Chills and thrills: 21 shows, movies to watch for Halloween

Paolo Abad
Chills and thrills: 21 shows, movies to watch for Halloween
Get in the mood for Halloween with a healthy dose of scary shows and films

MANILA, Philippines – It’s the season of scares as October comes to an end. While there’s the harmless revelry of costume parties and trick-or-treating, you can also give yourself a good scare – and get in the mood for the season – with a good ol’ horror marathon.

With streaming and digital downloads, there won’t be a dearth of options: from tales about the supernatural to thrillers to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Here’s our recommended mix of cult favorites, deep cuts, classics, and new releases. While there are hardly any of the old usual suspects here, consider these suggestions and queue them up this coming Hallow’s Eve.


The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Your favorite 90s sitcom also grew up, apparently.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t quite the kooky 90s show starring Melissa Joan Hart that you remember. While Salem the black cat is here, there’s no hint of his trademark sass because he doesn’t even talk in this new series.

Fear not, as it’s still a promising reimagining of the beloved character. Here, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka a.k.a. Sally Draper on Mad Men) is a half-mortal, half-witch teenager, placed squarely in the middle of a coming of age tale filled with dark terrors and malevolent forces.




The first season of the new Sabrina premieres on Netflix this October 26. 


Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

HBO Asia puts the spotlight on homegrown scary tales and bogeymen from across the Asian region with an original anthology series, Folklore.

With modern retellings of ages-old fables, they’re guaranteed to send shivers up your spine in a way that’s literally close to home. (READ: Your primer to ‘Folklore,’ HBO’s new Asian horror series)

Its six-part first season features episodes by filmmakers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. A Philippines-based episode could be in the pipeline if a second installment pushes through.




Give Asian horror a chance and watch Folklore on HBO every Sunday, 10 PM in Manila, or stream it via HBO Go

The Haunting of Hill House

Photo courtesy of Netflix

While Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House is based on a decades-old source material, this original series is as fresh as it gets. (READ: ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is psychological family horror done right)

To put it in a concise manner: The Haunting of Hill House is about confronting the ghosts of one’s past and inner demons.

Four siblings, who grew up in a house beset with creepy and sinister occurrences, reunite in the aftermath of a tragedy. As they mourn, they return to their old home, where they must come to terms with their past.




See what people have been raving about only on Netflix. If you’re interested in an earlier adaptation, you can also watch the 1958 film on Amazon Prime


Photo courtesy of Netflix

If you liked Stranger Things, the Netflix algorithm might suggest Dark, a time travel thriller from Germany whose central drama is set in motion after two youngsters go missing. 

The efforts to find them entangles the townsfolk in a tense struggle to avoid paradoxes that would put a tear in the fabric of spacetime itself.

As this happens, the rifts in the relationships among four families surface and the double lives they lead come into full view.




Watch this riveting series on Netflix

American Gods

Photo from

Based on the Neil Gaiman fantasy novel, American Gods follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), who finds himself adrift just upon his release from prison – after his wife meets a tragic death. He meets an enigmatic figure, a con man who goes by “Mr. Wednesday” (Ian McShane), who wants to take him in as his bodyguard.

American Gods is set in a world where the gods of ancient and forgotten faiths are real. They wage war against the New Gods – those that make the contemporary world, including technology, globalization, and media.




Fancy some fantasy? Watch American Gods on Amazon Prime


Photo by Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC via

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is preacher in a small town in the midst of his own crisis of faith. He discovers that he has the power to command others to do as he says – an ability that he comes to grips with alongside his trigger-happy ex and a liquor-swilling vampire he befriends.

A highly-rated AMC series based on a Vertigo comic book series, Preacher has been said to be a departure from its source material albeit faithful to its tone and spirit. 

Developed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg with Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) as show runner, the show is on its third season, which recently concluded.




Preacher is available on Amazon Prime

Devilman Crybaby

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Demons have overrun humanity, plunging it into catastrophe and paranoia. 

