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Sweater Weather Streaming: 20 Classic Cozy Movies

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As temperatures drop, curling up with a great movie is becoming more tempting. While a spooky movie or an action-packed thriller might add some excitement to your evening, a heartfelt movie is perfect for a cozy night. Sweater weather calls for classic tales of romance and poignant family dramas. Here are twenty that are perfect for chilly evenings at home.

The Holiday

Amanda Woods, a movie producer from Los Angeles, and Iris Simpkins, a columnist from London decide to trade homes for a short vacation. Once they switch places they develop unexpected relationships that just may change the course of their lives. Both women have been unlucky in love. But when Amanda meets a charming neighbor and Iris makes a new friend in LA, will their luck change?  The Holiday  is a delightfully sweet movie with a fantastic cast that’s a perfect option for dinner and a movie in the comfort of your home. 

Practical Magic 

Sally has vowed to never love again but when rushes to rescue her sister Gillian from a dark romance that’s turning deadly, a new person enters her life and makes her question everything. The Owens sisters have endured bullying for generations and have learned to stick together. As the pair finds themselves in over their heads, they struggle to find a way out of their mess and reimagine a future for their magical lineage. Sisterly love and second chances propel  Practical Magic , a 90s classic with an ethereal aesthetic and a compelling plot. 

Brown Sugar

Dre and Sidney fell in love with hip-hop together as children. But could they have a deeper connection? In  Brown Sugar,  we follow Dre and Sidney as they follow their love of hip-hop. Life takes them in different directions but their hearts keep pulling them together. Can they find a way to honor their passions and find a way forward together or do they need to go their separate ways?  Brown Sugar  showcases Black love against a backdrop of a rich musical landscape. It’s a must-see movie. 

The Photograph 

The Photograph  tells the story of a young woman, Mae who learns about her late mother, Christina’s, life by inheriting a box shortly after Christina’s passing. Through reading a letter left in the box for her, Mae uncovers her mother’s inner world and begins to establish a bond with her.  As Mae discovers more about her mother, who was once an iconic photographer, she is approached by Michael, a journalist who is writing about Mae’s mother. Micheal and Christina grow closer and come up against their histories and hang-ups to figure out how to move forward in love. 

B.A.P.S  starring Halle Berry and the late Natalie Ann Desselle-Reid is an outrageously adorable movie about two friends who fly to California to pursue their dreams. They are deflated quickly after an audition goes south, but their luck changes when they are approached by someone offering to pay them handsomely to pose as the distant family members of a wealthy man. This classic comedy is available on Hulu with the Showtime add-on. It’s an unforgettably funny journey with an ending as sweet as the relationships that develop along the way. 

Reign Over Me

After losing his wife and children in a tragic terrorist attack, Charlie Fineman is drifting through life as a shadow of himself until he reconnects with his old friend in  Reign Over Me,   streaming now with Hulu’s Showtime add-on. Charlie’s old friend, Alan Johnson, is a dentist who’s struggling to meet the challenges of maintaining a family and a business. Alan tries to support his friend while respecting his boundaries and what follows is a heart-wrenching and deeply bittersweet story about friendship and grief that will blow you away. 

The Lake House 

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves play people who fall for each other while living two years apart in  The Lake House , a sleepy little classic based on a South Korean film called Il Mare. When Dr. Kate Forster sells her lakehouse in 2006 and writes a letter to the new owner, she wasn’t expecting that her letter would somehow travel back in time to 2004 and that an amazing new friend, Alex Wyler, would come across it. As they start sending letters back and forth and discover that they are in two different years they begin to explore how they can connect and defy their realities. Will they find a way to maintain their relationship across space and time? 


Transitions in families can bring all sorts of issues to the surface and that is illuminated in the blended family at the center of this family drama.  Stepmom , available on Hulu, tells the story of a family transitioning after a divorce and the challenges around the children accepting their new stepmom Isabel, played by Julia Roberts. The kids, Anna and Ben, have a hard time adjusting and things become even more challenging when their assertive no-nonsense mother Jackie, played by Susan Sarandon, shares a devasting secret. What springs forth from these challenging circumstances is a story about love and forgiveness that will warm your heart. 

Notting Hill 

Notting Hill  is a sweet and odd classic romantic comedy. Although it’s over 20 years old the love story at the center of the movie is timeless. Julia Roberts is a charming movie star that has a chance encounter with Hugh Grant at his travel bookstore. From there they have a romance that endures the slings of the paparazzi, a series of unfortunate events, and eventually, they have to decide whether to let go of their pride and let love reign. 


Infamous playboy Marcus Graham, played by Eddie Murphy, meets his match in  Boomerang , a hilarious and fast-paced classic romantic comedy. After a romantic encounter with his new boss, Jacqueline Boyer, his world turns upside down and he is forced to reconsider his entire way of life. What results is a delicious moment where the tables have turned and he learns that there may be a bit more to love and relationships than he originally thought. 

You’ve Got Mail 

Before smartphones and streaming services, Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox connect over email in  You’ve Got Mail . Kathleen is a small bookstore owner and Joe is posed to take over her block and her business as the owner of a large corporate chain.  When they meet in real life, unaware of their virtual connection, they are at odds, until Joe uncovers the truth. When Joe gets closer to Kathleen he is faced with a choice, reveal his identity and profess his love or play it safe and maintain his friendship with a lie? You’ve Got Mail is a feel-good film, available on Hulu, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan that may make you roll your eyes but will also warm your heart. 

The Proposal 

When austere businesswoman, Margaret Tate, enlists her employee Andrew Paxton, to pretend to be her fiancé to avoid deportation, she is forced to meet his family in Alaska. Their fake engagement sets off a wild ride chock full of hilarious moments. From midnight sing-alongs to gut-busting moments with the grandmother, and so much more this film will have you in stitches.  The Proposal  is a light-hearted romantic comedy that you should definitely add to your Hulu favorites. 

Sleepless in Seattle

A young boy calls into a radio show and attempts to find love for his grieving father, Sam Baldwin, a year after his mother’s death. Women nationwide are enamored by the father and looking to connect with him but he is not ready to move on. One of these women is Annie Reed, a reporter from Baltimore played by Meg Ryan, who just might be the one if they can ever meet long enough to have a conversation.  Sleepless in Seattle  is a slow burn with a satisfying ending and a story that will make you believe in love available on Paramount Plus. 

What if you were in an accident that wiped your memory and you forgot everything about your life? How would you deal with a loved one longing to be remembered? In  The Vow , Paige Collins, played by Rachel McAdams, is dealing with that exact situation. When Paige is injured in a terrible car crash, she forgets everything, including her loving husband Leo, played by Channing Tatum. Can she fall in love with him all over again?  The Vow  is based on a true story and explores how the relationship develops after the accident. It’s a heartwarming tale about the power of love. 

Maid in Manhattan

Maid in Manhattan , available on Hulu, follows Marisa Ventura, a level-headed working-class mother, hoping to move up the ranks at the prestigious Beresford Hotel in New York. When one spontaneous choice leads to Marisa crossing paths with handsome politician Christopher “Chris” Marshall, she poses as a wealthy guest. Will he lose interest when he finds out what she does for a living or will they ride off into the sunset together?  Maid in Manhattan  is a lovely light movie that is a great addition to a cozy season movie list. 

Last Holiday 

Georgia Byrd, played by Queen Latifah,  is a cautious sales associate at a struggling department store. When she learns that she only has a few weeks to live, she decides to go on a lavish vacation. While on vacation in Europe she makes a group of well-to-do friends, including the owner of the department store. As her vacation comes to an end and her new friends learn more about her,  Last Holiday , streaming now on Paramount Plus, tells a beautiful story about living life fully and cherishing each moment.

The Fundamentals of Caring 

Trevor is a young man in need of a caretaker, Ben is a writer in need of a job. What could go wrong? Trevor is a wisecracking yet sheltered kid looking for an adventure so when his new caretaker Ben, suggests a road trip he’s eager to go. The trip sets in motion a series of bizarre events that build their friendship, help Trevor to come into his own, and teach them both about vulnerability and courage.  The Fundamentals of Caring  is an endearing movie that will make you laugh as much as it makes you cry. 

Saving Face 

A pregnant widow is forced to move in with her lesbian daughter and their relationship is put to the test in this romantic comedy steeped in Chinese American culture.  Saving Face  is a witty and entertaining story that touches on the trials and tribulations of mother-daughter relationships and breaking with convention. 

The Water Man 

Eleven-year-old, Gunner Boone and his mother Mary, played by Rosario Dawson are trying to fit in after moving to a small Oregon town in  The Water Man.  Gunner’s father, Amos, struggles to connect with his son but can’t seem to bridge the gap between them. Between dealing with his mother’s leukemia diagnosis and feeling isolated from his father, Gunner is seeking out friendship and adventure when he comes across a town legend and a fast-talking friend, Jo. A mythical creature that threatens to destroy a small town leads a young man with a big imagination and his streetwise friend on an unforgettable adventure. The pair face challenges large and small as they gear up to go head to head with a dark force as they forge a powerful friendship. 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? 

When Bernadette is confronted with an impossible choice she makes a decision that upends her family and sends her husband and daughter on a mad dash to find her.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette? , streaming now on Hulu, is a beautiful film that explores themes of loss, familial relationships, and the pursuit of seemingly impossible dreams. It’s a hopeful yet emotional story that is perfect for a night in. 

Have you seen any of these cozy classic movies? They are all available on streaming services and will take you on an emotional journey from laughter to tears and back again from the comfort of your carefully crafted blanket fort. Treat yourself to a bowl of something comforting and a movie marathon. You won’t regret it. 


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Gui meng jiao

Gui meng jiao (1988)

Years ago, a village head in the Hong Kong countryside executed a man for committing adultery by drowning him in the ocean. His mistress, in attempts to flee the village, dies when she plumm... Read all Years ago, a village head in the Hong Kong countryside executed a man for committing adultery by drowning him in the ocean. His mistress, in attempts to flee the village, dies when she plummets into a pool of quicksand. Years later, people swimming in the ocean mysteriously vanis... Read all Years ago, a village head in the Hong Kong countryside executed a man for committing adultery by drowning him in the ocean. His mistress, in attempts to flee the village, dies when she plummets into a pool of quicksand. Years later, people swimming in the ocean mysteriously vanishes, and their bodies wash ashore days later. A local policeman named Lu Hsien who practic... Read all

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Gui meng jiao (1988)

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Wu Ma

  • Chen Ta-Wen …

Anthony Chan

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Tina Lau

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Wah Yuen

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Wing-Cho Yip

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Ying-Ying Hui

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Encounter of the Spooky Kind

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  • May 13, 2023
  • October 19, 1988 (Hong Kong)
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  • Hong Kong, China
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The 50 Best Scary Halloween Movies Will Absolutely Give You Nightmares

But you should definitely watch all of them anyway.

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We’re headed into the scariest time of year, autumn, when a chilly breeze picks up in the air, all the greenery around you wilts, and the days get shorter while the nights grow longer. This season makes for the perfect atmosphere to cozy up at home in front of your television and watch some movies that are guaranteed to bring a shiver down your spine.

Luckily there is no shortage of incredible scary movies to satisfy the appetite of any movie lover. There are films for the hypochondriacs in us, the conspiracy theorists, the apocalyptic over-thinkers, and the superstitious ghost hunters. Let these films provide you with a nightmarish alternate reality where you can vicariously experience your worst fears and then return to the comfort of your own home. So get ready to settle in and be frightened out of your wits.

Ti West’s A24 feature presented itself as a tribute to exploitation films of the ‘70s, but it turned out to be so much more. In X , we follow a group of young actors who are making a stag film in the barn behind an old couple’s remote Texas home. Between scenes of choreographed sex and brutal violence, X makes introspective explorations on the fleeting nature of youth, the horror of aging, and unfulfilled desires.

Scream (2022)

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The the fifth installment of the iconic '90s horror flick that shook up the genre did not hold back on the punches. Although it may be a sequel (or a fivequel?), it turns horror film tropes upside-down in delightful ways, much like the original. The brand-new cast, the exciting return of several OG cast members, and a plot that makes you entirely breathless cements this Scream addition an instant classic.

James Wan might be recognized for his essential additions to the horror genre with movies like Saw , Insidious , and The Conjuring , but this standalone feature truly unleashed Wan’s storytelling abilities. This wild tale of a young woman being haunted by dreams of a mysterious man committing horrible murders takes you through breathtaking revelations—with visual affects that will give you nightmares.

Ready Or Not

Amazon Apple

As if marriage doesn’t induce enough fear in some people, Ready Or Not ups the ante with in-laws whose tradition is to hunt the new bride, with all forms of weapons, from dusk 'til dawn. After surviving the wedding itself, the bride, Grace, has put up a fight if she wants to enjoy her new life. And, you know, stay alive.

Ever thought that Predator needed an origin story? Well, now you’ve got one. Prey is set 300 years ago in the Northern Great Plains of North America, where a young woman from the Comanche tribe must face off with the alien predator in order to protect her loved ones. It’s a showdown of epic—and terrifying!—proportions.

