October’s Must-Watch Checklist for Horror Fans

If the anticipation of this year’s IT: Chapter Two has revealed anything, it’s that horror has huge box office potential. Although the genre has always had its niche appeal, horror has been gaining more mainstream popularity in the last few years producing a number of hits from both a box office and a critical perspective. From new chapters in classic franchises (Halloween) and adaptations of old favourites (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) to completely original stories (Jordan Peele’s Us and Ari Aster’s Midsommar), there’s something for everyone whether you love a good jump scare or not.

October may be the perfect time to re-watch the classics, but there’s also no shortage of new material out there if you really want to get freaked out. Here’s what every horror fan should be watching this month:

In the Tall Grass
Based on the novella by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill (who is also an award-winning horror writer), In the Tall Grass starts with a brother and sister (who is pregnant) driving across the country together. As they’re driving past a field of high grass they hear a young boy yelling for help. Their first mistake is going into the grass without a plan for how to get back out and it becomes clear pretty quick that the grass—or something in the grass—doesn’t want them leave. Ever. It’s more unsettling than terrifying but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re in the mood for.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?
If you’re a lifelong horror fan than you definitely have a couple Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes that you can’t get out of your head (The Tale of the Frozen Ghost, anyone?) The series ran from 1990 to 2000 and featured guest appearances from now-famous Canadians like Ryan Gosling, Neve Campbell, Jay Baruchel and more. Nickelodeon is reviving the series for another season and bringing the Midnight Society back to give a whole new generation of kids (and probably a few adults, too) nightmares. The new season—which is more of a miniseries with three episodes— premiered on October 11th.

Eli
The horror selection on Netflix can be a bit hit or miss, especially if you’ve watched all the obvious stuff and you’re looking for something a little different. If ghost stories are you thing, look no further than Eli. Following a young boy who is sent to a secluded clinic for treatment of a rare autoimmune disease that requires him to stay sealed off from the world, Eli has been described as Bubble Boy meets The Conjuring. A mix between psychological thriller and horror, Eli is sure to be both unsettling and full of jump scares—the perfect combination.

Countdown
If you love a technology-themed thriller, Countdown is the gimmicky niche horror film of your dreams. Reminiscent of a Black Mirror episode, Countdown is about an app that can tell you, down to the second, exactly when you’re going to die. While most people think it’s a joke at first, that changes when people actually start dying when the app said they would. The question is, can the app predict the future or is the app the reason people are dying? The scariest part of this might be more in the wondering if you could actually find out when you were going to die, would you want to know? Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “there’s an app for that”.

Doctor Sleep
Okay, so it’s not coming out until November 8th, but that just gives you plenty of time to re-read and re-watch The Shining before the adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel Doctor Sleep hits theatres. In the follow-up to one of King’s most popular stories, Danny Torrance (played by Ewan McGregor) is all grown up and still dealing with the memories of his time at the Overlook Hotel. Although he’s struggling to live a normal life, he can’t get away from the power he called “the shine”. A young girl with the same gifts seeks him out to help her escape a powerful cult that feeds off of innocents in their quest for immortality. There will be plenty of references to The Shining throughout so if you’re a Stephen King fan this is a must see.

Castle Rock
Yes, Stephen King is making three appearances on this list because he’s a master of the genre and Hollywood can’t stop scrambling to adapt literally every single thing he’s ever written. In Hulu’s second season of Castle Rock we get to meet a young Annie Wilkes (played by Lizzy Caplan) from Misery. She’s just as crazy as you’d expect with her signature phrases and wild eyes. The second season is a completely different story than the first season and introduces a number of other recognizable characters from the King universe.

The Lighthouse
If the slow burn of The Witch was right up your alley, then the newest film from director Robert Eggers should be next on your must-watch list. Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse is about two lighthouse keepers who start to lose their sanity and come up against their worst fears in the face of solitude and loneliness. The film, which is entirely in black and white debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and received rave reviews from critics. With plenty of eerie, unsettling scenes, The Lighthouse isn’t about jump scares—but it’s one of those stories you’ll be thinking about long after the credits roll.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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