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The Nerd's Watch: The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Streaming in October

If you missed Terminator Dark Fate last year, it’s coming to streaming.
If you missed Terminator Dark Fate last year, it’s coming to streaming.
Photo: Paramount

Viewers are turning to streaming entertainment more than ever thanks to the global pandemic—the plethora of services can serve as a much-needed escape. At the start of each month, most streamers do a little shuffle, adding new movies and taking some away, and io9 is here to help with your decision making.

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Welcome to The Nerd’s Watch, our monthly column where we curate the most interesting sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies coming to the biggest streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ are all ready for October with lots of spooky content and more, so let’s get to it.

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Netflix

Superman Returns...to streaming.
Superman Returns...to streaming.
Photo: Warner Bros.

Available October 1

Ghost Rider - It still feels otherworldly that audiences were blessed with a movie where Nicolas Cage played Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider. The movie kind of stinks, but at the same time, it’s a Marvel movie where Cage rides around with a flaming skull for a head.

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Her - One of the most intriguing sci-fi movies in recent years, Spike Jonze’s Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with an AI, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. A beautiful, complex movie that’s worth revisiting, even if you’ve already seen it.

House of 1,000 Corpses - What happens when rock star Rob Zombie gets behind a movie camera? Well, House of 1,000 Corpses. A violent horror movie that launched the musician’s very successful film career. (Also on Hulu)

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople - Cheating here because this film isn’t sci-fi or anything, but if you’ve come to love the work of director Taika Waititi as we have, and are excited to see what’s next from him (ahem: Thor and Star Wars), you’ve gotta see this amazing, hilarious, personal film he made in 2016.

Poseidon - Yes, Hollywood remade The Poseidon Adventure in 2006. You probably forgot about it because it’s rather forgettable. On the other hand, it’s a big-budget disaster movie starring Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss. If you forgot about it, it’ll be like watching it again for the first time.

Superman Returns - To Netflix! Look, this movie has more problems than you probably even remember. It was directed by Bryan Singer, stars Kevin Spacey, catch the drift? However, it’s an above-average Superman movie that uses John Williams’ original score so at least you can put it on in the background.

Troy - This is Sparta! Wait. No. It’s Troy, the big-budget adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Sean Bean. The cast is stacked, so while the movie isn’t great, there’s no doubt it’s noteworthy.

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WarGames - While the technology in this near 40-year-old film has obviously dated considerably, the idea of technology almost starting nuclear war feels as pertinent today as it did then. That’s one of many reasons this sharp Matthew Broderick film remains excellent.

Available October 2

Vampires vs. The Bronx - In this Netflix original film, vampires invade the Bronx and neighborhood kids join forces to defeat them. It sounds like an American Attack the Block but with vampires instead of aliens. Um, yes please.

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Available October 7

Hubie Halloween - Adam Sandler is joined by Kevin James, Kenan Thompson, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Noah Schnapp, Steve Buscemi, and Maya Rudolph in a comedy about an unconventional Halloween fan forced to save his town from evil powers.

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Available October 9

Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 2: Rio - The second season of Netflix’s animated Fast and Furious spinoff follows the franchise’s roots by taking the story to Brazil.

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The Haunting of Bly Manor - It’s baaaaaack. The follow-up series to the incredible Haunting of Hill House uses some of the same cast and the same basic idea (haunted house) to tell a whole new story. We cannot wait.

Available October 15

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting - There it is. Right in the title. A Netflix original movie (directed by Rachel Talalay) about babysitters who are also monster hunters. It’s based on a book series by Joe Ballarini so it could be a potential franchise starter.

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Batman: The Killing Joke - Odd to see this coming to Netflix and not HBO Max, but nevertheless it’s the animated adaptation of one of the most famous (and controversial) Joker and Batman stories of all time.

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Available October 16

Unfriended - What could be scarier than a group of friends who start getting scary messages from the account of a dead friend? Nothing.

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Available October 18

ParaNorman - The stop motion animated films Laika makes are just pure magic. While they all have their merits, ParaNorman is one of the best. It follows a boy who can communicate with ghosts and uses that ability to save his town. Really great stuff.

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Available October 19

Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 2 - There’s no mystery to when you get six new episodes of Unsolved Mysteries. It’s on October 19.

