It’s that time of year again – the time where I watch a horror movie a day for the entire month of October in order to celebrate Halloween. My personal challenge, October 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge is in it’s fourth year and I must say I wasn’t really sure if I would do it again after last year.
The years that I have been completing the challenge have been successful despite the lag in decent horror movies that made appearances in 2018 and 2019. It seemed that the horror movie industry was incredibly lacking with all the recent reboots and shutdowns due to the Coronavirus. Never fear though, the appropriate break of 11 months from horror movies left me frothing for more. There also happened to be a series of new movies available and new horror movie streaming options on the cards (Hello Shudder!) so I decided to counteract the previous viewings of classic horror flicks and new fright fests with more out-of-the-box and modern horror movies.
In fact, there were so many available that I actually watched MORE than the 31 horror movies I was supposed to, and still managed to get through three seasons of Shameless and the Haunting of Bly Manor. So, I guess COVID was good for something!
So without further ado, here are the 31 horror movies I watched during 2020:
You can really learn a lot about yourself by the things you expose yourself to, and setting myself a challenge to watch a horror movie a day for 31 days has definitely exposed me to a lot and forced a lot of introspection.
More specifically, here are a few things I learnt while I set about on my 2019 October 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge:
My psychologist thinks I shouldn’t watch so many horror movies
Not necessarily an observation from watching horror movies, but certainly prevalent to the time in which I conducted my 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge. I started going back to a psychologist and when I let slip i was about to watch 31 horror movies in the month he did mention that people who experience trauma tend to enjoy these horror movies a lot more because it gives them the jolt they need to feel like everything is fine in the real world, like it is what it should be. The movies put them back in the zone of the fight or flight, which is normal for people of all kinds of trauma, and that horror movies may not be the best way to combat my own trauma and psychological issues.
I ignored him and decided to pick up this advice in November at our next appointment, After all, horror movies are kind of my whole deal. Without it, who am I? As my friend Kate said, it can depend on the type of horror movies watched rather than the horror genre in general.
All I know is that it is probably more likely for me to be triggered by a romantic comedy rather than a horror.
Watching women in bikinis is not very good for my body image issues
Speaking of triggered, watching a bevy of beautiful women running around in bikinis on the beach actually had quite a negative effect on me, especially as I was having body image issues at the time of the challenge. Usually when watching horror movies there is at least one beautiful character – generally referred to as “The Slut” – but she always dies in horrific ways, leaving behind a beautiful yet mutilated corpse. Not so pretty now are you?
However, you don’t end up feeling too bad about the other perceived female characters, such as “The Final Girl” because usually you end up thinking that you’re smarter, or more attractive than her, or – I don’t know – at least your not a virgin. It’s a huge insecurity that many women share and it was perfectly summed up in a recent episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia called Thunder Gun 4: Maximum Cool. In this episode, Dee (played by Kaitlin Olsen) admits that watching women in the movies always made her feel insecure, and that watching them killed off made her feel better. It was quite befitting I watched this episode after I watched an hour of half of bikini clad, beautiful haired, not at all hungover women in The Sands.
It really sucks that I reached this conclusion.
Access to other devices ruins watching a movie
As the God of Media in American Gods once said, “the screen is the altar. I’m the one they sacrifice to. Then till now. Golden Age to Golden Age. They sit side by side, ignore each other, and give it up to me. Now they hold a smaller screen on their lap or in the palm of their hand so they don’t get bored watching the big one. Time and attention, better than lamb’s blood.”
This quote has always stuck with me, namely for it’s profoundness, but also because I happened to be scrolling Facebook on my phone literally as she said it. Access to phones and other devices means that our attentions wane easily, and we start flicking through other phones while keeping one eye on the screen. Doing this, we miss stuff. We miss crucial information and we are no longer involved in the story. I barely watched Child’s Play because I was having a very intense relationship talk with my dude. I had to stop several of movies multiple times because I was watching them at work. Access to other things pulls our attention away, and I learnt that this is something I want to be more mindful of and focus on not doing.
But you need access to other services if you want more options
During October I upgraded my computer and as of such I lost my ability to download movies on the internet (“Arghhh me hearties!”) which came up quite difficult when it I was choosing the horror movies I wanted to watch over what was simply just available. Netflix options were either simply just not good, or had been seen before, so having access to only Netflix is a real problem if you are trying to watch 31 Horror Movies a day. Because of this, you need to branch out to different streaming services such as Stan, Amazon Prime, the internet, and even going back to old school DVD’s. More watching options mean more horror movies to watch.
I can’t really tell what’s scary anymore.
“Is this even a horror?” I would ask whoever would listen as I scroll through streaming services to find a horror movie to watch. Other than those that are labelled “classic horrors” like Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, Psycho and recent movies like Zombieland: Double Tap and Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark, I found it difficult to determine whether a movie was a horror, or even scary. Movies that I watched like Girls with Balls, Deadly Detention, Mister Frost and Wounds were all mixed with other more obvious movie genres, such as comedy and drama, that didn’t really grab me at all. Even as I was scrolling, movies like Mother! popped up as horror movies, which while horrific was definitely not a horror movie.
In the end, because I have been so desensitised to horror movies, I simply ended up watching movies that included the tag of “Horror” as one of the first three tags in the IMDB genre list. This seemed pretty foolproof, and will be one of the requirements moving forward into the 2020 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge.
Until then, feel free to leave movie recommendations on the comment sections below!