Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to stay up to date with the best horror movies on Amazon Prime.
Updated for March 2020
Amazon Prime’s selection of horror movies is as extensive as it is terrifying. What’s more, they have a significant selection of old/classic films for your scary pleasures. So we’ve compiled our picks of the best scary movies to watch on Halloween (or any other time) on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Now, pour yourself a glass of something good and dig your fangs in to our list of the best horror movies you can watch on Amazon Prime Video.
One of the better recent found-footage efforts takes a ghastly turn when one of the filmmakers wakes up foaming at the mouth with his eyeballs rolling back in their sockets. He can also suddenly run faster than a car speeding in a school zone. Diagnosis: vampirism.
There is no cure for the undead except feeding on human blood (especially child molesters). That epic travel blog they were planning is going to be supernaturally epic.
The Cabin in the Woods
A remote cabin in the woods is one of the most frequently occurring settings in all of horror. What better location for teenagers to be tormented by monsters, demons, or murderous hillbillies? Writer/Director Joss Whedon takes that tried and true setting and uses it as a jumping off points for one of the most successful metatextual horror movies in recent memory.
Like you would expect, The Cabin in the Woods features five college friends (all representing certain youthful archetypes, of course) renting a….well, a cabin in the woods. Soon things begin to go awry in a very traditional horror movie way. But then The Cabin in the Woods begins doling out some of the many tricks it has up its sleeve. This is a fascinating, very funny, and yet still creepy breakdown of horror tropes that any horror fan can enjoy.
The world is not wanting for Stephen King adaptations. If you’re in the mood for some Stephen King movies, however, you may as well start with the first novel and one of the best adaptations.
Carrie is essentially a grim biography of one girl’s terrible life. Her classmates make fun of her, her religious nut of a mother tortures her endlessly. It’s just pure tragedy. Until it suddenly becomes pure horror.
The Crazies is a zombie movie without the undead. And that kind of makes sense given that it was written and directed by the zombie maestro, himself: George A. Romero.
1973’s The Crazies (there’s also a 2010 remake) tells the story of an experimental bioweapon called “Trixie.” There are only two possible results from exposure to Trixie: death or irreversible raving insanity. That’s rough. But what’s even worse is that Trixie is accidentally unleashed in Evans City, Pennsylvania, turning the small town into war zone where any neighbor could become violently insane at any moment.
Like his zombie works, Romero uses this creative horror/sci-fi concept to great satirical and symbolic effect.
Anyone who has ever gone cave-diving, spelunking, or even just so much as stepped a pinky toe inside a cavern can attest to their potential horror. Sure, exploring any cave can be a fun little adventure. Take one wrong step and head down the wrong path, however, and you’re in for one hell of a time.
The Descent takes that concept of getting lost in a cave and then just casually throws in some flesh-eating subterranean humanoids. The Descent features six young women who decide to take a vacation into a cavern in the Appalachian Mountains. It doesn’t take long for the disorientation to begin, the violence to start, or the freaks to come out.
The Descent is a superb modern horror movie that rightfully jumpstarted the action and horror career of director Neil Marshall.
The Devil Bat
Ah, The Devil Bat. One of those infamous vampire movies that isn’t actually about vampires. But who the hell cares when it has Bela Lugosi in it, right?
But this poverty row production from 1940 features plenty of atmospherics, as well as a giant honkin’ bat, and that’s enough to set the mood on a chilly night. Especially if you’re indulging in adult beverages or contraband. If nothing else, just bow down to Bela.
A Field in England
2013’s A Field in England presents compelling evidence that more horror movies should be shot in black and white.
Directed by British director Ben Wheatley, A Field in England is a kaleidoscope of trippy, cerebral horror. The film takes place in 1648, during the English Civil War. A group of soldiers is taken in by a kindly man, who is soon revealed to be an alchemist. The alchemist takes the soldiers to a vast field of mushrooms where they are subjected to a series of mind-altering, nightmarish visions.
A Field in England is aggressively weird, creative, and best of all clocks in at exactly 90 minutes.
