Entertainment

Halloween TV: The 2018 guide to the holiday’s best scary movies and kids specials

(Clockwise): Jamie Lee Curtis from the “Halloween” franchise, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Beetlejuice.”
(Clockwise): Jamie Lee Curtis from the “Halloween” franchise, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Beetlejuice.” Universal, United Feature Syndicate, Warner Bros.

We’ve picked some of the best scary movies and TV shows airing in prime time between now and Halloween. There’s fun stuff for the kids and terrifying movies for the grownups.

Saturday, Oct. 20

“Michael Jackson’s Halloween” (8 p.m., CBS) — In this 2017 animated special featuring the hits of Michael Jackson, two millennials find themselves at a mysterious hotel on Halloween night, and they go on a magical adventure of personal discovery.

“Christine” (8 p.m., AMC) — Based on one of Stephen King’s classic novels, “Christine” is the story of a restored 1958 Plymouth Fury that takes on a life of its own and begins terrorizing people who get in its way. It’s from 1983.

“Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” (8:15 p.m., Freeform) — An all-star party from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery honors this cult classic film’s milestone anniversary. The special will have interviews with the film’s cast and crew members, including stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker.

“Monsters Inc.” (8:50 p.m., Disney) — In this animated kids movie, John Goodman voices a blue behemoth and Billy Crystal is his short, one-eyed assistant, and the two work in a factory that exists to scare children.

“Nightmare on Elm Street” (9 p.m., Paramount) — In this 1984 classic, Freddy Krueger, a badly burned boogeyman with razors for fingers, haunts and kills teenagers in their dreams.

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(L-R): Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker in the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” Walt Disney

Sunday, Oct. 21

“Hocus Pocus” (7:40 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1993 film, Halloween trick-or-treaters in Salem, Mass., come face-to-face with three witch sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) from the past.

“Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts” (8 p.m., Hallmark) — This new two-hour “Good Witch” installment has Cassie searching for a precious family heirloom when it goes missing from the History of Halloween museum exhibit in town.

“The Mummy” (8 p.m., TCM) — This spooky 1959 film follows British archaeologists as they defile the tomb of an Egyptian princess (Yvonne Furneaux) and her buried-alive lover (Christopher Lee).

“The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror” (8 p.m., Fox) — In the 29th “Treehouse of Horror” special, Springfield is overrun by plant body-snatchers, Mr. Burns opens a retirement home with some Jurassic upgrades, and Lisa finally snaps.

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Springfield is overrun by plant body-snatchers in the 29th installment of “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror.” FOX

Monday, Oct. 22

“The Strange Life of Dr. Frankenstein” (8 p.m., TCM) — A new one-hour documentary that examines 19-year-old Mary Shelley’s novel and its eternal theme: Man’s quest for the secret of life. It repeats at 11 p.m. after an airing of the 1939 film “Son of Frankenstein.”

“Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (8 p.m., AMC) — As we gear up for this year’s “40 Years Later” version, revisit this 1998 film starring Jamie Lee Curtis as the woman who has been traumatized for two decades and learns her murderous brother has returned for her.

“The Witches of Eastwick” (8:20 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1987 film, three witchy New England women (Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon) innocently conjure up the perfect man (Jack Nicholson), who is much more than he seems.

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(L-R): Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1987 movie “The Witches of Eastwick.” Warner Bros.

“Halloween Baking Championship” (9 p.m., Food) — In the fifth episode of the season, bakers enter the fortune-telling tent at the Circus of Dread in a pre-heat challenge, then enter the Creepy Clown Hall of Fame in the main heat.

Tuesday, Oct. 23

“Curse of Chucky” (8 p.m., AMC) — This 2013 “Child’s Play” sequel has the killer doll infiltrating the family of a woman, her sister and her young niece. “Cult of Chucky” follows at 10:05.

“The Addams Family” (8:50 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1991 movie, Gomez (Raul Julia), Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and their household fall prey to a scam involving long-lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd).

“Dead of Winter: The Donner Party” (9 p.m., Weather Channel) — In April 1846, George Donner led eight families from Springfield, Ill., to California in search of a better life. It didn’t end well.

Wednesday, Oct. 24

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (8 p.m., AMC) — Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln, who goes on a 45-year quest to avenge the death of his mother at the hands of a vampire, and to eliminate the undead scourge from the earth. From 2012.

“Hotel Transylvania” (9 p.m., Freeform) — In this 2012 animated kid flick, Dracula (Adam Sandler) invites the world’s most infamous monsters to his lavish resort to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday.

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Adam Sandler voices Dracula in the 2012 animated feature “Hotel Transylvania.” SONY PICTURES

“Mark of the Vampire” (9:15 p.m., TCM) — Bela Lugosi and Lionel Barrymore star in this 1935 film about an elderly criminologist who devises a unique scheme to unmask the killer behind a series of gruesome murders.

