Last year, we started the festivities for the THS Halloween Movie Marathon in 2020 on October 1st. Since this year, we’re all busting out of the seams to celebrate Halloween with one another, we’re starting a bit early. Today and then all the way to October, you’ve got double features, creature features, a triple feature, John Carpenter, the Living Dead, vampires, werewolves, new movies, old movies, remakes, and a whole hell of a lot of sequels. If you’re in need of a complete schedule for Halloween season, this is it.
It’s understandable that some movies get left off the list, but that’s the beauty of being a horror hound: you can always watch another movie. Sleep is for when you’re dead, according to some. So sit back, grab those Jack O’Lanterns, some popcorn, and get watching for the 2021 Fright-A-Thon: Double Feature-Palooza.
September 21st: The Fog/In The Mouth Of Madness
We’re kicking off our list with two John Carpenter classics. In The Mouth Of Madness might be a later career film for Carpenter, but it’s one that you don’t want to miss in his filmography. The Fog was his post-Halloween movie and even though it was meddled with by the studio, this one comes out as a stone-cold classic of the genre. It helped cement Jamie Lee Curtis as a scream queen.
September 22nd: All-American Murder
This one might come as a surprise or a shock to some out there. If you haven’t seen All-American Murder before, go watch the trailer. Doesn’t look like a horror movie, right? This ain’t no teen sex-comedy starring Christopher Walken. It’s an American Giallo film that dials up the kills and let’s Walken chew up every scene he’s in. Is it the best movie on our list? No. But it belongs here for more people to check it out. Get the amazing Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray release.
September 23rd: Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
The whole point of running these two movies back to back is to see just how crazy the second one gets in comparison to the first. The first Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a genre-defining classic. The second is, batsh*t crazy. Just watch them both for yourself, and see Dennis Hopper go absolutely mad in the second film.
September 24th: Freaky/Ready Or Not
Now for two of my favorite recent horror flicks. I already wrote about why you need to see Freaky, but Ready Or Not is also a modern horror film worth your trouble. Both have some nice dark humor throughout and Freaky is one of Vince Vaughn‘s best performances in his career. Someone, please give Samara Weaving her own franchise.
September 25th: Dracula/Near Dark
This is our first old/new double feature we’re running for Fright-A-Thon this year. We’ve got the “start” (I know about Nosferatu) of the vampire genre, and arguably the best vampire film since then. If you can track down a Blu-Ray copy of Near Dark, (hopefully getting a re-release this year), it’s one of the best mixing of genres in film history. Dracula is a shorter one, so if you really wanted to include Nosferatu here as a triple feature, you could. It doesn’t get much better than Western Cowboy Vampires though.
September 26th: Hellraiser/Hellbound: Hellraiser 2
We’ve got a whole lot of Hellraiser coming, whether that’s the new movie, or the new show from Clive Barker on HBO. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this double feature. I might be a little more partial to Hellbound: Hellraiser II over the first film, but they’re both fantastic. This is really where the series peaks, and while the later sequels are fun, it goes to Direct-To-DVD Dimension Pictures hell. And not the good kind with the cenobites…
September 27th: Re-Animator/From Beyond
Two movies, two of the same stars (Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs), the same director (Stuart Gordon), but vastly different tones. Re-Animator is more comedy and From Beyond cranks up the effects and tells a more spectral story. Both films have fantastic creatures in them, with Re-Animator spawning one of the most iconic characters in horror, Dr. Herbert West. Add Castle Freak to this one, and you’ve got the holy trinity of Crampton-Combs-Gordon.
September 28th: The Howling/An American Werewolf In London
What’s the better 80s werewolf movie? The Howling? An American Werewolf In London? You don’t have to decide, because you’re watching them back to back anyway. Take your pick. They’re both fantastic in their own ways, with An American Werewolf In London being too horror for a comedy, and too funny for horror.
September 29th: The Wolfman/Werewolves Within
Another entry that’s old/new. The Wolf Man has a pretty damn star-studded cast and is an obvious classic. Werewolves Within came out in 2021 and isn’t just one of the best horror flicks of the year, it’s among the best of any genre in 2021. These two give you the intro to Werewolves and the evolution of the sub-genre.