Friday the 13th
I know you see that screenshot of Jason in all his masked and machete’d glory above, and are feeling a white-hot burning horror movie nerd triggering like never before. “BUT JASON DIDN’T APPEAR IN THE FLESH IN THE ORIGINAL FRIDAY THE 13TH“
I know, I know. He didn’t. And it’s all the better movie for it. The original Friday the 13th is a must watch for horror fans and non-horror fans alike. It features so many hallmarks of the slasher drama that we’ve grown to love. And yes, there is no actual Jason. The screengrab just looks cool.
BetweenHereditaryandThe Haunting of Hill House 2018 was a great year for turning familial trauma into horror.
Written and directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary follows the Graham family as they deal with the death of their secretive grandmother. As Annie Graham (Toni Collette) comes to terms with the loss, she begins to realize that she may have inherited a mental illness from her late mother…or something worse.
Hereditary is terrifying because it asks a deceptively simple but truly creepy question: what do we really inherit from our family?
The Hole in the Ground
Recent horror trends have stumbled across a universal truth: kids are very creepy. A24’s Irish horror film The Hole in the Ground makes great use of that truth.
The Hole in the Ground follows a woman named Sarah O’Neill who opts to leave her (likely abusive) husband and move out to the lonely Irish countryside with her son, Chris. Things are going well until Chris starts to exhibit some strange behaviors. Not only that, but an old woman in the village tells Sarah that her son “is not your son.” When that woman is found dead with her head in the dirt, Sarah is forced to confront that maybe little Chris isn’t her Chris after all.
House on Haunted Hill
What would you do for $10,000? How about surviving a night in a mansion haunted by murder victims and owned by a psychotic millionaire? Seems like a party trick until people actually start dying.
Vincent Price is the master and mastermind of a house that suddenly makes everyone homicidal—but the real pièce de résistance is what dances out of a vat of flesh-eating acid.
Some vintage horror never dies, and this 1959 classic is immortal.
Jacob’s Ladder is a different kind of horror altogether: one that is somehow simultaneously hallucinatory and all-too-real. Tim Robbins stars as Jacob Singer, a former American soldier who experienced horrors in Vietnam. Those horrors continue to plague Singer in a series of gruesome flashbacks and hallucinations and set him down a dark path to find out exactly what’s real.
Jacob’s Ladder is truly disturbing and has a classic ending that will help you realize the significance of the phrase “a Jacob’s Ladder scenario.”
It’s hard to categorize Midsommar, Ari Aster’s followup to his absolutely terrifying horror debut, Hereditary. Part straight up horror, part The Wicker Man, and part anthropological study, Midsommar seems to occupy many genres all at once. Aster himself called it a “break up” movie. But whatever genre Midsommar is, it is a brilliant, and at times deeply disturbing film.
Florence Pugh stars Dani, a young woman trying to heal in the wake of an enormous tragedy. Dani follows her boyfriend, Christian, and his annoying friends to an important midsummer festival deep in the heart of Sweden. Christian and company are there partly to get high and have fun and also partly to study the unique, isolated culture for their respective theses. To say that they get more than they bargained for is an understatement. But Dani may just end up getting exactly what she needs.
Horrors always lurk at the bottom of murky lakes, but the dead-eyed doll heads and evil statues staring from beneath the greenish surface of this one will have you begging Swamp Thing for mercy. That’s before some brutally disfigured orphans shamble out of the woods.
When Jenny visits her archaeologist father in Italy, long-drowned secrets start bubbling to the surface. To think, all this was supposed to be a vacation. Riccardo Paoletti’s directorial debut is worth checking out.
Night of the Living Dead
George A. Romero’s 1968 zombie classic The Night of the Living Dead messed up the minds of late ’60s moviegoers as much as it messed with every horror movie that followed. Shot on gritty black and white stock, the film captures the desperate urgency of a documentary shot at the end of the world. It is a tale of survival, an allegory for the Vietnam War and racism and suspenseful as hell freezing over.
Night of the Living Dead set a new standard for gore, even though you could tell some of the bones the zombies were munching came from a local butcher shop. But what grabs at you are the unexpected shocks. Long before The Walking Dead, Romero caught the terror that could erupt from any character, at any time.
