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Best Horror Movies to Stream

Our TV experts-slash-horror obsessives recommend 18 horror movies to make your spine shimmy this Halloween season.

Well, hello—or greetings, or some other salutation that sounds creepy when you wear a black cape and try to affect an English accent. The horror hosts are have compiled a scary movie watchlist for you to watch late at night when your air conditioner’s on the fritz and you can’t sleep.

To accompany you in those dark hours, we’ve got slashers (including a petrifying set of oldsters), man-eating demons, werewolves, stop-motion nightmare fuel, greasy stranglers, pet alien gore merchants, psychedelic psychological folk-horror, killer clowns, pious pervs, witches, telekinetic killer children, and the wildest zombie bloodbath like you’ve seen before (seriously). Now whip out your barf bags and teddy bears: it’s showtime!

A collage of Blu-ray cover art for Hellbender, Terrifier, Censor, Mad God, Dead Alive, X, The Innocents, The Greasy Strangler, Mad God, A Field in England, and Uncle Peckerhead.

Best horror movies to stream

Your Guide to Horror and Halloween

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Hellbender (2021) | Shudder | Folk horror

In Hellbender, a mother and her teenage daughter (Izzy) live alone in the forest because the mom is Hellbender herself—and soon her little girl will be, too.

Izzy’s powers manifest around the same time she starts begging her mom to end their seclusion. Izzy wants to make friends her own age. She wants their mom-and-daughter metal band to play gigs. But when Izzy’s mother resists, she starts sneaking out. And things, you know, happen.

Currently one of Rotten Tomatoes’ two highest-rated horror films (along with The Innocents, below), Hellbender is an astonishing feat considering it was made in isolation by a family of four trying to escape the pandemic. Also, Izzy and her mom’s band is actually a four-piece with her father (the film’s director and co-writer) and sister (who acts in the film)—and H6LLB6ND6R (as it’s stylized) rocks. Hard.

Stream Hellbender free on AMC+ or Shudder.

The Innocents (2021) | Shudder | Killer kids

Coming of age means losing your innocence (sometimes while thinking you’ve gained the world). In The Innocents, four Norwegian children discover they have psychic powers. Initially, they do what kids tend to do: use their powers for playtime. But not all children, or families, or circumstances are created equally.

Yup. We’re alluding to the fact that one (or more) of these gifted kids fails to use their powers only for good. And, by that, we mean they do bad things—and, if they encounter resistance, they do really bad things (even to friends).

The Innocents is tied with Hellbender on Rotten Tomatoes—with a score of 97%—making both films the top horror joints on the review aggregation site. We highly recommend watching the two films as a double feature. But you’ll never look at children the same way again.

Stream The Innocents free on AMC+ or Shudder.

X (2022) | Amazon Prime Video (VOD) | Grindhouse slasher

Remember, in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, when you meet Grandpa and realize that <gasp!> he’s still alive? Imagine he was still spry and could actually get up and chase you. Now picture him with Grandma, who’s horny—and totez pissed about it—especially ‘cause the people renting a cabin from them are making a smut film.

Ti West’s X is the Chain Saw update that all the sequels and reboots wish they were. But it’s not a story about crazed, cannibalistic Leatherface and family.

X is about a real couple facing mortality—their own and that of their marriage bed. They take their jealousy out on the younger generation: filmmakers who’ve rented the couple’s cabin to shoot a porno. It’s a creepy setup that gets creepier and messier as it plays out and actually has some weirdly sweet moments.

Rent X now on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV+.

Mad God (2021) | Shudder | Sci-fi/horror

It took Phil Tippett (effects genius for Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and more) 30+ years to finish his stop-motion magnum opus Mad God. And, while versions of the film have played at festivals and on limited-edition physical releases, June 16 marked the first time the general public can see the film in theaters and on Shudder.

The wait was worthwhile, as Mad God is every bit as awesome as you’d expect from a film so long in production. It is, however, very different from what general audiences expect.

There is almost no dialogue in the film, aside from character vocalizations and some scenes with Alex Cox (director of Sid and Nancy, Repo Man, and Walker), the only human in the film. That means you’ll have to pay extra attention to follow the plot—a challenge since Mad God’s visuals are so distractingly fascinating.

But, like the long wait for its release, Mad God is absolutely worth repeat watches to catch what you missed.

Stream Mad God on AMC+ or Shudder.

Censor (2021) | Hulu | Psychological slasher

Censor is set in 1980s England when the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association (NVALA), a political pressure group, helped to ban and prosecute 72 “video nasties” that ostensibly violated Britain’s Obscene Publications Act. The film follows Enid Baines, a woman who zealously guts horror films for the British Board of Film Classification (similar to the Motion Picture Association in the US).

