It’s October, which means its time to watch some horror movies. Instead of combing the rather unhelpful Netflix website to find the best selections, head to the search bar and check out these gems.
Note: this list is in absolutely no particular order. I just picked and grabbed as I perused the films that are available on Netflix.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
I’ve talked extensively about this movie in previous posts, so I’ll be brief: this movie is horror art. If you want a scream-filled gore fest, this isn’t the movie for you. But if you want horror as high cinema, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a beauty.
Let the Right One In
Again, I’ve talked about this film before (and again). Like A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Let the Right One In is a vampire horror film that is more cinematic than it is scary. But there is still legitimate suspense, along with strong characters and wonderful cinematography.
A new addition to the horror genre, The Babadook is a monster movie that isn’t really a monster movie. Poor advertising made it look like more of a run-of-the-mill horror flick, but this one relies heavily on atmosphere, as opposed to jump scares, to get across its chilling tone. The terror of the film is character-based. Keep that in mind when you choose your horror film for your night in. It isn’t a “teen scream” cash grab.
Like many films on this list, The Omen is a stone-cold classic. The film centers around a demonic child who causes mysterious deaths to occur. Atmospherically wonderful, The Omen also stars Gergory Peck. Not many horror films can boast a name like that.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
One of the earliest incarnations of horror, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a must see for film buffs. A German Expressionist film from 1920, the film follows a hypnotist that exploits a somnambulist (played with erratic perfection by Conrad Veidt) to commit murders.
A meta look at horror movie tropes, Scream is a great horror movie as well as a great horror comedy for true horror fans. It also has one of the best and most iconic opening scenes in horror movie history.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Another horror comedy, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil uses its meta humor to turn the tables on the conventions of horror. The film is a superb use of dramatic irony, and sports endearing performances from Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine.
From Dusk Till Dawn
If not for its crazy left turn, From Dusk Till Dawn wouldn’t even be considered a horror movie. I won’t give anything away, but this film is essentially two films spliced together like a Frankenstein’s monster. The first half is better, in my opinion, but its horror elements have some merits as well.
B-movie horror at its best, Re-Animator is campy fun. That is all.
Another stone-cold classic, this Roman Polanski chiller stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes and is quietly brilliant. So much so that it was selected for the National Film Registry.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
Probably the most meta of the meta films on the list. A Wes Craven film very much like Scream, New Nightmare takes Craven’s famous Nightmare On Elm Street franchise and puts it in a new world.
A delightfully campy and genre blending monster movie, The Host is a critically acclaimed South Korean film about a family trying to save their youngest member from a chemically mutated fish monster.
A more recent film, V/H/S is an anthology film with each short being directed by a different indie horror director. Some shorts may be better than others, but V/H/S is a fun time with found footage in a world where found footage is a horrifying plague on the horror genre.
More of a thriller if we want to get technical, American Psycho is nevertheless horrifying. Based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name, the film follows an upper class businessman with a fetish for the hyper-violent. Too disturbing for some, American Psycho is a sadistic wonder for those who can stomach it.
A highly divisive horror franchise, the Saw films have been ripped apart for its torture porn elements. The film that started it all, however, really doesn’t indulge itself in its own gory filth. In some ways, it is even a psychological thriller with an interesting thread to follow throughout. Almost none of it holds up to scrutiny as far as quality is concerned, but Saw is mindless fun.
Pontypool is a zombie film, but it doesn’t feel like a zombie film. It isn’t as tired or lazy. The film takes place almost completely in a radio station, where the people working there find out through their show that a zombie outbreak is occurring outside. It is smartly penned and strongly acted for a horror movie.
This psychological and supernatural horror flick tells a story in two parallel plotlines that slowly reveal the secret behind a very strange mirror. It may sag in the middle, but the film is strong on premise alone.
John Dies at the End
I don’t really know how to describe this film. It is a fantastical time travel movie that somehow also plays as a dark comedy and a horror. And it stars Paul Giamatti. So that’s something.
It’s not the best. It’s found footage, which is never a good sign. But it has an effective turn midway through that horror fans can have some fun with, at least for awhile.
I recently wrote a full review of this film, so I’ll be brief here. Creep is a two-man indie mumblegore film starring Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice. It might slow in the middle, but the ending uses the found footage style in the best possible way.
Day of the Dead
The only George A. Romero currently on Netflix, I have to recommend this. Romero is a need to know movie director. Day of the Dead is his third zombie film, and, although it is not superior to its two predecessors, is still a quality zombie film given the sea of pitiful zombie films that exist as a result of Romero’s success.
For what it is (a Nazi zombie splatter film), this Norwegian horror film is downright fun. I mean, Nazi zombies. Why not?
It started one of the longest-running horror franchises there is (sooo many straight to video sequels here). Clive Barker’s film, Hellraiser centers on a man who is killed by Cenobites, who are demons that resemble pale S&M nightmare people. The film, if nothing else, gets points for originality.
Let me pitch it as such: a superior Unfriended released two years earlier. If you liked Unfriended, check this out. If you are tolerant of the Unfriended form—a movie completely shown through laptop webcam—you might like this. It is bumpy, sure, and I have no impetus to see it again. But it is a decent indie flick.
Not a huge personal favorite, The Sacrament does have a great tone to it. Essentially telling a fictionalized version of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, the film follows a Vice documentary crew infiltrating a religious cult. Gene Jones also has a strong performance as Father, the cult’s leader.
A Clockwork Orange
I can’t rightfully call it a horror movie, but I’m going to do it here anyway. A Clockwork Orange is a horrifying, dystopian masterpiece. Led by a chilling performance by Malcolm McDowell, this Stanley Kubrick film tells a story about cruelly reformed sociopathy. Whatever genre you want to place it in, it is a movie that every horror fan should see.
There we go! There are endless amounts of movies on Netflix, so I’m bound to have missed one, perhaps even two. Let me know in the comments what horror movies you like on Netflix?
As always, thanks for reading!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)