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Ten Offbeat Films Perfect for October Thrills & Chills

You can run, but you can’t hide from fear, that’s what Halloween and scary films teach us. And sometimes, in the safety or our own homes, why would we want to? There's fun to be had in the stories that provoke and scare us.

Two women wrapped up in a blanket and watching a scary movie

There’s nothing better on a cold Autumn night than a little movie magic to Netflix and Chill out to, and as a life coach I'm all about the pleasure.

That’s why this October I thought I’d spice up your Halloween weekend with some off the beaten path thriller throwbacks from each decade for your viewing pleasure. Especially, since many of us might still be spending it indoors and in isolation this year. Why pout, when you can party with a good a story?

So grab a blanket to hide under, if you dare, a big bowl of popcorn, and lets get going!

1. The Phantom of the Opera, 1925

This is a fun romp through the silent era with one of the first horror films of the day, and if you’ve loved the musical of the same name, you’ll get a kick out of this film. It has a lot of Easter Eggs that will help you see the musical with new eyes.

Scene from the phantom of the Opera, the phantom at the masquerade

The film is a forgotten treasure starring Lon Chaney as the Phantom, a man who hides in the bowels of the Paris Opera, driven there by his ghoulish face. Never having known love, when he hears the voice of an angel, the beautiful and innocent new ballet dancer, Christine, he can’t help but fall in love with her. But what was at first love turns to something very dark indeed as his passion and jealousy grows.

2. Vampyr, 1932

Vampyr is film very few people outside of cinephile circles know of, and that’s a shame, because it’s a great film. And I’m not a big fan of silent films. Though I’ve certainly slogged though my fair share of them as I’ve learned about film history. So if I’m recommending one to you, you know it has to be good. And good it is. Never has creepy looked so lyrical and haunting.

Scene from movie Vampyr, of a man sitting and his shadow taking on a life of it's own

It’s a classic vampire horror film, featuring a man who rents room in a small French town, only to have a nightmare unfold around him. An elderly man leaves a mysterious packet on the man’s table, and shadows that are seemingly alive lead him toward a castle where two daughters have mysteriously fallen ill after, you guessed it, being bitten.

3. The Stranger, 1946

A New England town in Fall, complete with steepled white church, and falling leaves, it’s the perfect setting for a romance, but how about a thriller featuring an ex-nazi on the run and hiding out in plain sight? Orson Welles does a masterful job of making the landscape work for him in this suspenseful film.

Close-up of a surprised woman from the flim

The story centers around an nazi war criminal now living under a false identity as a teacher in a small connection town. It looks like he’s disappeared perfectly until an old German friend in dire straights finds him, and threatens his cover and his engagement to the town sweetheart. Indeed, little does he know that a federal investigator has been tracking his German friend, and is now in town.

4. Vertigo, 1958

Alfred Hitchcock’s slow burn thriller, this is one of his best and features the impeccable James Stewart as an ex-cop suffering from vertigo, and off the force. Hired to follow a troubled friend’s wife,who’s been acting abnormally for weeks, he reluctantly agrees to the job, when he befriends the woman and the unthinkable happens.

Scene from movie of the main characters in an embrace

If you haven’t seen this film, and a surprising number of people haven’t, this is the one to see. It’s the kind of strange and dark story you won’t soon forget. Fun fact: While it’s now considered one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces, at the time it wasn’t a huge hit, and in fact received mixed reviews from critics. Truly a sleeper hit, that now has a quite the following.

5. Cape Fear, 1962

If you’ve only seen Robert Mitchum as a swaggering cowboy or a hardboiled detective, prepare to see him as you’ve never seen before, as a villain in the original film that inspired Scorcese’s remake in 1991. Though it’s tough to beat a performance by Robert Deniro, who played Mitchum’s character in the remake, I gotta say, I think Mitchum does it.

Scene from movie of Robert Mitchum leaning into a car

After spending 8 years in prison, Mitchum is released, and ready for revenge. Who against? The man who put him away in the first place, Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck, a family man and lawyer who testified against him. As he stalks and narrows in on his victim, Bowden, and his family, it appears there’s little that can be done to stop him.

