From new spooky thrillers to binge to classic horrors, read on for the best Halloween film and TV series to watch this weekend.
TV shows on streaming
The Midnight Club
A new horror series from the creators of The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix’s The Midnight Club is set to release on the platform well in time for Halloween, so that you can really get into the spooky spirit of things. A teen girl is diagnosed with terminal cancer and goes to stay at Brightcliffe hospice. There, she meets several other teens all in the same situation as her with terminal illnesses. They together have formed the secretive Midnight Club, where members gather at midnight in order to tell each other scary stories. They decide to form a pact where the first person who dies must try and communicate with the rest from beyond the grave. When the first one does die, things start getting seriously creepy and going wrong.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities
Cabinet of Curiosities is an eight-episodes-long title anthology series, telling a different story in each episode. Unlike the majority of Netflix’s shows, this won’t be released all at once either: two episodes will be released across four days, so you can watch two spooky stories back to back. It boasts a solid cast, with actors including F. Murray Abraham, Tim Blake Nelson, Eric Andrew, Nia Vardalos, Andrew Lincoln, Essie Davis, Crispin Glover, Peter Weller, Rupert Grint, and many more. It’s not just the cast members who are notable though, with the stories written and directed by some of the minds behind horror hits like The Babadook, Mandy, and Cube. Several of the episodes are based off classic horror literature like the works of HP Lovecraft, and Del Toro fans will be able to see his fingerprints in every episode.
The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor
The previous shows of The Midnight Club’s Mike Flanagan, The Haunting series has been one of Netflix’s most popular horror outputs. Debuting in 2018, Hill House flips between two different timelines, focusing on the paranormal experiences at Hill House as seen through the eyes of five adult siblings, and flashbacks to a night in 1992. The series features Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Carla Gugino (Threshold), Oliver Jackson Cohen (The Invisble Man) and Victoria Perdetti (You). Bly Manor meanwhile came out 2 years later in 2020, and while unconnected in story, features some of the same cast (including Perdetti and Jackson-Cohen), and follows events in the manor when an American au pair is hired for two children living at the manor.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Classic 90s and early 00s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is available on Disney+, with every episode free to watch with a subscription. The cult show, which spawned dozens of imitations and launched the career of Sarah Michelle Gellar, is considered one of the best supernatural shows ever, and has a devoted following to this day. Buffy Summers, a seemingly normal everyday schoolgirl, discovers that she is the latest in a line of women known as “Slayers”, who are picked by fate to battle the forces of evil (principally vampires). The series ran for 7 seasons, and also stars Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter and Seth Green. Michelle Gellar is set to make a paranormal comeback with a similar role in the upcoming Wolf Pack, debuting next year.
In the cinema
Halloween Ends is the third and – as the title implies – final instalment of the rebooted Halloween series, which saw Jamie Lee Curtis return to her iconic role of Laurie Strode in the 1978 original. Laurie is dealing with the PTSD of her various encounters with killer Michael Myers over the decades, though he hasn’t been seen in four years. She’s living with her granddaughter and writing her memoir – but things are upended when a young man is accused of killing a boy, and her life once again is caught in a cascade of violence. It remains to be seen if it’ll truly be the last Halloween film – but Curtis has confirmed she won’t be returning for any more after it.
You may have seen that the creepy new horror film Smile has been heavily advertised with stunt marketing (including various people in the crowd smiling menacingly at the camera at several baseball games in the US, which went viral on social media), and the film itself arrived in UK cinemas at the very end of September. It follows therapist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), who witnesses a patient commit suicide after stating that she’s being followed by a demon that manifests itself in sinister smiling people, and begins to go through several odd and disturbing apparently supernatural events. Things continue to get more and more sinister and deadly as Rose searches for answers and tries to escape the forces seemingly pursuing her.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Okay, Harry Potter isn’t exactly the scariest thing to watch at Halloween, but for anyone who’s a fan (and perhaps isn’t too big on horror), then you can check out the 20th anniversary rerelease of the second Potter film, The Chamber of Secrets. The plot does involve people being mysteriously paralysed, writing in blood on walls and a gigantic snake, so combined with the overall atmosphere of castles and wizards and witches, makes for fun and quite Halloween-y viewing this October. The film’s re-release is from 28th October to 3rd November, so get booking.
Films on streaming
One of the biggest horror films of the 2010s, Get Out was the directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele, and received huge acclaim for its scares and biting social commentary. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, a young black photographer who goes to meet the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams). However, things start to turn upside down as he uncovers shocking secrets. With an excellent script and twists and turns that keep your gripped, Get Out is well worth your time, and you can watch it through Amazon Prime. Peele’s next two films, Us and this year’s Nope, are also available on Prime.
Another excellent and creepy modern horror film, Midsommar is directed by Ari Aster (who also directed Hereditary), and stars Florence Pugh in one of her breakout roles. Dani (Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) are a dysfunctional couple with a strained and complicated relationship, who decide to travel to Sweden with friends for midsummer festival. It’s there where things begin to turn sinister, as they find themselves trapped by a strange and dangerous cult. The film received critical acclaim, and also stars William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter and Vilhelm Blomgren.
The Blair Witch Project
Now a classic of the genre that inspired countless imitators the original and best found footage film The Blair Witch Project is available free on Amazon Prime. The basic premise is familiar to pretty much everyone: a trio of students head into the mysterious and creepy Black Hills in 1994 to investigate the local legend of the Blair Witch, but never return. Only their home recorded footage of their trip is recovered. This forms what you see in the film- and its still effective and scary over 20 years later. If you’ve never seen it and are in for some psychological horror, its certainly worth seeing at least once, with the dated looking video footage looking even creepier as time goes on.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Avaliable on Disney+, The Rocky Horror Show is the definitive cult film. Strange, funny and with songs impossible not to sing along to, Rocky Horror is adapted from the stage musical production that parodied old sci fi and B movies. It tells the story of a young couple, newly engaged, whose car suddenly breaks down on a rainy night and forces them to find refuge in a castle. There they meet its bizarre inhabitants, including butler Riff Raff, maid Magenta and groupie Colombia, and the castle’s owner, Dr Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry in his most iconic role. The pair decide to stay, and witness Frank’s creation, Rocky, a tall muscular man that Frank is trying to mould into the ideal man. Completely off the wall and with a cast including Susan Sarandon, Richard O’Brien, Charles Gray and Meat Loaf, Rocky Horror will have you singing Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite and Hot Patootie before you know it.