30 Scariest Horror Movies Streaming in Time for Halloween
It’s Halloween time once again, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by streaming some terrifying movies. To help you plan a frightening film festival, here are 30 ghoulish recommendations currently available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu that will provide creepy thrills for the entire month. To make things easier, titles are organized in three categories: creature features, psychological horror, and supernatural scares. Are you brave enough to watch them all?
Here are 10 horror films starring monsters, mutants and zombies.
The Monster (2016)
Service: Amazon Prime
A year before her acclaimed performance in “The Big Sick,” Zoe Kazan fought for her life against a flesh-eating monster in this powerful horror pic. Playing a troubled young mother desperately trying to protect her 10-year old daughter from the jaws of a fearsome creature, Kazan grounds the film’s relatively simple story with genuine emotion. Director Bryan Bertino, whose 2008 chiller “The Strangers” helped revitalize the home invasion subgenre, knows exactly where to place his camera to achieve maximum terror.
The Burrowers (2008)
Service: Amazon Prime
When a pioneer family mysteriously vanishes in 1879, a search party discovers a bizarre race of underground creatures stalking the Dakota Territory in writer/director J.T. Petty’s stylish western horror hybrid. Melding the visual poetry of Terrence Malick with the monster mayhem of Guillermo del Toro, Petty’s eerie genre mash-up features a colorful cast of seasoned character actors, including Clancy Brown and Doug Hutchison. For a thematic double-feature, pair it with Antonia Bird’s frontier cannibal classic “Ravenous.”
The Bay (2012)
Oscar-winner Barry Levinson directed this skin-crawling found-footage horror film about an ecological disaster in the Chesapeake Bay that produces a swarm of monstrous flesh-eating crustaceans. While the maker of “Diner” and “Rain Man” might seem like an odd choice to helm a gruesome low-budget chiller like this, Levinson’s real-life commitment to environmental issues gives the film a disturbing sense of urgency that increases the terror tenfold.
The Void (2016)
Fans of ‘80s classics like “Re-Animator” and “Hellraiser” will love this beautifully shot Canadian gore-a-thon about a cult of hooded triangle worshipers (?) who trap a handful of innocent victims inside a deserted hospital at night. Filled with stomach-churning effects and some of the ghastliest creatures since David Cronenberg’s “The Fly,” this Lovecraftian horror pic is a bit like “Stranger Things,” minus the cute kids — and with enough blood to fill a swimming pool.
Late Phases (2014)
Spanish horror master Adrián García Bogliano’s first English language film is a moody werewolf thriller that will definitely please fans of Stephen King. Set in a sleepy retirement community in the middle of nowhere, “Late Phases” stars splendid character actor Nick Damici as a blind Vietnam war veteran who suspects that a blood-thirsty lycanthrope is responsible for the vicious murder of his elderly next-door neighbor. What follows is a thoughtful look at the indignity of aging and an old fashioned monster movie as well.
The Hallow (2015)
Set in a secluded Irish village bordered by a dense forest, this handsomely produced sleeper tells the tale of a newly-arrived London couple and their infant son who accidentally awaken a race of monsters in the surrounding woods. In his debut feature, director Corin Hardy captures the folksy menace that lurks beneath the surface of so many classic fairy tales. It’s difficult to decide what’s most impressive about “The Hallow.” Is it the compelling performances? The nightmarish creature designs? The well-crafted suspense sequences? Ultimately, it’s a combination of all of it that makes this dark fable a Halloween treat.
Big Ass Spider (2013)
Service: Amazon Prime
This loving tribute to the giant monster movies of the 1950s crams more gooey thrills and intentional laughs into its scant 80 minute running time than a decade’s worth of similarly themed SyFy Channel knockoffs. Director Mike Mendez slyly spoofs B-grade classics like “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Black Scorpion” without mocking them, and the result is a breath of fetid fresh air. Yet as impressive as the special effects and gross-out gags may be, it’s the comedic pairing of Greg Grunberg and Lombardo Boyar as two mismatched partners who set out to crush the alien arachnid that makes “Big Ass Spider” worth repeat viewings.