The Hunt was one of the last movies to come out in theaters, traditionally-speaking, before the pandemic hit in 2020—meaning, if you don't remember it, it's because plenty of real life horror was soon in the way. The political satire mixes The Hunger Games essence with liberal elitism and far-right extremism for a somewhat messy, and completely troubling, depiction of our current times. It is also is genuinely terrifying, with a heaping side of gore and violence.

You'd be hard pressed to think of a film with as cheery a color palette, but as menacing a tone, as Midsommar . From the twisted minds at A24, the film takes place in Sweden in a small town's midsommar festival. And when a couple (who should not be together) arrive with their friends (who honestly aren't much better), shit hits the fan. Let's just say that there's gore, a bear suit, and a really dazzling food spread that would be appetizing if everyone didn't keep dying .

Brilliantly crafted and remarkably original, His House subverts the expected horror movie tropes and presents a film unlike any before it. The movie follows a South Sudanese couple who manage to escape the throes of war in their home country of South Sudan, only to come to England and discover that they're dealing with a new threat... of the supernatural variation.

Train to Busan

South Korean action horror film Train to Busan places the typical zombie apocalypse genre in a new container, as it follows one father and daughter's trip across the country by train as they learn that the country is becoming overrun by a plague.

Jordan Peele’s sophomore directorial feature Us stars Lupita Nyong’o as the mother of a family who finds themselves under the attack of a mysterious group of strangers that are their exact doppelgängers.

Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey star in the first installment of the Insidious series, in which a family faces the reality that their son has fallen into a mysterious comatose state where he becomes possessed by otherworldly spirits.

The first partnership of Lighthouse director Robert Eggers and beloved production company A24, The Witch is set in 17th-century New England and follows a Puritan family who is quick to blame the disappearance of their son on their daughter. Suspecting she is a witch, they battle between their familial bond and dark forces that might prove more powerful.


Sometimes the scariest films don't need to venture into the supernatural or the grandiose to strike fear. Put a deep-woods boy on a bridge and give him a banjo and that's all you'll need to send a chill up a lot of people's spines. Starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, this 1972 film about a foursome who decide to venture down a rural Georgia river likes to label itself as "an adventure drama," but the phrase "Squeal like a pig!" begs to differ.

After her estranged mother dies, Annie (Toni Collette) begins to notice some peculiar activity around her house. After another shocking tragedy, Annie begins to spiral out of control. Is there a supernatural force attempting to manipulate her family, or is it all in her head?

A Quiet Place

A family (led by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) silently navigate a post-apocalyptic world, stalked at every turn by monsters that hunt their prey with a supercharged sense of hearing. Although the family of survivalists have so far managed to avoid the extraterrestrial hunters, the fractures within their own relationships may lead to their downfall. You will spend this entire movie on the edge of your seat.

The Babadook

In Jennifer Kent's gothic Australian thriller, a young widow is burdened with her troubled six-year-old son. But it only gets worse for the beleaguered mother when the titular character of her son's picture book—the tall, top hat-wearing spook named the Babadook—begins to creep beyond the pages of his book and wreaks havoc on the mother and son.

The Descent

Six adventurous women go into the dark depths of an unmapped cave in North Carolina, hoping for a fun trek through the darkness. But their mountain vacation is disrupted when they discover that they aren't the only ones in the cave, which also happens to be full of flesh-eating humanoid monsters who hunt them women down.

Annie thinks she's found someone trustworthy in her new boyfriend, but after they have sex, he reveals that he's being stalked by an unnamed evil—which will now hunt her down until she can pass "it" onto the next person she sleeps with. The moody, retro-inspired horror film is a modern classic with an unsettling, unimaginable monster that our heroine must outsmart.

A young black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) joins his girlfriend (Allison Williams) for a visit to her suspiciously overenthusiastic Obama-supporting parents' home and discovers that they can't be trusted in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning modern masterpiece. In Esquire , Stephen Thrasher called the film, "The Best Movie Ever Made About American Slavery."

Eyes Without a Face

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In the very literally titled French art-horror classic, a famous and unhinged surgeon kidnaps beautiful women and tries to transplant their faces onto his daughter who is, yes, missing a face.

Last House on the Left

Wes Craven was one of a few masters of horror who plumbed the depths of America's Vietnam War-era cultural divides in this grimy, arty thriller about two teenage girls who encounter ruthless escaped prisoners—and how the tables get violently turned.

Rosemary's Baby

In the most disturbing allegory for childbearing gone wrong, Mia Farrow's Rosemary becomes increasingly panicked about her painful pregnancy and the mysterious neighbors in a building with a history of Satanism. The great Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her role as Rosemary's fiendishly quirky neighbor, who isn't as sweet as she seems.

The House of the Devil

Samantha, a broke college student struggling to pay her rent, picks up a babysitting job from a weird couple named the Ulmans. Things get even more strange when Samantha learns that her charge is not a child, but in fact Mr. Ulman's ailing mother. Foolishly ignoring her intuition, Samantha's gig turns into a night from hell when she realizes the Ulmans have some particularly devious plans for her.

The Exorcist

Nearly four decades after its release, The Exorcist is still the scariest movie ever made—and features one of the most terrifying movie villains in Regan MacNeil, an innocent 12-year-old girl possessed by a demonic force. William Friedkin's Oscar-nominated film was pretty much the first prestige horror movie with incredible performances, heavy thematic material, and game-changing scares.

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko —which gave us a taste of how great (and weird) Jake Gyllenhall could be—follows Donnie as his cliche teenage-social-outcast problems somehow accrue interdimensional stakes. It’s a perfect scary-movie blend: A troubled teen, memorable monster, all set during the Halloween season.

Night of the Living Dead

It created the modern zombie genre, and its fondness for sociopolitical echoes. But even more than that legacy, George A. Romero's low-budget black-and-white original proved that you don't need money to create a horror classic; you just need braiiiiiiiins.

John Carpenter's bogeyman slasher nightmare spawned a legion of inferior sequels that couldn't diminish the ominous power of his original, about a psychopath who returns to his hometown years later to don a misshaped William Shatner mask and stalk Jamie Lee Curtis.

The Shining

Arguably the scariest film of all time, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's bestseller generates terror from its meticulous filmmaking. And, courtesy of Jack Nicholson's turn as a murderous paterfamilias, it also features the most memorable horror-movie performance in the past few decades.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The story of a child molester who returns from the dead to prey upon his killers' children in dreams, Wes Craven's seminal shocker recognizes that you're never more vulnerable than when asleep—a fact that naturally set up countless scares for one of the biggest horror franchises in film history

Its sequel may boast grander man-vs.-beast action, but Ridley Scott's gorgeous 1979 outer-space saga about a group of astronauts battling against a malevolent extraterrestrial is still the franchise's most deeply frightening installment.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Ignore all the remakes, remake sequels, and remake prequels, and stick with Tobe Hooper's original 1974 grindhouser, about a slightly unhinged hippie-hating family with a house notable for its giant meat hooks, human bone furniture, and human skin wearing giant who loves to kill twirl his chainsaw.

A cautionary tale about the perils of stealing from your boss—and, also, about staying at roadside motels run by mamma's boys. Alfred Hitchcock originated the surprise first-act murder of the star with the story of a woman (Janet Leigh) on the run who is way too accepting of a dark-haired stranger's (Anthony Perkins) generosity.

The only thing scarier than facing off against a hideous intergalactic monster is facing off against one that has the ability to shape-shift into human form—a who's-the-creature scenario that director John Carpenter employs for intense suspense (with some great, gross special effects).

Japanese director Takeshi Miike is infamous for pushing the boundaries of good taste, though he's rarely delivered more extreme tension than with this 1999 film about a man who discovers that dating can be a deadly affair.

Let the Right One In

A young outcast boy meets, and falls in love with, a young immortal bloodsucker in this superb 1980-set Swedish vampire romance from Tomas Alfredson, which climaxes with an unforgettable pool sequence.

Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho's 2006 film is a fantastic, Spielbergian tale of a South Korean family under siege from an extraordinary foe—namely, a giant sea monster created from toxic dumping.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Michael Rooker is a serial killer whose crimes don't warrant much attention from the powers that be in John McNaughton's cold, clinical, harrowing character study (partly based on real events).

Brian De Palma's adaptation of Stephen King's novel is an unbearably disturbing portrait of youthful alienation and fury, with one of the genre's most unforgettable fire-and-brimstone endings.

Don't Look Now

A couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) grieving from the death of their daughter become convinced that she's trying to contact them from beyond the grave in Nicolas Roeg's profoundly unnerving thriller. You'll never look at little girls in red coats the same way again.

The movie that for a brief time in the early aughts made everyone afraid of their TV. Naomi Watts plays a journalist investigating why people keep dying from watching a certain video tape. And just like all of the best scary movies, it's got a creepy kid.

The Blair Witch Project

When The Blair With Project originally came out in 1999, people didn't know whether it was real or fiction. Advertised as "found video footage," it tells the story of three students who travel to a small town to investigate a murder, and eventually get terrorized in the woods.

Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi's 2009 horror film is the perfect example of unspeakable horror and gross-out humor. Alison Lohman plays a bank loan officer who turns down an elderly woman's request for an extension on her mortgage payment. The woman retaliates in witchy ways, placing a curse on her new enemy and promising an untimely death.

A nine-year-old Russian girl adopted by a kind American couple (played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), Esther begins to act out in dangerous ways: bullying her new brother as well as kids at school, murdering a nun, and trying to seduce her new adopted father. It doesn't take one long to realize that maybe this kid is not all she seems. A brand new prequel was released this year, Orphan: First Kill, that would make for an exciting double feature.

Suspiria (2018)

If you’re Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagino, how do you follow up one of the most memorable love stories of the 2010s? By making one of its best horror films. His remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic puts Dakota Johnson in the leading role as an American dancer auditioning at a world-famous dance academy in Berlin (where, spoiler, the dance instructors aren’t just dance instructors!).

Before James Gunn hit it big with Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy , he was making weird-as-hell genre flicks—like the Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks-led Slither . Yes, there’s a comedic bent to the movie, which takes place in a small town that an alien organism begins to terrorize, but its body horror elements will leave a slug-sized stamp on your brain.

In Robert Eggers’s feature directorial debut, a Puritan family in colonial New England move to a farm outside of their Plymouth colony, where they encounter all kinds of crazy supernatural shit in its surrounding forest. Come for the period-piece colonial throwback, stay for the scary goats.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, which is based on a Stephen King novel, It follows a group of children battling against an ancient, supernatural clown named Pennywise. Of course, the 1990, Tim Curry-led It miniseries will always be a classic—but Pennywise was just begging for 21st Century, big-budget CGI effects. The giant clown in that projector scene? Tentacles swinging from Pennywise’s mouth? Good luck sleeping.

Even though this horror-world OG is nearly 100 (!) years old, this story of Count Orlok’s hosting of Thomas Hutter still delivers the goods. Yeah, old scary movies like this tend to look a little campy in modern times, but Noseferatu’s creepy mug, shadowy photography, and a timely message about xenophobia hold up today.

I would imagine it’s hard to make a cannibal movie, let alone one that’s not a gross-out mess or a campy write-off. Raw , which tracks a vegetarian starting her first semester at veterinary school—where, woah, she gets a taste for flesh. It sounds simple, but Raw ’s built-in suspense (how far is she willing to go?) and art-film vibe makes it worth the watch.

Don't Breathe

For a breathless 90 minutes of Stephen Lang in prime form, check out Don’t Breathe —Fede Álvarez’s breathless horror-thriller. The movie follows three robbers who try to steal $300,000 of cash from a house in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood—which happens to be owned by blind Gulf War Veteran, Norman Nordtrom (Lang).

Headshot of Sirena He

Sirena He is an editorial assistant and writer who focuses on media and culture. She is a lover of horror films and believes in the healing power of storytelling.

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25 Awesome Spooky Movies

With Halloween upon us, we picked 25 appropriately spooky movies...

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Sick of Halloween films about axe-wielding maniacs and razorblade candy? Weary of vampires, werewolves and the odd zombie apocalypse? Sometimes we just need to get back to basics: A dark and stormy evening, a creaky old house, and things that go bump in the night.

It’s said that the veil between the worlds of the dead and the living is at its thinnest around Halloween, so how better to celebrate than to turn the lights off, ignore the trick or treaters and enjoy one of these awesomely spooky movies?

25. The Awakening (2011)

This BBC film is set in the 1920s and is an amalgam of several ghost stories (lifting certain scenes almost verbatim from  Haunted ). However, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in elegance; it’s worth a mention for its stunning cinematography alone. It also features a high quality cast, with Imelda Staunton as a school housekeeper, Dominic West as a teacher with guilty secrets, and Rebecca Hall as Florence, a cynical “ghost hunter” out to debunk all this supernatural nonsense. They are investigating the odd circumstances surrounding the death of a schoolboy, and Florence is certain there will be a rational explanation. Guess who’s going to get her faith in science shattered? Extra points for a cheekily ambiguous ending.

