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Back in Black: Nathan's 31 Days of Halloween 2022

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


Natural Disaster/Animal Attack

The first two on my journey were of the 'okay' variety. The month didn't have a strong start, I confess, however it only got better from here. It's better to start weak than end weak, I think.

First was 13 Minutes, a story about the tragic destruction of a community by a powerful tornado. In a lot of ways, the film was compelling due to the reactions of people during the aftermath of the tornado, however, there was way too much build-up with not enough payoff. The acting was fine, not particularly good or bad either one and the effects were rather good considering this was a very low-budget production. I give the film a 2.5 out of 4.

Next was The Requin, which was a pretty big disappointment to me. You'd think a story about a gondola drifting to see during a hurricane would be terrifying, especially adding on the shark factor. Instead, what we got was a lot of Alicia Silverstone arguing with her on-screen husband and very little shark. Kinda reminded me of Shark Lake in the sense that there's very little to do with the shark at all. I give the film a 1.5 out of 4.

Science Gone Wrong

The next six selections were a much needed improvement and started heading my marathon in a better direction. These are what I dubbed as Science Gone Wrong, in which the ultimate villain is humanity tampering with stuff they have no business tampering with in the first place.

Before I Hang is a tragic tale in more ways than one. A scientist was put on trial for murder when, according to his testimony, he was working on a potion that would cure a man of his disease entirely but was unsuccessful at creating it and therefore was accused of the man's demise. The judge sentenced him to hang but, in secret, asked the scientist to continue his work in secret while he awaited death. The scientist used the blood of a murderer condemned to death in order to finish his formula. He was able to complete his cure, but he failed to factor in the blood. With the murderer's blood now flowing through his own veins, he's begun having murderous tendencies, and he'll stop at nothing to escape prison. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1931) - What's great about the original is that it's straightforward and gets to the point. Man creates potion, potion turns man into monster, monster kills, man and monster struggle to co-exist. The film easily gets a 4 out of 4 for the cast's incredible performances and the film's direct approach at the horror of having dual identities.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941) - The Spencer Tracy remake of the 1931 film fell into a trap that many remakes did, and still do today, which is the glamourization of stories that don't need to be glamourized. The original film approached the philosophy of what makes a man good or evil in a direct way, easy enough for anyone to understand. The remake, however, wanted to throw in stuff that gave it a more romanticized feel which was completely unnecessary. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

Dual is a great example of a good idea in the wrong hands. Taking place in the future, the film is a black comedy that sees a young woman get a death sentence by her doctor, has herself cloned to postpone her family's grief, only to find out that she isn't dying after all and now her family loves the clone more than the real person. What happens when a clone and a real person exist simultaneously? A dual to the death of course! I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

Frankenstein was a 1931 film in which a scientist dead-set on being the next big name in his field cobbles together a creature from various human body parts and successfully brings it to life. It didn't take long for Victor Frankenstein to realize that he made a big mistake, one in which the creature and his own reputation pays the price. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

The Invisible Man is a 1933 film that still holds up very well even by today's standards. I'm not sure how some of the effects were achieved in that time but they worked splendidly. Claude Rains was a remarkable actor to be able to pour his heart and soul and madness into a role in which, quite literally, he could not be seen. I gie the film a 4 out of 4.

Spooky Is As Spooky Does

The next section is all about the supernatural, which is what the core of Halloween is, right? There's Vampires, Zombies, Demons, and some things that just can't be explained. This section has a grand total of 22 entries, the largest section of all.

Agnes is both a possession film and a mental illness film. Psychologically speaking, witnessing a possession could cause you to have a mental breakdown and make you think you were also being possessed. It's a fantastical philosophical standpoint, one many horror fans may overlook. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

Anna and the Apocalypse is a surprisingly fun-filled musical that combines catchy musical numbers and the zombie apocalypse together. The result? A thrilling comedic romance! I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

Come Play isn't something you really wanna hear when you're alone in the dark. Come to think of it, you wouldn't want to hear anything when you're alone in the dark. Come Play is a well-made suspenseful horror that plays on a child's fear of what's in the dark and the adult's fear that your child might be slowly losing it. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

Dracula was made in 1931 and is still way more frightening than any Dracula-based film today. With nothing more than a thick accent and some simple lighting techniques, the film is able to make Dracula not only look or sound otherworldly but also FEEL otherworldly. Bela can still to this day send chills down your spine and unnerve you, which is something no other actor that I have seen play Dracula has been able to do. Gary Oldman could be intimidating and down-right scary, but I never felt uncomfortable watching him. Bela had the eyes of a vampire, a look that drew you in but at the same time made you want to run in fear. I give the 1931 Dracula a 4 out of 4.

