31 Days of Horror Movies: Part 1 – It Follows, Alien, The Babadook & More

It Follows

With Halloween almost upon us, horror fans around the world are rejoicing and using it as an excuse to binge all their favourite films from the most frightful of genres. To celebrate, I’m taking on the 31 Days of Horror Challenge on behalf of Cultured Vultures. The rules are simple, you have to watch thirty-one feature-length Horror films in October, one for every day of the month. You don’t have to watch a film per day, but if you opt to binge 31 horror films in the last few days of the month, well, that’s your funeral (and given the subject matter, possible resurrection).

With the rules all laid out, here’s the first week of films from my 31 Days of Horror:


It Follows (2014)

Source: Bloody-disgusting

A film that may give friends and family pause if you recommend it to them, It Follows is the story of a young girl who is continuously hunted by, essentially, a killer STD. It’s a monster that can take the form of anything and anyone, and won’t stop until it kills you or you pass it on to someone else. Although you may scoff at the premise, the film is worth putting aside your preconceived notions for. With a beautifully trance-y eighties-esque soundtrack and a strange, seemingly time-displaced setting, this stylish thriller is the perfect small stakes horror that you can easily fall in love with.

Scare Rating: 2/5

Gore Rating: 3/5


A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Source: HBO.com

You probably know the premise of the 1984 classic: a monstrous figure named Freddy Krueger haunts the dreams of teenagers, slashing them to pieces with his clawed glove. In the 2010 remake, we get a film that takes a valiant stab at utilizing all the new filmmaking technologies of the modern age, but, unfortunately, doesn’t have that same spooky tone as the original.

While watching Johnny Depp’s first feature film in the modern day isn’t quite as scary as the film probably would have been at the time, this new version lacks all of the heart, and the scariest part of the film is the feeling of uneasiness you get from learning what Freddy’s new backstory is, rather than any of Krueger’s dream antics themselves.

Scare Rating: 2/5

Gore Rating: 4/5


Alien (1979)

Although Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley is now known to film fans everywhere, this initial outing is far more unique in the fact that it’s not necessarily about her; in fact, you would be forgiven for not realising she’s the main character until quite late in the film.

The story sees the futuristic equivalent of truckers get terrorized by an alien being they have picked up. Some may contend that Alien isn’t a true horror film, but there’s no denying that the strength of this film is less about the space-ships and science-fiction elements, and more about the tension that builds up in the crew of the Nostromo as they’re picked off one-by-one. Although, again, the scares may not be quite so shocking due to the change in the way cinema is made, Ridley Scott’s first extra-terrestrial outing still stands as a fine example of how to build up a sense of terror in your horror film characters.

Scare Rating: 3/5

Gore Rating: 3/5


The Babadook (2014)

Every single-parent’s nightmare, The Babadook watches a mother slowly go insane as she realises she may have the brattiest child in existence. But how much of the child’s tantrums should be blamed on him, and how much should be blamed on a mysterious story book that won’t seem to leave them alone. This Australian horror keeps the answers ambivalent for most of its run time, instead choosing to focus on the lead character’s mental unravelling rather than any potential supernatural elements.

Scare Rating: 2/5

Gore Rating: 1/5


Event Horizon (1997)

One of my personal favourites, Event Horizon tells of the evils of science; after a long-lost spaceship reappears near Neptune, a recovery team soon find that the craft has spent the last seven years in another dimension while testing out a portal device. As things go south, the recovery crew start to suss out that that dimension is Hell. Starring a young Laurence Fishburne and a creepy Sam Neill, the film leans into science-fiction tropes a bit more than Alien, but in tone, this film is full-on horror

. Dismemberment, possession, hauntings, sex, murder; this film has it all. Unfortunately, it also features some awful nineties CGI and a couple of odd character choices. But even if it’s not your sort of horror, you’ll probably get a laugh out of it at very least.

Scare Rating: 3/5

Gore Rating: 5/5


Cabin in the Woods (2009)

One for fans of self-referential horror-films like Scream, Cabin in the Woods sees five friends venture out to a – you guessed it – cabin in the woods, unaware that their every move is being monitored and manipulated by a strange government facility with plans to unleash monsters on them.

The beauty of Cabin in the Woods isn’t the gore or the scares (although, the gore in particular is pretty great), it’s the way it subverts expectations. You know from the very beginning that something strange is going down, but it takes a while before you can put all the pieces together. And when everything is finally laid out on the table, the film rewards you by going balls-to-the-walls crazy, with Easter eggs and references galore.

Scare Rating: 2/5

Gore Rating: 4/5

So that’s the first week over. Next time, now that the rules are laid out, I’ll be looking at even more films as we get another week closer to Halloween. Out of what’s been watched so far, Cabin in the Woods is easily the best film, but the other features are also strong contenders for the title (with the exception of A Nightmare on Elm Street – that one was pretty forgettable). It Follows has the best soundtrack, while Alien takes the award for ‘most believable characters’. Event Horizon should also get an award for ‘best concept’, while The Babadook, if it were to be awarded something, would take home ‘most annoying child character’. The lack of any memorable scares so far is unfortunate, but we’ve still got twenty-five horror films to go.

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