The Halloween Countdown: 31 days of horror to observe

Is there something higher than Halloween season?

Positive, right here at Polygon we cover horror year-round. We have now our rolling lists of the best horror movies you’ll be able to watch at residence and the best horror movies on Netflix which might be up to date each month of the 12 months.

However even for year-round horror followers, Halloween is a particular time of 12 months.

For the previous two years, Polygon has put collectively a Halloween Countdown calendar, providing a Halloween-friendly film or TV present out there to observe at residence day-after-day of October. We’re delighted to deliver that again as soon as once more, with 31 spooky choices to maintain the temper going all month lengthy.

On daily basis for the whole month of October, we’ll add a brand new suggestion to this Countdown and inform you the place you’ll be able to watch it. So curl up on the sofa, dim the lights, and seize some popcorn for a terrifying and entertaining host of Halloween surprises.

Oct. 1: Audition (1999)

Picture: Arrow Movies

In Audition, Takashi Miike’s 1999 psychological horror-thriller, love is a consensual fiction. Years after dropping his spouse to a terminal sickness, widower Shigeharu Aoyama is urged by his son to get again out on the earth and discover somebody. Aoyama agrees to a proposal by his buddy, a movie producer, to participate in an audition for a nonexistent movie as a way to discover a potential bride from the candidates. His search finally leads him to Asami Yamazaki, a fantastic former ballerina with a murky previous.

As Aoyama grows nearer to his new love curiosity, he finds himself caught deeper and deeper in an internet of intrigue that threatens to tear him aside emotionally, psychologically, and sure — even bodily. There’s something darkish inside Asami, sure, however there’s a latent darkness within Aoyama too, arguably even darker. The one distinction is that Asami has embraced that darkness and made it her personal.

Miike’s movie holds its playing cards comparatively near its chest for many of its run time, unspooling its tightly wound thriller like garrote wire earlier than peeling again its pores and skin of meet-cute artifice to disclose a pulsing mass of horrors roiling beneath. The movie descends right into a macabre fugue state of assumptions, misdirections, and cinematic sleights of hand, with goals that really feel virtually actual set in opposition to a actuality too terrifying to be something however. Ultimately, although, these are simply phrases. Solely ache may be trusted. —Toussaint Egan

Audition is out there to stream on Arrow Video and Hello-Yah!, without cost with advertisements on Tubi, and without cost on Kanopy with a library card. It’s also out there for digital rental or buy on Vudu and Apple.

Oct. 2: The Vanishing (1988)

A sinister looking man with a goatee smiles at another man against a pitch black backdrop in The Vanishing.

Picture: The Criterion Assortment

It’s not a horror film, per se, and but Stanley Kubrick mentioned that The Vanishing was essentially the most scary movie he had ever seen. This Dutch thriller from 1988 — typically referred to by its unique title Spoorloos, in order to not confuse it with an inferior 1993 American remake by the identical director, George Sluizer — performs it cool, like a easy lacking particular person case. Rex and Saskia are a younger couple road-tripping by France. They’re taking a break at a service station when Saskia abruptly, and fully, disappears.

Initially, the horror of the scenario is within the banality of it: the sensation that it might occur at any time, to anybody. Sluizer underlines this with the matter-of-fact realism of his location taking pictures. Then, barely greater than 20 minutes in, he wrong-foots the viewers with an abrupt shift: We’re following Raymond, a contented French household man who seems to be rehearsing a kidnapping. The thriller of what occurred to Saskia appears already to be solved. What subsequent?

The best way the movie — primarily based very carefully on Tim Krabbé’s novella The Golden Egg — skips so rapidly previous the anticipated construction of a thriller thriller should sap stress, however the truth is it builds an virtually philosophical unease. As Raymond, performed with a chilling brightness by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, walks us by the “how” of his crime, the “why” turns into a gnawing, rather more troubling query. We skip ahead three years and discover Rex obsessive about discovering out what occurred to his misplaced love. When a solution is obtainable, we share his starvation for it fully, and comply with him to what is likely to be essentially the most plainly horrifying ending of any movie, ever. This can be a minimal masterpiece of existential dread. —Oli Welsh

The Vanishing is out there to stream on The Criterion Channel, or for digital rental or buy on Apple and Amazon.

Oct. 3: Rampant (2018)

A prince in fancy white 17th century Korean garb stabs a screaming zombie right through the stomach in Rampant.

