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Dec. 9, 2021

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Spooky season is upon us; here are horror films for any mood

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Annabelle Wallis as Madison, a woman haunted by a mysterious figure, in ???Malignant.??? (Warner Bros.
Annabelle Wallis as Madison, a woman haunted by a mysterious figure, in ???Malignant.??? (Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS) Photo Gallery

We’re well into October, which has been collectively recognized as spooky season for years. The weather is changing, and it’s time to get cozy with some scary streaming movies. However, horror is very much mood and taste-based. Some people enjoy ghost movies over slashers, zombie flicks instead of sci fi. So here are a few off-the-beaten-path suggestions for whatever you might prefer.

For some creepy kid scares, toss aside that Chucky doll and try out David Cronenberg’s 1979 film “The Brood” instead. This terrifying family horror film has all the hallmarks of early Cronenberg work, set in snowy Canada and filled with twisted psychological themes and stomach-churning body horror. Stream it on HBO Max.

Vampire movies are a dime a dozen, as are sexy vampire movies. But none is sexier than Tony Scott’s arresting 1983 directorial debut, “The Hunger,” starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in an existential vampire love triangle. The vibes in this are unmatched. Stream it on HBO Max.

Cannibal movies can be a tough watch, but in Julia Ducournau’s 2016 directorial debut, “Raw,” she somehow manages to make cannibalism cute. This French-language horror film about a pair of sisters developing a taste for blood at veterinary school is one of the most intoxicating debut films. Stream it on Netflix, then head to the theater to check out Ducournau’s mind-blowing sophomore feature “Titane,” which won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and is revving its way through movie houses across America.

Some bow down to religious horror, and if you’ve finished Mike Flanagan’s “Midnight Mass” series on Netflix, head over to Hulu to take your pick of two excellent 2021 horror films that explore the ancient, dark rituals of Christianity (“Saint Maud”) and Judaism (“The Vigil”).

Perhaps it’s the horror of isolation in the wilderness that scares the most. For an excellent horror film that utilizes the tropes of the Western movie, check out “The Wind” (2018) on Netflix. On Hulu, Ben Wheatley’s folk-horror-tinged pandemic movie “In the Earth” (2021) is unforgettable, as is the folk horror film “The Other Lamb” (2021), directed by Malgorzata Szumowska.

Horror isn’t always on land; it can also be under the sea. On Hulu, check out the queasy Irish horror thriller “Sea Fever” (2020), directed by Neasa Hardiman.

It wouldn’t be a horror marathon without a final girl, and Sophia Takal’s 2019 remake of “Black Christmas” on HBO Max delivers girl power in spades. Also on HBO Max, the incredibly clever and gory body swap slasher riff “Freaky” (2020), directed by Christopher Landon, playfully toys with the final-girl trope.