SCREAMING AT HALLOWEEN THEMED FLICKS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! With Halloween fast approachin’, we know a bunch of ya’ll are maxin’ out the number of fright flicks you’re watchin’ to celebrate the most carefree holiday of the year. Horror novices are bingin’ anythin’ seemingly spooky, the average genre fans are happily rewatchin’ their favorite boogey man marathons, and die-hards like us are diggin’ up our holiday themed horrors we specially reserve for this time of year. Yup. Soon as October starts, so does our annual countdown of Halloween themed horror movies, buildin’ up to our most coveted films by All Hallows’ Eve. Our routine is to kick the season off with lesser celebrated movies we genuinely enjoy first, like The Hollow (2004) and Idle Hands (1999), broken up by various Halloween specials from TV shows like Family Matters and Regular Show, then we drive it home at the end of the month with the mainstream heavy weights like Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat (2007) and Carpenter’s original Halloween (1978) to conclude our hootenanny.

Now, it wasn’t easy buildin’ our playlist of Samhain related movies. We spun our wheels for years thinkin’ Michael Myers was as good as it gets. It wasn’t ’til watchin’ the same plot holes and jump scares for the hundredth time did we desperately seek other horror movies themed after the holiday. To our surprise, there’s plenty of other titles involvin’ Halloween, but very few of ’em are worth addin’ to anyone’s holiday rotation. To save ya’ll time siftin’ through a dungheap worth of stinkers, here’s our two cents on some alternate titles . . .

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 1-3 + 2009 Remake
In this series that’s ’bout as criminally undercelebrated as the Maniac Cop trilogy, kids keep crashin’ the infamous Hull House on Halloween night and are possessed by kinky demons that sling some mean gore. All three of the original films star a fierce femme fatale from hell named Angela who’s wonderfully played by Amelia Kinkade ’til Shannon Elizabeth gave the role a shot in the respectful 2009 remake. All together, 4/5!

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 1-2
The same story essentially told twice, a gang of fear-seekin’ filmmakers spend their Halloweens documentin’ the best haunted house attractions in America ’til extreme underground haunters put ’em in compromisin’ situations the last few minutes for some really shitty endin’s and twists that do nothin’ but piss us off. Features some cool lookin’ “killers,” but we’d recommend ya just skip it. Double 2/5 feature!

HELL HOUSE LLC 1-3 
A bunch of cityslickers convert a devil worshipin’ hotel into a small town’s haunted attraction for easy Halloween money, but a portal to hell opens in the basement and spawns three movies worth of found footage investigations tryin’ to solve the mystery of what happened that fatal Halloween night. A decent series that’s gotten lots of mixed reviews, but we love it how much the filmmakers do with so little to get us creeped the hell out. All in all, 3/5, and worth a look!

WEEDJIES: HALLOWEED NIGHT (2019)

While a crew of college girls live it up in Vegas with their own Halloween bash, a mysterious party crasher ambushes ’em with a cursed Ouija board that pits their souls ‘gainst trouble makin’ creatures in a hardcore game of tag. A howlin’ fun flick from Full Moon, this feature length bonanza is burstin’ with an infectious energy that makes me wish I was at this Halloween hootenanny. With an all ’round winnin’ cast of characters, rockin’ tunes, solid script, and memorable booger beast puppets, this is an instant Full Moon classic! Vegas chases, costume parties, bike ridin’ weed wolves, voodoo witches, supernatural gamemasters, baby fetishes, super science ganja, mini Full Moon alum cameos, pool drownin’s, explodin’ heads, stranglin’, flesh eatin’, interdimensional portals, monstrous transformations, tokin’ monsters, one beast rock concerts, and surprisingly no boobs! 5/5!

