you want controversy? Look no further than the movie theater in October, when The Birth of a Nation premieres following both a stellar debut at this January’s Sundance Film Festival and then a whole mess of bad press thanks to revelations that writer-director-star Nate Parker, as a college student, was tried (and, ultimately, acquitted) of raping a fellow classmate. If that wasn’t enough to make Parker’s directorial debut the hot-button talk of the fall movie season, his film—about Nat Turner’s 1831 slave revolt—will surely do that. And did I mention that there are also lots of other movies worth your time and attention this month? Better start planning your multiplex schedule, because it’s going to be a busy October.
The Girl on the Train (Oct. 7)
Based on last year’s best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins, this thriller concerns a young woman (Emily Blunt) who, while riding on the train to work, comes to believe she’s seen something shady occur in one of the homes by which she passes—and, shortly thereafter, finds herself at the center of a tangled mystery.
The Birth of a Nation (Oct. 7)
Nate Parker’s mired-in-controversy historical drama recounts the violent 1831 slave uprising led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia.
Voyage of Time (Oct. 7)
While a feature-length version will eventually make its way to theaters, Terrence Malick’s trippy, philosophical rumination on the history of time will first be released in its 40-minute IMAX version this month, with narration from Brad Pitt.
Phantasm: Ravager (Oct. 7)
The Tall Man (the late Angus Scrimm) makes one final bid for world domination—with the aid of his reanimated-corpse dwarf minions and his deadly flying spheres—in this fifth and final installment in the cult horror franchise. (A remastered version of the 1979 original Phantasm also hits theaters the same day.)
The Greasy Strangler (Oct. 7)
A deviant and demented indie that premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, this comedy whatsit concerns, among other disgusting things, a greasy food-loving wacko covers himself in oil and, per the title, strangles people.
Shin Godzilla (Oct. 11)
Tokyo once again finds itself in radioactive monster trouble when the beast rises from the sea in this Japanese reboot of the classic franchise from original studio Toho.
The Accountant (Oct. 14)
Ben Affleck is a super-genius who uses his amazing intellect to crunch numbers as an accountant by day—and shoot people as an assassin-for-hire by night—in this thriller from director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior).
Kevin Hart: What Now? (Oct. 14)
Kevin Hart’s stand-up routine gets the concert-film treatment with this studio release, which also features scripted interludes involving the star in a James Bond-style scenario alongside Halle Berry.
Christine (Oct. 14)
Rebecca Hall is already getting award-season attention for her role in this fact-based drama as Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s TV news reporter who committed suicide live on the air.
The Handmaiden (Oct. 14)
You’re unlikely to see a more extreme erotic thriller this year than this South Korean import from master filmmaker Park Chan-wook, about a con man’s convoluted scheme to marry a wealthy woman and then commit her to a mental hospital so he can inherit her riches.
31 (Oct. 21)
Rob Zombie’s hellish-hillbillies-on-acid nightmare concerns a group of nomadic carnies who are kidnapped by a bunch of raving lunatics and then forced to battle monstrous killer clowns.