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‘Tis the spookiest season of the year — and what better way to get into a macabre mood than through the silver screen? Whether you’re seeking scares from your couch or want to play spooky scenes at your festive fete, we’ve rounded up some of the best horror films to watch online for Halloween.
This is by no means a definitive list; Hollywood has produced far too many must-watch hair-raising movies to count on one blade-tipped hand. Truly devoted horror fans can enjoy on-demand access to the best scary movies on Shudder, which is offering a seven-day free trial right now; after that, plans start at $4.75 per month.
From family-friendly flicks and campy favorites to star-loved cult classics and a handful of the latest releases, our roundup makes it easy to scroll through the zillions of options out there available to stream with a subscription, rent or buy on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and many other streaming platforms. Check out our top picks ahead.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Michael Myers returns again in David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills, the second film in a trilogy follow-up to the classic John Carpenter franchise. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, who inspires survivors to hunt down the murderous villain and put an end to his long-running bloodbath. (The original Halloween and other sequels are also available on Shudder.)
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 46 minutes
Watch on: Peacock
Addams Family 2 (2021)
The creepy and kooky Addams clan embark on a vacation to strengthen their frightening family bond in this animated comedy voiced by Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bette Midler, Javon “Wann” Walton, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg and Bill Hader.
Rating and run time: PG, 1 hour 33 minutes
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, the Oscar-winning Get Out stars Daniel Kaluuya as an unwitting African American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, only to discover the disturbing truth behind his invitation.
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 44 minutes
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
This Hollywood horror classic stars Vincent Price as an eccentric millionaire who offers five guests the chance to each win $10,000 — but only if they can survive through the night in a haunted house.
Rating and run time: PG, 1 hour 15 minutes
A Quiet Place (2018)
Real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski star in this thriller (which was followed by a sequel this year) about a family who must stay silent to survive mysterious and murderous creatures that hunt anything that makes a peep.
Rating and run time: PG-13, 1 hour 30 minutes
This 1980s Tim Burton comedy classic stars Michael Keaton as the ghost with the most who tries to help a newly undead couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) exorcise the living Deetz family (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones and Winona Ryder) that has moved into their home.
Rating and run time: PG, 1 hour 32 minutes
The Shining (1981)
Eli Roth once told The Hollywood Reporter that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is “is the one horror film I simply will never get bored of, ever, no matter what. I look at the clothes, the hair, the wallpaper, the labels on the cans in the kitchen — I scour over them for tiny clues.” The 1981 movie stars Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson as a hotel caretaker who begins to terrorize his wife (Shelley Duvall) and child.
Rating and run time: R, 2 hours 23 minutes
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Mia Farrow plays a pregnant woman who discovers that her unborn child isn’t entirely the bundle of joy that she’s expecting, thanks to a pact with the devil made by her aspiring actor husband.
Rating and run time: R, 2 hours 16 minutes
Sure, you could watch the American remake starring Naomi Watts, or you could watch Hideo Nakata’s original 1998 film that inspired it. The Japanese horror movie centers on a reporter (Nanako Matsushima) who investigates a cursed videotape that allegedly caused the death of her niece and three friends.
Rating and run time: 1 hour 35 minutes
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Pumpkin King Jack Skellington has tired of the same old scary holiday in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. His merry mission to spread yuletide cheer to Halloweentown and beyond results in a holiday gone awry — and potential doom for Santa Claus.
Rating and run time: PG, 1 hour 13 minutes
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s low-budget classic follows a group that seeks shelter in an abandoned house as zombies begin to hunt human food. What could possibly go wrong?
Rating and run time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A sex-filled mansion, sweet transvestites and cannibalism, oh my! What more could you want in a campy musical starring Tim Curry as the scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon as the iconic Brad and Janet, and Meat Loaf as a doomed biker, to name a few stars.
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 38 minutes
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
In the 1984 Wes Craven classic that sparked a horror franchise, lynched pedophile Freddy Kreuger returns from the dead (and with knife-tipped gloves) to terrorize his killers’ teenage children through their dreams.
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 31 minutes
The Omen (1968)
There’s something not quite right with Damien, the adopted son of an ambassador who suspects the child might just be the Antichrist.
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 50 minutes
Hocus Pocus (1993) and Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)
In this cult-favorite Disney comedy, the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) return from 17th-century Salem (again!) after three unsuspecting teens bring them back to life. The trio runs amok (amok, amok, amok!) in modern-day Massachusetts as they once again attempt to live forever by sucking the lives out of the trick-or-treating youth.
Rating and run time: PG, 1 hour 36 minutes; TK
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig strap on proton packs and head to a ghost-riddled Times Square in the Paul Feig reboot of the original 1984 paranormal comedy.
Rating and run time: PG-13, 1 hour 56 minutes
Yet another Craven slasher classic worth watching, Scream takes on suburban high school students who are being stalked by a knife-wielding masked murderer.
Rating and run time: R, 1 hour 50 minutes
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