Spooky Season is finally here, Tacoma. This year, with so many of our scheduled spooky activities in limbo, we’re leaning into our scary movie viewing with the ferocity of Freddie K himself. We’ve torn apart our collections, consulted local fright experts, and scavenged multiple internet forums to curate a 31-day calendar we’re calling R Shocktober Movie Series.
We selected 31 Halloween bangers with you and yours in mind, so feel free to follow along with our calendar, use it to supplement yours, or pick a few flicks from the list.
When in doubt, our trusty Bat Scale will be your guide to R Shocktober Movie Series.
It’s as simple as follows:
October 1 – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
First off, it’s a crying shame the Peanuts gang didn’t do a TV special for every holiday. There’s something so charming and nostalgic about watching old Charlie Brown struggle to cut the eye holes for his ghost costume and the rest of the cast get into their usual shenanigans. We love this kind of stuff. For the kids, by the kids, as it should be.
October 2 – It Follows
This super stylish psychological horror about a shapeless killer that’s passed like a virus is a little bit freakier in the age of COVID-19. The film’s soundtrack, lighting, and subtle humor are all masterful. Think Drive, but scary.
October 3 – Hocus Pocus
If you were born in the ‘90s there’s a good chance you can recite this Disney family comedy line for line. And the cult classic has only grown in popularity since its release in 1993. Halloween in Salem, Mass. It sounds pretty sketchy, but it’s really just a whole lot of fun for the whole fam.
October 4 – Suspiria (1977)
The cultiest of cult classics. Known for being super bloody in the most seventies way possible and a soundtrack that would influence so many films left in its bloody footprint, this Italian freakshow is as scary as it is breathtaking to look at.
October 5 – The Cabin in the Woods
Totally campy, and playing on every trope, The Cabin in the Woods is a lighthearted voyeur’s peek into a group of college students who find their trip to the woods isn’t just turning into a scary movie…it’s turning into all the scary movies. Great twist at the end.
October 6 – Goodnight Mommy
This Austrian horror film about twin boys who torture their Mother is as demented as they come. For fans of scary little kids, creepy masks, and films with epic twists, this one ranks as one of the better horror movies we’ve seen come out in the last ten years. Super freaky and a trippy ride for all of its 100 minutes.
October 7 – Us
After changing the horror game with Get Out, Jordan Peele wrote and directed this chilling 2019 mindbender about a family who gets attacked – by themselves. Peele uses terrifying scenarios to tackle race and other social issues in his films, going places that horror rarely had before. If you think finding your own doppelgänger in the world intrigues you, Lupita Nyong’o and evil Lupita Nyong’o will change your mind real quick.
October 8 – Hereditary
From the mind of cinema’s brightest up and comer, Ari Aster, this is a horrifically freaky film about a seriously screwed up family coming face to face with its demons. The frights are essentially non-stop, some of the scenes will stick with you for weeks, and we only recommend this film to the toughest skinned thrill seekers.
October 9 – The Vanishing (1988)
More of a mind wracking thriller than traditional horror, this Dutch film will make you rethink rest stops for the rest of your days. A study in psychological torture and the fear we all have of losing a child or loved one. Demented, but not scary. For fans of “a-ha” moments, instead of jump scares and gore.
October 10 – The Descent
Let’s be real, caverns were already scary before seeing The Descent, but after watching this nasty flick about a team of lady explorers attacked by bat people, we had to cancel the annual trip to the Ape Caves forever. Not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for those afraid of the dark, winged creatures, and blunt force trauma.
October 11 – Young Frankenstein
If this isn’t Mel Brooks’ best movie, it definitely falls in the top two. Shot in crisp black and white, Halloween wouldn’t be the same without the whole family watching Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle reimagine Mary Shelley’s classic story. So funny. Iconic.
October 12 – Blood and Black Lace
There’s just something about Italian directors in the 60s and 70s that equals smart and artistic horror movies. This classic about a super model who is stalked by a blank faced assailant is sleek, well lit, and romantic in spite of its goriness.
October 13 – The Shining
Quite possibly the most iconic horror movie ever made, Jack Nicholson perfectly portrays the dad of nightmares in the legendary Stanley Kubrick psychological thriller. While nothing will outlive Jack peering through the freshly chopped hole in the bathroom door and delivering the line of the century, Shelley Duvall’s terrorized screams and young Danny Lloyd’s frozen state of shock when he rounds the corner of the Overlook Hotel and sees… well, if you don’t know, you better just watch it.
October 14 – The Host
Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho broke into mainstream American fame with last year’s Academy Awards Best Picture Parasite, and rightfully so. But he’s been making important, incredible films for a long time, including this sopping wet spooky spoof about a giant toxic monster that eats people and kidnaps children. Must watch.
October 15 – Psycho
Is this Alfred Hitchcock’s best? Maybe. But it’s certainly his most well-known for a reason. A staple on so many “best of” lists, a trailblazer that’s inspired 1,000 other great films, and proud recipient of The Creepiest Mother Son Relationship in the History of Cinema Award. A must watch every October.
October 16 – Cube
Picture this: you wake up and you’re in a giant maze of cubed rooms. You don’t know who put you there and if there’s even a way out. Oh, and by the way, the rooms are filled with deadly booby traps. You really get it all with this 1997 science-fiction horror mystery.
October 17 – Candyman (1992)
Inspired by the dangerous bathroom game played at sleepovers for generations, this buzzing psychological horror is a cerebral story of race, urban legend, and violence that will have you hooked from the jump.