HACK-O-LANTERN aka HALLOWEEN NIGHT aka DEATH MASK (1988)

It’s Halloween night and a Satan worshippin’ pappy is ready to help his oldest son/grandson level up in his murderous barn cult so long as his law enforcement brother, horny sister, and upset mama/sister don’t bug him. Not a bad flick with competent actors, fleetin’ moments of horror gold, and a decent story, but I’ve got problems with the story’s timeline between key events, who exactly is throwin’ the big Halloween party everyone’s goin’ to, and I don’t feel like the story is structured with the right kind of tension for the twist endin’ we get. 3/5!

zeyeKILLER EYE: HALLOWEEN HAUNT (2011)

Jenna invites her raunchy friends to help decorate her mom’s house for Halloween and piss off a crystal ball security system that manifests the Killer Eye as its ultimate defense against booze, boobs, and boogie dancin’! A very meta approach, it’s not entirely clear whether or not this Killer Eye is “THE” Killer Eye returning for more rape and interdimensional domination or just a supernatural weapon created by the crystal ball after observing the girls ridiculing a copy of the first Killer Eye movie like MST3K amateurs. Regardless, a overall fun movie that just needed more escalating danger with the girls figuring out what’s up and fighting the eye together. 3/5!

THE PREDATOR (2018)
A U.S. soldier snags a crashed Predator’s sci-fightin’ weapons after the e.t. kills his squad and vows revenge with help from a busload of military loonies. As a modest fan of the Predator movie series, I’m tellin’ ya right now, this flick is fuckin’ awesome! Chock full of popcorn action, dirty laughs, top notch effects and characters you can’t get enough of, this is like watchin’ the A-Team escape One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to fight e.ts of all sizes on Halloween night with a dash of Star Kid for good measure! I’m also happy the filmmakers are still usin’ guys in amazin’ monster suits and reservin’ the CGI shitfest for effects that really couldn’t be achieved any other way. Loved every second! 5/5!

TRICK OR TREAT (1986)
A high school metal head accidentally summons the super charged ghost of his favorite rock warrior Sammi Curr to help him get even with his bullies, but all deals are off by Halloween night when innocent scares and pranks escalate to everyone in sight bein’ zapped to ashes by the musical menace. One of the better heavy metal themed horror flicks, this is a fun time with decent actors, impressive practical effects, and tolerable tunes. The only sours that bug me is how flat and tagged on the metal head’s potential girlfriend is written, and how underdeveloped Sammi’s motives are as an angry spirit with no real backstory to explain his explosive predicament. 4/5!

UNCANNY ANNIE (2019)
A houseful of bores rather spend Halloween playin’ board games than party but unfortunately pick a game that’s haunted by a gigglin’ ghost who wants their souls for packagin’ art ‘less they beat a mix of slumber party challenges and escape her alternate box dimension. A successful horror spin on Jumanji‘s concept of a cursed board game, this Into the Dark flick from Hulu is a cut ‘bove the rest with a memorable villain terrorizin’ a cast of likable ‘nough yahoos I half-heartedly root for, but its monsters aren’t very scary, and there’s a major disconnect between the openin’ kill and the gang’s long dead buddy who I thought were one and the same ’til we got pretty far into this thing. 4/5!

HALLOWEEN AT AUNT ETHEL’S (2019)
As Halloween approaches, small town residents seems to know there’s a crackpot senior in a party shop wig butcherin’ youths for meaty fondue treats, but only a gang of horny teens are willin’ to do anythin’ ’bout it. Caught somewhere between F and Z quality filmmakin’, this flick delivers some cheap camera trick gore and satisfyin’ boob coverage with admirable amounts of humor and tension peppered in, but I don’t think it’s worth addin’ to anyone’s rotation of annual Halloween movies. 2/5!

ymidnightTHE MIDNIGHT HOUR (1985)

Small town teens steal historic pilgrim attire from their local museum for Halloween and pull an Evil Dead when they recite a curse they find among the antiques that releases all walks of spooks and ghouls on their unsuspecting town. Full of fun characters, ’80s music, and laugh out loud moments, this family friendly, made for TV flick is an excellent G rated horror for those wanting to take a break from the heavier blood and guts kind of movies. 4/5!

WACKO (1982)
As the annual Halloween Pumpkin Prom approaches, a teeny bopper’s nerves are shredded worryin’ a jack-o-lantern headed psycho on a lawnmower wants to cut her down like he did her sister at the same dance 13 years earlier. More slapstick comedy than slapstick horror, I can honestly say this is a tolerance testin’ joke to watch. The actin’s okay, and there’s a good gag every now and again like a driver’s ed car chase endin’ in cartoon flight through the clouds, and Andrew Dice Clay gettin’ so aroused, he flips a dinner table without his hands, but it’s not ‘nough for me to enjoy the movie as a whole. My biggest sours have to be when the humor gets uncomfortably awkward with older fellas minglin’ with minors and the incestual scenes between George Kennedy and his daughter. 2/5!

