New Movies, TV Shows And Books To Keep You Plenty Spooked This Halloween
Maybe going out to get scared isn’t for you. Perhaps you prefer to scream inside with a room full people and a bucket of popcorn? Or maybe you just want to stay home and have more control over the bumps in the night.
This year, there is a new scary movie every weekend—except Halloween weekend—being released into mid-November. Some years, fright fans are lucky to get just one.
The Nun, The Predator, and the youth-oriented The House with a Clock in Its Walls are out and doing well at the box office, and there are more major releases to watch out for.
Hell Fest, Sept. 28, rated R
Tony Todd of Candyman has a role in this haunted attraction-set slasher film. A group of friends attend Hell Fest only to encounter one worker who takes his part too seriously. The trailer is a glorious offering of brutal mischief and feels like a mix of modern horror sensibilities and 1980s practical effects.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Oct. 12, rated PG
Slappy, the evil ventriloquist dummy, is back and so is Jack Black as R.L. Stine. Black starred in the previously mentioned The House with a Clock in Its Walls, making Sony Pictures keep his appearance as the prolific children’s horror writer under wraps. But he’s there, along with a slew of kid-friendly — but still frightening — monsters.
Halloween, Oct. 19, rated R
This is the granddaddy and most anticipated horror remake in years. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to face Michael Myers in the ultimate showdown. OK, we’ve been there before, and it was called H20 or “Halloween 20 years later.” Now, it’s been 40 years! None of the previous eight sequels or the remake and its sequel exist, and somehow, it’s all going to make sense. Doubt it? Original director John Carpenter returned and wrote the score. And now you have that creepy tune in your head.
Suspiria, Nov. 2, rated R
Another remake of a 1970s horror classic. This story of a ballet school run by witches stars Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Tilda Swinton. Nods to original director Dario Argento are said to run throughout the film, but early screeners say this is the rare remake that may surpass the original.
Horror on TV, especially streaming services, keeps getting better. While this writer laments the cancellation of Fox’s The Exorcist, there are a number of new and returning shows to enjoy this season, including a new season of American Horror Story if that’s your thing.
Light as a Feather, Oct. 12, Hulu
A handful of episodes of this “teens playing with dark magic” were written by Seth M. Sherwood. Sherwood co-wrote Hell Fest and wrote the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre origin film Leatherface. The plot is a mix of The Craft and Final Destination as the teens start dying in the ways their supernatural game predicted.
The Haunting of Hill House, Oct. 12, Netflix
This third take on Shirley Jackson’s haunted house story enlists Mike Flanagan as director. He previously helmed Gerald’s Game for Netflix and is working on another Stephen King adaptation, Doctor Sleep, now. This version features a family who grew up in the titular house returning to face their demons. Here’s hoping the plot changes are worth it. It can’t be as bad as the 1999 film version.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Oct. 26, Netflix
No Melissa-Joan Hart here. This version looks to be filled with the darkness and drama its sister show Riverdale hasn’t gotten to. Sabrina Spellman is played by Kiernan Shipka, and even though she has just as sweet a smile as her predecessor Hart, the promise of something deeper than a TGIF teen comedy remains.
No Halloween season is complete without a scary book or two. There are a number to choose from, but here are a few that should keep you up all night.
We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix, available now
Hendrix is quickly becoming a rock star in the horror community, so it makes sense that his latest book is about a rock star. Filled with heavy metal yearnings and an exploration of the “satanic panic” of the 1980s, Hendrix is out for your soul and trying to make lifelong readers. His previous books include My Best Friend’s Exorcism, HorrorStor, and the nonfiction homage to cheap horror novels Paperbacks from Hell.
Dracul, Dacre Stoker and JD Barker, Oct. 2
Yes, that Stoker. Dacre Stoker is the grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, the Irish author who unleashed one of the greatest genre icons of all-time. “Dracul” is a prequel to the 1897 novel and features Bram not only as a character but is also inspired by his notes. The modern Stoker is not unfamiliar with such an undertaking, having written Dracula The Un-Dead, a sequel released in 2010.
Elevation, Stephen King, Oct. 30
Did you watch Castle Rock? King goes back there for the second time in two years after avoiding this particular small town in Maine since the early 1990s. At this point, it is easy to expect frights and sentimentality from the 71-year-old author. And that’s not a bad thing.
Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado, available now
This short story collection has been out for a while now, but it should not be forgotten. Machado doesn’t shy away from the influence of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and other horror tales and filtering them through her experience as an LGBTQ and literary writer. Especially Heinous will blow your mind.
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