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Available October 22

Cadaver - A Norwegian psychological horror film about a post-apocalyptic world in which a family gets drawn into what they think is a good situation. Watch a play, get some food. But this play is not normal and people start to die.

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Available October 23

Over the Moon - Oscar-winning filmmaker Glen Keane (Dear Basketball) tells an animated story of a young girl who builds a rocketship to prove that a mythic goddess lives on the moon. The voice cast includes Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Margaret Cho, and Sandra Oh.

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Available October 28

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight - In this Polish film, a group of kids is sent to rehab because they can’t get off their phones. Little do they know the rehab may kill them with a supernatural force.

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Available October 30

His House - A couple who escape a horrible socio-political situation in South Sudan think they’re safe when they get to the English countryside. They are not. Something is haunting them.

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Amazon

Species is coming to Amazon.
Species is coming to Amazon.
Photo: MGM
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Available October 1

30 Days Of Night - Josh Hartnett (remember him?) starts in this comic book adaptation about an Alaskan town being invaded by vampires just as 30 days of darkness begins. Hence the name.

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A Knight’s Tale - You thought Heath Ledger was good in The Dark Knight? Well, then you haven’t seen the charming, exciting, hilariously cheeky A Knight’s Tale. Or maybe you have. He’s great in both.

Battlefield Earth - John Travolta’s awful Scientology parable creeps its way to streaming. This is truly a “crack open a beer and laugh hysterically at everything” type of movie

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John Carpenter’s Vampires - In the pantheon of John Carpenter movies, is Vampires near the bottom? Yes. Is the pantheon of John Carpenter movies still absolutely awesome? Also, yes.

Quantum Of Solace - In the mood for a Daniel Craig James Bond film, but a bad one? I give you: Quantum of Solace!

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Spaceballs - I’ve written about Spaceballs on streaming a bunch as it kind of jumps back and forth across services. If you haven’t seen it, just watch it. It’s Mel Brooks riffing on Star Wars and it’s the freaking best. (Also on Hulu)

Species - Species was one of those movies I saw growing up, thought was pretty cool, then just marveled at how the company kept churning out sequel after sequel. What did I miss in this erotic alien thriller? Maybe it’s time to find out. (Also on Hulu)

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The Da Vinci Code - Watch Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou solve puzzles all over Paris in this adaptation of the super-popular Dan Brown book, directed by Ron Howard.

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The Grudge 3 - Not the first one, not the second one, the third one. From 2009. No, I didn’t know the horror franchise went that far either.

The Mask Of Zorro - Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in this excellent reinvention of the iconic swashbuckling character that’s rather underrated when it comes to adventure movies.

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The Mothman Prophecies - Is it weird that there’s a supernatural thriller from 2002 starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney? It shouldn’t be, but talk about one person on the way up and one kind of gracefully going away. Oh, the movie. Yeah, it’s not bad.

Available October 6

Black Box and The Lie - This is two films, sharing one spot, because they’re the first of the new Welcome to the Blumhouse franchise put on by Amazon. Read more about them, and the other movies, here.

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Available October 9

Terminator: Dark Fate - Okay, that’s it. No more excuses. It’s been a year and the world has all but forgotten about what, in our opinion, is the best Terminator film since the second. It kicks unholy amounts of ass, is super smart and super sweet, and it’s a shame we won’t see what happens next to its characters. (Also on Hulu. Like we said, no more excuses!)

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Available October 13

Evil Eye and Nocturne - Movies three and four in the Welcome to the Blumhouse series. These look really great. Check out the trailer here.

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Available October 28

The Craft: Legacy - Surprise! The trailer for Blumhouse and Zoe Lister-Jones’ continuation of the ‘90s classic just dropped. Thanks to most theaters still being closed, this is coming straight to streaming.

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Available October 30

Truth Seekers - An Amazon original series about ghosting hunting starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg? I mean, come on now. We are so stoked for this one. Fingers crossed it lives up to the potential.

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Hulu

You know, he’s had it.
You know, he’s had it.
Photo: New Line
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Available October 1

Blade, Blade 2, Blade: Trinity - If you’re in the mood to watch three movies where Wesley Snipes owns the freaking screen as a badass vampire killer, well, you are in luck. The first three Blade films are coming to Hulu.

