Chills & Thrills for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter, store shelves are filling up with candy, and everyone is looking to get at least a little scared. We’re to here to help with that last part, with a guide to several books, movies, TV shows, and video games you can check out right now to get you into the Halloween spirit. We’ve even provided you with links to borrow them from the library, or buy them when we don’t have them here. So turn off the lights, snuggle under a blanket, and prepare to be scared!


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by  Grady Hendrix

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: Mr. Hendrix expertly mixes realism with humor as he depicts the struggles Patricia has to deal with raising increasingly rebellious children with an unsupportive husband, while also managing the care of an Alzheimer’s-inflicted mother-in-law, and that’s before a possible vampire is thrown into the mix. A near-perfectly realized story that’s hard to put down, and will have you questioning just who you invite into your house in the future.

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

Mexican Gothic by  Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets…

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: The prose is simple but effective throughout, making it easy to feel like you’ve really seen High Place in person, and making the last third of the book all the more suspenseful. Themes of colonialism, eugenics, toxic masculinity, and female empowerment further elevate this above your average horror fare, and help make this one of the Summer’s best thrillers, in what is already an above-average season for the genre.

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

The Only Good Indians by  Stephen Graham Jones

“One of 2020’s buzziest horror novels.” – Entertainment Weekly

A “Most Anticipated Books of Summer” selection in Esquire, Elle, Vulture, TIME, The AV Club, Bustle, and Literary Hub

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s There There in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: The Native American perspective is still underrepresented in popular literature, so it is refreshing to get more of it, especially when it is this well-written. The other major theme revolves around how the actions of our past can follow us and will be far more universally relatable. As will the many tense and frightening moments throughout. Jones knows how to scare a reader, while also making them think.

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook

The Cabin at the End of the World by  Paul Tremblay

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: [A] harrowing masterclass of suspense, that will linger with you long after the final page. Once you start, it will be hard not to keep going to see exactly where this novel is heading and how everything will play out in what is easily one of the scariest books I’ve read in years.

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Wounds by  Nathan Ballingrud

A gripping collection of six stories of terror—including the novella “The Visible Filth,” the basis for the upcoming major motion picture—by Shirley Jackson Award–winning author Nathan Ballingrud, hailed as a major new voice by Jeff VanderMeer, Paul Tremblay, and Carmen Maria Machado—“one of the most heavyweight horror authors out there” (The Verge).

In his first collection, North American Lake Monsters, Nathan Ballingrud carved out a distinctly singular place in American fiction with his “piercing and merciless” (Toronto Globe and Mail) portrayals of the monsters that haunt our lives—both real and imagined: “What Nathan Ballingrud does in North American Lake Monsters is to reinvigorate the horror tradition” (Los Angeles Review of Books).

Now, in Wounds, Ballingrud follows up with an even more confounding, strange, and utterly entrancing collection of six stories, including one new novella. From the eerie dread descending upon a New Orleans dive bartender after a cell phone is left behind in a rollicking bar fight in “The Visible Filth” to the search for the map of hell in “The Butcher’s Table,” Ballingrud’s beautifully crafted stories are riveting in their quietly terrifying depictions of the murky line between the known and the unknown. Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: All of the stories here are thick with atmosphere and a continuous sense of dread, leaving the reader creeped out and perhaps a little on edge, if not exactly scared. This is one of the strongest recent short story collections of any genre, in a year that is already full of other great ones, and reminds me in all the best ways of Clive Barker’s seminal Books of Blood volumes.

Available from:


Kill Creek by  Scott Thomas

“I’ve only dared to read it in the daylight.” – Kaly Soto, Deputy Weekend Editor, New York Times Book Review

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests…

When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.

Description from Goodreads.

SEAN SAYS: The author does a great job of bringing the characters to life, and makes it really easy to become involved in their fates. The house itself does come off as genuinely creepy, and there are quite a few scary moments to be found here, though as things move along and just what is happening becomes clearer, things for me got a bit less frightening. This is a fun read for lovers of the genre, from an author with a lot of promise, and proves there’s still plenty of life left in old-fashioned ghost stories.