September 30th: Demon Knight/Bordello Of Blood
Some more surprises coming your way, we’ve passed by the education on werewolves and lycanthropes, now it’s time for some good pulpy horror from the 90s. Tales From The Crypt Presents Demon Knight and Bordello Of Blood are both in need of more eyeballs on them. Whether that’s the insane Billy Zane performance in Demon Knight, William Sadler being completely awesome, or Dennis Miller having an actually playable performance in Bordello of Blood. Both of these ones are worth your time.
October 1st: Fright Night/Fright Night Part 2
Fright Night is among my favorite horror flicks ever. The story is completely original, it has one of the best movie vampires ever in Jerry Dandridge, and it’s just a classic. The sequel, while not as good, still does enough original and has some great characters. It’s hard to track the second movie down (give YouTube a try), but it’s well worth it to see the continuation of Peter and Charlie’s story. Regine Dandridge in Fright Night Part 2 is also among the best movie vampires ever.
October 2nd: Night Of The Living Dead/Return Of The Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead spawned an entire genre. It’s part of the public domain because the filmmakers messed up some paperwork. In George Romero we trust. Return of the Living Dead takes what that film created and arguably improves upon it. It injects some comedy into the proceedings and makes the zombies almost unkillable.
October 3rd: Frankenstein/Young Frankenstein
This spot was almost Re-Animator paired with Frankenstein, but that double feature fit better above. You’ve got the start of it all, Boris Karloff acting his ass off as the Monster. Young Frankenstein might not be scary, but it’s still among the best comedies of all-time, and might be the funniest movie ever made. Spoofing genres was Mel Brooks specialty. Lighten up the month of October with this one.
October 4th: Bride Of Frankenstein/Bride Of Re-Animator
A very clear inspiration and it even rips off the title! Bride of Re-Animator challenges the original for the best movie in the franchise with some of the effects they pull off. Jeffrey Combs hits his stride as Herbert West in this movie. The Bride of Frankenstein also challenges the original for the top spot in that Universal franchise. Either way, you get double the bride action with this double feature.
October 5th: The Watch
The Watch was plagued by controversy out of it’s control when it released, so it flew way under the radar. If you haven’t checked this one out, it’s got body horror, aliens, drugs, terrible cops, and lots of laughs. If you’re in need of a good horror-comedy to lighten up the load a bit, this is the one. The cast is truly terrific together.
October 6th: Prince Of Darkness
The mini-Carpenter marathon continues with Prince of Darkness. Donald Pleasence returns with Carpenter’s “apocalypse trilogy”. A cylinder of liquid is the embodiment of Satan and it needs to be stopped. Lots of classic Carpenter collaborators return for this one and it even has Alice Cooper.
October 7th: John Carpenter’s Vampires
Another John Carpenter film here, and it strings together the sub-genre and Carpenter themes of the entire list. James Woods might be a dummy in real life, but he’s great in this film. It’s one of his later career films, but one that you owe yourself to see if you’re a fan of his.
October 8th: The Cellar/House
The Cellar might not be one that many people have seen. I hadn’t seen it up until this year, but it’s a hidden gem of a monster movie. House is another horror/comedy film that brings together ghosts, ghouls, and specters of the past for William Katt. His son goes missing and he has to figure out what took him. George Wendt is the funniest part of the film here as Katt’s nosy neighbor.
October 9th: The Frightners
Peter Jackson started off in horror, and he went back to it with this one. It’s one of the movies that used to scare the living hell out of me as a kid. Jeffrey Combs has a sub-villain role here, and Michael J. Fox is just as manic and awesome as ever in this one. It’s an inventive story that’ll make you appreciate Jackson’s later work even more.
October 10th: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch/Night Of The Creeps
This one is what I would like to call Tom Atkins-Day. Tom Atkins might be the biggest badass in horror. He shows it and turns up the dial to 11 in both of these movies. Halloween III might not be everyone’s favorite Halloween film, but it works as a standalone film here. Night of the Creeps is part-zombie, part-prom night flick. Watch this one to see Atkins answer the phone and to tell you when your dates are here.
