It’s the greatest time of year for creepy films and self-induced nightmares. Halloween movies are a thrilling watch year round, but there’s no better time to enjoy them than when chillier temperatures settle in. Especially this year, with thechanging the ways we partake in classic Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, you might need something to take your mind off the current state of the world and redirect you to fictional places where all the horrifying stuff isn’t actually real. (We all cope in different ways, right?)
Here are our top picks for the scariest, creepiest and sometimes silliest films to stream or watch on demand on platforms including Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video,and others. We’ve noted which of these films require higher-tier streaming subscriptions like , or a Showtime or Cinemax add-on.
Hulu started life as a joint venture between ABC, NBC and Fox. Since Disney (ABC’s parent) absorbed most of the Fox Entertainment properties, however, it’s been buying out its remaining partners and converting Hulu to more of a Disney Plus for adults. As such, you can watch the movies below with their full, R-rated gore intact. The baseline subscription includes commercials, and you can also bundle this with Disney’s other online properties, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) We always appreciate a well-done horror comedy! You can catch the sequel, Zombieland Double Tap, on Starz.
Children of the Corn (1984)
Something about murderous children in a cornfield just feels autumnal.
Let the Right One In (2008)
It’s a Swedish film about a little girl vampire. Are we selling it? It’s fantastic, trust us.
We don’t particularly get this franchise, but Hellraiser viewing parties are a pretty common Halloween activity. You do you.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Quite frankly, this adaptation isn’t the greatest, but then again neither was the first one. Still it definitely has some chilling moments.
Paranormal Activity (2009)
(Available with Showtime add-on.) The first Paranormal Activity was pretty unnerving. It might be worth a revisit this Halloween.
Get Out (2017)
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV starting Oct. 7.) We refuse to fact check this, but Get Out is possibly the only Oscar winner on this list. That’s inaccurate. Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for Rosemary’s Baby. And The Silence of the Lambs won like 5 Academy Awards too. Are you happy? Get Out is fantastic though.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)
Our 8-year-old selves still believe deep down this is the greatest Halloween movie ever made. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, please, please return to making films.
The Host (2007)
This Korean creature feature is easily one of the best films on this list.
As far as haunted house movies go, this one is better than The Amityville Horror, but not quite as good as The Conjuring.
It Follows (2015)
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV starting Oct. 8.) Once again we learn abstinence is the only way to prevent slow-moving nightmare monsters from trying to kill you. What a helpful PSA!
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) This is the part where you stop reading the article and immediately go put on Ghostbusters. Don’t worry, this article isn’t going anywhere. We’ll wait.
Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016)
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) Rebecca’s mom really loves the Madea movies. And who are we to deny you options?
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
(Available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) On the one hand, it’s a pretty good remake. On the other hand, Zack Snyder directed it. Your call.
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
(Available with Cinemax add-on.) Don’t you want to finally understand what a “Jacob’s Ladder scenario” actually is?
Ever since Dead Snow came out, we are always 100% down for any movie with Nazi zombies.
(Available on Hulu plus Live TV. Also available on Spectrum.) It’s possible Rebecca has seen this film more than any other film on this list. Don’t judge!
(Available on Hulu with Cinemax add-on.) If you plan on watching Saw, we also recommend checking outwith screenwriter Leigh Whannell. He tells us about his 5-year-old’s bedtime story demands and let’s just say, twisted storytelling definitely runs in the family.
Netflix hardly needs an introduction, but the biggest streaming service out there remains a mixture of TV shows and movies, including content licensed from other studios and a growing stable of originals.
Little Evil (2017)
We probably didn’t need a family-friendly version of The Omen, but we enjoyed it nevertheless.
If you’ve come to this list looking for the scariest horror films, watch this one. Maybe with the lights on.
The Witches (1990)
Anjelica Huston is majestic in this Roald Dahl adaptation.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Even if you’re not into super dark films, the storyline in this Guillermo del Toro masterpiece will be enough to win you over.
One of our favorites and Zelda Rubinstein’s performance is really just the cherry on top.
This is probably the most under-the-radar film on this list, but it’s absolutely worth your time.
The Ritual (2018)
Certain horror fans find themselves disappointed when the “big bad” turns out to be metaphorical. Don’t worry, this one has a satisfying “actual monster” payoff.
This movie is carried by Mark Duplass and his amazingly sinister face. A delightfully creepy watch.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)
(Also available on Spectrum.) Ghost movies are great for Halloween, right?
Already subscribe to HBO? You can probably get HBO Max at no extra charge. Think of it as (wait for it) “HBO Plus” — everything on HBO, plus a bunch of additional back catalog and exclusives from Warner’s catalog, as well as some nice licensed exclusives like Doctor Who and the Studio Ghibli library.
Shark movie!!! Sorry, didn’t mean to get that excited. But we did see The Meg on opening weekend. Are you a “shark movie” person? No better time to find out!
The Others (2001)
Possibly the last time we found the ending to horror film surprising.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
I (Rebecca) thought this movie was really scary when I was 13. It might still be scary. There’s really no way of knowing these things.
We all know the saying, “In space, no one can hear you scream,” but your neighbors will definitely be able to hear you scream while watching this on your couch.
It’s pretty rare with a horror masterpiece to stumble upon a masterpiece of a sequel, especially with a different director. Thanks, James Cameron!
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
John Landis doesn’t get enough credit for being able to blend horror and comedy.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
While The Shining is probably the favorite horror film of many and may not have needed a sequel, it’s one of the better Stephen King adaptations in recent years.
Ready or Not (2019)
A very enjoyable example of a dark comedy and horror mashup.
