Ah, October. For an avowed horror hound, it’s the High Holy Month, although I’m honestly not quite sure how much it really distinguishes itself from the rest of the year for someone like myself who watches horror year round and does most of my home decor shopping in the first few days of November because, yes, other people’s leftover Halloween decorations are my permanent interior design. Maybe the autumn weather makes it special, but lately it seems as though that lovely weather–the cool, crisp air and the leaves all orange, red, and yellow–doesn’t fully arrive until well into November. But nevertheless, of course October will always be my favorite month, and I still acknowledge it as the sacred month of horror.
One thing that definitely does change every October as opposed to the rest of the year is that it’s the one time of year when even so-called “normal” people seem to be interested in watching horror. And if you happen to run a horror-centric blog and host a podcast that often discusses horror films, some of those normies might even come to you for your spooky suggestions. I’ve observed on several prior occasions that I have never heard a horror fan use the term “scary movies,” but that’s generally the phrasing that the uninitiated tend to use when asking for recommendations, so I have already received my fair share of “which scary movies should I watch for Halloween?” texts.
Incidentally, if you are one of these people, feel free to contact me using the contact page on the banner of this site, and I’ll oblige with personalized recommendations whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran of the genre. If you’re someone who normally doesn’t like horror, I find it helpful to approach your chosen gore guru by first answering the following three questions to help them narrow down their choices for you:
- What about horror interests you, i.e. what are you looking for in a horror movie?
- What about horror has kept you from delving into it further, i.e. what in the genre would you like to avoid?
- What are your limits? Don’t be ashamed. We all have them. Even people who watch this stuff religiously. My wife won’t watch anything involving needles. I won’t watch anything with onscreen animal cruelty (whether staged or not). If you say there’s nothing you wouldn’t want to see, you’re either lying or a sociopath.
So that’s one option.
But if you’re like most of the internet and have a weird fixation on lists to source your recommendations, then as of today, I’ve got you covered too. To be clear–and longtime readers will know this already, as I have mentioned it quite a few times–I detest lists. Or at least ranked lists. I hate the idea of ranking or rating movies or any other forms of art, as I feel it commodifies the art form and reduces it to a cheap debate club in which comparing and contrasting surface-level opinions takes precedence over actual engagement with and personal response to movies. So I remain steadfast in my resolution to never do any sort of ranked list of best, worst, most underrated, or anything like that.
That said, I do realize that lists as a mere concept can be a great way to get quick recommendations. So what kind of list have I compiled? It’s literally just a list of chronologically ordered horror and horror-adjacent films that I personally love. Not ranked, just chronologically listed. And I didn’t narrow it down to 50 or 100 or any other fixed number either. I just went through my movie log (which I’ve been keeping and organizing for the past 17 years) and chose the horror movies I really, really loved. So again, I want to stress that I am not, and I repeat NOT claiming this is a list of “best” or “greatest” horror films. It is simply a list of horror and horror-adjacent films that I personally adore, and you may use it as a source of recommendations if you so choose.
Note that some titles included fall into the category of “borderline horror,” but for the purposes of this I’m not making that distinction. I’m also going to be including horror-comedies, family movies with horror elements, and other movies that horror purists may not count as horror, so if you’re one of those people, just consider this a list of my favorite movies that deal with the macabre in some way.
Anyway, you can find the list here:
Oh, and while you’re at it, I was just on The Pairing Podcast again to talk about Halloween stuff, so give that a listen wherever you listen to podcasts (or visit here if you can’t find it: https://www.thepairingpodcast.com/listen/2021/10/22/episode-91-hallowine-part-ii-with-john-paul-cirelli)
I have a much more in-depth article coming in the next few days in time for Halloween, so please check back for that. In the meantime, Happy Halloween Season to all, and to all a good fright.