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Sunday, December 3, 2023
Dec. 3, 2023

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‘Hocus Pocus 2’ kicks off Spooky Season

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From left, Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott in "Bodies Bodies Bodies." (Erik Chakeen/Courtesy A24/TNS) (Walt Disney Pictures/Album/Entertainment Pictures)
From left, Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott in "Bodies Bodies Bodies." (Erik Chakeen/Courtesy A24/TNS) (Walt Disney Pictures/Album/Entertainment Pictures) Photo Gallery

It’s the last week of September — despite any last-gasp heat waves, the autumnal equinox is behind us, pumpkin spice lattes have been flowing since Labor Day, and it is decidedly, officially fall, which can mean only one thing: Spooky Season is here.

Halloween enthusiasts have turned the entire month of October into a chance to celebrate Halloween all month long, and the streaming services have got us covered.

This week, a couple of new titles will debut that will help to usher in Spooky Season for the whole family. First up, the highly anticipated sequel to the 1993 comedy “Hocus Pocus,” starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as the trio of iconic witches, the Sanderson Sisters. The first film defined Halloween for a generation of fans, and now the new film, directed by Anne Fletcher, will introduce them to a whole new audience. This one will definitely be fun for parents to share with their kids. “Hocus Pocus 2” streams on Disney+ Friday and is rated PG for action, macabre/suggestive humor and some language.

Horror auteur and metal frontman Rob Zombie’s take on “The Munsters” premiered Tuesday on Netflix. Based on the 1960s monster family sitcom, “The Munsters” stars Jeff Daniel Phillips, Sheri Moon Zombie and Elvira herself, Cassandra Peterson. It’s rated PG for macabre and suggestive material, scary images and language, and is also available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray.

This is also a great time to catch up with some of the best horror films of the year. Halina Reijn’s lacerating, nihilist and self-aware Gen Z horror flick “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is now available on VOD. See what all the fuss is about in this artfully made skewering of the doomer Zoomers. Rent or buy it on all platforms.

Also available on all platforms, Goran Stolevski’s witchy and existential folk horror film “You Won’t Be Alone,” starring Noomi Rapace in the story of a shape-shifting witch in ancient Macedonia. Rent it for $5.99 on all platforms.

On Shudder, check out Chloe Okuno’s sleek Euro thriller “Watcher,” starring Maika Monroe as a woman convinced she has a stalker while living abroad in Budapest. Another feminist horror flick, “Fresh,” directed by Mimi Cave, stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as a woman living every girl’s dating worst nightmare, opposite the lethally charming Sebastian Stan. Stream it on Hulu.

Also on Hulu, Dan Trachtenberg’s installment in the long-running “Predator” franchise, “Prey” imagines the alien monster landing in Native territory hundreds of years ago, and facing off with an Indigenous warrior played by the fierce Amber Midthunder. Or, head to the opposite ends of the globe for the fantastical Finnish fairy tale “Hatching,” directed by Hanna Bergholm, about a young gymnast with a challenging family life, who finds solace in a strange and dangerous pet. “Hatching” is also streaming on Hulu.

It just wouldn’t be Spooky Season without a “Scream” movie, so cue up the latest “Scream,” the fifth installment in the franchise, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who capably take the reins from horror master Wes Craven (RIP). Stream it on Paramount+.

Finally, for a puzzling, suspenseful and deeply gross horror film, check out Alex Garland’s “Men,” starring Jessie Buckley as a woman who gets away to a bucolic English village and discovers that it’s full of terrifying men. Rent it for $3.99 on all digital platforms.

Here’s to Spooky Season!

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