Is there anything better than Halloween season?
Sure, here at Polygon we cover horror year-round. We have our rolling lists of the best horror movies you can watch at home and the best horror movies on Netflix that are updated every month of the year.
But even for year-round horror fans, Halloween is a special time of year.
For the past two years, Polygon has put together a Halloween Countdown calendar, offering a Halloween-friendly movie or TV show available to watch at home every day of October. We’re delighted to bring that back once again, with 31 spooky selections to keep the mood going all month long.
Every day for the entire month of October, we’ll add a new recommendation to this Countdown and tell you where you can watch it. So curl up on the couch, dim the lights, and grab some popcorn for a terrifying and entertaining host of Halloween surprises.
Oct. 1: Audition (1999)
In Audition, Takashi Miike’s 1999 psychological horror-thriller, love is a consensual fiction. Years after losing his wife to a terminal illness, widower Shigeharu Aoyama is urged by his son to get back out in the world and find someone. Aoyama agrees to a proposal by his friend, a film producer, to take part in an audition for a nonexistent film in order to find a potential bride from the candidates. His search ultimately leads him to Asami Yamazaki, a beautiful former ballerina with a murky past.
As Aoyama grows closer to his new love interest, he finds himself caught deeper and deeper in a web of intrigue that threatens to tear him apart emotionally, psychologically, and yes — even physically. There is something dark inside Asami, yes, but there is a latent darkness inside of Aoyama too, arguably even darker. The only difference is that Asami has embraced that darkness and made it her own.
Miike’s film holds its cards relatively close to its chest for most of its run time, unspooling its tightly wound mystery like garrote wire before peeling back its skin of meet-cute artifice to reveal a pulsing mass of horrors roiling beneath. The film descends into a macabre fugue state of assumptions, misdirections, and cinematic sleights of hand, with dreams that feel almost real set against a reality too terrifying to be anything but. In the end, though, these are just words. Only pain can be trusted. —TE
Audition is available to stream on Arrow Video and Hi-Yah!, for free with ads on Tubi, and for free on Kanopy with a library card. It is also available for digital rental or purchase on Vudu and Apple.