Despite its extent, 31 Days of Horror was never intended to be construed as anything resembling an authoritative inventory of the genre’s undiscovered gems—although many of those have been included. Rather, it’s a reflection of our idiosyncratic preferences. This is why the work of certain horror stalwarts is absent from our pages, routinely supplanted by coverage of horror practitioners with far less renowned careers, such as Bert I. Gordon, Bill Rebane, or Dick Maas.
Entertaining this practice for a full decade has produced an irregular canon of taste, to be certain, but one that is nevertheless shaped by the genre’s history and trends: from Universal Monsters to Hammer Films to the 80s Slasher boom to the advent of streaming video. Any overview of the horror genre will be tent-poled by these and other of the genre’s hallmarks. But it is our hope to have deepened our readers’ conception of its parameters.
A bursting amalgam of conservative social mores contrasted sharply against those of the counter-culture, science fiction and horror b-movies, leather and denim rock ‘n’ roll and glam androgyny, it doesn’t fit up on the big screen. It wants to get out, to flash its decoupage of influences and sit in your lap. It wants to sling a feather boa around your neck as it draws in determinedly to whisper in your ear on the matters of anatomy and science.By: Rumsey Taylor On: 31 October 2013
On offer is every conceivable sort of slashing, squishing, shooting, severing, segmenting, slurping, sawing, shredding, and stabbing: a penis is bitten off, a chainsaw is inserted into someone’s mouth, faces are ripped off, fingers severed, and lots of people are vertically halved by a sword (or quartered, or eighthed, or sixteenthed). Director Yoshihiro Nishumura sets himself the unique challenge of upping the ante, and along the way infuses the film with an operatic level of excess and derangement infrequently seen in films not made in Japan.By: Leo Goldsmith On: 30 October 2013
In The Tenant, estrangement is as much psychological state as sociopolitical category. From the start, the inhabitants of the apartment house treat Trelkovsky like an outsider, an unwanted incursion into their body politic. Indeed, the film explicitly aligns residential politics with international relations.By: Budd Wilkins On: 29 October 2013
At first glance, what we have here is a classic example of the tried and true 1950s monster movie formula. What sets this film apart, though, is the magnificently realized octopus monster, brought to life by the wizard of stop-motion animation, the incomparable Ray Harryhausen. That and one of the most bizarre love triangles I’ve ever seen.By: Thomas Scalzo On: 28 October 2013
Alan Resnais’ premise is that the journey from peaceful countryside to death camp and back is a progression that can happen again—and one that will happen again if society attempts to leave it in the past. Night and Fog is not an autopsy of the past, but rather an examination of the present condition of a society that could regress again into fascism without constant vigilance.By: David Carter On: 27 October 2013
In a genre that’s short on iconic heroes, we’ve maybe always needed buffy—a girl that can crack wise and face the Big Bad and turn her hairspray into a weapon. A girl who fights for the good of herself and others. A girl who wins.By: Victoria Large On: 27 October 2013