It’s the most wonderful time of the year… if you’re a horror fan, that is!
Horror is dominating the box office in a big way this spooky season. Zach Cregger’s Barbarian was a cheap sleeper hit nobody saw coming. And Parker Finn’s Smile — an original horror property once planned for a Paramount+ streaming debut — is well on its way to banking $200 million worldwide. Meanwhile, the thirteenth Halloween movie in 44 years, Halloween Endstopped the box office in its first weekend of release with a cool $41 million.
Still, the most interesting box-office story not just of this current Halloween season, but the entire year has to be the performance of Terrifier 2a $250,000 crowdfunded movie that’s a sequel to an even cheaper movie I recommended to Yahoo readers back in 2019. Written and directed by Damien Leone, Terrifier 2 has been heralded as the most depraved movie to ever hit the screen, and I can confirm that the hype is not unwarranted.
Three years ago, I warned everyone that the original Terrifier had the single most disturbing and upsetting on-screen kill I’d ever seen. While I still think that’s true, the 140-minute sequel ups the ante in every way in an attempt to disgust and repulse the audience. Every kill is a feast of repulsive practical effects, plus the most blood you’ve ever seen, and they go on for so long that they transcend horror and veer into comedy. Well, dark comedy — dark and very, very bloody comedy.
People are reportedly throwing up and passing out in the theater, but that hasn’t stopped audiences from showing up to Terrifier 2 in droves. In fact, all the horrible hype has led the movie to gross $2.5 million in less than two weeks, despite limited showtimes and no real marketing whatsoever. I can guarantee that you won’t see a more disgusting and violent movie in a mainstream movie theater ever again… or, at least, until Terrifier 3.
Terrifier 2 isn’t the only terrifying movie around right now. Nor Yahoo’s resident horror expert and co-host of The New Flesh Horror Movies podcast, I’ve sifted through some of the best movies that are in theaters or on streaming services right now to find the best and scariest titles to watch before Halloween.
Deadstream is an old-fashioned thrill ride of horror film that’s as laugh-out-loud funny as it is legitimately frightening. And all the laughs come from the scares — of which there are plenty, and they’re actually scary to boot! It’s The Evil Dead for the internet age in its back-to-basics single location haunted house way. You won’t find a more surefire recommendation on this list: It’s a crowd-pleaser built for everyone.
Deadstream is currently streaming on Shudder.
2. Significant Other
I don’t want to overhype what’s ultimately a very small and low-stakes film, but it’s silly and fun and not at all what I expected. Significant Other riffs on so many genre classics — if I said which, I’d ruin all the fun — while still doing its own thing. Modern day scream queen Maika Monroe and her boyfriend Jake Lacy star as a couple who are on a hiking trip when things get weird. It’s not unique Barbarian in that there’s a big genre turn, and things aren’t the same for the characters afterwards. Vague enough for you? Enjoy!
Significant Other is currently streaming on Paramount+.
3. Terrifier 2
I’ve already gushed at length about Terrifier 2, so I’ll use this space to further warn you that this movie is hardcore and not for the casual horror fan. It’s for people who watch a gruesome R-rated horror movie and say, “I wish they wouldn’t cut away from the gore!” Leone’s movie is thoroughly in bad taste, and it’s also the most fun you’ll have in a theater this year… if you’re into that sort of thing. Remember: I watched the first one at home and felt like I had to take 15 showers and throw the Blu-ray into the furthest depths of the ocean afterwards.
Terrifier 2 is currently playing in theaters and comes to Screambox later this year.
4. House of Darkness
House of Darkness is the second film this year that can be described as a stealth Dracula movie. It’s also the second Neil LaBute movie released in 2022 after Out of the Blueand the second Justin Long horror movie released in 2022 after Barbarian that features him as a #MeToo-worthy scumbag. Real-life couple Long and Kate Bosworth headline a story that starts as a one-night-stand hook-up and goes off-the-rails from there. The movie telegraphs what it’s doing horror-wise right from the start, but if you’re familiar with LaBute’s oeuvre, you know what to expect from him. And he delivers by smartly exploring the gendered dynamics between men and women via a story about a vampire. The ending may not be hard to see coming, but it satisfies all the same, and made me crave more genre stuff from Neil.
House of Darkness is currently available to rent or purchase on most VOD services, including Prime Video.
5. Devil’s Workshop
Devil’s Workshop is unpredictable from the jump and remains so throughout its entire runtime, and that alone is worthy of praise. It’s both a horror movie and a film industry satire, poking fun at the lengths actors will go to to secure a role. A killer spooky performance from Radha Mitchell (remember her?!) makes the whole thing sing, and Emile Hirsch is so good at playing a douchebag actor, it really makes you wonder some uncomfortable things! This is another one where the less you know going in, the better. But it’s also impossible to spoil as the journey matters more than the destination.
