‘Tis the season for horror. As the month of October creeps ever closer to the spookiest time of the year, there’s nothing better to celebrate than with a good horror movie. Halloween has become synonymous with the dark and macabre not only because of the decay of leaves but due to the multitude of traditions around the world focused on malevolent spirits and spirits of the dead.
Now, in the height of the streaming era, there’s an enormous catalog of movies to choose from, all divided amongst different streaming platforms. While no person’s taste is the same as another, we’ve decided to select our favorite horror movies with the most accessibility. Whether you’re into American horror classics or new age supernatural threats, this list has something for everyone.
– Caitlyn Taylor
Streaming on: HBO Max, Peacock, Crackle, Criterion Channel
While the King of the Monsters has seen a turn to a more action-style approach, the original film in the franchise remains the standard for monster movies. Godzilla’s horror stems not from the creature itself, but from the message around it. As entertaining and iconic as it is to see the creature rise from the sea and wreak havoc on Japan, the somberness of Godzilla serving as a response to the horrors of the nuclear bomb gives Ishiro Honda’s film a solemn tone. – Joe Eckstein
Streaming on: AMC+, Shudder, IndieFlix
With the Halloween franchise (possibly) coming to an end with its final feature this year in Halloween Ends, the impact of John Carpenter’s first rendition of the series from 1978. As one of horror’s finest directors, Carpenter not only crafted the slow-moving, relentless Michael Myers but also composed and performed the iconic and suspenseful score. At about 90 minutes of runtime, Halloween is still a quick and amusing watch that set a benchmark for the slasher genre. – J.E.
Streaming on: Starz
The game of cat and mouse played between the Xenomorph and the crew of the Nostromo is the perfect coupling of sci-fi and horror in Ridley Scott’s Alien. Stellar set pieces, well-aged practical effects, and slow-burn pacing create a cosmic spectacle layered with tension and a sense of awe. Pioneering what would soon become a franchise riddled with lore and crossover appeal, the 1979 film is not only one of sci-fi’s greatest ventures, but also one of horror’s as well. – J.E.
The Shining (1980)
Streaming on: HBO Max
While The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” specials may have desensitized the horror surrounding The Shining, the ambiguity and theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film make up for it. The Overlook Hotel serves as the perfect vessel of mental decay for one Jack Torrance as his psyche crumbles to the mystique of the hotel. The subliminal messaging riddled throughout doesn’t serve as an answer for his succumbing, but only raises further questions about what Kubrick’s intended message was. As Al Bowlly’s “Midnight, The Stars And You” serenades viewers while the camera pans into a hotel portrait, the familiar face shown may be grinning ear to ear, but another wave of uneasiness crashes down before the credits roll. – J.E.