The 100: Ranking Every Halloween-Adjacent Movie I Watched So You Don't Have To
If you know me, there's a good chance you know about one of my greatest character traits: I really like Halloween.
There's something to be said about a holiday that has nothing to do with moral values or religion – in fact, Oct. 31st seems to be about the exact opposite. Wear something goofy, go out with your friends, eat candy, and have fun – what isn't there to love? Except for this year. Obviously, 2020 has thrown a wrench into any typical Halloween plans and, so, we've all had to pivot. Some of us started news podcasts, learned how to make spooky garland crafts, or even resorted to baking massive amounts of pumpkin-flavored cookies.
Well, I am nothing if not committed to my bits, so I devised a plan to watch as many horror (or Halloween-adjacent) movies as possible. And given all of my embarrassingly large blind spots in this blossoming fandom, it was time to go all-in. Starting in late September, I began my journey with The Dead Zone – but I had no idea that my competitively-obsessive side would rear its ugly head and I'd push for 100.
Yeah, 100 movies since Sept. 23 – it's insane, I know. For those you doing the math at home, that's 2.6 movies per day. On days, I'd go through completely cold streaks, but that's part of the adventure, right? I invented new forms of measurement and found brand-new favorites – but I also mined a deep well of 'underrated-indie-horrors' that disappointed more often than not.
Occasionally, I'd get a film in on one day; then watch six the next. Then, sometime around Oct. 24, a roommate asked about my total – and a realization set in: could I hit 100? Did I want to make 100? Would I sacrifice good movies for bad ones? As Rough Cut founder Carson Cook put it when I asked for last-minute sage advice last night: "Why not both?"
And here we are, 100. Pushing for 100 came about in two ways: 1. So that I'd set a record I would never attempt to beat. Whew, this was fun, but this marks a triple-digit number that'll need not reach again. And if you get into the 90s and don't get to 100, what was the point at all?
Our list today is sorted on a star scale that goes from 1 to 5. Here and there, I've also thrown in some notes, so you can pick out your next spooky marathon effectively and skip the fluff. Additionally, movies marked with an * indicate that it's a re-watch – yes, I love Aliens, no, somehow, I had not seen The Exorcist. Apologies in advance if I hated your favs, I am a flawed individual.
So, without further ado, welcome to the mind of a very stupid person:
Oct. 31 - Aliens* - 5 Sept. 22 - The Silence of the Lambs* - 5
Oct. 17 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind* - 5
Oct. 18 - The Thing - 5
Oct. 9 - Halloween - 5
Oct. 27 - Event Horizon - 5
Notes: No true surprises here, honestly. I could easily go the rest of my life just cycling through these six movies and I'd be a happy boy. A few of the highest 4.5s may get bumped up to this team in 2021, but this is an elite group. The Thing is body horror bliss, Halloween is the perfect Halloween film, and, yes, you're wrong: Event Horizon rules and Fuck This Ship! is iconic.
And what can you even say about the top three?
The Fours Oct. 31 - Candyman - 4.5
Oct. 19 - A Nightmare on Elm Street - 4.5
Oct. 24 - Over The Garden Wall 4.5*
Oct. 15 - The Descent* - 4.5
Oct. 21 - Scream 2 - 4.5
Oct. 15 - Saw* - 4.5
Oct. 9 - Poltergeist - 4.5
Sept. 24 - The Cabin in the Woods* - 4.5
Notes: Finally, our affair gets a bit more interesting! Question: Why don't we talk about Candyman more often? Tony Todd is a legend and this gothic-feeling flick is suspenseful and so wonderful. The bees! The Philip Glass score! Good lord, I feel ashamed I've only just watched it – but now it'll be in my yearly rotation for sure.
Elsewhere, bed blenders! Ain't it just the way! And Hello, Zep! Say what you will about the slew of Saw sequels (and I'll write 1,5000 words no problem) but the original is nearly untouchable. The twist! Danny Glover! Ben from LOST!
In a move that's bound to upset Rough Cut founder Zach D'Amico, it's true, I think I prefer Scream 2 to Scream – it's too hard to pass up classic Timothy Olyphant and that amazingly meta opening scene at the movie theater.
Final PSA: The Descent is possibly the greatest horror movie post-2000, I might as well begin dying on some of these hills I've built – so here's a good place to start.
Oct. 14 - Blade - 4
Oct. 19 - Scream - 4
Oct. 30 - Happy Death Day* - 4 Oct. 29 - The Fourth Kind* - 4
Oct. 30 - Final Destination* - 4
Oct. 3 - As Above, So Below - 4
Oct. 28 - Hellraiser - 4
Oct. 28 - The Void - 4
Sept. 19 - Underwater - 4
Sept. 17 - The Evil Dead - 4
Oct. 16 - Anna And The Apocalypse - 4
Oct. 26 - Creepshow - 4
Oct. 29 - Black Christmas - 4
Oct. 30 - The Exorcist - 4
Oct. 25 - One Cut Of The Dead - 4
Oct. 2 - The Nightmare Before Christmas - 4
Oct. 26 - The Monster Squad - 4
Oct. 7 - Psycho - 4
Oct. 7 - Cube* - 4
Notes: Oh, OK, so it's time to get weird, huh? Anna And The Apocolypse is an underrated gem – tell me that 'Solider At War' isn't the peak of zombie musical perfection?
