October came in unexpectedly fast, and left with a flash. All that remains are the memories of my second month-long challenge of 2012 (the first being the inaugural Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge back in June that mixed horror and sci-fi). Looking back, I would have loved to watch more films than I did, but that’s always the case, whether there is a challenge going or not.

For the uninitiated, every year for the past 8 years, the users on the DVDTalk forums put together one of the biggest and best movie challenges of the year. Each year the prizes grow and grow thanks to better and more established sponsorship. The overall goal is simple: to watch 100 horror movies in the month of October. If you manage this, you are automatically entered in for a chance to win one of the many prizes that the challenge offers.

Though 100 movies sounds like a lot – and it is – the challenge is open and allows for users to set their own goals (without the draw of prizes, mind). Arguably the best part of the challenge is simply the fact that you get to discuss horror movies with absolute horror fanatics thanks to the DVDTalk forums. Since there is no way I would ever be able to watch 100 movies in one month, I usually set my goal to watching 31 horror films in 31 days, which is exactly what I hoped to do this year. As I did during the Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge, I wrote a small review for every movie I watched on Letterboxd. Below is my full list of the movies I watched, as well as the final statistics for the month. If you want to see a review for a film, just click on the title. I plan on exporting all those review to Cinefessions in the near future, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. In the meantime, check them out on Letterboxd.

Final 2012 Statistics

Goals:
[ ] Watch at least 31 Horror Entries in 31 Days
– Failed. I made it to 28.
[ ] Watch all 31 random categories in October – Failed. I only made it through 20 of them.

By the Numbers:
Total Time Spent Watching Horror – 44 Hours and 25 Minutes (2,665 minutes)
Average Runtime – 1 Hour 35 Minutes and 10.68 Seconds (95.178 minutes)
Average Release Year of All Entries – 1999
Average Star Rating of All Entries – 2.8
First-Time Viewings – 60.7% (17 out of 28)

Formats:
Blu-ray Disc – 15 (54%)
DVD – 7 (25%)
Blu-ray 3D – 4 (14%)
Netflix Instant Queue – 1 (3.5%)
Comcast OnDemand – 1 (3.5%)

Decades:
2010s – 7 (25%)
2000s – 11 (39%)
1990s – 0 (0%)
1980s – 8 (29%)
1970s – 1 (3.5%)
1960s – 1 (3.5%)

Opinions:
Best Movie of the MonthHalloween (1978) – I’ve watched this movie more times than I can count, but this latest viewing really helped me realize that this might be my favorite horror film of all-time, if not my favorite overall film of all-time. Every scene is classic.

Worst Movie of the MonthArea 407 (2012) – I didn’t watch a lot of genuinely bad films this month, and that is echoed in this selection. It’s not that this movie was terrible, it just wasn’t very good. Since this is as bad as it gets, I’m quite thrilled with my month of movie watching.

Biggest Surprise of the MonthPet Sematary (1989) – I’ve seen parts of this over the years – some parts many times, like the beginning – but I never realized how awesome this movie really is. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did on my first time sitting through the whole thing, but it’s a gem. As I said in my review, it Fred Gwynne puts on one of the finest horror performances I’ve ever seen.

Biggest Disappointment of the MonthGrace (2009) – There’s not much to say about this one other than the fact that it felt like a short film stretched into a full-length movie, which is exactly what it is. Just disappointing all around. Again, not terrible, just not good.

Most Surprising Stat of the Month – This has to be the fact that I didn’t watch a single horror film from the 1990s. It’s a decade of horror I am quite familiar with (and spent a great deal of time with in June during my Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge), though, so that is probably why I didn’t watch any of it here. A close second is the fact that I watched a whopping five (5) horror films on Blu-ray 3D. I really like my new 3D TV!

Most Disappointing Stat of the Month – It’s not the fact that I didn’t reach my goals of 31 movies, but rather the fact that I fell asleep during three movies that otherwise would have gotten me to the goal. It’s not that those movies were bad, it’s just that I was tired. Oh well. There’s always next year!

I decided to write out 31 random horror categories (some are repeats) and randomly draw one every day for the month of October. It will be a secondary goal to watch a film for all 31 of these categories.

Note: The challenge officially starts at 7:45 p.m. (30 minutes after the 7:15 sunset) on Sunday, September 30, 2012, and ends at dawn on November 1, 2012.

Click on the title of each film for my mini-review (via Letterboxd).

