing more harm than good as a series of murders take place. Imaginative and unsettling, The Brood will have you wondering what the hell is going on until it tells you and when it does, your brain would explode if you weren’t so busy being disturbed by the primal horror caused by it’s uniquely designed practical effects. You will not be able to unsee what you’re about to see. Sorry not sorry. It’s the fucking brood.
Friday The 13th (1980)
Day 15 puts you halfway through programming which we think is the perfect time to go to Camp Crystal Lake. Sure it’s an old abandoned summer camp with a history of you know, DEATHS but we’ve got booze and drugs and we’re ALL down to fuck, I mean all but Alice but you get the point. WE’RE GOING TO CAMP! Look, if you know Jason but you’ve never seen this movie there are some surprises in store for you. If that’s not enough reason you have INCREDIBLE gore effects by The King Of Splatter himself, Tom Savini and you get to see Kevin Bacon slowly take an arrow through HIS NECK. Keep your head on swivel ‘cause it’s friday the 13th.
Last House On The Left (1972)
We make our way to the city for day 16 where two teenage girls are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of escaped psychopaths who by chance end up seeking refuge in the house of the worried parents of one of the victims. But when a gifted necklace tips off the parents of their dastardly crime the two take the law into their own hands. This is horror master Wes Craven’s debut movie that he wrote, directed and edited himself. It’s low budget film grain and cinema verite shooting style creates a feeling SO REAL that you will find yourself having to do as the movie’s advertising suggests and repeat to yourself it’s only a movie… only a movie… only a movie.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Day 17 takes us to the beautiful seaside California town of Santa Carla, where the only problem is all the goddamn vampires. Camp director and undisputed hall of fame stick man Joel Schumacher brings his stylistic color palette and overt sexuality to this teen vampire movie that doesn’t forget it’s supposed to be scary. The soundtrack, the fashion, the casting of the Coreys, Kiefer Sutherland, Alex Winter and Jami Gertz are all SUCH 80’s decisions and they all FUCKING WORK. So call up the frog brothers and fill your bath tubs with holy water ‘cause the vampires are coming and they’re sexy as FUCK.
The People Under The Stairs (1991)
Down the road we go for day 18 to Los Angeles where a 13 year old boy named Fool is informed that his family, including his dying mother, are being evicted. Family friend Leroy, played by a young Ving Rahmes suggests stealing the money from the evil landlords evicting them but when Fool breaks in he realizes that they’re more evil than they knew they were. Tell me how many horror movies there are where the lead character is an intelligent 13yr old black kid. I’m waiting and you’re not thinking of any. Back again for round two is director Wes Craven with a horror hidden in plain sight story that’s kind of like Goonies with bite. Look, you may not want to know but you’re gonna find out what mommy and daddy have been doing to the people under the stairs.
Day 19 takes us to Japan for director Takashi Miike’s tale of a widower who is screening women in special auditions to find one he deems perfect, but after finding a woman that meets all his requirements she turns out to be more than he bargained for. There is not much that I can say about this movie, ESPECIALLY if you’ve never seen it but I WILL say that you will be talking about the end of this movie for YEARS to come and it will make you second guess every date for the rest of your life.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Over to Europe for day 20 for the first sequel that surpasses the original. Director James Whale and star Borris Karloff return in this continuation where the monster is on the hunt for a wife. This golden age horror classic is no rehash, adding memorable new characters like Doctor Pretorius and The Bride herself. Beautifully shot in black and white with an epic score and optical effects that will leave you wondering how they did ANY of it back in 1935, this sequel finds a way to make you feel for the monster while keeping him a viable threat.
Day 21 takes us to Chicago where a grad student played by Virgina Madsen is researching the urban legend of the Candyman, the ghost of a brutally murdered slave said to seek revenge against those who say his name 5 times in the mirror. Now I know there’s a remake coming and I’ll give it a chance but I don’t know if anyone can do better than Tony Todd in the titular role. His stature is intimidating, his voice… CREEPY AS FUCK and though his backstory makes him sympathetic, his bloody hook for a hand makes him fucking terrifying. Run when you hear bees and keep away from the mirrors ‘cause that’s how the Candyman gets you.
Now we’ve been steeping in the horrors of relationships but on day 22 (a.k.a. The double deuce) we are organically pivoting to the horrors of parenthood. I’ll start from the beginning. See Henry and his girlfriend have a baby, well, the hospital still isn’t sure it IS a baby but it’s definitely SOMETHING and it cries like a motherfucker. Written and directed by David Lynch this movie is full of trippy black and white visuals and batshit crazy performances that will have you laughing one second and terrified the next. With the constant humm of the dreamlike industrial landscape and his wife gone, will Henry step up and care for his ‘not sure if it’s a baby’ or is his only shot at happiness the sweet embrace of death? I mean, I do hear that in heaven everything is fine.
The Omen (1976)
Day 23 takes us to Rome where an American ambassador played by Gregory Peck ends up the guardian of the antichrist. At 5 years old little Damien is straight up creepy and fucked up shit begins to happen but after a weird nanny suicide and being visited by a priest that demands he kill his son, Gregory Peck’s stoic ass starts thinking it may actually be possible that THIS kid is the devil. Full of legitimately creepy sequences and a score that’s doing it’s fair share of the lifting, The Omen is full of the spooky vibes you’re looking for.
