Halloween 2021 Programming: CULT

As previously noted, my wife and I have a tradition where I draft up a selection of horror films for Halloween viewing, and she picks one from each group: Contemporary, Classic, and Cult, and I thought I’d share my suggestions this year. Today features cult horror films, and mostly features the exact text I sent her. And yes, I know, defining what is horror and what is considered ‘cult’ horror is like splitting hairs, but rule of three, folks!

Again, apologies for leaning on prior works. Again, Halloween weekend! I have other terrors to read, watch, and write!

HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II (1987, AMC+/hoopla/peacock/Shudder/tubi/VOD/Vudu) or PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS (1990, YouTube)

Previously suggested. “The first PROM NIGHT is fine, but mostly remembered because of how bare Jamie Lee Curtis gets, and for riffing on CARRIE. PROM NIGHT II twists the first film’s premise and goes for broke — also, a rare woman supernatural slasher, and they were clearly hoping some of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET would rub off on the film — and PROM NIGHT III turns the franchise into an amazing, albeit often puerile, horror-comedy. They’re both very entertaining and smart in their own ways.”

PROM NIGHT II trailer:


Shh, don’t tell anyone but, as it’s practically impossible to stream a legal version, here you are:

MATINEE (1993, Starz/VOD)

A Joe Dante (GREMLINS, INNERSPACE) work, which means warm-hearted love for misfit youths and being scared by B-movies, while still having a subversive political voice and viewpoint. It was one of the first post-lockdown films I saw at the Music Box, but it’s endlessly re-watchable.


(Editor’s note: I cheated a bit here, as I normally would consider this contemporary and not cult, although I fully believe it’s destined to become a cult film. I also lifted most of it for my write-up.)

This one really surprised me: it’s a darkly comic fusion of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME with Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, with an amazing cast that includes Andie MacDowell, Samara Weaving (Thea, from BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC), Adam Brody (probably don’t need to write this but: from THE OC, JENNIFER’S BODY, GILMORE GIRLS), Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna in WYNONNA EARP), and Kristian Bruun (Donnie from ORPHAN BLACK). It’s a surprisingly well-executed film. I recently happened upon a promotional READY OR NOT shirt I received for the film when I left a 24-hour film fest early last year, and opted to keep it as a nostalgia shirt, sitting alongside my BLAIR WITCH PROJECT shirt.

Even though I don’t believe in spoilers, I would stop the trailer after the first minute. There are a ton of fun surprises in the film that work great with the trailer, but even better if you experience them in the film itself.

Tomorrow: CLASSICS!

Halloween 2021 Programming: CONTEMPORARY

One of the few gifts 2021 has given us is a three-day Halloween weekend. My wife and I have a tradition where I draft up a selection of horror films for Halloween viewing, and she picks one from each group: Contemporary, Classic, and Cult.

I thought I’d share my suggestions this year. Granted, I’ve written about more than a few of them before, but come on, it’s goth Christmas and while I love writing about film, this weekend is definitely a time to lean in on prior work:


This was a prior recommendation, and I’m repeating it.

“The story of two teen murderesses and the trials of their friendship. Riffs on all of the great teen horror films — probably the most quotable teen horror film I’ve seen in years (it’s been endlessly compared to HEATHERS (1989)) — but still manages to be something completely different, while also being emotionally satisfying.”

There are a ton of lines in it that, if I’d seen this as a teen or college youth, would be in-jokes with all of my friends.

As in the prior recommendation notes, I’d highly suggest skipping the trailer, but just leaving it here in case:

12 HOUR SHIFT (2020)

A nasty, rollickingly fun ride detailing a nurse/organ trafficker’s one especially terrible night shift. It’s penned and directed by Brea Grant, who I’m a huge fan of.

CENSOR (2021)

“[An] extremely mannered film until, well, until it isn’t. Stick with it and it will fuck you up. […] It’s a film tailor-made for over-scrutiny, and it’ll be a very long time before I forget the ending.”

Tomorrow: CULT!