October 11th: Shocker
The supposed “Freddy Killer”. This was Wes Craven’s answer to A Nightmare on Elm Street. It should have spawned an entire franchise, but it didn’t do as well at the box office. The movie plays out like two halves of different stories. Mitch Pileggi is a serial killer who gets powers after being put to the electric chair. The first half is classic slasher affair with the second half going insane and feeling like a cartoon.
October 12th: Evil Dead/Evil Dead Remake
Is the remake of Evil Dead the best remake ever? It could be. It took what the original set forth, and updated it, and quite possibly made it scarier. The original is a stone-cold classic and doesn’t need much introduction. If you are wary of remakes, don’t be with this one.
October 13th: Friday the 13th/Friday the 13th Part II
October 13th falls on a Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to celebrate with the Voorhees family. I wanted to include more from this franchise after only getting one on the list last year, but you could stretch this out to an entire celebration of the Friday the 13th films if you wanted. Part 6 might be my dark horse for best in the series though.
October 14th: Lifeforce
Tobe Hooper. Vampires in space. That’s all you need to know. Watch it. Just make sure to watch the International Cut and not the heavily edited US Cut.
October 15th: 976-EVIL
We’re at the “Celebrating Robert Englund” section of our list. 976-Evil is a movie that has so much promise and should have been much better. It wasn’t the fault of the director or the crew/cast though. As usual, the studio ran out of money and lots of the planned scenes had to be cut or changed for costs. In it’s final form, the movie is a fantastic story and still works as a good horror flick. Stephen Geoffreys stars and Englund directs this one.
October 16th: Phantom Of The Opera/Dance Macabre
Like the poster says, “Robert Englund was Freddy. Now he’s the Phantom of the Opera”. This was his big movie post A Nightmare on Elm Street, it wasn’t nearly as successful as that franchise, but it did get a spiritual sequel in Dance Macabre. These two aren’t as fantastic as some of the other movies, but they’re worth watching for more Robert Englund in your life.
October 17th: Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
It couldn’t be a Halloween marathon list without the Halloween series. You could very easily turn this into a triple feature of the “Thorn Trilogy”, but we’ll separate this one out. Halloween 4 is also a great one to start off October with because of it’s truly haunting opening credits. This one made the list of best Part 4’s in horror.
October 18th: Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers/Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers
These two movies aren’t nearly as good as some in the series, but they’re worth a watch just to finish out the trilogy of Michael Myers in the 80s/90s. Should you watch the Producer’s Cut or the theatrical cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers? That’s up to you, and if you can find a copy of the Producer’s Cut. Both versions are messy, but worth watching as a fan of the franchise.
October 19th: Child’s Play/Child’s Play II
With the return of Chucky to our screens in the upcoming series, Chucky, it’s a great time to revisit his two best films. I’m partial to Child’s Play 2, but the first film is another classic. If you weren’t scared of dolls before, you will now. Some of the later movies could have made this spot, but it feels natural to watch these two back to back.
October 20th: Goosebumps
This movie could have and probably should have been way worse than it was. What you get with Goosebumps is a fun horror movie that you can watch with your kids/ cousins, or anyone else who’s a bit afraid of horror. Jack Black ties the whole thing together that celebrates the novels of R.L. Stine very well. Shout out to the Fear Street trilogy as well, those movies were amazing.
October 21st: A Nightmare On Elm Street/A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
This is kind of cheating, because we had both of these movies on last year’s list, and we’re skipping Part 2. However, these two are among the fan favorites and tie up Nancy’s story with Freddy Krueger. You can include more from this series in your marathon, A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of my favorites in all of horror.
October 22nd: The Thing From Another World/The Thing
I mentioned the best remake of all-time earlier, and John Carpenter’s The Thing is it. The Thing From Another World is a classic from the 50’s and set the tone for a lot of the genre. However, Carpenter outdoes that film with his take on the story Who Goes There?. This is the shining example of why remakes are necessary in horror.
