The Halloween season is upon us and the theaters are filled with horror movies. Some of them are original works, such as the Nicholas Cage vehicle Mandy and The Super, which stars Val Kilmer. Some are continuations of classic franchises, such as the new Halloween and The Nun. There’s also some family-friendly spooky movies such as Goosebumps 2 and The House With a Clock In Its Walls.
Of course there’s far more horror in store this Halloween than just the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Numerous art-house theaters are hosting screenings of classic horror films, ranging from the Universal Monster Movies to the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Hammer Studios. And it wouldn’t be Halloween without the annual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, making it well worth the effort to see what your local independent theaters might have planned for Halloween this year.
Related: The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
What follows is a run-down of some of the films that horror aficionados might find in theaters this Halloween. While largely focusing upon new theatrical releases in the United States, we’ve also included a few films that are being released direct to video or various streaming services. So if you’re stuck at home handing out candy on Halloween Night or would prefer to get your chills at home than in a crowded theater, there are still some new thrillers you can seek out.
- This Page: New Horror Movies In Theaters This Halloween
- Page 2: New Horror Movies On VOD This Halloween
A direct sequel to the original 1978 Halloween, the 2018 Halloween is a reboot that ignores all of the earlier films in the franchise after the first. The focus of the film lies on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the survivor of Michael Myers’ original Halloween night rampage four decades earlier. Left paranoid and incapable of moving on with her life, Strode is the only one who is prepared when Michael Myers escapes during a routine prison transfer. As the nightmare begins again, it falls to Strode, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) to do what the police cannot.
The film has proven to be a critical hit, even among traditional film critics who don’t usually approve of horror movies. Halloween‘s reviews have praised the film for defying the usual cliches regarding the portrayal of women in slasher-horror movies. Curtis’ performance, in particular, has been widely acclaimed.
Halloween has also proven a financial success, having the second-highest opening for an October release in history. It has also become the most profitable of all the films in the Halloween franchise. For the week around Halloween, the film will also be available in some venues in a limited IMAX release.
Suspiria (Limited Release Oct 26, Wide Nov 2)
Inspired by the 1977 horror movie of the same name by Dario Argento, Suspiria centers upon the hidden darkness that lies in the heart of a world-renowned dance troupe. The company’s artistic director, a young American dancer and a grieving therapist will all find themselves drawn into a living nightmare. But will they ever be able to wake up?
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film has been long-hyped thanks to its cast – which includes the likes of Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz – and the filmmakers’ claim it’s not a literal remake; Guadagnino said he was drawing upon the idea of the original film and that the new Suspiria was “inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions.”
Given that the original Suspiria is considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time, it was probably a wise decision for Guadagnino to not try and completely recreate it. Certainly, the reviews suggest he’s succeeded in making something fresh. If you’re in New York or Los Angeles, you can check out Suspiria on its limited release the weekend before Halloween. The film goes into wide release on November 2.
Nicholas Cage is famous for his manic performances but many have said that his role in Mandy is his wildest one yet. The movie stars Cage as Red Miller – a “broken and haunted man” who turns to violence to avenge the love of his life (the titular Mandy) after she is brutally murdered by a crazed religious sect. Those who like their horror bloody and over-the-top will likely love Mandy, if only because Cage reportedly modeled his character on Jason from the Friday the 13th and one scene features Cage and another man engaged in a duel with chainsaws.
The latest film in The Conjuring franchise, The Nun may have been out for well over a month but it can still be found in some wide-release theaters. Set in 1952, the prequel focuses upon supernatural investigator Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and novice nun Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) as they travel to the Abbey of St. Carta in Romania to investigate the apparent suicide of a nun and rumors that the Abbey is haunted by some dark presence. It spoils little to say that the rumors are true and that a battle between good and evil ensues.
While reviews from critics were mixed, the movie was an undisputed hit with audiences, who flocked to see the film again and again. This has made The Nun the most profitable of the films in The Conjuring franchise. It has also quietly made The Conjuring universe into one of Warner Bros. most consistently profitable properties relative to its cost.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Based on the classic children’s novel of the same name by John Bellairs, The House With a Clock in Its Walls is just the film for a family outing this Halloween weekend. The plot centers upon the recently orphaned Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black). Lewis discovers that Uncle Jonathan is a warlock and is soon learning the mystic arts from him and his neighbor, a good witch named Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett). Lewis also discovers that his uncle’s home contains a magical clock that is trying to bring about the end of the world.
