Congratulations, boys and ghouls. We've looked at what horror movies are available on Netflix for you to watch right now, and picked our favorites. There's no ranking here, it's just an assortment of some decidedly counter-programming during the month of Valentine's Day and Hallmark sentimentality.
And we have impeccable taste. You can trust us....
When Stephen King once discussed his inspiration for writing The Shining, he recalled the time he discovered his young son had destroyed story notes in his office. “I could kill him,” King mused of his mindset in that moment. Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook likewise finds the darker side of parenting with the scariest film of 2014.
A horror movie that is ostensibly about what happens when a single, low-income mother discovers that her child’s nightmare boogeyman is real, there is genuinely realterror here that comes beating from the darker side of her “Babadook” heart. While a loving son, there is no denying that the film’s young Samuel is a “problem child,” and through supernatural possession his mama has found a grim solution of sorts. When William Friedkin calls it the most terrifying horror movie he’s seen, you’re doing something right.
While we wouldn't call this one a horror film per se, The Crow is definitely a twisted revenge tale with some very dark moments. Based on a celebrated comic book, the movie's premise is a bit out there: a dead musician named Eric Draven is brought back from the dead by a supernatural crow so that he can avenge the rape and murder of his fiance. Draven sinks deeper into the seedy underworld of Detroit on Devil's Night, taking out the thugs that ended his life in gruesome ways.
It is a real artistic gem, too, full of gothic spirit and an awesome soundtrack to boot. Brandon Lee, who tragically died in an accident during filming, gives an inspired performance as Draven.
Some movies are horrific solely due to their premise. And some premises are nothing but terror. This is the case with Stephen King’s Cujo, a 1981 novel of canine suspense that was turned into a pretty solid white-knuckled slice of tension.
Made expressly for that first tense, on-the-edge-of-your-seat viewing, the 1983 adaptation starring Dee Wallace competently transfers King’s prose of a woman and child trapped inside their car while being pursued by a ravenous dog. Not the strongest film on this list, it is still one that makes for a gnarly thrill if you’ve never seen it before.
While hardly the definitive “killer doll” movie, Dead Silence is an interesting flick because of how it marks a transition for director James Wan. The shrewd filmmaking director of the three biggest hit horror movies in the last 12 years—Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring—had this one little anomaly in between the first two. Perhaps because he was not quite ready to be considered a “horror director” (he would go on to direct Furious 7 and is now slated to helm Aquaman), this is an enjoyably odd duck of film with elements of comedy, police procedural, and the occasionally pitch perfect horror set piece that he would begin cranking out in his sleep by the time The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 opened in the same summer.
In many ways the prototype for the “Annabelle” prologue in Conjuring, Dead Silence tracks the curse of Mary Shaw a ventriloquist who made up for what she lacked in skill with murder. After killing a boy who dared to notice her lips moved while working with her dummy Billy, she herself was killed by vigilantes who removed her tongue—and generations henceforth of their descendants have shared the same mysterious fate when confronted with dummy Bill (hint: whatever you do, don’t scream).
The movie has a nifty twist ending and is just silly enough to make for a pleasant collection of jump scares and faux urban legend mythmaking, if not exactly a memorable classic.
There are plenty of zombie movies, TV shows, video games, and even comics out there. But if you haven’t seen Dead Snow yet, rest assured that there is one walking dead realm not yet traversed for your viewing pleasure: Nazi zombies, of course!
In Tommy Wirkola’s Norwegian calling card, the filmmaker reimagines the zombie genre to be one of snow, sleds, and swastikas. That’s what happens when a handful of friends decide that they want to go camping and skiing while in a cabin in the woods. Little did they realize that this mountain holds a terrible secret about a band of rogue Nazis who froze to death there in the winter of ’44. It turns out they died protecting their stolen Nazi gold, and they are so greedy that even in the Great Beyond, they will rise to protect the treasure. Thus it’s likely unwise to disturb any gold pieces that you find there. Too late.
Okay, the plot is an excuse to see smarter-than-average zombies goose-steeping their way into elaborately graphic kills at the hands of snowmobiles, chainsaws, and all manner of skiing equipment. The gore is nasty and so is the fun.
What really needs to be said about this? Director William Friedkin and screenwriter William Peter Blatty crafted what is arguably the scariest movie ever made, because of the perfect creative combination of an agnostic and a devout Catholic. With a writer adapting his own fictional book from purported events and phenomenon that he believes in, and a director who feels compelled to push the premise to the point where he could abandon skepticism in lieu of true spiritual Evil, this is a film of malicious intent; it’s a documentarian’s 1970s aesthetic and a novelist’s patience marrying for the shared goal of shaking the apathy out of you.
Yes, The Exorcist features spinning heads, projectile green soup, and the most horrific use of a crucifix prop in movie history. But it’s the insidious slow boil build toward these heinous set-pieces that creates a sense of authenticity and verisimilitude; you’re not watching a horror movie, you’re watching a little girl suffering, bleeding, dying, and the doctors cannot tell you or her mother why!
