**I apologize in advance, because I am about to make a lot of assumptions about you, your life, and your television viewing.**
Halloween is on the horizon. We have all prepped for this. And now it’s here. We have 20 nights to binge-watch as much horror as we possibly can. Much like our childhood candy binges of the early Novembers throughout the 80s, the important thing is to pace yourself. Too much too soon, and you’re left with nothing but circus peanuts for those final days. So I’m here to give you one horror movie or show for each day until Halloween. Strap in. Welcome to your own personal 20 Nights of Horror.
It’s Friday night and you are ready to get weird. You left work, picked up a bottle of wine, and now you’ve settled in for another wild Friday night. This, of course, involves a jar of Nutella, a box of Nilla Wafers, a spoon, a stained sweatshirt older than anyone going out on a Friday night, and your Fire Stick remote. It fits into your hand so perfectly. Like you were meant for one another.
“Go away, children,” you mumble-yell through a locked door, mouth full of hazelnut spread. “They let you order pizzas with an app now. Run along. Go, go, go, go, go, go.”
So where to begin? Easy. On October 12th, Netflix debuts an original movie called Apostle. It’s billed as a horror thriller about a man venturing into a religious cult to save his sister. But none of that matters, because it stars Dan Stevens. Oh yeah. That Dan Stevens. The one who carried The Guest (one of your favorite movies in recent memory). AND he was the beast in Beauty in the Beast. ALSO he is the star of Legion. ADDITIONALLY, he was Matthew in Downton Abbey. Action hero, dreamboat, weird as f*** superhero, more dreamboat. You are in. All in. Not convinced? It’s written and directed by Gareth Evans, who wrote and directed V/H/S/2 and both of the brilliantly shit-balls Raid movies.
Remember when no one liked soccer? When you were a kid, and saying you played soccer sounded about like saying you played cricket or water polo? Like, enjoy your holiday in the countryside, you f***ing weirdo. But now? Soccer hijacks your Saturdays and holds them for ransom.
So you go to soccer games and run errands and plant mums, and, if you’re lucky, you get to stretch cotton spider webs all over your front porch. But while you work, so does your beautiful DVR. She’s in there taping (yes, taping, because it will always be taping, so just look it up and get on board) the first three Insidious movies on SyFy.
They start at noon, Eastern, and run through the afternoon. And they will be waiting on you when you finally settle back into bed to polish off the last of that Nutella. While the first two feature all of the same players (from Patrick Wilson down to writer and director), you may have skipped number three because they changed. But did you know the writer of all three (who also plays Specs in the films) made his directorial debut AND it stars Dermot “He’ll Forever Be Michael From My Best Friend’s Wedding” Mulroney?
Sundays are for binging. Nooo …. NO! Say it with me, “Sundays are for binging.” Good. The laundry has waited through all of October. You have learned to navigate the piles by discovering which ones to step onto in order to get to the ones you need. That is a skill. Don’t throw it away. There is television to watch.
Mike Flanagan is the writer/director who gave us the very solid Netflix original Gerald’s Game (based on the Stephen King novel), the miraculous improvement of a follow-up Ouija film (Ouija: Origin of Evil), the overlooked Oculus (starring Karen “Nebula” Gillan), and the f***ing amazing films Hush and Absentia (just look them up … for real … amazing). That is one impressive horror resume. And releasing October 12th, Mike Flanagan brings us a series based on the Shirley Jackson classic The Haunting of Hill House. It stars Silk Spectre from Watchmen, Daario Naharis from Game of Thrones, and Archie Goodwin from that badass Nero Wolfe show on A&E in the early 2000s (editor’s note: this is Timothy Hutton).
Work weeks suck. We won’t belabor the point with clichés and shit. Let’s just run through it, shall we?
At 6:00 PM Eastern Time, AMC is showing Trick ‘r Treat. There are five intersecting stories here, and it is probably the best horror movie you might have never seen.
AMC follows up strong with a 5:25 PM (Eastern) showing of 28 Days Later. Although this movie gets forgotten in horror lists a lot, it is terrifying and beautifully written by novelist Alex Garland (which shows).
By Wednesday, you’ll be ready for the world to just go ahead and shut the f*** up. So why not revisit the great Mike Flanagan and check out the previously mentioned Hush on Netflix? It centers around a deaf woman being hunted by a masked killer.
