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31 Horror Films in 31 Days: The Slime-Sucking Conclusion

Creee-ee-eeee-eek. That’s the sound of the casket closing on the eighth annual #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge. Once again, we saw people from across the world participate in the hashtag, all of whom, we have just learned, were actually pod-people clones of me. Interesting twist—and weirdly flattering. Thanks?

Below are the final lists of Booklist staffers who injected dozens of unpleasant films into a month already boiling over with a terrifying presidential race and the apocalyptic signal of the Cubs in a World Series. Those who didn’t make it—well, they’ll have to accept the agreed-upon punishment of watching Spooky Buddies. As for the winners: I’m breaking with tradition this year by not listing my movies first, even though I hit an all-time record of 33 films. The reason is that Associate Editor Julia Smith proved herself to be Booklist‘s official Scream Queen by notching an unbelievable 37 movies. We all bow before Julia’s unholy powers.

Julia Smith, Associate Editor, Books for Youth

1. AVA’S POSSESSIONS: Possession is hard to shake, even with demon AA.

2. JOHN DIES AT THE END: Trippin’ on soy sauce, talkin’ on a bratwurst phone, takin’ on monsters.

3. HOUSEBOUND: “Yeah, I know. There’s a guy in the walls.”

season-of-the-witch4. SEASON OF THE WITCH/HUNGRY WIVES/JACK’S WIFE: Bored housewife turns to witchcraft. Viva les spells and women’s lib!

5. EXTRAORDINARY TALES: Five macabre animated shorts and a lot of theremin. Perfectly Poe.

6. NIGHT EYES: A traumatized woman is saved by a killer sense of deja vu.

7. NEVERLAKE: That time ancient Etruscans stored their souls in a lake and your father was harvesting organs on the sly.

8. THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN: You say dementia, I say possessed by a murderous Frenchman.

9. FASCINATION: Two ladies lure a gent to their vampire soiree. Beaucoup de boobs and butts!

10. THE WOMAN WHO CAME BACK: Could a 300-year-old witch’s curse be kicking in? Well, SOMETHING killed the goldfish.

11. EYES WITHOUT A FACE: A doctor abducts women to steal their faces for his deformed daughter. Their faces!

santasangreimage12. SANTA SANGRE: That mad, gorgeous circus life.

13. PATRICK (1978): Being in a coma ain’t no thing when you’ve got psychokinesis and a sweet new nurse.

14. HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON: Bridal boutique owner gives his clients the axe. And his models. And his wife.

15. HALLOWEEN: Not the one with a hockey mask or knife hands. The on with a regular mask & knife.

16. THE SACRAMENT: Ti West’s take on a Christian cult going off the rails. Kool-aid flavor: treachery

17. DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD: Soviet vs. Nazi zombies. Lots of entrails are spilled.

wicker-man18. WICKER MAN (2006): Nic Cage goes up in flames, as is his destiny.

19. THE BEES: Killer bees on the loose & they’re layin’ down the law. Take that, humans!

20. THE SILENCED: Sanitarium/boarding school or human experimentation center?

21: DEEP RED: A Christmas morning stabbing leads to an unsettling string of murdered people and dolls.

22: EVENT HORIZON: In which a very special spaceship jouneys too far and develops a taste for blood.

23: THE DESCENT: Cannibal cave people and unstable, bone-lined paths. A pretty terrible vacation, all told.

24: DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING: Murdered children, a grieving witch, and some horrific vigilante justice.

25: HORROR HOTEL/THE CITY OF THE DEAD: A student researching witchcraft gets more than she bargains for on a trip to New England.

troll2_226. TROLL 2: Nilbog! Redrum! Sandwiches! And not a troll in sight.

27. UNDER THE SKIN: Lovely, mysterious lady lures unattached men to their doom.

28. HIGH LANE: Turns out rock climbing/hiking is the most dangerous game.

29. THE CREEPING FLESH: How to revive an ancient skeleton of evil incarnate? Just add water!

30. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978): Cabbage Patch Kids meets Audrey II.

31. HARPOON: WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE: Tourists meet a floating family of crazies in Iceland. This one’s real bad.

32. THE INVITATION: A dinner party hosted by your ex, who’s been off in a cult in Mexico? What could go wrong?

33. MAGIC: A bawdy ventriloquist act takes a turn when the dummy picks up a new hobby. (It’s murder!)

king-it34. THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME: An old house with ghosties and an Escher-like sense of time.

35. STEPHEN KING’S IT: Sewer clown terrorizes town! Young Seth Green cracks jokes! Inhaler mist melts faces!

36. HUSH: Like an updated Wait Until Dark, with more crossbow.

37. THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE IS ME: A hospice nurse predeceases her patient in a gently eerie manner/manor.


