By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 17, 2023 at 3:16 PM

It's the time of year for fear, meaning there's plenty of eerie entertainment and chill-inducing cinema stabbing and slashing its way on to the silver screen. And like a flashlight in a dark, creepy cabin basement, we're here to guide your way – minus the inconvenient flickering on and off. From fresh frights to throwback terror, here's what's going boo on Brew City big screens this spooky season.

(And if you prefer your horror from the comfort of your own home, here's 100 good horror movies you can stream from your couch ... where there definitely isn't a creepy slasher villain standing behind you, nope, probably don't need to turn around to check.)

Marcus Theatres

As the largest cinema chain in the Milwaukee area, Marcus Theatres is fittingly going big with scary showings this Halloween season – whether you want new nightmares, classic chills or kid-friendly creeps. 

Of course, the theater chain will showcase several of the big new horror releases of the season – currently including the supernatural mystery "A Haunting in Venice," the splattery sequel "Saw X," the demonic sequel "Exorcist: Believer" and the latest nightmare conjured up by the "Conjuring" universe in the form of "The Nun II." It's only a few more nights until the new horror movie "Five Nights at Freddy's" plays its mean games at the end of the month, too. Several Marcus locations, however, will also kick it old school when it comes to frights, with special repertory screenings of "The Birds," the original "Halloween," "Scream" and – for retro freakiness for the whole family – "Hocus Pocus" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas." 

And for some bonus Halloween family fun that's all treat, no trick, there's two special screenings of the animated film "Scoob!" plus treat-or-treating, costumes, photo ops and more found at several theaters on Oct. 28-29. For specific showtimes and dates at your Marcus location, click here

  • "A Haunting in Venice": Now showing at the Marcus Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "The Birds": Returning to big screens on Oct. 22-23 at the Marcus Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "The Exorcist: Believer": Now showing at the Marcus BistroPlex, Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Five Nights at Freddy's": Opening wide beginning Oct. 26
  • "Halloween": Returning to big screens on Oct. 27-31 at the Marcus BistroPlex, Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Hocus Pocus": Now showing at the Marcus Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "The Nightmare Before Christmas": Returning to big screens, in both 2-D and 3-D, beginning Oct. 20 at the Marcus Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "The Nun II": Now showing at the Marcus BistroPlex, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Saw X": Now showing at the Marcus BistroPlex, Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Scoob!": Returning to big screens (complete with kid-friendly treat-or-treating) on Oct. 28-29 at the Marcus BistroPlex, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Scream": Returning to big screens on Oct. 20-22 at the Marcus Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore
  • "Terrifier 2": Returning to big screens on Nov. 1-2 at the Marcus BistroPlex, Hillside, Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Movie Tavern, North Shore and South Shore

AMC Mayfair

If you're looking for fresh scares this Halloween, make like "Dawn of the Dead" and head to the mall where the AMC Mayfair has all the frightening new releases including "The Nun II," "Saw X," "Exorcist: Believer" and – at the end of the month – the ghoulish video game adaptation "Five Nights at Freddy's."

However, don't overlook one of the lesser-known names on their listings: "When Evil Lurks," a new Argentinean shocker about a small town thrown into deadly chaos as a demon-infested local infects everyone with a plague of murderous insanity. The horror flick brings a thrillingly new take to the possession horror subgenre, playing more like a zombie movie than a traditional exorcism picture,  delivering nastiness and bleak chills that'll make you feel like you've sat with real evil for 100 minutes or so. So I guess what I'm saying is: ten out of ten spooky season recommendation! (If you can stomach it, that is.)

For specific daily showtimes, click here

  • " A Haunting in Venice": Now playing daily
  • "The Exorcist: Believer": Now playing daily
  • "Five Nights at Freddy's": Opening Oct. 26
  • "The Nun II": Now playing daily
  • "Saw X": Now playing daily
  • "When Evil Lurks": Now playing daily

Oriental Theatre

If you dream of Halloween, then the Oriental Theatre has just the nightmare for you this spooky season, bringing not only the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" back to the big screen but also its first two sequels, "Freddy's Revenge" and "Dream Warriors." And for another dose of nightmare, the Oriental will also host a special screening of previous Milwaukee Film Festival selection "Scream, Queen!", a documentary about Mark Patton, the star of the "NoES" sequel, and how he as well as the movie were all received by the horror community at the time. 

Not a Freddy fan? Luckily, the Oriental has plenty of other Halloween treats coming to its screens – many of which not your predictable spooky season fare. In addition to classic chills like "The Exorcist" and "Scream," the East Side movie palace will also bring back Dario Argento's unsettling art world aah-inducer "Opera" in a beautiful 4K restoration. And for the complete opposite of Dario Argento, the Oriental will also host a special kid-friendly screening of "Scooby-Doo" for some family-friendly freakiness. And start your antici ... pation, as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" will throw its monthly party on the final spooky Saturday of October as well. 

And in case being stuck in a crowded theater of Swifties all singing "Love Story" at full ear-shattering volume wasn't frightening enough, Taylor Swift mania will also summon some special scares thanks to the Oriental's "Exes Tour" program. Spotlighting movies starring the pop star's famous exes, the fun film series will tie into terror season nicely by bringing creepy hits like "Zodiac," "Crimson Peak" and "Donnie Darko" back to the big screen. Thanks Taylor!

