12 Days of Horror: Films to watch in the lead up to Halloween

For me, some of the most exciting parts of October are the focus on horror movies. Here are 12 horror movies to enjoy in the lead up to Halloween (start on October 20 and end on Halloween). I have a great appreciation for classic horror movies, but this list is focused on modern horror movies to shake things up and make things a little more interesting. (Yes, I know The Exorcist is a great movie, but you can watch other scary movies. It won’t hurt you.)

Buckle up, let’s get spooky!


Movies with some gore are noted with an asterisk (*), and movies with heavier gore are noted with a double asterisk (**).


Jordan Peele’s modern take on the 1992 film Candyman, follows artist Anthony, who’s moved to the gentrified Cabrini tower area with his partner. Anthony learns the story of Candyman and uses it as a source of artistic inspiration, not realizing he’s opening himself up to more turmoil than he could ever imagine.

Read our interview with original Candyman and Trinity Rep alum Tony Todd at


Following the death of her husband Paul, Sophie’s mental state declines. Her son Martin notices her talking to the darkness and runs to his step-sister Rebecca for help. Rebecca uncovers a not-so-distant stranger from Sophie’s past and tries to extinguish their bond. TALK TO ME (2022), DIR. DANNY & MICHAEL PHILIPPOU In 2022, the Philippou brothers came out with one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. Talk to Me follows a group of friends who summon spirits using the embalmed hand of a psychic. The most important rule for using the hand is: Do not hold it longer than 90 seconds. In true horror movie fashion, this rule is almost immediately broken and consequences ensue. Addicted to the thrill of the game, Mia takes things too far and becomes intertwined with a familiar entity that may not be so familiar after all.


The Lambert family’s life is thrown for a loop when their son Dalton falls into a coma without explanation. While Dalton is comatose, his mother Renai starts seeing disturbing apparitions she believes are associated with their new house. With the help of medium Elise Rainier, Renai and her husband Josh soon find out the apparitions are much closer to them than they think. Elise brings to light why Dalton is in a coma and helps Josh discover a similarity between him and his son that Josh has been forced to forget.


In Alvarez’s take on the Evil Dead classic, siblings Mia and David meet friends Natalie, Olivia, and Eric at a remote cabin in the woods to help Mia detox from her opioid addiction. In the basement of the cabin they discover an ancient Book of the Dead that entrances Eric. Eric’s interest in the book conjures up dormant demons that will not stop without shedding blood – and lots of it.


After moving his family to a house where a horrific incident took place, crime writer Ellison finds a box of home movies in the attic and quickly becomes obsessed. What Ellison doesn’t realize is what lies within the home movies and how irreparable the damage will be after watching them. The more obsessed he becomes, the more danger he puts himself and his family in.


Undoubtedly one of my favorite movies to come out of 2023 thus far – Lee Cronin takes the original elements of the Evil Dead franchise and moves them to unfamiliar territory: the city. When siblings Danny, Bridget, and Kassie stumble across the Book of the Dead and some accompanying vinyls in their condemned apartment building, Danny’s interest in the book places his whole family in danger – especially his mother and aunt. With lives and reunions cut short, the family must fight to survive against an unimaginable force.


When Tess goes to Detroit for a job interview, she discovers her Airbnb has been double-booked. Tess and her unexpected houseguest Keith soon find out there’s more to fear here than double-booking.


When Annie’s mentally ill mother dies, she and her family face a strong wave of grief. Annie’s daughter Charlie is most impacted by the death and when a second tragedy strikes their family, Annie’s son Peter experiences a dark presence that haunts him with disturbing visions, causing the family to discover cryptic secrets about their ancestry.


Psychiatrist Rose Cotter is highly dedicated to her job – she works long hours, sacrifices social time, and is invested in her patients’ well-being. Her work comes to a disturbing pause when she witnesses the brutal death of a new patient. The experience traumatizes Rose and unearths deeply rooted childhood traumas that Rose has been running from for years. While she grapples with new and old traumas, Rose finds herself tangled in a web of delusion and soon realizes what she’s dealing with is part of a larger pattern she’s desperate to break.


Wallace and Teddy co-host the podcast “The Not-See Party,” popular for its viral videos and interviews with famous figures. When Wallace travels to Canada for an interview and the plans fall through, he is forced to come up with a different idea. Following an advertisement in the bathroom of a bar, he meets with an elderly man full of stories. Seeing a great opportunity, Wallace stays with the man, not realizing the walrus-obsessed elderly man sees a great opportunity in Wallace, too.


Terrifier 2 is certainly not meant for the faint of heart. Following 2016’s Terrifier, Terrifier 2 sees the resurrection of Art the Clown, who’s returned to Miles County to terrorize the locals on Halloween. The town is familiar with the mythic Art the Clown, but no one suspects he’d ever return. When teenager Sienna begins having strange dreams about Art the Clown and sees him around town, she realizes: He’s back and more dangerous than ever. This campy slasher film plays with people’s worst clownrelated fears, and is a must watch on Halloween (if you can handle it!)