Gehenna
Gehenna

At this point, it’s almost treason to not watch a horror movie on Halloween. Most people go straight for the classics, dusting off that Friday the 13th DVD while pre-gaming for that unmissable party happening later in the night. But for those us, like myself, who’d rather spend Halloween far away from the killer clowns and tedious prosthetics that take a week to wash off, here are five independent horror releases that may have flown under your radar.

1. Recovery

Release Date: October 28th
Runtime: 82 Minutes

Darrell Wheat’s debut feature (one of two he has coming this year) concerns a group of beautiful young teenagers who use the Find My iPhone app to locate their friend, whose been kidnapped by a masked psychopath outside of a Los Angeles nightclub. In a continued trend of using new technology to breathe life into old plots, Recovery‘s trailer – from its “Based on Actual Events” title card to the trailer itself, which is comprised almost entirely of corny dialogue and jump scares – confirms suspicions that viewers probably won’t be getting themselves into anything they haven’t seen before. With that said, it does look like it has the potential to be pretty fun, and friends looking to throw back a couple drinks and laugh at stupid teenagers should look no further.

Recovery will be screened in a limited engagement on October 27th before a VOD release on October 28th.

2. The Windmill

Release Date: October 28th
Runtime: 85 Minutes

A young Australian woman, Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont), is running from the past, doing her best to stay incognito with a group of tourists who are scheduled to visit Holland’s most famous windmills. However, when they start getting picked off one by one, secrets come to light, pasts are revealed, and blood is shed. The trailer for this one seems to be running with a “you can never escape the past” thesis that’s always a great starting point for clever writing and gruesome kills. Whether or not the film actually follows through with either remains to be seen, but the trailer shows some promise, offering quick glimpses into what could be a bloody fun mind-boggler.

The Windmill hits VOD on October 25th, with a limited release starting October 28th. The morbidly curious can check out director Nick Jongerius’ original concept teaser here.

3. The Unspoken

Release Date: October 28th
Runtime: 90 Minutes

Creepy kids, creepy houses, unspoken secrets, murders, trauma, and violence. You’ve seen this before and you’re definitely going to see it again, but The Unspoken, director Sheldon Wilson’s latest, insists on existing anyway. The only real reason to check this one out is as a comparison piece with star Jodelle Ferland’s other notable horror performance as Patience in Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods. A more dedicated person than me might even want to make a game out of seeing all the cliches present in Wilson’s film that Goddard’s had ruthlessly mocked.

The Unspoken is currently available for rent on Amazon, and hits theaters on October 28th.

4. Gehenna

Release Date: October 30th
Runtime: 105 Minutes

The directorial debut of creature effects sculptor Hiroshi Katagiri seems to be a study in contrast. While watching the trailer, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Why does this movie look so good but feel so wrong?” I got my answer as soon as I scanned Katagiri’s IMDb page. With sculpting and effects work dating back to the mid-90s, and credits on some pretty major productions (Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and del Toro’s Pacific Rim are just two of many), Katagiri is a tried and true professional. His directorial skills are still up for debate, however, and – if nothing else – Gehenna will surely have some genuinely unnerving practical effects to drool over.

Gehenna will start making the rounds at festivals on October 30th.

5. Hostage to the Devil

Release Date: October 31st
Runtime: 90 Minutes

If any of you want to know what I’ll be watching on Halloween, look no further than Hostage to the Devil, a documentary about the life of Father Malachi Martin, one of the world’s most renowned exorcists. Through interviews, dramatic recreations, and archival footage, director Martin Stalker paints a thoroughly unnerving and complete portrait of a controversial man working in an even more controversial profession. Judging by the trailer, the film doesn’t seem to be imposing one truth or another, and with its gorgeously staged recreations, there are echoes of 2012’s The Imposter, which was one of my favorite documentaries of that year. Only watch this trailer if you’re prepared to cancel your Halloween plans and see the movie instead.

Hostage to the Devil‘s release schedule has been a little bit wonky, with releases in the UK/Ireland but no confirmed dates for the US. From what I gathered, an October 31st US release seems likely, but it might be time to break out that Hola Unblocker for those of us who are too impatient.

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