Sophisticated and Spooky? Yes, It’s Possible — and These Haunting TV Shows, Movies, and Books Prove It

mila kunis in front of mirrors in Luckiest Girl Alive


From thrillers and mysteries to straight-up horror, there are plenty of frightfully festive things to read and watch.

Once pumpkin spice-flavored drinks become available, it’s nearly impossible to resist the allure of autumn. Of course, many people love fall for the refreshing chill in the air, the proliferation of pumpkin, and the vibrant foliage. But for those of us who like to live life on the darker side, fall is about one thing, and one thing only: Spooky season. Scary things like horror movies, thriller novels, and even true crime documentaries aren’t just for Halloween. If the term “spooky season,” which started gaining popularity in 2018, is any indication, creepy content is ripe for consumption the second fall vibes start to pick up. 

Whether you’re into a good scare from a TV show, movie, or book, there’s plenty of material out there this spooky season to get you into the frightfully festive mood. Get ready to curl up with some popcorn — and maybe a nightlight  — with these haunting picks that are debuting for the first time or finally dropping on streaming platforms this season.

Blair Witch Project

This 1999 classic is finally available on Amazon Prime, as is the sequel. It really doesn’t get more Halloween than that.

Hostel 1 & 2

If you’re a fan of true gory horror (the film’s executive producer is Quentin Tarantino, which should tell you everything you need to know), both Hostel movies just dropped on Hulu for your viewing…pleasure? Horror? Whichever.


If you never saw Jennifer Lawrence’s psychological thriller when it first came out in 2017, it’s now available on Amazon Prime Video. The film, which also stars Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kristen Wiig (among others), is about a young couple whose peaceful country life is upended when a mysterious couple arrives.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The second installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series arrived on HBO so you can stream it as many times as you want between now and the end of October. (Not judging anybody who watches it more than once…)

Devil In Ohio

Emily Deschanel stars in this 8-episode series on Netflix in which she plays Dr. Suzanne Mathis, a psychiatrist who’s determined to protect one of her young patients, a cult escapee. Dr. Mathis’ decision to take in the patient puts both her and her family’s life in danger.

The Last Victim

Never thought the words “Neowestern” and “crime thriller” could be in the same sentence? Think again. This movie, which is on Hulu, centers on a sheriff who’s investigating a group of outlaws that kill without a trace — until one day, they make a mistake. Their efforts to cover their tracks result in more carnage.

Los Espookys

If you need a break from all the scary stuff, the highly anticipated second season of the HBO original comedy series should be a good chaser. It’s about a group of friends who try to turn their love of horror into a business, while the group’s leader is being haunted by the ghost of a murdered beauty pageant queen. It’s definitely on the sillier side of the spooky scale, but it still counts.

Don’t Worry Darling (Sept. 23)

Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with the hilarious comedy Booksmart, and for her sophomore film, she’s going in a completely different direction, with a psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The rumored behind-the-scenes drama has been making headlines, but the movie itself is sure to be full of twists and turns.

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (Sept. 27)

Alexis Henderson’s brand of gothic horror is perfect for fans of The Hacienda, and Isabel Cañas herself says, “Alexis Henderson spins a lush tale of depravity, sensuality, and horror that kept me on my toes until the bitter end.” Rachel Harrison, also a horror pro, calls House of Hunger “a beguiling Gothic feast.”

Hocus Pocus 2 (Sept. 30)

Almost 30 years after the original movie was released, the Sanderson sisters are returning for a Hocus Pocus sequel. All three original actresses, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, are reprising their hilarious roles. But in the sequel, it’s three young women who accidentally awake the spooky sisters in modern-day Salem. You can stream the new flick on Disney Plus.

Cackle by Rachel Harrison (Oct. 4)

This clever horror novel about a young woman who moves to a picturesque town and finds herself befriending the local witch (what? Your town didn’t have one?) is witty and scary — in other words, peak spooky season vibes.

Malice House by Megan Shepherd (Oct. 4)

In this horror/thriller by New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, aspiring artist Haven Marbury goes to clear out her late father’s seaside house and ends up finding a lot more than she bargained for: Namely, an unpublished horror manuscript, which she decides to illustrate. But when a monster appears under her bed at the same time murders are reported in the woods, Haven has to race to get to the bottom of her family’s history.

Luckiest Girl Alive (Oct. 7)

The movie adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s best-selling thriller finally arrives on Netflix, with Mila Kunis starring as protagonist (and aforementioned “luckiest girl alive”) Tiffani Fanelli. The movie, whose screenplay was also written by Knoll, centers on a scrappy young woman who’s set to marry her dream man, but who’s been carrying secrets with her for years.

A Dance For The Dead by Nuzo Onoh (Oct. 11)

Nuzo Onoh is a pioneer of the African horror subgenre, so you might want to read her latest chilling tale with the lights on. This story of sibling betrayal, evil curses, and dark magic centers on a disgraced warrior king who must embark on a deadly quest in order to regain his position and rebuild his reputation.

The Curse of Bridge Hollow (Oct. 14)

Looking for something a little more family-friendly? In this seasonal movie, Marlon Wayans plays a dad who hates Halloween. But when his teenage daughter accidentally unleashes an evil spirit that makes the town’s Halloween decorations come to life, he has to team up with his daughter to save Bridge Hollow.

The Favor by Nicci French (Oct. 18)

Best-selling authors Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (who form the duo Nicci French) have another twisty thriller on their hands, about a favor gone horribly wrong. Jude agrees to pick up Liam, her first love, from a train station. This seemingly simple task somehow ends up throwing her into a murder investigation.