Welcome to Halloween Week 2015! Over the course of the week, you will hear from guest authors, bloggers, and your very own Book Smugglers about all things Halloween–including reviews of horror novels and films, essays on the genre, and any number of spooky topics in between.
Today, Thea delves into her Netflix, Crackle, and HBO GO queues for some good old fashioned horrific FUN. Looking for the best horror to stream online this weekend? LOOK NO FURTHER.
The Best Horror to Stream RIGHT NOW
Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. It’s a time of changing seasons, haunted houses and theme parks, pumpkin beers, and, best of all the horror a girl could ask for in basically any media imaginable. One thing that is hard to find, however, are good horror movie recommendations for streaming services–most of the lists served up on Netflix’s recommendation algorithm are a mix of potential gold and potential rubbish, and lists of horror movies to watch on various blogs have been repetitive and unsatisfying (at least, to me they have been–your mileage may vary).
What’s a girl yearning for some good horror right now for no additional rental/download cost to do?
Come up with her own, list, that’s what! So that’s what you have here–Thea’s list of horror movies, broken out by subgenere, available to stream RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT on Netflix, Crackle (another free streaming service), and HBO GO. I’ve put the main focus on Netflix and have designated the other platforms next to those horror movies only available on those platforms.
Ghosts & Haunts
A good ghost story is a balancing act of tension, psychological terror, and, most importantly, never revealing TOO much too quickly (unless that’s the intent). This lists includes a haunted mirror, a mother and child and a really creepy children’s book, and even a story from the perspective of a ghost locked in eternal routine. (Also if you’re wondering why the 1990s version of The House on Haunted Hill is on this list, it’s because I have very fond memories of renting this movie over and over and over again as a kid, and it’s fun, shlocky haunted house horror–very different than the Vincent Price source material, which sadly is no longer streaming on Netflix.)
Found Footage Horror
I’m always skeptical of found footage horror–but you gotta admit that when it’s done right, it’s scary stuff. Take, for example, scifi horror feature Devil’s Pass, which documents a crew of documentarians as they attempt to traverse the ill-fated Dyatlov Pass. Unexpected, and actually really smart and creepy stuff ensues. The wild card on here is Grave Encounters 2, which is a bit of a cheat because I *really* wanted to include Grave Encounters the first, which is really effectively terrifying. Part 2 is just ok; if you want to watch ghost hunters get taken out by a malevolent mental institution and its ghosts, I think it’s worth the dough to spring for Grave Encounters 1.
Horror comedy is one of my favorite things in the entire world–what better marriage than that between gore and laughs?! There are some underappreciated gems on Netflix, like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, which totally beats out The Cabin In the Woods in terms of turning the cabin-slasher-massacre trope on its head. Pesky college kids, offing themselves all over Dale’s property. Also did you know there’s a musical theater summer camp horror movie that features Minnie Driver and Meatloaf on Netflix? Well, there is.
Really Disturbing Stuff
And on the opposite end of horror comedy, sometimes you want to watch something that will really, really mess with your mind. American Mary is the story of a broke medical student who gets into the world of extreme body modification in order to pay the bills…and finds her true calling. Not for the faint of heart. We Are What We Are is an atmospheric film about a family adhering to tradition over the generations, and ends with a hell of a last supper. And The Human Centipede, well, I don’t think I need to say anything about that one, right?
Old School Traditional Horror
Not much needs to be said for the tried-and-true classics (unless you haven’t yet seen them). Fact: Rosemary’s Baby is my favorite horror film of all time. It’s atmospheric and intrusive and awful and terrifying on so many levels for pregnant-mother-to-be Rosemary. And the original The Omen with Gregory Peck and that cherubic little boy playing Damien is old guard, 1970s-era Catholic horror at one of its finest moments.
’80s & ’90s Horror
Unlike other ’80s and ’90s era horror properties on Netflix right now, the Hellraiser franchise is basically ALL available to stream. I like films 1-3 best (and yes, Hellraiser 3 is cheesy but PINHEAD’S BACKSTORY!), so recommend them all. And, dipping into the pool of Crackle, you’ve got Stephen King penned screenplay Sleepwalkers about a mother and son who are immortal soul-sucking catpeople (but are, paradoxically, terrified of cats), and Demon Knight from the Tales from the Crypt films on HBO GO–in which Billy Zane plays a seductive demon bent on retrieving an artifact that has eluded his kind’s grasp for centuries.
Crackle has an awesome amount of good zombie horror right now, including college Greek system zombie massacre Night of the Creeps, and Spanish horror films Rec and Rec 2. Technically the latter two are found footage films, too–and totally worth the temporary nausea. Rec is TERRIFYING.
I’m always surprised at how few people have seen the original From Dusk Till Dawn Robert Rodriguez film, starring George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, and Juliette Lewis. Oh, and Salma Hayek in her most seductive (just my opinion) role. Vampires in a stripper bar in Mexico eating unsuspecting drivers and roadies for centuries–it’s good stuff. The original Let the Right One In is beautiful, disturbing, and poetic take on the vampire myth, and if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a reason it’s on everyone’s list. It’s that good.
Like Horror short stories, anthology films are a treat. I wish Creepshow, Quicksilver Highway, and The Twilight Zone Movie (and a few others) were still streaming, but I’m happy to report that Trick ‘R Treat–the definitive Halloween anthology–is up on HBO GO, and Tales from the Darkside (in which a young boy tries to distract a witch from eating him by telling her stories) is still up on Netflix for the season.
For the Kids
Looking for relatively kid-friendly (or kid-centric) horror? The Addams Family is always solid and a staple of my childhood. And then there’s the recently added Monster Squad to the Netflix family, following a group of friends in blatant Goonies fashion as they take on monsters that invade their small town. Bonus: Beetlejuice is on HBO GO right now and who doesn’t love that Tim Burton classic?!
Last but not least, my favorite subgenre of horror–that of the science fiction persuasion. There are a ton of good movies that fit the time travel-y, it came from outer space-y, body horror-y bill available now–including a locked room mystery in which people can vote for who to kill, a high school invaded by parasites from space, a scientist who makes an ill-fated experimental decision… good, creepy stuff. And lots of Cronenberg.
And that’s it! What horror movies are you streaming for Halloween?