31 Days of Horror Challenge: The Kick-off

Happy Halloween month and libra season! Things are looking quite different this year in the wake of COVID-19. To celebrate the spooky season in the safety of my own home, I’ve decided to take part in the October Horror Movie Challenge. Though there are quite a few lists online with various challenges, I picked HorrorHound’s list from 2018 as a jumping-off point and modified a few of the challenges to fit my taste (I’ll mention those as the films come up). Every Tuesday, I’ll share mini reviews of each movie from the past week and at the end of the month, I’ll rank them all. Since there are so many movies, I will share one pro, one con, my star rating, and a few sentences of my thoughts. By the end of the month, we’ll have a stockpile of quick reviews to help you pick a scary flick to watch yourself.

The challenge lends itself to a variety of horror subgenres, classics, and new releases, so I’ll dip my toes into new areas of the genre. I have a stacked lineup with everything from Shaun of the Dead to The Invisible Man, with plenty of genre staples throughout. Without further ado, please enjoy my thoughts on the first three days of the #31DaysofHorror challenge. 

Oct. 1: The Frighteners (1996)

A man with his hand up and a woman standing to his back right face the camera looking scared
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Challenge: A movie that came out the year you were born

Pro: Cheesy but in a fun way

Con: Lacking a bit in character development

The Frighteners is supposedly about Frank (Michael J. Fox) a medium who can talk to dead, a skill that comes in handy as ghosts keep terrorizing people around him. The scariest part of the film is the idea of your crummy ex lingering after they bite the dust. Horror fanatics won’t be frightened despite the film’s title, though the late 90s film is a whole lot of fun to watch.

Oct. 2: V/H/S (2012)

Close up of a white person's face wearing a clear plastic mask that covers the whole face with painted on lipstick and eye makeup
Image courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

Challenge: An anthology film

Pro: A classic found-footage film

Con: Shaky camera off and on — not for the easily nauseated

I’ve put off watching V/H/S since it came out since I’d heard such mixed things. Turns out, I am a hater and I apologize to any readers that cherish this found footage classic. The horror shorts strung together by a framing story had some very creepy and disturbing moments, but the plot got messier as the film went on. It was also very difficult to watch this movie as a survivor of sexual violence because there is repeated harassment and assault on-screen, so I would advise extreme caution or maybe skip this one if you don’t want to sit through that. 

Oct. 3: Scream 2 (1997)

naomi campbell and courtney cox stand next to each other, looking disgusted at someone off screen
Image courtesy of Dimension Films

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Challenge: Watch a Scream movie to celebrate Neve Campbell’s birthday today

Pro: Non-stop thrills — you don’t have to wait until the last 15 minutes for it to ramp up

Con: Not enough Jada Pinkett Smith

Wes Craven rarely disappoints me. Scream 2 is a sequel that leans into the sophomore slump by making it a running joke. The endless thrills and balance of comedy and horror is just right. To top it all off, Neve Campbell gives a stellar performance as Sidney, the kickass heroine.

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned to read about seven more movies next week (including Poltergeist and Tag!). I hope this inspires you to kick back and watch some Halloween movies to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. 

P.S. Neve Campbell if you’re reading this — I am free on Thursday. Call me.