Halloween is nigh. And you know what that means: It's time to watch a spooky movie — which, according to a new Prime Video survey, 78 percent of Americans plan to do this year. The average citizen will watch six Halloween scare-fests by Oct. 31. But why not watch all 15 of these?
The Exorcist: Believer (2023)
Angela (a convincing Lidya Jewett) heads to the Georgia woods to resurrect the spirit of her mother, who died in a Haitian earthquake 13 years earlier. Her bestie Katherine (Olivia Marcum) is at her side. The pair vanish, much to the horror of Angela’s father (Leslie Odom Jr., liquid-eyed and concerned) and Katherine’s pious parents. When the tweens reappear after three days, their tattered, burnt bare feet look as if they’ve walked to hell and back. Fifty years after the late William Friedkin’s horror essential The Exorcist, the devil comes back to Georgia to possess their virginal souls. Though the elegantly crafted, head-swiveling sequel fails to reach new heights, it delivers on suspense and jump scares, uplifted by returning original cast member Ellen Burstyn, 90! We dare you to see it in a pitch-black theater.
Watch it: The Exorcist: Believer, in theaters
A Haunting in Venice (2023)
The illusion begins with that absurd, two-tiered mustache, hanging like stage curtains beneath the nostrils of Kenneth Branagh. The Oscar winner embodies one of Agatha Christie’s most eccentric sleuths, Hercule Poirot, for the third time. And directs, too. Branagh’s affection for Christie and her persnickety Belgian sleuth shines through in this lavish, luxurious whodunit set post-World War II in the City of Masks. A psychic (the deliciously comic Michelle Yeoh) arrives to conduct a séance to connect a drafty villa’s bereaved owner (Kelly Reilly) with her dear departed daughter. The mansion fills with an exuberant cast of characters/suspects/potential victims: a shell-shocked vet (Jamie Dornan), his precocious son (Jude Hill), an American novelist (a tart Tina Fey) and more. Corpses pile up, and naturally, Poirot will eventually discover the killer loose among them, but will the rational master of deduction also succumb to a belief in the supernatural?
Watch it: A Haunting in Venice, in theaters
Totally Killer (2023)
Back to the Future meets Friday the 13th! Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) plays a modern teenager who’s magically transported back to 1987, where she meets the high school version of her own mom and tries to stop the “Sweet 16 Killer” who slayed her mom’s three besties. If that’s not scary enough, the characters all seem to be wearing horrific color-blocked duds in day-glo colors.
Watch it: Totally Killer on Prime Video
No autumnal list of horror flicks would be complete without John Carpenter’s jump-scare masterpiece about a certain masked maniac named Michael Myers. Most of the sequels in the franchise are disposable junk food that you forget about the moment the end credits roll, but the 1978 original is still a tensely paced, bloodcurdling exercise in pure terror thanks to the breakout performance of future scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as an innocent but quick-thinking babysitter battling the all-too-real bogeyman on Halloween night.
Watch it: Halloween
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
From out of nowhere — well, Pittsburgh — George A. Romero scraped together a few bucks and a handful of friends to make what has since become the alpha and omega of zombie movies. Released during the height of Vietnam and the civil rights struggle, the movie has more on its mind than just the walking dead terrorizing the living. The presence of a Black hero (Duane Jones) was downright revolutionary. But even if you glaze over all of the political subtext, this is a suffocatingly claustrophobic nail-biter whose black-and-white cinematography only seems to heighten its unrelenting mood of dread.
Watch it: Night of the Living Dead