31 Days of October Madness Strikes Back! – Part 2


Greetings and welcome to the second installment of this year’s October Madness. I hope you’ve been enjoying my recommendations, and here are a few more to keep your October nights filled with madness, dread and joy.

Make sure to come back next week to discover more October goodies to occupy your living room.

Related Story: 31 Days of October Madness Strikes Back! – Part 1


Picking up right where John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece left off, Rick Rosenthal’s sequel finds Michael Myers turning a hospital into a bloody nightmare while hunting for Laurie Strode and Dr. Sam Loomis stays hot on his trail. John Carpenter was very involved with the production of Halloween II, taking multiple roles such as writing the script with Debra Hill and being displeased with Rosenthal’s cut, added more brutality and gore in post-production to compete with what was popular in horror at the time. This sequel not only grossed more than Friday the 13th Part 2 in 1981, but also showed that if Carpenter had to compete with films that were capitalizing on his own success, then he’d have to beat them at their own game. Rosenthal wasn’t happy with Carpenter’s interference, but the end result has stood the test of time as a solid brutal horror film that isn’t trying to repeat what worked in 1978 and works as a stylish slasher movie. It’s certainly the last good film to feature Michael Myers.

Halloween 2


Where do I begin to describe Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession? Beautiful and depressing, nightmarish and provocative, once you see this film, there is no going back. If you’re looking for something solely based on plot, this is not for you; but if you want to take a trip through the depths of hell that will shake you emotionally and psychologically, this film is intense and morbidly fascinating. Set against the backdrop of Cold War Berlin, Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill star as a married couple in the middle of a divorce as they both descend into mass hysteria and slowly fall down the rabbit hole of murder, government conspiracies, tentacle monster sex, pink socks, adolescent suicide and the apocalypse. Adjani gives an unhinged performance that nearly robbed her of her sanity and deserves recognition for losing herself in this unsettling performance. If you track this movie down this October, be warned that it is a journey through cinema that you can’t erase from your mind.



A movie that can’t help but warm my heart whenever I revisit it, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken stars Don Knotts as Luther Heggs, an aspiring reporter for the local newspaper in Rachel, Kansas, who is asked spend the night at the spooky Simmons mansion, home of an infamous murder-suicide that took place two decades before. Luther must contend with an organ-playing ghost, his feelings for Alma Parker and the vengeful Nicholas Simmons, nephew of the ghostly host who haunts the mansion and the man who plans to sue Luther and the newspaper for libel. Shot on the same Universal backlot that was home to “The Munsters” and later used by Joe Dante for The ‘Burbs, this fun old-fashioned ghost mystery is charming, funny and a sure fire way to brighten your evening and deliver some good ol’ spooky fun.

Atta boy, Luther!

The Ghost and Mr Chicken


Demons is an Eighties Italian mind trip wherein some unfortunate guests get invited to a screening of a horror film that becomes their reality when an accident involving a cursed mask unleashes the mayhem on screen and hell descends upon a pumping soundtrack featuring Billy Idol, Mötley Crüe and of course Claudio Simonetti from Goblin. Produced by Dario Argento and directed by Lamberto Bava, this movie is an experience like no other that is full of surreal atmosphere, bizarre logic and plenty of funny moments too. The creators of Silent Hill were fans who paid homage in their game, and once you see it, you’ll know why.



A year before we got The Monster Squad, Fred Dekker gave us this heartfelt horror-comedy that paid tribute to science-fiction monster movies of old, and it’s a hell of a fun time. Not only does it stand alone as a great creature feature set in the late Fifties with enjoyable characters and a fun premise, but if you’re a film buff, there are references and homages everywhere you look. All of the main characters are named after famous horror and sci-fi directors, and so are the buildings. What really makes this movie a classic, however, is how instantly quotable it is. You’ll never forget the first time you hear Tom Atkins snarl, “Thrill me!”

Night of the Creeps


There’s one film in John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” that these days gets well-deserved widespread admiration, and that would be The Thing. His other two bastard films, Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness, become more fascinating and enjoyable with every viewing, especially this one, which (along with They Live) was done with Alive Films. Donald Pleasence plays a priest who invites a group of academics to join him in an abandoned church basement, seeking their assistance in finding a mysterious cylinder of green goo that contains the essence of Lucifer himself. The sense of discovery and the atmospheric journey are the main elements that make this film so re-watchable, and it was born out of John Carpenter’s frustration with the studios and the abundance of derivative horror films. This is Carpenter wanting to bring dread back to cinemas, and his film shows an unrestrained vision from a genre master still in his prime and holding no punches.

Prince of Darkness


Part of my love for Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse stems from an obsession I’ve had since childhood with the old traveling circus and rundown carnivals. Two irresponsible teenage couples visit a sleazy carnival and get themselves trapped in a dark ride for the night with a deformed killer. The typically stubborn teenagers make you simultaneously laugh and cringe, but what truly makes this movie an 80’s horror treasure is the attention to detail in the setting, such as antiques and old mechanical toys, as well as the thrilling carnival atmosphere created by cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, handpicked by Hooper due to his impressive lighting on The Warriors. Fun fact: Believe it or not, Tobe Hooper was approached by Stephen Spielberg to direct E.T. but turned it down as he was still busy working on this movie. I also highly recommend reading the novelization by Dean R. Koontz, which provides some great backstory and serves as an entertaining companion piece.

The Funhouse



Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter