Netflix is going all-in on spooky shows and movies this October with “Netflix and Chills,” and it’ll include both its own original programming and tons of horror, new and old.
Our carefully curated list focuses on the absolute best films that’ll be available, with a heavy focus on zombies, ghosts, demons, and even a few brand new monsters. You’ll also get a mix of modern stories, along with some set in centuries past. (Also, this is just movies, but stay tuned for a Halloween TV special guide coming later this month from Inverse.)
So here are the 9 best horror movies to watch on Netflix during Halloween season, beginning on October 1 and continuing through the end of the month. I’ve gone ahead and ordered them in order of my personal preference, with items at the bottom being my personal favorites of the bunch.
The Conjuring dramatizes the efforts of two paranormal investigators — based on the real-life Ed and Lorraine Warren — who investigate a supposed haunting at a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. They encounter a demon fond of possessing people and making them kill each other. The Conjuring started perhaps the strongest contemporary horror franchise around, spinning off most recently with The Nun.
8. Cargo (2018)
Between the likes of A Quiet Place and Hereditary, 2018’s been a big year for parental horror. Netflix’s entry into that microgenre with Cargo also offers a refreshingly new style of zombie in the Australian Outback, featuring Martin Freeman as a father desperate to save his young child before the zombie infection overtakes him.
While Coraline might be pretty far from anything resembling more traditional, gruesome Halloween horror, it’s still a fairly creepy 3D stop-motion dark fantasy horror film. Based on a novel by Neil Gaiman, Coraline follows the titular character through a secret door and into an alternate reality. With its charming style and inventive story, Coraline offers an entertaining experience that’s thoroughly spooky without ever getting too scary.
Set in New England of the 1630s, The Witch follows a farmer and his family after they’re forced to relocate to an ominous forest. One child disappears, another becomes possessed, and yet another gets accused of witchcraft. The slowly building horror eventually overwhelms the viewer in the final act. Also, everybody loves Black Phillip, the massive black goat that wound up stealing the show in The Witch.
To explain why this creature became so delighted that he’d get his own Funko Pop would be to spoil one of the movie’s big twists. But know that his catchphrase is delightful and infectious: “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” Yes, yes we would.
The Babadook begins with an out-of-control 6-year-old child warning his mother about some monster coming for them both, and it delivers on that promise. A disturbing book called The Babadook arrives at their home, inspiring visions and violent outbursts from the child. But it really ramps up when the mother begins seeing signs of an ominous presence too. The Babadook will leave viewers Baba-shook with a frightening reimagining of what’s basically a boogeyman tale transformed into violent reality.
- Watch it soon! The Babadook is leaving Netflix on October 14.
One of the most imaginative and frightening indie horror movies in recent memory, It Follows is a freaky tale about a sexually-transmitted murderous force. After a one-night stand, a young woman learns that she’s the latest victim targeted by this bizarre, unstoppable demon, and the only way to rid herself of the being and save her own life is to pass it on to someone else. The shape-shifting creature can assume the form of any human, but it appears only to the intended victim. Paired with an ‘80s-infused score, It Follows thrives with a chilling atmosphere that’s impossible to forget.
Train to Busan’s premise is ostensibly just “zombies on a train,” but writer and director Sang-Ho Yeon infuses it with enough excitement and humanity to create one of the best zombie stories in quite a while. The central story involves a selfish, workaholic father taking his daughter on a birthday trip to see her mother. When the zombie outbreak deters their travel plans a struggle for survival plays out as the two attempt to connect as father and child.
The Sixth Sense might be director M. Night Shyamalan’s best film, even if that’s not saying much. Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist trying to help a troubled young boy who claims he can communicate with dead people. The ending features perhaps the single biggest film twist of the late-‘90s, and it only helps to solidify The Sixth Sense as a supernatural horror classic.
Jack Nicholson stars as Jack Torrance in this Stanley Kubrick-directed horror classic adapted from Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name. An author hoping to break through his writer’s block, Torrance becomes the winter caretaker of the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado, bringing his wife and son along. Jack’s son suffers from psychic visions and the hotel itself is haunted-AF. The dark secrets lurking on the property are enough to drive one — or even all of them — totally insane.
- The Shining will be available to stream starting Monday, October 1.