Not having the autumn around can be tough. The leaves don’t really change in Texas, nor does the weather (except for an errant haboob every now and then). But I know that the fall has truly arrived when Rocktober starts. What is Rocktober? Great question!
Rocktober is an annual tradition where my wife and I watch as many quality scary movies as possible during the month of October. And it rocks!
Now, this isn’t a competition. We have a list of movies we try to get through, but it doesn’t always work. Stuff happens. Deadlines, grading, the Community Halloween episode–if we don’t get to all the films, there’s always next year (or, for some, next month–The Orphanage is always good).
So what do you need? Only three things.
1) Nighttime. The Birds and Scream should be the only scary movies you should watch during the day. The rest of the year you have plenty of time for other movies. Make time for Rocktober.
2) Apple cider. If you can, find a great recipe (start with real cider, not that apple juice they market as cider at the grocery store), and let that beast simmer in the crockpot. If you need a recipe, here’s the one we use:
• 8 cups apple cider
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup of brown sugar
• 6 inches of stick cinnamon
• 1 tsp whole allspice
• 1 tsp. whole cloves
Put the dry materials in a spice bag, and enjoy.
3) The movies. For all of you who want to play along at home, here is the list of films. Unfortunately, I do draw the line at some films. For example, I like having zombies represented on the list (Night of the Living Dead), but I don’t want to spend the entire month on them (especially those that *technically* aren’t true zombie movies, such as 28 Days Later). As for pretty much everything else, it’s just a matter of preference. Add or take away what you wish.
I would, however, like to mention three specific movies that you might want to be sure to include. You don’t need me to tell you that Halloween is a masterpiece, or that The Thing is one of the greatest horror films of all time. And by now I’m sure you know of my unmatched adoration for The Descent (you should–I talked about it here…and here too). But here are three that you might have overlooked:
Trick ‘R’ Treat: This one was actually not even released in theaters, but it should be a permanent addition to your Halloween line-up. I actually watch it the day before Halloween (both the day and the movie). It’s a series of four stories, all taking place on Halloween. It’s dark, but has dark humor. It’s very aware of its audience, but doesn’t mug for the camera. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has some genuinely scary moments. Oh, and it features (among others) Anna Paquin and Brian Cox. Show your friends–you’ll look like a genius.
Night of the Demon: It’s strange that when I talk about horror classics, I tend to forget about everything pre-1978. Night of the Demon was released in 1957 and it stars Dana Andrews as a scientist who debunks the supernatural, but is faced with a series of mysterious deaths (think the premise of The Reaping but without the heavy-handed religious message. And the horrible ending. And the awful pacing. On second thought, don’t think of The Reaping.). The plot might not sound like anything impressive, but the acting and the atmosphere make for a truly unsettling film (without any gore).
House of Wax: Yes, the original is a classic, but I am more and more impressed by the remake each time I watch it. Yes, I am aware that the critics do not feel the same way I do. But here’s my take: House of Wax is the complete opposite of the modern horror film because it starts off horribly but gets better and better. I realize that the film was basically a vehicle to see Paris Hilton killed off, but after the first 20 minutes of what can laughably be called character development, the plot really takes off and there are some great scenes. Rocktober is a 31 day event–you’ve got time.
Here is the list, in no particular order. Enjoy.
– Trick R Treat
– Friday the 13th
– The Shining
– Nightmare on Elm Street
– The Ring
– The Orphanage
– Blair Witch Project
– House of Wax
– The Changeling
– The Thing
– The Orphan
– Let Me In
– Behind the Mask
– The Mist
– Dog Soldiers
– Last Winter
– Paranormal Activity
– Night of the Living Dead
– Night of the Demon
– The Omen