Friday, October 2, 2020

Reserved Seating: 2020 Scary Movie Month Must-Sees

 by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino

The review duo who each pick their top five films to see for the first time this October.

Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.

Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: Scary Movie Month is here, and boy do we need it. Between the White Sox making the playoffs and a month-long binging my favorite genre, I’m going to remind myself right now to enjoy this month. I mentioned a list of movies I want to check out for the first time on the last podcast (including Session 9, Vamp, and Altered States), so here’s a list of five I didn’t mention. I want to get to some more of my 1980s horror blind spots.

Once Bitten - I’ve owned a Scream Factory double feature Blu-ray for years (of Love at First Bite and Once Bitten) and this is going to be the year I finally unwrap the plastic. I’m in the mood for both a horror comedy and an unseen-by-me Jim Carrey movie because I still sanction his buffoonery. I’m planning on doing a 24-hour marathon at some point in October and this would slot in nicely during the afternoon.

The Hidden - I’ve been hearing that this one is really good, so I’m excited to check it out. Plus, whenever I read something about Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday the writer brings up that it’s a lot like The Hidden so maybe I can make them a double feature one night.
My Demon Lover - I once had a dream that Scott Valentine (Family Ties) was my lost brother so I feel like I owe it to him to see his star vehicle. Listen, people have watched movies for stranger reasons than this.

Fright Night Part 2 - I know the sequel to 1985’s Fright Night is not well-liked, but I’ve wanted to watch it for years and the only thing preventing me is that it’s not readily available. I own a bootleg, but watching bootlegs always feels weird to me. They smell. I see it’s on YouTube, so I’ll be watching it that way. Plus, it co-stars Traci Lind, who I became a fan of last year when I watched My Boyfriend’s Back for the first time.

Puppet Master - I’ve never seen a Puppet Master movie, so I’m making this the year I kick off the series. I’m excited to see the original since it features the likes of William Hickey, Barbara Crampton and Paul Le Mat. Plus, if I watch this, I’ll be ready to have a conversation at the Full Moon booth at next year’s Flashback Weekend. I’m in over my head every year I stop by that table with Patrick.
Rob: I’m almost in the opposite camp, unfortunately. With our national return to in-person school making my career and parenthood a mess (not to mention the Phillies’ elimination from Postseason contention #GoSox), I’m looking for this Scary Movie Month to provide a much-needed respite from the chaos. However, I’m finding myself a bit adrift when it comes to unseen horror. I’ve covered all my major franchise gaps in years past, filled in my giallo and Hammer shames, and I’ve kept up with most of the new horror in 2020. The next few weeks are kind of a blank slate. That’s good, I think? One goal I do have is to watch the Sleepaway Camp sequels. I showed some friends the original recently, and we thought it might be fun to discover the rest together.

Luckily, film festival season has come to my rescue. Patrick and I will be covering the upcoming Nightstream Virtual Film Festival later in the month, so I’m going to go down the schedule and name a few films that look interesting. I have no idea what we’ll actually get to see, but here goes:

Run - Sarah Paulson plays the doting mother of a wheelchair-bound teen who discovers some strange occurrences in the neighborhood. I’m always down for a good Rear Window riff, so why not? Reel Talk: Is Rear Window the film that has inspired the most quality remakes/reimaginings?

Mandibles - A horror-comedy in which “two simple-minded friends...find a giant fly stuck in the trunk of their car and...train it to earn money.” Train it to do what, exactly? Who knows? An old-school creature feature sounds great right now.

Anything For Jackson - “Satanists Audrey and Henry Walsh had the best of intentions when they kidnapped a young pregnant woman in the hopes of performing a resurrection ritual for their recently deceased grandson. What could go wrong?” This doesn’t seem problematic, at all. I’m in!

Black Bear - Looks like a “lost in the woods” joint starring Aubrey Plaza. Aubrey Plaza was one of the only things I liked about the Child’s Play remake, so why not?
Boys From County Hell - “The tourist-pranking antics of a group of hardy Irish road workers are turned against them when they discover that they’ve accidentally awoken an undead bloodsucker sleeping beneath the town’s soil in this uproarious and freaky horror-comedy.” This sounds terrible, but horror comedies are feeling like the way to go in 2020, folks.