September 30, 2012; Dusk
Horror Film #: 01.
Randomly Picked Category: None (Categories go from Oct. 1 – Oct. 31 only)
Film: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Year: 1986
Director: John McNaughton
Runtime: 83 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 1, 2012
Horror Film #: 02.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Teen Screams Horror Film”
Film: Cabin in the Woods
Year: 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Runtime: 95 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 03.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: Jeepers Creepers
Year: 2001
Director: Victor Salva
Runtime: 90 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 04.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: Jeepers Creepers II
Year: 2003
Director: Victor Salva
Runtime: 104 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 2, 2012
Horror Film #: 05.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Zombie Horror Film”
Film: Zombieland
Year: 2009
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Runtime: 88 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

October 3, 2012
Horror Film #: 06.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch the Third Film in a Horror Series”
Film: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Year: 1987
Director: Chuck Russell
Runtime: 96 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 4, 2012
Horror Film #: 07.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Sci-Fi Horror Film”
Film: Area 407
Year: 2012
Director: Dale Fabrigar, Everette Wallin
Runtime: 90 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars

October 6, 2012
Horror Film #: 08.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch an Unwatched Horror Film You’ve Been Wanting to See”
Film: Pet Sematary
Year: 1989
Director: Mary Lambert
Runtime: 104 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 7, 2012
Horror Film #: 09.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch an Unwatched Horror Film You’ve Been Wanting to See”
Film: The Return of the Living Dead
Year: 1985
Director: Dan O’Bannon
Runtime: 91 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 8, 2012
Horror Film #: 10.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Sequel You’ve Never Seen to a Horror Favorite”
Film: Day of the Dead
Year: 1985
Director: George A. Romero
Runtime: 102 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

October 11, 2012
Horror Film #: 11.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Horror Remake or Reboot”
Film: Fright Night
Year: 2011
Director: Craig Gillespie
Runtime: 106 minutes
Format: Blu-ray 3D
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 12, 2012
Horror Film #: 12.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Foreign Horror Film”
Film: The Orphanage
Year: 2007
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Runtime: 105 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 13.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Sequel You’ve Never Seen to a Horror Favorite”
Film: The Descent: Part II
Year: 2009
Director: Jon Harris
Runtime: 94 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 13, 2012
Horror Film #: 14.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: Detention
Year: 2011
Director: Joseph Kahn
Runtime: 93 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 15.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch Any Horror Movie of Branden’s Choice”
Film: My Bloody Valentine 3D
Year: 2009
Director: Patrick Lussier
Runtime: 103 minutes
Format: Blu-ray 3D
Star Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars

October 14, 2012
Horror Film #: 16.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: Monster House
Year: 2006
Director: Gil Kenan
Runtime: 93 minutes
Format: Blu-ray 3D
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 15, 2012
Horror Film #: 17.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Horror Anthology”
Film: Black Sabbath
Year: 1963
Director: Mario Bava, Salvatore Billitteri
Runtime: 92 minutes
Format: Netflix Instant Queue
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 18, 2012
Horror Film #: 18.
Randomly Picked Category: “Re-Watch a Horror Favorite”
Film: Halloween
Year: 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Runtime: 91 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 19.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest
Year: 2003
Director: Steven Smith
Runtime: 87 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 20.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Horror Sequel”
Film: Halloween II
Year: 1981
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Runtime: 93 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 19, 2012
Horror Film #: 21.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch an Action Horror Film”
Film: Bait
Year: 2012
Director: Kimble Rendall
Runtime: 91 minutes
Format: Blu-ray 3D
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 20, 2012
Horror Film #: 22.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Horror Film in the Criterion Collection”
Film: Antichrist
Year: 2009
Director: Lars von Trier
Runtime: 108 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 21, 2012
Horror Film #: 23.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Slasher Film”
Film: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Year: 1988
Director: Dwight H. Little
Runtime: 88 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

Horror Film #: 24.
Randomly Picked Category: “Re-Watch a Horror Favorite”
Film: Halloween
Year: 2007
Director: Rob Zombie
Runtime: 109 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 22, 2012
Horror Film #: 25.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: The Dead Files: Evil in Erieville (S1.E1)/The Dead Files: The Devil Made Me Do It (S1.E2.)
Year: 2011
Director: Unknown
Runtime: 94 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

October 25, 2012
Horror Film #: 26.
Randomly Picked Category: None
Film: The Dead Files: Hotel Hell (S1.E3)/The Dead Files: Killed by the Klan (S1.E4.)
Year: 2011
Director: Unknown
Runtime: 94 minutes
Format: DVD
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

October 26, 2012
Horror Film #: 27.
Randomly Picked Category: Watch an Unwatched Horror Film
Film: Grace
Year: 2009
Director: Paul Solet
Runtime: 85 minutes
Format: Comcast OnDemand
Star Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars

October 31, 2012
Horror Film #: 28.
Randomly Picked Category: “Watch a Horror Movie of Bridgette’s Choosing”
Film: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Year: 1989
Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Runtime: 96 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars


What about you? Were you able to catch any good horror movies this Halloween season? Maybe you participated in your own mini-marathon(s)? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.