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24. The Gift (2000)

Directed by Sam Raimi , this film is unusual in that it boasts an all-star ensemble cast, including Keanu Reeves as a (convincing!) bad guy, Hilary Swank as trailer trash, and a pre-Cruise Katie Holmes as Jessica, the good time girl whose future involves the bottom of a lake. That’s what local psychic Annie Wilson ( Cate Blanchett ) sees when she looks at her, but how can you tell someone that they certainly will not live “happily ever after”? And how do you stop ghosts from dripping pond weed all over your carpet?

further reading: 81 Genuinely Creepy Horror Movies

Written partly by Billy Bob Thornton as a fictionalised version of his own mother’s “gift,” this Southern Gothic movie revels in the atmosphere of a slightly claustrophobic small town and the actors use their best hillbilly accents (kind of like a prequel to  True Blood ).

Watch The Gift on Amazon

23. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Would you believe me if I told you that this was a bit like an Enid Blyton story? (If Enid Blyton wrote about ghosts, and the Spanish civil war, and murder…) Well, there is a secret stash of gold. And there are certainly high jinks in the boys’ dormitory. And the children do have to band together to outsmart the bad guys. See? It’s practically a Famous five book.

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Of course, being directed by Guillermo del Toro , there is more to this story than midnight jaunts and keeping secrets from the grownups. Carlos (Fernando Tielve) is the new arrival at the orphanage; he soon learns that the building is haunted by something the boys call the “one who sighs.” Despite the sunny daytime scenes which could fool channel hoppers into thinking they’ve stumbled upon  Chocolat , this is full of tense moments and some imaginative special effects.

Watch The Devil’s Backbone on Amazon Prime

22. Haunted (1995)

Haunted begins like the cheesiest story ever, but bear with me – it gets better once the childhood flashbacks are over. Aidan Quinn stars as Professor David Ash, who is (of course) sceptical when he’s contacted by “Nanny” – an elderly lady who needs some poltergeist elimination work done. David’s visit is enlivened by the three adult children of the house, who are stripping off for naked frolics in the lake before you can say “So that’s how it is in their family.”

further reading: The Best Haunted House Movies of All Time

David is enchanted with Christina (Kate Beckinsale, who has enough charisma here to carry several movies) but finds her brothers somewhat odd. When they’re not painting nude studies of their sister, they are playing silly practical jokes which could certainly explain the “supernatural” happenings in the house. David uncovers some creepy family secrets in this slow burner of a Brit flick, and Sir John Gielgud makes an appearance as a seemingly helpful doctor.

Buy Haunted on Amazon

21. The Uninvited (1944)

Horror film production was banned in Britain during WWII (maybe it wasn’t considered sufficiently mood-enhancing?) but evidently chillers slipped through the net; this was also one of the first movies to portray supernatural events as genuine.

further reading: Essential Gothic Horror Movies

Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) fall in love with a mansion overlooking the sea (after a somewhat unorthodox viewing, climbing in through a window and having a good nose around) and buy it despite the protests of the owner’s granddaughter Stella (Gail Russell). Pamela clearly hasn’t seen any episodes of Phil and Kirstie’s finest, as she proclaims the room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the sea as “the only ugly room in the house.” Funny how flowers wilt so fast in there and the dog won’t go anywhere near it….

Buy The Uninvited on Amazon

20. Dark Water (2002)

Here’s a story we can all relate to: a crappy apartment which has a leaky ceiling, but you’re stuck there because it’s all you can afford. That’s what Yoshimi (Hitomi Kuroki) faces while divorcing the father of her young daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno). Then there’s the little bag which her daughter keeps finding no matter how many times it gets thrown away… The suspense builds with the ephemeral appearances of the (now classic) creepy little girl ghost.

further reading: The Best Horror Movies on HBO Go

Despite the presence of the fantastic Pete Postlethwaite and John C. Reilly in the 2005 Jennifer Connelly remake, I’d recommend the original. The Hollywood version ruins the climax of the story with a piece of household decor which would never exist in any house anywhere, for the very reasons shown in the film…

Buy Dark Water on Amazon

Latest Movie reviews

Five nights at freddy’s review: one night is too many, killers of the flower moon review: martin scorsese’s anti-western about american sin, priscilla review: sofia coppola punctures elvis mythmaking, 19. the sixth sense (1999).

Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan had his big break with this movie, causing quite an uproar with the now infamous twist. The question now is, does the wisdom of hindsight suck all the fun out of it? Actually, it stands up to repeat viewings pretty well. There are strong performances from Haley Joel Osment as the little boy who wishes that he didn’t see dead people, Bruce Willis as his psychiatrist, and Toni Colette as his long suffering mother.

further reading: The Best Horror Movies on Hulu

A young Mischa Barton pukes in the most extravagant way I can recall seeing on screen, and there are plenty of great shocks. In retrospect, the twist seems so obvious, but when this was new, it fooled a lot of people. It didn’t fool me, though, because I‘d already had the film ruined for me before I saw it. Thanks, Jack Dee.

Watch The Sixth Sense on Amazon Prime

18. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott stars as Dr. John Russell in this classic ghost story, which is a favorite of  The Others  director Alejandro Amenabár. Following the tragic demise of his wife and son, Dr. Russell moves into a rambling Victorian mansion to compose music and pick up the pieces of his life. He’s soon being woken by relentless booming sounds coming from the heating system, precisely at 6 a.m. every day… Then there’s the old “apparition in the self-filling bath” trick (actually, this may be the first time this happened onscreen, but it sure won’t be the last).

further reading: The Changeling and the Importance of Sound in Horror Movies

This is one of those movies which hits up all the clichés: people go into the dark, gloomy attic to search for clues, and to the library to look up old news archives on the microfiche; they visit the graveyard, and finally, hold a séance (which is overwhelmingly creepy). The eerie soundtrack and skilful storytelling result in a film which peels back its mysterious layers slowly for a satisfying finish.

Buy The Changeling on Amazon

17. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Remember the good old days, when every newly released Tim Burton film wasn’t a bitter disappointment? This is one of his finest, and possibly the best match of subject matter and his gothic style. If you’re looking for a movie which perfectly evokes the atmosphere of a chilly October night, you won’t do much better than the misty, shadowy world of  Sleepy Hollow . Indeed, those working on the production noted that “The feeling one had walking around  Sleepy Hollow ‘s sets was almost as if you were walking around the inside of Burton’s head.” The jack ‘o lanterns look alive, the buildings look like the traditional crooked haunted houses of fairytales and even the trees seem extra twisty.

further reading: 31 Best Streaming Horror Movies

If anyone else had taken the lead role, the film would have been good. With Johnny Depp, it’s brilliant. He appears to have done some research into fictional genealogy and found that Ichabod is directly related to Niles Crane, playing his role with a prissy self consciousness that David Hyde Pierce would be proud of. Christina Ricci is a goth girl’s dream of Katrina Van Tassel, and Miranda Richardson and Christopher Walken just look like they’re having a damn good time.

Watch Sleepy Hollow on Amazon Prime

16. Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Don’t you just love films that start out in a mental hospital, with doctors asking the main character “Can you remember what happened?” Su-mi (Im Soo-jung) is soon recalling the odd home life she and her sister Su-yeon (Moon Geun Young) had, adjusting to life after their mother had died and they had gained an unfriendly stepmother.

further reading: The Best Horror Movies on Netflix

The plot is based on traditional Korean fairy tale “Janghwa Hongryeon jeon” (although it bears about as much resemblance to it as  Sleepy Hollow  does to Washington Irving’s short story). Along with beautiful photography, director Jee-woon Kim uses stillness and silence (rather than the usual scary music track) to make the jumps all the more frightening. There is also a healthy dose of good old-fashioned weirdness; some scenes only make sense in the context of later revelations. Along with some truly terrifying moments, the film fools you from the start and you may need a second viewing to really understand what the hell happened. And isn’t that the very best kind of movie?

Watch Tale of Two Sisters on Amazon Prime

15. The Haunting (1963)

Not to be confused with the remake of 1999, this retro gem not only features some classic sequences of spooky happenings, but a philosophical take on the paranormal. As John Markway says, “The preternatural is something we don’t have any natural explanation for right now but probably will have someday – the preternatural of one generation becomes the natural of the next. Scientists once laughed at the idea of magnetic attraction; they couldn’t explain it, so they refused to admit it exists.”

further reading – Movies That Scared Us: The Haunting

Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson) is investigating the mysterious Hill House, whose inhabitants often die in odd circumstances. With him he has Luke (Russ Tamblyn), the cynical heir to the home, the psychic Theo (Claire Bloom, way too cool for school) and Julie Harris as Eleanor, who has some ghosts of her own, but figures a free stay in a mansion is as close to a holiday as she’s going to get. Markway is pleased the ladies haven’t done any research into the bad reputation of the house “So much the better. You should be innocent and receptive.” (The old dog.) This is a great, character-driven story with a dry sense of humour, and a mysterious heroine who feels oddly at home with the supernatural.

Watch The Haunting on Amazon Prime

14. The Uninvited (2009)

It’s generally considered a social faux pas to admit to liking a remake more than an original, especially if the original was from South Korea and the remake was one of those dreadful Hollywood productions. All the same, I will confess… I thought The Uninvited was better than   A Tale Of Two Sisters .  While the former was a beautiful, poetic twisted dream of a film, this follows more conventional methods of storytelling and is all the stronger for it (and it will get your heart rate pumping).

further reading: The Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime

There are some hair-raising moments for Anna after her return from the psychiatric hospital: She has good reason to suspect that her mother’s death was no accident, her dad’s new wife is acting suspiciously and who the hell is that crawling across her bedroom floor? Emily Browning makes a suitably angelic lead, Arielle Kebbel is effective as her smart mouth sister and Elizabeth Banks works well as the potentially wicked stepmother. The nightmarish plot is just different enough to make the film independent from its roots, and the additions create a more intricate and involving storyline. Turns out, not all remakes are bad!

Watch The Uninvited on Amazon Prime

13. Ju-On (2002)

Written and directed by Takashi Shimizu,   Ju-On: The Grudge  teeters precariously on a tightrope above a big pool of ridiculousness, and just about makes it to the other side.

Apparently, getting murdered leaves you feeling a tad irritable, specifically with people who are still alive and live in your former home. Or people who visit that home. Or, dammit, random people who work in the same building with someone who visited the home. Ghosts don’t need valid motivations, ok? Kayako and her son Toshio were killed by her husband Saeki Takeo and since then, the grudge curse has been spreading like a virus.

further reading: The 25 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen

The story is told in a disjointed way, with interlinking stories told separately and with no apparent regard for time and space. Some of the acting (particularly in the first half) is distinctly dodgy.   

As a coherent movie plot which makes sense, it fails somewhat. However, as a series of extremely frightening moments, it works a treat: it features some of the most sudden and imaginative scares I’ve seen on film. Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) is is just a touch too cute to be truly terrifying, although he does pop up in some breathtakingly surprising places. And Takako Fuji makes the scariest descent of a staircase since the famous “spiderwalking” scene cut from   The Exorcist .  Sometimes the simplest things (a weird rattling or an unnaturally bendy body) are the most disturbing.

Watch Ju-On on Amazon

12. The Innocents (1961)

You’ll have shivers down your spine from the first minute of this film, as children softly sing over the blank screen (why are children in films always so frightening?) Deborah Kerr stars in the classic British horror which employs creaks and darkness to much scarier ends than any amount of gore. She is a governess in Victorian England, sent to take care of two apparently sweet little children in a big sprawling house in the middle of nowhere.

further reading: 25 Hidden Horror Movie Gems

It’s one of those houses with lots of weird statues casting eerie shadows, billowing curtains and candles that go out at the oddest times, and it’s not long before she’s seeing faces in the window and hearing the same odd little music box tune wherever she goes. But is there really anything wrong, or is it all in her head?  She’s been told by their father “whatever happens, you must handle it alone. Never, never, bother me,” (what a helpful boss) so she has no choice but to keep quiet about the peculiar events that only she seems to take seriously. Director Jack Clayton creates an incredibly chilling atmosphere and a story which is ambiguous enough to have several interpretations.

Buy The Innocents on Amazon

11. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Found footage has always been a popular gimmick in low-budget filmmaking (not least because you can pretend the shaky camerawork was deliberate). The problem with most of these setups is that the intrepid characters carry on studiously documenting the horror long after any sane person would have chucked the camera and run for the hills. (Really? Gigantic monsters are chasing you and you’re still looking at them through a viewfinder?) Writer and director Oren Peli cleverly sidesteps this by having the characters decide to set up a camera as 24-hour surveillance to document the spooky and possibly demon-based happenings that seems to follow Katie (Katie Featherston) from house to house.

further reading: The Underrated Horror Movies of the 1990s

While most horror films involve scenarios that seem a million miles from your everyday life (unless you have recently murdered a classmate who is now coming to get you) this film actually makes snuggling up in your safe, cosy little bed seem terrifying. Genius.