Daniel Kraus, Editor, Books for Youth 

1. THE VISIT: Barfing, incontinent old people make kids uncomfortable—news flash! #31HorrorFilms31Days is officially underway.

2. THE ABCs OF DEATH: 26 shorts, perfect if your intellect needs a whole month’s worth of insulting in just two hours.

green-inferno3. THE GREEN INFERNO: Do-gooders hug trees in the Amazon, meet local population. This woman has the right expression.

4. GREEN ROOM: Band’s gig at neo-Nazi club goes wrong(er).

5. POLTERGEIST (2015): TV, closet, wall, garage, etc, try to eat nice family. This remake has some good stuff in it!

6. THE DEVIL’S RAIN: Shatner & Skeritt vs Melting Satanists. Pairs nicely with Devil’s Reign beer.

7. HOLIDAYS: Decent anthology. Con: a Kevin Smith segment. Pro: actually tries to reconcile Jesus and the Easter Bunny.

8. SOUTHBOUND: Interlocked tales—a couple of them great!—with a hickory-smoked, southwestern flavor, y’all.

9. FEED: Cop chases fetish site where people are fed to death. Reprehensible and dull. Regret this one.

10. SHOCK: Little blonde creep, possessed by dead dad, tries to hump mom. Sad!

11. THE BEYOND: COMPOSER’S CUT: Frizzi live-scores the Fulci classic, is greatest thing ever.

buried-alive12. BURIED ALIVE: Frank Darabont’s 1990 TV-movie debut, dark and Hitchcockian. On glorious VHS!

13. THE DEVIL ANT: David Rock Nelson’s VHS opus of tossing a rubber ant at people’s faces for about five hours.

14. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3: Worse than the first two. . . but still has redeeming elements. Can’t believe I’m saying that.

15. THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE: Guy crashes at buddy’s pad and both go a little nuts. Great little creeper, highly recommended.

16. CRY BABY LANE: Kids’ movie that Nickelodeon deemed too scary to re-run. Worms, glowing eyes, Frank Langella.

17. IT LIVES AGAIN: Gaggle of mutant babies cutely murder everyone they see… except mommy?

18. ALL HALLOWS’ EVE: Very effective anthology film that trades all sense of logic for maximum horror. Recommended!

drive-in-horrorshow19. DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW: Ultra-super-low-budget anthology about. . . ugh, all I remember is a rapist being glued to a tub.

20. FELT: Wild feminist horror/revenge/thing about a woman who makes costumes to fight back. Now THIS is why we do #31HorrorFilms31Days.

21. POD: Siblings don’t believe brother has a monster in his basement. Turns out, he doesn’t! Kidding. He totally does.

22. THE PACK: Joe Don Baker vs. a whole slew of abandoned dogs gone bad. Honestly, I was rooting for the dogs.

23. RAWHEAD REX: Irish pagan god trashes trailer homes, tears off heads, is generally rubbery.

24. EVILSPEAK: Bullied teen plugs his computer into Satan(?) and has Carrie-style revenge. Lots of death by pig.

25. HORROR HOTEL: Foggiest town ever keeps suckering women to come be their witchy sacrifices. Wise up!

demons-of-the-mind26. DEMONS OF THE MIND: Weird, blank teens in castle are super into incest but it’s the family who are the crazy ones.

27. CUB: Boy Scout troop irked by feral child and his booby-trapping dad. Pretty neat.

28. BASKIN: Group of Turkish cops respond to night call, crash van, enter Hell, have bad time.

29. THE MAJORETTES: Creep kills majorettes because they’re just so awesome.

30. HAUNTING VILLISCA: Saw because made in Iowa. Crazy long (2.5 hrs) but yeah, def made in Iowa.

31. THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD: Gorgeously colored 1971 anthology. Lee! Cushing! Ingrid Pitt!!!

32. THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY: Includes about 12 throat-cuttings and the most annoyingly dubbed kid ever. Plot? Dunno.

33. POSSESSION: Still the top tentacle doppelgänger divorce miscarriage melodrama starring Sam Neill.


Sarah Hunter, Senior Editor

1. PHENOMENA: Dario Argento sure loves forbidden rooms in all-girls boarding schools. Hope Jennifer Connelly doesn’t mind maggots (she doesn’t!).

2. THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE: Greedy child-murderer gets his comeuppance, but boy, revenge has never looked prettier.

3. LEVIATHAN: The Thing meets Alien on the deep-sea floor. A human-anglerfish chimera is a gross as you’d imagine.

da-sweet-blood-of-jesus4. DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS: Scholar has unquenchable thirst for blood. What else is there to do on Martha’s Vineyard?

5. WITCHERY: Private island at rock-bottom rate! Just one pesky witch who will gruesomely murder your friends and family. Plus 10 points for David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair. Minus billions of points for gross, voyeuristic rape scene.