…. Because the truth is too vile to admit. By the time the priests show up, it’s a godsend even to the audience’s loudest atheists. That, plus a top-notch cast, is the secret to this film’s enduring terror.
Before there was Jeff Goldblum, there was Vincent Price—and a bug mask. While hardly scaring, seeing is still believing…
And here we have what is quite possibly the most quotable film on this list, although certainly not the best. The pairing of Robert Rodriguez (director) and Quentin Tarantino (writer) made for an insane, two-pronged Grindhouse-style extravaganza. It's a low-rent heist aftermath movie for its first half and then it shifts gears into insane survival horror for the second.
From Dusk Till Dawn is the only movie you're going to watch this month that features Tom Savini wielding a gun on his crotch, and Fred Williamson killing vampires alongside George Clooney and Harvey Keitel. It's unlikely you haven't seen this one, but even if you have, there's always a good time to be had at the Titty Twister.
Brian De Palma is the filmmaker responsible for possibly the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel (Carrie), but he followed that up with this equally perverse, but sadly less remembered, cult classic. The Fury is essentially a grim, nihilist's version of what would happen if Charles Xavier and Jean Grey were not so nice. In this horror film, twin siblings have the ability to enter anyone's mind--and kill them in the most De Palma way possible. This is used to negative effect by the U.S. government and features fun performances by Kirk Douglas and John Cassavettes. It also includes Carrie's Amy Irving.
In the Iranian ghost town of Bad City, there is a girl who walks alone at night. But if you should venture to speak with her, you might regret finding out why.
This wonderfully surreal film from Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour should bridge differences with its implicitly lascivious nature. A young man who is forced to walk a depressing and desolate street because his father is a heroin addict finds himself enamored with a young woman whose black cape might be a shroud for all the corpses she leaves in her wake. It’s clever, occasionally romantic, and completely subversive of both real-life cultures and their vampiric alternatives. Celebrate the year’s good news by sinking your teeth into this holiday treat.
Of the first of three theatrical films that Clive Barker would direct himself, Hellraiser would go on to warrant eight sequels and create one of the most notorious horror franchises of all time. That said, this isn't about the sequels. Part of the beauty of Hellraiser is how little we actually know about what is going on. While later tales would explain the origins of Pinhead and his Cenobites, the first film leaves this up to interpretation.
Hellraiser focuses on the relationship between Julia and Frank, not on the Cenobites' interference (well, not until the end anyway). The first film is not the broad battle against evil the later installments would be, but an incredibly unique haunted house story. A corrupt romance growing ever more so. Sex and violence mixed with blood and guts. With a budget of roughly $1 million, Barker is able to craft a tale far more interesting and disturbing than better funded projects, the sequels included. Pain and pleasure, indivisible.
You probably have had that moment: the one where you’re not sure if you can truly understand what your partner is thinking. Well, the greatly underappreciated Honeymoon takes that sensation and amplifies it a thousand-fold for incredibly icky, body horror results.
Essentially flipping the script from Rosemary’s Baby, Harry Treadaway and Rose Leslie (of Penny Dreadful and Game of Thrones fame, respectively) are visiting the bride’s family lake house as a honeymoon retreat. They weren’t planning on going outside much anyway. However, perhaps they should, as things get a bit tense once Treadaway’s Paul finds Bea (Leslie) walking naked in the woods at night, completely catatonic at first. After that things get weird.
Even if you have a rough idea where Honeymoon is going from that point on, the slow burn will still eventually get under your skin. As the husband realizes he has no idea what’s going on in his wife’s pretty head, you start to second guess even your best theories. And then things enter the realm of the truly fucked up for the finale.
Before Gareth Edwards directed Godzilla or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the filmmaker showcased his mastery of scale with this low budgeted, but hugely thrilling, creature feature. Monsters glimpses the promise that Warner Bros. and then Lucasfilm saw in the filmmaker who on a shoestring budget made an invasion of creepy crawlies shockingly visceral and genuinely fun.
For some unfathomable reason, Netflix chose to remove the original Nightmare on Elm Street, by far the most atmospheric of the series, from its rolls on October 1st, the very day that kicks off horror movie season. While you could content yourself with the spectacularly homoerotic (but vastly inferior) Nightmare on Elm Street 2, you're better off reflecting on the entire franchise with this documentary.
Never Sleep Again isn't just a title. Make sure not to start this one too late in the evening, because it's a whopping four hours long, which is to be expected since it has eight movies to cover (the 2010 remake is thankfully ignored). While we might be cheating just a little bit by including this, four hours detailing the genesis of horror's most genuine supervillain is just too good to pass up in October.
At first glance, you might not think this is a horror movie. But you’d be wrong. There are few things scarier in recent cinema than the unblinking stare of vacant contempt Jake Gyllenhaal burrows into the camera at all times. Playing a sleazy opportunist desperate to get ahead, he finds his niche when he becomes an ambulance chaser and murder-pioneer for the local news station. If it bleeds it leads, and this scary performance of a sociopath who hasn’t slept or showered in a few weeks is coursing with all sorts of the warm stuff in his cold, cold heart.
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