Watch Paranormal Activity on Amazon Prime

10. Shutter (2004)

Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) is driving back from a wedding with her boyfriend Tun (Ananda Everingham) when she hits a girl – in a panic, they leave the body lying in the road and try to get on with their lives. They start feeling rattled when Tun’s photography is blighted by misty shadows and they both suffer from the odd hallucination which seems to show that their hit and run victim (Achita Sikamana) isn’t resting in peace.

further reading: The Best Modern Horror Movies

Where would horror films be without photographic dark rooms? Even in the digital age, the dim red light and slowly emerging pictures remain classic tools of terror. Not to mention the room with rows of jars containing pickled animals, and the surprise homage to  Psycho . This story has it all. There are also touches of dark humor throughout (the praying mantis is a recurring motif) and one of the most bone-chilling scenes has a hilarious payoff.

Directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom skilfully create real characters and have the ability to communicate some of the most powerful and eloquent moments without dialogue.  The mystery deepens as more sinister evidence comes to light and the climax is truly chilling. This is one which will stay with you long after Halloween.

Buy Shutter on Amazon

9. What Lies Beneath (2000)

Robert Zemeckis directs Michelle Pfieffer and Harrison Ford in this glossy supernatural thriller, with predictably high quality results. Clare and Norman Spencer live the perfect life – especially now their daughter has left for college and they’re enjoying empty nest syndrome. But the neighbors are causing some concern – especially when the wife disappears and Claire believes she is trying to communicate with her from “the other side.”

Zemeckis has admitted that this is his homage to Hitchcock, and true to form, the suspense builds deliciously slowly. When Claire starts seeing faces in the bathtub (where else?) she goes to talk it over with a psychiatrist. A session with a Ouija board proves that somebody is trying to contact Claire, and it’s not long before she’s stealing keepsakes from grieving parents and reading books with chapters helpfully entitled Conjuring the Dead.

The result is a strong movie whether you’re enjoying the ghost story or the “Yuppies in peril in a beautiful house” aspect of it (and it doesn’t hurt that Michelle looks luminously beautiful).

Watch What Lies Beneath on Amazon Prime

8. Ringu (1998)

I didn’t really want to include this entry, as  Ringu  is ostensibly not about ghosts, but about the horror of a cursed videotape (so retro!) which somehow causes the death of anyone who watches it. But by now most people know that is not the end of the story; plus I know I’ll get complaints from all the whiny crybabies if I don’t list it, so here it is. Sadako (Rie Ino’o) is a very scary ghost. You can tell she’s scary because she has really long hair which pretty much covers her whole head, kind of like Cousin It. She’s the one behind the video which seems to scare the life out of everyone, but what’s her story? Journalist Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) has no choice but to investigate, as she’s already watched the tape and now has a mere seven days to live.

Unfortunately, by the time I got round to watching the infamous TV scene in  Ringu , I had already seen the clip numerous times on all of those “Scariest movie moments” compilations, which somewhat ruined the surprise for me. If, however, you were watching the horror unfold for the very first time, I imagine you would have needed a fresh pair of underpants afterwards. But let’s not be precious about this; there isn’t a massive difference between  Ringu  and its American remake, and Naomi Watts is always good value.

Buy Ringu on Amazon

7. Ghostbusters (1984)

If you’re looking for some light relief… who you gonna call? Well, duh. As a stupendous comedy, it’s easy to forget that  Ghostbusters   actually gets pretty creepy at times (no wonder I was never allowed to watch it as a kid).

Not only does it feature slime, a possessed Sigourney Weaver and an unnervingly large marshmallow man, it’s one of those classic ’80s films which made everyone fall in love with New York. (Plus, as we all know, it has the best theme tune ever.)

further reading: The Scariest Episodes of The Real Ghostbusters

Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis are the supernatural pest control of the city, becoming heroes for the way they fearlessly capture the green ghouls that seem to be popping up everywhere. Could this be a sign of worse things to come? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria? It’s time for the boys to step up to the plate and save us all from the end of the world… all together now, “Let’s show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown…”

Watch Ghostbusters on Amazon Prime

6. Poltergeist (1982)

The Steve and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams) have a picture perfect house, cute kids, and a golden retriever, so I don’t know why they’re so surprised when their furniture starts moving around; they’re prime poltergeist fodder. Interestingly, at the first signs of supernatural activity, Diane is elated and is soon sliding the kids along a magical pathway on the kitchen floor. (Well, wouldn’t you think it was kind of cool if there was ‘something’ benign in your house?) Things aren’t so fun when their kids get sucked into a tree and the TV, respectively.

Robbie is pried from the er, jaws, of the tree but Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) has been lost into the netherworlds, although they can still speak to her through the TV (“This is probably going to seem a little strange. We hear better on this channel….”) In desperation, they bring in some parapsychologists – can anyone get their little girl back?

Tobe Hooper was the official director, but Steven Spielberg wrote and produced (and features heavily in every “behind the scenes” anecdote) so it’s safe to say that he was a strong influence in creating the genuinely frightening and moving film. Poltergeist has inspired many imitations (notably James Wan’s  Insidious ) and remains legendary, not least for its apparent “curse.” (I bet they’re ruing the day they got genuine skeletons to cut costs. What was that about respecting the dead?)

Watch Poltergeist on Amazon Prime

5. The Woman In Black (1989)

Try saying to a movie buff “So, what did you think of  that  scene in  The Woman In Black ? ” and just watch them start trembling. Pauline Moran as the lady of the title led a generation of British teens to wet their pants in unison as she paid Adrian Rawlins a surprise bedtime visit in the BBC movie.

Rookie solicitor Arthur Kidd (Rawlins) is sent to tie up some loose ends on behalf of a recently deceased old lady, and soon finds that the townsfolk look at you oddly when you say you’re going to the Drablow place, but seem strangely reluctant to take you there.

To watch this film is to experience an overwhelming sense of dread on behalf of our protagonist Mr Kidd. He is determined to investigate the past of the mysterious woman whose lost child is still heard crying every night. Even if it means staying in the weird house longer than any sane person would, while the audience screams at him to get out while he can.

For once, the story doesn’t suffer from being updated; James Watkins’ 2012 remake starring Daniel Radcliffe is possibly even more frightening, along with a superior soundtrack and exquisite sets.

Buy The Woman in Black on Amazon

4. The Others (2001)

Every ghost story introduces an element of uncertainty: are these things really happening, or are they in your head? Like  The Innocents ,   The Others  is partly inspired by Henry James’ novella   The Turn Of The Screw .  Grace (Nicole Kidman) has turned being neurotic into a fulltime job; her children apparently suffer from a sensitivity to light, which means the gothic mansion they inhabit must be swathed in thick curtains at all times. This makes things difficult for the new servants, who have turned up in a most mysterious manner… (Incidentally, one of the great pleasures in this movie is the sight of Eric Sykes and Nicole Kidman on the same screen. It’s just delightfully surreal.)

Grace’s daughter has an imaginary playmate called Victor; her insistence that there are “other people” in the house vexes Grace until she begins to hear them, too. A piano playing by itself, shaking chandeliers and some truly traumatic hallucinations add to the panic as Grace questions exactly who she is sharing her home with. The tension builds to almost unbearable heights before a truly haunting ending. An intelligent script with a superb twist, quality acting and an atmospheric set (complete with graveyards, mist and autumn leaves) – what more could you want in a Halloween movie?

Watch The Others on Amazon Prime

3. The Orphanage (2007)

Laura (Belén Rueda) is returning to her childhood orphanage with her husband and son in order to open it as a care home for children with disabilities. She’s busy, but still has time to notice that seven year old Simón (Roger Príncep) has found an imaginary friend, Tomas. He might have a sack over his head, but what’s a little creepy mask between pals?

Simón is adopted, so it’s only a little odd when a social worker shows up without an appointment. It’s slightly more odd that she’s snooping around in the shed at night. During a daytime party, Laura has an encounter of her own with a masked child, and then experiences every parent’s nightmare: Simón is missing. What follows is the story of a mother who takes the search for her son to the limits of her sanity. Geraldine Chaplin makes an appearance as the medium who conducts possibly the most spine-tingling of all onscreen séances, and there are some truly terrifying shocks during Laura’s search for the truth.

Director JA Bayona makes every shot count; the movie is visually beautiful as well as fantastically sinister. By the way, this is a bona fide horror film but the ending might make you cry.

Watch The Orphanage on Amazon Prime

2. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Because every scary movie list should feature something written by Daphne Du Maurier. This film about grieving parents won infamy for a (possibly unsimulated) sex scene which in retrospect is a little embarrassing (armpit biting? Really?).

Donald Sutherland (who ups the creepiness factor of any film merely by being in it) tries in vain to rescue his daughter from drowning in the opening scenes. (These days, a tragedy before the opening credits is standard; back in the ’70s, it was shocking.) In the aftermath of their daughter’s death, John (Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie) travel to Venice, where Laura befriends two elderly sisters. One of them is blind, but claims to “see” in other ways – she accurately describes their little girl, down to the “shiny little mac” she wore. John is sceptical, but soon finds himself haunted by that red raincoat, worn by an elusive figure always just out of reach…

There is something in the crispness of the film stock and the natural rhythm of the conversations which makes this film feel oddly documentary-like. Venice is shrouded in mist and shadows, the old ladies would frighten small children through no fault of their own, and the stars are fantastic in their respective roles. If you don’t already know how the movie ends, it’s a stunner.

Watch Don’t Look Now on Amazon Prime

1. The Shining (1980)

The Shining  may well be the ultimate haunted house movie, packed full of memorable moments which will be parodied, imitated and analysed forever. And ever. And ever.

Anyone not familiar with the story? Jack ( Jack Nicholson ) and his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are going to live in an isolated mountain hotel, so that Jack can work as winter caretaker while he writes his book. 

His employers warn him that a previous caretaker suffered from “cabin fever” – to the extent that he chopped up his family and “stacked them neatly” like kindling. Hmm. That’s a little extreme. It doesn’t bother Jack, though – he’s happy in isolation, so he’s sure his family will just love it too. No adverse effects here. Did I mention the hotel was built on an Indian burial ground?

Writer Stephen King wasn’t too keen on Jack Nicholson in the lead role – he wanted a more ordinary looking guy, so that the descent into madness would come out of left field. The trouble with Nicholson is, he just looks like a bad guy, with his wicked eyebrows and wolfish grin. It’s not hard to imagine him telling Wendy “I’m not gonna hurt you… I’m just gonna bash your brains in,” even without the ghostly ex-caretaker advising him that his family needed “correcting.”

further reading: How The Shining Explores the Immortality of Evil

The whole family is quite the motley crew, with Shelly Duvall appearing like a big weepy china doll, and Danny in the running with the dead twins for the creepiest kid award, what with the croaky voice he employs for Tony, the “little boy who lives in my mouth.”

Visually and conceptually stunning, the story is full of iconic moments (Stanley Kubrick got the river of blood past the censors by convincing them it was “rusty water”). It’s hard to say what’s more nauseating – Nicholson snogging a decomposing old lady or the 1970s decor.

The whole film is wired with dread from the start; the nerve jangling soundtrack makes you believe something scary is just about to happen  all  the time, but you have no idea what. Before all the screaming starts, this is a slow release atmospheric time bomb. Perfect for Halloween…

Watch The Shining on Amazon Prime

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Rebecca Clough

Rebecca Clough

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70 Best Halloween Movies of All Time to Stream at Home

Prepare to be spooked this Halloween! 👻

Headshot of Amy Mitchell

Movies have the unique power of transporting us to places beyond our wildest imagination, from Coraline's other world to the laboratory of a mad scientist or even the basement of devious criminal. But, isn't that what Halloween is all about: embracing the supernatural, weird, and spooky, even if just for one night?

So, bust out the popcorn—or perhaps some tasty homemade Halloween snacks —and get ready to experience the greatest Halloween movies of all time! To make movie night as smooth as possible, we’ve included a link to streaming for every title.

Need more ideas? Check out these stories too:

  • Halloween Movies on Disney+
  • Best Funny-Scary Movies
  • Halloween Movies for Kids on Netflix
  • Halloween Movies on Netflix
  • Best Witch Movies
  • Best Vampire Movies
  • Best Werewolf Movies
  • Top Ghost Movies

A family's beach vacation is interrupted by their nightmarish doppelgängers. Is it an invasion of alien impostors? Nope. Try again. What makes this eery flick by Jordan Peele a Halloween standout is that it makes you ponder the monster within.

Disney's Haunted Mansion (2023)

This update on the 2003 Eddie Murphy original stars LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jared Leto. The new one is streaming exclusively on Disney+ .

Umma (2002)

Ignore your ancestors at your peril! In this newer pick from 2022's Halloween movie releases , a mother (Sandra Oh) is raising her daughter on a rural farm—a lifestyle that works for her physical aversion to electricity but not so well for her teen who is ready to leave for college. Things get spooky when her own estranged mother's ashes arrive from Korea.