Psycho (and Rear Window) is also the highest grade I've ever given to an Alfred Hitchcock film. I wrote about how dumb I am here, go read it.
Because I am nothing but honest: The Exorcist is a bit of a slog! 4 is partly a legacy grade, but I am also afraid I just didn't get it. Religion is scary, I guess?
More hills to die on: Underwater was really good! It's too bad T.J. Miller helped to bury this film for so long because K-Stew rules. Sure, it's just Sea Alien, but who cares?
Last but not least: "Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill" deserves its own star in Hollywood.
Oct. 30 - The Blair Witch Project* - 3.5
Oct. 25 - Re-Animator - 3.5
Oct. 26 - Phantasm - 3.5
Oct. 13 - You’re Next - 3.5
Sept. 23 - The Dead Zone - 3.5
Sept. 25 - Beetlejuice - 3.5
Oct. 12 - Alien 3 - 3.5
Oct. 30 - Thir13en Ghosts - 3.5
Oct. 8 - Red Dragon - 3.5
Oct. 14 - Blade II - 3.5
Oct. 14 - Evil Dead II - 3.5
Sept. 25 - American Psycho - 3.5
Sept. 20 - Dead Snow - 3.5
Oct. 22 - Nosferatu the Vampyre - 3.5
Sept. 22 - Vertigo - 3.5
Notes: Nazi zombies are always a fun time, You're Next's Erin is a top-tier Final Girl, and the Alien + Lambs sequels were better than I remembered. Blade II + Evil Dead II didn't quite meet up to the massive prior hype. And while watching the horrifically-named Thir13en Ghosts yesterday, I realized that y'all take this movie stuff too seriously: It's easily peak-early-2000s Good Campy Horror. Watch it for hammy F. Murray Abraham – but stay for a career-best role from Matthew Lillard!
Oct. 22 - Trick ‘r Treat - 3
Oct. 12 - Alien: Resurrection - 3
Oct. 30 - The Lost Boys - 3
Oct. 1 - Tragedy Girls - 3
Oct. 29 - The House of the Devil - 3
Oct. 26 - Scream 4 - 3
Oct. 29 - Host - 3
Oct. 29 - Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street - 3
Oct. 1 - Oculus - 3
Oct. 30 - Final Destination 2 - 3
Oct. 29 - The Babadook - 3
Oct. 10 - Bug - 3
Oct. 17 - Killer Klowns From Outer Space - 3
Oct. 27 - Color Out Of Space - 3
Oct. 23 - Random Acts of Violence - 3
Oct. 7 - Cube Zero - 3
Oct. 4 - Dante’s Inferno - 3
Oct. 30 - Hell Night - 3
Oct. 2 - Let Me In - 3
Oct. 26 - Blood Quantum - 3
Oct. 23 - Scare Me - 3
Note: My only comment: Good lord, The Lost Boys is one of the wildest creations of all time – in both good and bad ways.
Oct. 20 - A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge - 2.5
Oct. 8 - Hubie Halloween - 2.5
Oct. 30 - Friday The 13th Part 2 - 2.5
Oct. 31 - Polaroid - 2.5
Oct. 29 - Spiral - 2.5
Oct. 7 - Cube 2: Hypercube - 2.5
Oct. 6 - The Birds - 2.5
Sept. 18 - Spider Baby - 2.5
Notes: An elite group of so-sos. Polaroid is Not Great, however, I must support Mitch Pileggi, who is doing his best Skinner impression here, but with teenagers instead of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
I kinda enjoyed Hubie Halloween, don't sue me!
Oct. 21 - Scream 3 - 2
Oct. 31 - Creep - 2
Oct. 24 - Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - 2
Oct. 29 - The Mortuary Collection - 2
Oct. 22 - The Human Centipede - 2
Oct. 22 - Friday The 13th - 2
Oct. 29 - Daniel Isn’t Real - 2
Oct. 11 - Hell House LLC - 2
Oct. 6 - Friend Request - 2
Oct. 25 - They - 2
Oct. 29 - Monster Party - 2
Oct. 11 - The Taking of Deborah Logan - 2
Sept. 22 - Island of Lost Souls - 2
Notes: Yeah, The Human Centipede. If that wasn't bad enough, we recorded an entire audio commentary for it. Our loss is your gain.
The Ones (And Below)
Oct. 28 - Hellraiser: Hellseeker - 1.5
Oct. 11 - Ink - 1.5
Oct. 29 - The Cleansing Hour - 1.5
Sept. 18 - Nina Forever - 1.5
Oct. 6 - Let Me Make You A Martyr - 1.5
Notes: All I have to say is that I was so impressed by the original Hellraiser that I wanted to watch the sequel. Unfortunately, they stuck so many fake hell-plus words in the titles that I accidentally watched Hellseeker instead of Hellbound, essentially skipping from 2 to 6. That's on me.
Sept. 30 - Banshee Chapter - 1
Oct. 30 - Slender Man - 1
Oct. 5 - The Corpse of Anna Fritz - .5
Oct. 26 - Scare Package - .5
Oct. 5 - Landmine Goes Click - .5
Notes: Congrats, I guess, to Landmine Goes Click! Somebody had to be last – but maybe we can end on this thought: What if we stopped using sexual assault as a plot point in horror films? OK, cool, good chat.
And there it is, the final 100 tally. What am I sleeping on? What should I watch next? Let me know ahead of the 2021 attempt!
I'm exhausted – time to sleep until Thanksgiving.