Published 10:07 PM EDT Sep 24, 2018
I scream, you scream, we all scream during Halloween.
The scary movie season is in full swing, so find a darkened theater or turn off the home lights, grab the popcorn and candy corn, and embrace the chills. While you can't go wrong with the usual suspects ("Night of the Living Dead" or any of a bazillion "Friday the 13th" films), why not try out the newest offerings? Here's our viewing guide for every mood you might find yourself in.
If you enjoy long walks in haunted convents: 'The Nun'
James Wan's "The Conjuring" universe expands with a gothic spinoff that takes a priest (Demian Bichir) and young novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) to a cloistered Romanian abbey. As if it wasn't creepy enough, things get straight up deadly when our heroes find out it's inhabited by Valak (Bonnie Aarons), a demonic woman of the cloth. Read our ★★ (out of four) review. (In theaters now.)
If you have unicorns, dragons and/or armored warriors spray-painted on your van: 'Mandy'
Nicolas Cage rules in this heavy-metal revenge thriller that's like Boris Vallejo fantasy art come to life. Cage stars as a lumberjack whose beloved Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) is killed by an unholy cult, and he goes on an ultraviolent, drug-fueled, ax-wielding odyssey to right that wrong. (In theaters now and streaming on iTunes, Vudu and Amazon.)
If you're just not ready for hardcore horror yet: 'The House With A Clock in Its Walls'
Director Eli Roth shifts from adult-oriented creep shows to one for the kids with this adaptation of the John Bellairs book. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett as a couple of magical types who help an orphaned misfit (Owen Vaccaro) investigate the tick-tocking beat of a supernatural mansion and stop the end of the world. (In theaters now.)
If you prefer your B-grade creature features with extra cheese: 'Slice'
Chance Bennett (aka Chance the Rapper) makes his acting debut – and is pretty good! – as a moped-driving werewolf in this indie horror comedy. There's a serial killer on the loose murdering pizza delivery folks in a small town, ghosts haunt the place and hold down regular jobs, and Zazie Beetz stars as a pie-slinging heroine who leads the charge to solve the mystery before things get even weirder. (Streaming on iTunes, Vudu and Amazon.)
If you're disappointed Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' lacks musical monsters: 'Mermaid's Song'
This dark Depression-era take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale is missing singing Jamaican crabs but does have tuneful youngster Charlotte (Katelyn Mager) caught between the land and the sea. Her bewitching pipes become the star of her family's struggling all-girl revue when it comes under the influence of a local gangster ("Game of Thrones" villain Iwan Rheon), whose goons bring out her deadly fishy side. (Streaming on iTunes, Vudu and Amazon.)
If you fail to find that 'It's a Small World' ride unsettling anymore: 'Hell Fest'
This is never a good setup: A bunch of friends get tickets for a traveling horror-tinged attraction at an amusement park, and they're followed by "The Other," a masked weirdo in a hoodie. Chaos reigns when the psycho starts picking them off one by one, and everybody else thinks it's just part of the show. (In theaters Friday.)
If you're in need of a proper spiritual freakout (and have already seen 'Hereditary'): 'Apostle'
In 1905, Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) learns his sister has been kidnapped and held for ransom by a religious cult, and he makes the jaunt to a remote island to get her back. Come for Michael Sheen as the group's charismatic leader, stay for the old-school torture and crazy revelations. (Streaming on Netflix Oct. 12.)
If your tastes veer toward the classics (kid edition): 'Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween'
Based on R.L. Stine's book series, the sequel centers on two friends (Caleel Harris and Jeremy Ray Taylor) who open one of Stine's tomes, unleash the author's mad puppet Slappy and inadvertently cause an invasion of sinister Halloween decorations, from Gummi bears to party-store witches. (In theaters Oct. 12.)
If your tastes veer toward the classics (adult edition): 'Halloween'
Forty years after John Carpenter's original, the sequel centers on Round 2 between former baby sitter and now gun-toting grandma Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and masked maniac Michael Myers, with Haddonfield, Ill., ground zero for another tragic Halloween night. Read our ★★★ review. (In theaters Oct. 19.)
If you think your dance/Pilates/spinning instructor is a real witch: 'Suspiria'
In Luca Guadagnino's new take on Dario Argento's 1977 blood-soaked classic, Dakota Johnson stars as a talented American dancer who joins a famous troupe in Berlin with a darkness at its heart that affects her pirouetting peers (Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz) and the company's enigmatic artistic director (Tilda Swinton). (In theaters Oct. 26 in New York and Los Angeles; expands nationwide Nov. 2.)