Available from:

Amazon |


The Invisible Man

Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid). But when Cecilia’s abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Description from Metacritic.

SEAN SAYS: Over the last few years Universal Studios has been trying very unsuccessfully to launch a connected universe of movies revolving around the many classic monsters they own the rights to. Attempts featuring the Mummy, the Wolfman, and Dracula have all failed pretty miserably, with the studio seemingly giving up on the idea and just handing the Invisible Man off to writer/director Leigh Whannell (of Saw and Insidious fame) to do more or less whatever he wants with the character, and guess what? Letting a filmmaker tell a compelling story without forcing the other characters of a shared world into the story rather predictably produces pretty stellar results. Elisabeth Moss is excellent as Cecilia, in what is easily one of the most suspenseful movies of the year. The smart script takes a classic horror story and uses it to tell a very modern tale that is especially relevant in the #MeToo era. This isn’t the sort of movie that is going to give you nightmares, but it will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.

Available Formats:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack

Color Out of Space

A story of cosmic terror about The Gardners, a family who moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century. They are busy adapting to their new life when a meteorite crashes into their front yard. The mysterious aerolite seems to melt into the earth, infecting both the land and the properties of space-time with a strange, otherworldly color. To their horror, the Gardner family discover that this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches… including them.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: When you combine the otherworldly horror of an H.P. Lovecraft story, the return to feature film directing of a once-heralded director, and a particularly over-the-top Nicolas Cage performance you know at a minimum you aren’t going to be bored. The performances here are pretty universally good, though Cage can at times feel like he’s going a little too crazy at times.

The real star here is the production design, as the gradual shift of the family’s property to a technicolor dreamscape manages to be both strikingly beautiful and sufficiently creepy. The practical effects also shine whenever they appear on screen, and continue to prove the superiority of that technique over CGI. Lovecraft’s work is rarely adapted well for the screen, so it’s nice to see pulled off. This is not for the squeamish, but if you can handle it, it would make for a nice double-feature with Nic Cage’s other recent gonzo B-horror performance in Mandy.

Available Formats:

Hoopla Streaming

Train to Busan

Reluctantly, the divorced father and workaholic hedge-fund manager, Seok-woo, boards the hyper-fast KTX bullet train from Seoul to Busan accompanied by his estranged young daughter, Su-an, to visit her mother.

However, against the backdrop of an unprecedented threat in the shape of a virulent zombie outbreak, a grotesque undead stowaway will soon enmesh both passengers and train crew in a frenzied battle for survival, as one compartment after another succumbs under the sheer volume of the freshly-infected flesh-eaters

Suddenly, amid this unrelenting miniature hell on earth, hope seems to lie in the train’s final destination; nevertheless, can the few remaining survivors fight to the bitter end to stay alive?

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: There has certainly been no shortage of zombies in popular media these last few years. With movies and shows like 28 Days LaterShaun of the Dead, and The Walking Dead keeping the undead at the forefront of our collective consciousness. Add this Korean film to the list of the genre’s best. The smart mix of family drama, social commentary, and genuine thrills make this an instant modern horror classic. Setting everything in the claustrophic atmosphere of a crowded train is a genius move that further ups the scares.

Available Formats:

Hoopla Streaming

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

It’s just another night at the morgue for a father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch) team of coroners, until an unidentified, highly unusual corpse comes in.

Discovered buried in the basement of the home of a brutally murdered family, the young Jane Doe—eerily well preserved and with no visible signs of trauma—is shrouded in mystery. As they work into the night to piece together the cause of her death, the two men begin to uncover the disturbing secrets of her life. Soon, a series of terrifying events make it clear: this Jane Doe may not be dead.

Description from Metacritic.

