Halloween is nearly upon us, and if that wasn’t spooky enough, Friday the 13th is this week. For those looking for an appropriately creepy way to celebrate, there are oodles of cinematic frights to be found in theaters and on TV.
“Happy Death Day”
Have you always wished “Groundhog Day” had more violent dismemberment? If so, you got your wish with 2014’s “Edge of Tomorrow.” But if you’ve always wished that the Bill Murray classic was a low-budget, teen slasher flick, “Happy Death Day” is finally here to answer your prayers. The film finds a woman meeting a bloody end on her birthday, only to restart the day. With each repetition, she works to solve her own murder.
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Think of this profoundly creepy, surprisingly nostalgic film as Stephen King by way of “Stranger Things.” It shares the 1980s vibe that permeates every frame of that Netflix series and similarly evokes the early work of Steven Spielberg. Beyond that, solid performances from the child actors, a terrifying turn by Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, and a smart script make this adaptation of King’s 1986 novel worth every ounce of the hype it has received. It might even be better than the 1990 miniseries.
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In 1990 the original “Flatliners” was unleashed on the world. It was fun, disposable and instantly forgettable. That last part might explain why Hollywood thought that it was ripe for a remake. While the original was hardly a classic, it had its moments and featured an all-star cast, including Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt. This new version loses pretty much everything the first one had going for it. In addition to a notable drop in star wattage, the 2017 version of “Flatliners” boasts a towering 4 percent on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. According to most critics, the most horrifying thing about it is that it exists.
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“Friday the 13th”
While not showing the original, American Movie Classics is screening some of the more bizarre “Friday the 13th” movies including “Jason Goes to Hell,” which sees the hockey-masked monster possessing a coroner and getting up to his normal hack and slash shenanigans at Camp Crystal Lake. “Freddy vs. Jason” pits two horror icons against one another, while the utterly baffling “Jason X” sends Jason to space, where he terrorizes a crew of futuristic astronauts for reasons that defy logical explanation. Those looking to watch any of the earlier entries, from the 1980 original through 1989’s “Jason Takes Manhattan” will need a subscription to Encore. For those looking to have as little fun as possible, the lifeless 2009 remake is airing on Cinemax.
AMC airings start at 8 p.m.
Encore airings start at 9:58 a.m.
Cinemax airing at 6:35 p.m.
Those looking to have a few laughs with their scares can find this tongue-in-cheek 2009 flick starring Jessie Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin airing on Comedy Central. The story finds four strangers teaming up to survive in a postapocalyptic world overrun by the living dead.
Airing on Comedy Central at 9 p.m.
“Stephen King’s It”
If you can’t make it to theaters to see the shiny new version, Spike TV will be airing the original 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. John Ritter and Harry Anderson also star in this more complete retelling of the Stephen King novel that follows “the losers club” into adulthood.
Airing on Spike TV at 8 p.m.
If you are looking for more from horror master Stephen King, Spike TV has you covered with this airing of the 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic that finds all work and no play making Jack Nicholson a homicidal boy. Widely considered to be one of the most frightening movies of all time, King reportedly doesn’t actually like this film, preferring instead a mostly forgotten miniseries adaptation starring Steven Webber of the TV show “Wings.”
Airing on Spike TV at 4:30 p.m.
Those looking for a more family friendly way to ring in Friday the 13th might enjoy this mini-marathon of the first three “Harry Potter” films airing on Freeform.
Airing on Freeform starting at 12:30 p.m.