Year Seven (or Se7en, if you’re David Fincher) of #31HorrorFilms31Days is in the books—a book bound in human skin housed in our “special collections” room—and, given the high participation rate, both in the Twittersphere and here at Booklist, it’s understandable why much of the staff today is red-eyed, blue-lipped, mumbling, and cringing each time the water cooler goes blub, blub. Isn’t that, after all, the sound one makes when buried up to one’s neck in the sand as the tide rolls in?
Before we do our annual November detox of Ken Burns documentaries and Facts of Life reruns, let’s take one last moment to honor the fallen. I present to you the lists of fellow Booklisters Sarah Hunter, Julia Smith, Briana Shemroske, and Carlos Orellana.
Dan Kraus, Editor, Books for Youth
1. UNFRIENDED. Group of video-chatters gets ctrl-alt-deleted. (I’m here all month, folks.)
2. THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT. Good-time gang seeks USA’s best haunted-house attraction, find it, do not, in fact, have a good time.
4. THE NIGHTMARE. Documentary on sleep paralysis recreates subjects’ nightmares. But where’s the one where I can’t open my high-school locker and everyone’s laughing at me?
5. INNER DEMONS. Intervention-type TV show fails to realize that heroin use is the only thing keeping a girl’s demon possession at bay. Typical sweeps-week stuff.
7. HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON. Stylish cad chops up brides, looks good doing it.
8. THE CONSPIRACY. Filmmakers infiltrate Illuminati-type group’s bull-hunting ritual. As if we didn’t have reason enough to dislike private men’s clubs.
9. STARRY EYES. Young actress wants fame, gets it, proving that never should one give up her dreams, especially if one is cool with losing her hair and skin.
10. BABY BLUES. Sucky film where doll inspires song that kills people? I can’t even remember this one. Sorry.
12. THE VAULT OF HORROR. Stuffy Brits drink liquor, get creatively whacked.
13. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. In Blair Witch, they were just walking into a forest. You have to really try to get lost in a South American jungle crawling with cannibals.
14. THE DEN. Chat roulette gone bad. Well, badder.
15. BODY BAGS. John Carpenter anthology most notable for a segment about a hair-growth product that works too well.
16. LONG WEEKEND. A married couple on the edge go camping to work things out. Turns out, all the animals must be getting divorced that week, too.
17. CRIMSON PEAK. Don’t go into the cellar. Or the attic. Or outside. Just don’t go anywhere, OK?
18. DIGGING UP THE MARROW. The backstory of disfigured kids creating an underground kingdom is slightly richer than the front story about I don’t even know what.
19. ANNABELLE. A doll so creepy they didn’t bother writing a movie for it. Hey, look at this doll. ROLL CREDITS.
20. MARTYRS. Stone-cold masterpiece about which I shall not joke.
21. RUBBER. Smug “absurd” movie about a telekinetic tire. Tiresome. See what I did?
22. BACKCOUNTRY. I don’t know that you can make a killer-bear movie I don’t like. It’s my soft spot. Anyway, this has a killer bear in it.
23. OCULUS. Evil mirror movie where the mirror isn’t that scary, but the scene where an apple eater accidentally bites into a light bulb sure is.
24. I, ZOMBIE: THE CHRONICLES OF PAIN. Guy gets bit by a zombie, slowly transforms into one over months, and writhes around moaning for most of the movie. Man, I’m sure glad I do this to myself every year.
25. MOCKINGBIRD. The strangers receive video cams and party invites to a balloon ball. I know, it sounds great! Is not.
27. AREA 51. Clever kids break into Area 51, descend endless stairwells, open endless doors, BLINDING LIGHT!!! Repeat.
28. EVENT HORIZON. Spaceship portal goes not to a wonderful land of adorable E.T.s, but, rather, Hell.
29. CORRUPTION. Doc kills girls to extract “skin glands” to fix wife’s facial scars while free jazz blares.
30. HELLIONS. If trick-or-treaters show up to your house wanting not candy but “the baby,” consider just giving them the baby.
31. BURNING BRIGHT. Girl trapped inside house during hurricane with autistic brother . . . and a tiger. And the tiger has a flamethrower. I just made up that last part.