While not a huge financial or critical success, the film did make back over double its $42 million budget. It also pleased fans of the original Lewis Barnavelt books, of which John Bellairs wrote a dozen. It remains to be seen if Universal Studios will produce a sequel based on the next book in the series, The Figure in the Shadows, but the ending leaves things wide open for another adaptation.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is another family-friendly horror movie with a literary bent. Based upon the popular series of horror novels for children by R.L. Stein, the sequel sees Jack Black returning in the role of the beloved author. His role is greatly reduced compared to the original film, however, and Black does not reprise his role voicing the franchise’s villain, the evil ventriloquist figure Slappy.
While some critics have said this sequel is not as innovative as the original, Goosebumps 2 does manage to be far scarier than the first film. Many have also praised the production design, which was overseen by Rusty Smith – the same production designer responsible for last year’s surprise horror hit Get Out. It may not be perfect, but fans of the original books will find Goosebumps 2 to be entertaining.
Page 2 of 2: New Horror Movies On VOD This Halloween
I Still See You (VOD)
Loosely based on the young adult novel Break My Heart 1,000 Times, I Still See You is set in a world where the ghosts of the departed (i.e. Remnants) are seen to repeat the same sequence of events from their lives repeatedly. Bella Thorne stars as Roni, a teenage girl who is seemingly stalked by the Remnant of a murderer, in defiance of all the rules people thought governed ghosts. Teaming with a classmate and a teacher, Roni struggles to prove that The Remnants are changing while fighting to save herself. Critics have not been kind to this adaptation, which earned only one positive review on Rotten Tomatoes, suggesting that teens might want to seek out the original book by Daniel Waters instead.
The Super (VOD)
The Super stars Patrick John Flueger as Phil Lodge, a former NYPD officer who becomes superintendent of a luxury apartment complex in Manhattan. When Lodge learns that the building has a history of mysterious disappearances, his suspicions fall upon the building’s creepy maintenance man, Walter (Val Kilmer). Produced by Law and Order creator Dick Wolf with a script by Black Swan co-writer John J. McLaughlin, the reviews for The Super have been largely negative. However, many have praised Kilmer for his performance, saying that he is virtually unrecognizable in the role of Walter and offers a truly sinister presence.
Written and directed by Argentinian filmmaker Demián Rugna, Terrified surprised many by winning Best Picture at the Montevideo Fantástico Film Festival and in the Horror Features category at Austin Fantastic Fest. The story centers upon a doctor who researches the paranormal, her colleague and an ex-cop who travel to Buenos Aries to investigate a series of mysterious events. Butting heads with a commissioner who insists that nothing unusual is going on, the trio soon discovers an evil that could destroy human society as we know it. The film is currently available exclusively through the Shudder streaming service.
Malevolent follows sibling con-artists Jackson and Angela who pose as paranormal investigators; they trick the bereaved with Angela pretending to have visions of the departed as Jackson plays around with fake scientific equipment. The two bite off more than they can chew, however, when a new assignment in an old manor house inspires Angela to start having true visions of the young girls who died horrible deaths on the property and the evil responsible proves to be all too real. Distributed by Netflix in the US and UK, Malevolent has drawn a lot of attention for its stunning ending.
Related: Malevolent’s Twist Ending Explained
Killer Kate! (VOD)
Kate and her sister, Angie, have never gotten along, but when their dying father requests that his daughters try and reconcile in time for Angie’s wedding, Kate agrees to attend her sister’s bachelorette party weekend at a remote cabin. Unfortunately, the cabin is rented out by a family of murderers who view four young women staying in their home as Christmas come early. It will fall to Kate to save everyone’s lives while trying to save her relationship with her sister.
Another film full of twists on the classic cliches of the slasher genre, Killer Kate! was named Best Feature Film of 2018 at the Chicago Horror Film Festival. The movie’s star, Alexandra Feld, was also named Best Rising Action Star of 2018 at this year’s Action On Film Intentional Film Festival.
The Dark (VOD)
The first feature-length film by writer/director Justin P. Lange, The Dark has already earned international acclaim; it won Best Screenplay at the Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Festival in Brazil. The story centers upon the odd friendship that forms between Mina, an undead teenage girl, and Alex, a blind teenage boy. Both the victims of different forms of abuse, the two outcasts find solace in each other after they meet while seeking refuge in the woods. The two may find a chance at happiness, but it will not come easily or without bloodshed.
The Witch In The Window (BBC America)
House-flipping handyman Simon (Alex Draper) takes his 12-year-old son Finn (Charlie Tacker) with him to fix up a house in rural Vermont. What was meant to be a father-son bonding experience turns into something horrible, however, when they discover that the house is haunted by the vindictive ghost of one of the previous owners. Worse yet, every repair they make seems to enrage and empower the spirit all the more. Rated 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, this Canadian horror movie will make its American debut on BBC America.