It's always fun to settle in and watch a horror movie, no matter the time of day or year. Whether it's a hot summer night, back-to-school week, Halloween, or the dead of winter, there's never a bad season to pop some popcorn and enjoy all the thrills, chills, monsters, serial killers, ghosts, jump scares, and screams that the genre has to offer.
As a relatively new horror fan, I've been working my way through the expansive backlog of all of the films, miniseries, and TV shows that are currently available to watch on the internet via various streaming services. Along the way, I've unearthed everything from well-known classics to contemporary additions to hidden gems. If you're looking to expand your horror knowledge, check out something new or even revisit an old favorite, I've rounded up some of the best offerings to stream online.
Cost: A Netflix subscription will typically set you back anywhere from $8-$14 a month (the higher the cost, the higher the quality of resolution for streaming as well as the number of devices that can simultaneously stream content). You might be surprised to learn that, in addition to its popular streaming subscription options, Netflix customers still have the option of paying for DVD/Blu-ray rentals. Those, however, are separate from the streaming subscription and range between $5-15 a month, but there are definitely some harder-to-find horror flicks available to rent (like the original Suspiria, if you don't already own it and want to give it a rewatch before the remake comes out later this year).
Old Classics: For the most part, Netflix is home to horror films that have only been released within the last few decades, so you may have a harder time finding some of the more famous flicks. That being said, there are some great titles available within this category, from Clive Barker's BDSM-infused Hellraiser (as well as its sequel) and the original Children of the Corn to Tom Cruise-as-Lestat and a wee Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the Vampire. And, if you're not a completist, you can also find Scream 2 and Scream 4 amidst the many options.
Modern Faves: In this category, on the other hand, Netflix is rife with movies for the picking, from more well-known titles like The Strangers, It Follows, and The Babadook as well as critically acclaimed films such as The Invitation and Raw.
Hidden Gems: If you're not as familiar with director Mike Flanagan (who's currently helming the upcoming adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House), Netflix seems to be the hub for showcasing most of his horror filmography. You can check out several of his movies on the streaming service, but a few standouts include Hush, Oculus and the recently released Gerald's Game, an adaptation of the novel by Stephen King. Also worth watching? XX, a horror anthology series directed entirely by women.
Cost: Between $7.99 (limited commercials) and $11.99 (no commercials) per month. For the most part, the limited commercial option is probably your best bet, as most of the films available to view on Hulu don't seem to be interrupted by commercials too often. If anything, you're more likely to encounter ads over in Hulu's TV shows, but you'll have to decide for yourself if you want to shell out extra bucks to avoid them altogether.
Old Classics: There's some crossover between Hulu and Netflix in terms of more familiar horror movie choices (like Hellraiser and Hellraiser II, as well as Children of the Corn), but Hulu definitely fills in some gaps for horror lovers all on its own. Want to watch Jeff Goldblum in one of his best (and grossest) roles as Seth Brundle in The Fly? Or how about Christian Bale as a Wall Street exec obsessing over his business cards by day and murdering by night in American Psycho? OR what about Sissy Spacek immolating her classmates on prom night in Brian De Palma's adaptation of Carrie? Hulu's got all that and more, including the late Wes Craven-directed flick The Hills Have Eyes and Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, which you might want to watch before the new Blumhouse-produced Halloween movie premieres and completely retcons it.
Modern Faves: The indie film that relaunched the found-footage style in horror (and led to its very own franchise), Paranormal Activity (yet none of its sequels, surprisingly) is currently available to stream on Hulu. If you're in the mood for something similar in format but less spooky, you can also watch the first Cloverfield movie. Want to watch a remake built entirely around the faces of actors from the WB? My Bloody Valentine will satisfy that yearning. And, in terms of newer additions that have gotten a lot of critical buzz, you can also watch Darren Aronofsky's mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Hidden Gems: Truthfully, Hulu's horror section isn't packed with forever-great picks, but if you're willing to do some searching you can definitely unearth some titles that are worth your time. 2012's Byzantium, about a mother-daughter vampire team who travel to a sleepy beachside town, is stunningly melancholic, and 2017's Tragedy Girls, starring X-Men: Apocalypse's Alexandra Shipp and Deadpool's Brianna Hildebrand, is perfect for those who want to dive into classic teen tropes infused with a particularly dark shade of comedy.
Cost: Amazon Prime typically bundles its subscription plans by year, though there are options to pay monthly that will technically run you about $3 more per month than the annual plan. For annual subscribers, the rate is $119 per year (or about $9.99 per month) unless you're a student, in which case you can pay for $59 per year ($4.99 per month). Given the number of perks built into the Prime subscription (including special shipping for members, a free Twitch Prime account and pre-order discounts on certain video games), there are a lot of pros to upgrading your membership.
Old Classics: In terms of movies to watch that are available with your Prime membership, however, Amazon leans more on the side of new releases than time-tested titles, but there are still some choice goodies if you know where to look. Like Hulu, Amazon is where you can watch not only Carrie but its sequel The Rage: Carrie 2. (Your mileage may vary on that latter pick.) You can also take a trip back into the eerie woods of Burkittsville, Maryland by revisiting the Blair Witch movies, including the 1999 original and the stealth sequel that came out in 2016.
Modern Faves: This area is where Prime really shines, especially in terms of movies you might not have been able to catch in the theater depending on your area. The Witch, It Comes at Night and Steven Soderbergh's return to film in Unsane are all available to watch with a Prime membership.
Hidden Gems: If Thor: Ragnarok made you fall in love with Taika Waititi, then you're in luck: you can head to Prime to watch an early mockumentary horror-comedy film that he directed, co-wrote and also starred in called What We Do in the Shadows, about a group of New Zealand vampires who get up to certain antics. An American television adaptation of the film is currently in development over at FX. If your mood runs more towards non-traditional depictions of zombies, then turn to The Girl With All the Gifts, which we at SYFY argue has always deserved a wider audience.
Cost: $4.99 a month, or $3.99 a month if you decide to go the yearly route (and you should). Since its launch in 2016, Shudder has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the best subscription services for horror fans, and with good reason. This AMC-owned site is home to movies and TV shows from every corner of the horror genre, showcasing both carried and original content, and the extensive options are more than worth the inexpensive price tag.
Old Classics: SO MANY that you're likely to find something to suit every mood, from Black Christmas to Sleepaway Camp to House of 1000 Corpses to the original Evil Dead. If you want to watch films by some of horror's most legendary directors, you can also check out John Carpenter's The Fog, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
New Faves: Shudder's carefully curated collection of movies also helpfully groups titles together by theme, so you're bound to find even the most specific of subgenres depending on your preferences. Some of horror's best and most recent films directed by women are available to watch on Shudder, however, including Prevenge, which offers a fresh take on pregnancy in horror, and the similarly-named Revenge (dropping this month), a bloody, neon-soaked, and nuanced take on the classically outdated rape-revenge trope.
Hidden Gems: Some of the genre's most controversial movies live on Shudder, so don't say we didn't warn you before you head to check out titles like Cannibal Holocaust. (It has a reputation for a reason.) If you want a tough-to-find flick that's been given new life on the streaming service, definitely watch Belladonna of Sadness, a criminally underrated film that's garnered more of an underground following in recent years. Shudder has also started acquiring television shows and other broadcast events, including seasons of SYFY's horror anthology series Channel Zero and its wildly popular 24-hour-streaming marathon The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs, which will be returning to Shudder later this year for several holiday specials and a regular series in 2019.