In cinemas and inside your house, these are October’s horror highlights

From high-risk sequels to found-footage winners; what scares Stephen King to new takes on Poe and Lovecraft. Here’s what to watch – and what to watch out for – among this month’s releases.

Matt Glasby is the author of The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film, available here.

The Exorcist: Believer

Except for 1990’s The Exorcist III (or, more to the point, this bit of it), the Exorcist sequels all have one thing in common—they’re absolutely terrible. So would-be saviour David Gordon Green, who recently resurrected/milked more cash from the Halloween franchise, really has his work cut out. This time there are two possessed girls, whose parents beg the original’s Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) for help. The presence of Burstyn, plus class acts Leslie Odom Jr and Ann Dowd, is a good sign, and they’ve even lured Linda Blair, aka everyone’s favourite sock-cooking she-demon, back in a—supposedly—advisory role. Can lightning strike twice? Probably not, but The Exorcist: Deceiver is scheduled for December 2025 whatever happens.


Consistently inventive, and persistently underrated, the long-running found-footage franchise returns for its sixth instalment in 11 years. Although veering from scary to annoying—sometimes in the same story—the series is always worth a look and has proved a fertile training ground for new film-making talent as well as an admirable attempt to keep short-form horror alive. This time, series regular David Bruckner (The Ritual) is joined by old hand Scott Derrickson (Sinister) plus up-and-comers Mike P Nelson, Gigi Saul Guerrero and Natasha Kermani. If there’s anything half as good as V/H/S/99’s deliriously gonzo Ozzy’s Dungeon, directed by the rapper Flying Lotus, consider it a win.

When Evil Lurks

Argentian director Demián Rugna’s 2017 masterpiece Terrified is one of the most underrated movies of the past decade. A Lovecraftian splatterfest about a Buenos Aires neighbourhood beset by interdimensional monsters, it combines the grinding trauma of Hereditary with the all-pervading malevolence of Stephen King’s It (the book, not the film). After too long away, Rugna returns to the fray with not one but two new efforts. The first is a section of Latin American portmanteau movie Satanic Hispanics, which also features stories by The Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sanchez and Juan of the Dead’s Alejandro Brugués. The second is this possession flick, which features all sorts of twisty-minded, twisty-bodied nastiness, and absolutely killed in Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness selection. Someone give this man an A24 film.

Pet Semetery: Bloodlines

The prequel nobody wanted to the Stephen King film nobody remembers, Lindsay Anderson Beer’s debut is an odd prospect to say the least, with a cast that includes (checks notes), Henry Thomas (E.T.), David Duchovny (The X-Files) and Pam Grier (Jackie Brown). In the book, which was published in 1983 and is said to have scared its author more than any of his other works, we meet Jud Crandall as an old man with a spooky secret and a loose tongue. But here we rewind to 1969 to show how young Jud (Jackson White) became such an expert on animal resurrection/Native American burial grounds in the first place. Say what you like about cash-ins, but effectively, Beer has a clean slate. There have been three Pet Semetery movies already, two of them are balls, and none of them have captured the original novel’s creaking-door dread.

The Fall of the House of Usher

A new Mike Flanagan show is always a cause for celebration—but will it be another Midnight Mass (yay!) or another Haunting of Bly Manor (boo!)? Having ripped through the work of Shirley Jackson, Henry James and Stephen King, Flanagan now turns his attentions to Edgar Allen Poe—hardly an obvious choice for a filmmaker who favours substance over style. Based on the master’s 1839 short story, and featuring all kinds of Poe-faced call-backs, the series concerns twins Roderick (Bruce Greenwood) and Madeleine (Mary McDonnell) Usher and the fate of their corrupt business empire. The kicker? It’s styled like a giallo—think Succession as directed by Dario Argento.