The Others (2001)
Wrapping up our parental horror section on day 24, off the British coast for an old school haunted house story… or is it? Written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar The Others manages to bring life to an old standard in the horror genre. With a grounding lead performance from Nicole Kidman at its center, a strong supporting cast around her and an overall creepy atmosphere helped out by a big spooky mansion, this movie grabs on to your curiosity and never lets it go. So keep the light from coming in and be mindful of the staff because I’ve got a feeling that there’s ghosts in this house.
The Evil Dead (1981)
So it’s day 25 which is the perfect time to go into the woods with Sam Rammi’s low budget cult classic about a group of teens that accidentally unleash an ancient evil after playing an excerpt from the book of the dead. Relatable AF, I know. Filmed over 12 weeks in the middle of nowhere this cabin in the woods story is SO intense that the director was taken to court in the United Kingdom over it. Low on story but high on creative gore, camera work and tricks, Evil Dead was even praised by Stephen King at the time; he called it the most ferociously original film of the year. If for no other reason you should watch this movie for Bruce Campbell as Ash who not only co-produced this movie but performed his own stunts in this truly horrifying film that will have you second guessing a vacation in nature for years to come.
From the woods to a loading dock, on day 26 a drunk crane operator starts a chain of events that lead to the release of an ancient evil djinn who must answer three wishes to the one who woke him in order to release an unholy gang of his kind upon the Earth. Now I don’t know what it is about this movie but the sound design always got me. Like how in quiet scenes they always raised the level of the sound of the paper burning with each drag of a cigarette. Little things like. Not to mention Andrew Divoff REALLY brings something special to the djinn even when under layers of prosthetics and makeup. It’s a fun little horror movie that’s flown under the radar for years. Give it a chance, just be careful what you wish for.
Day 27 leads us to a tropical island for Italian director Lucio Fulci’s bat shit zombie movie complete with bright red blood, over the top gore and a zombie fighting a shark. No yeah, you read that last sentence correctly. A zombie fights a fucking shark. Bless the Italians. The kills are interesting, the acting’s all turned to 11 and the audio is horribly dubbed. What’s not to love? If you consider yourself a REAL zombie fan and you HAVEN’T seen this movie then trust me, you aren’t a real zombie fan. So get your fix of Italian horror lunacy with Lucio Fulci ‘cause the dead are rising and they’re going to eat you.
Prince of Darkness (1987)
We make our way back to Los Angeles for day 28 where a priest, played by horror icon Donald Pleasence, finds a creepy church basement unexplainably filled with candelabras and housing a primordial ooze. John Carpenter brings his trademark sense of dread and synthetic score to this end of days story that’s loaded with regulars like Victor Wong, Dennis Dunn and Peter Jason. The practical special/makeup effects are great, OH and Alice Cooper plays a possessed homeless guy, FUCK thats right, theres a BUNCH of possesions. Look, there’s a lot going on in this movie but believe me, it scary as shit and the ending is perfect. Kiss your ass goodbye ‘cause the prince of darkness is here.
Day 29 finds us in a dystopian Canadian future where an outbreak of telepaths or “scanners” is becoming a growing threat. Among them is Cameron Vale, a homeless man with incredible abilities, who is about to be kidnapped by the government and sent to take out a rogue psychic operative on a killing spree. With a synth score and masterful special makeup effects by Dick Smith, Scanners is the kind of horror that has you on edge from subtle beginning to spectacular mind fucking end. Toss in a career making Michael Ironside performance that would have him typecasted for decades and a head explosion that would make a nun spit and you got yourself a stew going. It’s simple, it’s suspenseful, it’s Cronenberg. What more do you need?
Deep Red (1975)
Back to Italy for day 30 where a jazz pianist falls into a mystery after witnessing the horryfic murder of a psychic. This Dario Argento directed Giallo film is where he got his bearings with violence. The camera moves are jarring, the lighting is meticulous, the edit is like a dream and the kills are MUAH, pizza chef. Sprinkle in a score by Goblin filled with a funky bassline and your typical italian dubbing situation and you have yourself a delightfully brutal horror movie that has DEFINITELY earned its reputation in the community. I keep telling you, the Italians crazy.
Well, we’ve reached the final day of your spooky 31 day voyage. Did you think we WEREN’T gonna have John Carpenter’s Halloween for a second year in a row? THE NAME IS IN THE TITLE, ok look, I don’t feel like I really NEED to tell you why you should watch this but fine. SCENARIO. You’re sitting at home on Halloween night and wanna put on the perfect movie to get you feeling spooky, you put on Halloween. Why? Because all the reasons. Ok? ALL the reasons because it’s 40 plus years later and they’ve spent it making sequels and reboots and remakes and re-reboots and with the exception of Season of The Witch they’ve just been making the same movie over and over again, desperately trying to reach the peak that this one hit. It’s simple, it’s understated and no matter what bells and whistles they put on the films that followed, it’ll never be as good as that first night that Micheal Myers came home.
So there it is. We dropped the deuce. The 31 days of Halloween Number 2. So what did you think? Was this a successful sequel? Was it as good as the first or better? Did you like the original better? Be sure to let us know on all the main company social media accounts @VictorMoranLive and feel free to send us your thoughts as you watch along with us every day. To subscribe to this RSS feed, click the pumpkin below. We look forward to hearing from you and if I know my horror franchises this year broke the seal for a string of sequels that nobody asked for. See you next year everybody.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY!
wirtten by Victor Moran
edited by Jackie Lopez