Thursday, Oct. 25

“Beetlejuice” (8 p.m., Paramount) — A ghoul (Michael Keaton) helps a newly dead couple (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) haunt the tasteless new owners (including teenaged Winona Ryder) of their beloved home. This is a great one. From 1988.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” (8 p.m., FX) — In the 2015 sequel, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is concerned that his half-human grandson isn’t showing his vampire side, so he and his friends put him through a “monster-in-training” boot camp.

“Trick or Treat” (8 p.m., AMC) — Interwoven stories show that some traditions are best not forgotten, as the residents of a small town face real ghosts on Halloween.

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Eddie Murphy in the 2003 movie “The Haunted Mansion.” Walt Disney

“The Haunted Mansion” (9 p.m., Freeform) — In this 2003 family film, Eddie Murphy plays a real estate agent whose family encounters ghosts in an old New Orleans house on a remote bayou.

“The Cabin in the Woods” (9 p.m., Syfy) — Two unseen scientists manipulate the horrors at a backwoods cabin inhabited by a group of unsuspecting college friends (Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly and Anna Hutchinson).

Friday, Oct. 26

“Hocus Pocus” (6:40 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1993 film, Halloween trick-or-treaters in Salem, Mass., come face to face with three witch sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) from the past. The “Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” follows at 10 p.m.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (8 p.m., ABC) — In this 1966 animated classic, Linus waits in the pumpkin patch for the elusive Halloween symbol to appear. We also get a bonus cartoon, “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown,” which has Linus running for class president.

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The classic animated Halloween-themed PEANUTS special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. 1966 United Feature Syndicate ©1966 United Feature Syndicate

“Leprechaun” (8 p.m., Paramount) — An Irish fairy (Warwick Davis) escapes from a crate and goes on a gory quest for his 100 stolen coins. From 1993.

“Hellraiser” (8:30 p.m., AMC) — A puzzle box summons the Cenobites, destroying an entire family, in this 1987 horror film.

Saturday, Oct. 27

“Friday the 13th Marathon” (AMC) — A 24-hour marathon of this classic 1980 slasher film, starts at 5 p.m. In the movie, the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake means murder and mayhem for a group of sexually promiscuous counselors at the hands of Jason.

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In the classic 1980 slasher film “Friday the 13th,” the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake brings murder and mayhem at the hands of Jason. Paramount

“Monsters University” (6:50 p.m., Freeform) — In this 2013 “Monsters, Inc.” sequel, we see the origin of the rivalry between Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), which started back in their college days.

“Zombie at 17” (8 p.m., Lifetime) — In this new Lifetime movie, a 17-year-old girl begins exhibiting strange symptoms and realizes she’s turning into a zombie. Desperate to find a cure, she turns to a loner who claims to be an expert in all things paranormal.

“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (8 p.m., TCM) — A London woman (Gene Tierney) falls in love with a sea captain’s ghost (Rex Harrison) haunting her cottage by the sea.

“Stephen King’s It” (8 p.m., Paramount) — Seven friends engage in a struggle with the demon they first encountered 30 years earlier in their Maine hometown. This is the 1990 TV film with Richard Thomas, Seth Green, John Ritter, Harry Anderson and Tim Reid, not the more recent theatrical version. It’s still creepy.

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In the 1990 TV movie “Stephen King’s It,” seven friends struggle with a demon they first encountered 30 years earlier in their Maine hometown. Lorimar

“Hotel Transylvania” (9:20 p.m., Freeform) — In this 2012 animated kid flick, Dracula (Adam Sandler) invites the world’s most infamous monsters to his lavish resort to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday.

“The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (10 p.m., TCM) — A meek Kansas typesetter (Don Knotts) who wants to be a reporter spends the night in a haunted house.

Sunday, Oct. 28

“The Mummy’s Shroud” (8 p.m., TCM) — In this 1967 film, an ancient Egyptian curse settles upon the doomed members of an early 20th-century archaeological expedition. “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” (1972) follows at 10.

“Halloween Wars” (9 p.m., Food) — In the season finale, the team that can best illustrate a terrifying world outbreak and the race for the antidote wins.

“Beetlejuice” (9 p.m., CMT) — A ghoul (Michael Keaton) helps a newly dead couple (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) haunt the tasteless new owners (including teenaged Winona Ryder) of their beloved home. This is a great one. From 1988.

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Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice in the 1988 film “Beetlejuice.” Warner Bros

“Hocus Pocus” (9:10 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1993 film, Halloween trick-or-treaters in Salem, Mass., come face to face with three witch sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) from the past. The “Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” follows at 10 p.m.