Zombieland (2009)

If you need a little comic relief mixed into your scare-a-thon, try this zombie movie classic starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone.


Coco (2017)

One for the kids! This animated Pixar classic is not about Halloween but the third day of the Hallowtide season: Día de los Muertos on November 2. Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is a young boy who dreams of becoming a great musician, but his family forbids music. He embarks on an adventure to the Land of the Dead to uncover the mysteries behind his ancestor's stories and traditions.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Twenty years after the original movie, Jamie Lee Curtis's Laurie Strode must battle the Shape once again and save her son.

Monster House (2006)

In this animated feature, that creepy house down the street turns out to be an actual monster. Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, and Catherine O'Hara lend their voices to this instant classic.

Candyman (2021)

Whether you watch Jordan Peele's modern-day remake or go for the 1992 original , whatever you do, just don't chant this vengeful supernatural killer's name three times!

Black Phone (2021)

This new thriller starring Ethan Hawke finds a 13-year-old boy trapped in a basement. A disconnected phone starts ringing and connects him with other victims.

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This Tim Burton classic turns 30 this year, and the animated movie makes the perfect watch from Halloween through Christmas. And Jack Skellington is always a solid costume choice . Stream this one on Disney+ or rend on Amazon Prime .

The Monster Squad (1987)

Five kids fight to protect their town when Count Dracula and his goonies show up.

Corpse Bride (2005)

Another Tim Burton classic, this musical movie is a perfectly creepy choice to watch at Halloween. It's available to stream on Max.

Coraline (2009)

Terri Hatcher and Dakota Fanning star in this stop-motion movie about a girl who finds a mysterious door in her new home, only to uncover a dark secret.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Mel Brooks directs the story of the grandson of the infamous scientist who is struggling to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believe. When he is invited to Transylvania, he harkens back to his family heritage when a dead body is reanimated. Stream through Max or Hulu .

Arachnophobia (1990)

For some, there's nothing scarier than a spider. If that's you, then this 1990 movie, starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, will scare you silly.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Roman Polanski directs this classic film starring Mia Farrow as a young pregnant woman who suspects that her neighbors are members of a Satanic cult.

The Addams Family (1991)

This spooky, kooky family based on the 1964 cartoon reconnects with what they believe to be a long-lost relative. It stars Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, and Christopher Lloyd. Rewatching this classic will tide you over while you wait for the new season of Wednesday .

Children of the Corn (1984)

A young couple stranded in the rural town in Nebraska encounters a mysterious religious sect of children amidst prospering corn fields in this movie based on a short story by Stephen King.

Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

Adapted from Anne Rice's gothic novel, this haunting film stars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, and 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

In this 2003 remake of the 1974 classic by the same name stars Jessica Biel, a group of friends traveling through Texas tries to dodge a serial killer.

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Amy Mitchell is the managing editor at Country Living Magazine. She writes about a wide range of topics, including homes and lifestyle content.

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53 best horror movies that will have you hiding under the covers all year round

By Jabeen Waheed

51 Best Horror Movies Of All Time That Are Suitably Spooky

Best horror movies ever… everybody certainly has their own choice when it comes to their favourite scare that is guaranteed to send chills down their spine. But you know what? They are perfect all year round viewing. Yes, honestly! Even when the sun is shining, sometimes we just feel the need to curl up under the covers and test our spooky limits with some of the most terrifying flicks out there.

Can we finally watch that horror movie without hiding behind the cushions ? Can we face watching that scary new movie everyone has been raving about? And can we manage that slasher favourite while being home all alone...?

Ooo, we're training ourselves to achieve all of the above!

Jenna Ortega, move over. 

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But honestly, we are spoilt for choices when it comes to horror movies, as they fall into many different subgenres. Whether it's horror movies with some of our favourite actresses (think Kaitlyn Dever in No One Will Save You or Sarah Snook in Run Rabbit Run ) or flicks that recently went viral, such as M3GAN , Smile , or the hedonism-filled mystery Infinity Pool , we're spoilt for choice.

Oh, and let's not forget psychological thrillers such as the Rebecca Hall starring The Night House , survival horrors such as Ready or Not , or even classics such as The Sixth Sense…

So join us as we take a spooky, dimly-lit look at the 53 best horror movies to watch on streaming services such as Disney + , Netflix , Apple TV and Amazon Prime over the coming months...

best horror movies

The horror genre has never gone wrong when it comes to films centred around creepy dolls. But M3GAN , a lifelike doll following the marvel of artificial intelligence, truly left us watching behind our fingers as she wreaked havoc on the local community as well as her creator, the brilliant roboticist Gemma, who designed the doll for her eight-year-old niece after she unexpectedly became her caretaker.

She had about one line during the whole film but Kaitlyn Dever knocked our socks off as a reclusive young woman named...

No One Will Save You

She had about one line during the whole film, but Kaitlyn Dever knocked our socks off as a reclusive young woman named Brynn, who lives in her childhood home alone after being shunned by the locals due to a tragedy that killed her childhood friend Maude. However, one night, she awakens to find that she has extraterrestrial companions who have broken into her home. Seriously, this film is out of this world and has us thinking about what we would do in the midst of an alien invasion....

What would you do if there was an eerie knock at your remote cabin We probably wouldn't answer. And in this M. Night...

Knock at the Cabin (2023)

What would you do if there was an eerie knock at your remote cabin? We probably wouldn't answer. And in this M. Night Shyamalan-directed film, Andrew and Eric find themselves in this very predicament when they travel to the countryside for a getaway with their adopted daughter Wen before suddenly finding themselves at the mercy of four armed strangers who demand an unthinkable sacrifice from them.

If there's one thing a horror movie has taught us it is that we should be weary when moving to a remote town in hopes of...

Things Seen and Heard (2021)

If there's one thing a horror movie has taught us, it is that we should be weary when moving to a remote town in hopes of a fresh start. That is exactly what happens to artist Catherine (played by Amanda Seyfriend), who, along with her husband, moves from Manhattan to Hudson Valley, where she quickly begins suspecting that their new home harbours some dark and very evil secrets. Yikes, no thanks.

Succession's Sarah Snook is seen in a very different role as a grieving widowed fertility doctor living in an Australian...

Run Rabbit Run (2023)

Succession 's Sarah Snook is seen in a very different role as a grieving widowed fertility doctor living in an Australian seaside town who begins noticing the stranger behaviour of her young daughter, who claims to have memories of another life. To regain normalcy in her life, she must challenge her own values and confront a ghost from her past, which stirs up painful hidden memories.

Literally one of the most iconic horror movies that gave us nightmares for weeks — months even A remake of Wes Craven's...

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Literally one of the most iconic horror movies that gave us nightmares for weeks — months even! A remake of Wes Craven's 1977 film of the same name, the movie sees a family travelling to California when they are captured by psychotic cannibals, the results of nuclear tests conducted by the USA. Their chances for survival look seriously bleak as they do their best to break free, but the villainous creatures are never far behind...

Smile was the horror movie that came out of nowhere and took over the box office as it terrified moviegoers. The story...

Smile (2020)

Smile was the horror movie that came out of nowhere and took over the box office as it terrified movie-goers. The story revolves around Dr. Rose Cotter, who begins experiencing frightening occurrences that she can't explain shortly after witnessing a traumatic incident involving a patient. She is soon forced to confront her past to avoid her fate as the next victim with the creepy, smiley face.

The movie stars Sosie Bacon as its lead. And yes, that's Kevin Bacon's daughter!

Infinity Pool is what you get when you mix darkness and violence with hedonism and mystery. Alexander Skarsgård and...

Infinity Pool (2023)

Infinity Pool is what you get when you mix darkness and violence with hedonism and mystery. Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman play a couple who venture outside of the resort grounds after being guided by a mysterious and seductive woman (Mia Goth). However, when a tragic accident means they must have the brutal zero-policy for crime, they are given the option of execution or paying to watch themselves die instead.

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You cannot go wrong with a shark movie if you want to feel uneasy A dreamy getaway turns into a nightmare as two sisters...

47 Metres Down (2017)

You cannot go wrong with a shark movie if you want to feel uneasy! A dreamy getaway turns into a nightmare as two sisters, Lisa and Kate (played by Mandy Moore and Claire Holt), find themselves accidentally trapped in a diving cage underwater with predatorial sharks circling them. With the obvious threats around them and their air supplies running low, they must think fast to escape. Our. Worst. Nightmare.

We made sure not to make a sound while munching on our popcorn in the cinema for A Quiet Place Part II...  The movie...

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

We made sure not to make a sound while munching on our popcorn in the cinema for A Quiet Place Part II ...

The movie follows the deadly events of the hugely popular first film, where the Abbott family must continue fighting for their survival in complete silence. However, when they are forced to venture into the outside, they realise that the terrorising creatures who roam the outside world aren't the only threat to them. The movie stars husband-wife duo John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, as well as Millicent Simmonds and Cillian Murphy.

In Barbarian a young woman discovers that a stranger already occupies the rental home she has booked but against her...

Barbarian (2022)

In Barbarian , a young woman discovers that a stranger already occupies the rental home she has booked, but against her better judgement, she decides to spend the night. Of course, it's a horrible decision as it's not only her unexpected house guest that she must fear but a lot more. Barbarian is honestly a terrifying, wild ride with twists and turns that you don't see coming, so we advise not watching this on your own.

Rebecca Hall stars as Beth a woman grieving the unexpected passing of her husband while living in the lakeside home he...

The Night House (2020)

Rebecca Hall stars as Beth, a woman grieving the unexpected passing of her husband while living in the lakeside home he built for her. However, amongst her grief, she begins experiencing disturbing, ghostly visions that call out to her, prompting her to dig further into her husband's life and seek answers.

A young couple Anya TaylorJoy and Nicholas Hoult are left fighting for their lives when they are invited to eat at an...

The Menu (2022)

A young couple ( Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) are left fighting for their lives when they are invited to eat at an exclusive restaurant on a remote island, where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) serves up some shocking surprises.

Hocus Pocus is one of the best horror movies to ease the younger members of your family into . The famous nineties...

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus is one of the best horror movies to ease the younger members of your family into (or heck, it's perfect for you if you find horrors too horror-ish). The famous nineties classic centres on a young boy named Max who accidentally lights a cursed Candle of Black Flame, resurrecting three evil witches ( Sarah Jessica Parker , Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy) after three hundred years to exact revenge. Yikes.

In our eyes Samara Weaving should have seen awardseason success for her role in Ready or Not. In this movie she portrays...

Ready or Not (2019)

In our eyes, Samara Weaving should have seen award-season success for her role in Ready or Not . In this movie, she portrays Grace, a young woman who marries the man of her dream at his family's luxury estate. However, she doesn't realise that his family are lunatics, and she must now fight for her life from midnight until dawn as her new in-laws attempt to hunt her down with guns and crossbows. If that isn't a red flag with a man, we don't know what is.

If you have yet to see the classic that is The Sixth Sense then you're in for a real spooky treat Psychologist Dr....

The Sixth Sense (1993)

If you have yet to see the classic that is The Sixth Sense , then you're in for a real spooky treat! Psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) starts treating a young boy named Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who is frequently visited by ghosts. In return, Cole helps Malcolm reconcile with his estranged wife, which leads to a shocking discovery.

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Insidious (2010)

In the 2010 supernatural horror Insidious , an anguished family desperately attempt to prevent evil spirits from trapping their inexplicably comatose son in a realm called The Further. Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins star in this spooky horrorfest. 

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Before I Wake (2016)

A fan of Nightmare on Elm Street ? Before I Wake , starring Kate Bosworth and Jacob Tremblay, has similar vibes and is a dark fantasy horror film that sees a couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams and nightmares manifest physically as he sleeps. No one's really getting any sleep after watching this one, are they? 

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Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Broken up into three feature-length instalments, the Fear Street trilogy gave us Fear Street Part One: 1994 , Fear Street Part Two: 1978 , and Fear Street Part Three: 1666 . The movies are based on R. L. Stine's book series of the same name, revolving around teenagers who attempt to break the horrifying curse that was previously placed on their town for hundreds of years. The likes of Stranger Things stars Sadie Sink and Maya Hawke star in this series.

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Bird Box (2018)

Post-apocalyptic horror film Bird Box ruled Netflix upon its release in 2018 with its storyline of a mother ( Sandra Bullock ) protecting her two children from ominous entities which cause people who look at them to die by suicide. At the time, the movie became the streaming service's most-watched film within 28 days of release and even featured a cameo by Machine Gun Kelly !

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In The Tall Grass (2019)

Based on Stephen King's novel, In The Tall Grass tells the story of a brother and sister duo who venture into a sprawling field of tall grass in Kansas after hearing a young boy's cry for help. But they discover that there may be no way out of the tall grass due to an unavoidable evil preventing them from escaping. Life lesson: never go traipsing into a field of tall grass...

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Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction psychological horror film in which a group of biologists and explorers head out on a secret and highly dangerous expedition into a mysterious quarantined zone called The Shimmer, which contains mutating plants and animals caused by an alien presence. Do you "want to believe"? If so, this is the movie for you.

