When it comes to picking horror films to watch on Halloween, it can be a total nightmare. Thousands of films and lists are floating around and it is easy to get bogged down with all the options. To save you time and energy I came up with 16 different categories, and in those categories I have given you a main option and a backup in case you don’t like the first recommendation.
Hopefully you can all find something you will enjoy. I wanted to get this list out early so you have a head start on finding all these great movies. As an added bonus, all of these films are streaming on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO GO or Shudder.
If You Are In The Mood For:
1. A Dinner Party That Goes Terribly Awry
The Invitation (Netflix) — What I love about The Invitation is how it builds to an amazing final shot. You won't find a better ending to any 2016 film because it actually earns the shock. Director Karyn Kusama has created a world that is loaded with excellent performances, lots of questions and tons of suspense.
If you aren't interested: We Are What We Are (Netflix) — You don't want to be the guest at one of the Parker's dinner parties. We Are What We Are is a solid remake that does the original justice and is able to stand on its own. That is rare in the remake world.
2. A Witch Who Turns Babies Into Goo
The Witch (Amazon Prime) — There are things in The Witch that you will never forget. Director Robert Eggers's quest for authenticity paid off and you find yourself immersed in a terrifying world. If you are into beautiful/terrible imagery and slow burn tension you will love every second of The Witch.
If you aren't interested: Rosemary's Baby (Amazon Prime) — The two films are incredibly different but they both revolve around witches/cults and terrible things happening to babies.
3. A Thing That Never Stops Following You
It Follows (Hulu with Showtime subscription) — What I love about It Follows is how it is loaded with urgency, patience and dread. It never stops and it keeps you in a constant state of alert because you don't know where the following creature will pop up next. That is perfect for Halloween horror!
If you aren't interested: The Descent (Hulu with Showtime subscription) — The Descent is one of my favorite horror films and I love how it becomes a brutal and urgent survival film. You will never be able to catch your breath during The Descent.
4. An Evil Space Ship
Event Horizon (Netflix) — If you are looking for a cult classic that is loaded with great actors and insane imagery you will love Event Horizon. It is director Paul Anderson's best film and the visions of Hell will be burned into your memory.
If you aren't interested: Let Us Prey (Netflix, Shudder) — Let Us Prey is a nasty little movie that might as well take place in a Hell-ship. If you are into gore and insanity you will appreciate this film.
5. A Killer Who Doesn't Have A Lame Backstory
Hush (Netflix) — Hush is a fantastic horror movie that does a lot with little and Netflix should be stoked they are streaming it exclusively. I love it because it plays out very practically and features a nameless villain that doesn’t need a backstory or motives. Hush is smart, exciting, and wonderfully simple.
If you aren't interested: Final Destination (Amazon Prime) — There is nothing worse than Death trying to kill you. You will wish the nameless guy from Hush was coming after you.
6. A Stupid, Red-Faced Demon Who Pops Up At The Worst Moments
Insidious (Crackle) — Insidious catapulted director James Wan back into the mainstream and featured one of the best jump scares ever. Insidious is one of my favorite 21st century horror films because it features a good family being terrorized by terrible evil. They've done nothing wrong and I love that they actually move away from the haunted house and put their lives on the line to save each other. Insidious is a horror movie with heart.
If you aren't interested: Poltergeist (HBO GO) — A horror classic that has influenced countless films. That dang clown is never not scary.
7. A Killer In Training
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Shudder) — It takes a lot of work to become a movie killer. You need to train, walk fast and create overly elaborate backstories. However, if you do everything right you will become a horror legend and star in a very fun cult classic. I love how Behind the Mask pokes fun at horror cliches and then totally subverts all of them.
If you aren't interested: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (Shudder, Netflix) — T&D is horror comedy at its best and I love how it successfully subverts the genre while bringing the gore.
8. A Babysitter In A Creepy House
The House of the Devil (Shudder, Hulu) — If you are into babysitters being harassed you will love The House of the Devil. It is an audacious horror film that builds to an incredibly tense and soul-crushing conclusion. Director Ti West (The Innkeepers, The Sacrament) is a master of horror and I love that he had the confidence to create such a crazy ending.