You know … for kids! It’s probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of “horror,” as nothing here eclipses PG-13 scares. But it also has the full libraries for everything from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and The Simpsons, to name just a few of the big content silos you’ll find here. As with Hulu, you can subscribe to this solo, or as a Disney/Hulu/ESPN bundle.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
A cult classic you can finally stream.
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
(Also available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) It’s really a Christmas movie, but also you should be watching it year round.
This vibrant, touching film brings Day of the Dead to life in the most beautiful way.
Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but this is simply a Disney classic.
Feel-good and Halloween don’t always go hand in hand, but this nostalgic Halloween classic always warms our witchy little hearts.
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
As if trusting her new beau wasn’t hard enough already.
Existing Showtime cable subscribers can access all of its content on the Showtime Anytime app on most major app platforms. But you can also get it as a straight streaming app for a monthly fee. (Disclosure: Showtime and CNET are owned by the same parent company, ViacomCBS.)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
(Also available on Netflix.) This is one of our favorite films to watch on Halloween. Hannibal Lecter is a magnificent villain.
If you don’t barf while watching the shaking cameras, it’s a pretty good creature feature.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
This would pair well with The Omen for a Halloween double feature.
The Witch (2016)
We’re going to throw this out there: More films should be set in the 1600s. Provided they’re as good as The Witch.
Weird Halloween horror films and TV shows you may have overlooked
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Like Showtime, this premium cable movie service is also available “over the top” as a direct streaming option on most app store platforms.
The Omen (1976)
This is the quite possibly the most perfect Halloween movie on this list. Demon spawn! (If you’re interested, you can also find the 2006 version on Hulu.)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Not big on horror? No worries, you can check out one of the greatest comedies ever made instead.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Is it just us or does anyone else find Edward Scissorhands incredibly soothing to watch?
The Fly (1986)
Jeff Goldblum in a creature feature is all we’re really looking for in a Halloween film.
Watch this after you finish watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
Epix is another pay cable channel that’s expanded its horizons to the digital realm. Get it with your cable or satellite subscription, or as a digital streaming option instead.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
We’re almost positive people have written dissertations on the influence of this film on the horror genre. So, we dunno, maybe check out?
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Definitely worth it for Vincent Price.
(Also available on Hulu.) Creature features often don’t get enough love in the horror genre. But this one was our jam!
Warner Bros. Pictures
Prime Video is thrown in “for free” for anyone subscribing to Amazon’s membership program, which otherwise guarantees delivery of a wide array of products in two days or less at no additional charge. It’s got a ton of movies and TV shows from third-party studios, and a growing list of Amazon exclusives, too. Note, however, that only the first few selections are available via Prime; the rest are available as 48-hour rentals at a pay-per-view cost.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992)
This movie will freak me out always and forever!
Fright Night (1985)
Chris Sarandon as a vampire? Sold!
Teen Wolf (1985)
(Available to rent.) This Michael J. Fox classic about a teen werewolf will have you howling for more! I promise that’s the last pun in this article.
(Available to rent.) It’s a Halloween movie list, so I’m obligated to include Pumpkinhead.
The Shining (1980)
(Available to rent.) One of the few films on this list that is also a cinematic masterpiece.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
(Available to rent. It’s also available on Hulu Plus Live TV.) I know the found footage gimmick is tired, but do you actually remember how scary this movie was? An entire generation couldn’t go camping for like a decade after it came out.
The Conjuring (2013)
(Available to rent.) This film was so scary that I still can’t bring myself to watch any of the sequels or prequels! But if you are interested in watching The Conjuring 2, it’s available on HBO Max.
(Available to rent.) You can’t get more classic than Frankenstein!
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
(Available to rent.) I went as the Bride for Halloween one year. This isn’t relevant to my recommendation, but I’m trying to sell you on a film from 1935.
(Available to rent.) Carrie is so good! Sissy Spacek just has a special place in my heart. It isn’t at all related to Halloween, but you should also check out Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Let Me In (2010)
(Available to rent.) This is the American remake of Let the Right One In. And it’s pretty well done for US market cash grab.
(Available to rent. Also on Hulu plus Live TV.) This film is alway a thrill. The sequel is also available on HBO Max.
Pitch Black (2000)
(Available to rent.) Frankly, I could use more sci-fi horror films. And more Vin Diesel.
(Available for rent.) For all the gore lovers.
The Last House on the Left (2009)
(Available to rent, though the 1972 version is included with a Prime membership and is also on Hulu.) I’ll say this about the remake: it’s probably more suspenseful than the original. But the original left me feeling emotionally violated, and that’s a special kind of horror that’s hard to replicate. Still the remake is worth a watch.
American Psycho (2000)
(Available to rent.) Down with the yuppies! Honestly this is one of my all-time favorite films.
Child’s Play (1988)
(Available to rent.) As a child I was only afraid of two things: Chucky and spiders. I am still terrified of both. But hey, now I’m also afraid of heights!
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
(Available with asubscription.) It’s Wes Craven so I’m not even going to bother trying to convince you. Just watch it.
(Available to rent.) Watch only if you have a strong stomach!
Play Misty For Me (1971)
(Available to rent.) OK, here’s our pitch: Jessica Walter and Clint Eastwood. Are you sold?
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
(Available to rent.) Not to be confused with the Brooke Shields film The Blue Lagoon. This one is about a lagoon monster.
Final Destination (2000)
(Available to rent.) You’ll never want to fly again.
Dracula 2000 (2000)
(Available to rent.) This is possibly one of the worst films ever made, but it stars Gerard Butler as Dracula. So you should probably watch it anyway.
(Available to rent.) Nearly half the movies in our roundup were in some way inspired by this classic slasher film. An absolute Halloween classic.