11 best movies new to Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max & Hulu: October 2021


It’s finally October, and you know what that means: Halloween and pumpkin spice season. We’re finally in peak-Fall weather, with crunchy leaves, weather coats, hot beverages, and appropriately creepy decorations. We also have a fresh new batch of movies to stream this month across Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Criterion Channel.

We’ve got some spooktacular new movies to watch in October with the fabled 1931 Spanish-language version of Dracula and Jennifer’s Body arriving on Criterion Channel, 1990’s Flatliners on Hulu, and the The Invisible Man remake on HBO Max. If you happen to be in the mood for something less seasonal, we’ve got plenty of other great picks to fill blind spots, from 2020’s Emma to From Russia With Love.

Read on for 11 of the best movies new to streaming services in October.


A Knight’s Tale

heath ledger in a knight’s tale

Image: Sony Pictures Releasing

A Knight’s Tale was a bit of a flop in theaters, but has gone on to become a cult classic. Heath Ledger drives the narrative forward, opposite a smoldering Shannyn Sossamon, who are both backed by a curiously modern soundtrack. For my money all eyes should be on Paul Bettany, who just goes ham in every scene as a pathological version of Geoffrey Chaucer. —Charlie Hall

A Knight’s Tale is streaming on Netflix.

Dracula (Spanish-Language Version)

Carlos Villarias as Conde Dracula in Dracula (Spanish Language Version)

Image: Universal Pictures

Polygon’s Chris Plante wrote about the 1931 Spanish-language adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for last year’s Halloween Advent Calendar: a sexier, faster paced version shot on the same sets as the original Tod Browning film with stunning lead performance courtesy of Carlos Villarías as the Count himself. The film has been notoriously difficult to find in the years since its release and only recently made available to purchase on home video. As part of its announced slate of October streaming choices, Criterion Channel has added the Spanish-language version of Dracula along with several other classic Universal horror films such as 1933’s The Invisible Man, 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, and 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon. If you haven’t seen this masterpiece of early horror cinema, you owe it to yourself to make time to watch it this month!

Dracula (Spanish-Language Version) is streaming on Criterion Channel.

Emma

Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy) eats a berry as she stands next to Harriet (Mia Goth).

Photo: Focus Features

The 2020 version of Emma isn’t just decadent pastel gowns and curling ringlets of hair, it’s also an adaptation that really interrogates Emma being the mean girl she rightfully is. The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy does a masterful job at portraying the antiheroine, a bored rich girl who likes to play matchmaker with everyone in her community and is acutely aware of social dynamics. It gives this adaptation a bit of an edge that some lose, but still has the sizzling chemistry between Emma and Mr. Knightley as they butt heads. Emma does grow as a character, but not before some delicious misunderstandings. —Petrana Radulovic

Emma is streaming on HBO Max.

Flatliners

The strangely boring 2017 flop Flatliners was just a pale shadow of the 1990 original, about a group of ambitious med students (the all-star team of Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt) who kill and revive each other to study “near death” experiences, with horror-movie results. Directed by Joel Schumacher at the height of his “colored lighting filters equal drama” stage, Flatliners is stylish and nervy in a way that boosts it above its cheesy premise and equally cheesy execution: Everything from the concept to the acting is over the top, in a way that makes for a joyously goofy watch. It’s also authentically creepy! —Tasha Robinson

Flatliners is streaming on Hulu.

From Russia With Love

James Bond may be an old fashioned spy with outdated morals, but Sean Connery’s piercing glances and disarming charm are really do make this 58-year-old action movie work in 2021. Based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, the movie finds 007 going toe to toe with SPECTRE and aiding a SMERSH operative defect to the West. But Bond winds up ensnared in conspiracy, and fights his way through trains, boat chases, and helicopter attacks as he and Tatiana Romanova to take down SPECTRE. A bigger and more trope-filled movie than the true kickoff to the franchise, Dr. No, From Russia with Love is a prime example of people of the era fell hard for Fleming’s character, and why everyone from Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig looked back to Connery in this movie as an example of a perfectly calibrated action performance. —Matt Patches

From Russia With Love is streaming on Hulu.

