For the second full week of October, we’re setting our sights on horror movies that go for the jugular in terms of spilling blood and killer instinct. Most importantly, they evoke the Halloween spirit, with the holiday serving as the backdrop for a killing spree. Because you’ve likely watched the Halloween movies a dozen times over by now, we’re casting a wider net. Meaning instead of Halloween-set slashers, these killer Halloween movies rack up a body count through werewolf mayhem, toxic garden critters, possessed hands, or lonely psychos in need of friends.
These five Halloween movies run the gamut in tone and style and will put you in the holiday spirit. As always, they’re all available for instant streaming this week.
The Guest – Netflix
Dan Stevens stars as “David,” a soldier that introduces himself to the Peterson family as the former comrade of their son, who died in combat. He quickly assimilates himself into the family, but a series of deaths all seem to lead to him. Written by Simon Barrett and from director Adam Wingard, the pair behind You’re Next, The Guest is more of a horror adjacent action thriller meant to get your adrenaline flowing. Halloween factors into the film in a big way, namely in the climax set in the school’s haunted Halloween dance. Maika Monroe makes a compelling final girl in this untraditional twist on the slasher formula, but its Stevens’ villain that steals the film. Look for Halloween III: Season of the Witch Easter eggs.
Slugs – Prime Video
Horror can transform anything into a killing machine, and that includes your garden variety pests. This ‘80s gem transforms slugs into carnivorous killers laying siege to a small town thanks to toxic waste. That may not sound impressive, but Juan Piquer Simón, the madman behind Pieces, is at the helm, so you know it’ll go off the rails fast. Nothing looks out of the ordinary with these slugs, but the deaths can be downright gnarly. If you’re a long-time reader of this column, then you know I’ve suggested it before. If you haven’t seen it yet, though, there’s no better time than now as it’s set over Halloween. These slugs can and will crash Halloween parties out in the woods.
Ginger Snaps – Roku, Shudder, Tubi, Vudu
Macabre and death-obsessed teens Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) are outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, making them inseparable. Then Ginger gets her first period, attracting a werewolf that’s been stalking the area. Puberty takes on a whole new meaning as the werewolf’s bite transforms Ginger into something far more monstrous. Ginger Snaps is a werewolf favorite that stands on its own, but Halloween plays a prominent part in the third act. At least in terms of setting the stage for Ginger to let her inner killer roam free.
May – Tubi
May (Angela Bettis) is a lonely vet assistant whose only friend is her doll, Suzie. Then she meets Adam (Jeremy Sisto). Obsessed with his hands and ideals of perfection, May descends into madness in her attempts to forge new friendships. Her mother once told her that if she couldn’t find any friends, she should make them. The lonely woman takes this literally. In keeping with the trend, Lucky McKee’s film sets its finale over Halloween night. Framed a different way, this could’ve been another Halloween-set slasher. Framed from the killer’s perspective, though, May becomes a heartbreaking character study.
Idle Hands – Pluto TV
If you’re in the mood for something that doesn’t take itself seriously at all and goes full-throttle on the Halloween fun, this is it. Devon Sawa stars as Anton Tobias, a high school slacker whose hand becomes possessed and homicidal. That proves problematic when it comes to wooing the girl of his dreams, though his undead friends have his back. Idle Hands offers plenty of splatstick, irreverent charm set around Halloween. Including one big third act set at the Halloween high school dance. It even includes several music-based cameos.