October is the best. Not only does it climax with the year's coolest holiday, but it's the month when all the best movies air, because no other holiday lays claim to an entire genre. Sure, Christmas has its share of staples: It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, etc. But Halloween has Halloween! Oh, and also every single other horror movie. See what I mean? Halloween totally wins.
So now that we've entered the glorious month in which the basic cable channels dust off their scariest movies, it's time to pull your TV over to the bed, turn out the lights, jump under the covers, cuddle up with a mentally sound loved one, and let your Halloween season begin! We've only just started the first week, but things are already looking good...
Note: I've made an effort to list HD broadcasts, because it's 2010 and you deserve it. Check local listings to confirm Standard Def airtimes.
AlienFriday, October 8 at 10:30pm on AMC HD
A greasy, slimy creature makes things awkward for a crew of futuristic space friends and their robot.
Pet SematarySaturday, October 9 at 11:30am and 9:00pm on AMC HD
Native American ghosts turn a dead toddler into a scalpel-wielding problem child.
The ShiningSaturday, October 9 at 1:30pm on AMC HD
Jack Nicholson gets super mad at Shelley Duvall in this Stanley Kubrick-directed and Stephen King-disapproved classic.
CujoSaturday, October 9 at 5:00pm and 11:00pm on AMC HD
A rabid dog is having a really bad day and some lady and her kid have gotten on his LAST nerve.
GhostbustersSunday, October 10 at 11:00am on A&E; HD
Let me tell you something. Bustin' makes me feel good!
Hostel Part IITonight at 9:00pm on IFC HD
Finally, a violent horror film where the victims are all female. How novel! Okay, it's not novel. But this movie is slightly better than Part I.
Dog SoldiersWednesday, October 6 at 7:00pm and 11:00pm on CHILLER
This werewolf film is an earlier effort from Neil Marshall, director of The Descent (see below). I bring it up because it's the ONLY decent horror movie airing this week on Chiller, a cable channel ostensibly DEVOTED to horror. As a horror fan it pains me to admit it, but Chiller is a terrible channel, basically.
The DescentSaturday, October 9 at 8:00am on SyFy HD
A spelunking expedition goes awry in what is probably the weirdest feature-length metaphor for "female problems" ever rendered on celluloid.
The Skeleton KeySunday, October 10 at 9:30am on SyFy HD
Kate Hudson explores a New Orleans house, thinkin' she cute. She ain't cute!
Silent HillSunday, October 10 at 3:30pm on SyFy HD
This movie is what you dream about when you fall asleep after eating an entire carton of Little Debbies in bed. Cool fact: The year after this movie came out, Pyramid Head was the #1 baby name for boys.
Ginger SnapsThursday, October 7 at 9:00pm on IFC HD
A Canadian adolescent girl becomes a werewolf… Okay, I was joking earlier about The Descent, but good Lord this movie really IS a feature-length metaphor for "female problems." It's really good, though. Ignore the accents.
The Devil's RejectsFriday, October 8 at 5:15pm on IFC HD
This is a pleasant movie you can watch with your grandparents.*
Cabin FeverFriday, October 8 at 9:00pm on IFC HD
Before the Hostel films, director Eli Roth had very little money with which to gross us out. The most shocking scene in this movie involves an inappropriate sound effect.
Pan's LabyrinthSaturday, October 9 at 7:05pm on Sundance HD
Now here's a wonderful film for children of all ages. Especially if your children are mythological beings who exist only in nightmares.
*Horror Movies Your Grandparents Actually Probably Have Seen:
The Plague of the ZombiesFriday, October 8 at 5:00pm on TCM
Don't get your hopes up, this is strictly pre-George Romero zombie action, from back before zombies were automatically a sociopolitical metaphor. So maybe it's good?
The Devil's BrideFriday, October 8 at 6:45pm on TCM
Never trust a Satanist. They can't dress and they're super condescending.
The GorgonFriday, October 8 at 10:15pm on TCM
This lady has snakes for hair and it's really irritating.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The BeginningFriday, October 8 at 10:00pm and Saturday, October 9 at 12:00am on MTV
This movie is seriously garbage, but it's filmed well and the cast is awesome (R. Lee Ermey! White Collar's Matthew Bomer! Jordana Brewster! Oliver from The O.C.!) But yeah, hurry up and watch it before the garbage man comes.
Graveyard ShiftSaturday, October 9 at 9:30am and Sunday, October 10 at 1:00am on AMC HD
Definitely wait for the 1:00am airing and maybe do chores while watching it. Now you're involved!
SleepwalkersSaturday, October 9 at 7:00pm on AMC HD
Mother-and-son monsters move to Indiana. (Actual TimeWarner description; could not be improved upon).
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2Sunday, October 10 at 8:30pm on SyFy HD
Remember this movie? Yeah, well, when you were busy trash-talking it, it had only the nicest things to say about you. How does that make you feel?
All these movies are playing THIS WEEK! Which means your schedule just got BOOK'D UP. Also, please comment and let me know the most hilarious safe-for-TV edits that you hear while watching them. I'd appreciate it, you buncha monkey fathers!