Halloween is rapidly approaching, which means many cinephiles & genre nerds out there are currently planning to cram in as many scary movies as they can over the next month. In that spirit, here’s a horror movie recommendation for every day in October from the Swampflix crew. Each title was positively reviewed on the blog or podcast in the past year and is currently available on a substantial streaming service. Hopefully this helps anyone looking to add some titles to their annual horror binge. Happy hauntings!
Oct 1: Scream (1996)
“Having since caught up with virtually all of its reference points in the two decades since I first saw this film as a child, the namedrops now play like adorably clever winks to the camera. In the mid-90s, however, that list was a doorway to a world of horrors I would take mental note of for future trips to the video store. It was essential.” Currently streaming on Showtime.
Oct 2: Ginger Snaps (2000)
“There are plenty coming-of-age horrors in which a teen girl’s earliest experiences with menstruation & sexual desire escalate into bloodlust & supernatural mayhem: Carrie, Teeth, Raw, Jennifer’s Body, etc. This one just holds a special place in my heart for being the first I happened to see, so it’s always my first reference point when I see the pattern repeated.” Currently streaming on Shudder, Peacock, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 3: The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)
“A misandrist horror classic! Plenty of 1970s women-on-the-verge psych thrillers out there where shit-heel men drive women to madness, but few are this committed to their psychosexual terror or bloody revenge.” Currently streaming on Shudder, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 4: White of the Eye (1987)
“A knockoff giallo that gets lost in the American desert for a while, then emerges as a sun-dazed erotic thriller. Incredible, unwieldy stuff.” Currently streaming on Shudder, The Criterion Channel, for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 5: Demon Seed (1978)
“Belongs to a very special subcategory of classic horror: I saw it parodied on The Simpsons long before I saw the movie itself. I put this one off longer than most, since the premise is so sleazy, but thankfully it’s less focused on the physical act of impregnation than I feared and instead finds a kind of wretched transcendence through retro computer graphics.” Currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 6: Hatching (2022)
“A great entry in the Puberty as Monstrous Transformation canon, along with titles like Ginger Snaps, Jennifer’s Body, Teeth, Carrie, etc. Stands out in that crowd by adding an extra layer about mothers living vicariously through their daughters in unhealthy ways. Also achieves a lot on what appears to be a limited budget, leaning into its cheapness to create the kind of plastic world you’d expect to find in a music box.” Currently streaming on Hulu.
Oct 7: Scream 2 (1997)
“It’s easy to downplay the first Scream as a Greatest Hits collection of slasher tropes, so it’s super smart for its sequel to replay exact scenes from it as the tropiest, slasheriest slasher of all time. Every clip from and reference to Stab is brilliant.” Currently streaming on Showtime.
Oct 8: Cronos (1993)
“There’s an extremely 90s-specific visual warmth to this that makes it instantly familiar, recalling cultural touchstones as varied as Tales from the Crypt & Wishbone. I definitely saw it once before in the post-victory glow of Pan’s Labyrinth, but it plays like something I watched hundreds of times on VHS, or heard repeated nightly as a freaky bedtime story.” Currently streaming on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max.
Oct 9: Wishmaster (1997)
“Very much enjoyed this as a child who was technically too young to see it, and glad to see it mostly holds up as a dumb-fun practical gore showcase. Its quality & sensibilities are pretty standard for trashy novelty horrors of its era, but its “Careful what you wish for” evil genie setup allows its imagination to run wild from kill to kill instead of being limited to one kind of monster. Makes total sense as a Wes Craven production, since the nightmare logic of the Elm Street kills works the same way.” Currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi and Pluto TV.
Oct 10: The Lawnmower Man (1992)
“Had a lot of fun with this but it really pushed the outer limits of how much bullshit I’m willing to put up with to indulge in the precious Outdated Vintage Tech goofballery I love to see in killer-computer genre movies. Turns out the answer is ‘way too much’.” Currently streaming for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla.