Train to Busan (2016)
Combining the gripping terror of “28 Days Later” with the claustrophobic intensity of “Snowpiercer,” this South Korean epic about an undead outbreak aboard a train from Seoul to Busan is one of the most jaw-droppingly inventive zombie films in decades. Director Sang-ho Yeon somehow manages to top each spectacular set-piece again and again, until you’re wrung out from the sheer momentum of the movie. But it’s the emotional bond between the two main characters — a divorced father and his shy young daughter — that makes “Train to Busan” truly special.
Tales of Halloween (2015)
Though it might seem strange to call a film with this many deformed psychopaths and graphic mutilations charming, the indie anthology “Tales of Halloween” earns the description thanks to the unmistakable fondness that its makers have for the October holiday. Eleven directors (including genre favorite Neil Marshall) helm ten spooky short segments that cover everything from machete-wielding kids to claymation aliens to murderous witches. Yet it’s the man-eating pumpkin that closes out the pic that lingers in the mind long after the final credits roll.
Give this energetic variation on John Carpenter’s “The Thing” a try if you’re in the mood for something wet and slimy. Set primarily in a deserted gas station, “Splinter” pits a young couple and their criminal abductors against a surreal parasitic creature that absorbs its victims’ corpses by piercing them with porcupine-like needles. Visual effects artist-turned-director Toby Wilkins maximizes every penny of the film’s modest budget to deliver a monster that’s as realistic and horrifying as one you’d expect to see in a major studio blockbuster.
Here are 10 films to stream for fans of psychological horror pics.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Writer/director Mike Flanagan, whose masterful 2016 slasher film “Hush” was included on this list last year, returns with a flawless adaptation of Stephen King’s claustrophobic horror novel “Gerald’s Game.” Carla Gugino delivers an award-caliber performance as a troubled woman who is forced to confront the demons in her past (and possibly a few in her present) when a misguided sex game with her selfish husband results in a life-or-death situation. Though much of the terror is psychological, the film nevertheless includes one of the most visceral images of physical horror since Kathy Bates clobbered James Caan’s feet in “Misery.”
Service: Amazon Prime
With extraordinary horror films like “Cure,” “Pulse,” and “Seance” to his credit, Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a master at creating cinematic nightmares. But the 2016 thriller “Creepy” might be his most disturbing one yet. In a performance reminiscent of Peter Lorre at his most twisted, bug-eyed actor Teruyuki Kagawa plays a mysterious introvert living next door to a former police profiler. The strange cat-and-mouse game that develops between the two men is beyond classification, suffice to say that after watching it you’ll never look at your neighbors the same way again.
Eyes of My Mother (2016)
Every frame of this gorgeous black and white feature is meticulously composed by first-time writer/director Nicolas Pesce, and the result is a nightmare like no other. The story of a deeply traumatized young farm girl who grows up to become a soft-spoken murderer, “Eyes of My Mother” is a film that, once seen, can never be forgotten. Actress Kika Magalhaes is absolutely riveting as the quiet maniac whose desire for companionship manifests itself in kidnaping and dismemberment. A harrowing portrait of rural madness, “Eyes of My Mother” is a modern masterpiece of psychological horror.
13 Cameras (2015)
Voyeurism runs amok in this deliciously demented tale about a peeping landlord who installs fiber optic cameras throughout the home (including one inside the toilet!) of a young couple he’s recently rented to. Spying on them day and night, the hulking freak develops a deadly obsession with his tenants that spirals into hammer-wielding mayhem. As the sicko property owner, actor Neville Archambault is so convincingly maniacal, you’ll need a scalding hot shower to scrub the gooseflesh off your skin after watching his performance.
