As HBO Max — the massive new streaming service launched by Warner Media this past summer — continues to add to its vast programming selection, this October bring a wealth of new horror titles to the platform just in time for Halloween.
HBO Max not only has scores of horror movies already licensed to HBO from other studios, but the service can also delve deeply into the legendary Warner Bros. Pictures vaults as well. And one of the prized finds that will debut on HBO Max next month is a selection of classics from the storied library of Hammer Films.
Warner Bros. Pictures was the U.S. distributor for a number of Hammer movies during the 1960s and 1970s, when the British studio dominated the horror genre with a slew of movies based on classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s creature and the Mummy, along with many other stylish originals and adaptations of genre tales.
In fact, the three Hammer movies that put the studio on the horror map — The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958) and The Mummy (1959) — are all premiering on the service on October 1, joined by 1969’s Dracula Has Risen from the Grave.
Those first three films, especially The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula, reinvented those iconic monsters for the first time since the heyday of Universal Pictures in the 1930s, putting them in color for the first time and, accordingly, adding more blood and gore to the proceedings. They also established Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as the pre-eminent horror team of their era.
Many Hammer films were difficult to see in the decades following the company’s late ‘70s decline, but efforts like this by HBO Max and Shudder, as well as home video outlets like Scream Factory, are restoring the Hammer catalog to its original glory film by film.
But that’s not all HBO Max has in store for the horror fan’s favorite month! Also coming to the service in October are recent high-profile titles like last year’s It: Chapter Two and Jordan Peele’s Us, his acclaimed follow-up to Get Out.
Meanwhile, other notable older titles surfacing in time for Halloween include David Fincher’s 1995 modern classic Se7en (which will always be a horror movie to us), George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985), the unnerving found footage shark attack tale Open Water (2004) and David Cronenberg’s early psychic horror yarn Scanners (1981).
There are also a whole batch of remakes and sequels showing up as well, including Black Christmas (2019), The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and its 2007 sequel, the prequel The Thing (2011), Critters 2 (1988) and 4 (1992), The Haunting (1999), the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and more.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t caught the excellent The Conjuring 2 (2016), the M. Night Shyamalan-produced Devil (2010), the underrated Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) or 2001’s eerie The Others yet, get on them now — they’re all leaving the service by the end of the month (The Conjuring 2 slips away a little early on October 20).
Even if you miss those, there’s still plenty of spooky stuff coming to HBO Max for Halloween — for those of us lucky enough to have access to the service, that is.