It’s October, and you know what that means: fall weather, pumpkins, and a yearly horror flick binge. If you’re looking for something to creep you out this month, we rounded up 15 killer horror movies ready for your streaming pleasure.
There are plenty of different subgenres of horror out there—thrillers, hack-n-slash, possession, psychological, etc.—but we’ll start with the classics. The first handful on the list are horror flicks that you have to watch if you haven’t already seen them, then we’ll branch out a bit from there.
The Shining (1980/R)
Okay, so if you haven’t seen The Shining now’s your chance. It’s brand new on Netflix and it’s one of the best psychological horror flicks of all time. Jack Nicholson absolutely kills it as the leading character in this insane tale of cabin fever, evil presence, and all sorts of other weird crap. Seriously, just watch it.
Even if you’ve never seen Hellraiser, you’re likely familiar with the Hell Priest himself, Pinhead, the sadistic demon from Clive Barker’s directorial debut and absolute work of horror art. This is a gruesome and violent movie that’s not for the squeamish, but an absolute must-watch for everyone else. So good.
Hellraiser 2: Hellbound (1988/R)
Once you’ve watched Hellraiser, you’ll want to go ahead and open the puzzle box a second time with the sequel. It’s more of everything that’s great about the first one.
Children of the Corn (1984/R)
This Stephen King classic was among one of the first major films to make children the primary antagonist—the cult kids want to kill everyone over the age of 18. It features Linda Hamilton long before she was ever known as Sarah Connor (Terminator) and is another must-watch thriller that will get under your skin.
The Lost Boys (1987/R)
What’s a horror list without a classic vampire tale? A list that isn’t worth anyone’s consideration, I say. The Lost Boys is a killer tale of a young generation of vampires that generally just raise hell and do vampire stuff like, you know, drink blood. Such a killer, classic flick.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006/R)
Okay, so The Beginning isn’t technically a classic—in fact, it’s not even cannon Chainsaw. But it’s still a great addition to the Chainsaw series—the second best of all the Chainsaw movies if you ask me—and absolutely worth a watch. If you’re a fan of chainsaw-wielding cannibals and enjoy a dark, gritty, violent horror flick, The Beginning should satiate. Plus, seeing one version of where Leatherface came from is fun, and this version of his origin is appropriately dark and messed up.
The Witch (2015/R)
Some may argue that The Witch is one of the best horror flicks released in the last decade—and I would agree with them. This is great horror because it avoids the cheap “jump scare” garbage that has become all too popular as of late, focusing on a dark and mysterious storyline that works its way into your gut and stay there. This modern horror story is destined to be a classic that should find its way into the hearts of generations of horror fans to come.
The Babadook (2014/NR)
Speaking of modern classics, The Babadook is right up there on the list. This is an intelligent horror movie that has a real human element to it as the main character—a windowed mother struggling to adjust after the violent death of her husband—is relateable and realistic. It explores the bounds of a parent’s love and beyond as it moves from dark to darker.
Speaking of a parent’s love, Cargo is a Netflix original that is as much a love story as it is a horror film. It’s a heartfelt movie that follows a father as he desperately searches for someone to take care of his young daughter in apocalyptic Australia. This film continues to blur the lines of what we think a “zombie” is, offering an interesting and terrifying take on a plague against humanity.
The Ritual (2017/TV-MA)
What happens when you get a group of college buddies to take a trip into an unknown forest? A classic horror scenario is set up, that’s what. In this Netflix original, the group realizes something is hunting them in the forest, slowly finding that things are much worse than they originally thought—the human threat is only a small part of their issue.
This is one of those movies that stuck with me for a long time, and one that I often think back on. Four friends receive special “powers” as children after saving a seemingly mentally handicapped young man—powers that they’ll need to fight off other-worldly forces when they reach adulthood. This one is a great combination of science fiction and horror, making it very different than most other titles on this list.
The Conjuring (2013/R)
Ed and Lorraine Warren are probably the most well-known paranormal investigators in the world, and The Conjuring is based on the Warrens’ case files—so for all intents and purposes, it’s “based on a true story.” That easily makes this one of the scariest movies on the list, because when you add in the idea that this stuff may have really happened, it adds a whole new level of horror. It’s dark, creepy, and downright terrifying.
This is a classic tale of demonic possession, a la The Exorcist. Set in 1991 Madrid, it all starts with a young girl and her friends who try to contact the girl’s deceased father with a Ouija board. You can probably guess what happens from there so I’ll just leave you to watch this one. This is the only film on the list I haven’t personally seen, but I’ve heard rumors that people were unable to finish it because it was simply too scary. Challenge accepted. Let me know if you want to come over and watch it with me.
Everyone loves a good cannibal flick, right? In Raw, a young lifelong vegetarian and veterinarian student is forced to eat raw meat during a hazing ritual. After that she starts crave raw meat—raw flesh. Mmmm.
Teeth is one part dark comedy, one part horror, and one part intense social commentary wrapped up in a modern take on a medieval myth about women’s anatomy and the harm that can befall men that cross them. When the film came out in 2007 the social commentary might have been too intense for the time, but the film has aged into itself as our culture wrestles with the issues of autonomy, consent, and female empowerment. Come for the high brow commentary on modern life, stay for the blood.