SEAN SAYS: This is the sort of slow-burn horror that Hollywood generally doesn’t like to make anymore. Sure, things get pretty crazy by the end, but the film takes such care setting up a genuinely eerie atmosphere that it really feels like it earns its wilder moments. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch are both excellent and further help to sell the supernatural goings-on brought about in the funeral home by the arrival of Jane Doe’s body.

Any fan of horror films that hasn’t seen this owes it to themselves to check it out, as it is easily one of the best to come out in the past decade.

Available on:



Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly Zoom call. It’s Haley’s turn to organize an activity and instead of a quiz, she’s arranged for a Medium to conduct a séance. Bored and feeling mischievous, Jemma decides to have some fun and invents a story about a boy in her school who hanged himself. However, her prank gives license for a demonic presence to cross over, taking on the guise of the boy in Jemma’s made-up story. The friends begin noticing strange occurrences in their homes as the evil presence begins to make itself known, and they soon realize that they might not survive the night.

Description from Metacritic. 

SEAN SAYS: Thanks to smash hits like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, the found footage horror genre has been pretty ubiquitous, particularly among lower budget projects, with most adding very little to the concept. Recent release Unfriended did shake things up a bit by showing us the proceedings entirely through the window of the main character’s Macbook screen, but still managed to be rather unmemorable.

AMC’s horror-focused streaming service Shudder has taken the technology-oriented angle even further, with the very timely new movie Host. Everything takes place inside a Zoom call among a group of friends, which should seem very familiar in the era of Covid-19. The cast of unknowns all gave game performances, making it very easy to get drawn into the story (and to feel very creeped out by it). It’s hard not to be impressed with what the filmmakers pulled off, presumably on a tight budget and in very unusual circumstances. The brief 60-minute run time helps to make sure it doesn’t wear out its welcome. 

Available on:



The Haunting of Hill House

Explores a group of siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past, some of which still lurk in their minds while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: Horror is a tricky medium for a TV show to pull off. It’s enough of a challenge to maintain a consistent level of fear throughout a 90-minute movie. Stretching things out across several hour-long episodes is even worse, and proves to be more than most shows can manage (I’m looking at you American Horror Story). Series creator Mike Flanagan proves himself up to the task with this very loose adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel. 

The secret here is something that most horror productions tend to forget, regardless of length: making sure we care about the characters. The entire Crain family is fleshed out to a degree that we are rarely afforded in these kind of stories, ensuring that we begin to feel like we know these characters. The absolutely stellar casting only helps us to feel further invested in their fates. The time-hopping familial drama aspects are reminiscent of NBC’s hit This Is Us, but with 100% more ghosts.

In fact, ghosts permeate nearly every frame of this show. Even the many scenes in which nothing overtly frightening is happening often contain spectres, lurking behind the furniture or just through a doorway. This incredible attention to detail adds a near-constant sense of unease, making the viewer feel as though something is always just a little bit off, without ever knowing precisely why.

An absolute masterclass in genre filmmaking.

Available on:



The fictional Creepshow comic books come to life in this anthology series of terrifying tales hosted by the silent Creepshow ghoul.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: Special effects wizard Greg Nicotero brings the cheesy fun spirit of the original Creepshow movies back to life with this anthology series for Shudder. The 12 tales spread across 6 episodes are awash are nearly all great, campy fun. While the show is only occasionally interested in going for scares, when it wants to be creepy it is pretty successful. 

Featuring segments directed by Nicotero himself, along with fellow make-up effects master Tom Savini, Roxanne Benjamin (Body at Brighton Rock), and David Bruckner (The Ritual); along with stories based on works by or written by highly-regarded genre authors like Stephen King, Joe Hill (NOS4A2), Christopher Buehlman (Those Across the River), Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep), Josh Malerman (Bird Box), and David J. Schow (The Shaft), there is a lot of talent behind the camera, and it shows. 

The wide variety of subgenres and styles represented means that there should be something here for pretty much every horror fan, and adds up to one of the most entertaining anthology series to come along in a while.

