It’s finally here! October is upon us and that means Halloween season has officially begun! What a glorious time it is, my friends. This is when that crisp chill in the air holds something playfully sinister, as if some monstrous ghoul is lurking behind that skeletal tree, biding its time before leaping out and then gleefully scampering away. It’s the time for tricks and treats, for scares and delights, for horror movies and costume parties.
October has always been a prime month for horror content. Already a guaranteed moneymaker, the Halloween season attracts non-horror audiences in droves, all who wish to get into the spirit of things. This year is no different.
Don your costume, grab a pillowcase, and let’s venture into this month’s horror offerings!
1. ‘Little Monsters’ – October 8
Subgenre: “Just Give Lupita Nyong’o A Damn Oscar Already”
Official Synopsis: Dave (ALEXANDER ENGLAND), a washed-up musician, volunteers to chaperone his nephew’s kindergarten field trip after taking a shine to the plucky schoolteacher, Miss Caroline (LUPITA NYONG’O). Dave’s intentions are complicated by the presence of world-famous child entertainer and competitor for Miss Caroline’s affections, Teddy McGiggle (JOSH GAD). One thing none of them bargained for, however, is a sudden zombie outbreak, from which Dave and Miss Caroline must protect the children.
Why You Should Check It Out: This festival darling has been getting tons of love and for all the right reasons (you can read our review from SXSW here). It’s hilarious, well-acted, snappy, and a wickedly good time. If Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in Jordan Peel’s Us didn’t blow you away (what’s the matter with you?) then get ready for Miss Caroline, the sweetest, most badass teacher in cinematic history. It will be dropping on Hulu but also getting a limited release. I urge you to get tickets to see it in theaters as it’s a great time with a crowd.
2. ‘Candy Corn’ – October 12 & 25
Subgenre: “Can kids just quit being bullies for one Halloween?”
Official Synopsis: It’s Halloween weekend, and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he’s resurrected to seek revenge against those who wronged him.
Why You Should Check It Out: Yes, I may have been a part of the team that acquired this movie and I’m so incredibly proud that it’s hitting limited theaters. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a solid horror flick with a great cast that includes horror royalty Tony Todd (Candyman), P.J. Soles (Halloween), and Courtney Gains (Tales From the Crypt). It exudes that wonderful Halloween atmosphere and in a time when slashers are only just beginning to make a comeback, this one has a lot of viewers relishing the body count.
3. ‘The Lighthouse’ – October 18
Subgenre: “Two men trapped on an island for several weeks. What could possibly go wrong?”
Official Synopsis: Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Why You Should Check It Out: From The Witch director Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse is just so damn good. Technically amazing, visually incredible, and featuring the best performances yet from the two leads, it’s one of those movies that you finish and just sit back thinking how awesome movies can be. Eggers extensively researched the maritime dialect that powers the script, so get ready to understand about as much as you did during The Witch (thank god for home video releases with subtitles) but don’t let that stop you from being lulled into a psychological mind-bender that twists and turns like the sea itself.
4. ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ – October 18
Subgenre: “There better be some more Twinkies or I’m turning this car around”
Official Synopsis: In this sequel, written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and Dave Callaham, through comic mayhem that stretches from the White House and through the heartland, the four slayers must face off against the many new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But most of all, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.
Why You Should Check It Out: It may be over a decade since the first film but cinema has shown the sequels can come after years and still be something really incredible. Psycho II, Return to Oz, Dawn of the Dead… Sequels don’t have to come fast and heavy, a lá Saw, in order to offer audiences a high-quality story and an engaging experience. With the whole cast of the first Zombieland back, I think we have the chance for something really special. Plus, isn’t Halloween all about nostalgia? And what’s more nostalgic than seeing our favorite Twinkie hunters all grown up?
5. ‘Countdown’ – October 25
Subgenre: “I wonder if Justin Timberlake has a cameo in this…”
Official Synopsis: In Countdown, when a young nurse downloads an app that claims to predict exactly when a person is going to die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With time ticking away and a mysterious figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
Why You Should Check It Out: Remember that Justin Timberlake movie In Time? It was a fun enough sci-fi romp and it had some interesting ideas behind it. Countdown looks like it’s taking a similar concept and giving it a serious horror twist that has a strong Final Destination vibe. I highly doubt this is going to win any horror awards but sometimes the best Halloween experience is a bucket of popcorn, a bag of Sour Patch Kids, and an entertaining thrill ride where you don’t need very much brainpower.