Halloween movies are an exciting watch all year long, but there’s no better way to enjoy them than colder weather. Particularly this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic transforming the way we participate in classic Halloween traditions such as trick-or-treat, you may need something to take your mind off the actual state of the world and divert you to fictional locations where all the horrifying stuff isn’t real. Here are our personal favorites for the scariest, creepiest, and often silent movies to stream or view on-demand on platforms like Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, HBO Max, and others.
1. Evil Dead
A truly horrifying classic with a really heavy fall feeling, you just have to see the original The Wicked Dead. The 1981 film tells the story of a bunch of students who visit a remote cabin in the woods and then fall victim to paranormal activity. This is it. This is the storyline. And the film is fantastic. The secret sauce that makes The Evil Dead such a pleasure is the low-budget stylings of director Sam Raimi, who gives the camera its own personality and delights in the gorgeous violence that befalls the film. Although there’s some satire, the real “horror-comedy” tone of the series doesn’t really come into play until Evil Dead 2, which is just as much a reboot of the film as a sequel. But in terms of pure film history and a prime example of young, ambitious filmmakers just doing the trick, rather than asking for permission to make a film.
2. The Babysitter
A preadolescent boy’s (Judah Lewis) dream of his babysitter (Samara Weaving) turns into a nightmare as she and her hot friends are subjected to human sacrifice. Director McG’s self-aware take on a babysitter slasher is more satire than horror, offering a bloody good time in a stylish way. Archetypes turn their heads, laugh lines punctuate nearly every scene, and reality largely ceases to exist as our hero attempts to learn some kind of lesson. In all the right ways, it’s goofy mayhem. If you hit the game, please don’t spoil a nice thing by taking it too seriously.
3. A Ghost Story
If you want to introduce an existential dilemma to your Halloween Funtime, then A Ghost Story is for you! This 2017 drama finds that Casey Affleck plays a man who dies but then comes back to torment his wife (Rooney Mara) and her home. There are no major special effects, it’s just Affleck wearing a white sheet and mopping around. But the construction of the film, and the amazing music, is bringing home the greatness of life and the sadness of the loss. This one is definitely special.
4. The Addams Family
They’re scary, and they’re cuddly, they’re absolutely terrified! Adaptation The Addams Family in 1991 is a ghoulish joy from start to end. It’s got a goofily macabre look in the Halloween season when the long-lost brother of the titular family makes his way home — though in subtly different forms. It’s the same story with strangers and spiders. The architecture of the production is gorgeous, the performances are deliciously gourmet, but above all the through-line of comedy makes The Addams Family a supremely amusing watch. Adam Chitwood.
If you watched Poltergeist growing up, odds are you’re probably just as possessed by Heather O’Rourke as she is in the show, playing a little girl tormented by ghosts in her family home. This Steven Spielberg-penned, Tobe Hooper-directed (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) ghost flick is a confirmed cult classic and one of the best horror movies of all time, coming from the simplistic concept of a couple whose house is infested with ghosts obsessed with reclaiming space and stealing their daughter. Poltergeist made the rearranged furniture freaky, and you might recall an especially classic scene of a blurry retro TV set. It may be almost 40 years old, but the creepiness is hanging on.
6. The Frighteners
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which launched one of the most admired and commercially popular trilogies in film history. Jackson had the chance to shoot all three films back-to-back from the success of his independent films: the gory Dead Alive and Meet the Feebles, and the independent beloved Celestial Animals. But Jackson released a humongous, expensive flop between his indie trilogy and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Frighteners look at Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, a man who can see and speak with ghosts after a car crash, kills his wife. Bannister and a trio of ghouls are using the trick to torment the living. Then the demonic spirit of Jake Busey emerges. The Frighteners were better remembered for their startling-for-the-time special effects (early Weta Digital!) and the lenticular VHS box cover, a ghastly skull that appeared to press through the box surface due to the novelty of the 3D effect.
7. The Blair Witch Project
The new wave of found-footage horror continues, no doubt, with The Blair Witch Project Looking at it now, it’s hard to imagine that a movie starring three unknowns at the time (Josh Leonard will later break into larger projects) will become one of the biggest movies in 1999, with almost $140.5 million in a budget of $60,000. But we don’t just remember The Blair Witch Project because of its box office impact; we remember it because of how it fundamentally transformed the found-footage game. From the idea to the execution to the final gut-punching blast, the Blair Witch Project knows how to get right into your psyche and prey on you. The story of three college students traveling to rural Maryland to record (and probably experienced) the local legend of Blair Witch soon turns into a terrifying survival story. There are no special effects, no dazzling gimmicks — just a blurry video clip of three grown adults steadily losing their heads as a 100-year-old witch prey.
8. Let the Right One In
A 12-year-old Swedish boy finds a mate in a vampire that appears about his age but is secretly an old vampire forever stuck in a young girl’s body. The film is kaleidoscopic, each view revealing something different from the last one. I was a cynical college student the first time I saw the film, and I read the central relationship as a message about the parasitic existence of marriage. After college, the relationship between children reminded me of the impermanence of childhood, and that growing up is a mixed blessing. I’ve been even more focused this past year on a girl’s relationship with her caretaker, an elderly man who risks everything for her life. The film was adapted from John Ajvid Lindqvist’s 2004 novel of the same name, which inspired not only this Swedish film, but also the 2010 American adaptation, a comic-book prequel, and two-stage plays. The latter has its own heritage — it was adapted by the majestic National Theater of Scotland.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Truly, there has always been a dispute on whether Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. Since its release in 1993, this divergence of opinion has split the public. At the end of the day, as the protagonist is called Jack Skelington Pumpkin King, it becomes impossible to ignore the apparent Halloween origins. Once again, we’ve got aspects of fantasy and musicals on show. The animation is uniquely distinct from that used in Coco. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animation film. This original style helps give audiences a beautifully fresh experience of the film. The film is designed by Mr. Halloween himself, Tim Burton. His signature Gothic designs and sound are spread throughout the project. The only wish of the King of Halloween World, Jack Skellington, after finding Christmas World is to enjoy this newfound holiday. He grows bored of the contrived aspect of the Halloween celebration.
Beetlejuice met with immediate commercial and critical success. When an original film contributes to the production of a variety of video games, an anime tv series, and, most recently, a musical, it is fair to conclude that a film can be considered a success. In his second role as director, Tim Burton will lay the groundwork that would have won him the title of Mr. Halloween thanks to his spooky body of work. Where it comes to costume design and stage design, Beetlejuice set a new precedent and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup along the way. As far as the plot is concerned, Beetlejuice is an intriguing combination of fantasy, satire, and light horror. Without disclosing too much, the plot includes three ghosts as they try to torment the current occupants of a particular home. Michael Keaton, like Betelgeuse or Beetlejuice, completely steals the show. Prior to this role, Keaton was slowly building up a resuming of respectable success. It happened that his role in Beetlejuice was the most important
The advent of Scream in 1996 resurrected the genre in almost the same way as the above-mentioned films helped to launch it. Scream’s strongest charm was his self-awareness. The film acts more like a horror movie parody. In spite of the whimsical sound, the film generated actual scares. The self-awareness of Scream came straight from director Wes Craven. Craven led the immensely popular Elm Street Nightmare. His first-hand knowledge of the Slasher genre helped him to fully satirize the proceedings. This meta-approach can be seen in the storyline as horror movies are discussed in the film. The murderer also goes as far as to provide horror-based anecdotes in his killings. Again, we have an immensely commercially profitable franchise that has begun to make a range of sequel and related material. Having already discussed the sarcastic tone, it’s fair to predict some morbid comedy. The use of satire expertly put in the film was very original.
Coraline is the horror animated children’s movie out there. I was a full-grown adult when I saw it for the first time, and those button-eyed creatures from the Other World somehow got all the way under my skin. Driven by The Nightmare Before Christmas Helmer Henry Selick with the brilliant Laika artists delivering ground-breaking stop-motion animation, Coraline is beautiful and stylishly built, borrowing from Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy novel to create an immersive and unnerving parallel universe. Dakota Fanning lends her voice as a title character, a teenage girl who discovers a portal to another dimension where she sees an idealized version of her childhood. While the Other Mother (Terri Hatcher) appears like a fantasy at first, there are dark and strange overtones hanging in every picture, and when Coraline discovers that she may be trapped there forever, she has to struggle for the true family she’s taken for granted.
Coco is evidence that proper Halloween movies don’t actually have to be scary. This non-horror film is a refreshing shift of tempo. It’s hard to see whether Coco was a big hit commercially or critically. The film has met with a brilliant reception from critics all over the world. Coco is the real deal, and a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is evidence of this. In comparison, a record of $807 million has been earned in the worldwide box office. This is extremely remarkable for an animated feature. Apart from a slightly longer period of time, there’s nothing wrong with this show. This animated masterpiece blends the components of the worlds of fantasy, music, and comedy. There’s really a lot to be loved by all fans. It is definitely meant to please younger demographics, but the sensitive elements on the show make the film attractive to older fans as well.
14. The Guest
The Guest, an impressive independent thriller by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, whom you may remember as the pair behind You’re Next. Stevens virtually flies off the screen as a picture-a perfect soldier who goes to see the fallen comrade’s family for a few days, while trouble appears to follow him everywhere he goes. It’s a star-making role for Stevens, and yet the film itself only succeeds to the degree that it does because of its co-star, Maika Monroe, who followed it with It Follows, cementing its position as a favorite star among a generation of genre fans.