Hollywood horror and indie fright-fests - top 12 movies on TV on Halloween night
Chris Wasser's freaky film picks from terrestrial, satellite and streaming...
It’s Halloween night, and you’ve decided to stay in. Good call. Now all you need to do is find a decent horror movie on the telly – something to keep you glued to your seat. Something that’s guaranteed to entertain. Something that’ll keep you awake all night (well, maybe).
Fear not, horror fans – you’ll only be delighted / horrified to hear that we’ve done all the hard work for you. Yep, we’ve whittled down the finest and scariest selection of Hollywood horrors and indie fright-fests on the box this Halloween night. So, sit back, grab the popcorn and don’t forget to turn out the lights. Actually, you might want to leave them on, just to be safe. Best of luck, folks…
The Apostle (Netflix)
Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) takes the lead in the latest new Netflix horror, set in the early 1900s, about a London drifter who travels to an island off the coast of Wales to rescue his kidnapped sister from a sinister religious cult. But these things never end well, do they? Gareth Evans directs a cast that also features Lucy Boynton and the great Michael Sheen. Comparisons have already been made to The Wicker Man, but sure you probably already guessed that…
The Witch (Film 4, 9pm)
I am only going to say this once: Robert Eggers’ 2015 period horror, about a 17th century New England family who begin to experience some deeply disturbing goings-on near their farm, will freak the bloomin’ bejaysus out of you. One of the most unsettling horror films of the decade – and that’s a fact. Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Ineson co-star.
The Cabin in the Woods (Netflix)
Ah yes, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s slippery, subversive and satirical horror comedy about a bunch of college students who head off to a cabin in the woods for a weekend and, well, um…actually, that’s about as much as we can tell you without spoiling anything. Sorry. Let’s just say that this is not the horror you were expecting. And, the ending is bananas. Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly and Bradley Whitford co-star.
Scream (Dave, 10.25pm)
Another tasty satirical treat – and, it’s a slasher, too! The 1996 Wes Craven classic hasn’t aged as well as we’d like to think, but sure listen, it’s still got one of the best opening scenes of them all. Seriously, lads, Drew Barrymore should have let that call go to voicemail. You know the one.
A cinematic classic, from the brilliant mind of Stephen King. Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her horrifying portrayal of Annie Wilkes, the barmy nurse who holds her favourite romance author, Paul Sheldon (a terrified James Caan), captive in her guest room. You probably know what happens next. If you don’t, then the scene with the sledgehammer will shock the life out of you.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (W, 10pm)
If you’ve seen, heard, or read anything about the latest Halloween instalment in cinemas, then you’ll know that the people behind the franchise have pretty much hit the reset button, meaning all other sequels are now no longer part of the Halloween canon (hey, I can hear you sighing from over here). It was a wise move, but it means this hilarious, 1998 offering technically no longer exists (seriously, stop). Oh, well. At the very least, Halloween Water – sorry, H20 – is one of the less forgettable entries in the series (if that makes sense). Jamie Lee Curtis is back. Her famous mum, Janet Leigh, is in this one, too. Plus, it’s got Michelle Williams - and LL Cool J! What more do you want?
The Visit (Film 4, 11.40pm)
M Night Shyamalan steps back into the room, following a series of disastrous box-office flops, with this rapturously-received, low-budget, found-footage horror, about a pair of teenagers who spend a weekend with their estranged grandparents. This being a film by the guy who gave us The Sixth Sense and Signs, you probably don’t need us to tell you that things take a turn for the worse. There might be a twist…
Let Me In (Syfy Channel, 9pm)
English-language remake of the 2008 Swedish favourite, Let the Right One In, about a troubled 12-year-old boy who befriends a young vampire who recently moved into his apartment block. It’s kinda sweet. It’s definitely freaky. It’s not nearly as effective as the original, but hey, it’s an impressive cover version all the same. The reliable Matt Reeves writes and directs. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins co-star.
Hotel Transylvania (RTE 2, 7pm)
Listen, you can’t have one of these freaky horrors on the telly if there are children in the gaff. So, might we suggest you stick with something a little more suitable for the whole family – at least until the kids go to bed? Plus, we can totally stay on the Halloween track. For instance, try Hotel Transylvania on RTE2, in which an animated Count Dracula (Adam Sandler, always tolerable, when we can’t see him) opens up a hotel for monsters. Lovely. That’ll keep everyone satisfied for a bit.
Saw (ITV 4, 9pm)
And, now we’re back to the regular schedule, with a film about a deranged serial killer who kidnaps his victims and plays games with them, until one of them loses their mind (and, usually, a limb or two). This is the original one from 2004 – the one where two strangers wake up in a crummy bathroom and have no idea how they got there. Plus, they’re chained to the walls. Things get nasty in this, the franchise’s first instalment, that blew our minds, before a gazillion sequels ruined everything. Danny Glover features.
Ghostbusters (Sky Cinema Hits, 9pm)
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and the late, great Harold Ramis don their iconic jumpsuits for one of the strangest supernatural flicks of the 1980s. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it belongs on this list, but look, it’s got ghosts, it’s got great one-liners and it’s got the legend that is Ms Sigourney Weaver. Actually, it totally belongs here. Ghostbusters for life.
The Exorcist (Sky Cinema Halloween, 10.45pm)
The daddy of them all. Indeed, there are those of us who still refuse to watch William Friedkin’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece alone (seriously, that spider walk sequence gave us nightmares for a year). You know the gist: a little girl is possessed, a priest has to come and save her, and the audience ends up scarred for life. One of the greatest horrors ever made? Definitely.