Halloween is right around the corner – and if you’re looking for the ultimate collection of spooky content, Showmax has your back! As we celebrate all things spooky this month, Showmax shares what is has on offer for fans this month:
Showmax Shows Up For Spooky Season With Exceptional Content Line-Up
Shake the dice and buff those character stats! Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is the movie of D&D players’ dreams, as well as being a good time for general viewers, and for effects and monster lovers – as creatures from the Monstrous Manual are lovingly brought to life including red, gold and black dragons, an owlbear, a beholder, a gelatinous cube, and a displacer beast.
This charming, funny fantasy adventure follows a motley crew on a quest to retrieve magic knickknacks and trinkets, wake the dead for question time, do battle in a gladiatorial tournament, and rise to their heroic destiny.
Directed and co-written by the BAFTA-nominated team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves has a 91% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with IndieWire predicting, “The heartfelt story, enchanting characters, dazzling visual effects, and fun-filled nature will [make it] a treasured classic.”
The cast includes Chris Pine (Wonder Woman, Don’t Worry Darling) as the bard Edgin Darvis. Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious franchise) as Holga the barbarian, Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton) as Xenk the paladin, Justice Smith (Tim in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu) as Simon the half-elf sorcerer, Sophia Lillis (It Chapter 1) as tiefling druid Doric, Hugh Grant (The Undoing, Notting Hill) as Forge the rogue, and Bradley Cooper (Yes Man) as Holga’s halfling ex-husband!
Watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves from Monday, 9 October.
Fresh off the toy rack (the season launches in the US on 4 October), this slasher comedy horror series about a doll possessed by a dead serial killer sees Chucky (Brad Dourif) take a stab at politics. The President of the United States James Collins (Devon Sawa) sets Chucky loose in the White House when his son insists that it’s Take My Doll To Work Day.
Chucky was nominated for Best Horror Series at this year’s Critics Choice Super Awards, with Brad Dourif up for Best Villain in a Series as the title character. With a 91% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 87% audience rating, critics and fans alike are obsessed with Chucky’s creative kills and meta horror commentary.
Chucky’s not the only one making a comeback, the OG gang’s all here including Jennifer Tilly as Chucky’s ex-turned-enemy Tiffany Valentine, Zackary Arthur as Jake Wheeler, Bjorgvin Arnarson as Devon Evans, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy Cross, and Fiona Dourif as Nica Pierce.
Watch Chucky S3 from 23 October. 2 new episodes each Monday.
The core four survivors of the Ghostface Murders leave Woodsboro to start new lives in New York City. In a city of eight million people, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) – the daughter of the OG Ghostface Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) – her sister Tara (Wednesday’s Jenna Ortega), and twins Chad (Mason Goodin) and Mindy Meeks Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown, the teen Taissa in Yellowjackets), whose uncle was horror film buff Randy Meeks, should be safe, right? Wrong. Ghostface is leaving a calling card at each Big Apple crime scene – an original mask from their earlier killing sprees. Reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and film geek turned FBI agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) must unpick modern horror conventions to work out what Ghostface is up to this time. PS: Need caller ID? Roger Jackson returns as “The Voice” of Ghostface.
Named Best Movie of 2023 at the MTV Movie Awards, Scream VI is the #20 biggest global box office hit of 2023 so far. It won Best Fight at the MTV Movie Awards for Courteney Cox, and nabbed a nomination for Best Song for Demi Lovato’s Still Alive.
AV Club says it’s “one of the franchise’s best (and most brutal) sequels”, while Independent (UK) calls it “wholly satisfying and ridiculously fun,” giving it a 4/5-star rating.
Watch Scream VI from Monday, 30 October.
There’s nothing more peaceful than a walk in the woods, unless you run into a bear who’s off her rocker on 34kg of cocaine, thanks to a drug plane shedding its cargo in delicious, bite-sized bricks. Everyone in the forest, from hikers to rangers, the police and mobsters frantically trying to find the rest of the drug shipment, is on the pic-a-nic menu. This movie – loosely based on a true story and not at all based on physics – absolutely delivers on the bonkers promise of its title.