1. THE WICKER TREE. I was lured in by my love for the 1973 original, and like a hapless, born-again missionary on a quest to convert Scottish pagans, I was well and truly gutted by how bad this really was.
2. SANTA SANGRE. An object lesson in how watching your father chop off your mother’s arms and subsequently shoot himself could lead to some bizarre behaviors.
3. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. Plucky kids and a fierce old lady are a surprisingly formidable opponent for a money-hungry, misogynistic, self-righteous preacher with a beautiful but eerie baritone singing voice.
4. DEAD SNOW. Norway’s long-dead Nazi secrets come stubbornly to life, while an aspiring doctor gets over his fear of blood.
5. TEETH. Every man I talk to looks at me weird whenever I tell them about how much I love this movie.
6. LEPRECHAUN. This poor guy had his gold stolen ages ago, and all he wants is to get back what’s rightfully his (and maybe go on a murderous rampage in the meantime).
7. EL BARóN DEL TERROR. Three hundred years after being burned at the stake, a heretic returns to Mexico to get his revenge and eat lots of brains, which he keeps in a soup tureen in a cabinet and eats delicately with a tiny spoon whenever no one’s watching.
8. THE AWAKENING. 1920s English skeptic makes a business out of busting ghostly rumors; finds out she’s at the heart of one when she visits a terrifying boy’s boarding school.
9. THE OMEN. Literal spawn of Satan urged into a murderous spree by his stalwart nanny (a Satanist, naturally).
10. GOODNIGHT MOMMY. Creepy Austrian twins tormented by their interloper “mother”—or are they?
11. EYES WITHOUT A FACE. Pioneering face-transplant treatment sounds like a dream come true! Surely it’s not linked to the dozens of murdered faceless women showing up all over Paris.
12. THE NIGHTMARE. Sleep paralysis documentary featuring re-enactments of some disturbingly similar dreams. Brain quirks or a doorway into the demon world? We many never know.
13. TROG. Joan Crawford discovers the missing link! But who’s the real monster? The prehistoric beast (a wrestler in a gorilla mask) or the real-estate developer who launches a witch hunt? I’ll give you one guess.
14. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Satanists convince a cash-strapped college student to babysit for just one night. Slow-burning creeps of the best kind ensue.
15. THE HOUR OF THE WOLF. A Swedish artist takes up resident in a remote cottage with his young pregnant wife. When the neighbors start getting freaky, he does too.
16. THE LAST CIRCUS. Comedians desperate for attention commit numerous murders to get it.
17. THE STRANGE COLORS OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS. Trippy mélange of images add up to one creepy, but beautiful, art-deco house of horrors.
18. SHOCKER. A demon who worships the TV (I think?) jumps from body to body to defeat the only teen who’s onto his game.
19. THE DEVILS. Priest under Cardinal Richileu seems like a pretty bad dude, but he’s nothing compared to the psychotic witch hunter who stirs a bunch of nuns to into an orgiastic frenzy in order to convict him of sacrilege.
20. CRIMSON PEAK. Wealthy young aspiring author thinks nothing of the crumbling, bleeding house her new husband lives in with his intensely glaring sister. Nothing to see here, just pure wedded bliss! Right?
21. WE ARE WHAT WE ARE. That’s not Parkinson’s; that’s kuru.
22. THE RELIC. Chimera ravages the Field Museum during a fancy benefactor’s event in search of as many human hypothalamuses he can cram in his gullet.
23. HELLRAISER. Not even a creepy hell-box of torture and death can keep this philandering wife away from her bad-news boyfriend.
24. OCULUS. My favorite tweet of the month will do this one justice: “A mirror rips apart a girl’s psyche. JUST LIKE EVERY TIME I ENTER A FITTING ROOM, AMIRITE LADIES?!”
25. ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER. What could make the horrors of slavery and the Civil War worse? Not much, honestly, but the filmmakers really tried to make vampires happen.
26. THE BAD SEED. Compassionless little girl goes on a murderous spree and her mother tries to take matters into her own hands, with varying degrees of failure.
27. NIGHTBREED. Monstrous creatures live under a graveyard, until they’re blamed for a string of murders and the townsfolk call in the National Guard.
