Horror films hit theaters in October for Halloween

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The Independent Culture

With the annual ritual of Halloween on October 31, fans of the holiday seek out staged haunted houses and kids select costumes to "trick or treat" through neighborhoods, collecting candy. At cinemas, a spate of horror films and thrillers fill screens.

From scary to spooky, films focus on blood and mayhem to celebrate the occasion. Other than the unrated I Spit on Your Grave slasher picture already yanked from theaters for being too violent, this month finds several releases poised to terrify moviegoers, beginning next weekend with Clint Eastwood's Hereafter and Paranormal Activity 2.

Clint Eastwood directs Matt Damon and Cecile De France in this tame drama with a supernatural theme centered on three people - a reluctant psychic, a French journalist and a London schoolboy - who are touched by death in different ways. Opens wide across North America October 22 and releases in January in Europe.

Paranormal Activity 2
The sequel to last year's surprise low-budget blockbuster hit follows a family plagued with "break-ins" to their home who set up security cameras but discover sinister events may not be burglary. Directed by Tod Williams ( The Door in the Floor) with the same documentary style and featuring the return of actress Katie Featherston. Opens worldwide October 21/22, except for Greece, Germany and Argentina in November, and Malaysia in January 2011.

Saw 3D
The seventh installment of the successful and frightening franchise is the final chapter in the series, and comes at audiences in 3D. A group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of a self-help guru and fellow survivor who reveals dark secrets and more terror. Tobin Bell plays Jigsaw again, with the return of Cary Elwes, Betsy Russell and Costas Mandylor. Opens worldwide October 29, with select countries in November, and Germany and Singapore in December.

Let Me In
The new next-door neighbor is a mysterious young vampire, played by Chloe Moretz ( Kick-Ass), who befriends a bullied boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee ( The Road). Directed by Matt Reeves ( Cloverfield) and also starring Richard Jenkins. Opens this month in France, Australia, Spain and Hong Kong. Then releases in the UK, Netherlands and Singapore in November.

Case 39
Starring Renee Zellweger, this horror movie follows a social worker fighting to save a girl who may be more dangerous than expected. From German director Christian Alvart, it also stars Ian McShane ( Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides) and Bradley Cooper ( The Hangover). Already released around the world, it plays this month in the US.

My Soul to Take
From director Wes Craven, who created The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, the story follows a serial killer back in his hometown to stalk those born on the day he was supposed to die. Already released in Russia and Turkey, opening in Mexico and Spain in November and South America in January 2011. http://www.iamrogue.com/mysoultotake