Cocaine Bear was nominated for two 2023 MTV Movie Awards: Most Frightened Performance for Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell in Modern Family) and Best Villain for The Bear (stuntman Allan Henry performed the bear’s movements as a reference for a team of animators). Chicago Sun-Times calls it a “wildly entertaining and darkly hilarious B-movie blood-fest.”
Directed by Emmy-nominated actor and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect 2), with The Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason), Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson, Jr (Straight Outta Compton), Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones), and the late Ray Liotta (The Many Saints of Newark).
Watch Cocaine Bear from Thursday, 19 October.
Watching & waiting…
Spookily South African
Awards shows are notoriously stingy when it comes to horror and science fiction, but Showmax is home to two of the biggest SAFTA winners in this genre over the past two years: Gaia (2023 SAFTAS for Best Feature Film, Directing, Cinematography, and Original Music/Score) and Fried Barry (2022 SAFTAS for Sound Design and Original Score).
Two off-the-grid survivalists (Silwerskerm winner Carel Nel from 4 Mure and SAFTA nominee Alex van Dyk from Die Stropers) save a forest ranger (SAFTA nominee Monique Rockman from Nommer 37) who’s injured during a routine mission. But what starts out as a welcome rescue grows more suspicious as the son and his renegade father reveal a cultish devotion to the forest.
Set in the Tsitsikamma National Park, 2023 Best Feature Film SAFTA winner Gaia is a breakthrough for Jaco Bouwer, who won the 2023 Feature Film Best Director SAFTA, which now shares the shelf with his 2022 Best TV Drama SAFTAs for 4 Mure, a five-part kykNET series set in the same hotel room, but with different stories in different genres each episode.
As well as racking up a Best Cinematography SAFTA, Gaia won Best Cinematography at South By Southwest (SXSW) as well as Best Film, Director, Editor, Sound Design and Hair and Make Up at Silwerskerm, and the best Original Music/Score SAFTA, as well as the Best Feature Film award at the 2023 SAFTAs. The ecological horror has a 85% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Decider hailing it as “a standout at South By Southwest” and describing the film as a “psychedelic-mushroom Cronenberg-via-del-Toro eco-body-horror creepy-creature freakout … visually potent … strange, beautiful and disgusting.”
Barry (stuntman Gary Green) is a drug-addled degenerate who – after yet another bender – is abducted by aliens. Soon Barry is riding shotgun in his own body as an alien visitor assumes control and takes it for a joyride through Cape Town. What follows is an onslaught of drugs, sex and violence as our alien tourist enters the weird and wonderful world of humankind.
Critics the world over were positively foaming at the mouth over Fried Barry, which was Rotten Tomatoes’ 10th best-reviewed sci-fi and fantasy movie of 2021, with an 80% critics’ rating. In their five-star review, ComicBook.com hailed Fried Barry as “the most demented movie of the year… one of the most memorable, visually arresting, and unique movies I’ve seen in ages,” adding that Green gives “the best alien-in-a-human-body performance since Vincent D’Onofrio in Men in Black.”
Also on Showmax: Dam S1-2 (cult & monsters), Pulse S1 (rogue tech), Die Spreeus S1 (paranormal detectives), Monster in My Kas (monster stalks child), Pinky Pinky (molestation monster), Nagval op Donkerdraai (period ghost thriller), Die Ontwaking (slasher), Kutsa (ghost), The Unfamiliar (evil spirits), Triggered (gore), Parable (demon), Rage (slasher), Her Mask (evil spirits), Eternity (vampires), The Tokoloshe (evil spirits), Vinnie + Olga (vampires), Vampires in the Township (vampires), Net Ons (vampires), Nag van die Ondier (monster), Nagvrees (ghost), Vrywater (cult), Wesens (alien), Boetie Ontmoet ’n Alien (alien), Chappie (alien), and District 9 (alien).