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Hush (2016)

There's always something creepy about a cabin in the woods scenario, especially in the movie Hush , where deaf and mute writer Maddie (played by The Haunting of Hill House 's Kate Siegel) is at the mercy of masked killers shortly after she retreats to a solitary life in nature. With no one around for help, will she make it out alive? 

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Sinister (2012)

Ethan Hawke stars in the 2012 supernatural horror film, Sinister , in which he plays once-famous crime writer Ellison Oswalt, who quickly realises his family are in grave danger after discovering eight home movies in his new house that depict a series of gruesome murders. We would move out pronto! 

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No One Gets Out Alive (2021)

No One Gets Out Alive is a British horror film that centres on an immigrant named Ambar, who finds herself unable to escape after being forced to take a room in a nightmarish boarding house. This movie was released in 2021 and is based on the 2014 book of the same name by author Adam Nevill. 

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His House (2020)

Sope Dirisu is brilliant in the British horror thriller film His House , in which he stars as one half of a refugee couple from war-torn South Sudan who struggle to adapt to their new life in a small English town. Things are made much worse by an evil presence lurking within their home that reminds them of their past. Home probably is not where the heart is…

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Midsommar (2019)

Oh, we all love a bit of Florence Pugh , don't we? So if you haven't already, check her out in the 2019 folk horror flick Midsommar , written and directed by Ari Aster. The plot centres on a dysfunctional couple Dani (Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor), who travel to Sweden to visit what they think is an idyllic retreat. But no, it's only a violent and bizarre pagan cult . Eek!

Image may contain Clothing Sleeve Apparel Long Sleeve Home Decor Human Person Sydney Park and Face

There's Someone Inside Your House (2021)

If you're a Scream fan, you'll love the slasher film, There's Someone Inside Your House . Basically, a creepy masked murdered beings targeting the graduating class at Osborne High with the intent of exposing each victim's darkest secrets. Can a group of misfits stop the killer before it's too late? 

Image may contain Human Person Sarah Paulson Pub and Finger

We love Sarah Paulson 's commitment to the horror and thriller space, and she certainly delivers in the movie Run . In the movie, a homeschooled teenager (Kiera Allen) fights for her life after she realises that her mother has been keeping a dark secret from her throughout her entire life. Time to Run ! 

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You Are Not My Mother (2021)

You Are Not My Mother is an Irish horror movie that follows the journey of a young woman named Char, whose mother Angela goes briefly missing in Dublin. When she returns, her mother has a completely changed personality, leading Char to believe something more sinister was at play during her disappearance. 

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Doctor Sleep (2019)

A huge fan of Stanley Kubrick's eighties classic The Shining ? Well, Doctor Sleep follows the journey of a now-adult Dan Torrance, who attempts to protect a young girl with similar psychic powers as him from a cult known as The True Knot, who can remain immortal  by preying on children.

Image may contain Elisabeth Shue Lamp Human Person Table Lamp Patient and Jennifer Lawrence

House At The End Of The Street (2012)

Starring our beloved Jennifer Lawrence , the 2012 psychological thriller film House at the End of the Street revolved around teenager Elissa, who moves to a new neighbourhood with her mother. She soon learns that the house at the end of the street was the site of a double homicide committed by a thirteen-year-old girl named Carrie Anne, who disappeared after the horrifying events. Things quickly take a turn when Elissa starts a relationship with Carrie Anne's older brother Ryan, who lives in the same house...

Image may contain Human Person Glasses Accessories Accessory Vehicle Transportation Driving and James McAvoy

Split (2016)

Split gives up James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy in one flick, and we couldn't be more thrilled - even if it isn't the most pleasant of plots. Basically, three girls attempt to escape after being kidnapped and held hostage by a man with 23 distant personalities . They must hurry before the man's terrifying 24th personality takes shape. 

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Dubbed as a "surrealist psychological thriller", I'm Thinking of Ending Things sees a young woman ( Jessie Buckley ) question everything she thought she knew about herself and her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons)  when she visits his parents' secluded farm. This is a bizarre but very interesting watch! 

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In the horror mystery Cam , Madeline Brewer (Janine from The Handmaid's Tale ) stars as an ambitious camgirl who wakes up one day to find out she has been replaced by a replica of herself on her own show, thus commencing her struggle to gain her identity back. Deffo evil twin vibes! 

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Child's Play (1988)

The 1988 movie that hyped up the wildly popular (and terrifying!) Chucky doll! Child's Play sees a single mother give her son a sought-after doll for his birthday before they soon discover the soul of a serial killer possesses the doll . We'd like a refund, please! 

Image may contain Human Person Furniture Chair Clothing Apparel Chloë Grace Moretz Wood Face Blonde Kid and Teen

Carrie (2013)

A remake of the 1976 film of the same name, Carrie stars Chloë Grace Moretz . In the titular role, she unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after falling victim to a cruel prank at her senior prom. Bullying is not okay, people, but exacting revenge with supernatural powers?! That's not okay either! 

Image may contain Furniture Bed Indoors Room Bedroom Human and Person

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Paranormal Activity paved the way for found-footage-style horror films when it was first released in 2007. It was originally intended as an independent flick but amassed colossal box office success worldwide. The film centred on a couple who become increasingly disturbed by a demonic presence during the night after moving into a new suburban home. 

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Saint Maud (2021)

Dubbed as one of the most terrifying films of 2019, Saint Maud tells the story of a devoutly religious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient. This one racked up critical acclaim, so it's worth checking out if you like your horror movies. But for those who get scared easily, it might be best to skip this one! 

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Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria is a 2018 supernatural horror film inspired by Dario Argento's 1977 Italian movie of the same name. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the flick boasts a star cast of Dakota Johnson , Tilda Swinton and Chloë Grace Moretz and centres on the strange and dark actions at a world-renowned dance company. We may have to miss Friday nights on the dancefloor after seeing this one! 

Image may contain Face Human Person Daniel Kaluuya Head and Smile

Get Out (2017)

This 2017 film by Jordan Peele is a favourite in the horror world for great (and terrifying!) reasons. In Get Out , Daniel Kaluuya takes on the role of Chris, a young African-American who visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where things take a tense and creepy turn. Girls star Allison Williams also stars in this movie. 

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The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project is hailed as one of the most successful independent films of all time and is a classic in the found-footage-style genre. The plot centres on the footage of three film students who disappear after journeying into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend. You cannot be a horror lover and not have seen this movie! 

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Candyman (2021)

A terrifying sequel to the 1992 classic Candyman, this supernatural slasher movie returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighbourhood where talk of the urban legend first began. This movie stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo and is set to get your heart racing. 

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Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Imagine innocently driving home through the isolated countryside for spring break when you begin to get attacked by a deadly flesh-eating creature amid its ritualistic eating spree... Yes, that's exactly what happens to siblings Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Philips) in the cult classic, Jeepers Creepers . We'll save our road trips for the daytime, thanks.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

A remake of the 1974 film of the same name, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre centres on five friends (including Jessica Biel ) who find themselves at the mercy of a deformed chainsaw-wielding maniac and his equally psychopathic family after picking up a traumatised young hitchhiker. This film is a must for all slasher fans! 

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Jennifer's Body (2009)

Starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried , Jennifer's Body plot focuses on a newly-possessed high-school cheerleader who begins killing her male classmates. It's up to her best friend to end the killing spree. What are friends for, eh? 

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Orphan (2009)

A grieving husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl - but things do not appear as they seem in the horror thriller film, Orphan . The movie is a favourite amongst horror fans and features a lot of creepy scares and dark humour. After watching this flick, catch its 2022 prequel, Orphan: First Kill .

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Scream (1997)

You can't have a "best horror list" without the slasher classic, Scream . This 1997 movie starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox , David Arquette, and Skeet Ulrich sees a crazed masked killer target a teenage girl and her friend as part of a gruesome and deadly game. Scary! Also, Drew Barrymore 's opening scene is iconic...

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Countdown (2019)

You star Elizabeth Lail stars in the horror film, Countdown . The premise of the movie? A woman downloads an app that predicts she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, can she save her own life before time runs out? 

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The Addams Family 2 (2021)

Check out the 2019 animated film, The Addams Family , before coming to see The Addams Family 2 . In the second instalment of the supernatural black comedy, the spooky family find themselves up to more terrifying shenanigans while on a road trip. The famous characters are voiced by Charlize Theron , Oscar Isaac , Chloë Grace Moretz and Snoop Dogg .

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The Mummy (1999)

Watch The Whale star Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz in action as they attempt to stop an awakened mummy who begins to wreak havoc following an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra in the 1999 film, The Mummy . 

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The Changeling (1980)

If you're a true horror lover, you'll probably have already seen the 1980 classic, The Changeling . If you haven't, it's a must-watch film and follows the journey of a music professor who is at the mercy of an inexplicable presence after staying at a long-vacant Seattle mansion. This movie will definitely have you struggling to sleep at night...

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Dark Water (2005)

Starring Jennifer Connelly and John C. Reilly, the 2005 supernatural horror film Dark Water focuses on a mother and her daughter, who are targeted by the ghost of a former resident while living in a run-down apartment building. 

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The 80 Best Spooky Movies to Watch for Halloween

Image may contain Face Human Person Animal Bird Bee Invertebrate Honey Bee Insect Laughing Clothing and Apparel

One of the best things about Halloween month (the way all mature adults refer to October) is the fact that it coincides with the official start of Cozy Season. When the leaves start to fall and Rite Aid rolls out the ghost and skeleton costumes , there’s nothing better than curling up in a blanket or 12, sipping a seasonal beverage— Pumking ale , anyone?—and freaking the living hell out of yourself with a horror movie .

To celebrate all things Halloween-adjacent, we’ve put together a master list of the very best scary (or scary-ish) movies to watch in the coming month.

M3GAN (2023)

Not since the early days of Jordan Peele’s Get Out fame has a horror movie embedded itself in the pop-cultural zeitgeist quite like M3GAN , as this Saturday Night Live sketch proves. Come for Allison Williams as a roboticist, stay for the weird robot-doll dancing.

How to watch: Stream on Prime Video or YouTube .

The Offering (2023)

Oliver Park’s directorial debut is based on the Jewish folktale about the female demon Abyzou, which (believe it or not) happens to be perfect fodder for a horror film set at a Hasidic funeral home in Brooklyn. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Hulu , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Run Rabbit Run (2023)

Succession fans will go crazy for this film, which stars Sarah Snook (a.k.a. Shiv Roy!) as a fertility doctor whose young daughter’s strange behavior hints at the reemergence of a ghost from the past. 

How to watch: Stream on Netflix .

Talk to Me (2023)

Zoe Terakes, Miranda Bird, Joe Otto, and others star in this Australian horror film about a group of friends who learn they are able to contact spirits from another realm using a mysterious embalmed hand. Good news for fans of this one: A sequel is in development.

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

BODIES BODIES BODIES Rachel Sennott 2022. © A24  courtesy Everett Collection

Okay, this one is more comedy-horror than actual horror, but it’s still most definitely worth watching, if only to hear Rachel Sennott deliver the immortal line: “Your parents are UPPER. MIDDLE. CLASS.” (Plus, it was adapted from a Kristen Roupenian story, so it’s got literary cool points.)

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Paramount+ , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

This isn’t a horror movie, per se, but the highly scrutinized film’s much-talked-about twist most definitely classifies it as “spooky,” to say the least. Florence Pugh shines as a seemingly happy housewife whose reality is a little more, um, complicated than it initially appears in this Olivia Wilde-directed thriller that also stars Harry Styles . 

How to watch: Stream on Max , Netflix , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Huesera: The Bone Woman (2022)

A young woman expecting her first child is cursed by a malevolent entity in this spine-tingling Spanish-language horror film that’s honestly probably best skipped if you’re pregnant (unless it’s really, really hard to scare you).

How to watch: Stream on AMC+ , Apple TV , or YouTube .

The Invitation (2022)

Family trauma is the name of the game in this horror film about a young woman who meets members of her long-lost family for the first time in the wake of her mother’s death, only to discover that they carry some pretty dark and terrifying secrets with them. 

Nope (2022)

In Jordan Peele’s neo-Western sci-fi horror film Nope, Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer star as siblings trying to prove the existence of a UFO—and if a supernatural, bloodthirsty extraterrestrial creature named “Jean Jacket” doesn’t scare you, well, hats off. 

Pearl (2022)

This incredibly meme-friendly horror movie stars Mia Goth as a 1918-era young woman on the brink of madness who will stop at nothing in her pursuit of stardom.

Skinamarink (2022)

This Canadian experimental supernatural horror film follows two young children who wake up to discover that their father is missing, along with the windows and doors in their house, and it only gets scarier from there. Social media was key to getting eyeballs on this film when it first came out, although it eventually received a theatrical release.

