Halloween is honestly one of the best times of the year. There are sweets, costumes, and perhaps most importantly, everyone who doesn’t normally want to watch horror movies suddenly wants to watch horror movies.
Last year, Polygon introduced the Halloween Countdown, offering a Halloween-friendly daily movie or TV show to air every night. (So if you need 31 things to watch ASAP, check out our horror recommendations from the previous month.) This year we continue that tradition, with Polygon staff once again sharing their favorite communicables.
Every day during the month of October, we will add a new recommendation to the countdown and tell you that you can see it. From perennial horror classics to contemporary new school scares, chilling TV shows and Halloween specials, YouTube creepypasta series, and terrifying shorts, we’ve put together a list of the best horror streaming has to offer. So lay back on the couch, dim the lights, and get ready for a host of scary and entertaining Halloween surprises. Come back every day to see something new.
October 1: Cure (1997)
A Japanese detective named Takabe finds himself in the middle of a seemingly unsolvable case in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 1997 horror masterpiece. Cure. The case involves a series of unrelated victims whose bodies are found with the letter X cut from throat to torso. In each separate case, the killer is nearby with no memory of the murder, or even a hint of what might have motivated them, leaving Takabe nowhere near how they are all connected. Takabe’s partner, a psychiatrist, jokes that maybe the devil made them do it. But Kurosawa never gives us the comfort of blaming the supernatural, and we finally meet an enigmatic character who easily belongs to the pantheon of movie killers right next to Hannibal Lecter.
Like other Japanese terror of the late 1990s, Cure it is as much, if not more, a procedure and an investigation than a horror story. He doesn’t build his kind of horror in moments of fear, but where Kurosawa’s dominance of the horror genre really manifests itself is in the progressive awe of the film. Its direction is still, silent, and almost emotionless, slowly dragging us into a terrifying and creepy mystery that makes it feel almost real. Amid all this tension, Kurosawa doesn’t even offer a release valve for the finale, instead leaving us with one of the most disturbing climaxes of all time.
There may be no demons or ghosts, but there is enough haunting existential dread to make Cure Stay with you like an old nightmare. —Austen Goslin