They’re coming to get you. There’s one of them now!
Nothing beats a classic, and that’s exactly what Nosferatu is. As the unofficial 1922 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this German Expressionist masterpiece was almost lost to the ages when the filmmakers lost a copyright lawsuit with Stoker’s widow (who had a point). As a result, most copies were destroyed…but a precious few survived.
This definitive horror movie from F.W. Murnau might be a silent picture, but it is a haunting one where vampirism is used as a metaphor for plague and the Black Death sweeping across Europe. When Count Orlock comes to Berlin, he brings rivers of rats with him and the most repellent visage ever presented by a cinematic bloodsucker. The sexy vampires would come later, starting with 1931’s more polished vision of Count Dracula as legendarily played by Bela Lugosi, but Max Schreck is buried under globs of makeup in Nosferatu making him resemble an emaciated cadaver. Murnau plays with shadow and light to create an intoxicating environment of fever dream repressions. But he also creates the most haunting cinematic image of a vampire yet put on screen.
Check it out.
Post-apocalyptic zombie fans won’t want to miss the love child of The Walking Dead meets 28 Days Later, now with amnesia. When a man who’s forgotten every fragment of his identity (Sharlto Copley) wakes up in a body pit crawling with pathogens, he scrambles out to fight a swarm of brain-craving undead along with five other amnesiacs.
It gets even more terrifying when the pieces of memory hiding in his flashbacks are unearthed.
War is terrifying enough as is. It doesn’t need the addition of Nazi super soldier zombies. Thankfully the J.J. Abrams-produced Overlord decided to include them anyway.
Overlord picks up on the eve of D-Day when a paratrooper quad is sent in behind enemy lines to destroy a German radio tower located in an old church. Their plane is shot down and only a handful survivors land. Those who do will soon discover that the horror has just begun.
Aside from having the creepiest and coolest deliberate misspelling in movie history, Pet Sematary is also a worthwhile, horrifying film. Adapted from the Stephen King novel, Pet Sematary is a story purely about death in all its terrifying and splendid forms. Louis Creed moves his family from Chicago to Maine after he’s offered a job as a doctor as a University.
After unimaginable tragedy strikes the Creeds, Louis opts to try something equally unimaginable to fix it with the help of an ancient, sacred burial site. King often cites Pet Sematary as the book that personally disturbs him the most. The movie can never quite reach the same heights as the text but is as profoundly disturbing as promised.
Pet Sematary (2019)
After the classic Stephen King novel of the same name and Mary Lambert’s 1989 movie, what could there possibly be left to say about Pet Sematary? Quite a lot actually! Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer breathe new life into this old tale…not unlike a certain “sematary” itself.
Jason Clarke stars as Louis Creed, an ER doctor from Boston who moves his family to rural Ludlow, Maine to live a quieter life. Shortly into their stay, Louis and his wife Rachel (Amy Semeitz) experience an unthinkable tragedy. That’s ok though as neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) knows a very peculiar place that can help.
A Quiet Place
Thanks to a killer premise and excellent execution, A Quiet Place was one of 2018’s best horror movies and now it’s ready for a second life on streaming.
The film, directed by erstwhile Office star John Krasinski (who also stars in the project) follows the Abbott family as they try to survive a dangerous post-apocalyptic world. To make things even more difficult, however, the world is populated by blind creatures that also possess a devastatingly strong sense of hearing.
Father Lee and mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) try to protect their children from these monsters – all the while not making a sound. The formula of A Quiet Place is destined to be oft-repeated for a reason. Horror really works when you’re unable to scream.
How is this movie PG-13? I mean, I know how. There are no genitals or F-words in it. There isn’t even really any gratuitous violence or gore. But when classifying what movies are appropriate for the youths, shouldn’t the MPAA factor in “pants-shitting terror that will scar your teenage mind for life?” The Ring is a wonderfully terrifying movie.
