Summer of Horror 2020! Plus, a referendum on the possibilities of Halloween in the age of pandemic

This whole ritual originally started as a way for me to salvage some scrap of pleasantness from the oppressive, sun-bleached desert of the soul that is Summer in Arizona. If the weather forces me to stay inside, may as well make the most of it by catching up on my backlog of horror classics (both young and old). And as a bonus, the conclusion of the Summer marathon leads directly into Halloween Phase 1!

This year though, as you may have heard, more than just Phoenicians are spending most of their time at home against their desires. The overall horribleness of the year 2020 in general raises the stakes on this year’s marathon for me. Horror needs to be my escape, because the alcohol is starting to get too expensive.

Also, you may remember that last year’s Summer of Horror kind of imploded partway through due to personal reasons. I want to keep doing this for as long as there are notable horror movies out there I haven’t seen, so I need to get back on track now.

Also also, there’s kind of an elephant in the room here. The worst kind of elephant. The United States is number one in the world yet again, except this time it’s in “countries hit hardest by Coronavirus”. That sucks. Back in March there were already people wondering out loud whether the holidays (including Halloween) would be impacted by all this, and I said no way. But now that things are improving much more slowly and sporadically than originally thought, my confidence is just a little shaken.

But I’m here to offer a prediction right now, dear readers: Halloween is happening, and there’s nothing that can stop it. You may have heard, this year Halloween falls on a Saturday, with a full moon. This is an unmissable event for me. I’m not the person to come to for modeling on the spread of infectious diseases, but I am the person you come to for an injection of Halloween spirit. And even if (this is a pretty remote “if”) parties and traditional trick or treating are discouraged five months from now, Halloween will still be celebrated, if not without alterations.

Trick or treating is still possible with social distancing in place. Instead of going all the way to the front door, you go up the driveway and grab your own individually wrapped candy. Or Hell, do drive-by trick or treating the same way they do drive-by birthday parties right now, if that’s the level of caution you desire. As for parties, we might need to forego the one huge bash in favor of several smaller gatherings (to be honest, that possibility actually makes me excited). Haunted houses may have to change it up – space people out in line farther apart, sell tickets with appointment times, keep lots of hand sanitizer around… remember, the actors are already forbidden from touching you!

But this is all kind of a worst-case scenario. If we’re still experiencing widespread uncontrolled outbreaks by October, the world has much bigger problems than Halloween to contend with. Let us perish the thought for now.

Below you will find the watch list for Summer of Horror 2020! I abandoned most of last year’s ill-fated list in favor of more bonafide classics that I never watched. It’s astonishing how many there still are. Black Christmas! The Haunting! The Wicker Man! Frikkin’ Candyman! Plus a handful of recent notables I’ve been saving.

As always, I know there will be some movies on the list I won’t get around to. I’ve made peace with it. But one or two movies a week for the duration of the Summer is totally doable… for the average person. For me, it’s still a possibility, but only with added willpower. Wish me luck please.

See you on June 1st!

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