We have lots of TV recommendations but ah…if you’re not watching horror movies this time of year is that really a good life decision?! This is that special time of year when you should be exploring that strange sound…in the basement…with a faulty flashlight. Oh Yes.
Monday, October 25
Scary Movie 1-5 (Anytime / Crave via Starz)
SCARY MOVIE is an American film series that comprises five parody films mainly focusing on spoofing horror films.
Sammy Suggestion: The Thing (Anytime / Crave via Starz)
In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims.
It’s Clobberin’ Time! John Carpenter’s horror-sci-fi classic The Thing surfaces up onto Crave via Starz. You know the story by now: “A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.” Something horrible happened at a Norwegian research station so of course Americans go in to investigate. Years later this tense movie where reality cannot be trusted plays out like a long X-Files episode (indeed Kurt Russell would have made a great FBI agent on that show…Keith David as well. He’d go on to make a number of remarkable horror/sci-fi movies.). The Thing was a classic late night cable stumble…if you were flipping through channels you would stop if you found this movie. It doesn’t matter what scene. Carpenter’s Classic is in the Late Night Cable Hall of Fame…along with The Shining, Blacula, They Live and many more. Oh and enjoy all the pre-CGI effects. (Fun Fact: “A tradition in British Antarctic research stations to watch The Thing as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21.”)
Tuesday, October 26
The Last O.G.: Season 4 (10 p.m. / TBS)
Tray (Tracy Morgan) is an ex-con who is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for good behavior after a 15-year stint.
Sammy Suggestion: World Series: Astros vs Braves Game 1 (7:30pm / Fox)
The Atlanta Braves take on the Houston Astros in MLB’s Game 1 of the 2021 World Series.
The World Series begins tonight! I’m not a baseball guy so I’ve no skin in this game. However the World Series in October is a classic American tradition and it’s back in its proper form. The 2020 World Series was played at a neutral site in Texas; after a strange COVID impacted season. It’s another comforting sign we’re moving past the pandemic; the NBA started at the correct time; the NFL season is rolling along and fans are in the buildings for all of these games. Sports with all the heartbreak and joy and highlights and gritty competition and victories and defeats is back. And it’s glorious. This World Series will be between the Braves vs Astros. That’s all I know. Games start at 7:30pm and will be on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday as well.
Wednesday, October 27
Marvel Studios: Assembled – The Making Of What If…? (Anytime / Disney+)
ASSEMBLED is a comprehensive series of documentary-style specials streaming on Disney+ that chronicles the creation of Marvel Studios’ thrilling new shows and theatrical releases.
Sammy Suggestion: Behind the Monsters: Season 1 (Anytime / Shudder)
A docu-series that takes a deep dive on the origins and outsized pop culture influence of six of the most famous monsters of modern horror: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Candyman, Chucky and Pinhead. Featuring interviews with horror experts and the writers, directors and actors from the original films that made each character the stuff of genre legends.
Shudder’s premiere of Behind the Monsters…yo! This series deep dives into the backstories of Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael…Pinhead. Think of it like Behind The Music for classic horror-movie icons. Oh so making a tea for this.
Thursday, October 28
Night of The Living Dead (1968) (Anytime / Crave via Starz)
A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.
Sammy Suggestion: Hypnotic (Anytime / Netflix)
Feeling stuck both personally and professionally, Jenn turns to a mysterious hypnotherapist for help, only to find herself caught in a deadly mind game.
“A young woman seeking self-improvement enlists the help of a renowned hypnotist…” stop right there! Evil hypnotism? Oh I’m in. While this won’t be as political (hypnotism) as The Manchurian Candidate or as frightening (hypnotism) as Stir of Echoes it’s manipulative (hypnotism) which makes it as epic as Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. I ah…find this mesmerizing genre hypnotic.
Friday, October 29
Army of Thieves (Anytime / Netflix)
In this prequel to “Army of the Dead,” a mysterious woman recruits bank teller Dieter to help her crew crack three legendary safes across Europe.
Sammy Suggestion: Roy Wood Jr.: Imperfect Messenger (10:30 p.m. / Comedy Central)
Roy Wood Jr’s third stand-up special for Comedy Central.
Roy Wood Jr.’s latest comedy special is tonight on Comedy Central following Father Figure (from 2017 and my favourite special) and No One Loves You (2019). This is the fantastic comic who has given outstanding bits about Chicken Nuggets (yes), the white tour guide at the Black History Museum (more yes) and so much more. What differentiates Roy’s comedy is the Southern Flavour…dude’s got family from Alabama. (I’m not sure I can fully unpack all the cultural connotations of the catfish references but I dig that he sprinkles that in as part of his act.) This should be a good night. (No trailer so here is the Black History Museums bit…)
Saturday, October 30
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Anytime / Crave & HBO Max)
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren take on one of the most sensational cases of their careers after a cop stumbles upon a dazed and bloodied young man walking down the road. Accused of murder, the suspect claims demonic possession as his defense, forcing the Warrens into a supernatural inquiry unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
Sammy Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead (2004) (Anytime / Crave via Starz)
A gripping, gory remake of the cult horror classic: the undead walk the earth as flesh-eating zombies, trapping a disparate group of desperate people in a suburban shopping mall.
Behold Zack Snyder’s masterpiece: and one of my all time favourite horror movies (Top 5 for sure). Dawn of the Dead is of course a remake of George A. Romero’s 1978 horror film of the same name. One of the rare times a remake is superior to the original. Snyder’s version is an improvement over its predecessor in terms of acting, production value and even scares. Probably helps that James Gunn wrote the screenplay. Even the cast is better than the original: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, and Mekhi Phifer, Tom Savini, and Ken Foree. And another notable contribution to the zombie genre…running zombies. Romero’s zombies shuffled, Michael Jackson’s zombies danced but Snyder’s zombies ran…fast. (We’d later see 2013’s World War Z build on that combining the zombie speed with the herd mentality. Synder triumphantly returned to running zombies with Army of the Dead though that time he gave some zombies intelligence.) Tis the season right?
Sunday, October 31
The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 pm / Showtime & Crave)
Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
Sammy Suggestion: Horror Bonanza Dealer’s Choice!! (Anytime / Your Channel…You Pick!)
It’s Halloween. Go nuts, get freaked out.
Dealer’s Choice! Every streamer…from Netflix to Shudder to Hulu to Crave to you name it is overflowing with horror movies. You can watch a classic from the 80s, you can enjoy a slasher or engage a modern thriller. You can do a marathon or you can confront your fears and watch a horror movie from your childhood that terrified you. This era of the streamers benefits Halloween so much and so well. Horror movies are often so fun because they allow us to voice our fears: it’s okay to be scared. When they’re done well (and sometimes when they’re not done well…) the captivating eerie tension places you in the moment. We tend to live the bulk of our lives dwelling on the past or focusing on the future: horror movies let you be present. It’s a wonderful gift. Savour this free gift like full sized chocolate bars from that good house every trick or treater hits up. If you need recommendations I’m on all the socials @mysummerlair but you so got this! Enjoy. Have an Happy Halloween.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.