Clarissa's 31 Days of Halloween Challenge: 90's Movies Edition
When it comes to horror, the 90s are often served up as an example of the worst decades-worth of scary movies ever made. It’s something that also makes us roll our eyes so hard they’re reduced to marbles rolling around our skull. While the 90s definitely experimented with the genre (with mixed results) and featured a recurring teen slasher theme that some found too commercial for their tastes (boo you, losers!), many of these movies remain extremely fond to us. Even the ones we know are terrible.
For Halloween this year, we’ve put together 31 of our favourite 90s horror movies for the ultimate film-a-day challenge. So get that pizza delivery guy on speed-dial, get some beers chilling, and prep some snack bowls because here’s our 31 days of Halloween movie challenge which we’re fairly confident you’re going to want to get involved in.
Mon October 1st: The Blair Witch Project
Released two years before Scream, New Nightmare sees Wes Craven experimenting with meta-content & reflecting on the pop cultural commodification of Freddy Kruger from terrifying boogeyman to slapstick funnyman. It’s a marvel of a movie and utterly groundbreaking.
Weds October 3rd: Carrie 2: The Rage
We’re completely aware that Carrie 2 isn’t exactly beloved by the horror community, but we’re going to go ahead and defend it anyway. It’s peak 90s angst and cheesy as hell but it also features a lot of thoughtful statements about rape culture that remain disturbingly relevant to this day.
Thurs October 4th: Urban Legend
Don’t be a hater - Urban Legend is still terrific fun with some riotous murder scenes and deliciously OTT acting (mostly courtesy of the much underrated Rebecca Gayheart). Plus! It stars Tara Reid on top form as ever (we don’t know how else to describe whatever it is she does) and Joshua Jackson during his incredible peroxide blonde phase so…it’s basically a masterpiece.
Fri October 5th: Candyman
From one movie about urban legends to another. Candyman was one of those films that scared us shitless as children (too many sleepovers where a bunch of girls would shriek “Candyman” into a mirror & then be up all night in fear). Now, however, it’s less scary but definitely more enjoyable - even if some of it’s subtext and history remains up for criticism.
Sat October 6th: In the Mouth of Madness
Probably the most underrated film on this list, John Carpenter’s chaotic and genuinely chilling horror pays tribute to the work of Stephen King and the author’s often self-referential canon. It’s a stupendously maddening movie, great fun, and very scary.
Sun October 7th: House IV
Worth it, if just for this entire “haunted pizza” sequence.
Mon October 8th: Audition
Takashi Mike’s brutal subversion of romantic comedies features a finale that’s still one of the most gruesome and hard hitting to watch to this day. The movie makes a lot of bold and unexpectedly poignant statements about gender norms, expectations, and performance while still being one of most unsettling films ever made.
Tues October 9th: Deep Blue Sea
Potentially one of the dumbest films of the 90s and definitely not scary in the least bit (aside from the bad CGI work they do to Samuel L. Jackson). It’s a fun and goofy watch, regardless. Do follow it up with the How Did This Get Made episode about the film - it’s a gem.
Weds 10th October: Event Horizon
Jesus fucking christ: Event Horizon was the scariest film most 90s kids had ever happened upon at the time of release. It’s nowhere near as scary as you remember and actually, it’s way cheesier than you might want to admit but goddammit it’s still terrific and weird as hell.
Thurs October 11th: House on Haunted Hill
Obviously not a patch on the 1959 original but we’re still fairly fond of this jittery, nightmarish remake which made us deeply afraid of any and all hospitals between the ages of 14 and 22.
Fri October 12th: The Faculty
The start of our set of Kevin Williamson penned horrors begins with his masterful mash-up of The Breakfast Club, The Thing, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s a movie that’s honestly improved with age (though we seriously always loved it), though we’re still furious that Stokely (Clea DuVall) didn’t get paired up with school beauty queen Delilah (Jordana Brewster) at the end - it’s the only match up that makes sense and secretly, you all agree.
Sat oCTOBER 13TH: Scream
This movie is our entire heart. Long may it reside there.