Go ahead and return to AMC for a 9:00 PM (Eastern) showing of the 1978 Halloween. First off, it’s required viewing for the season; and secondly, by most accounts, it is the best horror film ever made. Are you really disputing “most accounts” right now? You can f*** right off.
Friday rolls back around and you’ve committed to something. Like a goddamn moron. What is wrong with you? You think you’re twenty-seven again or something? Concerts are for people who have yet to realize how wonderful it is to just stay home. But you did it. Congratulations.
When you get home, you’re going to be tired, sticky, and mad as f***. So let’s keep this real simple. Earlier on Friday morning, AMC showed Halloween III: Season of the Witch at 9:00 AM (Eastern). Because you appreciate the film as one of the most wrongly maligned movies in history, you taped it (don’t you dare say it). When Michael Myers died at the end of Halloween II, John Carpenter’s idea was to make a different Halloween every year, focused on different topics. We ruined it. Not them. We did that. So on Friday night, you kick back after your (gag) outing, and enjoy what might have been.
At 9:00 PM (Eastern) on the SyFy Channel, those crazy bastards are airing a SyFy original called Killer High. And you are so f***ing there for every last bit of that. It is most likely going to be awful, which is exactly what you need. See that image? Yeah. It’s for real. You need to make fun of high school reunion goers getting murdered. And that is okay. You’re okay.
What are Sundays for? Very good.
You likely need a palate cleanser at this point. And Netflix is there for you. On October 19th, they drop both season two of Making a Murderer (who knows where the hell that’s going) and season three of Marvel’s Daredevil (which has gotten progressively better). You’re going to pick one or the other … or … maybe both.
On Mondays, truth be told, sometimes you try to make yourself believe you’re all smart and cultured and shit. Although it fades by mid-Tuesday, you can let yourself play pretend for a night. So watch Eyes Without a Face (TCM, 2:30 AM Eastern) for some creepy French artsy shit. Or you can catch The Frankenstein Myth (TCM, 8:00 PM Eastern) for a documentary about the original Mary Shelley novel.
F*** it. Cult of Chucky is on AMC. Being dumb is SO much more fun.
On Wednesday, AMC is following up with Fright Night. I’m going to be honest, it doesn’t currently tell whether it is the original or the Colin Farrell-David Tennant remake, but does it matter?
At this point, you have realized that the Kubrick classic The Shining, based on one of King’s best books, is on Netflix. What else would you do on a Thursday night. (Also yearly required viewing, along with Halloween).
For Friday night, SyFy releases season four of their stellar original show Channel Zero (Channel Zero: The Dream Door). While the plan is to air one episode per night for six nights, they will also be placing all six episodes on their streaming service. So, depending on whether or not you learned your lesson last Friday night, maybe you watch the first episode. Or maybe you watch them all and hide under your covers all night.
On Saturday, you can pick up the third and final required viewing for the Halloween season. AMC is showing Friday the 13th. Again, they aren’t clear yet whether or not it’s the original. And you would, of course, prefer the original. But if it’s the remake, we’ll allow it. Because Jared Padalecki.
Ahh, Sunday. Yeah, you know what to do.
On Friday, Channel Zero wasn’t the only show to drop. Netflix brings us the reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. From all early signs and reports, the vibe is much, much darker. There appear to be all the right notes of Riverdale happening here, with some creepy new touches which could … could make it pitch perfect. Also, wonderful for a ten-episode Sunday binge.
For your final Monday of the month, why not go to the root of the Joan Crawford-Bette Davis feud with a viewing of Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte (TCM, 3:45 PM Eastern)?
It’s possible you might be watching more Channel Zero: The Dream Door on all these nights. But, if not, the best way to close out the season might be with a couple of modern classics on Netflix. For Halloween Eve, revisit It Follows. Immediately, you will be reminded that Keir Gilchrist broke out in this movie before Atypical. Oh, and it will scare the shit out of you.
We made it. Unfortunately, Halloween is actually hard for you to watch scary movies like you want because of ALL THE F***ING KIDS EVERYWHERE. The candy is gone, children. I ate it. Some of us have hard days and eat our feelings in Take 5 candy bars, so move along.
But you find time for one. And it is The Babadook, available on Netflix. Few films have provided more genuine scares in recent years. And, even better, it is one of far too few horror films written and directed by a woman, Jennifer Kent.