Everyone loves a good fright. As Halloween bumps closer in the night, we’ve been scouring Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV for some of the best horror films available to stream right now — and to get you into a suitably unsettled mood for October 31st.
From classic horror titles, such as The Omen and Friday the 13th, to more modern takes on the genre, including A Quiet Place and Ghost Stories, these are the chilling films to switch on as the nights close in. Just remember, keep a pillow close at hand — you’ll need it.
The Omen, 1976, Now TV
Sometimes the old horrors are the best. And, when it comes to The Omen franchise, that idea definitely stands. Scores above the 2006 remake in terms of quality, the original supernatural horror stars Gregory Peck as an American Ambassador who swaps his murdered son at the hospital. Unbeknownst to him, he’s introduced the Antichrist into his family, giving the demon child access to power, wealth and the means to kill at will.
It, 2017, Amazon Prime
A modern horror masterpiece, if you’ve not yet seen the first instalment in the two-hander Stephen King adaptation — the second part came out this year — then switch on your Prime and ruin clowns forever. It tells the tale of seven children growing up in small-town Maine, where a demon surfaces every 27 years to stalk and prey youths. King originally made the titular demon take the form of a clown as he thought they were ‘what scared children more than anything else in the world’. Watch this, and it’ll prove him right.
Misery, 1990, Netflix
Another Stephen King adaptation (the man is the king of horror, after all), Misery is now streaming on Netflix. And, if psychological horrors about middling authors being trapped in wintry hellholes by crazed nurses are your sort of thing, then you should be tuning in. Kathy Bates won a well-deserved Oscar for her chilling portrayal of Annie Wilkes, whose sledgehammer-wielding superfan set new standards for demented, disturbed villains.
A Quiet Place, 2018, Now TV
Another modern recommendation, A Quiet Place brought fresh horror to the idea of a post-apocalyptic world. Directed by and starring John Krasinski, alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt, the story shows what life would be like if blind extraterrestrial creatures invaded the planet, and we had to live in silence. It sounds ridiculous, and the premise may be, but Krasinski focuses in on the familial relationships — to create something as sad as it is scary.
Paranormal Activity, 2007, Amazon Prime
It’s been 12 years since Paranormal Activity breathed new, terrifying, shaky life into the found-footage genre. A medium made chilling by The Blair Witch Project, this brainchild of director/producer/writer/editor/cinematographer Oren Peli was filmed on a budget of $15,000 and made almost $2 million. In the story, a couple set up cameras in their home to explain supernatural goings on, only to discover more than they can believe — or handle.
Ghost Stories, 2017, Netflix
As with Paranormal Activity above, sometimes the best horror films are low budget. For Ghost Stories, a British-made effort, that’s certainly the case. Based on a 2010 stage play of the same name, Andy Nyman stars as a man who travels the country debunking fraudulent psychics and paranormal encounters. Martin Freeman puts in a stellar turn as a financier terrorised by a poltergeist — who soon becomes the key to the whole story.
A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984, Now TV
Another horror classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street still holds up to this day. Like The Omen, it far exceeds its remake, and shocks with a story following four teenagers living on the titular street in Ohio. With a young Johnny Depp among the cast, a burned serial killer named Freddy Krueger stalks the group with his signature bladed glove — invading their dreams and killing them while they’re at their most vulnerable.
Hereditary, 2017, Amazon Prime
This year, director Ari Aster released his second feature film, Midsommar, to critical acclaim. Two years ago, his darker first feature premiered — and it is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Featuring a solid central performance from Toni Collette, Hereditary follows a family in Utah who have to contend with the King of Hell. It’s grittier and more grounded than it sounds, and plays with the strained dynamics of dysfunctional families as much as it does the audience’s nerves.
Carrie, 1976, Netflix
The third Stephen King adaptation to make the cut, this iconic horror was directed by Brian de Palma — he of Scarface fame. Sissy Spacek stars as Carrie White, a teenage girl with telekinetic powers. Initially shy, she is bulled at school and at home by her overbearingly religious mother — resulting in her getting revenge in the most explosive, murderous, fiery way possible.
Friday the 13th, 1980, Now TV
The first of 12 — count them — slasher films, the first Friday the 13th is the genuinely unsettling title that kicked off the franchise. Created initially to cash in on the success of spiritual cousin Halloween, this initial instalment focuses on Jason Voorhees, a killer who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake when he was a boy. Decades later, Voorhees is seemingly back; and coming for the new campers to settle his score. But, like any good horror, not all is as it seems…
Looking for something a little less nerve-wracking? Here’s what else is new to Netflix this October…