6. TOURIST TRAP: Creepy dude with a whimsical mannequin-based hobby makes some new friends. . . and murders them. Perfect viewing in advance of my trip to the House on the Rock.

7. MAGIC: Anthony Hopkins has a killer ventriloquist act, but who’s the real dummy? This might have been my favorite!

8. THE VVITCH: What’s scarier than witches? Calvinism!

9. THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM: Like Riki-Tiki-Tavi, but with more phallic imagery and anti-Catholic themes. Plus, Ken Russell set himself up for a great death-by-bagpipe moment starring Peter Capaldi as the bagpipe-wielder, but didn’t deliver. Missed opportunity!

10. BLACK SUNDAY (1961): When will we learn not to remove cursed artifacts from tombs? It never ends well.

11. HONEYMOON: Sickeningly sweet newlyweds’ honeymoon is more sickening than sweet, but is the real monster. . . MARRIAGE?! There’s some pretty sweet body horror in this one.

12. DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD: I liked the first one better; this one seemed more interested in entrails than character development. But hey, I’m picky.

13. SISTERS (1973): How could someone with such a cute French-Canadian accent be such a ruthless killer? Answer: madness.

14. WICKER MAN (2006): Nic Cage punches a bunch of women and gets burned alive while wearing bear feet. I will always prefer the original, but this has its own deliciously awful charms.

let-the-right-one-in15. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN: Cat attack, sweet vampire romance, snow everywhere. . . What’s not to love?

16. THE INNKEEPERS: Curiosity (and boredom) (and ghosts) killed the asthmatic wage-worker.

17. THE FURY: Telekinetic teens blow up Navy Pier, turn their enemies into explosive fountains of blood. Hormones, amiright?

18. THE VISITOR (1979): I mostly picked this for Shelley Winters. It was not worth it.

19. FELT: if your sweet new bf is too good to be true, there’s only one thing to do—✂️🍆. This one was excellent and weirdly cathartic? That might be a little too personal, though.

20. THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973): Ghost with Napoleon complex will go away if you can guess his real height! (5’1″) This sounds like a joke but it’s what really happens in the movie!

21. JUGFACE: The most horrifying thing about this movie is when her mother—not a gyno—gives her a pelvic exam. Shudder. Also, worshiping a mud puddle seems like a recipe for disaster.

22. HOUSE (1986): Novelist with writer’s block, hung up on his kid, haunted by the housebound ghosts. Wait, is this The Shining?

repulsion23. REPULSION (1965): If only Catherine Deneuve had seen Felt! (That hallway scene was amazing.)

24. I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE: Eerie, pretty, very suspenseful ghost story. I found this one quite spooky, but I think it’s because I’m as much of a scaredy-cat as the hospice nurse in the movie.

25. ODD THOMAS: Not sure this counts, except for the part where a bunch of dudes shoot up a mall. That shit is scary.

26. POLTERGEIST (1982): Hadn’t seen this in 15 years; a surprising letdown! Why was the teenage daughter even there?

27-31: SARAH’S MISERABLE FAILURE (2016): Grouchy 32-year-old editor doomed to watch Spooky Buddies on infinite repeat until she’s a rotting blob of flesh dripping off her sofa. Sad!

Briana Shemroske, Editorial Assistant, Books for Youth

1. SLITHER. Slithery squid-slug alien threatens to destroy small southern town—and the sanctity of marriage.

2. THE HALLOW. Changelings, sludge, and gruesome eyeball injuries; Irish folklore is not to be taken lightly!

girl-walks-home-alone-at-night3. A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. Beautiful vampire on skateboard seeks vigilante justice, finds love.

4. PONTYPOOL. Language itself is corrupted by a bloodthirsty virus—and any word could be your last!

5. WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD. A deeply unhinged scientist and a badass zombie whisperer meet Mad Max.

6. HELLRAISER. Just three bone-chilling words: “Come to daddy.”

7. DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD. So many entrails! And an adorably ravaged zombie friend, too!

8. THE WICKER MAN (2006). Nicolas Cage! Need I say more?

9. HE NEVER DIED. He really didn’t! Many others did.

the-forest10. THE FOREST. Woman searching for missing twin enters Aokigahara to find her—but only one sister can make it out alive.

11. POLTERGEIST. When “relocating” a cemetery to build a subdivision, for the love of God, bring the bodies with you.

12. DARK WAS THE NIGHT. Grieving sheriff steers small town through wendigo crisis . . . so he thinks.

13. HELLRAISER II: HELLBOUND. Tentacles, flesh hooks, and one weirdly incestuous corpse uncle (again!). What’s not to love?

14. THE RITE. Nothing reinforces religious faith quite like demonic possession.

15. PAY THE GHOST. A sinister 17th-century widow is no match for Nic Cage and his army of ghost kids! (Worth watching just for a cowboy-costumed, sobbing Nic.)



About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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