31 Days of October Madness – Part 6
Welcome to the final chapter of our October Madness feature! Here are six more titles I highly recommend visiting on your October movie nights.
I hope you’ve had as much fun with this series as I have, and be sure to share your choices with us in the comments section. Until next year… have fun this October and embrace the madness!
Related Stories: 31 Days of October Madness – Part 1, 31 Days of October Madness – Part 2, 31 Days of October Madness – Part 3, 31 Days of October Madness – Part 4, and 31 Days of October Madness – Part 5
The Final Girls
Todd Strauss-Schulson’s meta slasher comedy The Final Girls is a really awesome throwback to Eighties cult faves like Friday the 13th, The Burning and Sleepaway Camp that executes crazy, high-concept ideas in style without being convoluted and is brutal enough to make you forget that it has a PG-13 rating. Much like 2011’s Detention, the sweet and clever screenplay written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller plays with teen horror conventions, but never with any type of superiority complex, only love. The fun ensemble cast that includes Taissa Farmiga, Malin Åkerman, Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Chloe Bridges, and Angela Trimbur are all game in the surreal trappings of movie within a movie “Camp Bloodbath,” and the Tiki mask-wearing killer Billy Murphy is an equal blast.
The directorial debut from Kathryn Bigelow was sadly buried at the box office as DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group went bankrupt and The Lost Boys was released two months prior. Co-written by Eric Red (The Hitcher), Near Dark brilliantly mashes the western genre with a unique spin on vampire mythology which hadn’t been done since Billy the Kid vs. Dracula in 1966 and introduces the bulk of James Cameron’s cast from Aliens as Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) finds himself on a road trip through hell with renegade bloodthirsty nomads as he bonds with the object of his desires, a young mysterious drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright), among the anarchy that surrounds them. Bill Paxton is the standout as cold-hearted and morbidly charismatic Severen, who in my favorite scene chillingly struts across the bar with his leather jacket and razor-sharp spurs to The Cramps’ cover of “Fever” before turning a biker bar into a slaughterhouse. This movie has been finding an audience over time and slowly gaining the praise and respect it deserves.
We Are Still Here
Ted Geoghegan’s directorial feature debut is an impressive cinematic tribute to Lucio Fulci and H.P. Lovecraft that lures you into an atmospheric slow burn before assaulting you with ghoulish bloodletting. Cinematographer Karim Hussain (Hobo with a Shotgun) captures the moody isolation of the snow-filled rural New England setting and sets the mood for a gradual creepy awakening that builds to a crimson apocalypse of demonic mayhem.
Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig give grounded performances as Anne and Paul Sacchetti, a couple attempting to start a new life after the tragic death of their son, but Anne feels her son’s spirit has followed them and needs closure in order to move on with their life. That leads to inviting her new age psychic friend May (Lisa Marie) and her hippie husband courtesy of a fun performance from Larry Fessenden, who show up to enlighten her situation. We Are Still Here finds ways to breathe life into the haunted house genre without reinventing the wheel and is completely satisfying as a solidly entertaining spook show that delivers exactly what you would want.
Time After Time
All right, technically this time-traveling adventure from 1979 isn’t horror, but there’s no denying the creepy elements and it’s an absolute blast. Prior to making the greatest Star Trek film ever made, Nicholas Meyer made his outstanding directorial debut featuring H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) versus Jack the Ripper (David Warner) from the 19th century to the 20th, and this was just five years after writing the novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, which is considered the best Sherlock Holmes novel not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. Time After Time is also the film debut of Corey Feldman, and if you haven’t seen this immensely entertaining movie, you should rectify that as soon as possible.
Night of the Comet
One of the first mainstream films to carry the PG-13 rating, the Thom Eberhardt-directed apocalyptic horror comedy Night of the Comet, which originally carried the working title of “Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies,” had become a buried treasure until Scream Factory gave it an amazing home media release. Said to have inspired Joss Whedon’s script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this movie channels the spirit of Valley Girl and Repo Man through the landscape of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) wake to a suburban zombie wasteland and team up with a renegade vagabond named Hector (Robert Beltran) as they survive the flesh-eating sign of the times with an Eighties pop culture backdrop and grooving soundtrack. Night of the Comet is charming, haunting, and loads of fun!
Trick ‘r Treat
No movie is the perfect embodiment of Halloween like Trick ‘r Treat. Before you attack me, I am fully aware that John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece is a deserved classic in every regard, but Trick ‘r Treat doesn’t just take place on Halloween; it’s the cinematic equivalent of releasing our beloved holiday from a bottle and letting it wash all over us in ghoulish delight. It’s like that spirit you once felt as an eager child in costume returns as a reminder of why October always felt so special and restores your enthusiasm for what makes this time of year so much fun. Based on Michael Dougherty’s animated short film Season’s Greetings, this anthology has five interwoven stories that revolve around the last truly iconic horror character, Sam, a mysterious little mischief-maker with orange pajamas and a burlap sack over his head. Every story in this love letter to Halloween works and connects in refreshing ways, making for the best film of its kind since Creepshow. No Halloween would be complete without an annual viewing of Trick ‘r Treat so make sure you don’t ignore the tradition unless you wish for Sam to come and punish you.