I know a lot of people who like this month. The leaves are falling and temperatures are cooling. Out come the flannel pajamas to wear by a cozy fire (or to the dollar store for some misguided people).
Everything is pumpkin spiced, and the first hints that Christmas is on the way get kids way too excited, but shows them to be the greedy little scamps that they are, deep down.
I am not a Christmas guy. Our house has three fireplaces but we have never lit a fire in one of them. I don't really drink pumpkin spiced anything. And, sorry neighbors, I don't even rake up my leaves – and I have a lot of trees.
But I love October. This is the one month of the year that television is great. I can pretty much always find something on TV that I will love during October, because October is home to the greatest holiday of them all – Halloween.
If it is scary, deranged, disturbing, freaky or chilling I like it. My love of Halloween goes back to childhood, when I enjoyed a good scare even more than trick or treating. Halloween always had some dark mystery that appealed to me, much like the original Universal monster movies – “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” and “The Wolf Man.”
I liked dressing up in costume when I was a kid. I was a pirate, a ghost, a monster and even a not politically correct hobo one year. Can you imagine a kid dressing up as basically a bum in 2017? No.
I have celebrated my love for all things horror for most of my life, much of it through movies. Horror is my favorite genre of film, by far. And thankfully, I married a woman who loves horror movies as much as I do.
As any horror fan will tell you, there are a lot of rotten horror movies out there. They are cheap and easy to produce – especially this “found footage” craze that is finally starting to wane. But there are some great horror movies out there. Here are a few suggestions to spice up your October.
“Night of the Living Dead.” This 1968 masterpiece was directed by George Romero, a genius of the horror genre who sadly died this year. It is a zombie movie, yes, but it is much more than that. The social commentary on the times is still poignant to this day. One of my favorites.
“The Exorcist.” I begged my mom to let me watch this 1973 movie when it was on HBO in the 1970s (yes, we had HBO very early). I couldn't sleep for weeks, sure I would be possessed by the devil. This movie still has the power to shock.
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” A 70s drive-in staple (it was released in 1974). This movie has the reputation for being gory, but there is almost no blood. It was and is shocking, sure. But it gave us one of the all-time great villains – Leatherface. Sadly, director Tobe Hooper died this year as well.
“The Thing.” I saw this in the theater while I was stationed in Guam in the Air Force when it came out in 1982. Directed by horror master John Carpenter, this is my favorite movie, period. A great cast, incredible practical effects and the always awesome Kurt Russell. If you haven't seen it, clear the kids from the room, grab some popcorn and get ready to feel uncomfortable.
I could go on for hours, but I will end with a recent movie that I loved, “Hell House LLC.” This 2015 release was a found footage movie made on a small budget but the scares are big and the tension is real. I recommend this for any horror buffs out there.
So enjoy all the great scares that Halloween has to offer. Grab a pumpkin spiced whatever and settle down for some frightful entertainment.