Hounds of Love (2016)
Unlike the grisly 2011 Australian true-crime film “Snowtown,” this savage Perth-set shocker about a murderous couple who kidnaps young women for pleasure isn’t based on a single real-life case: It’s actually inspired by nine of them. The story centers on a troubled teenage girl who accepts a ride home from a seemingly benevolent couple, only to find herself held prisoner and brutalized by them in a quiet suburban setting. To save her own life, the captive teen slowly turns the psychos against each other using manipulative mind-games to exploit their deepest fears. Not a film for the squeamish or the faint of heart, “Hounds of Love” joins “Wolf Creek” and “The Babadook” as one of the most frightening movies ever to come from Australia.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
In this macabre valentine to the stylized Eurohorror films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Toby Jones plays Gilderoy, a meek British audio engineer who’s hired by an Italian production company to work on the sound design of a gory slasher movie. Before long, life begins imitating art, and the film’s disturbing subject matter takes a toll on Gilderoy’s fragile mind. Whether the film’s most violent sequences are hallucinations or not is left up to the audience to decide. But what’s never in doubt is writer/director Peter Strickland’s mastery of the medium. In his capable hands, “Berberian Sound Studio” emerges as a psychological thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock, De Palma, and David Lynch.
The Loved Ones (2009)
When shaggy-haired heartthrob Brent is asked to the senior prom by awkward teen Lola, he politely refuses. Big mistake! Kidnaped by her father, Brent is forced to participate in an increasingly violent re-creation of the school dance, confetti and all. Pitch black humor helps to alleviate some of the brutal bloodletting that transpires, but make no mistake: “The Loved Ones” will seriously mess with your head. Another fine example of Australia’s modern horror renaissance, the film is aided immeasurably by Robin McLeavy’s brilliant lead performance as the unhinged wallflower.
Service: Amazon Prime
Proving that fear is an international language, this French-Romanian horror film yields maximum terror on a minimal budget. When strange sounds wake them in the night, a young couple discovers some unwelcome houseguests in their crumbling country estate. A nerve-shredding addition to the home invasion genre, “Them” takes viewers step by inexorable step toward its gut-punch ending.
Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
Service: Amazon Prime
Catholic guilt leads to psychotic murder in this beautifully crafted shocker set in working class New Jersey. Also released under the titles “Communion” and “Holy Terror,” the film deals with the brutal killing of a young girl, and the devastating effect it has on her family, church, and community. Though famous for being Brooke Shield’s debut feature, the movie’s true star is first-time actress Paula Sheppard, who gives a nuanced performance as the victim’s sister and the main suspect for the bizarre murder spree.
We Are What We Are (2013)
Service: Amazon Prime
It’s rare for an American remake of an acclaimed foreign horror film to exceed or even match the strength of the original, but this ghoulish update of an award-winning 2010 Mexican thriller manages to do just that. When their matriarch drowns during an extended rainstorm, a traumatized family is forced to deal with a painful truth about themselves: They eat people. Though the film pulls no punches when depicting ritualized murder and human sacrifice, it’s the characters’ deep-rooted psychological issues that are most disturbing. These aren’t zombies, or vampires, or cave-dwelling mutants. They’re the cannibalistic equivalent of a family of hoarders.
Here are 10 horror films about ghosts, demons, and evil spirits.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Service: Amazon Prime
Like a modern Roman Polanski, writer/director Oz Perkins has fashioned a hypnotic horror film that breathes new life into the satanic subgenre. Set primarily at a semi-deserted boarding school in frosty upstate New York, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” tells two interconnect stories. One deals with a pair of female students grappling with supernatural evil while stuck at the school during a holiday break. The other depicts a troubled young psych ward patient (played by Emma Roberts) slowly traveling across the state while experiencing disturbing flashbacks. These twin narratives eventually dovetail, resulting in an atmospheric occult thriller that would make a solid double-feature with Robert Eggers’ recent period chiller “The Witch.”
Service: Amazon Prime
Six years before writing and directing “Gerald’s Game,” Mike Flanagan helmed this creepy micro-budget indie about a rash of unexplained disappearances in suburban Glendale, California. An elegiac horror film filled with unexpected emotional detours and sinister surprises, “Absentia” overcomes its limited financial resources thanks to Flanagan’s uncanny ability to generate fear with little more than a shadow and a whisper. That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have its share of visual shocks, however. Some of the ghosty apparitions in “Absentia” are guaranteed to have you looking over your shoulder before bedtime.