Fantasy Island is an origin story of twisted proportions. If you have fond memories of the old TV show, forget everything you think you know. Blumhouse has revealed the horror behind Fantasy Island that you may not have realized existed. Lucy Hale and Michael Pena lead the cast. Everyone has their hit-or-miss moments acting wise but the film as a whole is a fun, thrilling experience that kind of makes me wish Fantasy Island existed, despite the cautionary tale the film displays. I give Fantasy Island a 3 out of 4.

Hellraiser (2022) - Is it a reboot? Is it a continuation of sorts? Who knows. The film gave us a new Pinhead, this time portrayed by Jamie Clayton. Not only is she the first female Pinhead, she's also the first trans Pinhead. That works just fine because Pinhead is meant to be fluid. The film itself is your standard horror for a while but then picks up the pace in the latter half of the film. I hope Jamie gets to do more Hellraiser films. I want to see more of her Pinhead. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

Hocus Pocus 2 is just as fun and magical as the first film, reuniting our favorite witch sisters to once again wreak havoc on the modern world all the while introducing (maybe?) some new witches to the lore. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

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The Invitation was one that I went into with zero knowledge of what it was about, which allowed me to enjoy it moreso than I would have otherwise. What I thought might be a play on Ready or Not or The Hunt, The Invitation actually had a brilliant twist to it. That's what I loved most about it. The film had a ton of twists that made you think one thing but what was actually happening was entirely different. I give the film a 3 out of 4, the only deduction being for shoddy visual effects.

It Comes at Night was a brilliant, dramatic, unsettling tale that told us a story without revealing who or what 'It' was. I still have no idea what 'It' is, or why it only comes at night, and that's what's truly terrifying about it. I give it a 4 out of 4.

Jeepers Creepers Reborn is what one could call the disappointment of the year. This is what happens when the original writer of the first film is not invited back. Jeepers Creepers 3 and Reborn have both been massive letdowns because the studio rejected Victor Salva's ideas. On top of the change in writer, Creeper, and locale, Reborn also tried to introduce new lore out of nowhere. This whole film was a giant mess. Bring back Salva or just don't make any more. I give the film a 0 out of 4 and thereby sentence it to Death by Exile.

The Mummy (1932): While it wasn't as coherent and suspenseful as Fraser's Mummy, Karloff's original version was still well-made and his Imhotep quite unnerving. Karloff had the performance but the story didn't have a whole lot of substance. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

The Munsters - From the first trailer, I was skeptical about the film. I grew up watching The Munsters tv show and always had fun watching it. Rob Zombie's prequel to the TV show had the right attitude and it stayed true to the show, but the humor was just not enjoyable and Sheri Moon's Lily had the likability of a dying pelican. Stick to horror, Mr. Zombie. I give The Munsters a 2.5 out of 4.

The Night House was interesting, to say the least. It had a deep story and some truly chilling moments, but it's also one that requires multiple viewings to truly grasp the story. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

Nosferatu, the original vampire film, was from the silent era and still holds up as being pretty frightening today. With silent films, the acting was all done with motion since "talkies" weren't around yet, and even by the modern era's standards, Nosferatu has some incredible acting and motions that draw the audience in. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is the newest installment of the franchise and I felt it breathed new life into the franchise. There's reportedly an eighth film in the works and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes. The Amish angle was brilliant and the Midsommar culty feel made the intensity feel all the more real. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oh how remarkable it would be to have the power to never age, however, even those who appear to be immortal have their weaknesses. Dorian Gray's picture being his. It's a beautiful, tragic, remarkable tale that appeals to everyone's vanity and also cautions us against having far too much of it. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog - What an epic team-up this was! Two long-time favorite dogs of mine FINALLY meet and team up against monsters! Only reason I deduct anything from this movie is because of Eustace's useless rap scene. Like WTH was that?? I give it a 3,5 out of 4.

Smile - This is a film that will make you look at people differently, especially when they smile at you. Maybe they've seen the entity forcing them to smile at you as your life clock slowly runs out. I gave this one a 3.5 out of 4 because I felt the big reveal of the entity was a bit of a letdown. I probably would have been happier had it not had a form at all.

Train to Busan - Hands down, THE best zombie film ever made. This Korean film follows an absent father trying to get his daughter home to her mother, only to find out the people on the train have begun turning into the undead one by one. It's gripping, emotional, heavy...there's nothing like it out there. I give it a 4 out of 4.

Train to Busan: Peninsula - The spin-off film is basically a shoot 'em up with very little plot or character development. It has its good moments, even great moments, but nothing beats the original. I give Peninsula a 3 out of 4.