Devil’s Workshop is currently available to rent our purchase on most VOD services, including Prime Video.
6. Orphan: First Kill
It’s a crime against the horror genre and the communal moviegoing experience that 99% of viewers did not get to experience Orphan: First Kill in a packed multiplex on opening night with an audience full of Esther-heads losing their minds. Twenty-five-year-old Isaballe Fuhrman returns to the role she originally played at age 12, and if you know anything about her alter ego, you get why that stunt casting is actually genius. Julia Stiles subs in for the Vera Farmiga role and is delightfully unhinged. But the real surprise is that the movie manages to have a shocking twist that upends the plot completely, subverting your expectations and keeping you on the edge of your seat. So rarely does a sequel come along that lives up to the gonzo heights of its predecessor, but Orphan: First Kill absolutely fits the bill.
Orphan: First Kill is currently streaming on Paramount+.
augury is literally just a movie in which two women attempt to climb to the top of a tall, pointy radio tower skyscraper. That’s the whole thing — and boy is it effective! It will make your palms sweaty as the situation is inherently terrifying and largely looks convincing; I yelled out loud multiple times. Warning: If you’re even mildly afraid of heights, this will really ruin your night for a couple of hours.
augury is currently available to rent or purchase on most VOD services, including Prime Video.
Resurrection is more psychological terror than traditional horror movie terror, but it’s just as likely to leave you feeling unwell in its aftermath. It’s about a successful career woman (Rebecca Hall) who desperately craves control over every aspect of her life, and what happens when a man from her past returns and threatens to break down all the stability she’s built. Hall anchors the movie with a powerhouse performance opposite Tim Roth, who has never been sleazier and creepier than he is here. It all builds to a “Holy s***!” ending that takes the movie into another stratosphere.
Resurrection is currently available to rent or purchase on most VOD services, including Prime Video.
9. Torn Hearts
After several years and, like, a hundred or so movies, Blumhouse’s direct-to-streaming arm finally made a good one instead of a hastily-written mess. Katey Sagal plays a reclusive ex-country music sensation forced to deal with an up-and-coming country music duo (Alexxis Lemire and Abby Quinn) that shows up at her door hoping for their big break. Things don’t go as planned. The movie wouldn’t work without its three central performances, and the clever script by Rachel Koller Croft. They could’ve called this one, AmityNashville.
Torn Hearts is currently streaming on Prime Video.
10. The Innocents
The Innocents is not your average “creepy kids” horror movie, although that would also be an accurate descriptor. Imagine X-Menbut not a horror movie, or Chronicle if it were about very young children, but the execution is darker than you’d expect. It’s not afraid to get ugly and uncomfortable, and is equal parts heartbreaking and full of tension and suspense. It’s definitely an art-house horror flick that’s slower and more thoughtful than the typical genre at all, but if you’re into that, it delivers big.
The Innocents is currently streaming on Shudder.
I’ll admit to being underwhelmed the first time I saw Watcher, but it’s one of the only genre movies from this year’s Sundance Film Festival that really stuck in my craw, so much so that I rushed out to see it theatrically as soon as it was released, and I’ve since watched it a third time on Shudder. There’s something so alluring about it that keeps bringing me back: the low-key premise and foreign setting, the incredibly assured direction and great lead performances from Maika Monroe and Burn Gorman. It’s a paranoid thriller that’s remarkably straightforward, and the little details add up to a palpable sense of uneasiness that permeates the entire movie.
Watcher is currently streaming on Shudder.
Dual is the best indie sci-fi movie starring a redhead since Predestinationwhich if you’ve never seen it, stars Succession‘s Sarah Snook as a time traveling intersex trans man, and you should seek it out immediately. Seriously: It is my life’s work to get more people to watch that bonkers movie. butt Dual is a laugh-out-loud hilarious genre flick set in the future about a terminally ill woman (Karen Gillan) who opts to get cloned to ease the burden of her death on her family and friends. But then she doesn’t die, and is forced to live life alongside the clone that was meant to take over her. Dark and funny, Dual may not be pure horror but it’s genre-adjacent and under-the-radar enough to be worthy of a mention.
Dual is currently streaming on AMC+.
Here’s a movie that confirms that behind every positive-affirmation spouting self-help online influencer is some deep-seated unresolved childhood trauma. Sissy really goes the extra mile with the practical gnarly gore and that’s just one of the reasons why it absolutely rules. It’s also not afraid to be quite funny while also being super dark. Think of it as the horror answer to something like Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid Goes Westwith an excellent lead performance from The Bold Type star Aisha Dee. And it boasts a perfect ending!
Sissy is currently streaming on Shudder.
For more on these films and other new and upcoming horror releases, subscribe to The New Flesh Horror Movies podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever else you get your podcasts.