HAUNT (2019)
A disposable circle-jerk of friends cap off Halloween night with a visit to an extreme haunt and find out its weirdo performers are out for more than a few screams. One of the better flicks ’bout folks really dyin’ in a haunted attraction, Haunt delivers solid entertainment with top dollar production and unforgettable killers with a thing for facial deformities but its stars lack any chemistry and could have endured more creative tortures. The worse cinematic sin, however, is the pointless build-up to the last girl’s slap-happy boyfriend arrivin’ without any satisfyin’ payoff. 4/5!

TERRIFIER (2017)
Art, that terrifyin’ clown from those All Hallows’ Eve movies, goes solo in his own slasher flick and mutilates anyone unlucky enough to cross his path on Halloween night like a couple of party chicks he chases and torments in a dump bein’ fumigated for rats. The girls are hot, the violence is unsettlin’, and the gore is all over the walls in this cut-throat love letter to video nasties with one of the most unforgettable killers of the 21st century. I just don’t like how there’s not a lot of story much less a character’s journey through the insanity that’s just fucked up Tom and Jerry shenanigans. 4/5!

x06WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (2013)

A different spin on the found footage genre, someone digs up a VHS copy of a fictional news broadcast from Halloween ’87 when a local field reporter entered a supposed haunted house and encountered unexplained forces. For the full tapped TV experience, viewers are also subjected to tons of fake commercials and a full news broadcast serving as the pre-show. This is a cool idea, but was executed all wrong. The focus of the movie itself is so interrupted and cut up by commercials and separate news broadcasts, you forget what you’re even watching. We need to fast-forward through more of the commercials, only show the news segments that set-up plot points, and have a better and clearer escalation of danger. 2/5!

y12MURDER PARTY (2007)

A cardboard knight attends a Halloween party he randomly finds an invitation for and is ambushed by a group of competing artists wanting to murder him in the name of art. This is a very quirky offbeat kind of film, but it works in its own unique way from the chemistry among the incompetent murderers to their awkward interactions with the victim. Definitely worth a watch! 4/5!

ALL HALLOWS EVE (2013)
In this poor man’s Pumpkinhead, a lonely janitor gets pissed when the oldest lookin’ college students EVER beat him up and trash his shitty scarecrow, leavin’ him no choice but to enchant the straw man with dark magic that turns him into a Halloween assassin. This is borderline Z-movie trash but offers a pretty descent story with so-so actin’, covered-up eye candy, and respectable gore and effects that include a stop-motion pumpkin headed booger in the final act that’s not to be missed. 3/5!

zscareSCARE ZONE (2009)

A strip-mall haunted house opens its doors for Halloween but gets too real as a love-sick psychopath makes its performers a permanent part of the gory scenery inside. A fun film that never drags, the weirdest thing about this flick is it’s shot, lit, and scored like a Goosebumps episode, if Goosebumps had boobs and gore. 3/5!

AMERICAN FRIGHT FEST (2018)
After a loony bin bus wrecks, a couple of its homicidal passengers find their way to a Halloween attraction at an abandoned asylum and slaughter clueless folks who think they’re part of the act. Brought to us by fuckin’ Gravitas Ventures, who has an amazin’ track record for films that fail to deliver on promisin’ stories, this movie is no different. It’s shot well enough with decent actin’, but there’s no mystery to the villains, no central character to root for, the pacin’s all out of whack, and built-up moments are executed at all the wrong times. 2/5!

