To rectify this wrong, we've put together an advent calendar of horror movies to build up your anticipation for the terrors that await on Halloween. (If you're not planning to get scared, you're doing Halloween wrong.) You can watch most of them at home – as long as you've locked your doors and checked under your bed – though we've also found a few movie screenings to visit if you're too paranoid to watch them alone. Enjoy, and feel free let us know what you would've included in the comments.
If you're trying to take on a massive marathon like this, you have to know what you're getting into. These films are the template for cinematic terror, creating the standards against which all other horror movies are compared. And if you can't handle these, good luck getting through the rest.
October 10 – The Exorcist
A demon possesses a preteen, and it's up to a couple of Catholic priests to perform the film's titular act. (If you want to watch it again – because The Exorcist really is just that good – the Mason Park Alamo Drafthouse is screening it on October 22 at 7:30 p.m.)
October 11 – Psycho
After stealing money from a bank, a woman escapes to the Bates Motel. Anybody who's ever seen this film's famous shower scene knows it doesn't end well.
October 12 – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The title basically gives the whole movie away: There's a massacre, and it involves chain saws.
October 13 – Suspiria
Honestly we have no idea what this movie's about, other than the fact that it involves ballerinas and witches, but that suits Suspiria: It's practically a filmed nightmare.
October 14 – Halloween (Watch it at midnight at River Oaks Theatre. Learn more here. If you can't make it to this screening, catch it at the Vintage Park Alamo Drafthouse on October 30.)
An escaped mental patient returns to torment his childhood neighborhood. Halloween basically fulfills every single horror movie trope ever, from teenagers dying immediately after having sex to having a final girl take on the masked killer.
October 15 – The Omen
A young boy's parents are tormented by their adoptive son, who just so happens to be the Antichrist.
October 16 – The Ring
Anyone who watches a haunted video tape only has seven days left to live. Okay, yes, The Ring is far more recent than any of other films scheduled this week, but remakes of Japanese horror movies took over American screens for a few years and deserve to be recognized for their contributions to the genre.
Women's Empowerment Week
Since horror movies so frequently feature women as main characters – or at the very least, as “the final girl” – enjoy seven days' worth of movies where women are actually recognized as three-dimensional humans. Sure, not all of the female protagonists in these films actually end up empowered, or even survive, but none are treated like disposable arm candy for the male lead.
October 17 – The Witch
After being banished from their 17th century village over religious differences, a Puritan family tries to survive in the New England wilderness. This film's devotion to period accuracy only drives home how terrifying it must have been for New World settlers who really did believe witches were real.
October 18 – Carrie
Moral of the story: Don't piss off hormonal teenagers with psychic powers.
October 19 – Scream
In one of the first – and best – self-aware horror movies, a high school student tries to save her friends from a serial killer named Ghostface. (So creative.)
October 20 – The Silence of the Lambs
When a serial killer starts skinning his victims, the FBI pulls in young trainee Clarice Sterling to interview Hannibal Lecter, another serial killer who eats people, for insight. Mind games and multiple Oscars ensue.