Turn out the lights. It’s Shocktober and we are in the mood for screams, shocks, gore, and the macabre. In true Fandor fashion this collection of movies is a mixed candy bag of the various genres that fall under Horror: Japanese psychotronic, creature features, cult classics, old dark house, occult, slasher and splatter films. Discover the twisted worlds of iconic directors including Mario Bava, the Italian maestro of horror, the cult director of the avant-garde Alejandro Jodorowsky, and the prolific and ever controversial Takashi Miike, to name a few. We can’t hold your hand but we can tell you it’s only a movie.

Top 5 Staff Picks

1. From Dusk Till Dawn

Directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Kurtzman, this action horror film stars George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as outlaw brothers. When the brothers take a family hostage (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Ernest Liu) and end up at a club full of vampires, including Salma Hayek, the family and Gecko brothers must try and escape… alive.  

2. Dark Night of the Scarecrow

A made for TV movie that has gained a following by film enthusiasts, this Halloween’s watchlist would be incomplete without the inclusion of Dark Night of the Scarecrow. In a small southern town, a young girl named Marylee and man named Bubba form a friendship much to the disdain of the townspeople. When Bubba rescues Marylee from an attack by a dog and brings her to the hospital, it is assumed he is to blame. A lynch mob murders Bubba (who has been disguised by his mother as a scarecrow). Things get even more interesting when members of the mob start being stalked by a phantom scarecrow.

3. Ichi the Killer

A Japanese psychotronic splatter film by prolific director Takashi Miike. Warning: this film is infamously disturbing. After his boss has been murdered, a sadistic yakuza assassin searches for answers by torturing rival yakuza gang members. This gruesome film, adapted from a manga series by Hideo Yamamoto, is highly controversial, banned in several countries after its release, and extremely popular.

4. Lisa and the Devil

Regarded as one of Mario Bava’s most peculiar films, Lisa and the Devil is an old dark house thriller starring Elke Sommer as Lisa Reiner, a tourist in Spain who finds herself lured into a castle of corpses. This nightmare of surrealist imagery takes you deeper and deeper into a morbid rabbit hole guided by what may be Satan, played by Telly Savalas.

5. Keyhole

This Canadian film directed by Guy Maddin screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, South by Southwest, and Berlinale among others, and stars Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier, and Jason Patric. In Maddin fashion Keyhole feels more like a nightmare than a narrative. Black and white cinematography, Genie award winning costume design recognized by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and an innovative genre blending of film noir and old dark house horror makes this a prime selection for Halloween viewing.

Want more screams? Watch the full Spotlight: “Shock + Scream”