31 Days of Horror Wrap-Up


I had a lot of fun with my movie marathon this year, though I do feel a bit burnt-out and am ready to dive into cozy mysteries and holiday films. (Any films with asterisks [**] were new to me this year.)

Here is what I watched this season:

1. Trick R' Treat
2. The Craft
3. Creepshow
4. Hocus Pocus
5. Elvira Mistress of the Dark
6. Poltergeist 3 
7. The Final Girls**
8. The Forrest**
9. Lords of Salem**
10. Swamp Thing**
11. Psycho II**
12. What Lies Beneath
13. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon**
14. The Visit**
15. Don't Breathe**
16. Find Me**
17. Ouija**
18. Seven**
19. Salem's Lot**
20. Ouija: Origin of Evil** 
21. Big Driver
22. The Grudge
23. Starry Eyes**
24. It Follows**
25. Visions**
26. Lady Frankenstein (hosted by Elvira)**
27. Gingerbread Man 2: Passion of the Crust**
28. Last House on the Left (1972)
29. See No Evil (1971)
30. You're Next
31. The Attic**

Superlatives:

Best Rediscovery: What Lies Beneath

Made-for-TV Superstar: Big Driver

Best Cult Classics: The Craft and The Grudge

New Classic: You're Next

Best New-To-Me: The Final Girls

Halloween Essentials: Hocus Pocus, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, and Trick R' Treat

Some Closing Thoughts

I am drawing my 31 Days of Horror celebration to a close a little early this year for a few reasons--the biggest reason being that I am burnt out on horror, which I have been reveling in since the late summer. I would also recommend most of the films on my list above, and I think it might be fun for readers to check them out as the culture ramps up for Halloween in the next week.

This year--namely the past four months--I have watched more horror films in a limited period of time than ever before in my life. My theory is that this is due to my fear about issues in the broader culture that needed a safe place. Horror movies gave me a haven to explore my anxieties about the Orlando shooting, homophobia, and the prospect of a monstrous, grotesque Republican presidential candidate running in the election. All of these fearful events made me hungry for dark tones and the macabre.

However, something shifted  in me over the past week and the images I found interesting before turned unattractive. I can pinpoint this feeling over the last two horror movies I watched this season: the excellent You're Next and disastrous The Attic. I have watched You're Next several times and think it's a contemporary masterpiece of the home invasion and slasher genres. It's smart and gory to the point of comedy, but the comedy didn't work on me this time. I still think it's a masterwork and recommend any slasher fan to seek it out, but my appetite for this kind of movie curdled.

Then I watched The Attic, the only movie on my above list  that I outright urge readers to avoid. (Okay: Lords of Salem is pretty awful too, though it has style.) I am not averse to schlock. In fact, I am often drawn to fascinating failures, B pictures, cult classics, and underdogs. However, The Attic is so incompetently written, acted, edited, and directed, watching it tired me out. Normally, I would have been intrigued by its missteps, but my interest was greatly diminished.

I am not done with horror movies. I think it's an important genre, and I always enjoy discussing its merits (despite whether or not I am watching a lot of the genre at the moment). Genre tropes provide a safe framework to realize specific fantasies and emotions. Horror allows creators and viewers to explore loss, death, fear, violence, and uncertainty.  Yet, genre formulas also get tiresome at certain quantities, and my appetite for horror conventions is satiated. It's time for me to move on to Murder, She Wrote episodes, Miss Marple movies, and holiday comedies. I want to explore different emotions in genres that address lighter ideas and feelings.

Horror has been an important companion for the past few months, and I am grateful for the films I've watched. It's a genre I always return to and this Halloween season I hope you, dear reader, will watch your favorite scary movie (or try a new one!) and take joy in a genre that let's us know it's okay to be scared sometimes. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

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