PopGap Diary: Octoblur 2023
Written by dorrk
A little peek behind the curtain — here's what invariably happens leading up to every Octoblur: I take stock of the movies that I might watch in an upcoming marathon. These consist of new horror titles, some new discoveries of old films, some classics that I have yet to confront, and those bedamned wallflowers that linger on the fringes year after year and yet get skipped again and again. I look for themes that might connect some of these movies into potential watchlists. One such theme, which I consider and discard every year as it's one of my least favorite horror genres, is "Animals Attack." This year, I've decided to force myself to finally include a collection of these movies in Octoblur, but I can't limit myself to natural horror, so I expand it to "Creatures Attack" — now my list can encompass not only animals, but all manner of manimals and other monsters. And, before you know it, what first seemed like a theme has turned into a random horror grab-bag, and my comically named "shortlist" of titles on deck for the month is somewhere in the 200s because it's impossible for me to keep these things meaningfully limited. . Meanwhile, I keep on the lookout for Halloween-set horror movies, because it's October, and that's what everyone wants to watch during October: dry leaves blowing down desolate streets past gray houses with lit jack-o-lanterns on their porches as something terrible happens to someone in the street or in the house....
I should add a BTW here for anyone who loves this like I do: this year's new horror release Cobweb (2023) is full of fine Halloween flavor, and a fun movie, to boot. If you need a kickstart for some grim Fall-spirit, you could do far worse than Cobweb!
Anyway, this Halloween search leads me to some new discoveries that don't fit my general theme, and sometimes sparks my interested in a subtheme — this year, Rock & Roll Horror — and suddenly I've added 100 new potential titles to my already too-long shortlist. A sane person might say, "I should save this sub-theme for a major theme next year," but a crazy person would say, "But I want to watch them all now, Daddy!" and since only a crazy person would do something like Octoblur in the first place, it's forgone conclusion which direction this takes.
So, I guess my point in all of this is: This is not the work of normal, reasonable person, and any façade of theme or self-control is no more substantial than a plastic Halloween mask that won't even last one night of trick-or-treating.
That said, this year's theme is Incredibly Strange Creatures, which encompasses animals and rock-and-rollers and, well, everything else, it seems. Don't look for reason where none exists.
Update: I just wrote all that not realizing that this is our TENTH annual Octoblur! So, make up whatever special fanfare you think should accompany such a dubious accomplishment. I have other equally unimportant things to do.