One of the most anticipated streaming titles of 2023, HBO’s The Last of Us is set 20 years after modern civilisation has been destroyed by a fungal pandemic. Joel (Critics Choice Super Award winner Pedro Pascal from Game of Thrones and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent) is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie (BAFTA winner Bella Ramsey from Game of Thrones) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. But what starts as a small job becomes a brutal journey as the pair traverse the US, depending on each other for survival.
Based on the computer game of the same name (many of the voice cast reprise their roles), the series is written and executive produced by Emmy winner Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann from The Last of Us and Uncharted computer game franchises.
The Last of Us has racked up multiple Primetime Emmy nominations (winners will be announced on 15 January 2024) including Outstanding Drama Series, Lead Actor and Lead Actress. And it has already brought home 10 wins from other awards, including the Humanitas Prize for Drama Teleplay, the Leo for Best Costume Design in a Dramatic Series, and Best Show, Best Hero, Breakthrough Performance and Best Duo at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.
The series has a 96% Rotten tomatoes rating with their critics’ consensus being, “Retaining the most addictive aspects of its beloved source material while digging deeper into the story, The Last of Us is binge-worthy TV that ranks among the all-time greatest video game adaptations.”
Obsessed horror fans can also find the in-depth documentary The Making of The Last of Us on Showmax.
Also on Showmax: The Dead Don’t Die, UnHuman, Dead Zone, Black Friday, Alone.
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that’s programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. When its designer, Gemma, becomes the unexpected caretaker of her eight-year-old niece, Cady, she decides to pair the girl with a M3GAN prototype, a decision that has terrifying consequences.
Also on Showmax: Polaroid.
One of the creepiest films on the menu! Trauma leads to terror when a smiling patient commits suicide in front of therapist Dr Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, Mare of Easttown) – after telling her that she’s being followed by something that she describes as, “It looks like people, but it’s not a person.” As Rose looks into the story, though, she starts to doubt her own sanity.
Also on Showmax: Seance, Malignant, Demonic, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin, The Cleansing Hour, Becoming, Blood Conscious, Shadow in the Cloud, Slender Man (from 26 October)
Alan Tudyk (Hoban “Wash” Washburne in Firefly and Serenity) plays a grumpy, ancient alien trying to pass as a small-town human doctor while he tries to decide whether he should go through with his secret mission to wipe out humanity in this inventive horror comedy series created by Chris Sheridan (Family Guy, Resident Alien) and based on the comic book of the same name by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse.
Also on Showmax: The Midwich Cuckoos S1, What Lies Below, Nope, Significant Other, A Quiet Place, Alien Conquest, Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Occupation: Rainfall.
It’s 1968 in America, but the sleepy small town of Mill Valley seems stuck in the past as it cowers in the shadow of the Bellows mansion on the outskirts of town. Within its walls, Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories in a book that has transcended time, ready to terrorise a group of teenagers who go poking around the supposedly haunted mansion.
Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak) and director André Øvredal (Trollhunter) turned their dark imaginations and eye for the gothic grotesque to bringing the iconic book series – whose illustration of spiders popping out of a cheek boil tends to linger – to screen in eye-watering detail, winning Best Horror/Thriller Film at the National Film and Television Awards in the USA. It’s aimed at younger horror fans, but The Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus is that it’s a “ghoulish good time”, with NME calling it “disturbing enough to scratch even the most seasoned genre buff’s itch”.
With Austin Abrams (Ethan in Euphoria), Dean Norris (Hank in Breaking Bad), and Lorraine Toussaint (Aunt Vi in The Equalizer).
Also on Showmax: Carnivale S1-2, Lovecraft Country S1, Teen Wolf S1-6, Los Espookys S1, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Escape the Field, Bad Hair, Pacific Rim, Snakes on a Plane, Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Dominion, Kong: Skull Island, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Journey 2 the Mysterious Island, Lake Placid (from 5 October), Crawl (from 23 October).
Slashers & cult creeps
A group of rich 20-somethings, a remote family mansion, a hurricane party, and one party game gone very, very wrong…now someone’s going to have to wash blood out of the sofas and curtains.
