Are we done with the spookiest month, even though it’s not even Halloween yet? Perhaps. Fortunately, the streaming services are diversifying options, so that the holiday-related content does not need to dominate all choices. This, of course, presents quite a conundrum when picking the streaming service that gives you the most for your money in mid-October, but there’s also a very predominant factor at work. A highly-anticipated, A-list-filled blockbuster movie, Dune, is hitting HBO Max, which means that you can watch Zendaya and Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac in the hottest movie of the week without even leaving your living room. HBO Max has several other options for the taking as well, so easily, they’re winning this competition.
Coming in with second place would be Netflix. They’ve got party-hopping vampires, a new adult-animated series, and so much more. Apple TV+ comes in hot with a new alien-invasion series, and do not neglect Peacock and Discovery+, which are bringing you the coolest Halloween content available: another Snoop and Martha adventure and some Eli Roth/Osbourne content, respectively. Amazon Prime and Hulu also bring new selections, so here’s the best of the new streaming selections for this weekend.
Dune (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, and Stellan Skarsgård playing a 300-pound villain. Oh, and sandworms and spice, too. What more could you possibly want? Well, how about an interpretation of Frank Herbert’s classic from director Denis Villeneuve? That’s more like it, especially because David Lynch would love to pretend that his version never existed. Expect a mythic and epic and world-building journey of a hero, Paul Atreides (Chalamet), who must live up to his incredible destiny. No pressure, of course.
Women is Losers (HBO Max film) — If you loved Shang Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings, then be sure to check out Simu Liu’s newest movie, which debuted at this year’s SXSW festival. This 1960s-set drama costars Lorenza Izzo and revolves around Izzo’s former Catholic schoolgirl, who attempts to rise beyond stereotypes and oppression and poverty and really, you know, go somewhere. If the title sounds familiar, that’s because the movie’s named after Janis Joplin’s song of the same name.
We’re Here (HBO series on HBO Max) — Nope, you’re not looking at a photo of Beyoncé. This ^^ would be the fabulous Shangela (of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame), who’s back with the rest of the Queens (including Bob and Eureka) in Spartanburg, South Carolina after COVID interrupted the first round. In Season 2, the trio will continue to recruit small-town residents (in this case, that would be Noah, Faith, and Olin) and train them for onstage moments that they never dreamed possible.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis: Season 1 (HBO Max) — While DC fans sit in the limbo in between live-action Jason Momoa movies, this three-part animated miniseries from James Wan could tide things over a bit. This week’s installment involves the Dead Sea with Aquaman learning that he’s still got a lot of learning to do upon becoming king. The voice cast includes Cooper Andrews, Gillian Jacobs, Dana Snyder, and Thomas Lennon.
Doom Patrol: Season 3 (HBO Max series) — DC’s struggling misfit superheroes are back for another round. Brendan Fraser has received plenty of raves for his fury-filled Cliff Steele/Robotman, but don’t count out the rest of the crew. There’s Matt Bomer as the bandage-wrapped Negative Man and Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane, which is actually a role that requires Diane to play dozens of incarnations, including a very timely take on a Karen. This season, the sh*t hits the fan with a time machine.
Night Teeth (Netflix film) — Debby Ryan and Lucy Fry play the lead-character vampires of this film, but there are also vampires played by Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney, so you know what that means: any human in their sights are in big trouble. That includes a college-student-turned-chauffeur, Benny (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), who’s tasked with driving the two primary vamps around to parties, where they can get their thirst on. Can Benny stay alive, can he save Los Angeles, and can he possibly do both things? Talk about a guilty pleasure of a movie.
Inside Job (Netflix series) — Lizzy Caplan and Christian Slater star in this adult animated comedy show that revolves around a shadow government that’s all up in global conspiracies. There are secret societies and orgies and shapeshifters and psychic mushrooms, along with an idealistic agent who hopes that she can make a difference in a world filled with unhinged characters.
Locke & Key: Season 2 (Netflix series) — Joe Hill’s horror comic continues on the adaptation train after the Locke siblings (and mother) attempted to make a new start after their father’s mysterious murder. Naturally, one should expect to see more uncovered keys this season and even darker forces that are attempting to trick everyone into doing their bidding. Still, this show remains a coming-of-age mystery that stresses family bonds above all else, including the entire spiritual realm.
Found (Netflix film) — This documentary follows teen American girls who somehow discover that they’re cousins by blood. This leads to an online-meeting that turns into a real-life journey, wherein the teens travel to China for answers and adventure. It’s an emotional journey but a rewarding one.
