Poltergeist, BBC Two, 11.10pm

With a checklist of ingredients which includes jump-scares, creepy clown toys, children in peril and haunted televisions, it’s no surprise that Poltergeist is considered one of the all-time classic horror films – and no surprise either that it continues to influence 1980s-obsessed script writers and film-makers to this day. Any Stranger Things fans who haven’t seen it are in for a treat as it’s a clear influence on the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix smash, and even its production and after-life are shrouded in mystery and tragedy.

The poltergeist of the title afflicts the home of the Freeling family, who have recently moved into a new-build in a suburban Californian development called Cuesta Verde. Dad Steven (Craig T Nelson) is a salesman for the company which is building and selling the houses, his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams) is what was known in the 1980s as a housewife.

The trouble starts when the youngest of their three children, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), starts talking to the television static and then issues the chilling statement: “They’re here”. Who ‘they’ are eventually becomes clear but not before strange things start to happen around the house. Spoons bend and chairs move across the floor unbidden or stack themselves on the kitchen table. It’s all puzzling fun at first but when Carol Anne is sucked through a portal in her toy cupboard the jeopardy begins. The Freelings call in a team of parapsychologists who set up lights and cameras in an attempt to film some kind of spectral entity but matters only really come to a head with the arrival of medium Tangina Barrons (the excellent Zelda Rubinstein) who helps the Freelings go toe-to-toe with Carol Anne’s captor.

Written and produced by Steven Spielberg, it’s directed by Tobe Hooper, the man behind iconic 1974 shocker The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and terrifying 1979 mini-series Salem’s Lot, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel. Spielberg had initially wanted to direct himself and viewed Poltergeist as a loose sequel to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, but a clause in his contract with Universal Pictures prevented him making another film while he was shooting E.T. So in stepped Hooper. At least that’s the official version. It’s certainly Hooper’s name on the poster though according to Hollywood legend it was Spielberg who actually directed. Whoever you decide to attribute the film to it’s perfect for Hallowe’en, though not without its tragic side: within months of its 1982 release one of the young cast members was killed by her partner and another died six years later. When two members of the 1986 sequel also died the so-called ‘Curse of Poltergeist’ was born.


Happy End, BBC Four, 10.20pm

Oscar-winning German film-maker Michael Haneke crafts another impeccable portrait of a dysfunctional family in Happy End, which is scripted in French and English. Anne Laurent (Isabelle Huppert) is the glamorous owner of a construction firm in Calais, who must juggle business pressures with responsibilities to her family. She lives in an opulent mansion with her ailing father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a heavy-drinking son Pierre (Franz Rogowski), her brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and his wife Anais (Laura Verlinden). The collapse of a wall at one of Anne's construction site results in severe injuries to one of the crew. In the midst of this upheaval, Thomas agrees to care for his estranged teenage daughter Eve (Fantine Harduin).


The Children Act, BBC 2, 9pm

The Honorable Mrs Justice Maye (Emma Thompson) is a slave to the law at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. She now has deal with the urgent case of 17-year-old leukaemia patient Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead). The boy and his parents (Ben Chaplin, Eileen Walsh) are Jehovah's Witnesses and it is contrary to their faith to accept blood. Without a transfusion, Adam will die and senior staff at the hospital are concerned that Adam is being influenced by his parents. Aided by her fastidious clerk Nigel (Jason Watkins), Fiona must deliver her ruling while attempting to resuscitate her marriage to husband Jack (Stanley Tucci). Adapted for the screen by Ian McEwan from his 2014 novel, The Children Act is an intelligent and sensitively handled drama, with a heartrending performance from Thompson.


X-Men: Apocalypse, Film4, 9pm

Ten years have passed since the cataclysmic events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which saw Logan (Hugh Jackman) travel back in time to 1973 to contact the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It's now the early 1980s and the very first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), reawakens after thousands of years of inactivity. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to create a new world order with the help of his four devoted horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto. Professor X and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) vow to protect mankind and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon.


World War Z, Film4, 10.45pm

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a retired United Nations investigator who devotes his time to his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and daughters Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove). During a drive through Philadelphia, the Lanes witness the spread of a disease, which transforms people into merciless predators with a single bite. Gerry's old boss at the UN, Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), guarantees Karin, Constance and Rachel safe passage on an aircraft carrier if Gerry agrees to travel behind enemy lines to discover the source of the outbreak. World War Z is a post-apocalyptic zombie action horror which boasts a cracking opening 60 minutes. The final act, which was rewritten and reshot, feels out of kilter with the rest of the film but does at least stem the hordes of computer-generated undead. Oh, and look out for the scenes shot in Glasgow’s George Square.


The Band Wagon, BBC Four, 8pm

It's directed by Meet Me In St Louis filmmaker Vincente Minnelli, has a script co-written by Singin' in the Rain scribes Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and stars Fred Astaire - how could the musical The Band Wagon be anything other than a classic? Movie star Tony Hunter (Astaire) fears his career is on the skids, but his friends Lester (Oscar Levant) and Lily (Nanette Fabray) have written the perfect comeback vehicle for him in the form of a light-hearted Broadway show. However, when pretentious director Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan), who sees the comedy as a retelling of the Faust legend, joins the project and casts ballerina Gaby Gerard (Cyd Charisse), Tony fears his big chance is slipping away from him. The terrific numbers include That's Entertainment!, Dancing in the Dark and Triplets.


Attack The Block, Film4, 11.10pm

Before she started saving the universe as the first female Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker came to the rescue in this riotous action comedy from writer-director Joe Cornish, which finds aliens descending on an unsuspecting south London council estate. Trainee nurse Sam (Whittaker) is mugged on her way home by a gang of wayward lads led by Moses (a career-launching performance from Star Wars actor John Boyega). The assault is thankfully cut short by a meteor shower and when the youths investigate, they come face to snout with a creature from another world. What follows is a mix of energetic action sequences as well as hilarious one-liners – and transforming young people who are demonised by society into humanity's unlikely saviours is a nice touch.

And one to stream …

Rebecca, Netflix

Most people are familiar with Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock’s film version of Daphne du Maurier’s celebrated Gothic romance. Starring Laurence Olivier as troubled Max de Winter and Joan Fontaine as the young woman he meets, marries and sweeps off to his clifftop Cornish home, it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1940 and is still venerated today as a masterpiece of creepy and suspenseful storytelling. It also has one of the most famous opening lines in all of cinema: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”. All of which means British director Ben Wheatley was inevitably going to have his work cut out to give his 2020 remake something more or something different. How do you out-Hitchcock Hitchcock? The answer is you can’t.

Best known for folk-horror outings such as Kill List, Sightseers and A Field In England, Wheatley isn’t a bad fit, however, and there are moments when his visual panache and feel for an unsettling image shine through. Mostly, however, this is a by-the-numbers adaptation which finds its way by sticking more closely to the book than Hitchcock’s 1940 version did, and layering on the sort of gloss that a Netflix-sized budget allows for. The opening scenes in Monte Carlo are sumptuous, the costumes like something from a Toast catalogue. There’s only three years between stars Armie Hammer and Lily James – there should be at least two decades between Mr and Mrs de Winter – but even the casting has its rationale: this is a Rebecca for the streaming generation. There is an ace in the pack, however, in the form of Kristin Scott Thomas as creepy housekeeper Mrs Danvers. She gives a performance every bit as powerful as the one Judith Anderson gave Hitchcock.