Deep Blue Sea - Killer sharks. Samuel L. Jackson. Thomas Jane. An amazing LL Cool J song. If you watch the ridiculous Deep Blue Sea, odds are you’ll find something to enjoy about it.

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The Eye - A blind woman is given the ability to see again after getting a cornea transplant. Unfortunately, her new eyes also see very, very scary things that aren’t actually there.

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Fallen - Denzel Washington stars in this wildly underrated supernatural procedural about a cop chasing a dead murderer who passes his spirit around into other people’s bodies. Very creepy, very cool, very worth watching.

Hostel and Hostel: Part II - These Eli Roth films helped establish the “torture porn” horror subgenre and you’ll know why when you see them. Not only are they absolutely disgusting, the anticipation for that also makes them very scary.

Interview With the Vampire - That Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt starred in this adaptation of the popular Anne Rice novel is a modern miracle. Such huge stars, such weird, wonderful material. The film was a hit upon release and since then, adoration for it has only grown.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - When I think about this one I don’t even think about it being a Mad Max movie. I think about all the Tina Turner music and videos. Oh and her outfits. And the Thunderdome. So yeah, it’s memorable for a lot of reasons.

Snakes On A Plane - One of the all-time great movie titles, and a campy thriller to boot, comes to streaming. It’s just Samuel L. Jackson on a plane that’s infested with snakes. Simple, easy, B-movie fun.

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Wayne’s World 2 - The fact that Wayne and Garth create a concert with the help of the ghost of Jim Morrison makes this an odd cross-section of comedy and genre. At least in our minds.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet - Nothing in Romeo and Juliet is sci-fi in any way, but Baz Luhrmann’s take on it is a gorgeous fantasy.

Available October 2

Monsterland: Complete Season 1 - We’ve already reviewed this one, it sounds very cool.

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Available October 7

Books of Blood - A Hulu original film based on a Clive Barker book series of the same name. However, while the books are anthologies of horror stories, this weaves a few of those together into a single, scary tale.

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Available October 8

Scream 4 - Here’s one I, personally, am excited about. I love the Scream movies but really didn’t care for the fourth installment when it came out. Since then, so many people have told me how much they love it that it’s totally time to revisit.

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Available October 23

Bad Hair - After a successful premiere at Sundance, the new film from Justin Simien features an all-star cast in the story of a Black woman who gets a new hairstyle that has a mind of its own and tries to kill her.

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Disney+

Now this, right here, is the way.
Now this, right here, is the way.
Photo: Disney+
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Available October 1

Maleficent - Like many franchise films, the first one of the series is usually good. Such is the case with Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, which spins off Sleeping Beauty’s villain into her own story. There was a sequel but we’re not talking about that.

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Available October 9

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - You may also know it by its other name “Wait, they made a third Chronicles of Narnia movie?” It’s the sequel to “Wait, they made a second Chronicles of Narnia movie?”

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X2 - The best X-Men movie? Probably? It’s certainly in the conversation. And very cool that it’s now on Disney+ with the evergrowing X-Men population there.

Available October 23

Once Upon a Snowman - And the honor of first short film ever to be in the Nerd’s Watch goes to this brand new Disney Animation film starring Olaf from Frozen.

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Available October 30

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice - Talk about random. I totally forgot about this movie too. It’s a mega-budget, loose adaptation of Fantasia (?!?) starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel. I saw this in theaters and soon, I can rewatch it on streaming.

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The Mandalorian Season 2 - This is the way. We are beyond excited.

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For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

However, it’s an above-average Superman movie that uses John Williams’ original score so at least you can put it on in the background.

It genuinely doesn’t even have that going for it. I’ve rewatched it a handful of times over the years since it was released, hoping that I could see it from a different, less fanboyish perspective and judge it on its own merits, as I have been able to do with many other movies.

I can’t. It’s a bad film: a badly-paced film, a badly-written film, and a badly-executed film. And the stories of Bryan Singer’s lack of professionalism (I don’t mean this as a euphemism for his sexual assault allegations; I mean his behavior as it directly pertained to the making of this film) suggest that it was a doomed film. I honestly don’t understand how there aren’t fifty different video essays explaining why this is a bad Superman film.