The Doorman - Well, this exercise has paid off: Ruby Rose (!) stars as a former Marine turned doorman who must defend a high-rise from Jean Reno’s crack team of art thieves. This probably won’t end up counting for Scary Movie Month, but Die Hard Except Ruby Rose already has a place in my Top Ten.

Side question: Do you have any movies you have to return to EVERY Scary Movie Month?

Adam: I’m glad I have friends like you and Patrick who can vet the festival movies for me. I mean that sincerely. I would have no idea where to start.

I don’t have many movies I return to every Scary Movie Month. I used to watch Bubba Ho-Tep every year for Scary Movie Day with my mom, but she requested we change up the lineup this year. We always watch one classic, one Vincent Price, and Bubba Ho-Tep. This year we’re watching Dead of Night (1945), The Masque of the Red Death, and Ghostbusters. I usually wind up watching Hocus Pocus at some point each October, at least in the background while I’m doing other things. Other than that, I like to mix it up and take years off from certain movies, so they stay somewhat fresh. The ones I go back to most, though, include Scream, Carnival of Souls, and Demon Knight.

Do you feel any pressure with which movie you kick off Scary Movie Month? I feel like it needs to be a headliner of some sort. Have you picked out your first movie for October? I’ll probably find a Universal Monsters movie to watch at midnight October 1st since I have work later that day and need something short.

Rob: My plan for October 1 is a Halloween (1978)/Halloween (2018) double feature. I’m wondering if seeing them in the intended order will help me appreciate 2018 a bit more than I did the first time. Silent Hill, obviously. Gotta keep the brand strong. What else? I always watch The Silence of the Lambs at some point, and I’ve been eager to do a Mandy/Suspiria (2018) double feature. That’s all I’ve got, at the moment. Last year I fell into a “One new-to-me, one rewatch” balance, and I think I’m going to further adapt that into “One new, two rewatches” for 2020. There are a ton of great movies I’ve watched in SMMs past and never been able to go back to. I think comfort rewatches reduce burnout, too.

Adam: As long as you watch Tales from the Hood 3, any plan you have is going to work. Are you going to any events this month? I’m heading to the drive-in this weekend to see a Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein triple feature. I’m excited.

Rob: That sounds great! You’re reminding me that I haven’t yet cracked the “Universal Monsters Essentials Collection” Blu-ray set I bought last year. I think my son might like watching some of those. As for events, The Mahoning is doing a Thing From Another World/The Thing double feature late in the month. That sounds fun. I’d love to see The Thing on the big screen. Other than that, events still feel mostly off-limits.

Adam: I hear you. To our readers, what do you have planned for Scary Movie Month? Any first time watches you’re excited about? Plans etc.? Leave a comment below. Until next time…

Rob: These seats are reserved.


  1. The two movies I'm most eager to see for the first time are The Woman and Excision, both of which I'm only aware of because of this site. Others include Bordello of Blood, Hocus Pocus, and probably some Cravens to keep up with the Cravin' Craven podcast. I've been putting off listening to it because I want to see the movies first.

    I'm trying out a gimmick where I started with a 2020 movie and am going backwards, watching one movie from each year. Thought that would make it easier to pick what to watch. So we'll see if I get to the early Cravens before the month ends.

  2. I was going to do 31 horror movies I thought my wife should have seen by now, but then decided to include some blind spots for me as well. Doing them in order of release and the first three days are new to both of us. THE TINGLER, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, and PEEPING TOM. Should be a fun month. Last year we did all vampire movies and that got to be pretty repetitive. We’ve got a good mix for 2020.

  3. IF anyone needs a respite or a slight diversion this month. The res a really funny and charming romantic-horror comedy on a couple of streaming sites called Extra Ordinary. About an irish driving instructor former occult prodigy helping a family rid themselves of a ghost. Also Will Forte is a former one hit wonder looking to regain his past glory. Might be one of the sweetest movies I have seen this year. I say this having
    watched a Boy named Sailboat which exists just to increase the saccharine levels of the world(and is a terrible choice for scary movie month).

  4. YouTube! Of course! I've been trying to find Fright Night 2 to rent, buy etc. for a week and could not. I never thought about YT. Thanks!