It’s the story of a video tape (lol remember those?) that after you watch it, you receive a phone call from a mysterious, scratchy voice informing you that you will die in seven days. The video tape and the phone caller have a 100% success rate in this whole dying in seven days thing. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel Keller, a journalist who wants to get to the bottom of this story. Little does she know it’s at the literal bottom of a well.
As if childbirth and pregnancy weren’t terrifying enough, sometimes a Satanic cult wants to get its hands on your baby, making the whole thing worse. Mia Farrow stars as Rosemary, a nice if little naive young woman preparing to star a family with her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes).
Guy and Rosemary eventually conceive and things get a bit spooky from there. Rosemary’s Baby is a classic for a reason and adeptly plays up both our cultural terror with all things Satanic and evil as well as our occasional fear and discomfort with our own bodies and children.
Season of the Witch
Bored Stepford-esque housewife Joan (Jan White) is stuck in a suburban bubble with an abusive husband when she meets a mysterious new neighbor (Virginia Greenwald) who practices witchcraft. Pretty soon, Joan is casting spells to have affairs with college boys half her age, suffering from Satanic nightmares that wake her up to grim reality, and initiated into her neighbor’s backyard coven.
Proof that you never know what really goes on behind white picket fences. Another fine bit of weirdness from George A. Romero.
As much a comedy as a horror film, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow should always be on the table when discussing October viewing options. Unlike the TV show of the same name, this demented reimagining of Washington Irving’s classic short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” never forgets the selling point is to have them rolling in the aisles. And more than a few heads do just that.
As a film with the most varied and imaginative uses of decapitation, Sleepy Hollow cuts a bloody path across Upstate New York. In fact, despite its American setting, we might as well confess what Sleepy Hollow really is: a modern day Hammer horror movie.
Suspiria is not necessarily a remake of the 1977 Italian film of the same name so much as its inspired by it. And that makes sense, as the simultaneously vibrant and creepy tone of the original film is nigh impossible to replicate it. So this Suspiria goes in a bit of a different direction tonally.
Dakota Johnson stars as Susanna “Susie” Bannion, a woman who enrolls in a prestigious Berlin dance academy that also happens to be run by a coven of witches. As Susie climbs up the ladder of the Markos Tanz Akademie she comes to learn more about its secrets.
Roman Polanski, in addition to being a creep and outright sex criminal, has a grand fascination with apartments, directing an unofficial “Apartment Trilogy” with Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Tenant. And it’s not hard to see why. There is something a little strange about dozens if not hundreds of relative strangers all calling the same place “home.”
1976’s The Tenant is the culmination of Polanski’s obsession with communal living and in some ways is the creepiest. Polanski stars as Trelkovsky, a paranoid young file clerk who is on the verge of succumbing to the constant dread he feels. Things are exacerbated when Trelkovsky moves into a Parisian apartment and discovers the previous occupant killed herself. What follows is a tense and trippy exploration of fear itself.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
You’ve probably seen this one already, but this founding father of the slasher genre is a bit of a fairy tale when glimpsed at the right light. Some dumb kids wander into the wilderness, far away from the safety of civilization, on a trip to their grandparents’ home.
But instead of reaching their destination, they wind up on the dinner table for the “Other,” who in this case is a redneck family of cannibals with a crossdressing serial killer who’s weapon of choice has an electric motor that makes a sweet hum as its blades tear into your flesh. When viewed like that, it might be worth seeing all over again, eh?
The Woman in Black
There is something eternally appealing to anyone who grew up reading ghost stories about a spooky old house, abandoned on a hill. Maybe that’s why The Woman in Black’s cruelty lies in the fact that the only victims of this haunted estate are the children of locals murdered simply because their parents—or total strangers—are too inquisitive for their own good.
As one of Hammer Films’ two good movies during their brief revival (the other being Let Me In), this owes a lot to the studio’s classic legacy of buttoned up Victorians venturing past the point of sanity or safety into the English countryside. It also bears a striking resemblance to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula in production design and, occasionally, tone. The movie stumbles with the miscasting of a far-too-young Daniel Radcliffe as a widower and father, but he still plays the scared solicitor well enough when he’s in the house with her.