If you aren't interested: The Babadook (Netflix) — These two films are incredibly different. However, they build tension beautifully and feature directors who will be making big waves in horror.
9. Really Fast People Who Are Infected With Rage
28 Days Later (HBO GO) — Danny Boyle is my hero and 28 Days Later is my favorite "zombie" film. It is the most tension-filled horror film of the 21st century and it just doesn't age. I watch it every Halloween and it seems to get better and better. I love the soundtrack, scares, and the opening scene showcasing an empty London freaks me out every time.
If you aren't interested: Dead Snow (Shudder, Netflix) — What is worse than rage-infected zombies? Nazi zombies.
10. A Hit-Man Getting Into Some Really Weird Stuff
Kill List (Shudder, Hulu) — Director Ben Wheatley is a maniac director and Kill List is a journey into madness. I love how it starts off as a hit-man film and slowly devolves into crazy cult shenanigans. Kill List might be the most underrated horror film of recent years and I put it on the list so more people will watch it.
If you aren't interested: Black Death (Shudder, Amazon Prime) — Black Death won't leave you feeling happy. However, any movie called Black Death shouldn't be an easy watch.
11. A Cabinet Owned By A Doctor
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Netflix, Shudder) — If you want to watch a horror film that is beautiful to look at and is crazy influential you will love The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It is one of the first true horror films and I love the German expressionism and long-lasting images. Do yourself a favor and watch a true horror original.
If you aren't interested: Nosferatu (Shudder) — What happens when you can't get the rights to Dracula? You make a movie called Nosferatu and influence horror movies forever. Then, you get sued.
12. A Wes Craven Classic
The Hills Have Eyes (Shudder) — Wes Craven was a maniac back in the day. His films were angry, brutal and iconic. If you are looking for a classic of the horror genre you will love The Hills Have Eyes. It is a brutal experience that never gets old and features some of the most frightening villains ever.
If you aren't interested: Re-Animator (Shudder, Amazon Prime) — Re-Animator is a fantastic cult classic that needs to be watched by more people. You will love every second of it.
13. The Best Vampire Film Of The 21st Century
Let the Right One In (Amazon Prime, Shudder) — Let the Right One In is the rare horror film that transcends the genre because every element of it is great. It is beloved by critics and horror hounds because it tells a heartbreaking story while featuring lots and lots of blood. You won't find a better vampire movie out there because there aren't any.
If you aren't interested: From Dusk Till Dawn (Amazon Prime, Netflix) — From Dusk Till Dawn ain't subtle like Let the Right One In. However, it is a well made splatterfest that is lots of fun.
14. Zombies Coming For Someone Named Barbara
Night of the Living Dead (Shudder) — George A. Romero helped changed the horror world in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. If you haven't watched this classic yet I totally recommend you watch it on Halloween. I guarantee you will love this movie because it is a pure horror film that was created by people who loved the genre and wanted to create something new and exciting.
If you aren't interested: Pontypool (Netflix) — Pontypool is a single-location zombie movie that uses its setting perfectly and is a really neat head trip. If you are into low-budget, independent horror that hits above its weight you will really appreciate Pontypool.
15. Drunk People Battling Aliens
Grabbers (Shudder) — Grabbers tells the incredibly true story (lie) of drunk Irish villagers battling jerky aliens. It is perfection, and I love how it embraces absurdity and everyone seems to be having fun. If you are looking for something quirky and scary it doesn't get any better than Grabbers.
If you aren't interested: Tremors (Amazon Prime) — Tremors is pure creature feature fun. I've watched it over 20 times and it never gets old. Viva la Bacon!
16. A Descent Into Madness
I Saw the Devil (Amazon Prime, Shudder) — If you want to put your soul in a headlock you need to watch I Saw the Devil. It is brilliant, tough and beautiful to look at. I think I Saw the Devil might be the best horror film of the last 10 years because it balances amazing performances, lots of blood and a truly scary villain.
If you aren't interested: A Tale of Two Sisters (Shudder) — Embrace the Korean weirdness. You will love it.
Hopefully this list has helped you pick a perfect film to watch on Halloween! Enjoy! Thanks for reading.
What horror movies do you always watch on Halloween?