As I have made clear in the past, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’ve long outgrown trick-or-treating, and while I enjoy a good costume party, somehow every year I feel like I fall a little short of my dress-up aspirations. No, I’m not in it for the costumes and candy. I love Halloween for the scares. More specifically, Halloween is the one time of year when there’s a bounty of horror movies—for free!—on television. In an era of on-demand t.v. and Netflix streaming any ole time you like, this is less special than it used to be; if I want to watch all eighty-six installments of Friday the 13th back to back, I can do it whenever I please, without even getting up from the couch to run down to my local Blockbuster (RIP). But I get a certain amount of delight when I’m channel surfing on a random October evening and I come across horror flicks on a dozen different channels, all there for my choosing. It’s like going to a buffet and realizing someone put out all your favorite foods.
Throughout October, I also get to be normal. When I tell people that I regularly lull myself to sleep at bedtime by watching The Exorcist because I find it familiar and comforting, I get nothing but side-eyes and raised eyebrows. But if I mention that I spent a random October Saturday afternoon comparing The Ring with its Japanese predecessor, Ringu, no one thinks anything of it. October is the time of year when my year-round love of horror movies isn’t deemed weird; it’s perfectly natural to indulge in a few spine-tingles as Halloween approaches.
A few years ago, inspired by Joe Reid (of Extra Hot Great Mark 1 fame), I decided to embark on a horror-movie binge-watch. In episode 4 of EHG, Joe had talked about watching as many as 17 horror films in one October week; his only criteria for the movies he watched was that they had to be available on t.v. for free — no DVDs, no Netflix instant streaming, no iTunes rentals. My quest, I decided, would be a little different: I would watch scary stuff in any format, but I wouldn’t limit myself to just one week. I would, instead, watch one horror movie every single day in October. Thus, the Halloween-o-Thon was born.
The first year, I managed something like 26 movies — fairly respectable. The next year, I decided that not only would I aim for a horror movie a day; I would only watch films I’d never seen before. That year, I discovered great, new-to-me movies like The Awakening and House, MST3K-able trash like Ghost Ship, and classics like Carnival of Souls and April Fool’s Day. But I still only managed to watch about 20 movies that month.
I’ve taken a couple years off since the last Halloween-o-Thon, but I’m giving it another go this year. The rules have changed a little, though. In the past, I posted a couple thoughts on Facebook after watching each movie. This year, however, I have a blog, so I thought I’d use it to talk about each movie I watch. And since those ideas will probably take the form of a few paragraphs instead of one sentence — and since I also have a job and a book to write and a life — I’m not going to shoot for a movie a day for 31 days. Instead, I’m going to try and watch five movies each week of October, for a total of 20 movies that month. My goal will be to post something about each film the day after I watch it. This Halloween-o-Thon will cover both new movies and movies I’ve seen dozens of times. The main criteria for a film will be whether I think I might have something to say about it that’s worth reading (hopefully).
So stay tuned for scares! Like the titular “it” in It Follows, Halloween-o-Thon is slowly, inexorably coming your way.