Truth or Dare - I never said Blumhouse was perfect, I only said I trust their horror movies to be better than other horror movies. Every studio has its bad film and Truth or Dare is definitely on the lesser list. What could have been a creepy flick ultimately bombed. I give it a 2 out of 4.

Werewolf by Night - I was happily surprised by how engaging and fantastic this Special was. It's certainly setting up something within the shadows of the MCU and I'm here for it. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

Wolf Man (1941) - Again, the classics soar. The Wolf Man introduced the werewolf story in a creepy and unsettling way, certainly in a better fashion than modern day retellings choose to handle it. Sometimes blood is NOT better. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

It Was Humanity All Along

Sometimes the scariest villain is a human being. As much as I'd love to say that murders and all manner of evil activity always happens because of demons or otherworldy creatures, the truth is that humans are awful and they're the real villains most of the time. That's what encompasses the next section with 19 selections.

American Carnage is definitely one film that I could not predict. The twisted outcome of the film is sadly very much believable and leaves the viewer it true? I gave it a 3.5 out of 4.

Bad Samaritan - I don't know what it is about super nice European actors being able to play horrific characters so well. David Tennant has a fantastic resume of characters on both the good and bad end of the spectrum but this villain is one you absolutely cannot like or sympathize with in any way. David, you're a bloody genius. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

Barbarian is a 'holy shit' type of movie. In that, I mean that you'll be saying that phrase quite a lot throughout. Something I learned from various horror films...never stay in hostels and now never stay in an AirBnB. 4 out of 4

Batman: The Long Halloween - Part One sets up the larger story all the while keeping us engaged throughout and ending on one hell of a cliffhanger. 4 out of 4

Batman: The Long Halloween - Part Two finishes up the story in a surprising and satisfying way. Harvey Dent was just as terrifying in this film as he was in The Dark Knight. 4 out of 4

Bring It On: Cheer or Die is just as silly as it is fun, however the acting is what really keeps the film from being rated any higher. 2 out of 4

Collector takes the deranged serial killer to the next level in which the villain "collects" his victims and kills as he feels like it. It's tense throughout and is frustrating in the sense that you never see the killer's face. 3 out of 4

Collection continues where the first left off. In order to capture the killer, the survivor of the first film makes a deal to lead the cops to him as long as he doesn't have to go back inside the house. But, things never turn out the way you want, so he finds himself at the mercy of the Collector once more. 3 out of 4

Freaky has supernatural elements but I still labeled it as Human because the killer is in fact a human who used a supernatural element, not the other way around. A serial killer trades bodies with a teenage girl. Kathryn Newton has never been more fun and Vince Vaughn has never been more hilarious. 3.5 out of 4

Halloween Kills was a huge step down from 2018's Halloween. The film has some amazing kills but Jamie Lee Curtis is absent for most of the film and a lot of characters from the original film are brought back just to be eliminated. It's a frustrating film at times but at other times it's just what you need. 2.5 out of 4

Halloween Ends is slightly better than Kills but it still falls short of expectations considering this is Jamie Lee Curtis's final turn as Laurie Strode. Jamie and Michael both deserved better. 2.8 out of 4

House of Wax (1953) - Vincent Price is a master of horror and a rather genius villain. This film is still far superior to the Paris Hilton remake and I honestly don't see a day where Price's film will be outmatched. 4 out of 4

Hunt - Rich people are just the worst. Okay, not all of them. But the ones that are rich enough to coverup the fact that they're kidnapping and hunting people are the worst. Yes, it is a real thing. I know of a certain director who received death threats after starting to make a documentary about it. The Hunt has a fantastic cast and unpredictable deaths, great acting, and tense chases throughout. 3 out of 4

Nightingale is a dark, gritty, and tragic story that may very well be based on true events. It's sad people, women in particular, had to endure this type of treatment, not only during the European-Australian war but also the European-Native American war that most people love to ignore and pretend never happened. 3.5 out of 4

Nightmare Alley has a fantastic cast, an engaging story, and remarkable imagery that only Guillermo del Toro can deliver. 4 out of 4

Pearl is the prequel we X fans needed. Mia Goth is fantastic as this character who has completely lost her grasp on reality and also delivers one of the best monologues ever filmed. Keep in mind, this is an 8-minute long scene and it was filmed in one take. If that doesn't sound like a lot to you, keep in mind that is a ton of dialogue. She had to sell her monologue with her voice and eyes and no other help given to her. That's beyond remarkable to me. 4 out of 4

They/Them is a brilliant film buried underneath a typical horror thriller. It's probably the best film I can think of that shows with brutal honesty what LGBTQ people experience on a daily basis, even if some of it is slightly exaggerated. Kevin Bacon, why are you so good at being bad? 3 out of 4

