FearFest Viewing Guide: 31 Horror Classics to Binge On to Your Heart's Content (or 'Til It Bursts)
It's that time of year again. Yes, we've just landed in the fall, but we're not talking pumpkin spice lattes. It's FearFest! BBC America's sister-network AMC is hosting its annual marathon of horror classics, and this year, more than 80 movies are all available for steaming from now to Halloween.
We trust many of you have your own plans on how to gorge all that gore, but if you're one of those people who perhaps watches through the cracks of your fingers, we've put together a viewing guide that's slightly less intense: 31 movies for the month of October. Come on -- you can do it!
1. Tales from the Crypt (1972)
Director Freddie Francis introduces us to five strangers exploring a catacomb as part of a tour group. When they are separated, they run into the Crypt Keeper (Ralph Richardson). He reveals how each will die... and they're not pleasant predictions. The anthology film stars some familiar names, including Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene and Ian Hendry.
When the newborn son of an American diplomat (Gregory Peck) dies, he adopts an orphan child, unbeknownst to his wife (Lee Remick). The couple bring the baby home and raise him as their own. But they soon realize something is up with their little bundle of evil. No biggie, he's just the Antichrist.
Sissy Spacek takes on the title role in Stephen King's story of a friendless teenager. Carrie may have been a little quirky, but her classmates took it too far, taunting her relentlessly. Needless to say, her peers had no idea she had supernatural abilities, but when they find out, it's much too late.
There are 11 Halloween movies in the franchise, but you can never go wrong going back to where it all started. Michael Myers is put away for murdering his sister. Somehow, he escapes from the mental hospital where he's being held and returns to his hometown to stalk and stab some of his ol' neighbors, including teenage babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, making her film debut). And just like that, a scream queen was born.
5. Alien (1979)
While Ridley Scott's Alien might be deemed sc-fi, there are plenty of terrifying scenes to land it on a horror list, like this chestburster. To backtrack, the story revolves around a spaceship whose occupants are awoken by a distress signal. When the crew disembarks to investigate, they return with a extraterrestrial "souvenir." The cast includes Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Tom Skerrit and Veronica Cartwright.
A group of camp counselors are preparing to re-open Camp Crystal Lake, which was closed after an accidental drowning of a little boy named Jason years prior. The teens are stalked and killed by a serial killer, knocked off one-by-one. You can look for Kevin Bacon as Jack, starring opposite wBetsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Jeannine Taylor.
In Stanley Kubrick's classic adaption of Stephen King's novel Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) packs up his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son to head to the mountains to be caretakers of the isolated Overlook hotel for the winter. While Jack hopes for peace and quiet to work on his novel, his son Danny's supernatural abilities soon begin picking up on terrible events that have already happened at the Overlook. But the worst is yet to come once the isolation slowly begins to drive Jack insane.
In another King adaptation, Christopher Walken stars as a man who wakes up from a coma to find out he can see the future. When people hold his hand, he can see horrific scenarios involving that person. His power can alter the future lives of those he loves or those he fears. Walken is joined by Martin Sheen and Tom Skerrit.
In yet another King adaptation (he is a master!) a small town is rattled by a number of unexplained murders. Rather than living in fear, a group of citizens go on the hunt for the assailant, which they slowly but surely discover might not be quite human. You can look for Gary Busey, Corey Haim and Everett McGill in the cast,
10. Predator (1987)
Former special operations officer, Major Dutch Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), leads a search and rescue team into the jungle only to realize they were sent there under false pretense. They try to make their way out of the situation, but unbeknownst to the military teams, an alien has been tracking their moves all the while.
In John Carpenter's pre-apocalyptic story, a priest (Donald Pleasance) has a secret, one that he cannot keep any longer. He brings a group of trusted academics down to the church cellar to reveal a cylinder that contains a green, swirly liquid that is believed to be Satan. Of course, if anyone gets too close, they risk being possessed. Spoiler alert: They get too close.
In this King adaptation, Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff), his wife (Denise Crosby) and their two children move to a new town, where they discover a pet cemetery. At first, they think it’s sweet the neighbor children have a place to lay their deceased pets to rest. But the Creeds soon learn the pets don’t stay dead. So, when their young son is killed in an accident, the dad attempts to use this knowledge to bring his son back to life.
13. Misery (1990)
Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) is author Paul Sheldon's (James Caan) self-proclaimed No. 1 fan. When he is in a near-fatal car accident close to her home, she saves him and nurses him back to health. But rather than setting him free, she holds him captive, demanding he re-write his next novel per her approval. King really outdid himself with this one. (Oh, yeah, yep, another King adaptation.)
There's always that one house on the street that induces shivers. Wes Craven brings us into that house, where we meet a sister and brother couple who refer to themselves as Mommy and Daddy. Disgruntled neighbors break into the house, where they find a neglected girl. But, as the title so helpfully suggests, it's the folks living under the stairs they should really be concerned about.