Picture: Nicely Go USA Leisure

One of many nice joys of horror is the array of subgenres it gives, and the subgenres inside subgenres that spool out of that. Take the monster film, as an illustration. It’s a subgenre of horror by itself, and inside it you may have the vampire film, the werewolf film, and the zombie film, simply to call just a few. After which you’ll be able to dive even deeper and discover one thing like Rampant, which mixes the zombie subgenre with an unlikely pairing: the historic court docket drama interval piece.

The film takes place through the seventeenth century, beneath the Joseon dynasty in Korea. The film is crammed with political intrigue: The protagonist is an smug younger prince referred to as again residence after his brother’s loss of life solely to search out political machinations already in progress when he arrives. The court docket is struggling to determine the best way to take care of the close by Qing dynasty in China (the place our protagonist grew up), with totally different factions forming.

After which there are the zombies. Sure, a zombie outbreak arrives, recalibrating the significance of this royal battle for some (however not all) of its gamers. Our protagonist discovers this on his means residence, and makes an attempt to persuade his father (and his father’s advisors) to do one thing about it. That results in some breathtakingly brutal swordplay motion in a pitch-perfect style mashup for the ages. –Pete Volk

Rampant is out there to stream on Hello-Yah!, FuboTV, and Viki, or without cost with advertisements on Tubi, Crackle, Plex, Pluto TV, and Freevee. It’s also out there for digital rental or buy on Amazon, Apple, Vudu, and Google Play.

Oct. 4: Seconds (1966)

A man with wrappings over his face wears a suit and stands in front of a light. Two men stand around him, one wearing a doctor’s coat and the other pointing at him.

Picture: Paramount Photos

Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and aliens don’t have anything on the unstoppable means of ageing. All of us will grow old, life will get exponentially tough, and the one particular person ready for us on the end line is Loss of life. John Frankenheimer constructed Seconds round such midlife terrors, granting New York banking exec Arthur Hamilton the chance to faux his personal loss of life, reconstruct his physique within the type of Rock Hudson, and transfer to sunny Southern California as a scorching, youthful dude named Tony Wilson. Like a small animal tramped beneath the sunlamp of the Santa Barbara solar, we see Hudson spiral by paranoia and remorse, replete with bare grape mashing and alcohol-fueled breakdowns. For sure, the grass is never greener, and the one factor scarier than getting previous is staying younger.

The movie met boos at Cannes and puzzled critics who have been accustomed to main man Rock Hudson being simply that — a standard main man. However the movie has aged nicely, pun totally meant. James Wong Howe’s cinematography, nominated for an Academy Award, holds the viewer inches from Hudson’s face, bends actuality by a fish-eye lens, and someway makes stunning younger our bodies into nauseating bundles of limbs and flesh. And Hudson, now indifferent from his Private Model for many viewers beneath the age of 70, undercuts his Hollywood attractiveness with a humble efficiency of a person in full collapse. —Chris Plante

Seconds is out there to stream without cost with advertisements on Pluto TV, or without cost with a library card on Kanopy. It’s also out there for digital rental or buy on Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play.

Oct. 5: Bride of Chucky (1998)

The Chucky doll dual wields pistols and looks past the camera in Bride of Chucky.

Picture: Common Photos

The fourth film of the wickedly humorous Baby’s Play franchise takes the killer doll sequence in an thrilling new course. Bride of Chucky ditches Andy, the younger boy adopted by the murderous Chucky doll within the first three films, and as an alternative follows two clueless youngsters (Katherine Heigl and Nick Stabile) who unwittingly take two murderous dolls on a highway journey and begin to suspect one another when the our bodies begin dropping.

The sinister inversion of the teenager highway journey film could be enjoyable sufficient, nevertheless it’s the addition of Jennifer Tilly that basically makes Bride of Chucky sing. For the uninitiated within the Baby’s Play universe: The Chucky doll is possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif). Tilly performs Ray’s former lover and confederate, Tiffany, who brings the doll again to life and turns into a murderous doll herself.

The result’s two {couples} road-tripping collectively however unable to speak with one another. Heigl and Stabile’s Jade and Jesse are your typical youths in love — nonetheless attending to know one another and never totally trusting but — whereas Chucky and Tiffany’s bickering and refined manipulations make this a joyous and twisted enjoyable time. Add in some breathtaking imagery from director Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason) and cinematographer Peter Pau (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Killer) and you’ve got a franchise sequel nicely value your time. —PV

Bride of Chucky is out there to stream on Peacock. It’s also out there for digital rental or buy on Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play.

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