2020’s #31DaysOfHorror

In October 2020, I took part in #31DaysOfHorror. If you don’t know it, it’s a challenge where you watch a horror film every day in October, culminating in Halloween.

  1. Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), dir. Jack Arnold.
  2. Atlantics (2019), dir. Mati Diop.
  3. The Fog (1980), dir. John Carpenter.
  4. The Crow (1994), dir. Alex Proyas.
  5. Pulse (2001), dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
  6. Death of a Vlogger (2020), dir. Graham Hughes.
  7. Knife+Heart (2018), dir. Yann Gonzalez.
  8. Vampyres (1974), dir. José Ramón Larraz.
  9. Fascination (1979), dir. Jean Rollin.
  10. Piranha (1978), dir. Joe Dante.
  11. Berberian Sound Studio (2012), dir. Peter Strickland.
  12. Noroi: The Curse (2005), dir. Kôji Shiraishi.
  13. Jacob’s Ladder (1991), dir. Adrian Lyne.
  14. Spring (2014), dir. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson.
  15. Cure (1997), dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
  16. Blade (1998), dir. Stephen Norrington.
  17. City of the Living Dead (1980), dir. Lucio Fulci.
  18. The Mummy (1932), dir. Karl Freund.
  19. #Alive (2020), dir. Cho Il-hyung.
  20. The Beyond (1980), dir. Lucio Fulci.
  21. It Follows (2015), dir. David Robert Mitchell.
  22. The Dead Center (2019), dir. Billy Senese.
  23. A Cure for Wellness (2017), dir. Gore Verbinski.
  24. Prom Night (1980), dir. Paul Lynch.
  25. Christine (1983), dir. John Carpenter.
  26. Land of the Dead (2005), dir. George A. Romero.
  27. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), dir. Philip Kaufman.
  28. Tenebre (1982), dir. Dario Argento.
  29. The Exorcist (1973), dir. William Friedkin.
  30. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), dir. James Whale.
  31. Doctor Sleep (2019), dir. Mike Flanagan.

I took a couple of extra weeks to fit these films in, so it was more like forty-five days of horror, but I posted a film a day on Twitter, with a link to these short blog posts:

  • Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

    Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

    1 Oct 2020, 08:00

    I wanted to start this year’s #31DaysOfHorror with a classic. I’m trying to watch only films I haven’t seen, with one or two exceptions, and when I sorted my iTunes movie library by release year, Creature From the Black ...

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  • Atlantics (2019)

    Atlantics (2019)

    2 Oct 2020, 08:00

    For the second film in my #31DaysOfHorror I wanted something recent — from something old to something new. Atlantics had been on my Netflix queue for months. I knew it was a ghost story, and that it won the 2019 ...

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  • The Fog (1980)

    The Fog (1980)

    3 Oct 2020, 08:00

    I was always going to watch The Fog at some point in these #31DaysOfHorror, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. It was meant to be a comfort pick for later, when things usually are a little more ...

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  • The Crow (1994)

    The Crow (1994)

    4 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The montages, quick cuts and heavy metal of The Crow is a bit of a shock after the more sedate charms of The Fog. This is a none-more-gothic revenge story to complete my revenge triptych.

    Eric and his fiance Shelly ...

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  • Pulse (2001)

    Pulse (2001)

    5 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The Tokyo in Pulse is empty and eerie. People are lonely and disconnected from each other. The characters are all young and, in one way or another, alone.

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  • Death of a Vlogger (2020)

    Death of a Vlogger (2020)

    6 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Today, cameras are our eyes in the world, and they are no guarantee of the truth. Webcams are ubiquitous. We can all see others and be seen. Social media not only allows that, but quantifies it, and worse, monetises it. ...

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  • Knife+Heart (2018)

    Knife+Heart (2018)

    7 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Knife+Heart (Un couteau dans le cœur) is a modern giallo film that plays out in a gay porn production company in the summer of 1979. Anne runs the company, and has broken up with her long-term partner and film editor, ...

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  • Vampyres (1974)

    Vampyres (1974)

    8 Oct 2020, 08:00

    I chose Vampyres, the first of my #31DaysOfHorror choices this year that I would say is exploitation cinema, naturally, because of the cover art. After the pitch perfect seventies homage of Knife+Heart, I wanted to ...

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  • Fascination (1979)

    Fascination (1979)

    9 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Fascination is set in France, 1905, and has a fairy tale vibe, with misty countryside, a splendid French chateau, and a protagonist, Marc, who at the start steals a bag of gold. He hides at the chateau to escape his ...

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  • Piranha (1978)

    Piranha (1978)

    10 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Being nibbled to death by a swarm of piranha is a different agony, I imagine, to being bitten in half by a great white shark. The standard issue opening victims, David and Barbara, go swimming in a pool at a ...

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  • Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

    Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

    11 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Another horror film that divided people, and another edge to the horror film landscape. Renowned film sound technician Gilderoy is a fish out of water in a remote Italian sound studio. He thinks the film he’s agreed to work on, ...

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  • Noroi: The Curse (2005)

    Noroi: The Curse (2005)

    12 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Kobayashi has such a soft face, and is kind, but he is also dogged and brave. We know from the start things will go badly for him, but we still hope he will be okay. It isn’t clear for some ...