Long tortured by the disappearance of her sister when they were young, Enid’s past bleeds into her present when a notorious filmmaker requests that she review his latest film. She begins to suspect that her sister may still be alive and working with him, and, well, we won’t spoil things for you. If you like horror films that make you think as you squirm, watch Censor.

Stream Censor on Hulu.

Terrifier (2016) | Amazon Prime Video/Freevee | Killer clown slasher

Heads up, coulrophobes: If you’re deathly afraid of clowns, you’re gonna hate Terrifier. Everyone knows about Pennywise from IT and, to a tragically lesser extent, the Killer Klowns from Outer Space—now meet Art the Clown.

First appearing in a 2011 short film that was ultimately folded into writer/director Damien Leone’s 2013 anthology All Hallow’s Eve, Art is one of the most creative, sadistic, and, er, terrifying killer clowns ever. That’s probably why there’s already an Art the Clown action figure and t-shirts. Anyway, this clown cut-up’s first full-length feature is a full-on circus of cool kills and chills that’ll really rattle your cage.

And, as a further PSA, you should know that Terrifier 2 is coming for you later this month. Does anyone smell cotton candy and . . . copper?

Stream Terrifier on Amazon Prime Video/Freevee.

Pro tip: Freevee is a free, ad-supported, streaming TV service—formerly called IMDb TV—owned by Amazon. If you already have Amazon Prime Video, you’ll see Freevee videos in your search results. Non-Prime members can download the Freevee app and watch free movies and shows there.

Psycho Goreman (2020) | Shudder | Sci-fi/horror comedy

Psycho Goreman is what you get when you blend the fish-out-of-water comedy of Encino Man with the fantasy and wonder of E.T. and all the foam-rubber, latex, and stage blood of a GWAR concert. When the Archduke of Nightmares, an intergalactic death-dealing alien, crash-lands on Earth, he becomes a slave to Mimi, an obnoxious little girl who found the glowing gem that controls him. Mimi renames the monster Psycho Goreman (PG for short), and leans a little too hard into bossing him around.

Meanwhile, PG summons his army from back home and pledges to bathe in Mimi’s blood—but it gets complicated. Ultimately, both Mimi and PG learn a thing or two about love (and PG discovers that he likes “hunky boys”). From director Steven Kostanski (The Void), a member of the weird-movie factory Astron-6.

Stream Psycho Goreman on on AMC+ or Shudder.

Pure (2019) | Hulu | Supernatural IRL horror

Forget gigantic bat wings and gaping, slavering gobs lined with extra-sharp choppers. The scariest monsters look like normal people—not humanoid beings, not werewolves in daylight attire, not even psychopathic slashers. I’m talking about the dude next door who waves at you, beaming, while his brood exits the minivan and files into the house, then becomes a sinister creep behind the door with the “live, laugh, love” wreath.

Pure features more than one of these “men” who endeavor to keep their daughters in the film’s titular state by questionable, even draconian, means—all in the name of the Lord. So, yeah, Pure isn’t your average horror movie, but it’ll definitely gross you out—until the daddies get their due courtesy of an ancient demon with a righteous vendetta. Hell, yeah!

Stream Pure on Hulu.

The Greasy Strangler (2016) | Amazon Prime Video/Freevee | WTF horror comedy

At first, you might think this film by Jim Hosking (An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn) is just too ridiculous to be scary, and possibly a gross waste of your time. Well, the story of a disco-dancing man who emasculates his adult son by day and gets greased up to strangle people by night is absurd, super raunchy, and even a little scary.

The Greasy Strangler is also an epic good time—if you can suspend disbelief, good taste (subjective), and a need for (immediate) clarity. If you can, you’ll fall head-over-platform boots in love with this endlessly quotable, oily, oozing monstrosity birthed from a petri dish of John Waters, Napoleon Dynamite, Tim and Eric, and even some David Lynch. I’ve seen it eight times now, and I still don’t entirely understand it. But I’m getting there, and I’m having a great time. (Note: we went with the safest trailer, but it’s still NSFW.)

Stream The Greasy Strangler on Amazon Prime Video/Freevee.

Freaky (2021) | Max | Slasher comedy

It was only a matter of time before someone made a Freaky Friday the 13th. Except, instead of a mother and daughter swapping bodies, it’s a six-foot-five masked killer (the Blissfield Butcher) and a teen girl (Millie Kessler). You can extrapolate the jokes from that, but the film manages to avoid most of the easy ones. And, of course, you have the terror and violence that weren’t in the original Freaky Friday or its remakes/tributes/clones.

