In celebration of the spookiest month of the year, I set myself a challenge to watch a horror movie every day for the month of October.
I ended up watching 31 movies and surrounded myself in a month’s worth of blood, gore, tacky one-liners, unnecessary female nudity that seems to come with horror films, and screams of “don’t go up there!”
Out of the list of horror movies I watched (which can be found here) there are definitely a few that really made the cut - so to speak. Here is my October Challenge Award Winners, and some of these main contain spoilers if you haven’t watched the movies yet:
Best Death Scene In A Horror Movie: Mike in Tucker And Dale Vs Evil
Watching 31 horror movies means watching A LOT of death scenes, and each one was unique and bloody, but the best death scene I witnessed during my challenge belongs to the 2010 horror comedy Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, starring British actor Alan Tudyk, comedy heavyweight Tyler Labine, and sweetheart Katrina Bowden.
Tucker and Dale Vs Evil is up there as one of the most cleverly devised horror comedies out there, along with Shaun of the Dead. It’s about two loveable hillbillies on vacation in a dilapidated mountain cabin when a series of misinterpretations occur and they are mistaken as serial killing murderers by a group of preppy college kids.
As the college kids attempt to rescue their friend, they end up dying at their own hands and one of the best death scenes was when Tucker is working on his property with a woodchipper, and college kid Mike (played by Joseph Sutherland) runs up behinds him, trips, and falls head first straight into the woodchipper. It may not be the most unique death, but the way that it is shot happens so fast, and is so surprising and sudden, that it’s hard not appreciate the accidental death for what it was. Only in a comedy would such a death be so cleverly portrayed!
Strongest Victim In A Horror Movie: Reece in Green Room
I’m a sucker for strong characters – emotionally, physically, mentally, it doesn’t matter – but strong characters aren’t usually found in horror movies. We need someone to run up the stairs instead of out the door, and we need even the most likable characters to be plot devices for a killer. So when a strong character shows up in a horror movie – even if they die in the end because they are a supporting character and not the main star – I sit up and pay attention.
Green Room is a horror film about a down and out punk band who score a gig in a neo-nazi skinhead bar but end up witnessing a murder and have to fight for survival when it becomes clear that the owners of the bar have no intention of letting them leave. Starring my favourite actor Anton Yelchin (may he rest in peace), as well as Fright Night’s Imogen Poots and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawcat, the film a fast-paced and hard-edged ride that leaves a lot behind.
It does, however, showcase a brilliant set of realistic Brazilian Ju Jitsu moves displayed by the character of Reece (played by Joe Cole) that I was more than excited to point out that I knew how to do. It probably makes me biased, but the fact that Reece was more than willing to step in and utilise moves such as arm guards and choke holds made me highlight the character as the strongest in all the horror movies I watched. Even before the killings began Reece was willing to step in and protect his own and (spoiler alert) while he wasn’t tough enough to survive the movie, he was only brought down by a surprise attack.
I’d still choose him to be on my apocalypse team.
Most Surprising Slasher Movie: The Babysitter
There’s nothing quite like a classic slasher – a generic scenario, attractive stars, a particular killer, a few funny moments, and not-too-gory death scenes that almost border on unique. The slasher flick, with movies like Scream and Friday the 13th, are what helped define the horror genre and it’s hard to come by nowadays. More recent horror movies focus on the gore or the comedy and tend to neglect the classic slasher elements, but the 2017 Netflix movie The Babysitter surprisingly took the slasher to its well-rooted heights.
Starring Australian actress Samara Weaving and cheerleading outfit clad Bella Thorne, The Babysitter is about a young boy named Cole who spies on his babysitter one night after he is supposed to go to bed and discovers she and her group of friends are meddling in occult practices. As Cole struggles to get away from his demonic babysitter, he finds himself in deadly situation after deadly situation. The Babysitter really hits the slasher nail on the head, and what I thought was going to be a terribly made goofy horror actually surprised me by being good. Definitely worth a look!
Most Realistic Horror Movie: The Belko Experiment
Ok, so maybe the 2016 movie The Belko Experiment may not be the most realistic of horror movies considering the building was sealed shut with an impenetrable armour, and the unnecessary fact that it was an American office environment set in Columbia, but The Belko Experiment was probably the realist take on human nature and human survival that I watched during the month.
When an office building is given an ultimatum – kill 30 people amongst the team or 60 will die – human survival of the fittest kicks in and the strongest of the teams find themselves doing whatever necessary in order to get out of the building alive. It in no way was a unique storyline, as my friend pointed out to me, but it was enjoyable for the sheer fact that every employee in a mundane desk job probably dreams about going postal at one point in their lives - because isn’t that why the term “going postal” exists?
This in itself is why I awarded The Belko Experiment as the most realistic horror movie.
Best Villain In A Horror Movie: Sam from Trick R Treat
Hands down, my favourite horror movie villain will always be Tiffany from Bride of Chucky, however due to circumstance on the 31 days of October 2017, I did not end up watching Bride of Chucky so my favourite bride doll doesn't make the cut for best villain.
Instead, this honor goes all the way out to Sam the Pumpkin Head in the anthology Halloween movie Trick R Treat. Sam first appears as a seemingly innocent masked trick-or-treater in a dirty orange onesie with a burlap sack as a mask. Later, it is revealed that Sam is actually a demon who acts as the enforcer for the rules and traditions of Halloween.
It may seem a bit cryptic at first as Sam kills a woman who blows out the pumpkin offering, but as the movie goes on and we get to see Sam in action you realise that some traditions need to be enforced - and if anyone is going to do it, a onesie clad half-pumpkin seems like just the right villain to do so!
Most Horrifying Horror Movie: The Hills Have Eyes
I hadn’t seen the 2006 horror flick The Hills Have Eyes before I started this challenge, and I have to say I probably never will again. Written by Horror movie legend Wes Craven and starring Lost’s Emilie De Ravin, Easy A’s Dan Byrd, and X-Men’s Aaron Stanford, The Hills Have Eyes is a grittily filmed movie about a suburban American family being stalked by a group of mutants in the New Mexico desert. It’s a good film, with the right amount of suspense and violence to keep the horror fan’s happy, but the reason it is the second most horrifying horror movie I have ever seen (After I Spit On Your Grave) is not the cannibals – it’s the attack on the human essence. Featuring a horrifying rape scene, a threatening scene with a new mother, and a kidnapping of a baby with a desperate search thrown in, The Hills Have Eyes continues to be horrific more than 10 years later.
Want to know more about the 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge? Check out the list here, and stay turned for an article about what I learned watching a horror movie every day for a month.