6. Assault on Precinct 13, 1976

If you’re looking for pure campy fun, films from the seventies usually deliver. And this exploitation film from John Carpenter is a cult favorite in the campy and fun genre. This one is more action, but it has plenty of campy fun heart-pounding action, and it’s the movie that put film director John Carpenter on the map.

Police Officer under siege in scene from movie

What happens when a gang decides to retaliate for a police shooting, and they organize a full-scale assault on the defunct precinct responsible for it? For Austin Stoker the lone highway patrol officer there, it means a last stand that will have him relying on a convicted murderer being kept there, and the few mostly unarmed personal the precinct has left.

7. Big Trouble in Little China, 1986

Everything’s big in the 80’s, even the over-the-top plots of the films, and this one, another campy classic from John Carpenter is no different. It’s implausible, it’s larger than life, it has truck drivers, kung fu and ancient Chinese magic, and it sure is a lot of fun.

Protagonist from movie surrounded and trying to fight his way out

Kurt Russell plays simple, blue-collar truck driver, Jack Burton, who inadvertantly gets caught up in the shadowy realms San Francisco's Chinatown when a woman gets kidnapped by a Chinatown crime lord, who is fiancee to Jack’s best friend. When Jack decides to help his friend rescue the woman, he gets more than he bargained for in the form of the Lo Pan, an ancient Chinese sorcerer.

8. Sleepy Hollow, 1999

Tim Burton’s underrated film. Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the dreamy custom-bound world that Irving paints in his story, the film mixes horror, fantasy and romance and features an extraordinary cast of characters that dabble in the supernatural.

Close up of beautiful love interest in the movie

When a small town end ups being plagued by a series of brutal decapitation, the New York Constable, Ichabod Crane is sent to investigate. While the local population believes the killers is a ghost and local legend, Ichabod Crane, a man of science, isn’t convinced.

9. The Prestige, 2006

This is another underrated film from a great director, Christopher Nolan that’s set in Edwardian London. Part thriller, part mystery, and part horror, this one will have you glued to your seat for each new twist and turn.

Scene from movie of main character using magic to light up a lightbulb

Once partners, until the tragic death of an assistant during a show, two rival magicians take their feud and brutal competition too far, after one of them performs the ultimate magic trick. As the other tries to discover how it’s done and uncover his secret, his quest takes him on a deeply dangerous journey that jeopardizes everyone.

10. Murder on the Orient Express, 2017

Kenneth Brannagh directs and stars in this lavish piece, but so does Michelle Pfieffer, Dame Judy Dench, Johnny Depp and many, many more. It’s fun mystery based on the Agatha Christie story of the same name, but it’s also an immersive tour through the 1930’s and the lives of the ultra wealthy.

Michelle Pfieffer's character seated in the dining car of the train and smiling

When a murder happens aboard the most expensive and luxurious train in Europe, its’ a race against time for amateur detective Hercule Poirot to solve the crime, that is until an avalanche stops the train in it’s tracks. Can Poirot find the killer before he or she strikes again in this isolated spot?

Bonus Round: Two extras because I couldn’t resist.

Cat People, 1942

You're just going to have to trust me on this one, the plot sounds outlandish, but film is beautiful and fun. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Val Lewton (producer/screenwriter) is cult favorite and all of his films are a real treat.

Scene from film of a woman and man embracing as their chased

Irena Dubrovna afashion designer begins a romance with engineer Oliver Reed. After the couple gets married, Oliver becomes concerned about Irena's notion that she is cursed.

The Trouble with Harry, 1955

Leave it to Hitchcok to make even his comedies dark. This one is about a group of villager and what they'll do to hide a corpse of a local man that keeps popping up in the strangest places. Especially when most of them aren't sure how he died, or if they did it.

Villagers from the movie head off determinedly, the men with shovels

I hope you found some films to enjoy and get a few new thrills out of! And I'm wishing you all a Happy Halloween, however you chose to spend it!

And If you are facing some fear, terror and procrastination with your dreams, I can help you with that! I know all too well how much a new set of eyes and a great life coach can change things for you. It certainly changed things for me!

If you're ready to finally face your fears and get that traction on your dreams, contact me and let's get scheduled for a consul! Email me at!

I will be back next week, but in the meantime here are some other articles you might enjoy:



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