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Here are the movies I’ve seen so far this October. These are not necessarily recommendations but reminders of the variety out there. Movies from the early half of the 20th century have been less explored this year.

Joker (2019) – A dark and dramatic psychological study of Batman’s villain in retro Gotham. Not a superhero movie. A pleasant descent into the disturbed.

Venom: Let there Be Carnage (2021) – IN THEATERS. Just dumb. Everything in this is stupid and a waste of my time. But my kids said it was a good way to start off October since it was like a monster movie.

The Ring (2002) – This the beginning of a specific cinematographic style as well as creepy girls stuttering along with long black hair. (Remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu)

Poster homage to “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”

Baghead (2008) – One of the Duplass brothers’ early independent films. Realistic suspense peeks in its head. An early, flawless, free-spirit role of Greta Gerwig, too.

Marathon Man (1976) – Political thriller with Dustin Hoffman and Roy Scheider. This is an important addition to the genre since it has odd scenes concerning safety (and four climaxes).

Scream (1996) – The satirical premise aids the dated corniness. Halloween fun. (There’s a new movie with the same title that’s not a reboot or remake but a new installment without original writer or director. Release date: January of 2022.)

Young Frankenstein (1974) – I had the chance to see this in a theater full of laughing fans. (Original film print shown at Redford Theatre of Redford, Michigan.)

It (original) (1990) – It is just as stupid as the two new movies (2017 and 2019). It’s more enjoyable, because it takes itself less seriously. (After all, it is a TV movie. How serious can it get? Get it?).

The Thing (1982) – Classic early John Carpenter. He only has a few others. (The original Thing from Another World [1951] and more-recent The Thing [2011] are also good. Neither are directed by Carpenter.)

What Lies Beneath (2000) – I was highly wrapped in and disturbed by Robert Zemeckis’ mesmerizing, haunting camera work upon my first viewing but have been overwhelmingly disappointed with each additional viewing.

Monster House (2006) – The eyes of these cartoon characters hold no emotion, but the movie is a children’s classic. (Too macabre for kids under the age of 8, or 9, or 10, I’d say.)

The Lighthouse (2019) – I thought I mostly enjoyed this black and white, dreamy movie from director Robert Eggers (The Witch) and studio A24. I don’t. (Robert Pattinson, however, pulls off another believable character.)

“Death Note” (Anime series) (2006) – Involves wit and death. Good enough for Halloween time.

Don’t let the poster fool you.

Mortal (2020) – First fully disappointing movie by André Øvredal, director of found-footage film Troll Hunter, original addition to the horror genre The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and family scary movie Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Dead of Winter (1987) – Bad 80’s movie with a unique premise. Better as a script, I imagine. (Mary Steenburgen normally has light-hearted, realistic performances. Not here.)

Clue (1985) – The best whodunit ever. (Recently saw in the theater. Crowd was, unfortunately, dead.)

Willy’s Wonderland (2021) – Stupid, whether Nicholas Cage speaks or not.

Raw (2016) – An acquired taste. I find it scrumptious.


The Gate (1987) – My wife’s favorite underdog 80’s horror flick starring kids. “Goosebumps” on monster steroids.

Malignant (2021) – I appreciate James Wan-ting to add to the horror genre, but this movie is as terrible as Wan’s Saw spinoff Spiral. (Wan wrote and directed the first Saw, which is also bad. They’re all bad.)

Count Dracula (1970) – Another brightly-lit, dark horror movie with Christopher Lee playing Dracula (again). Klaus Kanski as Renfield didn’t help the picture. Director Jesús Franco brought to the Spanish cinema what some hacks brought to Italian horror – sloppiness not worth watching or studying. (I’d, instead, recommend Kanski in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre for a movie to study.)

When a Stranger Calls (2006 remake) – This remake ruins the idea that made the original famous. (Original is underrated.)

Beetlejuice (1988) – Strange and unusual. Tim Burton’s mistakes and originality lend it the official title of “campy.”

Haunted Honeymoon (1986) – Nice companion to Young Frankenstein. Not a sequel, but Gene Wilder obviously admires his mentor Mel Brooks (director of Young Frankenstein).

Halloween (2018) – This is the most recent movie they put out with this title (for the 3rd time . . . might as well be called Halloween 3, since there isn’t one in existence with Michael Myers). I watched it a second time because of this weekend’s release of Halloween Kills. And I’m sure I’ll see it. (I don’t know why I put my self through these things. However, I did enjoy watching it this time with my family. Is it a good family movie? No. Spoiler – human mutilation.)

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Whether it’s the first found-footage movie or popularized the genre doesn’t matter. The concentration of the hoax is what stands the test of time. The realism (the mostly-realistic tone) is all that’s left. It’s fake realism at its best. (May be a letdown for anyone who’s seen more climactic fiction of the same genre like Paranormal Activity, REC, or Troll Hunter.)

Teen Wolf (1985) – I’ve seen this countless times. The corniness of the 80’s is a rare type. Really, what were they thinking? However, it’s a good time – fun, funny moments, and a cool musical score.

Titane (2021) – IN THEATERS. Director Julia Ducournau (Raw, mentioned above) did not disappoint. Style, story, shock, and structured uniqueness. Upon my exit, a fellow movie-goer said, “That was the most f!#$ed up movie I’d ever seen.” I wouldn’t say that, but I’d put it up there with Antichrist, Perfume, Rubber, Dogtooth, The Beast (1975), and a few others.

Halloween Kills (2021) – IN THEATERS. And, again, I’m asking myself why I put myself through these things. What a moronic movie.

Invaders from Mars (1953) – A 1950’s alien movie from 1953. In 2021, expectations for a movie like this are not very different from what they were in 1981. Somehow, the dated presentation and attention to obscure details are satisfying.

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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