Canadian thriller 'Trickster,' horror classics among October streaming highlights

Halloween festivities are largely off the table this October, but the biggest streaming platforms are here with some pretty scary backup plans.

Netflix will offer an assortment of spooky originals, including Adam Sandler comedy "Hubie Halloween" (Oct. 7), teen vampire-hunter flick "Vampires vs. the Bronx" (Oct. 2), and Norwegian psychological horror "Cadaver" (Oct. 22).

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Over at Crave/HBO, Hollywood's hair-raising take on the musical "Cats" dishes out its own brand of terror. The humans-as-felines film was maligned by critics who found the special effects unsettling, but the box-office flop will surely see its cult following continue to grow when it begins streaming on Oct. 16.

Several popular TV series also mark their return, including Season 3 of "Star Trek: Discovery" (Crave, Oct. 16, episodes weekly), and Season 2 of "Pen15," a kooky comedy starring two thirty-something women as teenagers (CBC Gem, Oct. 16).

And Disney Plus will launch its fresh adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book "The Right Stuff," about the birth of the U.S. space program. Two episodes debut on Oct. 9 before rolling out weekly.

Some other streaming options in October:

"Trickster"

An Indigenous teenager from Kitimat B.C. finds his relatively mundane life thrown into tumult when supernatural elements begin to seep in from every corner. It starts with a series of unexplainable events: a doppelganger who vanishes as quickly as he appears and a crow that seems like a harbinger of what’s to come. Thrown into a mystery that deepens with every new revelation, he embarks on a pursuit of answers that opens a world of magic and monstrosities. The six-episode "Trickster" is based on Eden Robinson’s acclaimed novel "Son of a Trickster." (CBC Gem, Oct. 7, episodes weekly)

‘70s Horror Collection

The Criterion Channel is giving horror aficionados a tasty bowl of treats with 28 influential films from one of the genre's grittiest decades, all launching Oct. 1. Seminal slasher films "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and Toronto-shot "Black Christmas," will be alongside many lesser-seen titles, such as Robert Altman’s "Images," about a children’s author who’s haunted by apparitions, and Brian De Palma’s "Sisters," about a Quebecois model whose formerly conjoined twin is accused of murder. There’s also a triple-bill of early David Cronenberg with "Shivers," "Rabid" and "The Brood" to carry you through to November.

"Emily in Paris"

When ambitious young Chicago businesswoman Emily (Lily Collins) lands a job at a luxury marketing firm in Paris, she sets forth on an adventure through the City of Love that’s beyond her wildest dreams. With her Instagram account in hand, Emily indulges in the frothy delights of the Paris fashion industry and romance in the French countryside. In the hands of "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star, the TV series offers a fitting escape in a time when most of us are rarely leaving our homes. (Netflix, Oct. 2)

"American Utopia"

Oscar-winner Spike Lee's trademark visual touch is all over this feature-length concert film based on David Byrne’s acclaimed Broadway stage show. The vibrant spectacle doubles as a greatest hits collection from the former Talking Heads frontman and an urgent reflection on race, immigration and politics. Byrne and 11 other musicians perform classics "Once in a Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House," and an emotionally gutting cover of Janelle Monae’s protest anthem "Hell You Talmbout" that will be hard to shake. (Crave/HBO, Oct. 17)

"The Undoing"

Nicole Kidman plays a New York therapist who, on the eve of publishing her first book, is pulled into a suspicious murder and the sudden disappearance of her husband (Hugh Grant). With detectives already questioning her involvement in the crime, she begins searching for answers that could destroy her family. Donald Sutherland co-stars in the six-part limited series created by David E. Kelly ("Big Little Lies," "The Practice"). (Crave/HBO, Oct. 25, episodes weekly)

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 30, 2020.

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