This list is a departure from my usual ones because I have not actually seen any of these yet—they’re all just as new to me as they are to you. That’s due in part to the fact that a handful hasn’t even been released yet. But rest assured, once each is available and I’ve devoured them all, I’ll return with my thoughts.
In the meantime, I present to you, thirteen highly anticipated new releases gracing your streaming platforms this month.
1. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (October 5) NETFLIX
How do you get in touch with the dead? A Ouija board is the mainstream answer, but in this day and age, you can just use a smartphone! Craig, played by Jaeden Martell (famous for the modern It: Chapters 1 and 2 and The Lodge), forges a connection with an aging billionaire—the titular Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland)—that leads to the teenager gifting the man an iPhone. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig tucks the phone into his coffin before leaving him a mournful voicemail that mentions being beaten up by a bully who he hopes gets what’s coming to him. Moments later, Mr. Harrigan calls back. Soon enough, Craig discovers that returning phone calls may not be the full extent of the old man’s abilities from beyond the grave. You can stream the film now on Netflix.
2. Reginald the Vampire (October 5) SYFY
We’re finally in an age that’s beginning to embrace diverse body types both on the runway and on the streets, so it’s about damn time that we find more representation in horror, too. The SyFy series, Reginald the Vampire, promises to subvert the chilling, slender stereotype of the undead with a goofy, fat protagonist played by Jacob Batalon (known for his role as Ned Leeds in the Spider-Man and Avengers films, though he also starred in the horror flick Hell Fest). Reginald is unexpectedly turned and must then contend with a new lifestyle among the superficial nocturnals. The show has already received mixed reviews only two episodes in, some claiming that the show does more to participate in body shaming rather than actually critique it. You can be the judge yourself and stream it now on SyFy.
3. Deadstream (October 6) SHUDDER
Anyone with a social media account holds the potential to achieve internet fame, whether it’s for skill or spectacle. For livestreamer Shawn, it has to be the latter, since he’s effectively been canceled and must now win back the world’s attention. He plans to do so by spending the night in the derelict “Death Manor” and equips himself with a POV camera, selfie cam, and an array of infrared motion-detector cameras scattered throughout the house so that everything is caught on film—live. Joseph Winter, who plays the lead, composed the score, and also cowrote, codirected, and coedited with his wife, Vanessa, brings a fun new addition to both the comedy and found footage horror subgenres that may earn the Winters a spot in each category’s hall of fame. The duo has a segment in the forthcoming V/H/S/99 (see below). You can watch Deadstream on Shudder now.
4. Significant Other (October 7) PARAMOUNT+
Without knowing anything about the plot at all, I got excited for Significant Other as soon as I saw that Maika Monroe plays one of the leads. Monroe, a scream queen you should know from It Follows, The Guest, and recently, Watcher, stars as one-half of a young couple (alongside Jake Lacy of The White Lotus) who embarks on a camping trip that takes a sinister twist. The directors have teased that the sci-fi thriller film pivots hard into a different genre partway through and that its title holds multiple meanings, but they can’t divulge much more without spoiling anything. You can stream it today on Paramount+.
5. The Visitor (October 7) VOD
Robert (Finn Jones) and his wife Maia (Jessica McNamee) relocate from London to small-town America after the latter’s father dies. While the town is a stranger to Robert, he apparently isn’t one to the town: he discovers an uncanny likeness of himself in a vintage oil painting in the local pub. Soon enough, Robert is seeing the doppelgänger everywhere. Rather than get the fuck out of there as things get progressively weirder, he opts to stay and solve the mystery himself while Maia remains dismissive. A fun gender swap of the “paranoid” woman who tries to convince everyone that something is amiss, the film looks satisfying if a little predictable. It’s available today on demand and you can pay to stream it on Redbox.
6. Hellraiser 2022 (October 7) HULU
That damn puzzle box is back which means it’s time for a new generation to encounter the pleasurably pain-thirsty Cenobites. Actress Jamie Clayton is portraying 2022’s Pinhead in a depiction far more faithful to the one in Clive Barker’s original novel, Hellbound Heart, where he’s described as an androgynous being with a feminine voice. In the film, Riley (Odessa A’zion of Let’s Scare Julie) is recovering from addiction when she finds herself in possession of the iconic puzzle box that leads to her brother’s disappearance. Soon, she meets the otherworldly sadists that will satiate fans of the original Hellraiser franchise and likely traumatize newcomers. You can stream it now on Hulu.
