Halloween is just around the corner, promising plenty of scares. Whether you’re prepping your costumes for this weekend or getting ready to gorge on candy, you have the chance to feast your eyes on everything from ghosts to zombies to evil robots. It’s a great time to stream some scary movies!
To kick things off with a classic, why not spend your Halloweekend watching one of the all-time great horror flicks? Sissy Spacek stars as the title teen in Carrie, an oft-bullied high schooler who develops fearsome telekinetic powers. Between the mean girls at school and her deliriously religious mother (the late Piper Laurie), she has all sorts of pressures bearing down on her—it’s no wonder when she blows up in one of the most iconic scenes in horror history. Carrie is available to stream on Max.
Moving to something more contemporary, Blumhouse’s smash hit M3GAN is ripe for a rewatch at this time of year. Creepy dolls have long been a mainstay in horror, but this movie takes it to another level. After the death of her sister, toy engineer Gemma (Allison Williams) takes in her niece and decides to make her a new friend—literally. The result is equal parts campy and creepy, making for a scary good time. M3GAN (the unrated version) is streaming on Amazon (AMZN) Prime.
For a scary movie with a side of cutting social commentary, Get Out remains the best of the best. Jordan Peele made his directorial debut (and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) with this ingenious take on horror. Daniel Kaluuya stars Chris, a young Black man anxious to meet his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents on a weekend trip. His fears of microaggressions and casual racism are well-founded, as a jaw-dropping plot emerges. Get Out is available to stream on Netflix (NFLX).
A24 seems to have its own special brand of horror, focusing on the uncanny and the creepy rather than bombastic jump scares. One of the most successful of this breed is Ari Aster’s Hereditary, which put him on the map for later cult favorites like Midsommar and Beau is Afraid. Hereditary stars Toni Collette as a woman consumed by grief over several major losses in her family, leaving room in her psyche for an unseen force to take over. Hereditary is available to stream on Max.
Train to Busan
Who doesn’t love a good zombie flick? Train to Busan makes good on all of the promises of the genre and then some. The Korean movie stars Squid Game favorite Gong Yoo as a workaholic father who takes his young daughter on a cross-country train ride to see her mother. Unfortunately, right as the train is pulling out, a zombie apocalypse descends on the tracks. The undead population on the train grows as the car corridors only get more cramped. Train to Busan is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Anya Taylor-Joy is one of today’s biggest stars, and she has A24’s period horror The Witch to thank. The actress made her film debut in Robert Eggers’ “New England Folktale,” which tells the story of a family of English settlers who are cast out of their Puritan community and slowly but surely fall victim to a coven of witches. More creepy and eerie than outright scary, it’s a perfectly unsettling watch. The Witch is available to stream on Max.
Bloody, inventive and mildly ridiculous, Ma is one of the great slashers of the last decade. Octavia Spencer stars as the title character, who relents to buying alcohol for a group of teens before inviting them over to her house under the guise of safe drinking. As Ma’s place becomes the hot spot for the town’s high school parties, her own past in the community looms large. It’s a subversive slasher film, dipping its toes into camp as much as gore. Ma is streaming on Netflix.
For more of a gothic vibe this Halloween, stream Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak. The filmmaker’s deft artistic and atmospheric touch is on full display in this eerie period romance, which stars Mia Wasikowska as a wealthy young heiress and author who’s wooed by a charming and mysterious Englishman (Tom Hiddleston). Soon, she’s swept off her feet to his towering estate, haunted by the mansion’s many shadows and her new, slightly unhinged sister-in-law (Jessica Chastain). Crimson Peak is available to stream on Netflix.
While it may be a year-round favorite for some, American Psycho is the perfect watch for this season. Christian Bale stars as the iconic Patrick Bateman, an investment banker-slash-serial killer in 1980s NYC who’s as obsessed with business cards as he is with finding his next victim. Satirical and ultra-violent, it’s a polarizing movie that makes for an interesting addition to the slasher subgenre. Plus, it’s got a stellar supporting cast. American Psycho is available to stream on Peacock.
Coco might not fit in the parameters of a horror movie, being an animated Disney (DIS) Pixar film and all, but it certainly is still seasonal. The story follows Miguel, a boy who gets trapped in the land of the dead during el Día de los Muertos. Determined to heal a rift in his family and break the curse that got him stuck in the underworld, he ventures deeper into the world of the dead with eccentric skeleton Héctor (Gael García Bernal). Coco is streaming on Disney Plus.
What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.