It’s up to Akira, a sensitive young man who just acquired the powers of a demon while retaining his good-natured soul, to battle against the evil forces that have engulfed the world.

Lurid and gory – but also hilarious and poignant at times, Devilman Crybaby is a visually stunning treat.




See this anime on Netflix


Photo courtesy of Netflix

A vengeful Dracula – after his wife Lisa was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake – terrorizes Wallachia with monsters and demons. 

Humanity’s best hope and line of defense is disgraced monster hunter Trevor Belmont (voiced by Richard Armitage), alongside the magician Sypha Belnades and Dracula’s own half-human son, Alucard.

Inspired by the iconic video game series, Castlevania doesn’t dial its violence and gore down in this animated medieval fantasy, and it has been generally well-received for this.




Catch up and see season 2 on Netflix this October 26

Twin Peaks

Photo from IMDB

From the minds of Mark Frost and arthouse stalwart David Lynch, Twin Peaks is a true cult classic from the 90s – the O.G. Riverdale, to put it crudely.

It began with one question: “Who killed Laura Palmer?” But this eccentric yet riveting show became more than a murder mystery as it evolved into a visionary, genre-defying piece of work.

Axed after its second season, Twin Peaks returned to TV screens in 2017 via an 18-part Showtime run, which picks up 25 years after the events of the original series.




Download it from iTunes or Amazon 

You can also check out the revival, Twin Peaks: The Return, on iTunes or Amazon






Photo courtesy of Netflix

This gruesome period piece set in 1905 centers around a rescue mission to a remote island. 

A cult is holding Thomas Richardson’s (Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey and Beauty and the Beast fame) sister hostage, and lures him to a idyllic, faraway island, where he uncovers the secrets and lies of its inhabitants.

A grisly adrenaline rush, Apostle isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s gore and ultra-violence, but expect your expectations about this film to be upended.




Watch it only on Netflix while it’s still fresh!

Get Out

Photo from IMDB

Jordan Peele’s thrilling debut as director doesn’t neatly fit into genres. 

Get Out doesn’t just tell how a black guy’s weekend getaway to his white girlfriend’s family home had gone awry. It’s horrifying, but the film is also sharp-witted satire and a darkly comedic allegory for America’s racial politics in the Trump era – and beyond. (READ: ‘Get Out’ Review: Pride and privilege)

“For me, it’s more of a historical biopic. The original title was Get Out: The Kanye West Story,” Peele joked to Stephen Colbert. “It sort of subverts the idea of genre. But it is the kind of movie that black people can laugh at, but white people, not so much.”




Enter the Sunken Place through HBO Go


Photo courtesy of Netflix

An iridescent shroud dubbed the Shimmer engulfs a quarantined area, where every mission sent into it hasn’t returned – save for Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband (Oscar Isaac), who suddenly reappears a year. 

It’s then time for Lena, a cellular biology professor and ex-soldier, to embark on a mission of her own with a team of women scientists. Beyond The Shimmer, they discover that the vast expanse of land has mutated into something out of this world.

Annihilation is based on a novel of the same name – the first in a trilogy called the Southern Reach by Jeff VanderMeer.




See this acclaimed sci-fi horror film on Netflix

Feng Shui



Kris Aquino, who has been dubbed as Philippine cinema’s “Queen of Horror,” stars in this cult favorite horror film by Chito Roño.

Aquino plays Joy Ramirez, who acquires a bagua mirror, believing that it will bring them fortune. It does, but everything seems too good to be true.  Soon, however, she discovers that it also carries a curse that brings death.

Feng Shui was released in the early 2000s, when Asian horror was at the peak of its popularity. It was followed by a sequel that premiered at the 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival.

See both the original and its sequel on HOOQ


Photo courtesy of Netflix

Martin Freeman stars in this poignant post-apocalyptic film set in the barren Australian outback, in the midst of a zombie outbreak.

Based on an earlier short film of the same name, Cargo follows Andy, an infected father scrambling to get his precious daughter to safety and find her a new home before he fully turns. He finds help – and a glimmer of hope – from an 11 year-old indigenous girl.