Not released in South African cinemas, Bodies Bodies Bodies has an 86% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus is that it’s impeccably cast and smartly written. Entertainment Weekly calls it, “Summer’s must-see horror comedy.”
Also on Showmax: Midsommar, Halloween (2018), Halloween Ends, Scream V, Candyman, The Domestics, Barbarians, Follow Me, Ma, Don’t Breathe, Meet the Blacks, Extracurricular, Split, Alone in the Dark, Twisted House Sitter, Hostel (from 12 October), Haunted Trail (from 23 October), and I Know What You Did Last Summer (from 26 October).
A stellar young cast brings the first part of Stephen King’s IT to terrifying life as a close-knit group of seven outcast and bullied young teens encounter Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), the evil alien clown who feeds on fear in their town’s haunted house. It’s 1980s flashback time!
With Teen Choice nominees Sophia Lillis (Gretel & Hansel) as Beverly, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Richie, Jeremy Ray Taylor (Are You Afraid of the Dark?) as Ben, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, Wyett Oleff (I Am Not Okay with This) as Stan, and Jaeden Martell (Knives Out) as Bill. The young performers won Best On-Screen Team at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
Body snatchers & doppelgangers
Florence Pugh (Midsomar) and Harry Styles (Dunkirk) star in Don’t Worry Darling as Alice and Jack, a picture-perfect 1950s couple living in an idyllic company town filled with Stepford Wives and their Ken-style husbands. But their utopia may not be all it seems, and Alice soon begins to worry that her husband’s glamorous company could be hiding disturbing secrets.
This psychological thriller is directed by Olivia Wilde (House). The London Evening Standard says, “Wilde (who dazzles in a supporting role) is a misunderstood genius and her sly erotic thriller is one of the best films of the year.”
Also on Showmax: Get Out, Us, Elizabeth Harvest, The Outsider S1, and The Visitor (from Thursday, 12 October).
Guillermo del Toro’s eye-meltingly beautiful film is a gothic romance steeped in horror. In the late 1800s, a British nobleman (Tom Hiddleston, Kong: Skull Island) seduces an American heiress (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland) and ghost story writer, and whisks her away to live with him and his sister (Jessica Chastain, Scenes from a Marriage) in their crumbling haunted mansion…but not for long.
Also on Showmax: Voice from the Stone, Blithe Spirit, Last Night in Soho, Shutter Island (from 9 October)
Fantasy horror single-season series Vampire Academy centres on Lissa, a royal vampire, and her protector, Rose, as they navigate romance, ancient magic and their strikingly different social classes at their boarding school, St Vladimir’s Academy, all while facing threats like the bloodthirsty, undead strigoi.
The Peacock Original is based on the bestselling young adult novel series by multi-award-winning author Richelle Mead, and is the second adaptation of the novels following the 2014 film of the same name.
Also on Showmax: Let the Right One In S1, True Blood S1-7, A Discovery of Witches S1-3, Chapelwaite S1, Morbius.
The Baby stars Michelle De Swarte (The Duchess) as 38-year-old Natasha, whose life implodes dramatically when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby. Controlling, manipulative but incredibly cute, the baby twists Natasha’s life into a surreal horror show. As she discovers the true extent of the baby’s deadly nature, Natasha makes increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of it. She doesn’t want the baby, but the baby definitely wants her.
Also on Showmax: The Curse of Rosalie (from 30 October).
Horror comedy & spooky satire
Oh noooo! Polar fracking has pulled the Earth off its axis and earlier generations aren’t just spinning in their graves, they’re on the march in small-town USA. The local sheriff’s office is vexed and perplexed in this dry as bones horror comedy.
The Dead Don’t Die won Best Makeup FX at the 2020 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, while Jim Jarmusch was nominated for a Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2019. “His experimentation with genre filmmaking adds fresh ideas to expected ones, and gives the film lover moments of pure joy,” writes the Canberra Times.