Available Formats:

Blu-ray | DVD

Eli Roth’s History of Horror

An in-depth look at the history and pop cultural significance of horror films.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: Going to back to classic VH1 programming like Behind the Music and I Love the 90s we have long shown an appreciation for series that bring together a bunch of talking heads with at least passing knowledge of the subject at hand and asking them to reminisce on and opine about what made it so great. Horror director Eli Roth (HostelCabin Fever) assembles a very impressive group to give that same treatment to horror movies to excellent effect.

The conversations are casual but informative, and serve as a great introduction to the genre for the unitiated while still providing enough behind-the-scenes trivia and intelligent analysis to be worthwhile viewing for more seasoned fans. Featuring contributions by a veritable who’s-who of writers, directors, actors, producers, musicians, journalists, and film critics like Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Elijah Wood, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Englund, John Landis, Jordan Peele, Diablo Cody, Leigh Whannell, Edgar Wright, Rob Zombie, Bruce Campbell, Joe Hill, Tananarive Due, Tippi Hedren, Victor LaVelle, Leonard Maltin, Max Brooks, and many, many more, it’s like having a horror convention in house.

Available Formats:

Blu-ray | DVD



You play as Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who is given an anonymous tip to investigate Mount Massive Asylum, an abandoned psychiatric institution, only to find out that he has stumbled upon a massacre. Armed solely with a camcorder and his wits, Miles’ only hope lies in the secret in the heart of the Asylum – that is, if he survives the ordeal that is staying alive from the insane inmates.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: The immersive nature of video games means they are capable of inducing a level of fear in players that can’t be matched by reading a book or watching a movie. In all 3 cases, deep down you know that what you are experiencing isn’t real and that you’re perfectly safe, but the active participation that is required of you when gaming makes it just that little bit harder to keep up those assurances.

By pretty immediately plunging you into a scary environment with no weapons and no idea what to expect around the next corner, you’ll find yourself on edge almost from the get-go. Combined with bursts of grisly violence, terrifying enemies, and incredible use of sound design (play this with headphones on for maximum effect), this adds up to what is perhaps the scariest game ever made. Not for the weak-of-heart.

Available to buy on:

PC | PlayStation | Xbox | Switch | Mac

Alien: Isolation

Discover the true meaning of fear in this game, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger. Fifteen years after the events of Alien (1979), Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien. Underpowered and under prepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: Much like movies based on video games, games based on movies have a long history of being pretty terrible, only managing to become more reliably decent in the last several years, and then mostly by moving away from aping the experience of the film, and instead opting to tell their own unique but interconnected story. Attempts at cashing in on the Alien franchise have been no exception, with this release’s immediate predecessor Aliens: Colonial Marines perhaps being one of the worst of the bunch.

Luckily, things really turned around with this entry, that combines a compelling story with one of gaming’s most unpredictably intelligent enemies and some impressive level design to create one of the best games of the past decade. Perhaps a touch too long, but otherwise nearly flawless, and capable of providing nail-biting suspense and heart-stopping scares.

Available Formats:

Xbox One

Available to buy on:

PC | PlayStation | Xbox | Mac


A supernatural teen thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift. Players control Alex, who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party gone wrong off the coast of their hometown.

Description from IMDb.

SEAN SAYS: If the previous 2 games sound a little too intense for you, this side-scroller should be more your speed. With an enjoyable mix of light platforming, point-and-click adventure, and puzzle-solving, most players should have no trouble picking up the gameplay, and the compellingly eerie mystery at the game’s center will quickly draw you in.

While the vibe has earned it comparisons to Stranger Things, it’s much more subdued than Netflix’s popcorn-horror show. There are a few slightly anxiety-inducing moments, but this is a relatively relaxed affair, much more interested in establishing mood via it’s lovely art direction and melancholy synth score. 

Available to buy on:

PC | PlayStation | Xbox | Switch | Mac | iOS | Android

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