That doesn’t mean Freaky is perfect. It’s a fun watch, with some cheeky kill scenes and funny Vince-Vaughn-as-a-teen-girl jokes—but it’s probably not gonna be something you watch again and again.

Stream Freaky on Max.

Dead Alive (1993) | YouTube | Zombie splatter rom-com

Before Peter Jackson was known for blockbusters based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, he was a splatter-film auteur. In fact, his 1992 zom-rom-com Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead) has been called “the goriest fright film ever made.” Consequently, Jackson’s splat-fest was banned in four countries and remains illegal to purchase or show in Germany—but it’s more than a gorefest.

The slapstick-y splatter, along with an endearing romantic subplot between cursed protagonist Lionel (Timothy Balme) and grocery delivery girl Paquita (Diana Peñalver), nearly earned Dead Alive a 15 rating (similar to PG-13) from the British Board of Film Classification. But make no mistake: Dead Alive is as terrifying as it is charming, and it’ll make your gut flutter for all kinds of reasons.

Watch Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead)—the complete, uncut version—free on YouTube.

Uncle Peckerhead (2020)| Freevee/Prime Video | Man-eating demon comedy

When punk-rock trio DUH goes to rent a van for a crucial upcoming tour, they discover that the vehicle comes with a driver: its fifty-something owner/resident, who just happens to become an ancient man-eating demon every midnight. Oh, and his name? It’s not Pazuzu, not Mictlan, not even Gene Simmons—it’s Peckerhead (okay, technically synonymous with “Gene Simmons”), or “Peck” for short.

At first, DUH grapples with the moral and criminal implications of their association with Peck’s nocturnal repasts, but they eventually decide he’s a feature, not a bug (like when he dispatches sleazy concert promoters) and even <sniff> a friend. Or is he? Scary, cartoonish (Gen X-ers and old millennials might be reminded of the  ’80s Saturday morning cartoon Fangface), and possessed of a killer original soundtrack, Uncle Peckerhead is a blast—and Peck is the weird uncle you wish you had.

Stream Uncle Peckerhead on Amazon Prime Video/Freevee.

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, Week 8: Things (1989) | Shudder | Awesomely bad horror w/host

Who’s the best horror host? Sure, Elvira is a vision in black stacked with one-liners. Yes, John Zacherle did the best Boris Karloff/refined ghoul character. And the Cryptkeeper gives ‘em all a pun for their money. But the absolute best presenter of horror and midnight movies is Lone Star beer-guzzling, shlock-cinema author/journalist/thinker/gentledude Joe Bob Briggs.

There’s just no better horror movie companion—Joe Bob knows all the stories and trivia, and what makes horror fans tick. His expertise and humor enhance everything from certified horror classics to incoherent, incompetent messes like 1989’s Things, co-written by and starring Canadian MAGA-head and dreck merchant Barry J. Gillis. On its own, the film is a mystifying feast of WTF-ness. With Joe Bob on the mic, it’s all that and a bag of quips.

Stream Things (film only) and The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs (film with sublime commentary) on AMC+ or Shudder.

Pro tip: Shudder is owned by AMC, so if you happen to subscribe to the AMC+ streaming service, you can find many Shudder titles there. But if you’re a big horror fan, you definitely want the full Shudder experience, which allows you to use the Shudder app.

Fear Street trilogy (2021) | Netflix | Afterschool special slasher

Is Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy the greatest thing since sliced bread? (Hey, when does a reference become a spoiler?) Well, it’s fun and frightening, just like you’d expect from Goosebumps author R.L. Stine—but it’s not for kids. Director Leigh Janiak ratchets up the violence and spice for this triptych of films based on Stine’s book series about the cursed town of Shadyside.

Fear Street starts in 1994 (part one), slides backwards to 1978 (part two), and concludes in 1666 (part three), when the curse originated. So, the trilogy is a satisfying binge-watch, much like devouring Goosebumps books in quick succession as a kid. But, again, Fear Street is too lurid and scary for the Goosebumps age range (7–12 years), despite having moments that lend an ABC Afterschool Special vibe to the proceedings, which is amusing and fascinating.

Stream the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix.

Malignant (2021) | Max | Supernatural body-horror slasher

One of the most heinous film spoilers is revealing a twist, which is meant to be a huge surprise. So why are we committing this mortal sin? Because this buzzy film by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) spoils itself. Its title is a clue, and its opening scenes all but blurt everything out. Even the critics ruin the surprise in their reviews, while acting gobsmacked themselves. (Oh, come on.) But that doesn’t mean you should cut Malignant out of your Halloween watchlist.