The Last Winter (2006)
Maverick filmmaker Larry Fessenden (a.k.a. horror’s answer to John Cassavetes) directed and co-wrote this bone-chilling pic about a team of oil workers and environmentalists in a remote area of northeastern Alaska who encounter mysterious deaths and strange occurrences while drilling into the prehistoric ice. Are these horrors the result of cabin fever, or is something more diabolical at work? The answer is unexpectedly haunting. While the snowy setting might suggest the sci-fi action of “The Thing,” Fessenden’s “The Last Winter” is less concerned with the physical manifestations of evil than it is with spiritual and existential terror.
Don’t Kill It (2016)
Fans of body-hopping horror movies like “The Hidden,” “Fallen,” and “Shocker” will feel right at home with this ultra-gory action pic about a black-eyed demon that leaps from host to host each time it is killed. Wielding an arsenal of crazy weapons and a quip for every occasion, Dolph Lundgren is in fine form playing a professional demon hunter who leads the charge against the supernatural stowaway. Director Mike Mendez, whose “Big Ass Spider” appeared in the creature feature category, once again delivers plenty of bang for not much buck. From the dynamic opening massacre scene to the explosive finale, “Don’t Kill It” is a bloody good time.
A Dark Song (2016)
Most supernatural horror movies deal with the intrusion of a mysterious force into an otherwise peaceful environment, but the unsettling Irish film “A Dark Song” flips the script. Grief-stricken by the vicious murder of her 7-year old son, a British mother invites an occult expert to her lonely country home in Wales with the intention of summoning a supernatural entity that can grant her the ability to take revenge on her child’s killers. As expected, things spiral out of control, and before long pale-faced demons are demanding blood offerings. Writer/director Liam Gavin’s debut feature works beautifully as both a tragic character study and a powerful satanic thriller.
The Devil’s Candy (2015)
Satan is up to some new tricks in writer/director Sean Byrne’s supernatural followup to his memorable debut “The Loved Ones.” In this dark tale of madness and the occult, Ethan Embry plays a struggling painter who finds creative inspiration when he moves his family into a house that once belonged to a schizophrenic murderer who claimed to hear demonic voices. As the psychotic former homeowner, character actor extraordinaire Pruitt Taylor Vince adds yet another unforgettable lunatic to his impressive list of credits. A hardcore horror film that will put a smile on the faces of Rob Zombie fans, “The Devil’s Candy” is not to be missed.
Under the Shadow (2016)
While haunted house films are traditionally set in crumbling New England mansions or foggy British estates, this legitimately terrifying supernatural shocker takes place in an unremarkable apartment building in the strife-torn city of Tehran. The story centers on a former medical student and her young daughter who find themselves menaced by a demonic spirit while the city around them is under constant missile attack. Unlike Guillermo del Toro’s similarly themed ghost story “The Devil’s Backbone,” Iranian-born filmmaker Babak Anvari isn’t interested in visual poetry or magic realism. He simply wants to scare the living hell out of you. And in “Under the Shadow,” he achieves his goal.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
A live-in nurse discovers that the home she’s working in might be haunted in writer/director Oz Perkins’ austere followup to the previously mentioned “The Blackcoat’s Daughter.” The film’s icy stillness might not be the right fit for viewers looking for gonzo action, but fans of Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” and Alejandro Amenábar’s “The Others” will welcome the shivers of fear that “I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House” has in store for them.
Last Shift (2014)
During her first night on the job, a rookie cop who’s been tasked with guarding a soon-to-be-abandoned police station encounters the ghosts of a Manson-like cult that committed suicide in the building one year before. Directed and co-written by horror specialist Anthony DiBlasi, “Last Shift” is a fine-tuned scare machine that sets out to make you jump and succeeds repeatedly. Though logic isn’t necessarily the film’s strength, the near-constant jolts and disturbing supernatural imagery more than make up for the main character’s questionable decisions. If you can’t find a walk-through haunted house to visit this Halloween, “Last Shift” is the next best thing.
While cataloging a vintage 16mm film print, a British archivist working in Dublin discovers that his current home was the site of a brutal murder in the early 1900s. Disturbed by the grisly revelation, and suspicious that his wife might be having an affair, the troubled archivist begins seeing ghostly figures lurking in the shadows around his house. A classic setup enhanced by striking visuals and a killer sound design, “The Canal” begins as a subtle drama, evolves into a tense murder mystery, and ends up as a tragic ghost story.