Halloween may just be a single day, but all of fall still qualifies as spooky season. When there’s a chill in the air, the wind is howling, and the trees are ominously bare, it’s time for a horror movie marathon. Here are some of this season’s new horror movies to add to your watchlist of doom.
Mia Goth commands the screen as the title character in this prequel to Ti West’s horror hit X. In X, Pearl was an elderly woman terrorizing an unsuspecting adult-film crew on her Texas farm in 1979. Pearl is set in 1918 on that same farm, as the young Pearl yearns for stardom, and is willing to do anything to achieve it—including murder. She clashes with her strict German mother as she waits for her husband to return from fighting in World War I. West captures Pearl’s lurid world in the glorious Technicolor of 1950s melodramas. Pearl is now playing in theaters.
What if young Edgar Allan Poe investigated a strange murder in an eerie small town, inspiring elements of his future work? That’s the premise of this horror mood piece, starring William Moseley as Poe when he was a U.S. Army cadet. He and his fellow cadets stumble into the titular town, where the residents claim that a mythical flying monster is responsible for various deaths and disappearances. Writer-director Christopher Hatton fills the movie with references to Poe’s poems and stories, while weaving his own original tale. Raven’s Hollow is now streaming on Shudder.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Grady Hendrix’s 1980s-set novel comes to life in this adaptation starring Eighth Grade’s Elsie Fisher. Fisher plays awkward teenager Abby, who has to take some initiative when her best friend Gretchen (Amiah Miller) seems to become possessed by a demon. Director Damon Thomas mixes horror and comedy as Abby searches for answers about her friend’s condition. Aided by a Christian fitness instructor (Christopher Lowell), Abby is determined to rid Gretchen of this infernal infestation, while also navigating the perils of being a teenage girl in suburban America. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone
Another month, another Stephen King adaptation. The latest from the ultra-prolific master of horror is based on a novella from his 2020 collection If It Bleeds. It stars Jaeden Martell (who also appeared in the recent King-based It movies) as a teenager who discovers that he can somehow communicate with his late neighbor Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland) via cell phone. The bullied young man calls Mr. Harrigan, then bad things start happening to his tormentors. It’s tough to go wrong with King as source material, especially for this mixture of horror and coming-of-drama. Get your newest King fix October 5 on Netflix.
Somehow there were nine sequels made to the original 1987 Hellraiser, based on Cliver Barker’s horror novella The Hellbound Heart. Most of those were direct-to-video entries with small budgets and small audiences, and this new reboot aims to change that. Respected horror filmmaker David Bruckner (The Night House) takes over the franchise, with Sense8 star Jamie Clayton playing a new version of iconic villain Pinhead. Pinhead and the other demons known as Cenobites emerge from hell to torment the latest hapless owner of the cursed puzzle box. Hellraiser streams October 7 on Hulu.
The first movie in a decade from legendary Italian horror director Dario Argento, Dark Glasses continues in the giallo tradition that Argento helped pioneer in the 1970s. It’s another twisty, violent mystery story, starring Ilenia Pastorelli as a prostitute who survives an attack by a serial killer targeting sex workers, but is blinded in the process. Argento’s daughter and frequent collaborator Asia Argento co-stars in a movie that deliberately harkens back to the filmmaker’s acclaimed and influential early work. Catch it in select theaters October 7 and streaming on Shudder October 13.
Does Halloween ever truly end? The long-running slasher-movie franchise co-created by John Carpenter allegedly comes to a close with this third movie in the reboot trilogy from director David Gordon Green—the 13th overall installment in the series. Jamie Lee Curtis has promised that this will be her final appearance as Laurie Strode, the woman targeted by seemingly unstoppable serial killer Michael Myers. If nothing else, Halloween Ends should provide an epic showdown between Laurie and Michael to wrap up her story. Check it out in theaters and streaming on Peacock October 14.
After a break of seven years, the V/H/S horror anthology series returned with last year’s acclaimed V/H/S/94, and this fifth installment retains the 1990s setting. Filmmakers contributing to V/H/S/99 include Johannes Roberts, Vanessa and Joseph Winter, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, and Flying Lotus, continuing the series’ customary mix of established and up-and-coming horror directors. It offers a hit of nostalgia for horror fans who grew up in the era of watching scary movies late at night on grainy VHS tapes, which often added to the unnerving terror. Have your own flashback when V/H/S/99 streams on Shudder October 20.
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Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He’s the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and the former TV comedies guide for About.com. He has written about movies, TV, and pop culture for Syfy Wire, Polygon, CBR, Inverse, Crooked Marquee, and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.