Loosely based on Jack Finney's 1955 novel The Body Snatchers, this version revolves around Steve Malone (Terry Kinney) and his two children. They relocate to a military base, where Malone is studying the surrounding ecological system. It's the kids who first pick up on strange goings-ons. They believe humans are being replaced by pod people. The new versions are practically identical, save for pesky things like emotions.
In the sequel to Candyman, there are naysayers who don't believe in the urban legend. That's until his name is said five times in the mirror and the killer is once again summoned. He turns up in New Orleans, where he goes on another killing spree. Be careful what you wish for.
John Carpenter pops up on the list again, this time focusing on a town of very fertile women. So fertile, in fact, that they appear to have all conceived on the same day. There was also a blackout that day, which might explain why the children are actually aliens that all share one mind. You can look for the late Christopher Reeve and Mark Hamill.
18. Thinner (1996)
Directed by Tom Holland, this King adaptation revolves around an attorney (Robert John Burke) who defends not-so-honest clients. One night, when driving home, he hits and kills a gypsy. The attorney pulls some strings and is acquitted, but the gypsy's father is enraged by the injustice and puts a curse on the overweight lawyer to become thinner. Take our word for it: This is one fad diet you don't want to try.
19. Spawn (1997)
Based on Todd McFarlane's comic book, a special forces agent (Michael Jai White) is killed, landing him in Hell. He makes a deal with one of its rulers to act as an eternal servant and in exchange he'll have the chance to return to Earth to see his fiancée. He learns the agreement is rather futile, because when he goes to see his former love, five years have passed and she's married to his best friend. But, hey, a deal is a deal...
As a group of teens settle into their plane seats on a class trip to Paris, one of them (Devon Sawa) has a vision of the plane going down. It's so real to him, that he begs and pleads for everyone to get off the plane. Some do, some don't, but when the plane ultimately does explode, the survivors learn the hard way that if you cheat death, it will come looking for you again and again.
When ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) passes away, he leaves his house and its belongings to his nephew Arthur (Tony Shalhaub). Arthur moves into the house not realizing it comes with 12 ghosts. But wait, aren't there supposed to be 13 ghosts? The plot will reveal the answer to that question in due time. Kriticos' assistant, played by Scream star Matthew Lillard, helps Arthur and his family navigate this supernatural situation.
When a colony of spiders are exposed to toxic chemicals they grow to monstrous sizes, attacking a small mining community. The townspeople (David Arquette, Scarlett Johansson) were concerned about the fate of their town. Now, they're just fighting to survive.
Gabriel Byrne leads an all-star cast in this story of retrieving and salvaging an abandoned ocean liner that is at the bottom of the sea. There's no sign of a former crew, passengers or mention of trouble in its log. They joke that it's a "Ghost Ship." There's always a little truth to a joke... even if the person telling it doesn't know that.
24. Slither (2006)
Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) and Scarlett Grant (Elizabeth Banks) are a happily married couple, for better or for worse. When Mr. Grant is jabbed at by some sort of alien larvae and he begins to morph... it becomes "for worse." Call us crazy, but him becoming an unrecognizable murderous blob thingie is at least grounds for a trial separation. Nathan Fillion takes on the role of Police Chief Bill Pardy.
This anthology film tells five stories, all taking place on Halloween. It's typical shenanigans like a little boy going door-to-door for candy, teens playing pranks and... a high school principal who doubles as a serial killer. Look for familiar faces like Anna Paquin and Brian Cox.
26. Orphan (2009)
A husband (Peter Sarsgaard) and wife (Very Farmiga) adopt a nine-year-old little girl named Esther, bringing her into their family with their two other children. When she starts to get into trouble at school, the couple looks into her history. The problem is, the orphanage doesn't have a record of an "Esther." The couple is now scratching their head as to what they've brought home with them.
27. The Rite (2011)
A young priest named Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) travels to Italy to study to be an exorcist, under the expert guidance of Father Lucas Travent (Anthony Hopkins). Kovak appears to be a skeptic, but when he meets a young girl said to be possessed, it becomes clear he's now on the Devil's radar.
A group of friends are dead set on going off the grid, taking a break from the stresses of life. Instead, their trip to an isolated cabin brings on the stresses of death. But who is punishing them? You can look for Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison and Kristen Connolly.
29. Annabelle (2014)
Child-size porcelain dolls are creepy on their own. Put a demon inside, and it's next level. A young husband (Ward Horton) brings home such a doll to his pregnant wife (Annabelle Wallis) as a gift. That same night, their neighbors are brutally murdered. Coincidence? Nah.
During a high school play, one of the students is killed during a prop malfunction. Twenty years later, a group of kids comes across a videotape documenting what happened, but upon inspection there is no actual tape. It seems like a supernatural warning, possibly from the young man who died by hanging. The students heed the warning, but now they're locked in the high school with no way to get out.
Nica Pierce (Fina Dourif) has spent the past four years in a mental facility for murdering her family. At first she was convinced a killer doll named Chucky framed her. She's now come to the realization that she made-up the Chucky story as a cover, and she actually did commit the murders. That's until her therapist brings a Chucky doll to group chat.
All right, what's the plan of attack!? 31 movies in a row?? Or, mix it up!??