Thursday, September 27, 2012

30 Days of Nightmares

I am officially declaring it "open season" for Halloween.  You see, Halloween is not just a 24-hour holiday for me.  It encompasses the entire month of October, during which I eagerly celebrate all things scary.  In the past few years, I have made several horror-themed holiday pilgrimmages.  In 2006, I took in filming locations for the original HALLOWEEN movie.  In 2007, I visited the late great Forrest Ackerman, patron saint of monster movies.  In 2008, I managed to weasel my way into the "House on Haunted Hill."   Last year, I compiled a list of my favorite horror-themed locations in and around L.A., for movie geek neighbors who want to plan a festive day trip.

Following the DVD release of my horror documentary in the fall of 2010, I focused on the movies themselves.  I created a comprehensive list of nearly 100 of my favorite horror flicks that weren't featured in Nightmares in Red, White and Blue.  That series of blog posts culminated with a year-by-year look at my favorite "millennial horror" movies... a topic that I want to tackle again this year, in a slightly different way.

Every Halloween, I binge on horror movies.  Usually I watch the familiar classics, which fill me with a sense of nostalgia, while adding a few recommended cult favorites that I've missed over the years.  This year, I'm going to concentrate entirely on NEW horror.  And here's why: When people ask me why horror movies aren't as good as they used to be (and I hear this question a lot), I tend to respond that great horror movies are still being made, just not as frequently acknowledged.  Everyone complains that it's all sequels and remakes and reboots...  but, frankly, that's nothing new.  It has always been the case with Hollywood's genre movies, going back to the 1920s.  I'm just as guilty as everyone else of habitually gravitating toward the familiar and thus overlooking the hidden gems, so I think I'll make this Halloween season more about exploring in the dark. 

Here's the experiment: I've used Netflix to create a viewing list of 30 horror films made between 2006 and 2011.  A few of them I've seen, but most of them I have not.  The site's ratings and recommendation system predicts that I will like all of these films enough to rate them at least three stars out of five.  If that's true, I might have a shot at getting through all 30 titles before Halloween.  If not, I  might alienate my patient wife to the point that she learns to hate Halloween.  Time will tell.

Let the games begin.


  1. Jane Considine9/27/2012

    Excellent. *Taps fingers together in the manner of Montgomery Burns*

  2. Jane, I had a feeling you'd approve.

  3. I missed this introductory post. I've been on the road, but as I said, I am looking forward to this run.
    Also, i really enjoyed your well articulated points and observations in paragraph 3. It is just terribly lazy to write off anything. People need to delve a little deeper than the mainstream to appreciate what is out there... So good for you for noting this


  4. Thumbs up! Thanks for doing this Joe. I will be checking back as much as possible this month.

  5. Thanks, K. I think you might also be interested in the western-themed posts I did a few weeks ago... Here's a link to the series, which sums up my week-long road trip from Santa Fe to Sedona: