It might be hard to believe, but Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s just about time to start gorging on horror movies. For Netflix streaming subscribers there’s a hefty selection of all things spooky, gory, and suspenseful to watch this October. In fact, there are so many films in their catalogue that choosing one can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily for you, we here at Screen Rant have done the hard part for you, and have selected a bevy of films horror fans of all tastes can enjoy this All Hallow’s Eve, from the gloriously gross to the psychologically terrifying.
So if you’re looking for some under-the-radar, obscure, or underrated horror movie options to watch (in addition to tried and true streaming classics including Jaws, The Fly, Hellraiser, and Re-animator), here are 15 other essential fright-tastic films you should add to your queue to watch up through October 31st.
15. The Babadook (2014)
“I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me.” That’s high praise coming from The Exorcist director William Friedkin, but this 2014 Australian psychological horror film (from first time filmmaker Jennifer Kent) is certainly one of the creepiest horror films in recent memory.
A grieving widow (Game of Thrones‘ Essie Davis) is having trouble contending with her disruptive son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who becomes terrified when he’s convinced that a children’s pop-up book entitled Mr. Babadook has released a supernatural beast (of the same name) into their home. After initially thinking he’s overreacting, she soon begins questioning both their sanity when the evil Mr. Babadook wreaks havoc in their life. Shot on a shoestring budget, The Babadook employs effective old-school effects and nuanced performances to create a palpable sense of dread, making for one unforgettable film experience.
14. Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987)
This 1980s oddity is a love letter to grindhouse horror trailers of the ’70s and ’80s, narrated by Ron (real name Nick Hartlow), an overzealous host with a combover and serial killer glasses who provides nerdy banter in between a barrage of clips. Oh, and he’s helped by his creepy zombie puppet, Happy Goldsplatt (think of a low-rent MST3K and you’re getting the basic gist).
While Mad Ron and his sawdust sidekick’s corny jokes can be a bit much, the true stars of the show are the trailers, featuring everything from the original teaser for Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, along with a smattering of other flicks that are way better in trailer form than full-length movies (Three On A Meathook, Wildcat Women, The Mutations).
13. Deathgasm (2015)
Heavy metal and horror have always made for a winning combo, and New Zealand horror film Deathgasm (one of the best titles ever for a horror movie, no?) is a clever horror comedy that expertly fuses those two genres. First time director Jason Lei Howden’s unbridled passion for music and horror is felt in every frame.
Disaffected teenage headbangers Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) and Zakk (James Blake) are bored kids looking to start a band with an appropriately evil reputation to gain fame and fortune. After messing around with black magic, they unwittingly unleash a demon called The Blind One. Now they have to stop evil while also fighting over their mutual crush Medina (Kimberly Crossman). Deathgasm is a total blast, full of high energy, gory effects, and face-melting death metal. It’s an instant cult classic. Just make sure to crank up the volume on your surround sound before you press play.
12. The Nightmare (2015)
One of the most chilling documentaries ever made, The Nightmare looks into victims who suffer from the malady known as sleep paralysis: a condition which leaves them unable to move or talk, holding them hostages to their cruel and unrelenting dream-states. While the film certainly suffers from a total lack of authoritative research (no physicians or scientific experts are interviewed, merely relying on witness testimonies as fact), it excels in the sequences that recreate the nightmares as described by the participating subjects.
Director Rodney Ascher (Room 237) stages each disquieting dream as an exercise in atmospheric dread, giving cinematic manifestations to nightmares involving common dream archetypes including “shadow men”, “night hags” and more. These “recreations” are absolutely terrifying–so effective that it just might make you fear going to sleep… and also feel total empathy for those plagued by this debilitating condition. It’s a stellar distillation of the mind’s ability to turn against us.
11. Bad Milo! (2013)
This bizarre 2014 horror comedy stars Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer, Children’s Hospital) as Duncan, a man whose severe anxiety manifests itself in a particularly grotesque way: an intestinal polyp that turns into a demonic creature, then pops out of his nether regions and kills anyone that proves a source of Duncan’s stress. Desperate to be free of the monster inside his colon, Duncan turns to medical science, therapy, anything to get rid of the beast he calls “Milo” before he kills anyone else (including his pregnant wife, played by Gillian Jacobs).
Bad Milo! is a movie more concerned with laughs than scares, but it has a few good jolts, and the intestinal monster is a disgusting, yet oddly cute concoction. Perhaps the goofiest body horror movie ever made, it’s a fun guilty pleasure featuring an impressive supporting cast including Stephen Root, Peter Stormare, and Patrick Warburton. If you’re up for a heartwarming scatological tale, take some anti-nausea meds and give it a go.
10. We Are What We Are (2013)
An unnerving film that works as both a family drama and a cannibalistic horror tale, director Jim Mickleson’s We Are What We Are examines the lives of the Parker clan, a tight-knit family reeling from the death of their family matriarch. Her grieving husband and children’s loss is compounded when her death shines a light on the family’s strict religious faith. The fact that their religion involves eating people doesn’t help either. Things spiral out of control and family members are pitted against each other when the children question their faith and its disquieting dietary conditions.
We Are What We Are is a grisly, emotionally grueling film featuring riveting performances (from a cast that includes Bill Sage, Kelly McGillis, Julia Garner, and Ambyr C. Childers) and a devastating payoff. It’s certainly not for the squeamish, but for those with a strong stomach up for a dark tale, it fits the bill nicely.
9. Creep (2014)
There’s been such a glut of found footage horror films that the sub-genre has fallen into self-parody. At least the makers of Creep realize this, crafting a found footage film that’s a mix of disturbing drama and queasy comedy.
When videographer Ed (Creep director Patrick Kack-Brice) answers a Craigslist ad, he think he has a simple (yet heavy) assignment: document a day in the life of Josef (Mark Duplass), a terminally ill man who wants a film made of his daily routine that can be shown to his unborn son after he passes away.
But Josef’s story keeps changing. He adds strange new demands while deliberately trying to terrify Ed (which he claims is just his “weird sense of humor”). His continual mood swings takes the film into white-knuckle territory. Featuring a tour-de-force performance from Duplass, Creep is a film designed to unnerve you and make you squirm, which makes it more than live up to its title.
8. The Sacrament (2013)
This tense found-footage thriller (directed by House of the Devil’s Ti West) focuses on a group of documentary filmmakers (Joe Swanberg, A.J. Bowen) investigating Eden Parish, a mysterious remote religious commune. Their mission is to locate the sister of one of their associates. A former drug addict, she claims that the community has brought her salvation and peace. But after revealing several visibly frightened members and interviewing the menacing authoritarian leader (played by Gene Jones), they become convinced that the followers may be kept against their will and that all their lives are in danger.
The Sacrament isn’t your typical horror film: it’s a slow burn thriller, and West is a filmmaker less concerned with jump scares than sustained, unrelenting tension that never lets up until the final frame. The documentary feel distracts from the normal limitations of the found footage format, putting the focus soundly on its compelling characters and gut-wrenching finale.
7. The Invitation (2015)
A film that makes for the perfect double feature with The Sacrament, The Invitation is a twisted tale starring Logan Marshall-Green (i.e., the Tom Hardy lookalike from Prometheus), who plays Will, a troubled soul who goes to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband (Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman). Their secretive demeanor doesn’t sit well with Will, nor does their new fascination with a creepy death-obsessed New Age support group, which they push upon all their guests.
When veteran bad guy actor John Carroll Lynch (American Horror Story, Zodiac) shows up, it’s an official sign that things are really not okay and Will and his fellows guests are forced to take drastic action to survive the evening. Directed by Jennifer’s Body filmmaker Karyn Kusama, The Invitation weaves a taut web of dread from start to finish that will make you avoid any social engagements with long-lost friends in the near future.
6. Nightbreed (1990)
One of the most bonkers horror films of the 1990s (or any decade for that matter), Nightbreed is the directorial debut from novelist Clive Barker (Hellraiser), and it’s one hell of a bizarre and indulgent entrance. Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) is a man plagued with nightmares of a world full of monsters. Unfortunately, his psychiatrist (David Cronenberg) isn’t much help, harboring some dark secrets of his own that put Boone’s life in danger. Soon, Boone realizes his dreams were actually a vision, and the monsters he encounters might just provide his salvation.
Nightbreed is one crazy film; overly ambitious and chock full of practical gore and a wide array of prosthetic monsters. Luckily Netflix has the director’s cut, which proves a more fulfilling vision than the original theatrical film. If you are searching for an over-the-top, unique horror film that stretches beyond the usual confines of the genre, Nightbreed will provide one wild ride.
5. Stakeland (2010)
For those sick of seeing the defanged, non-threatening vampires of the Twilight variety, Stakeland is the movie for you. In this post-apocalyptic tale, a hardened vampire hunter (Nick Damici) tries to make his way across an American heartland full of bloodsuckers. Along the way he takes an orphan (Connor Maolo) and a nun (Kelly McGillis) under his wing as they search for “New Eden,” an area that has been reclaimed from the vampire hordes. Getting there is anything but easy.
Stakeland (directed by We Are What We Are‘s Jim Mickleson) is an intriguing mix of horror film and coming-of-age drama, as much about the human condition as it it’s about jump scares and gruesome monsters. If you’re looking for vampire film equal parts The Walking Dead and The Omega Man, get ready to be blown away (and then keep your fingers crossed for a possible television adaptation coming your way soon).
4. We Are Still Here (2016)
This eerie retro-horror thriller stars horror veteran Barbara Crampton (You’re Next, Re-animator) as Anne Sacchetti, a grieving parent who moves into a new home in the aftermath of her son’s death. But any attempt for her and her husband (played by Andrew Sensenig) to find solace and a fresh start are halted when Anne claims to feel her son’s presence in the house.
Soon the Sacchettis hire a pair of spiritualists to try to contact their son from beyond the grave, while also investigating the house’s strange origins as a former funeral home. Suffice to say, things get very weird. Directed by first-time filmmaker Ted Geoghegan, We Are Still Here is an impressive, immersive and chilling debut, full of old-school atmosphere, sustained suspense, and emotion-rooted performances that are a rarity for the genre. The film earned critical acclaim across the board, and now it can gain the cult accolades it deserves.
3. Hush (2016)
There have been a slew of horror films featuring masked killers stalking beautiful women over the years, but 2016’s Hush (from Oculus director Mike Flanagan) does its part to shake up the formula: the villain unmasks himself early in the proceedings, and the heroine Madison “Maddie” Young (Kate Siegel) is deaf. Maddie is an author living in the remote countryside, dependent on her laptop and phone for contact with the outside world. Her stalker, realizing her disability, uses her devices against her, sending her instant messages to let her know she is constantly being watched. But his smugness gives Maddie a strategy for survival.
Hush breathes new life into the home invasion formula, while also offering a healthy dose of female empowerment thanks to Siegel’s stirring performance. And the critics agree that Flanagan’s film is a game changer for the genre: it currently holds a stellar 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. The Guest (2014)
This one is a mix of horror flick, sci-fi thriller and action comedy. The Guest stars Dan Stevens as David, an army veteran drifter who visits the family of Caleb Peterson, a slain soldier he claims to have served with in Afghanistan. His aw-shucks gracious demeanor wins over Caleb’s parents, who treat him like their own son and invite him to stay.
But their daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) becomes suspicious that David isn’t who he says he is, and that his motivations are murky and his past is deadly. Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, Blair Witch) crafts a film that is a love letter to the works of James Cameron and John Carpenter, with an ’80s synth-soundtrack to match, while Dan Stevens is absolutely magnetic as a troubled young man capable of transforming into a human killing machine. Why The Guest wasn’t a huge hit upon its release in 2014 is a head-scratcher. P.S: the film takes place around Halloween, so its perfect for watching on the 31st (keep an eye out for the Halloween III Easter Egg!).
1. Housebound (2014)
For whatever reason, New Zealand has become a fertile ground for the horror comedy genre (Braindead, What We Do In The Shadows, Black Sheep, the aforementioned Deathgasm), and 2014’s Housebound (directed by Gerard Johnstone) is yet another impressive fright flick entry from the Kiwi country.
When failed thief Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed on house arrest at her parent’s home, her cabin fever and petulant behavior become a strain on all involved. But the estranged relationship between Kylie and her mother (Rima Te Wiata) and stepfather (Ross Harper) has to take a backseat when it’s revealed that their house is haunted. Soon they investigate the origins of the supernatural presence (aided by Kylie’s probation officer, played by Glen-Paul Waru).
Featuring inspired performances, clever twists and an inspired conclusion, Housebound is a winning combination of haunted house thriller, mystery film, and dysfunctional family comedy that hits all the right notes for horror fans.
So that wraps up the 15 horror films you need to watch on Netflix this October. What other scary streaming titles would you recommend for Halloween viewing? Be sure and let us know in the comments!