Best Halloween movies and TV you can stream in October 2021

It is truly one of the most wonderful times of each year. There’s candy, there are costumes, and maybe most importantly, everyone who doesn’t normally want to watch horror movies suddenly wants to watch horror movies.

Polygon’s Halloween Countdown was launched last year. It offers a weekly Halloween-friendly film or television show that you can stream every evening. You can also check our past month’s horror recommendations if you have 31 hours to spare. We continue this tradition with Polygon’s staff sharing some of its most spine-tingling streamables.

Every day through the month of October, we’ll add a new recommendation to the Countdown and tell you wear you can watch it. From perennial horror classics to new-school contemporary frights, chilling television shows and Halloween specials, YouTube creepypasta series and terrifying short films, we’ve assembled a list of the very best horror that streaming has to offer. You can relax on the sofa, turn the lights down, and be prepared for some terrifying Halloween delights. Every day, there is a new surprise to see.

October 1st: Cure (1997)

Detective Takabe (Kôji Yakusho) claspes his hands over his face in exhaustion and horror in Cure (1997)

Janus Films

A Japanese detective named Takabe finds himself in the middle of a seemingly unsolvable case in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 1997 horror masterpiece CureThis is. This case involves several unrelated victims, whose bodies were found with the letter “X” cut across their necks and torsos. The murderer in each case is discovered nearby, with no memory or hint as to why they did it. Takabe has no idea how this all connects. Takabe’s partner, a psychiatrist, jokes that maybe the devil made them do it. But Kurosawa’s never gives us the comfort of blaming the supernatural, and eventually we meet an enigmatic character who easily belongs in the pantheon of movie murderers right next to Hannibal Lecter.

Similar to other Japanese Horror films from the 1990s Cure is as much — if not more — of a procedural and investigation than it is a horror story. It doesn’t build its brand of horror on scary moments, but where Kurosawa’s mastery of the horror genre really comes through is in the movie’s creeping dread. He is a quiet and calm director, making it almost seem real. Amid all this tension, Kurosawa doesn’t even offer a release valve for the ending, instead leaving us with one of the most unsettling climaxes of all time.

While there might not be ghosts or demons out there, enough existential fear to cause you to be afraid. CureStick with you like a bad dream. —Austen Goslin

The restoration costs 4K Cure Right now, is playing In select theatresIt is also available for streaming on Criterion Channel

Oct. 2, 1988: Waxwork

A werewolf bares his bloodied fangs at a young boy in Waxwork (1998)

Flicker Alley

Nobody’s going to be impressed with the technical virtuosity on display in the cheesy 1988 horror movie WaxworkThe film looks almost like it was shot on leftover sets. It’s mostly amateurish acting, with some hilarious costuming. Even so, it’s worth watching just for the sheer demented imagination on display, and for some truly wild things you’re unlikely to see in any other horror movie.

When a wax museum abruptly appears in a small suburb that couldn’t possibly support a wax museum, a group of sullen college students gets drawn in, literally. The museum’s horror tableaus, with werewolves, vampires, and more human monsters, are actually pocket dimensions that suck people in to murder them and harvest their souls for nefarious purposes. This is actually a sequence of micro horror stories. The first one, a vampire bodice-ripper with gasps that makes it feel like hilarious re-imaging of LabyrinthIf the Goblin King kept prisoners locked up in his kitchen, their legs chewed off. Another is a surprisingly in-depth venture into kink, with one of the students falling into the hands of the Marquis de Sade, and realizing she enjoys pain and doesn’t want to escape. Pay attention! The Avengers’ Patrick Macnee as the inevitable explainer who lays out the actual purpose of all these mini-adventures, and stay tuned for the surprisingly explosive ending. It’s all extremely messy, but executed with passion and more subversive glee than most 1980s horror. —Tasha Robinson

WaxworkIt is free to stream with no ads TubiYou can also rent out AmazonOr Vudu

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