Also on Showmax: Bodies, Bodies Bodies, Bad Hair, Black Friday, The Baby, M3GAN, Meet the Blacks, Fried Barry.
Hogwarts was dangerous but fun. Imagine what a wizarding university would be like! In the fantasy drama series based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Lev Grossman, students at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy find out that a fantasy world from the Fillory and Further books they read as kids is real…as are its monsters, like the moth-covered, six-fingered magician known as The Beast.
Also watch: Good Witch S1-7, York Witches Society, Witches in the Woods, Gretel & Hansel, The Reckoning, the Harry Potter collection, the Fantastic Beasts collection.
Showmax quick flicks
Jordan Peele: Us, Get Out, Nope.
Guillermo Del Toro: Crimson Peak, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Stephen King: It Chapter 1, The Outsider, Chapelwaite S1.
For the baby bats (KIDS Halloween)
Get ready to journey across the world with the most ambitious (and clumsy) adventurer of all time in the award-winning Spanish-made animated movie Tad, the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet.
When a slight blunder destroys a rare sarcophagus, an ancient spell is unleashed. Now, Chicago bricklayer-turned-archaeologist Tad Jones must team up with his friends Sara and his “oldest pal” Mummy to race across the far corners of the Earth and stop the curse of the Emerald Tablet before things get really out of hand.
Watch Tad, the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet from Friday, 6 October.
Watching & waiting
We’ve grouped our spooky stories into gangs for the little ghouls, along with a suitable age rating for each show.
● The Monster High Collection: Monster High: Haunted (PGH) Best for tweens, Monster High Boo York, Boo York (PG) Best for tweens, Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef (PGV) Best for tweens.
● Spookiz S1-4 and Spookiz the Movie (PG) Best for ages 4-8.
● Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls (10-12 PG) Best for tweens. Live action.
● Cranston Academy: Monster Zone (PGH) Best for tweens.
● The Academy of Magic (7-9 PGL) Best for ages 7-10.
● The Scooby Doo collection: Scooby-Doo (7-9 PGVH) Best for ages 8 and up. Live action, Trick Or Treat Scooby-Doo! (PGH) Best for ages 8 and up, Scooby-Doo2: Monsters Unleashed Best for ages 8 and up. Live action.
● Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House (10-12 PGVH) Best for tweens. Live action.
● Monster House (from 23 October) (PG) Best for ages 10 and up.
Families with fangs
● The Addams Family collection: The Addams Family (10-12 PGVH) Best for ages 10 and up, Addams Family 2 (PGV) Best for ages 10 and up.
● Shrek Collection: Shrek (PG) Best for ages 10 and up, Shrek 2 (PG) Best for ages 10 and up, Shrek the Third (PG) Best for ages 10 and up, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (PGLV) Best for ages 10 and up.
● Hotel Transylvania collection: Hotel Transylvania (PG) Best for ages 8 and up, Hotel Transylvania 2 (PGV) Best for ages 8 and up, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (from 19 October) (PGV) Best for ages 8 and up.
● Monster Family 2 (PGV) Best for ages 7 and up.
● Bigfoot Family (PGV) Best for ages 7 and up.
Witches & wizards
● Harry Potter collection: Ratings change by movie but they’re ideally suited to ages 12 and up: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (PG), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PGV), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PG), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (10-12 PGV), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (7-9 PGV), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7-9 PGV), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (12-12 PGV), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (10-12 PGV).
● Fantastic Beasts collection: Fantastic Beasts (10-12 PGV), Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (10-12 PGV),
● Abominable collection: Abominable (PGV) Best for ages 6 and up, Abominable: Invisible City (PG) Best for ages 6 and up.
● The Julia Donaldson collection: Room on the Broom (A) suitable for all ages, The Gruffalo (A) suitable for all ages, The Gruffalo’s Child (A) suitable for all ages.
● Rumble (PG) Best for ages 6 and up.
● Welcome To Earth S1 (PG) Best for ages 6 and up.
● Revolting Rhymes S1 (PGV) Best for ages 6 and up.