Take a look inside frequent contributor Tyler Peterson‘s Spooky Season Letterboxd Watchlist! Some highlights from Tyler himself:

The Faculty (1998)

“Has it really been twenty-five years since I told my mom I was going to see The Prince of Egypt and snuck into this? Wild. First off, the CGI looks pretty dang good for being twenty-five years old.  Second of all, this cast is an absolute 90’s nostalgia bomb – they’ve got Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Usher, Famke Janssen, Salma Hayek, and, true to a movie about body snatchers, they’ve got not-Faizura Balk (Clea Duvall) and not-Jennifer Love Hewett (Jordana Brewster). I’m honestly surprised that this movie didn’t make Brian’s Scream clones article – the meta-references to previous genre entries like The Puppet Masters and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, both in dialogue and through visual homage, certainly invite the comparison. But luckily, Robert Rodriguez’s erudition is more artful than simply name-drops: while keeping you thinking about alien invasion movies, he’s secretly constructing the plot of this one out of tropes cribbed wholesale from teenage docudramas. He’s got the frustrated jock who doesn’t want to just be known for his athletic achievements, the dirtbag troublemaker who’s actually super smart and capable, the gruff, scraggly alternagirl who secretly pines for the quarterback, and the teen boy who fantasizes about having sex with his teacher only to realize how horrifying a prospect that is when his fantasies seem on the verge of fulfillment.  There’s even a scene where everyone has to sniff a designer drug to prove they’re not aliens that evokes The Thing and a D.A.R.E. instructional video in equal measure.”

976-Evil (1988)

“The first movie directed by Robert Englund, 976-Evil is, in the most literal sense, one of the filthiest movies I’ve ever seen. Scene after scene, one set after another, bursts and boils with dirt, dust, cobwebs, damp, rot, vermin, rubble, decay, scuzz, graffiti, and nondescript grime. Things that make no sense being that dirty are, just ’cause.  It’s the kind of dirt you can kind of feel, that you can touch through your eyeballs as if you really were sitting there, feeling the grit in your clothes, smelling harsh rot, and tasting verminous residue. The title refers to a “horrorscope” hotline run by a premium telephone entrepreneur, who abandoned it in favor of more lucrative phone sex and psychic ventures, but the line got picked up again – by Satan. The movie’s omnipresent scumminess and claustrophobic mise-en-scene combine to build a uniquely nihilistic atmosphere. Satan’s ultimate endgame is to bring about the apocalypse, but you’re left wondering why he would even bother – it looks like the apocalypse has already happened. Everyone wanders through the movie in a shambolic daze, even the non-delinquent characters seem to be suffering from a silent despair, a hopelessness they can’t seem to articulate. Even at the end, when the devil is returned to the right end of the phone line, and the tide of evil is temporarily stemmed, you’re left wondering what kind of victory has just occurred.” 

The Burrowers (2005)

“Do you like Bone Tomahawk, but wish it was bleaker? It’s the Dakota territory, 1870s, and westward expansion is in full swing. A young Irishman wants to marry, but the object of his affection has been carried away by those dastardly Indians and it’s up to a ragtag posse of misfits to get her back. Only this time, the Indians turn out to be burrowing eyeless humanoids that dose their victims with a glandular poison that keeps them in a living death until their bodies are rotten enough to eat. Fantastic chills are evoked by night scenes where the hapless victims camp out on the prairie, with the darkness encircling them all like a tangible miasma, and a solitary, silent creature pops up out of the tall grass on the periphery, only to disappear before the character in frame can turn around to see them. But where The Burrowers really excels is its overwhelming atmosphere of bewilderment and helplessness. We’re never clear on how long this posse’s been out on the hunt, or which direction they’re heading; they say to each other over and over that if they don’t get the kidnapped women back by X date, all hope will be lost, and keep repeating that as one deadline after another passes and the older veterans admit the chances were never enough to bank on in the first place. And unlike that better-known Western horror about a misfit posse rescuing a damsel from troglodytes, there’s no hopeful capstone, the quest turns out to be exactly as foolhardy as it seems from the beginning.”

Snatchers (2019)

“Small in scope but tonally huge, Snatchers is a bonkers comedy horror about a stranger-than-average teen pregnancy.  Sara decides to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Skyler and becomes hugely pregnant within days. Unbeknownst to Sara, her boyfriend recently picked up a bad case of alien while vacationing in Mexico. She goes to a clinic, where she rockets out a bloodthirsty gremlin that explodes the ob/gyn’s head and slaughters everyone else in the clinic. And the movie barely slows down a minute from there. Snatchers draws on long traditions of creature feature, pregnancy-themed horror, and teen sex comedy while still managing to feel totally fresh. It’s the rare horror comedy that is actually funny instead of merely silly, the rare teen movie where the teens are neither sitcommy quip machines nor adult stand-ins, the rare modern Practical FX Event that can actually deliver its promises, and the rare movie in Edgar Wright quick-pan style that doesn’t annoy my guts out.”  

Check out Tyler’s list for these chilling picks!


For more October viewing selections, be sure to take a look at our 2023 Guide to Spooky Streaming
…and of course…

Follow us on Letterboxd!