Atheist Revolution's Horrible Horror Highlights From October of 2021

spooky halloween

I usually pack as many horror movies into October as I can stand, and this October was no exception. Instead of listing them all as I have done in some past years, I thought it would make more sense to mention the high points and the low points. But first, I should provide a bit of context for how I select what I watch. Every October, I tell myself I will only watch films I have not seen previously. This approach seems like a good one but never lasts long, always collapsing in the same way. After about 12 thoroughly bad films, I grant myself a reprieve and add some old favorites to the mix. I tell myself that I need to do this if I am going to keep at it without getting discouraged.

So what films stood out this year? Which ones did I enjoy the most, and which were the biggest disappointments?

Worst of the Worst

Like every year, more than half of the films I saw this year were pretty bad. More than 75% of the new ones fall into this group. I'll mention three candidates for the worst of the worst category because some will argue that the first two are more thrillers than horror films. The Dark Red (2018) was easily the worst, with Ritual (2012) and Decoys (2004) not proving to be much better. I thought the first two sounded interesting enough to watch, but I was very wrong. As for Decoys, I knew it would be bad but was unprepared for just how bad.

Biggest Disappointment

This was an easy category with two strong contenders. The thing about disappointment is that is amplified when one goes into a film with high expectations from hearing countless fans rave about how great it was. That was the case with both of these. The winner has to be Lake Mungo (2008). This was my third attempt to watch it, having fallen asleep during it twice before. I made it this time but hadn't been missing anything by sleeping. I am genuinely puzzled by the glowing reviews this one gets. I found it incredibly boring and not even mildly creepy. The House of the Devil (2009) was the other big disappointment. As much as I wanted to like this one, I just couldn't do so. It was better than any of the films I've mentioned so far, but that isn't saying much.

The Best of the Best

Of the horror films I watched for the first time this year, I most enjoyed Last Shift (2014) and The Empty Man (2020); however, there was another film that occupied my thoughts far more than these two. It was as much drama, mystery, or even sci-fi as it was horror, but I thought Coherence (2013) was pretty damn cool. If there was a "horror for smart people" genre, this would be in it. It was different enough from anything I can recall that it restored some of my "faith" in original ideas. Not everything they tried worked, of course, but I'd give them lots of credit for trying.

Old Favorites Still Deliver

No matter how many times I watch it, I always enjoy They Live (1988). I realize it is not for everybody, will never be mistaken for great acting, and is kind of like a time capsule of the late 1980s, but I love it and will soon add it to my collection. And speaking of my collection, I only watched one film from it so far: 30 Days of Night (2007). There have been many great vampire flicks, but this one has been one of my favorites since it came out. Every time I watch it, I marvel at how much scarier these vampires are than almost any other example.

With the end of October arriving, the predictable feelings of depression arrive with it. When I drag myself out of bed tomorrow morning, it will be with the awareness that I'll be 364 days away from Jesusween. At least there's no reason I can't continue to watch horror flicks year-round.