Rushmore

Image: Buena Vista Pictures

If you’re revving up to see Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch later this fall, watch or rewatch Rushmore — a genuine modern classic. The bizarre character study that is somehow deranged and heartwarming at the same time. It’s Jason Schwartzman’s breakout role, and perhaps one of the best Bill Murray performances of all time. It’s also on our list of the most ‘pumpkin spice’ movies of all time. —CH

Rushmore is streaming on Hulu.

Jennifer’s Body

Megan Fox as Jennifer in Jennifer’s Body, crouched on top of a chair like a demon out of Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting The Nightmare.

Photo: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Gory without being gratuitous, sexy without being degrading, empowering without being pandering, Jennifer’s Body is a hell (ha ha) of a good time and somehow just the movie I, as someone who went to high school in that era and is still unpacking all the mixed messages about female friendships and empowerment packaged to me then, needed to see this weekend. —PR

Jennifer’s Body is streaming on Criterion Channel.

Kagemusha

Image: The Criterion Collection

Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epic Kagemusha is a beautiful, gut-wrenching story of a lowly thief who is spared from execution and hired to act at the body double of a dying lord of a great clan. As the titular kagemusha (“shadow warrior”), the thief must convince the allies and enemies of daimyo Takeda Shingen that his clan still has a capable leader and preserve the clan’s deception. (You may notice some similarities to Ivan Reitman’s 1993 political comedy Dave starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, but Kagemusha is a much more serious affair.) The gorgeous Kagemusha features some of Kurosawa’s most impressive military battles, worth sticking through its three-hour runtime. —Michael McWhertor

Kagemusha is streaming on Criterion Channel.

Kill Bill

Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, Beatrix poses with her sword in Kill Bill: Volume 1

Andrew Cooper/Miramax Films

Kill Bill: Volume 1 is 100 different movies spliced together into one brilliant, messy, supremely entertaining whole, held together by a bottomless well of borrowed panache and an unstoppable sense of forward momentum. Every cutaway, flashback, and tangent is in service of getting us to the final conflict: O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) vs. Uma Thurman’s unnamed Bride. While this leaves Volume 2 saddled with all the burdens of plot and character development, it frees up the first half for Tarantino to work at the height of his stylistic powers.

Every neat trick Tarantino’s ever noticed in a movie, or fight scene he’s loved, or weird choice he’s wondered if he could get away with, is on display in Kill Bill: Volume 1. It’s like flipping through movie channels at midnight: a Jackie Chan-style fight — where glass explodes on contact and cast iron skillets beat guns and knives every time — is followed by a hospital scene coated with grindhouse grime, and capped off by the antagonist’s anime origin story (produced by the outstanding IG Productions anime studio). Then, in a climax that attempts to outdo everything that came before it, the movie’s final brawl switches from color, to black and white, to silhouetted shadows on a blue background, and back to color for a snowy showdown. It’s dizzying, and disorienting, and perfect. —Austen Goslin

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2 is streaming on HBO Max.

The Untouchables

Andy Garcia, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, and Charles Martin Smith in The Untouchables

Image: Paramount Pictures

Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables stars Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, a Federal Agent tasked with taking down the notorious bootlegger Al Capone and his criminal empire. With several offers on the police force secretly on Capone’s payroll, Ness must recruit police trainee George Stone (Andy Garcia), accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), and veteran officer Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) into a special task force to take the fight directly to Capone and his cronies. The action is exceptional, with a fantastic and memorable shootout filmed in Chicago’s Union station and scene-stealing performances of Costner, Connery, and Robert De Niro as the cigar-chompin’ and sneering Al Capone himself. —TE

The Untouchables is streaming on Hulu.

The Invisible Man

Elisabeth Moss in the shower with a mysterious handprint on the fogged-up door in The Invisible Man

Image: Universal Pictures

Upgrade director Leigh Whannell’s contemporary remake of The Invisible Man stars Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Cecilia Kass, a woman who escapes from her abusive and wealthy ex-boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), only to learn two weeks later that he has apparently taken his own life. Left with $5 million, Cecilia attempts to rebuild her life but nonetheless doubts that Adrian is truly dead. Stalked by an unknown presence, Cecilia’s demeanor begins to unravels as she grows increasingly more paranoid and terrified. Is there someone truly preying on Cecilia, or is it all just in her head? Whannell’s cranks up the psychological aspect of the original story before pulling off some genuinely grisly and impressive physical horror in the film’s latter half. —TE

The Invisible Man is streaming on HBO Max.



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