The six spookiest horror films to stream this Halloween

The six spookiest horror films to stream this Halloween
Photo courtesy of RottenTomatoes.com

Sometimes, the best way to jump into the Halloween spirit is to pop on a spooky horror film. With such an oversaturation of mediocre-at-best horror films on streaming platforms right now, it can be hard to trust anything that isn’t a Halloween staple such as “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” That doesn’t mean great horror films aren’t strewn throughout the nooks and crannies of streaming platforms. Here are six horror films worth streaming to help get into the Halloween spirit.

“It Follows” - Netflix

Right from the stunning long take that opens the film, it's clear that rising star director David Robert Mitchell made a film that’s not only frightening, but also technically brilliant. “It Follows” mixes top rate cinematography, inspired acting and an exhilarating score to tell a story that plays on the common horror film trope of characters being doomed to die once they have sex. The story focuses on Jay, a teen girl who is constantly followed by a deadly invisible force that is more or less a sexually transmitted ghost. The modern cinematography and score paired with the smart commentary on sexual stigmas makes “It Follows” a tense thrill ride that has served as an adrenaline shot into the arm of modern horror filmmaking since its 2014 release. 

“Hellraiser” - Netflix and Hulu

In 1987, renowned horror author, Clive Barker shocked the film world when he made the jump from author to director in the form of “Hellraiser.” Adapted from Barker’s novel “The Hellbound Heart,” “Hellraiser” tells the story of Frank, a man who accidentally activates a portal to the underworld when he tinkers with an ancient box he acquired while abroad. This causes evil and violent beings known as Cenobites to tear Frank’s body apart, which then sets Frank on a quest to reconstruct his body with the help of his sister in-law. Clive Barker vividly brought his novel to the screen with gut churning practical effects and production design. “Hellraiser” was also the film world’s introduction to the horror villain icon, Pinhead. “Hellraiser” is sure to fill anyone’s desire for quality cheeseball violence horror. 

“Train to Busan” - Netflix

In the afterglow of the zombie craze brought on by “The Walking Dead” in 2016, South Korean director Yeon Sang-ho somehow delivered a fresh and pulse-pounding take on the zombie flick in the form of “Train to Busan.” The film follows Gong Yoo, a man who is trapped on a speeding train with his daughter and other passengers during a zombie outbreak in South Korea. The simple but creative premise opens the door for non-stop suspense and a smorgasbord of bloody zombie action. Yeon Sang-ho’s kinetic filmmaking makes “Train to Busan” one of the crowning film achievements of a perpetually overstuffed zombie sub-genre. 

“An American Werewolf in London” - Amazon Prime

With the likes of John Carpenter, David Cronenberg and Sam Raimi cranking out classics year by year, the early 1980s were the golden years for campy body horror films. These films championed practical effects driven by horror and were built around simple, but effective stories. Director John Landis’ 1981 cult classic “An American Werewolf in London” is a prime example of these horror elements that defined the era. The film is about two American college students, David and Jack, who are attacked by a wolf while backpacking through Britain. The following events are a head trip of werewolf scares and a transformation scene that is as excruciating as it is practically impressive. Through tense filmmaking and dazzling practical effects, Landis puts a fun spin on the classic werewolf story that also provides some interesting commentary on the topic of post-traumatic mental health and suicide. 

“Creep” - Netflix 

Perhaps the most tiring horror trend of recent years has been the found footage film. Since the immense box office success of micro-budget found footage flicks “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity,” film studios have been trying to cash out on these low risk films, which has resulted in many stinkers. This makes the fusion of darling indie producer, Mark Duplass and powerhouse horror producer, Jason Blum for the 2014 found footage film, “Creep” particularly interesting. Directed by Mark Brice, “Creep” follows Aaron, a videographer played by Brice who answers a Craigslist ad to document the life of Josef, played by Mark Duplass. The more time that Aaron spends with Josef, the more it becomes clear that the creepy Josef may have more sinister intentions. Boasting a strong 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, “Creep” is sure to thoroughly weird out anyone looking for another found footage classic. It is currently streaming on Netflix.

“Night of the Living Dead” - YouTube

Directed by the late George Romero, “Night of the Living Dead” is the film that introduced zombies as we know them today. Romero started a horror revolution with his low budget black and white film. The film follows a group of people who have barricaded themselves in a barn from the approaching zombie outbreak. In the 49 years since its release, the film hasn’t lost a bit of its campy horror charm and it even maintains its tense qualities due to Romero’s masterful directing. A copyright blunder famously left “Night of the Living Dead” open to the public domain. Had the error not been made, the production company would have held creative license to the concept of the zombie which would have completely killed the massive influence that Romero’s film has had on the horror genre and popular culture at large. Being that the film is in the public domain, it can be found streaming for free on YouTube and many other places online.

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