“Haunted Gingerbread Showdown” (10 p.m., Food) — Three winners return to compete in the finale as each chef must create the ultimate haunted house out of gingerbread if they want to take home the $25,000 grand prize.

Monday, Oct. 29

“Halloween Marathon” (AMC) — AMC runs a marathon of all of the “Halloween” movies this morning at 9 a.m. and it continues through Wednesday, Oct. 31. It starts with the 1978 John Carpenter original classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis, about the escaped maniac Michael Myers, who returns to his Illinois hometown to continue this bloody rampage. The marathon appears to include all of the sequels and even the 2007 remake.

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Jamie Lee Curtis stars in the “Halloween” franchise. Universal

“Ghostbusters” (8 p.m., FX) — This is the 2016 reboot of the classic “Ghostbusters” tale. In this one, Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon don proton packs for an epic battle with mischievous ghosts wreaking havoc in New York City.

“The Conjuring 2” (8 p.m., TNT) — This 2016 movie follows parnormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) in 1977 as they travel to north London to help a single mother (Frances O’Connor”) of four and her possessed daughter.

“Halloween Baking Championship” (9 p.m., Food) — In the finale, the bakers use the inspiration of a “skull man” to bring skull desserts to life in the pre-heat. For the main heat, they must create a nightmare cake based on common nightmare themes.

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (9:15 p.m., TCM) — This 1931 film stars Frederic March as the scientist whose experiments bring out a hideous side of his personality. March won an Oscar for his work.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (9:20 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1993 animated Tim Burton film, The Pumpkin King gives the yuletide season a touch of Halloween.

“A Very Wicked Halloween” (10 p.m., NBC) — The multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway musical celebrates 15 years on stage with a star-studded night of performances from original and current cast members — including hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel — as well as special guests.

Tuesday, Oct. 30

“Halloween Marathon” (AMC) — AMC’s marathon of all of the “Halloween” movies continues through Wednesday, Oct. 31. It features the 1978 John Carpenter original classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis, about the escaped maniac Michael Myers, who returns to his Illinois hometown to continue this bloody rampage. The marathon appears to include all of the sequels and even the 2007 remake starring Malcolm McDowell.

“The Ghost Chasers” (8 p.m., TCM) — The Bowery Boys are helped by a friendly apparition when a phony spiritualist invades the neighborhood in this 1951 film. “The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters” follows at 9:30.

“Toy Story of Terror” (8:30 p.m., Freeform) — When Woody, Buzz and the gang stop at a motel, one of them goes missing and the rest must figure out what is going on before they suffer the same fate in this 2013 animated special.

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The 1991 film “The Addams Family.” MGM

“The Addams Family” (9 p.m., Freeform) — In this 1991 movie, Gomez (Raul Julia), Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and their household fall prey to a scam involving long-lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd). Christina Ricci also stars.

“Once Upon a Halloween Night” (9 p.m., ID) — In this true-crime program, Richard Day and his family move to Tamarac, Fla., to make a fresh start, but all hell breaks loose on Halloween night after bad blood boils over between them and their new neighbors.

“Halloween” (9:30 p.m., AMC) — John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic about the escaped maniac Michael Myers, who returns to his Illinois hometown to continue this bloody rampage. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Tell Me A Story (CBS All Access) - This new series from New Bern’s own Kevin Williamson, available only on CBS’ streaming site, takes the world’s most beloved fairy tales and reimagines them as a dark and twisted psychological thriller. It’s set in modern-day New York City, and the first season will interweave “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Hansel and Gretel” into an epic and subversive tale of love, loss, greed, revenge and murder. Williamson is best known for his TV series “Dawson’s Creek,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream” and “The Following,” and the horror film “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Tonight’s premiere episode is a twist on the “Three Little Pigs” story. Subsequent episodes land each Thursday. Here’s all the info you need on how to watch “Tell Me A Story,” including how much it costs for CBS All Access and the platforms you can use to play it.

“Halloween Marathon” (AMC) — AMC’s marathon of all of the “Halloween” movies continues. It features the 1978 John Carpenter original classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis, about the escaped maniac Michael Myers, who returns to his Illinois hometown to continue this bloody rampage. The marathon appears to include all of the sequels and even the 2007 remake starring Malcolm McDowell.

“Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” (7:50 p.m., Freeform) — An all-star party from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery honors this cult classic film’s milestone anniversary. The special will have interviews with film’s cast and crew members, including stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. The original 1993 film follows at 8:50.

“Freddy vs. Jason” (8 p.m., Paramount) — In this 2003 film, Teens are caught in the middle of a battle between the razor-clawed Freddy (Robert Englund) and the masked killer Jason (Ken Kirzinger). Freddy’s original film, “Nightmare on Elm Street,” follows at 10 p.m.

Some programming details are provided by networks.

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