When a college student relives her murderous birthday over and over again, she takes solving her death into her own hands.
The scary season is upon us, and the ghoulish demonic clown of Itis just the tip of the ghastly fun.
But where to start? Never fear, we’re here to help. (Well, perhaps a little fear would be apropos.)
Here’s a guide to what’s new out there for getting your horror fix between now and Halloween.
Watch: Embrace your ‘screaming’ services.
There are plenty of options if you want theatrical chills at the movies, from new hit Happy Death Day to a pair of upcoming big-screen projects featuring familiar figures: The sequel Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (in theaters Friday) offers a cross-dressing Tyler Perry dealing with a haunted campground, and Jigsaw (out Oct. 27) brings back the famed killer of seven previous Saw movies.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a chance on some diamond-in-the-rough film fare on iTunes and other digital video outlets. Wish Upon takes a teenage girl (Joey King) on a very bad path when she’s gifted a magical music box by her dad (Ryan Phillippe), and Halloween gets a Christmas twist with the horror comedy Better Watch Out, featuring a babysitter (Olivia DeJonge) and her young charge (Levi Miller) trying to stay alive during a home invasion.
Old-school horror cinephiles, though, will want to check out 78/52, a documentary featuring Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis and other notables breaking down Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous Psycho shower scene frame by frame.
AMC’s zombie-tastic The Walking Dead lumbers in for an eighth season on Sunday but if you’re looking to binge on creepiness, head to the various streaming platforms. The new anthology series Lore, based on the popular podcast, just premiered on Amazon Prime and focuses on the real origin stories of supernatural legends like werewolves, séances and possessed dolls. Hulu’s Freakish, which pits high schoolers against mutant freaks spawned by a chemical-plant meltdown, is back for a second season Wednesday.
And over on Netflix, for those who’ve already gobbled up Stranger Things (which releases its new season Oct. 27) and Black Mirror, give the Buffy-esque British show Crazyhead a go. While there, check out the two new Stephen King movie adaptations, Gerald’s Game and 1922, and dive into The Babysitter, about a boy (Judah Lewis) who finds out the girl (Samara Weaving) who tucks him in at bedtime is part of a satanic cult.
For one-stop shopping, Shudder is a must for even the casual horror lover and a dream for the hardcore fan, offering an abundance of original content. There are shows like the outer-space mystery show Missions, Neil Gaiman anthology series Likely Stories and Swedish supernatural whodunit Jordskott, plus movies such as Found Footage 3D (which adds a new dimension to the cabin-in-the-woods trope), Let Me Make You A Martyr (with shock rocker Marilyn Manson as a hitman) and the black comedy Prevenge (about a killer pregnant woman who turns serial killer).
Listen: Let the fright one into your ears.
For those who think they need to actually watch something to be scared, let’s remember how Orson Welles sent the nation into a tizzy with his 1938 The War of the Worlds broadcast.
Podcasts have taken the reins from the spooky radio shows of yesteryear, and there are plenty. The NoSleep Podcast is a series of episodes with all kinds of tales from the dark side — and there are nine seasons of it, too. Those who want starpower can download Darkest Night, an anthology series featuring Lee Pace and RuPaul that focuses on twisty stories and the weird goings-on at a mysterious research facility.
Speaking of weird, The Black Tapes takes a “monster of the week” spin, teaming up a curious journalist and an enigmatic paranormal investigator to look into strange cases and how they tie into a secret society. Tanis mashes up sci-fi and the world of cults, Rabbits is the story of a woman trying to find her missing friend in the midst of a dangerous game involving alternate realities, and Limetown centers on a scientific facility where everybody just disappeared one day.
Movie lovers will want to download the newly launched podcast Inside the Exorcist, which digs into the real-life events that inspired the 1973 classic The Exorcist, as well as all the insane things that went on during filming. (To tide you over waiting for upcoming episodes, try out Inside Psycho, which focuses on the production of Hitchcock’s most infamous flick.)
Read: Scary stories spook various mediums.
The master of horror, Stephen King, has a couple of new books out: Sleeping Beauties, his novel with son Owen about women around the globe going to sleep and not waking up, plus his coming-of-age novella Gwendy’s Button Box with Richard Chizmar.
King isn’t the only one stirring up the creepy cauldron. Victor LaValle’s The Changeling is a brilliant and brutal take on an old myth. Intrigued by the thought of man-eating hippos? Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth imagines a Louisiana with carnivorous giants run amok. More into young-adult fiction? Stephanie Perkins’ There’s Someone Inside Your House unleashes a slasher-movie scenario where local teens are murdered in an increasingly garish and stylish manner.
Comic books, too, are a literary medium for those with a taste for the terrifying. Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang face a zombie outbreak in Afterlife With Archie, a must-read for all Riverdale TV fans. Redneck chronicles a Texas family of vampires that runs a barbecue joint, Clean Room involves body-snatching monsters and a self-help cult, and the Southern gothic comic Harrow County follows an girl who figures out her connection to the weird creatures of her home on her 18th birthday. (There are also 172 issues of The Walking Dead, so whether or not you watch the popular show, it’s best to get busy there if you haven’t yet.)
Just surfing the web offers all sorts of spooky tales, too. The Dionaea House is a mystery that unfurls over various emails, penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival). But Creepypasta.com and Reddit’s “nosleep” subpage are the Internet’s seemingly neverending troves of user-generated horror fiction — like a modern version of ghost stories around the old campfire, though you might want to keep s’mores off your laptop. There’s nothing scarier than sticky keys.
Ready to hit the theater as the temperature dips for fall? From horror to comedy, these are our 10 picks for the movies you just can’t miss!
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