Oct 11: Monkey Shines (1988)
“Romero’s killer helper monkey-movie crawled so The Lawnmower Man could transcend time & space.” Currently streaming on Shudder, Showtime, for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 12: Willard (2003)
“My favorite thing about the original Willard is how uncomfortably relatable I found Willard as a character; my favorite thing about this remake is how much Crispin Glover is an absolute freak.” Currently streaming for free (with a library membership) on Kanopy.
Oct 13: Scream 3 (2000)
“A Corman cameo??? Hell yeah. Parker Posey as comedic relief?? Right on. Jay and Silent Bob? Oh, oh no.
Just as much of a mixed bag as the second one, but it’s easy to enjoy the nesting doll effect of the Stab series as this chugs along.” Currently streaming on Showtime.
Oct 14: Deadstream (2022)
“This was a constantly surprising delight, getting huge laughs out of supernaturally torturing a YouTuber smartass with a sub-Ryan Reynolds sense of humor. It effectively does for Blair Witch what Host did for Unfriended, borrowing its basic outline to stage a chaotic assemblage of over-the-top, technically impressive scare gags.” Currently streaming on Shudder.
Oct 15: Malignant (2021)
“Feels like 2021’s The Empty Man: a seemingly well-behaved mainstream horror that takes some wild creative stabs in its go-for-broke third act; both earning instant cult prestige as ‘hidden gems’ despite their robust budgets, thanks to the dysfunction of COVID era distribution. I personally found The Empty Man the more rewarding experience of that pair, but you gotta appreciate these big-budget crowd-bafflers whenever you can find them.” Currently streaming on HBO Max.
Oct 16: The Seventh Curse (1986)
“I normally don’t vibe with Indiana Jones-style international swashbuckling at all, but this Hong Kong action mind-melter hits the exact level of bonkers mayhem I need to get past that genre bias. Overflowing with imagination, irreverence, explosive brutality, and shameless copyright violations in every scene. Far preferable to any actual Indiana Jones film, even if it would not exist without their influence.” Currently streaming on for free (with ads) on Crackle & Plex.
Oct 17: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968)
“Presented as an alien-invasion creature feature, but really more of an anything-goes descent into chaos in which “the whole world’s gone insane” (mostly as an anti-war metaphor). One of those constantly surprising low-budget novelties where it feels like absolutely anything can happen at any time, while most of the actual imagery between the special effects shots is just a handful of characters debating a plan of action in a single room.” Currently streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Oct 18: Mad God (2022)
“Both a for-its-own-sake immersion in scatological mayhem & an oddly touching reflection on the creative process, the indifference of time, and the cruelty of everything. It’s meticulously designed to either delight or irritate, so count me among the awed freaks who never wanted the nightmare to end.” Currently streaming on Shudder.
Oct 19: Viy (1967)
“The five-minute stretch that makes good on its long-teased witchcraft & devilry—boosted by an importation of Silent Era special effects into a 1960s filmmaking aesthetics—should leave an intense impression on your psyche that overpowers any minor qualms with its build-up. This is a quick, oddly lighthearted folk-horror curio with a fascinating historical context and an eagerness to wow the audience in its tension-relieving climax.” Currently streaming on Shudder, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 20: Lisa and the Devil (1973)
“Besides the gorgeous, lustrous cinematography, I will forever treasure this as the only film I know of with a haunted European villa and a haunted plane. I would 1000% watch Lisa descend further into madness in a surreal plane-centric sequel.” Currently streaming on Shudder, or for free (with a library membership) on Kanopy.
Oct 21: The Wailing (2016)
“Expands the rage-virus horror of 28 Days Later into opposing directions of operatic crescendo & goofball slapstick, refusing to be tethered to any one specific meaning or tone and finding abject terror in that ambiguity. An ideal vision of what mainstream horror would routinely look & feel like in a better world.” Currently streaming on Shudder, Peacock, for free (with a library membership) on Kanopy & Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 22: The Medium (2021)
“In the abstract, a found-footage update to The Exorcist for the 2020s sounds like it would be tedious at best, but this manages to feel freshly upsetting & emotionally engaged while never drifting outside those genre boundaries. Big-scale blockbuster horror on a scrappy indie budget.” Currently streaming on Shudder.