Sun October 14th: Scream 2
We’re all aware that Scream 2 isn’t anywhere near as good as the first film but it’s still an exceptional watch. Especially because it stars s young Timothy Olyphant with his original, pre-whitened teeth during his adorable “tall hair" & psycho eyes” phase.
Mon October 15th: I Know What You Did Last Summer
We love this movie so much we recorded a one-off podcast special about it in front of a live - and very vocal - audience last September.
Tues October 16th: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
As if you couldn’t tell from this screenshot of Jack Black in a bad wig of white-boy dreads smoking a phat one in front of a swimming pool - this movie is a hot mess. And my god, we love a hot mess.
Weds October 17th: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
90s dreamboat Josh Hartnett! Dawson’s Creek’s Michelle Williams! Joseph Gordon Levitt with an ice skate through his skull! People like to shit on H20 but we think it’s actually one of the better sequels of the Halloween franchise - fight us.
Thurs October 18th: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
…and this is by far one of the worst sequels of the Halloween franchise. On the upside, it does star Paul Rudd. And not only is he cute as hell (can you believe this movie came out the same year as Clueless?!) but he’s also chewing the scenery like it’s made of hot cheese.
Fri October 19th: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
Hellraiser III is (for the most part) set in a metal club, and as you might imagine that leads to the massacre of plenty of super horny leather-clad folk and a DJ killed by his own CD collection (oh, sweet irony!). It’s so 90s that it’s practically sponsored by classic MTV metal show Headbangers Ball.
Sat October 20th: The Exorcist III
Features more brutal cuts against nurses than the NHS under the current Tory government. And that’s really saying something.
Sun October 21st: Ernest Scared Stupid
Sure, it’s a kid’s film. But the troll who turns kids into little, wooden statues is still legit scary and rubber faced buffoon Ernest (the late Jim Varney) is also deeply unsettling in his own way. It’s a Halloween classic however you look at it.
Mon October 22nd: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Crybaby Joss Whedon can complain all he wants about how this movie didn’t live up to his vision and how interference from this person or that studio ruined the whole thing for everyone, but the original movie version of Buffy is actually really terrific. It’s a campy, Valley Girl romp with a slapstick horror edge definitely worth returning to.
Tues October 23rd: Ringu
Sadako is still nightmare fuel, folks! But at the very least we can all relive the days of VHS wonder and creepy auto-tracked fuzzy images.
Weds October 24th: The Craft
Thurs October 25th: Bride of Chucky
Still can’t believe Katherine Heigl starred in this film considering how openly and loudly critical she’s been about the poor “quality” of just about everything she’s ever starred in, but here we are. Bride of Chucky is a comedy horror treat that sees Jennifer Tilly doing some of her best work as psycho doll Tiffany and which features the greatest doll-fucking scene in cinematic history (sorrynotsorry Team America).
Fri October 26th: Idle Hands
Come for the wanking allegories, stay to see Dexter Holland from The Offspring have his head torn off by a disembodied demonic hand.
Sat October 27th: Maniac Cop 2
Because it isn’t Halloween unless you watch something starring Bruce Campbell. That’s just, like, the law.
Sun October 28th: Frankenhooker
If not the best horror comedy of the 90s then it’s certainly one of the most inventive and iconic. If you want to delve even deeper then there’s plenty of intriguing subtext to Frank Henelotter’s low-budget flick concerning the objectification of the female body, male sexual fantasies, and the toxicity of possessive love. But all social statements aside - it’s also just a really phenomenal movie.
Mon October 29th: Jack Frost
A comedic horror masterpiece, ladies and gentlemen.
Tues October 30th: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
The only Friday the 13th film of the 90s and a failed attempt to tease the “last ever!” of the entire franchise. Naturally, we know by now that was a complete lie. But presumably, the filmmakers and studio also suspected as much considering the final shot of the movie shows Jason’s mask being pulled into hell by none other than Freddy Krueger’s claw.
Weds October 31st: Hocus Pocus
What the fuck else? It’s basically the law at this point that Hocus Pocus be watched on Halloween - and honestly, we’re fine with it.