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The Night House (2021)

In a haunted house on a lake in upstate New York, a grieving widow (played by the inimitable Rebecca Hall) encounters her dead husband —and enters into a looking-glass version of her marriage that utterly unravels her. Directed by the new horror-auteur David Bruckner, this one has jump scares like you wouldn’t believe. 

Saint Maud (2021)

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The story of an isolated, introverted hospice nurse played by Morfydd Clark ( insanely good ) who is hired to care for a once-famous dancer named Amanda (Jennifer Ehle, sexy, imperious) dying of cancer. An episode of religious ecstasy in a depleted, soggy, English seaside town spirals toward violence—and culminates in one of the best endings in recent horror. 

The Swarm (2021)

A locust breeder in southern France who happens to be a single mother is trying to raise two children and make ends meet—so why not experiment with bloodletting and insect husbandry? This supremely modern and sophisticated thriller ratchets up into vampire-locust horror, in the best way possible. 

The Invisible Man (2020)

Elisabeth Moss stars in this terrifying film about a woman who’s convinced she’s being stalked by the invisible ghost of her abusive boyfriend. 

La Llorona (2019)

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Directed by Jayro Bustamante, this Guatemalan horror movie focuses on the trial of a fictional dictator on trial for a brutal genocide who starts being haunted by dark magic and ghostly apparitions of his victims until he can no longer ignore the severity of his crimes. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , or YouTube .

The Lodge (2019)

A snowbound chamber piece about two kids spending a winter holiday in a cabin with their father’s mysterious new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough). Directed by the Austrian pair Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, The Lodge is a slow-burn genre exercise that exerts the pressure of a steel vise. 

How to watch: Stream on   Apple TV , Max , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Midsommar (2019)

A bizarre Swedish death cult attempts to reel in a group of horrified American students in this psychological thriller . 

Ready or Not (2019)

Ninety minutes of hilariously grotesque mayhem. Samara Weaving plays a bride named Grace marrying into an eccentric, board game-fortune family. The wedding held at the family estate concludes with a ritualized family initiation—a deadly round of hide and seek with the family hunting Grace with guns, crossbows, axes, and the like. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV or Prime Video .

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Nobody does horror like Peele, and Us —which features a family terrorized by a set of doppelgängers—is no exception. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Prime Video ,  or YouTube .

Apostle (2018)

A British horror film, set in 1905 and starring Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen, about a drifter who sets out to save his sister from a religious cult. 

Hereditary (2018)

If you’re still craving the work of Ari Aster after Midsommar , check out this 2018 horror-tragedy film in which Toni Collette truly shines. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Max , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Malevolent (2018)

Florence Pugh stars in this horror movie about a paranormal detection racket that gets a very real assignment. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

This post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror flick follows John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as they try to get their family through the end times. 

** What Keeps You Alive ** (2018)

This Canadian psychological horror film, which premiered at SXSW and was directed by Colin Minihan, follows a young married couple celebrating their anniversary at a remote cabin whose trip…goes awry. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV or YouTube .

Get Out (2017)

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams give memorable performances in this Jordan Peele film, which will make you think twice about meeting the parents.

A Ghost Story (2017)

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David Lowery’s supernatural drama is less a scary movie than a moving meditation on grief and the ever-shifting sands of time…but, as its title suggests, it wouldn’t be out of place in a Halloween movie marathon. 

You’ll never look at clowns the same way again after watching this film. 

Not for the faint of heart is Julia Ducournau’s coming-of-age horror film about a young vegetarian veterinary student who begins to crave the taste of flesh after trying meat for the first time, but if you have a strong stomach (or are willing to close your eyes at certain key points), it’s definitely worth seeing. 

The Witch (2015)

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Before she was Emma Woodhouse or Beth Harmon, Anya Taylor-Joy was Thomasin, a girl in 17th-century New England whose family suspects her of being a witch.

What We Do in the Shadows (2015)

What We Do in the Shadows is Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s tale about a group of vampire roommates who are hundreds of years old and trying to adapt to life in the 21st century. 

The Babadook (2014)

A brilliantly crafted, deeply unsettling exploration of motherhood, grief, and guilt is the real terror that lingers well past the final scene. 

Citizenfour (2014)

This 2014 documentary about the NSA spying scandal is more terrifying than many fictional efforts. 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Billed as “the first Iranian vampire Western,” this film—which was written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour —features a protagonist known simply as The Girl, an antihero vigilante who uses her vampire status to roam the streets at night, alone and unbothered. “A vampire is so many things: serial killer, a romantic, a historian, a drug addict—they’re sort of all these things in one,” Amirpour has said. 

It Follows (2014)

There’s a distinctly feminist lean to this horror flick chronicling a fatal curse passed through a group of teenagers via sexual intercourse.

Oculus (2013)

OCULUS from left Brenton Thwaites Karen Gillan 2013. ph John Estes©Relativity Mediacourtesy Everett Collection

This psychological thriller—which follows a young woman who becomes convinced that an antique mirror is haunting her family—cranks the fear-o-meter up a few notches. 

Drive (2011)

While most people would classify Drive as a thriller, at moments it can be positively chilling. 

How to watch: Stream on   Apple TV , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Sound of My Voice (2011)

If you fear cults above all else, give this Brit Marling–led film a wide berth—or watch it for exposure therapy. 

All Good Things (2010)

How scary could a Ryan Gosling movie be, anyway? Turns out, very. Kirsten Dunst’s performance is not to be missed. 

Black Swan (2010)

Terrifying in a deep, dark, psychological way, despite being set in the beautiful world of ballet. 

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

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Is it campy? Sure, but this Megan Fox/Amanda Seyfried black comedy is a cult classic for very good reason.

The Mist (2007)

This Stephen King adaptation stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and Andre Braugher and tells the story of a small group of people in Bridgton, Maine who meet in a supermarket to find supplies after a thunderstorm and start to notice an eerie mist cloaking the presence of monsters among them. Warning: the movie is actually darker than the book. 

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Guillermo del Toro’s grim fantasy is terrifying, beautiful, and—against the backdrop of Franco-era Spain—a little bit true. 

Hard Candy (2005)

A young girl flips the script and goes full vigilante, taking prisoner an adult man who has been flirting with her online (and whom she suspects of being a sexual predator) in this chilling and highly suspenseful psychological thriller. 

House of Wax (2005)

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Is this movie technically good? No. Does it star Paris Hilton and Chad Michael Murray? Yes, and for that reason alone, this slasher flick about a group of teens who gets stuck in a fright-filled wax museum should be required viewing—if nothing else, at least for Bad Movie Night. 

Gore to the max, if you like that sort of thing. Definitely avoid it if you don’t. 

Signs (2002)

After watching this one, you might keep seeing aliens on top of buildings and hallucinating visions of Joaquin Phoenix. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Prime Video , Signs , or YouTube .

Unfaithful (2002)

Richard Gere and Diane Lane star in a story involving an affair, and the lengths that people will go when seeking revenge. 

Ginger Snaps (2000)

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This Canadian supernatural horror film is a bizarre one, focusing as it does on two teenage sisters whose relationship gains a whole new dimension when one of them transforms into a werewolf shortly after she begins menstruating. Hey, at least a woman wrote the script? 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Prime Video , Tubi , or YouTube .

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

This complex portrait of the hell of addiction will stay with you long after you’ve finished the film. 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

Amber Valletta looks eerily like Michelle Pfeiffer in this campy movie, which will give you pause every time you wipe down a steamed-up mirror in the bathroom. 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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The flashlight-lit fake documentary that pioneered the “found footage” horror flick still manages to be scary, even in 2022.

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Paramount+ , or Prime Video .

Halloweentown (1998)

A Disney Channel original movie from the era before they were all about tweens becoming pop stars. 

How to watch: Stream on Disney+ , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Practical Magic (1998)

You’ll want to become a witch after watching this ’90s cinematic staple. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as witchy sisters navigating love, death, and magic. 

Ringu (1998)

The Ring is horrifying, but the Japanese original is even creepier on a deep psychological level. 

How to watch: Buy on Apple TV , Tubi , or YouTube .

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996–2003)

If you were into the sexy Sabrina reboot, revisit the quirky original. You won’t be disappointed. 

How to watch: Stream it on Apple TV , Paramount+ , Prime Video , YouTube ,

The Craft (1996)

A new girl with a troubled past moves to Los Angeles and becomes friends with three students who aren’t exactly popular, but are far more interesting than they seem. 

How to watch: Stream on   Apple TV , Hulu , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Casper (1995)

No, not the millennial mattress brand; it’s the Christina Ricci joint, the one that launched a thousand debates about whether Casper the human being cute makes Casper the ghost automatically cute, too. Prepare to rehash. 

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)

Before there was The Row , there were the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies, and Double, Double is one of the Olsens’ most compelling dramatic turns.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

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Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker (as the Samantha of the Sanderson sisters) make this the definitive Halloween throwback. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Disney+ , Prime Video , or YouTube .

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The best of both holiday worlds—you can watch this one now and in December! It’s a little spooky, sure, but mostly adorable. 

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

Your next movie night will be complete with this ’90s psychological thriller starring a vengeful nanny attempting to destroy a former boss’s life. 

How to watch: Stream Apple TV , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Misery (1990)

An oldie but a goodie, this Stephen King classic stars Kathy Bates as the scariest obsessive fan in history. 

Fatal Attraction (1987)

An ’80s classic: Michael Douglas and Glenn Close battle it out as an errant (married) businessman and the fling who won’t go away quietly. 

Ms .45 (1981)

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This Abel Ferrara cult classic follows a mute seamstress who goes on a revenge rampage after being attacked twice in one day on the streets of New York. 

The Shining (1980)

A family of influencers moves into a remote hotel only to find out that #SponCon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (just kidding). An aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic (Jack Nicholson!) accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of a historic hotel and moves his wife (Shelley Duvall!) and son in with him. Things go badly very quickly. 

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s from Disney—this Bette Davis movie is guaranteed to freak you out. 

How to watch: Buy it on Prime Video .

The Amityville Horror (1979)

More houses, more murder, this time with 1979 James Brolin. Even more alarming: The story is based on a real house . 

Watership Down (1978)

Watership Down ’s psychedelic animated film about bunnies in distress has led to many sleepless nights of rabbit-related terror. 

Suspiria (1977)

The 2018 Guadagnino remake got all the attention, but the 1977 original about a haunted dance academy is well worth your time. 

How to watch: Stream on Tubi .

Carrie (1976)

The original Mean Girls , but with pig’s blood. This film is truly the stuff of teen-outcast nightmares. 

How to watch: Stream on Apple TV , Max , or YouTube .

Young Frankenstein (1974)

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With its brilliant cast—Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn—and incredibly funny script, Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein turns Mary Shelley’s classic story totally on its head. 

How to watch: Stream on Max .

The Exorcist (1973)

A scary movie with a scarier real-life history . 

How to watch: Stream on Max , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary’s Baby is still matchless for sheer psychological terror, but don’t let Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes’s Satanic neighbors ruin New York City for you. 

How to watch: Stream it on Apple TV , Paramount+ , Prime Video , or YouTube .

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who manages to thwart intruders by shutting off all the lights in her apartment. The audience is put into her shoes, only able to decipher what is going on by listening to the men banging around the house trying to kill her. 

The Birds (1963)

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There are the violent scares, yes: birds gouging people’s eyes out and children being chased, even if they might pale in comparison to more recent nightmares like Freddy Krueger. But the existential fear in The Birds is way worse. 

Psycho (1960)

Is there a more famous—or more terrifying—shower scene in all of cinema? Alfred Hitchcock crafted the perfect horror movie with Psycho , employing clever camera tricks and a wonderfully disquieting performance from Anthony Perkins to iconic effect. 

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

This classic black-and-white vampire horror film stars Gloria Holden as Marya Zaleska, the also-vampiric daughter of Count Dracula, and is well-known for its not-so-subtle lesbian undertones , which should be reason enough to watch it.

Freaks (1932)

This 1932 pre-Code horror film remains truly terrifying, even after all this time. 

Nosferatu (1922)

A standard-bearer in the horror genre (particularly where vampires are concerned), F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror was a hit when it premiered 1922, praised for its moody visuals and poetic screenplay. “Here is the story of Dracula before it was buried alive in clichés, jokes, TV skits, cartoons and more than 30 other films,” remarked Roger Ebert decades later. 

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The 20 best haunted house films of all time, ranked

From The Innocents to Paranormal Activity, most of these haunted house movies will have viewers leaving all their lights on at bedtime.

Georges Méliès' Le Manoir du diable (1896) deserves much reverence for its impact on scary movies over the years, and even though the silent film is only a few minutes long, The House of the Devil marks the beginning of the horror genre. Released as The Haunted Castle in the United States, Méliès' motion picture is the precursor to all haunted house movies.

Films in the following century like The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Old Dark House (1932), and Rebecca (1940) certainly presented creepy, decrepit manors, but their walls were haunted by earthly threats. However, The Uninvited (1944) creates the supernatural template by which horror films like The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), Crimson Peak (2015), and Hereditary (2018) still follow today.