28. BLACK SHEEP. Mutant sheep love the taste of human flesh and easily take over a New Zealand farm. Is this a common fear in a country with more sheep than people?
29. CIRCUS OF HORRORS. Another plastic surgeon gets in over his head when he bribes ne’er-do-wells with free facial reconstruction in exchange for performing in his circus until they’re ready to leave. Except they NEVER leave.
30. PUPPETMASTER. “Magicians” reunite at the home of their comrade only to find he’s dead. His puppets, though, live on and commit all kinds of weird atrocities.
31. SUSPIRIA. Resplendently beautiful ballet school seems perfect. Too perfect. What secrets does it hide, other than a horrifying murder room full of razor wire?
1. IT FOLLOWS. Hell’s STD.
2. BURN, WITCH, BURN. A psych professor who dismisses the paranormal discovers his wife is a witch.
3. PONTYPOOL. A talk-radio host reports on a zombie outbreak until he realizes words themselves spread infection.
4. DEAD SILENCE. Haunting via ventriloquist’s dummy.
5. ILS (THEM). A couple is attacked in their country home by Something.
6. TROLL HUNTER. Those aren’t bears causing a ruckus.
7. BURNT OFFERINGS. A family rents a giant, old house for the summer. Mysterious old lady in the attic? No problem!
8. CREEP. A man with a few months to live hires a videographer to make a video diary for his kid, and things get weird.
9. WAIT UNTIL DARK. Creepers harass a blind woman in her apartment, who they believe is hiding a heroin-filled doll.
10. DOMINIQUE. “‘But she’s dead!” / ” . . . is she?'”
11. DREAM HOUSE. A family discovers their house was the scene of several murders and the killer walked free.
12. THE RELIC. Something deadly was sent to Chicago’s Field Museum and it’s popping out brains!
13. TWIXT. A mystery writer visits a small town filled with mysteries of its own. Is that a vampire and Edgar Allan Poe?!
14. THE NIGHTMARE. Sleep-paralysis documentary starring shadow people.
15. DEVIL. Five people are trapped in an elevator and one of them is the devil.
16. THE SHRINE. Three young journalists pick the wrong village to visit while investigating a disappearance.
17. THE MAN WITHOUT A BODY. An inoperable brain tumor leads one man to try a daring operation.
18. CATMAN OF PARIS. A writer’s bout with tropical fever has deadly—and feline—side effects.
19. SISTERS. Formerly conjoined sisters become entwined with brutal murder.
20. CRIMSON PEAK. Butterflies, stabbing, and silly dialogue. Don’t give up on that novel, Edith!
21. A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. A lonely, vampiric hipster stalks the streets of Bad City.
22. CHILDREN OF THE CORN. Children! Corn!
23. PHANTASM. There’s something off about this funeral home. And that flying orb isn’t a snitch!
24. 13/13/13. Oh, dip. The Mayan calendar was CORRECT, and people go violently insane.
25. DARK SKIES. Sleepwalking, elaborately stacked kitchen appliances, birds crashing into the house. It’s gotta be aliens!
26. AUDITION. Boring, boring, crazy ballerina, terrible things! And . . . scene.
27. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. A creepy preacher will stop at nothing to get his hands on some stolen money.
28. THE ATTIC. This jilted librarian might be too close to the edge, but she’s pretty delightful and has a pet chimp.
29. BUBBA HO-TEP. A mummy terrorizes a nursing home where a geriatric Elvis and JFK reside.
30. STARRY EYES. An actress sacrifices everything for a shot at stardom—even tater tots.
31. ABSENTIA. A woman’s husband goes missing—could he have been taken by tunnel people?!
32. MONSTER SQUAD. A ragtag group of monster-obsessed kids takes on classic creatures.
1. THE AWAKENING. When known ghost skeptic Florence Cathcart travels to an all-boys boarding school to investigate an inexplicable disappearance, she uncovers a long-dead childhood friend, a gun-wielding groundskeeper, a somewhat murderous maid, and a ridiculous number of dollhouses (why are there so many dollhouses?!). While much is left unanswered, twisty ghost faces and a surplus of deeply disgruntled characters keep things casually spooky.
[Yeah, that’s right, one lousy movie! Perhaps next year, we will not be so forgiving . . . .]