Halloween is almost (finally) here! You know what that means. That’s right — the pleasant chill of autumn is slowing giving way to the bitter frost of winter, and as sure as the leaves wilt and fall from the branches of trees, several of the best movies on streaming are their leaving their respective platforms to make way for newer titles. Before that happens though, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite movies to watch before the clock strikes midnight on All Hallows’ Eve.
Here are the best movies leaving streaming at the end of October.
The Wachowskis’ directorial debut is this scintillating neo-noir thriller about two women who fall for each other and steal $2 million in mob money. Jennifer Tilly plays Violet, the high-femme girlfriend of mob money launderer Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). Gina Gershon is Corky, an ex-con who works as a maintenance person at the apartment building where Violet and Caesar live. When Corky and Violet catch each other’s eyes in the elevator, the seduction begins, as they become irresistibly drawn to one another and the possibility of a better life outside of their respective confined circumstances.
After many years and many outstanding movies, Bound may still be the high mark of the Wachowskis’ illustrious career. Tilly and Gershon are both terrific (and had a great time; you should read this excellent interview with them), and the movie is highly erotic, both in its sex scenes and in other moments (Corky working on the plumbing with her hands is deeply sensual and satisfying, both for viewers and for an overwhelmed Violet). It’s an unforgettable romantic crime thriller, and among the sexiest American movies ever made. —PV
Bound leaves Prime Video Oct. 31.
Bernard Rose’s 1992 adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden” is an unequivocal masterpiece. Starring Virginia Madsen (Sideways), the film centers on the story of Helen, a Chicago graduate student completing her thesis on urban legends and folklore, in particular the infamous “Candyman” killer said to haunt the Cabrini-Green projects. When Helen’s efforts inadvertently arouse the attention of the malevolent spirit (Tony Todd), she’ll have to find a way to put the killer to rest while convincing all those around her that she isn’t losing her mind. Sumptuous, seductive, horrifying, and masterfully shot, Candyman is a legacy horror movie worth celebrating and returning to for years to come. Don’t even get me started on that Philip Glass score, it’s genius! —Toussaint Egan
Candyman leaves Peacock Oct. 31.
Don’t Look Now
Few movies have ever used a location more effectively than Don’t Look Now and the canals of Venice. A couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) who lost their daughter in a tragic drowning accident move to Venice for work, and the specter of their lost child haunts them around every corner in the water-filled streets.
Director Nicolas Roeg’s camera makes the winding canals of Venice a haunted space, and his use of the color red is the kind of stuff made to be taught in film classes. Sutherland and Christie are absolutely outstanding as the grieving couple, playing roles that in some way switch positions midway through the movie after a shocking discovery. —PV
As Austen Goslin put it in our Halloween movie countdown:
To help sell the overwhelming weight that grief can put on a person and the way it can reshape their world, Roeg turns Venice’s endless alleyways, bridges, and water into something like a dreamscape, folding them in on each other and creating vast distances out of each canal. The city feels at once claustrophobic and miles wide, perfectly reflecting the confusion, and utter dismay of the characters and creating an atmosphere of tension that’s rarely achieved in a movie with as few direct and overt scares as this one. But that’s the kind of movie Don’t Look Now is, one that will sit with you like quiet grief for years to come, without ever making you jump out of your seat
Don’t Look Now leaves Prime Video Oct. 31.
Last Action Hero
To have an effective parody of a genre, you have to be able to realistically mimic the things that draw people to it. It’s the reason why Wes Craven’s Scream movies work so well, and the same could be said about Last Action Hero.
A young movie-obsessed child (Austin O’Brien) is thrown into the world of his favorite action franchise, while the movie’s villain (a deliciously over-the-top Charles Dance) is sent to the real world. The child and the movie’s hero (Arnold Schwarzenegger) have to get back to the real world to stop the villain.
Directed by John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard), Last Action Hero benefits greatly by having that kind of skill behind the camera, and by having a bona fide action star in a leading role. But my favorite part is Dance, and the many different prop glass eyeballs his character uses in the movie. —PV
Last Action Hero leaves Netflix Nov. 1.
You’ve made time to see Prey by now, right? If you haven’t caught up with the newest installment of the Predator franchise, why not do a double feature with the terrific original before it leaves streaming?
Every Predator movie may be worth watching, but it’s hard to beat the muscleheaded thrills of the John McTiernan-directed original. An elite military team is sent to save hostages in a rainforest, but they end up being hunted themselves by a deadly alien.
Two bits of Predator trivia for you: This is one of two movies that future governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura were in together, and the other (the dystopic sci-fi Running Man) also came out in 1987. And who was originally tapped to be the man in the Predator suit? None other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. I love JCVD, but I’m happy for all parties that they went with the 7’2” Kevin Peter Hall instead. —PV
Predator leaves Hulu Oct. 31.