HELL FEST (2018)
A Halloween serial killer hides among the masked employees of a theme park size haunt called Hell Fest and singles out a girl and her friends for his homicidal ritual bystandin’ gawkers think is just part of the show. This is a sweet hooten-nanny of a flick that maxes out the Halloween atmosphere with nearly everythin’ you’ve ever seen at a haunted attraction packed into one movie. The talent is believable and entertainin’, the sets look amaze-balls, and the killer is minimal but effective thanks to thoughtful camerawork and a single hummed tune keepin’ him from bein’ a forgettable cookie cutter slasher. The only sours I find are the chase sequences gettin’ a little repetitive by the end, the friends needin’ another level of complexity to how they interact’ throughout the night, too few creative kills, and it personally bugged me the inconsistency in the park’s level of dangers and why it meant so much for the friends to make it to the Hell end of Hell Fest. 4/5!

BLOOD FEST (2018)
A gang of well meanin’ horror fans visit the newest theme park, Blood Fest, to experience the full gamut of Halloween thrills inspired by their favorite scary movies but quickly learn the event’s really a madman’s twisted blow to the genre he blames for today’s violence in society. With real killers and monsters after them, this rag tag team of horror aficionados must escape 700 hodge podge acres of zombies, clowns, vamps, and torture before an explosive finale. A new splatter spin on the self aware concept seen in flicks like Scream and Cabin in the Woods, this is a really fun movie with a bunch of likable characters, hot talents, and modest gore. I think there’s some story details that get lost or poorly told when it comes to the town’s history with Blood Fest and how believable it is someone other than a mega super villain like Dr. Doom could only pull such an event off, but that’s a nit picky distraction most viewers won’t care ’bout. 5/5!

ytrickTRICK OR TREATS (1982)

A struggling actress earns some cash babysitting a prank obsessed young’n on Halloween night, and that’s . . . that’s pretty much it. Oh, wait. There’s a whole subplot involving the brat’s mom committing his dad so she could roll in the sheets with David Carradine, but this doesn’t payoff until the end when the dad escapes the loony bin looking for revenge, finding the babysitter to scare the last 15 minutes of the film when he returns home. A longwinded loony chase, phone calls with medieval knights, bad disguises, trick or treaters, childish pranks galore, and 1 hot blonde to help get you through this farce of a slasher film. 2/5!

CANDY CORN (2019)
After small town bullies kick the life out of the local slowped for Halloween fun, his new employer at the travelin’ freak show resurrects him as a candy corn munchin’ zombie who halfheartedly tears his killers apart one by one. Despite this bein’ a wonderfully produced throwback to the VHS era with the same revenge story I love in The Crow and Pumpkinhead, the filmmakers’ sloppy treatment of their characters completely ruins the film. The slowped lacks any substance for me to to give a shit ’bout his situation, interconnectin’ characters fail to gel with ’em spendin’ more time apart than together, and I don’t know who to root for ’cause the guilt-ridden girlfriend and backwoods sheriff constantly compete for the story’s point of view which ultimately results in one big ineffective endin’. The only cast member to come out unscathed is The Greasy Strangler‘s Sky Elobar as Gus, the skeezy party guy. 3/5!

zfear2THE FEAR: HALLOWEEN NIGHT aka THE FEAR: RESURRECTION (1999)
Morty the killer splinter is back, and he’s got a new Native American look and backstory! Teens dress up as their worst fears in some of the dumbest costumes committed to celluloid for a Halloween party at Betsy Palmer’s house, and resist laughing at the possessed log’s attempt at Freddy Krueger banter. 3/5!

CLOWNS OF HALLOWEEN (2017)
In this atrocious collection of Z-grade cinema, director Dustin Ferguson slaps together ol’ short films of his involvin’ killer clowns on Halloween without any connectin’ narrative and presents an hour long tolerance tester of yahoos bein’ killed by the ghost of Leatherface in clown make-up, a little antique clown doll, and a psycho in a clown mask stealin’ Michael Myer’s schtick. We’ll give the filmmakers an “A” for effort, but as enthusiastic as these orange drenched love letters to John Carpenter are, they just fail to make up for their limited resources with more intuitive camerawork, smarter editing, or sophisticated storytellin’. 1/5!