October 18 – Hellraiser
The first of a 10-movie franchise, Clive Barker’s sick world escapes from a mysterious puzzle box. After a quick first kill, you guessed it, all hell literally breaks loose. If there’s an important takeaway, Pinhead and the other Cenobites are pretty trendy villains for the post-punk era.
October 19 – Halloweentown
We could go on and on about the revolutionary cinematic accomplishments that catapulted this family talkie to No. 9 on Complex’s “Top-25 Best Disney Channel Original Movies” list, but let’s just get to the point. It’s about a town that’s literally named after the holiday we’re getting ready to celebrate. How could you not watch it in October?
October 20 – Evil Dead 2
Gory, totally cheesy, and absolutely a titan of the medium. Bruce Campbell’s bloody, bullet riddled blood fest, where a deranged young man takes on an unending horde of undead evil with a chainsaw attached to the stump where his right hand once was.
October 21 – Troll 2
Absolutely one of the worst movies ever made, and for that it couldn’t be better. Literally nothing about the story makes sense, the costumes and special effects are atrocious, and the acting is worse than you’d see in a junior high auditorium. In spite of it all, this story of a young boy who is haunted by his grandfather and uprooted to a town where the citizens are all goblins is the best. You owe it to yourself to see this movie.
October 22 – Silence of the Lambs
Step aside, Darth Vader and The Joker. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter is hands down, no questions asked, undoubtedly the best villian of all time, and not just in horror. The Anthony Hopkins character only gets 16 minutes of on-screen time, and his performance still earned him best LEADING actor at the 1992 Oscars. The film and crew took home four more Oscars, including Best Actress for Jodie Foster, whose portrayal of the stoic but clearly uneasy Clarice Starling played perfectly off the always cunning Hannibal Lecter.
October 23 – Scream
Comedy horror films have been around for a century, but Wes Craven put a shot into the arm of the genre with Scream in 1996. Instead of just adding a few laughs into the teen slasher, the film openly calls out the stereotypes of scary movies and their braindead characters in hilarious fashion. Coupled with a solid plot twist and some behind-the-scenes fun facts, it’s no surprise we’re talking about the creativity of this spooky whodunit nearly 25 years later.
October 24 – Eraserhead
We stan hard for David Lynch, but while his work is usually totally scary, it’s not Halloween scary. Being his only work we think fits into this curated list, this hokey horror film about a man raising a monstrous worm baby is as weird as it sounds. Throw it on at midnight and let the surreal vibe wash over you.
October 25 – Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost
It’s all right there in the title. The world’s hungriest dog detective has a run in with a witch’s ghost. We know what you’re thinking: it’s not a real witch, nor a real ghost. Or have you seen too much Scooby Doo to believe that this time the ghost is real? You’ll just have to watch to find out.
October 26 – The Blair Witch Project
You hear some screams and you see some weird Voodoo imagery randomly pop up in a forest, but you never see a villain, never see any violence, and never quite know who or what is haunting three wannabe filmmakers in the Maryland woods. It was the first “recovered footage” film to become a massive success, setting a precedent for the low-budget horror industry.
October 27 – Creature from the Black Lagoon
This movie wouldn’t even need dialogue to be a stunning master work in the medium. The creepy, ever misunderstood gil-man lurks in the deep, the humans who don’t understand his fish-like ways try to kill him, and like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Stunning film.
October 28 – Beetlejuice
In typical Tim Burton fashion, this 1988 family comedy could be suitable for children but also nobody. It’s got a rock star cast, highlighted by Michael Keaton as the crass Betelgeuse (AKA Beetlejuice), who is hired to scare a living family into abandoning a deceased couple’s home.
October 29 – The Village
Ok but honestly, M. Night Shyamalan didn’t miss for like a decade. Did you know in the same year he wrote The Sixth Sense he also wrote Stuart Little? Unheard of versatility. Anyway, The Village stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Adrien Brody, who live in a 19th century village in Pennsylvania. The woods around them is guarded by “Those We Don’t Speak Of” and Howard, whose character is blind, has to venture into the forbidden forest to save a loved one. I mean, the guy wrote Signs and helped write She’s All That. What a career.
October 30 – Would You Rather
It’s a fun game we’ve all played to pass the time. Would you rather read the Terms and Conditions for a new HVAC system, or listen to your dad and Uncle Glenn talk about installing a new HVAC system? This shocking film about moral dilemma gives you more vibrant conundrums like, would you rather stab the person next to you with an ice pick or dig out their eyeball with a rusty spoon? It’s all good fun and great inspiration for your next slumber party.
October 31 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Nothing says midnight movie quite like a black and white film full of zombies and explicit gore. While it’s certainly not as scary as the stuff Hollywood’s cranking out today, there’s something so charming and rewarding about George A. Romero’s classic about the undead. It’s in the Library of Congress for good reason. If you haven’t seen it, now’s the time.
Now, in the past, we’ve been all about the social frivolities of All Hallows Eve. We went to the pumpkin patch, got scared straight at Tacoma’s haunted houses, and even pranked our co-workers with pumpkin spice lattes. We’re a little into Halloween, okay?
But even in the before times, our staff used each night of October to watch scary movies of varying degrees of fright. R Shocktober Movie Series is the perfect way to revisit an old classic horror or watch some campy slasher you just heard of. Grab your ghouls, turn out the lights, and let the show begin.
Always Together. We R Tacoma.
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