The film, a supernatural body-horror with slasher elements, is a fresh-ish take on the parasitic twin trope with enough good squirms, shocks, and sicko-pleasing scenes to be fun. But with a Rotten Tomatoes audience rating of only 50%, there’s an even chance that you still won’t dig Malignant. That said, it’s a must-see for horror fans, even if it’s just to learn what side you’re on.

Stream Malignant on Max.

A Field in England (2013) | Shudder | Artsy psychological folk horror

As though Fear Street Part Three: 1666 doesn’t reach far enough into the past, Ben Wheatley’s psychedelic psychological folk-horror tale occurs in 1648 during the English Civil War. The film follows three soldiers and an alchemist as they search for a tavern that doesn’t exist and also for an Irish wizard who stole documents from the alchemist’s master.

Though the four men forge a deep bond on their journey, things fall apart as expectations are dashed and horrific mistakes (owing to greed, deceit, and magic mushrooms) are made. Artfully shot in black and white with a handheld camera, cleverly edited, and with immersive sound design, the film is a riveting experience that fuses elements of The Breakfast Club (strangers bonding), Stand by Me (friends on a journey) and Jacob’s Ladder (war and acid flashbacks).

Stream A Field in England on AMC+, Amazon Prime Video, or Shudder.

Stream horror with your TV provider’s mobile app

If you already have cable or satellite TV service, you can stream horror movies with your provider’s mobile app. To learn which TV providers have the best apps, read our guide to the Best Cable Brands to Watch While on the Go.

An American Werewolf in London (1981) | Amazon Prime Video | Werewolf horror comedy

Truly great werewolf movies are rare because werewolf kills and transformation scenes require expensive practical effects, and filmmakers often go with cheaper, experience-ruining, computer-generated imagery. John Landis’s 1981 classic is probably the best werewolf film of all time, owing to Landis’s direction and Rick Baker’s Oscar-winning practical effects work. When two backpackers get attacked by a vicious lycanthrope on the English moors, it leads where you expect: to a new werewolf and a new string of murders.

What you don’t anticipate is a sweet love story and humor (both tasteful and gallows-esque), which give An American Werewolf in London and its monster an uncommon humanity (another trait that’s important in werewolf films). Watch for a cameo from Frank Oz—the voice of Muppets like Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Animal, Grover, and Cookie Monster—as a clueless US diplomat.

Stream An American Werewolf in London on Amazon Prime Video.

Candyman (2021) | Amazon Prime Video | Supernatural slasher

Nia DaCosta’s remake of Clive Barker’s tale about a lynched slave turned bogeyman is still in theaters, but it should be available to stream on VOD services by the end of September. It’s cowritten and produced by Jordan Peele, who knows a thing or two about horror (see Get Out and Us), and it features Tony Todd—may he remain the only Candyman—briefly in the titular role (no spoilers)

Even better, the only way to make Candyman more frightening is for it to reflect contemporary racial tension and show how violent bigotry is—gag—back in the spotlight. And that’s exactly what this Candyman delivers. It’s a scary time, and while it might not be Daniel Robitaille (Candyman’s government name) coming to split us “from groin to gullet,” the metaphor is effective AF.

Stream Candyman (2021) on Amazon Prime Video or Paramount+.

Best horror movies and shows to stream FAQ

What streaming service has the best horror movies?

Shudder is curated by real horror fans, and it shows in the catalog of movies and shows as well as the app design. For more information, read our Shudder review.

What app has the best horror movies?

Shudder has the best mobile app and the best catalog of horror movies and shows. If you’re a true fan of the genre, you will love the app design and functionality. To learn more, read our Shudder review.

What's the scariest movie on Netflix?

Here’s a list of the scariest movies on Netflix—according to us—as of late August 2021.

  • Sinister (supernatural Super 8 slasher)
  • The Green Inferno (Eli Roth’s tribute to cannibal films)
  • The Strangers (slashers pull a home invasion)
  • Veronica (supernatural/ouija boards)
Best Horror Movies 2021 My Girl

And, apparently, the Netflix algorithm thinks the Macaulay Culkin film My Girl is pretty spooky (probably because of that one scene that we won’t mention ‘cause spoilers). So, do you see what we mean about subjectivity?

What is the scariest movie on Hulu?

Pure is the scariest movie on Hulu because it’s based on real-life creeps who bring real terror and horror to innocent victims. But it has a happy ending, courtesy of a demon.

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