Now, enjoy EW's ranking of the 20 best haunted house movies of all time.

20. The Amityville Horror (1979)

Not even Fixer Upper 's Chip and Joanna Gaines can salvage your house when its walls start bleeding. George Lutz ( James Brolin ) and his wife, Kathy ( Margot Kidder ), get the deal of a lifetime when they buy a home in the quaint, seaside town of Amityville, N.Y. — but their new digs come with a sordid history and house full of haunting horrors.

The Amityville Horror , a somewhat underrated flick, is based on the real-life Lutz's unsubstantiated claim that the house was actually haunted. The Dutch Colonial-style home still stands in Amityville, but its address has been changed from 112 Ocean Ave. to 108 Ocean in order to throw off curious tourists.

Where to watch The Amityville Horror : Max

19. The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Irena isn't Casper, but she certainly is a friendly ghost, and she still haunts her husband Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) and his new wife, Alice (Jane Randolph). However, Irena only allows Oliver and Alice's daughter, Amy (Ann Carter), to see her when the Reeds' lonely child wishes for a friend.

The film marks the first directing credit for Robert Wise (later of 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still and 1965's The Sound of Music glory), since he was uncredited for directing additional sequences in The Magnificent Ambersons two years prior. While virtually every character — and performer — from 1942's Cat People returns, The Curse of the Cat People is, to this day, argued by most film historians as being a sequel in name only.

Where to watch The Curse of the Cat People : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

18. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Do not wait around for the entity haunting your house to fully possess you or your partner. Don't do it! Filmmaker Oren Peli 's supernatural take finds a young couple ( Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) haunted by an unseen force, as the audience watches the couple chronicle the ghost's movements via their home security cameras.

The movie cashed in on the found-footage phenomenon that 1999's The Blair Witch Project proved to be a potential gold mine. Paranormal Activity grossed more than $193 million worldwide, and it only cost $15,000 to produce. Steven Spielberg saw the original cut of the film prior to its release in which Katie dies, and convinced Peli to reshoot the more ominous ending where Featherston simply goes missing.

Where to watch Paranormal Activity : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

17. Beetlejuice (1988)

Barbara ( Geena Davis ) and Adam ( Alec Baldwin ) Maitland might be dead, but they don't have any intention of sharing their home with its new residents, the Deetz family — parents Delia ( Catherine O'Hara ) and Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and their goth icon daughter, Lydia ( Winona Ryder ). When the Maitlands' attempts to frighten the Deetzes away fail miserably, Barbara and Adam turn to the mysterious and mischievous Beetlejuice ( Michael Keaton ) to rid them of the living.

Keaton's portrayal as the unscrupulous "ghost with the most" garnered him a Saturn Award nomination, even though he appears on screen for less than 15 minutes, and the actor acknowledges Beetlejuice as his favorite film from his own library of work.

Where to watch Beetlejuice : Max

16. The Others (2001)

While the living and dead coexist in Beetlejuice , The Others teaches horror fans a different life lesson: Sharing isn't always the answer. Grace ( Nicole Kidman ) and her two children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), live together in a Gothic country house in the aftermath of World War II, but it seems increasingly likely their Bailiwick of Jersey home is haunted.

The Others offers scary movie enthusiasts one of the genre's most memorable twists, and it's unlikely the filmmakers really wanted audiences to laugh at the very last shot of the film. It's hard not to chuckle, though, and the comedic moment certainly lends itself to the storytelling. The Others also marked the final time Kidman worked with her then-husband, Tom Cruise (executive producer), prior to their divorce.

15. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren (Vincent Price) is throwing a party, and he promises each of his guests $10,000. The catch: They have to spend the night in a haunted house and survive until morning. Filmmaker William Castle couldn't afford to pay Price the salary the actor had become accustomed to, so he offered him a percentage of the profits to land the horror movie maestro as a cast member.

House on Haunted Hill also features one of Castle's vaunted gimmicks: Emergo . When the skeleton terrorizes Mrs. Loren (Carol Ohmart) on screen, a plastic skeleton would swoop over the heads of audiences all across the country. Ever the showman, Castle wanted to give moviegoers something even better and more exciting than 3-D could ever deliver decades later.

Where to watch House on Haunted Hill: Amazon Prime Video

14. Scrooge (1951)

While there have been many fine adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol , Alastair Sim's performance as the miserly, penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge elevates this version to must-see status. With Christmas soon approaching, Ebenezer's old friend, Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern), returns from the grave to offer Scrooge a chance at redemption through the haunting of three spirits.

Invariably and inexplicably, A Christmas Carol is absent from many best-of haunted house lists, but Dickens' tale is the preeminent example of this type of supernatural story. Now, despite the positive critical and fan response to this 1951 version, there is a famous bit of dialogue omitted from this particular film: "If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."

Where to watch Scrooge : Plex

13. Poltergeist (1982)

The real estate market is always a monster, but the Freeling family lucks out and gets a good deal on a nice house. There's just one little catch: The home was built on a Native American burial ground. And those spirits are not happy about the new tenants. Poltergeist pairs two Hollywood heavyweights, with Steven Spielberg behind the story and Tobe Hooper in the director's chair — and the result is pure movie magic.

The infamous TV scene , with Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), is well-known, but it's nothing compared to what happens to the television in the last shot of the movie. No spoilers here, but viewers are bound to roll with laughter. Drew Barrymore auditioned for Spielberg for the role of Carol Anne, but, despite not landing the part, it was her Poltergeist tryout that led to her being cast in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

Where to watch Poltergeist : Max

12. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Filmmaker Kim Jee-woon 's heartbreaking horror film gives audiences valid reasons to avoid adultery. Su-mi (Im Soo-jung) returns home from a mental facility after her mother dies, but there's a strange family dynamic between her father and stepmother, Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah). Su-mi is also very protective of her younger sister, Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young).

The film's twist is one of those watercooler moments that rivals any horror movie ending. Without spoiling the climax, A Tale of Two Sisters uses the haunted house motif almost as a window dressing to obscure the psychological aspects at play in this immensely enthralling, supernatural flick.

Where to watch A Tale of Two Sisters : Kanopy

11. The Conjuring (2013)

Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) and her husband, Ed ( Patrick Wilson ), are paranormal investigators hellbent on helping the Perron family as they're haunted in their own farmhouse. The Warrens were real people who dedicated their lives to exploring the paranormal (or as some see it, duping the vulnerable), and they also investigated the real-life mystery of the Amityville house purchased by George and Kathy Lutz.

The Perrons, too, were not just characters, and The Conjuring is based on what happened to them in their Rhode Island home. The Perrons often visited the set while the film was being shot, and Farmiga and Wilson met with the Warrens to further their understanding of the characters they were portraying.

Where to watch The Conjuring: Max

10. The Orphanage (2007)

Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again , but Laura (Belén Rueda) doesn't heed the novelist's advice. Rather, Laura takes her family back to the closed orphanage she was adopted from with the hopes of reopening it to help children with disabilities. But things take a bizarre turn when her son, Simón (Roger Príncep), goes missing.

The Orphanage , which also features a cameo from producer Guillermo del Toro as the doctor attending to Laura in the emergency room, received a standing ovation when it premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival . Filmmaker J. A. Bayona found inspiration for The Orphanage from watching 1961's The Innocents and 1977's Close Encounters of the Third Kind .

Where to watch The Oprhanage : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

9. We Are Still Here (2015)

One hundred and twenty years of haunting and horror isn't going to stop Anne Sacchetti ( Barbara Crampton ) and her husband, Paul (Andrew Sensenig), from buying a rural home, but perhaps they're blinded by the death of their son, Bobby. It isn't long before the couple realizes the house is alive — and it is hungry for a blood sacrifice.

We Are Still Here is loaded with homages to other horror films, and one of the most obvious is the appearance of the home's original residents, the Dagmars. They look like the vengeful ghosts in John Carpenter 's The Fog (1980), and the stair scene is a clear nod to Nancy ( Heather Langenkamp ) trudging up the staircase in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Where to watch We Are Still Here : Amazon Prime Video

8. The Haunting (1963)

Very few horror films evoke a creepier vibe than 1963's The Haunting , even with its black-and-white cinematography. Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) assembles a team to investigate the paranormal activity of the Hill House in Massachusetts — but escaping the haunt unscathed may prove futile.

The film is based on the 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House by author Shirley Jackson. Director Robert Wise was coming off his immense success with West Side Story (1961), which he codirected with Jerome Robbins , while another west-sider joined him for the Hill House horror: Actor Russ Tamblyn , who portrayed Riff in West Side Story , tackles the role of Luke Sanderson.

Where to watch The Haunting : Max

7. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) starts her life anew when she buys a cottage in a quaint, seaside village, but her house is purported to be haunted by a seaman, Capt. Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is by far the most romantic of the haunted house films, and its storytelling — rather than fright and fear — makes it one of the top supernatural tales of all time.

Natalie Wood portrays Lucy's daughter, Anna, when she's a child, and the actress shot to stardom later that same year by appearing in Miracle on 34th Street . The screenplay for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was also adapted by Amanda Duff, and she claimed Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn were originally courted to play the lead roles.

Where to watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

6. Lake Mungo (2008)

Alice Palmer's (Talia Zucker) drowning isn't the end of her tragedy when it comes to her family trying to cope with their loss and move on. Instead of closure, the Palmers are plagued by unexplained sightings of Alice, and, later, an even more mysterious, bloated-faced doppelgänger emerges.

Lake Mungo is chilling from start to finish, employing a mockumentary and found-footage style of filmmaking to exude an atmosphere of realism and tension that is supremely frightening to the senses. The fun of Lake Mungo , without spoiling the film's well-executed jump scare, is its use of modern technology to frighten audiences when they least expect it.

Where to watch Lake Mungo : AMC+

5. Hausu (1977)

Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) and her friends find themselves facing off against a haunted house that murders its victims like a serial killer straight out of a slasher film. The same studio that produced the Godzilla franchise, Toho, masterminds one of the most horrifying and disturbingly humorous psychedelic films to date.

Hausu's over-the-top subject matter isn't for everyone, but horror fans — particularly of Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) — will find the movie resonating with them. The success of Jaws (1975) inspired Toho to make Hausu , and none of the lead actresses were trained thespians. Rather, the seven women were all models.

Where to watch Hausu : Max

4. The Evil Dead (1981)

Before becoming the "this is my boomstick" housewares expert of S-Mart, Ash Williams ( Bruce Campbell ) makes the unfortunate mistake of spending his vacation in a haunted house with some friends. There, they find the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the cabin, also known as the Book of the Dead, and all hell breaks loose into two sequels (1987, 1992), two remakes (2013, 2023), and a TV series Ash vs Evil Dead .

If you don't know what the "tree scene" is, you'll never get that imagery out of your head after watching The Evil Dead for the first time. It's one of the most appalling and unforgettable scenes to appear in any horror film, ever. The Evil Dead was the feature film debut for both Campbell and his best friend since high school, director Sam Raimi .

Where to watch The Evil Dead : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

3. The Uninvited (1944)

Rick (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) make the spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a lovely seaside home, and, as a result, Rick meets and becomes quite taken with young Stella (Gail Russell). The Uninvited is one of the first full-length haunted house movies, making it a cornerstone model moving forward for all other films to follow.

While Martin Scorsese called it one of the scariest movies of all time , The Uninvited kindles a wonderful romance between Rick and Stella. In fact, the serenade Rick writes and plays for his love, "Stella by Starlight," was composed specifically for the movie. However, it became a sensation when lyrics were later added, and it was even performed by Frank Sinatra .

2. The Innocents (1961)

Miss Giddens ( Deborah Kerr ) is hired to be a governess for Flora (Pamela Franklin) and her older brother, Miles (Martin Stephens), once he returns from boarding school. While Giddens takes an almost instant liking to Flora, she soon fears the children's secretive bond when Miles returns. And things grow even more disconcerting when Giddens begins seeing things and hearing voices.

The film is based on Henry James' 1898 horror novella, The Turn of the Screw , and both Truman Capote and William Archibald won the Edgar Allan Poe award for their screenplay. Jack Clayton directed and produced The Innocents , and he later went on to direct Hollywood icon Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby in 1974.

1. The Changeling (1980)

It's hard to have your car break down on the side of the road and not think about The Changeling . John Russell ( George C. Scott ) watches helplessly as his wife and daughter are cut down by a tow truck in the snow. Russell moves on and buys a house once owned by the family of Senator Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas), but he soon realizes he's not as alone there as he previously felt.

The character of John Russell is a music composer, but Scott wasn't musically inclined. Even so, the actor practiced the piano pieces Russell plays so that he could actually tickle the ivories on screen. Also, the actress who portrays historical society agent Claire (Trish Van Devere) was Scott's wife in real life, and they made five feature films while they were married, as well as a made-for-TV movie and a play.

Where to watch The Changeling : Peacock

Related content:

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  • Poltergeist director Tobe Hooper 'deserved' directing credit, not Steven Spielberg, says filmmaker
  • It's showtime: Beetlejuice 2 is officially happening in 2024

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