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  • Jacob’s Ladder (1991)

    Jacob’s Ladder (1991)

    13 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Jacob’s Ladder treats the subject of the Vietnam war with a little more respect than Piranha. Jacob is beset by visions and fever dreams. We constantly switch between realities, from the Vietnamese jungle, to his home in New York City, ...

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  • Spring (2014)

    Spring (2014)

    14 Oct 2020, 08:00

    If Guillermo del Toro shot a film scripted by David Cronenberg, based on a story by HP Lovecraft, then had it edited by Richard Linklater, you would get Spring. I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s time-puzzle film, The ...

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  • Cure (1997)

    Cure (1997)

    15 Oct 2020, 08:00

    How much control do we have over what we do? What do we ever choose to do in full consciousness? Takabe, a detective in Tokyo, investigates a series of murders, each by a different killer, but all carving a cross ...

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  • Blade (1998)

    Blade (1998)

    16 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The opening sequence is brilliant. A woman lures a man to a party in an abattoir. It’s an aggressive crowd, and when the fire sprinklers come on, it’s not water but blood, and everyone around the man turns into a ...

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  • City of the Living Dead (1980)

    City of the Living Dead (1980)

    17 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Zombies really bothered me as a kid. Seeing the insides of the human body spill out was as pure a vision of horror as I could imagine. Guts should not be outside of your body, full stop. I only watched ...

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  • The Mummy (1932)

    The Mummy (1932)

    18 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The original Universal horror films are a bit of a blind spot for me. They weren’t on TV in our house, so I have no childhood affinity to them, and once my parents let me watch horror, I was straight ...

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  • #Alive (2020)

    #Alive (2020)

    19 Oct 2020, 08:00

    After Fulci’s barely moving undead, the running zombies of #Alive are a bit of a shock. Technology is an ally here, which is refreshing in a horror film, although at the start, Joon-woo seems to be in a semi-infantile state, ...

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  • The Beyond (1980)

    The Beyond (1980)

    20 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Returning to Fulciland, The Beyond is more coherent than City of the Living Dead, but of course, it’s still driven by images. Like The Amityville Horror, there is a portal to hell in the basement, and people get mysteriously hurt ...

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  • It Follows (2015)

    It Follows (2015)

    21 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The film opens with a wide shot of a leafy suburban street, and we look closely for whatever we think the director wants us to see. Like Jay, we are trained from the start to scan the horizon for trouble. ...

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  • The Dead Center (2019)

    The Dead Center (2019)

    22 Oct 2020, 08:00

    In a Nashville morgue, an unnamed man comes back to life and escapes. Sheriff Edward Graham investigates the missing body, but across town, psychiatrist Daniel Forrester checks the now unresponsive man into a ward at the psychiatric hospital. These two ...

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  • A Cure for Wellness (2017)

    A Cure for Wellness (2017)

    23 Oct 2020, 08:00

    An ambitious young executive, Lockhart, is sent to a Swiss sanitorium to bring back his company’s rogue CEO, Morris Pembroke. The head of the spa, Dr. Heinreich Volmer, drips bad guy charm, but is also the voice of scientific reason. ...

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  • Prom Night (1980)

    Prom Night (1980)

    24 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Like Scream’s Ghostface, the killer in Prom Night can be dodged and knocked over. This is not Michael Myers. There is a lot of disco. Jamie Lee Curtis is a fantastic dancer — this role for her comes straight after ...

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  • Christine (1983)

    Christine (1983)

    25 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Stephen King is brilliant at weaving vivid teenage experiences into his novels. Christine was one of the formative books of my childhood. The film doesn’t have time to go as deep as the book into the love triangle of Arnie, ...

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  • Land of the Dead (2005)

    Land of the Dead (2005)

    26 Oct 2020, 08:00

    I’d been so careful choosing films until last night, and I thought I’d take a chance on this because it’s directed by George Romero. It felt like a safe bet, but I was wrong. This film made me angry. I ...

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  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    27 Oct 2020, 08:00

    People in the background of shots look directly at the camera. Matthew’s windscreen is a web of cracks that we struggle to see through. The score is spidery and jarring, and the camera is often off-kilter. You are not paranoid ...

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  • Tenebre (1982)

    Tenebre (1982)

    28 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Tenebre is set in Rome, but we could be anywhere, because the story stays in hotel rooms, suburban streets and modernist buildings made of concrete and glass. There are artfully sculpted gardens of stone, water and trees. These locations lend ...

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  • The Exorcist (1973)

    The Exorcist (1973)

    29 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The Exorcist is a cultural behemoth. It’s my twenty-ninth film in this year’s #31DaysOfHorror, and I’m feeling horror fatigue. The film has a weighty reputation — I’d seen clips on television, of Regan vomiting on Father Karras, and turning her ...

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  • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    30 Oct 2020, 08:00

    The Bride of Frankenstein contains some of the most iconic images in cinema, but it opens with a scene I really didn’t expect — Lord Byron and Percy Shelley praising Mary Shelley for her book, Frankenstein. In a bold move ...

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  • Doctor Sleep (2019)

    Doctor Sleep (2019)

    31 Oct 2020, 08:00

    Danny Torrance is an alcoholic, but finds a place of peace and sobriety in New Hampshire, where he uses his psychic power, which he calls the shine, to ease the deaths of the elderly people in a local hospice. Death ...

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