October 23rd: The Fly/The Fly
Oh, what do you know? More remakes! David Cronenberg has been busy with Slasher: Flesh and Blood, but his take on the classic The Fly is another example of why remakes and reimaginings are good for horror. And if you love Jeff Goldblum, The Fly is vintage Goldblum.
October 24th: Maniac Cop
Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell in the same movie? Say it ain’t so! Bill Lustig‘s Maniac Cop isn’t a mainstream horror hit, but it did well enough to give us two more sequels. It has a shocking death near the middle of the film, and so does it’s sequel, but seeing Robert Z’Dar outchin Bruce Campbell is the real highlight here.
October 25th: Zombieland
A modern horror classic of the zombie sub-genre, Zombieland is a good gateway horror flick. It’s funny, it does have some scary moments, and Woody Harrelson puts Tallahassee into the horror hero pantheon with this one. It’s one of the first horror movies that I truly enjoyed growing up, and it belongs on any horror fan’s list for October.
October 26th: Phenomena
There are plenty of Dario Argento films that could have made the list. Suspiria, Deep Red, Inferno, but this one takes the spot on the 2021 list. Jennifer Connolly and Donald Pleasence battle a serial killer who’s butchering girls around a school. Connolly has psychic powers that allow her to control insects. It doesn’t really get the kills going up until the hour-mark. Make sure you watch the “Integral Cut” of the film, but the others are worth watching just to see what got cut out for censors.
October 27th: Mandy/Willy’s Wonderland
Nicolas Cage is in the midst of a career renaissance the likes we’ve never seen. Mandy gives us one of Cage’s best performances and even some vintage Cage Rage. Willy’s Wonderland is the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie that should have been. The trick with that one is that Cage doesn’t speak ONCE during the film. It’s all body language and acting out of the prolific man. Both of these are pretty different, but they give you the best of Cage from this current era.
October 28th: What We Do In The Shadows/Dead Alive
Now for the last bit of comedic movies before you get into the real nitty gritty of Halloween and the season. What We Do In The Shadows might be the funniest horror movie ever made. It’s up there with Young Frankenstein. Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement steal the show here. It combines all kinds of monsters and creatures together for a Real World style vampire experience. Dead Alive is the gore-fest that you never thought someone could make, let alone Peter Jackson. It had the record for most fake-blood used in one scene and it’s got some shocking scenes of grotesque gore, but it’s truly hilarious and even has an ass-kicking priest.
October 29th: They Live/Nightbreed
What do these two movies have in common? At first glance it’s not much. On closer inspection, they’re both about monsters or aliens that hide from humanity in plain sight. They Live criticizes the commercial obsession in the US. Nightbreed was hamstrung by studio interference. Luckily for us, Scream Factory put out a director’s cut of the film that restores it to what Clive Barker intended for the film. This isn’t the last of John Carpenter on our list, but it’s among his best.
October 30th: Prom Night/Night School
Going back to school? It’s not September anymore but these two have to do with proper school events. Prom Night continued Jamie Lee Curtis’s ascension to the Scream Queen role. Night School is an underrated one from Paramount that is a nice proto-slasher. Both combine for a fun school-themed double feature.
October 31st: Halloween/Halloween II/Halloween (2018)
This is it. And really what else could it be? It’s a tradition that we all sorely missed last year. You fire up Halloween and keep pausing it for the Trick Or Treaters to come to your door. I only had three sets of Trick or Treaters last year, but I made sure to make 2020 Halloween normal by watching Halloween. This time around you get a triple feature with both sections of the “timeline”. Halloween II amps up the violence and “finishes” up the story. Halloween 2018 broke the streak of terrible movies in the series by giving us a satisfying new beginning for the characters we all know and love.
Halloween Kills could very easily make this a quadruple feature depending on how long you stay up on Halloween.
Well, that’s it! The Marathon is in front of you. What does your list look like for Halloween movies?
For more on horror, check out the full Fright-A-Thon Index or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.