  • Thursday, Oct. 19 – "A Nightmare on Elm Street" at 9 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 20 – "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" at 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 – "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" at 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 23-24 – "Opera" at 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 24 – "Zodiac" at 7:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25 – "Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street" at 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 26 – "The Exorcist: Director's Cut" at 9 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 27 – "Scream" at 7 p.m.; "Scream 2" at 9:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28 – "Crimson Peak" at 8:45 p.m.; "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at midnight
  • Sunday, Oct. 29 – "Scooby-Doo" at 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 31 – "Donnie Darko" at 7:30 p.m.

Avalon Atmospheric Theater

It wouldn't be Halloween on the big screen without Shocktoberfest at the Avalon! Every spooky season, this Bay View neighborhood theater resurrects some legendary thills and chills back to on-screen life – from horror icons to hair-raising hidden gems. And this year is no different, featuring creepy classics like "The Exorcist," "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" as well as some more rare scares like "Don't Look Now," "Evil Dead 2" and "The Monster Squad" – screening this year as a special showing in tandem with Milwaukee Record. There's even a screening of "Beetlejuice" for some all-ages-approved eeriness. The full list of showtimes is below; for ticket information, click here

  • Wednesday, Oct. 18 – "The Exorcist" at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 19 – "A Nightmare on Elm Street" at 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 20 – "Beetlejuice" at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 – "Don't Look Now" at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 22 – "An American Werewolf in London" at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25 – "The Monster Squad" at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 26 – "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 27 – "Rosemary's Baby" at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28 – "Candyman" at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 29 – "Evil Dead 2" at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Times Cinema

Shocktoberfest will screening plenty of screams this October over at the Times Cinema in Tosa as well, with the sci-fi freakout "Alien" and a dose of anime chills with "Perfect Blue." But the real star of the horror show at the Times – the Freddy Krueger of their Elm Street, if you will – is the return of the Twisted Dreams Film Festival, a weekend-long horror film extravaganza showcasing tons of locally made creepiness, shocking horror shorts and even a special 50th anniversary screening of George A. Romero's "The Crazies," complete with actress Lynn Lowry in attendance! For the full schedule of scares, check out the Twisted Dreams Film Festival's website – and for showtimes, visit the Times Cinema's website.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 18 – "Alien" at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 19 – "Perfect Blue" at 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 20-22 – Twisted Dreams Film Festival

Silverspot Cinema

Found in The Corners of Brookfield, the Silverspot is a gold-medal venue to watch a horror movie this Halloween. Feast on dinner and a drink at the attached restaurant/bar space, then feast on frights as the Silverspot will feature several of the newest horror movies out of Hollywood – whether that's the giddy goriness of "Saw X," the eerie detective drama of "A Haunting in Venice," the dread-inducing demonry of the latest "Exorcist" installment and, at the end of the month, the alarming animatronics of "Five Nights at Freddy's." Click here for specific daily showtimes. 

  • "A Haunting in Venice": Now showing daily
  • "The Exorcist: Believer": Now showing daily
  • "Five Nights at Freddy's": Coming out on Oct. 26
  • "Saw X": Now showing daily

ACX Theatres

Don't be scared to check out the newcomer in the Milwaukee cinema scene, as the new ACX Cinema at Bayshore will also celebrate spooky season with this year's newest film frights – including the latest "Saw" traps of terror, the sequel to "The Nun" and the new "Exorcist: Believer." And though showtimes haven't been posted yet, I would expect ACX to also get "Five Nights at Freddy's" when it comes out on the final weekend of the month. So stop on by and turn ACX into AHHHCX with a scary movie this October. (For specific showtimes, click the above link.)

  • "The Exorcist: Believer": Now showing daily 
  • "The Nun II": Now showing daily
  • "Saw X": Now showing daily

The Milky Way Drive-In

For a truly classic creepy night out, journey to the Milky Way for a throwback drive-in experience under the stars, with movies that'll have your eyes hiding under your hands.

This year's Fright Nights lineup – running Thursdays through Sundays in October – includes a little creepiness for everyone. Looking for kid-friendly creepiness? "Beetlejuice," "Hotel Transylvania" and the new "Haunted Mansion" are on the matinee. A gorehound sniffing out the newest in nastiness? "Evil Dead Rise" will splatter across the screen on Friday, Oct. 20. A fan of the freaky classics? "Scream" and "The Sixth Sense" will make their frightening returns. And thrilled by the latest chills? Recent favorites like "M3GAN," "Annabelle Comes Home," "Scream VI" and "A Quiet Place Part II" will all haunt the ballpark. There's even "Midsommar" for those who prefer their AAAHHHS! a little artsier. 

Check out tickets and rules for the drive-in right here.

  • Thursday, Oct. 19 – "Scream" and "Don't Breathe" at 6:30 p.m. (double feature)
  • Friday, Oct. 20 – "Beetlejuice" at 6:30 p.m.; "Evil Dead Rise" at 9:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 – "Monsters University" at 5 p.m.; "Scream VI" at 7:30 p.m.; "Candyman" at 10:15 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 22 – "Hotel Transylvania" at 5 p.m.; "A Quiet Place Part II" at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 26 – "It" and "Midsommar" at 6:30 p.m. (double feature)
  • Friday, Oct. 27 – "The Addams Family" at 6:30 p.m.; "Annabelle Comes Home" at 9:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28 – "Coco" at 5 p.m.; "M3GAN" at 7:30 p.m.; "Cocaine Bear" at 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 29 – "Haunted Mansion" at 5 p.m.; "The Sixth Sense" at 7:30 p.m.
Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.