For a change, have a good cry on Halloween via Netflix


Photo from IMDB

Before Luca Guadagnino’s (Call Me by Your Name) much-awaited remake of the seminal horror flick hits screens, make watching Dario Argento’s original a priority.

The Italian filmmaker’s intensely horrifying and garish 1977 picture of a German ballet school, where a series of murders occurs, is up there in the pantheon of horror films. It follows Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American ballet student who arrives at the academy just as the the dreadful secrets it houses is revealed.

The 2018 remake stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper (from the original), and Chloë Grace Moretz and is produced by Amazon Studios.




You can watch the original Suspira for free – although with ads – on Tubi TV

Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria hits US theaters on October 26.

Gerald’s Game

Photo courtesy of Netflix

You can say Gerald’s Game is one of those stranded-in-a-cabin movies, but it’s far from it. It’s really a twisted psychological horror that begins in a raunchy manner.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and her husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) take a holiday at a remote lake house to spice up their marriage. As the couple play a kinky game with Jessie handcuffed to the bedposts, Gerald suddenly dies.

As if she’s going to be trapped forever – with no immediate help in reach, Jessie spirals into madness, hallucinating with strange visions and voices.




Get your head in the game on Netflix


Photo from IMDB

Darren Aronofsky’s anarchic fever dream of a movie is quite a ride – as if you’re sliding along the same downward spiral its protagonist takes.

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star as a couple in mother!, where their peaceful existence is disturbed by unwanted visitors. Their relationship is tested through this ordeal that escalates into utter chaos.

Although mother! is an allegorical piece of work, it is cerebral as it is visceral – seeing it would blow your brains out.




Experience it for yourself on HBO Go

The Beguiled

Photo from IMDB

A sort of departure from filmmaker Sofia Coppola’s earlier work, The Beguiled has been touted as a “Southern gothic horror.” It’s an elegant-looking Civil War period piece starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Colin Farrell, but after a slow burn, it turns extremely dark halfway through.

The Beguiled is Coppola’s take on earlier material, but in her female-dominated version, with Farrell’s injured soldier as the sole male presence, her unique vision decidedly takes center stage.

“What Coppola brings to this material – aside from her specific aesthetic gifts […] was the power of the female gaze, and how these characters’ repressed desires, in a hothouse atmosphere like this, could scramble an already delicate situation,” writes Jason Bailey for Flavorwire.




Watch it on HBO Go

A Quiet Place

Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures from IMDB

Actor John Krasinski takes the director’s chair and stars in this hair-raising and critically acclaimed horror flick. 

Set after an apocalypse brought about by creatures that hunt by sound with hypersensitive hearing, the film follows Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee’s (Krasinski) family which has managed to survive by keeping silent.

With this intriguing premise, A Quiet Place is a taut thriller, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with every burst of sound ratcheting up the unease. 



Download it from iTunes or Amazon

The Descent

Photo from IMDB

The Descent is a claustrophobic nightmare translated into film.

After some time following a personal tragedy, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) travels to North Carolina to go spelunking with her friends. 

As the group of friends go through a narrow passage in the cave, the path collapses behind them. Rescue is impossible as they were misled into going into an unexplored cave system. They later learn, however, that something not human lurks inside and they are not alone.




Take a plunge via iTunes or Amazon


A Kino International Release/photo from IMDB

Dogtooth by the Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos has the absurdity of a surrealist work, yet it also disturbs as a good horror film would.

An imperious couple keeps their three adult children locked away from the outside world in their family compound, and through this, they keep them in a state of perpetual childhood.

With hardly any entertainment or distraction, they are bored to death. Eventually, one of them hatches an escape plan. 



This is your chance to escape. Check it out on Amazon


What else do you think should be on this list? Sound off in the comments section! –

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Paolo Abad

Paolo Abad writes, edits, and shoots for a living. He is one of the founding partners of the online radio platform Manila Community Radio.