Oct 23: Scream 4 (2011)
“A good argument that this series only thrives with breathing room. The first is still the best, with at least two decades of slasher tradition to catalog and pull apart. 2 & 3 felt thin & rushed by comparison, then this one snaps the whole thing back into shape with another full decade of horror trends to riff on.” Currently streaming on Paramount+, Starz, for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 24: All Cheerleaders Die (2013)
“A delightfully vapid, shockingly cruel horror comedy about undead cheerleaders seeking supernatural revenge on their school’s misogynist football team. Much, much better than its reputation & promotional material suggest, but maybe still dead last on the list of films of its ilk worth prioritizing before you get to it: Heathers, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Ginger Snaps, The Craft, Jennifer’s Body, Sugar & Spice, Jawbreaker, Teeth, Buffy, etc.” Currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 25: A Cat in the Brain (1990)
“Really fun, chaotic self-reflection on how the brutality of the horror genre is often flippantly overlooked by cheap-thrill seekers but still takes a toll on our psyches (of which I’m just as guilty as Fulci). Feels like a crude precursor to what Wes Craven would soon be working through in A New Nightmare & Scream, except that it doubles as a Greatest Hits montage of Fulci’s recycled gore gags.” Currently streaming on for free (with a library membership) on Kanopy, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 26: The Visitor (1979)
“The greatest sports movie of all time, by which I mean it only briefly pretends to be interested in basketball before indulging in a chaotic mix of aliens, killer birds, and Satanic blood cults (with a little gymnastics & ice-dancing tossed in for balance).” Currently streaming on Shudder, Peacock, for free (with a library membership) on Kanopy & Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 27: Lifeforce (1985)
“It would have been more than enough for the soul-sucking nudist space vampires to turn Earthlings into exploding dust zombies & blood sacks, but what really made me fall in love is how they start the process by hypnotizing their victims with intense horniness. I’m always a sucker for supernatural erotic menace, so 5 stars; instant fav.” Currently streaming for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 28: Return of the Living Dead (1985)
“I need to stop thinking of Dan O’Bannon as the nerd who wrote Alien and start thinking of him as the absolute madman who somehow made Return of the Living Dead & Lifeforce in the same year; two deranged gems I should’ve sought out a lot sooner.” Currently streaming for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 29: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
“Besides its obvious charms as a ribald horror comedy about witchcraft & titties, it’s also an expert demonstration of kayfabe in action. Elvira never breaks character, gets billed “as herself”, and continues to work her job as a B-horror hostess even as she gets tangled up in a one-woman war against small-minded small towners.” Currently streaming on Amazon Prime, for free (with a library membership) on Hoopla, or for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Oct 30: Scream (2022)
“Stab has become a cultural phenomenon in Scream‘s world, and that world has now entered the era of The Snyder Cut, wherein groups of fanboys feel that the media belongs to them, so they want to course correct back to the ‘original concept; by enacting a new series of murders in Woodsboro to inspire the Stab franchise to return to its roots. It’s not as clever as ‘movies made us do it,’ but it’s just as cohesive.” Currently streaming on Showtime.
Oct 31: WNUF Halloween Special (2013) & The Great Satan (2019) Double Feature
WNUF Halloween Special does a great job in remaining authentic to local 1980s TV broadcasts, but smartly sets its spooky news show in a fantasy world where only a couple commercials are miserably repeated every ad break instead of all of them.
The Great Satan doubles as both an unrelenting flood of metal-as-fuck vintage ephemera and as a sickening overview of Christian America’s moral rot, especially in the Satanic Panic era. If you can stomach a little edgelord pranksterism, it’s wonderfully fucked up.
Together, they make the perfect Halloween Night VHS nostalgia mind-melter.
WNUF Halloween Special is currently streaming on Shudder, and The Great Satan is currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
-The Swampflix Crew