The only thing more frightening than children, whacked out of their gourds on sugar, showing up at your door on Halloween night is not having anything to do before they arrive, so thank hell for television.
Kick off Halloween week on Amazon Prime by watching Lore, the podcast-turned-series featuring tales of terror and weirdness plucked straight out of reality. Host Aaron Mahnke’s unique narration brings to life odd and wicked folklore, such as Episode 2’s true tale of lobotomies for the mentally insane during the 1940s. As they say, fact is stranger than fiction (and a needle through the eye is jarring regardless).
Amazon Prime has also procured the BBC horror/drama series The Living and the Dead, an odd standout about a farming family living in 1894 with spooks in the attic. Worth a watch for people who thought Downton Abbey lacked ghosts.
Activate flip mode and get ready to binge SyFy Channel’s Channel Zero: No-End House, which concluded on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Plucked from the realm of the Internet, this series adapts chilling online stories dubbed “creepypasta”; and if that sounds silly, well, give it a chance. Each season is a standalone tale, and the second series follows a group of young people stuck in a haunted house with seemingly no end. Fans of John Carpenter, take note: This is the best horror series of 2017.
While It burned up the box office over the summer, the Stephen King adaptation serves as a reminder that nostalgia is a powerful drug. Thus, Stranger Things returns to Netflix on Friday, Oct. 27, straight from the upside down. All episodes will be available to binge, but might I suggest enjoying it like a fine cognac — after all, you’ll have another year to wait for the next installment.
For further Netflix entertainment, the recently added film Cube is sadistic, odd and features much better puzzles than Saw could ever hope for. Perhaps play it on Halloween night to work up that crazy look in your eyes to frighten trick-or-treaters who come to the door. Or you could lose the trust of your neighbors by screening Gerald’s Game, a Stephen King adaptation about a woman stuck to a bed post after her husband dies during a kink-filled night.
Last year in this very same column, I espoused the truly disgusting and brilliant Monsters Inside Me on Animal Planet, and I’m going to do it again. With episodes dubbed “My Brain Is Under Attack” and “Something’s Eating Away at My Scalp,” it remains a top choice for Halloween heebie-jeebies. Every new episode is available on the Animal Planet website for streaming.
Of course, if you’re tethered to network television, tune in to NBC on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 11:30 p.m. to catch Tom Hanks reprising his (in)famous Saturday Night Live role in the animated David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special.
Halloween is a time for hoarding candy, scaring children and wearing costumes, all of which can be done whilst bathed in the light of your television. Tune in for scares.
Out of the Box is a semi-regular column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.