THE BARN (2016)
It’s 1989, and a small town gang of Halloween lovin’ teens accidentally call forth three demons from a cursed barn where the devil waits to feast on harvested flesh. I’m here to tell ya the horror community’s hype over this movie is legit! Its nostalgic filmmakers successfully produce a true tribute to scary VHS flicks from the ’80s, givin’ us well cast characters, a fully developed script, a touch of boobs, a rockin’ soundtrack, and three sequel worthy villains (The Boogeyman, Hollow Jack, and the Candy Corn Scarecrow) bringin’ the gore! Well . . . a modest amount of gore that leaves me wishin’ they went more nuts, but better than none at all. Only real complaint I have is the film’s spastic editin’ and inconsistent camerawork of pans and claustrophobic close-ups that’s a toss up between an exercise in bad movie parody or signs of amateur filmmakin’. 4/5!

z005TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015)

Not one but ten scary stories from a small town on Halloween night, rangin’ from malicious trick ‘r treaters to fatal fuedin’ neighbors and all things that go bump in the night with horror hall of famers in between. The best Halloween anthology since Trick ‘r Treat (2007), this is a great film that offers plenty of satisfyin’ shorts supported with awesome special effects, actors, and music. 5/5!

FLESH EATER: REVENGE OF THE LIVING DEAD (1988)
A farmer disturbs a hidden grave in the woods on Halloween and unofficially releases the silver scream’s first flesh eatin’ zombie from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (the stiff who attacks Barbara in the cemetery). After trick ‘r treatin’ the countryside for flesh, he leads an undead posse to a horny gang of haunted hayriders who’ve pitch camp in the woods to party. I can easily see the love and effort that went into this flick from the NOTLD nods to the gory special effects, but the script unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired with borin’ characters and a meanderin’ story that doesn’t escalate. 2/5!

xgravyGRAVY (2015)

A sophisticated gang of cannibals trap a well rounded group of victims in a Mexican restaurant on Halloween night, forcing them to play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon to win their way off the menu. Excellent characters with fun twists and turns in the story, I felt this film’s only shortcoming for being a total success was how it rode the fence too much between horror and comedy when it really needed to go full force in either direction. And it sounds petty, but I really wish the cannibals were wearing more memorable Halloween costumes which would’ve helped people remember this flick for years to come. 3/5!

NEVERKNOCK (2017)
After a gang of high schoolers knock on the cursed door of their town’s creepiest house for Halloween fun, they’re hunted the rest of misfit night by a contorted creature that feeds on their fears with terrifyin’ hallucinations. This might be one of the best TV flicks I’ve ever seen come from Syfy. It’s an earnest attempt at a horror flick with decent cinematography, and a surprisingly solid cast of characters worth watchin’. The special effects might be a little lackluster from time to time, and the monster certainly could have been executed more effectively, but none of that diminishes the overall impressive nature of this flick. 4/5!

HONEYSPIDER (2014)
It’s 1989, and a college chick spends her birthday/Halloween workin’ the concession stand at the movie theater, never suspectin’ Satanic pervs are waitin’ to stuff her mouth full of honey dipped spiders for some bullshit ritual. This cheap flick captures a great Halloween atmosphere surroundin’ a really cool theater but is ultimately a waste of time thanks to its half-ass story and the filmmakers’ inability to tell it. No suspense or tension, the sound is awful, no real resolution, most the movie is pissed away with aimless wanderin’ or watchin’ a fake horror film play in the theater, and no scene successfully shows off the duplicate Michael Myers house part of this was shot at in North Carolina. Skip! 2/5! 

BOO! (2019)
A Detroit family is next in line to pass along a trick or treat chain letter, but when the Halloween hatin’ father refuses to play ‘long, they see things that aren’t really there the rest of the movie ’til the son’s possessed by somethin’ that makes him burn the house down. SPOILERS, but I strongly recommend y’all don’t waste yer time with this bullshit ’cause it’s uneventful in any meaningful kind of way, and nothin’ in it makes sense! The family’s horribly established with zero chemistry, I think the cast were givin’ conflictin’ notes for their characters in every scene, some folks are haunted by their pasts while others aren’t (or at least it’s not explained how eyeless brats tie into the dad’s backstory), a 12 year old kid’s written and acted like he’s eight, and how can an uber-religious dad hate Halloween so much but be cool with his son decoratin’ his room in demonic doodles and disfigured dolls like he’s a young Ed Gein?! 2/5!

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

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