7. The Midnight Club (October 7) NETFLIX
It just wouldn’t be spooky season without a contribution from Mike Flanagan, whose work I’ve been praising for years. His latest delivery is a teen Netflix series but it’s already made headlines for its heaping amount of jumpscares in the pilot alone. The series follows a group of teenagers with cancer living in a hospice house in 1994 who gather in their spooky library each night when the clock strikes tomorrow to exchange scary stories and toast to their departed friends. It promises to be just as heartbreaking as it does heartjumping since there’s nothing Flanagan loves more than characters who are no strangers to death as they deliver lengthy, trauma-laden monologues. It dropped on Netflix today.
8. Grimcutty (October 8) HULU
As part of Hulu’s Huluween rollout, Grimcutty features a modern Boogyman brought to life from a meme. Directed by John Ross who brought us the incredibly creepy 2016 short film, The Birch, his latest work features a town of parents convinced that a viral internet challenge—Grimcutty—is inspiring kids to self-harm. The plot is reminiscent of the real-life “Momo Challenge” of 2018 when rumors surfaced of a hollow-eyed animation with a warped smile sneaking into children’s games and urging kids to kill themselves; this was later debunked. But in Ross’s film, the frenzy of the parents seems to manifest “Grimcutty” into an actual creature which then begins its hunt. Sara Wolfkind plays Asha Chaudry, a teenage girl the monster is stalking, though her parents believe it’s Sara committing the violent acts. You can stream it tomorrow on Hulu.
9. The Watcher (October 13) NETFLIX
Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan (collaborators of Glee, Scream Queens, and Ratched) teamed up again to create The Watcher, based on the true story of the Broaddus family who purchased their dream home in suburban New Jersey then proceeded to receive threatening letters from someone known simply as “the Watcher.” Even after the Broadduses fled and renters replaced them, the letters to the house’s inhabitants continued, and the mystery was never solved. The Netflix miniseries boosts the creep factor by putting the couple (played by Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts) in a town full of unsettling characters who seem just as capable of causing harm as the anonymous Watcher who literally requests their blood. You can stream it on Netflix October 13.
10. The Curse of Bridge Hollow (October 14) NETFLIX
For a lighter take on suburban horror, Marlon Wayans is starring alongside Priah Ferguson (who plays Erica in Stranger Things) as a father-daughter duo from Brooklyn who must save their new town, Bridge Hollow, from possessed Halloween decorations. Dropping on Netflix just one day after The Watcher, The Curse of Bridge Hollow will provide a joke-filled palate cleanser to ease you toward the back half of the month. Stream it October 14.
11. Piggy (October 14) VOD
Be honest—if you spent your youth tormented by bullies and then suddenly had an opportunity to watch them meet their demise, would you . . . at least consider it? Sara, a teenager in a Spanish village, is forced to make that choice when she witnesses her harassers become the targets of a killer. Laura Galán reprises her role in this full-length version of a short film with the same name, portraying a complicated character in a movie chockful of antagonists. It’s available to stream next Friday but in the meantime, you can watch the original short film on the ALTER channel.
12. V/H/S 99 (October 20) SHUDDER
The V/H/S Series is a bit all over the place. While the first one frightened me so badly that I had a sleepover with a girl I’d just met at the watch party since neither of us could bear to sleep alone—especially after that first scene with the man-eating siren/bat/girl creature—the subsequent installments began to lose steam. When Shudder picked things back up with V/H/S/94, there was a vast improvement from its immediate predecessor and a faithful return to the twisted possibilities of found footage horror. The grainy camcorder shots of 1990s moments were wistful and fun, and I have high hopes for this Y2K version. You can stream it on Shudder on October 20.
13. Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (October 20) NETFLIX
Nobody does monsters quite like Guillermo del Toro—see: the Pale Man in Pan’s Laybrinth—and this month, he’s bringing us two more originals, in addition to six others by various filmmakers, including notable women directors like Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight!?). The eight-episode anthology will premiere on Netflix on October 20.
BONUS! Spirit Halloween: The Movie (October 11)
This one isn’t streaming (for a while) so you’ll have to make it to the theater when it debuts next week.
Much like an urban legend, the famed boutique Spirit Halloween makes its return to cities every September in anticipation of Spooky Season. It inhabits the bones of abandoned storefronts, luring children and adults alike beneath its deep orange awning before jump-scaring them with animatronic monsters at its doors.
It first costumed celebrants in the 1980s, then their children, then their children’s children. Finally, in 2022, it’s making its debut on the big screen.
A group of kids decide to spend the night in the iconic shop and—as you might have guessed—things go awry. My intuition tells me this might have a similar vibe to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, providing nostalgia for older viewers and excitement for younger ones.
I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season!