I venture to guess I don’t have to do a whole lot to argue on behalf of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 psychological horror thriller. Although it received mixed reviews when it was first released, Psycho quickly earned its reputation as one of Hitchcock’s best films — if not his best — due in part to its impressive camerawork, memorable score, and a deeply chilling and remarkable performance by Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Whether you have or haven’t seen it already, I have some great news: Now’s the perfect time to give it a watch. I guarantee it’s a scream. —TE
Psycho leaves Peacock Oct. 31.
The Mighty Quinn
Before Denzel Washington was one of our all-time great movie stars, he was bringing all-time great movie star energy to otherwise disposable thrillers. The Mighty Quinn, based on A.H.Z. Carr’s 1971 pulp novel Finding Maubee but gussied up with a title cribbed from a Bob Dylan song, would not be a highly recommendable murder mystery without the now-two-time Oscar-winning actor — despite a script from Blade Runner writer Hampton Fancher, the sleuthing is fairly pedestrian. But Washington flexes every muscle as Xavier Quinn, the police chief of a made-up Caribbean island, who finds himself investigating his best bud Maubee (Robert Townsend) after a millionaire resort owner winds up dead. On the trail of the killer, Quinn interrogates witnesses, races home to pick up his kid, outsteps a seductive femme fatale, tries to mend a fractured relationship with his estranged wife, and dodges enough bullets to earn the “mighty” title. Which results in Washington pairing muscle with charm, smug authority with in-over-his-head anxiety, and a calculating sense of the island’s dynamics. Backed by Michael Rose reggae, The Mighty Quinn is a brisk 98-minute whodunnit with a 1970s crime twang, set in place of beauty with an equally mesmerizing on-screen presence. For some of us, that’s the ideal vacation. —Matt Patches
The Mighty Quinn leaves HBO Max Oct. 31.
Sandra Bullock stars as an FBI agent working undercover as a beauty pageant contestant with the hopes of thwarting a bomb threat. It’s a perfect fit for her particular combination of movie-star screen presence and down-to-earth charisma, and lives on as a standout fish-out-of-water comedy of the era. —PV
Miss Congeniality leaves Netflix Nov. 1.
Set in 1825 during the British colonization of Australia, director Jennifer Kent’s (The Babadook) period drama stars Aisling Franciosi (The Fall) as Clare, a young Irish convict who serves her seven-year sentence only for her abusive master Lt. Hawkins (Sam Claflin) to refuse to release her. After being subjected to a horrific act of sexual violence at the hands of her master and his officers, and with no hope of justice served on part of the British authorities against their own, Clare embarks on a relentless chase through the Tasmanian wilderness to exact her revenge on Hawkins when he leaves to take up a captain position up north. Known for its extreme, historically accurate depictions of rape, murder, and racism perpetuated by British settlers against the Indigenous people of Australia, The Nightingale is an visually striking and emotionally enthralling tale of revenge conveyed through deft performances, striking cinematography, and unflinching harshness. —TE
The Nightingale leaves Netflix Nov. 1.
John Carpenter’s satirical sci-fi action horror film has taken on a life of its own since it first premiered over 34 years ago. Released in theaters at the end of the Reagan administration, Carpenter’s searing critique of yuppie culture and unrestrained capitalism stars “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as “Nada,” a down-on-his-luck construction worker trying to earn an honest living in Los Angeles. Upon stumbling on a box of sunglasses that give him the ability to see the insidious subliminal imaging behind advertising — the ghoulish alien overlords secretly pulling the strings — Nada must convince his friend Frank (Keith David) to find the resistance movement amassing to take the fight to Earth’s unscrupulous extraterrestrial overlords.
Visible in everything from street art and fashion to music, film, and television — not unlike the alien propaganda at the center of the movie itself — They Live is a genuine counter-culture classic. You’ve got to watch this film, if for no other reason than to see Piper and David duke it out in a back alley for over six straight minutes. It’s glorious. —TE
They Live leaves Peacock Oct. 31.
Fans of the masterful Park Chan-wook should fly to this erotic vampire thriller he made between I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK and Stoker. Song Kang-ho stars as a troubled priest who dies while undergoing an experimental treatment for a dangerous disease, but comes back to life as a vampire and becomes intertwined with an old acquaintance.
In many ways, this movie is in close relationship to his two most recent releases — The Handmaiden and Decision to Leave. It pairs the eroticism of the former with the charged relationship dynamic of the latter, to gripping effect. With Park’s typical attention to detail and eye for arresting images (as well as his wicked sense of humor), it’s an unconventional and sexy Halloween watch. —PV
Thirst leaves Peacock Oct. 31.