October is the time for horror, which makes it a great time for independent movies.

As long as independent movies have existed, horror movies have provided a huge bulk of the films made by artists outside the studio system. It’s one of the cheapest and easiest genres to make, with some of the best potential to make a profit, and has unsurprisingly thrived in the independent film market. Many of the most important and acclaimed American horror movies were independent productions. “Night of the Living Dead” practically created the zombie film, while the original slasher “Halloween” was a tiny budget indie made for just $300,000. Sure, there are plenty of quality horror films made by studios, but nothing beats the grit and pure terror that great indie horror films can provide.

For the latest in our monthly column of streaming independent film recommendations, we took a look at the plethora of spooky and creepy options to dig into on streaming. Criterion Channel is celebrating the month with an entire collection of arthouse horror, including “Flesh for Frankenstein,” “Eraserhead,” “Carnival of Souls,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Donnie Darko,” and “Sisters.” Over on Metrograph’s streaming service, the arthouse theater is hosting several terrifying experimental films from the archive of Electronic Arts Intermix,for those looking for a particularly unconventional scare. There’s also “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” on Paramount+, for people who want to re-experience one of the scariest films in horror history.

And for the scaredy cats in the room, there’s plenty of non-horror options new to streaming this Halloween season. Comedies like “Dazed and Confused” and “Shortbus,” or quiet dramas like “Miss Juneteenth” or “Igby Goes Down,” are there to make you laugh or cry — while horror buffs spend the rest of the month screaming at their TV or computer screens in pure fright.

Read on for the 10 best classic independent films streaming this October. Entries are listed in no particular order, and are compiled from new releases on streamers like Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, Prime Video, Showtime, and Peacock, as well as specialty services like Metrograph, Criterion Channel, and Shudder.

Leave a comment