You: Season 3 (Netflix series) — Nothing says (twisted) family bonding like two parents digging a grave for their murder victims while an infant sits in his car seat and does his best to amuse himself. Yikes. Fortunately for all of us, however, the show about Stalker Joe manages to sustain its gimmick and volley the nutso-factor into the stratosphere. It’s a lot like Mr. & Mrs. Smith but with serial killers. Joe (or “Will”) can’t give up his ways (including his roaming eyes), Love refuses to give up hers, and their sleepy little suburb is about to get rocked into oblivion.
Invasion: Season 1 (Apple TV+ series) — Apple TV+ has been crushing the outer-space game with All For Mankind, and with this Simon Kinberg sci-fi show, they’re bringing the (dubious) party to planet Earth. Kinberg, of course, has plenty of producing clout under his belt (The Martian, the Deadpool movies, Logan) and he’s teaming up here with procedural-minded director Jakob Verbruggen (The Alienist, The Fall) to focus on individual stories around the globe during the fallout of an alien invasion. There’s some Sam Neill flavor up in here, too, and if there’s a god, he’ll be wearing a hat in this show. Yes, it’s intense-looking show, and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+ film) — Acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes directs this documentary, which is no ordinary rock ‘n’ roll movie. Instead, this reintroduces fans to the game-changing qualities of this band that made them an enduring cultural touchstone, including all of their inherent contradictions, which will be put on display in never-before-seen lie performance moments and plenty of recordings, interviews, and experimental art. Expect a fully immersive experience (not to mention iconic tunes).
The Problem With Jon Stewart (Apple TV+ series) — Jon Stewart’s return to TV fast approaches, and it could be argued that he’s never been needed more on TV than this particular moment. The former The Daily Show host will be doing the current-events thing with an episode every two weeks, which isn’t as frequent as fans might prefer, but we’ll trust the process. According to Apple TV+, viewers can expect Stewart to go deep on a single subject per episode with a “solutionary” approach, and yes, there are jokes.
Acapulco: Season 1 (Apple TV+ series) — Vacation-based shows are all the rage following The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers, so get your next fix here with the story of a 20-something cabana boy in Acapulco’s most in-demand resort. Naturally, he discovers that the job is not all fun and games, given the demanding clientele and other demanding professional and personal circumstances. Get ready for a bilingual focus, too, with both Spanish and English coming in hot while the main character, Máximo Gallardo, also attempts to avoid temptations.
Snoop and Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween (Peacock special) — The dynamic duo re-teams again, this time to host a baking competition that’s geared toward the spookiest holiday of all. Expect to see giant chocolate spiders and cotton-candy cobwebs, all packed into room-sized, edible creations. These two have been tight since their inaugural recipe, mashed potatoes, so there’s simply no turning back, ever.
Halloween Kills (Universal movie on Peacock) — A horror blockbuster is here to spook you in your living rooms, y’all. Michael Myers survives that damn fire, which leads to a fully-had-it-up-to-here mindset of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, who’s mad as hell at firefighters and vowing that Michael Myers is going down. If it was a matter of wills and badassery, she could make it happen, but that’s not how things usually roll out in this franchise. David Gordon Green directs again here, and he’ll be back for Halloween Ends, so good luck, Laurie.
One of Us Is Lying — The New York Times bestselling novel comes to life when a group of give teens (the brain, the beauty, the jock, the criminal, yes, this sounds like a John Hughes imitation) go to detention, and one of them (the outcast) does not emerge. Hey, it happens. Was the death an accident? Not likely. Naturally, the four remaining students all become suspects, and all of them are looking sketchy. Again, it happens!
Dopesick: Season 1 (Hulu series) — Michael Keaton (who is still the greatest Batman in history, so don’t mess with him in any role) finally comes to TV beyond cameo mode. Here, he takes on Big Pharma as a physician whose patients are dying off amid an opioid epidemic, and Rosario Dawson portrays one of the heroes who want to take the makers of Oxycontin down. The title of the source material (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, the book by Beth Macy) tells you a lot, and the cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg and Kaitlyn Dever, who’s all over TV now and making Justified‘s Loretta proud here.
The Next Thing You Eat: Season 1 (Hulu series) — Chef David Chang teams up with director Morgan Nevill for six episodes that follow seismic changes in the way we eat. There’s a global perspective, and expect to see robots and lab-grown food and all manner of other surprises.
Jacinta (Hulu documentary) — Intergenerational trauma is real in this real-life story of what happens when a mother and daughter both end up in prison. This is no Orange Is The New Black take, and both women are attempting to battle their own addictions and other demons while doing time at the Maine Correctional Center. It’s bleak, but it’s a valuable watch with director Jessica Earnshaw shooting with a verité approach.
