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Halloween movie night, anyone? Here’s what to watch – and read

Spooky season is here and whether you’re looking for a good scare or some family-friendly entertainment, we’ve got you covered.

Written by High Life North
Published 13.10.2022

By Christopher Kingston

TV

The Midnight Club 

Out now, Netflix 

Based on the young adult novel by Christopher Pike, The Midnight Club follows a group of seven youngsters who are terminally ill and reside in a hospice run by a mysterious doctor. They meet every night at midnight to tell scary stories. One night, they make a pact that the first to succumb to their disease is responsible for communicating with the others from beyond the grave. As you might expect, bizarre things soon start to happen…

Werewolf by Night

Out now, Disney +  

Werewolf by Night is a bit of a departure for Marvel Studios. This is their first Halloween special and it pays homage to the classic black and white monster movies of 1930s and ‘40s – movies such as The Wolf Man, The Bride of Frankenstein and Creature From The Black Lagoon.

Gael Garica Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) stars as the mysterious Jack Russel, along with Laura Donnelly as Lady Blackwood. The plot follows a secret group of monster hunters as they compete for a powerful relic whilst going up against a dangerous monster. Directed by Michael Giacchino (who is usually found behind the camera directing hits such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Thor: Love And Thunder) we’re expecting great things from this one.

The Cabinet of Curiosities  

Out 25th October, Netflix 

Not much is known regarding this upcoming horror anthology series from the bizarre but creative mind of Guillermo Del Toro. There will be a total of eight episodes, some of them directed by the biggest names in horror – including Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) and Catherine Hardwicke of Twilight fame, as well as the directors behind movies like Splice and Mandy.

Judging from the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing loads of brand-new monsters – just what we need this Halloween, eh. Give it a watch if you love movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage – it promises to be perfect binge-watching material for your Halloween movie night.

FILMS

Hocus Pocus 2

Out now, Disney + 

Hocus Pocus is one of our favourite family-friendly Halloween movies ever and after Disney+’s dreadful remake of Home Alone, we were worried there was a sequel in the works. But this is actually a cracking follow-up to an iconic movie.

Once again, we follow the Sanderson sisters – played by the amazing trio of Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, reprising their roles 29 years after the first film. They’re back in Salem and, typically, are up to no good. It’s up to three high school students to put a stop to their antics before it’s too late.

Directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal), cue some epic dance numbers and good, wholesome fun.

Smile 

Out now at cinemas

We go from wholesome, family-friendly entertainment to something far darker…

In Smile, Dr Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences which she just can’t explain. After she witnesses a freak, traumatic incident involving a patient, Rose finds she must confront her own troubling past in order to survive her horrifying new reality.

Smile is a nasty little horror from first-time director Parker Finn. It isn’t going to win an Oscar for best film anytime soon, but if you’re in the mood for a good scare, see it at a local cinema stat.

Halloween Ends 

Out 14th October at cinemas

Will the Halloween movie series ever truly end?!

Halloween Ends is the 13th instalment in the horror movie franchise and the final film in a trilogy that began with Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021). Jamie Lee Curtis plays Laurie Strode as she does battle with Michael Myers – played by Nick Castle – one last time, in what promises to be an epic final showdown.

Set four years after the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter and is finishing writing her memoir, while Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since the events of the last movie. Laurie, after allowing the spectre of Michael to drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from her fear and rage and embrace life. As you can guess, things don’t quite go as planned…

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Wednesday 

Out November, Netflix

This isn’t out until November, but we just had to include it. If you love the iconic films The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values, then you’re in for a treat.

One of our favourite directors, Tim Burton – known for making gothic fantasy films like Beetlejuice, Batman andThe Nightmare Before Christmas – finds himself at the helm once more for Wednesday.

This new, eight-part series stars Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman as Morticia and Gomez, respectively, and will follow Wednesday as she adjusts to her years as a student at the Nevermore Academy and her attempts to solve the supernatural mystery that has threatened the local town. Also look out for the original Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci, in a guest role. Here’s hoping that this series can recapture that ‘90s magic.

Midsommar (2019)

Netflix 

Don’t Worry Darling’s Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor play a dysfunctional couple who travel with a group of friends to Sweden for a midsummer festival. But what begins as an idyllic retreat soon turns extremely violent and bizarre as they find themselves at the mercy of a sinister cult who practice Scandinavian paganism. We don’t care if this has been out for a few years, it’s still an epic Halloween movie night pick.

Spoiler alert – if you’re a fan of folk horror, this is perfect viewing. But there are quite a few trigger warnings. 

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Netflix  

If you’ve never seen this underrated gem, now’s your chance. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, it’s both a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Steven King’s original novel.

Set several decades after the events of The Shining, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor as an older Danny Torrance who is struggling with childhood trauma and his own psychic abilities. He meets Abra Stone, a girl who also possesses The Shining, as well as the more deadly Rose the Hat – a woman who leads a cult known as The True Knot, vampire-like beings that prey on other children with psychic powers to remain immortal. It’s up to Danny and Abra to work together and defeat them.

BOOKS

Dracula by Bram Stoker 

It wouldn’t be Halloween if we didn’t include the king of spooky season himself. Rediscover the dread of Dracula in this new, beautifully designed Vintage Classics edition of Bram Stoker’s epic novel.

This classic of horror writing is composed of diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings that piece together the depraved story of the ultimate predator. A young lawyer on an assignment finds himself imprisoned in a Transylvanian castle by his mysterious host. Back at home, his fiancée and friends are menaced by a malevolent force which seems intent on imposing suffering and destruction.

Can the devil really have arrived on England’s shores? And what is it that he hungers for so desperately?

The Green Mile by Steven King 

We could have chosen any of Steven King’s brilliant books – Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, IT or even his newest novel, Fairy Tale – but after recently reading The Green Mile we just couldn’t not recommend.

More of a crime story with fantasy elements, in The Green Mile we follow the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombes and his encounter with new prisoner John Coffey – an unusual inmate who displays extraordinary abilities.

HLN Hint – you can also watch Frank Darabont’s Oscar-nominated movie version, starring Tom Hanks, Sam Rockwell and Michael Clarke Duncan, on Netflix.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

This wholesome graphic novel has autumn written all over it.

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world, (not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it is). They say goodbye every Halloween and they’re reunited every September. But this Halloween is different – Josiah and Deja are finally seniors and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last goodbye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: what if, instead of moping, they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years… what if their last shift was an epic adventure?

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