This Halloween you get an extra hour to stay up late and watch scary movies as Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday. Clocks go back one hour so that extra hour of sleep will come in handy if you choose to curl up with a few horror films after hours.
Classic fright films are always fun to watch during All Hallows’ Eve and you have plenty of options this year. AMC’s Fear Fest features a Michael Meyers slash fest beginning at 10 a.m. with the original 1978 “Halloween” to kick off a marathon that features six films from the franchise. It’s followed by “Eli Roth’s History of Horror” as the writer-director known for the films “Cabin Fever” and “Hostel” examines the genre with interviews by horror masters Stephen King, Jordan Peele, and Rob Zombie among countless others. AMC is on Channel 74 for Suddenlink subscribers.
Shudder, the Netflix of horror, is one of my favorite ways to tap into all things spooky. Not only will you find a superabundance of classic and new horror films, but also many exclusives like the Shudder original Joe Bob’s Halloween Hideaway hosted by everyone’s favorite Lone Star-drinking horror aficionado and Texan, Joe Bob Briggs. This year he’s serving up an extra-spooky double-feature of two films set on Halloween night, 2019’s “Haunt” (a Shudder exclusive) and 1988’s slasher-Giallo film “Hack-O-Lantern.” You can stream Shudder using the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Xbox One or go to the website www.shudder.com. The streaming service costs $5.99 per month, but you can save money by opting for the $56.99-per-year annual plan.
If you’re interested in watching a new scary film this weekend, I put together a list of some of the best choices available. Curl up with one or two or several of these new offerings just in time for Halloween.
- Here’s one for the whole family to enjoy. Based on Roald Dahl’s best-selling 1983 book, a young orphan named Charlie (Jahzir Bruno) moves in with his grandma (a wonderful Octavia Spencer) in rural Alabama where they encounter a coven of glamourous witches led by the Grand High Witch played by Anne Hathaway in an over-the-top fun performance. The witches plan on turning every child into a mouse by hatching a devious plan that involves opening candy shops around the world. Chris Rock serves as the film’s narrator and Stanley Tucci plays the manager of a seaside resort where Charlie and grandma encounter the diabolical witches. Directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future”) and co-written by Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”), it’s an entertaining film with good special effects and a terrific cast. (Streaming on HBO Max and available to rent on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Microsoft Store and Google Play)
- After making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, a young refugee couple struggles to adjust to their new life in a small English town that has an unspeakable evil lurking beneath the surface. The debut feature from writer-director Remi Weekes is fascinating on two levels. One, it works as a standalone film about the plight of refugees who are already living a nightmare. Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku are terrific as the refugee couple, plus there’s a nice cameo by Matt Smith from the BBC series “Doctor Who” as a caseworker who moves the couple into a dilapidated apartment that of course, is haunted. And two, the film creates real chills once the horror kicks in. The vibe is similar to “Candyman” meets “The Serpent and the Rainbow.” (Premieres Friday, October 30 on Netflix)
“The True Adventures of Wolfboy”:
- Paul lives an isolated life with his father in upstate New York. He finds making friends impossible due to a rare condition he has known as congenital hypertrichosis — an affliction that causes an abnormal amount of hair growth all over his face and body. On his 13th birthday, Paul receives a mysterious gift that compels him to run away and seek out the mother he has never known. Jaeden Martell from the “It” films plays the hairy protagonist in the film that’s closer to “Mask” or “Teen Wolf” than “The Wolfman.” The message is one of self-love with a cast that features Chloë Sevigny, Eve Hewson, John Turturro, and Chris Messina. (Available on-Demand and Digital).
“Come Play”: If you feel adventurous, head out to the movie theater this weekend for the new release “Come Play” based on the 2017 short film “Larry” by writer-director Jacob Chase. In the spirit of “The Babadook”, the story is centered on an autistic boy named Oliver (Azhy Robertson who is the spitting image of Danny Lloyd from “The Shining”). He doesn’t talk so he uses a cellphone app to speak for him and Oliver doesn’t have any friends. In his spare time, he’s on his phone or tablet watching Sponge Bob until one day a mysterious story pops up about a monster named Larry who’s looking for a friend. It’s mainstream horror for the masses with real frights and an anti-bullying message. (Opens this weekend at Cinemark 12)