By Todd Perkins, Staff Movie Reviewer
Back in September 2011, I noticed that many of my friends and fellow students had not seen and experienced some of the better horror films. Sure, they had seen “Saw” and “The Sixth Sense”, but not classic films such as John Carpenter’s “The Thing” or Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.
In an effort to gain awareness and appreciation for these films, I started what came to be called the ‘October Horrorfest’, which is a mini film festival where I show a horror movie that friends and acquaintances have not seen before on every day of October: thirty-one films shown throughout thirty-one days.
Now, three years later, the Horrorfest is still going strong, with films still being shown every night.
With three years behind us, a bit of a tradition has formed where we vote from all the films shown throughout October and decide on which film was the best of that year.
In 2011 the selected film was Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” (1963), 2012 was Tom Holland’s “Fright Night” (1985), and last year, the selected film was none other than George A. Romero’s “Day of the Dead” (1985). The winning film of each year is shown the following year on Halloween night, with selected short films from filmmakers such as Drew Daywalt, Damian McCarthy, and Robert Morgan being shown before it.
Some of the films shown each month are well-known, like John Landis’s “An American Werewolf in London” or Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, but the majority are lesser known films from directors such as Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Ti West, and Roger Corman. Films like “The Exorcist” and “Halloween” are heralded as the best of the horror genre, and often deservedly so, but movies such as “Basket Case”, “Night of the Creeps”, and “Frailty” are often forgotten.
The classic Universal horror classics “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “Bride of Frankenstein”, “The Wolf Man”, and others are tossed aside in favor of “The Purge” and “Annabelle” which is a mistake. Legendary films from William Castle and Hammer Productions deserve to be seen, which is what we set out to do by showing these films to those who come to watch them.
Over these years, we have met at the various homes of those who come to this festival and are willing to host those attending.
In the past year we have been inspired by these films to make an anthology horror franchise of our own. Last year we showed our film “Scared Yet”, which revolved around a couple of teenagers telling scary stories to each other, with those stories making up individual shorts starring various members of the fest. This year we have made a sequel entitled “Scared Yet Part II: Nightmares” which will be shown on Halloween night along with last year’s selected film.
The October Horrorfest is hosted by myself, and is made up of fellow Armstrong students Hanno Joubert, Kyndal Perkins and more, along with family and friends, and is an attempt to celebrate the Halloween season by watching films both popular and unappreciated that many may not have been aware of. These have been an excellent four years, and we look forward to watching even more horror films in the future.