Till Death stars Megan Fox as a girl who thinks is having a quiet weekend alone with her husband. But things take a turn for the worst when she wakes up handcuffed to his dead body and the person out for revenge on her is only just starting his game. 3 out of 4

Town That Dreaded Sundown is a unique slasher film. It is filmed like a documentary that is covering a crime spree that happened in 1946. Acting's a bit choppy and the screaming is way too over-the-top but otherwise, great approach to a film genre that needed a breath of fresh air. 3 out of 4

Wicker Man (1975) - It's going to come as no surprise to learn that the 1975 version is vastly superior to the remake. The acting, story, and feel are all in the right place but it ends quite abruptly. 3 out of 4


Yes, documentaries are allowed during Halloween time too, especially when they're about creepy things, both real and entertaining.

Crystal Lake Memories - The complete history of Friday the 13th all in one place. Everything you ever wanted to know about the franchise is right here and it's a fantastic journey. 4 out of 4.

Eyes of the Mothman - One of two documentaries I watched about the Mothman this October. This one is the most informative, diving deep into the history of Point Pleasant, West Virginia and why the residents have come to believe it's a cursed town. 4 out of 4.

Mothman Legacy is more to the point about who or what Mothman is/was and where he's gone. 4 out of 4.

Never Sleep Again is the complete history of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Robert Englund was a fantastic Freddy. No one else will ever be able to bring to the character what he did. 4 out of 4.

Pennywise: The Story of IT covers the making of the 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry. It's rather interesting, especially if you're a film buff. 4 out of 4.

Unknown Dimensions is the story of the making of Paranormal Activity, how it began, where the idea came from, and the lasting effect the series has had over the years. 4 out of 4.

All entries, rated

  1. 13 Minutes - 2.5 out of 4
  2. Agnes - 3.5 out of 4
  3. American Carnage - 3.5 out of 4
  4. Anna and the Apocalypse - 3.5 out of 4
  5. Bad Samaritan - 3.5 out of 4
  6. Barbarian - 4 out of 4
  7. Batman: The Long Halloween Part One - 4 out of 4
  8. Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two - 4 out of 4
  9. Before I Hang - 4 out of 4
  10. Bring It On: Cheer or Die - 2 out of 4
  11. The Collector - 3 out of 4
  12. The Collection - 3 out of 4
  13. Come Play - 3.5 out of 4
  14. Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th - 4 out of 4
  15. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) - 4 out of 4
  16. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) - 3 out of 4
  17. Dracula (1931) - 4 out of 4
  18. Dual - 3.5 out of 4
  19. Eyes of the Mothman - 4 out of 4
  20. Fantasy Island - 3 out of 4
  21. Frankenstein (1931) - 4 out of 4
  22. Freaky - 3.5 out of 4
  23. Halloween Kills - 2.5 out of 4
  24. Halloween Ends - 2.8 out of 4
  25. Hellraiser (2022) - 3 out of 4
  26. Hocus Pocus 2 - 4 out of 4
  27. House of Wax (1953) - 4 out of 4
  28. Hunt (2020) - 3 out of 4
  29. Invisible Man (1933) - 4 out of 4
  30. Invitation - 3 out of 4
  31. It Comes at Night - 4 out of 4
  32. Jeepers Creepers Reborn - 0/4 Death by Exile
  33. Mothman Legacy - 4 out of 4
  34. Mummy (1932) - 3 out of 4
  35. Munsters - 2.5 out of 4
  36. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy - 4 out of 4
  37. Night House - 3 out of 4
  38. Nightingale - 3.5 out of 4
  39. Nightmare Alley - 4 out of 4
  40. Nosferatu- 4 out of 4
  41. Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin - 3.5 out of 4
  42. Pearl - 4 out of 4
  43. Pennywise: The Story of 'IT' - 4 out of 4
  44. Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) - 4 out of 4
  45. Requin - 1.5 out of 4
  46. Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog - 3.5 out of 4
  47. Smile - 3.5 out of 4
  48. They/Them - 3 out of 4
  49. Till Death - 3 out of 4
  50. Town That Dreaded Sundown - 3 out of 4
  51. Train to Busan - 4 out of 4
  52. Train to Busan: Peninsula - 3 out of 4
  53. Truth or Dare - 2 out of 4
  54. Unknown Dimensions: The Making of Paranormal Activity 4 out of 4
  55. Werewolf by Night - 4 out of 4
  56. Wicker Man (1975) - 3 out of 4
  57. Wolf Man (1941) - 3.5 out of 4

© 2022 Nathan Jasper

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