Just Beyond: Season 1 (Disney+ series) — This horror-comedy anthology bases itself on R.L. Stine’s BOOM! Studios comic book series of the same name. Expect plenty of supernatural journeys (with a personally affecting touch) through alternate dimensions with witches, aliens, and ghosts onboard.
Muppets Haunted Mansion (Disney+ special) — After several Muppets-themed Christmas offerings, it’s about time that we’ve received a spooky installment, and let’s face it, more Miss Piggy is always a good thing. Gonzo takes center stage here while attempting to survive the evening in (according to the synopsis) “in the most grim grinning place on Earth.” The special’s actually inspired by all four of the Disney Haunted Mansion attractions that are scattered around the globe, and three original songs (“Rest In Peace,” “Life Hereafter” and “Tie The Knot Tango”) will surface, along with plenty of celebrity cameos along with the all-star Muppets cast.
I Know What You Did Last Summer: Season 1 (Amazon Prime series) — Sure, you remember the 1997 film and perhaps you’re aware that that was based upon the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan, but this Amazon Studios collaboration with Sony Pictures Television wants you to relive the nightmare once more. Obviously, this version doesn’t have Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, or Freddie Prinze, but these teens seem more twisted by nature than the O.G. bunch, so perhaps that will add some shading to justify reviving their shared dark secret as they aim to survive.
Welcome to the Blumhouse: Madres/The Manor (Blumhouse films on Amazon Prime) — This week’s Halloween-themed double dose follows a Mexican-American couple (in 1970s California) who are weathering a troubled pregnancy while being besieged by horrific visions, which might be part of a legendary curse. Then, a woman moves into a famous nursing home, where a supernatural force might be controlling all residents. She’s unable to escape her confines, and no one believes her. Sounds like hell.
Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+ film) — As the title indicates, this feature follows Selma Blair’s perspective, and it’s a very serious one, given that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and keeps on maintaining a Hollywood career. There’s no telling how she does it until you watch, but she’s one tough lady.
Jack and Kelly Osbourne: Night Of Terror (Discovery+ special) — The famed RMS Queen Mary becomes ground central for these two siblings (and kids of Ozzy and Sharon) as they journey into the unknown. Given that the ghost-filled ship shut down for the COVID pandemic, things are even spookier as filmed for this series because no one is (officially) touring, and they’re all alone. So, good luck to both the formerly skeptical Kelly and the true-believing Jack as they make their ways down this famed Long Island haunting venue.
Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life: Season 1 (Discovery+ series) — Eli Roth has so much going on over at Discovery+ this month (following his recent real-life horror/Shark-Week film on the streamer) that one has to wonder… is he running the joint? It’s a valid question, but more to the point, this series present personal accounts on those who have survived feeling like they’re been dragged through hell and fought their way back.
The Haunted Museum: Season 1 (Discovery+ series) — More Eli Roth stuff. Here, he’s teaming up with Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans for this scripted anthology series, in which they illuminate nine of the world’s most cursed artifacts. These relics are actually in display in Bagans’ Vegas museum, but here, you’ll get the historic commentary in addition to having the pants scared off of you.
Guilty Party: Season 1 (Paramount+ series) — Kate Beckinsale stars in this charming-looking dramedy series about a disgraced (and opportunistic) journalist who works to redeem herself by digging for the real story on a young mother who was convicted of murdering her husband, a crime that the mother insists that she did not commit. Expect (strangely enough) some whimsy amid this seemingly serious premise, including some adversaries that are a real pain in the butt.
Madame X (Paramount+ movie) — In this concert documentary, Madonna takes viewers on tour with her (from way back in January 2020, so pre-pandemic, obviously) all the way to Lisbon, Portugal. Her set included 48 onstage performers, including other musicians and dancers, and she’s here to share her vision with the rest of the world. Her statement on the film points towards reaching out to fans “at a time when music is so deeply needed to remind us of the sacred bond of our shared humanity.”
Billions: Season 5, Part 2 (Showtime series on Paramount+) — There ain’t no drama quite like hedge-fund-king drama, and it remains to be seen whether Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades will ever decide to stop wasting so much time hating the hell out of each other. Probably not? Yeah, that’d be no fun at all, and everyone on this show ends up getting yanked into the beef that may very well destroy them all. Everyone’s got a reason to love this show, and mine just happens to be watching Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon, rather than the warring dudes. (Also, Axe is done after this season!)