The 30 best Halloween horror movies you can stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime (and more) now

It's the same every year. The end of October rolls around and you've absolutely no idea what to watch on Halloween night. You're in a spooky mood, ready to get your favourite pillow to hide behind, and you can't bring yourself to hit play on anything. Allow us, your friends in fright, to make some suggestions.

Read more: 12 Halloween-themed movies to make you laugh, cry, and hide behind the sofa

The following list of horror movies are all available on either a streaming subscription or through a rental download service, though availability tends to vary depending on where you live. We've also rated their gore and violence levels so you can avoid exposing your squeamish pals to buckets of blood or up-close mutilations. Unless, you know, that's your thing. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we tried to cover a range of subjects - creature feature, supernatural, found footage, and whatever Society is - but absolutely feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. Go forth and get scared! 'Tis the season, after all. 

30. Evil Dead (2013) 

Available on: Amazon (UK/US)

Okay, yes, the original is a classic, we all know that. But if you forget the wonder that is Ash (from Housewares) and watch this on its own merits, you’ll appreciate how genuinely terrifying it is. A group of friends hole up at a remote cabin to help their friend detox from heroin addiction, but drug use is the least of their concerns once they find the Book of the Dead. It doesn’t deviate too far from the original, though it takes itself far more seriously and comes out the better for it. You will never feel the same about the kitchen again.

Gore level: High

Violence level: High

29. The Crazies (2010)

Available on: Shudder (UK), Starz (US) 

Something strange is happening to the inhabitants of a small town in rural America, and you have just enough time to get to know the residents that you feel their loss as things steadily degrade into chaos. A take on zombie tropes that slyly avoids a lot of the typical cliches and pitfalls. Timothy Olyphant is on hand doing what he does best - languidly wearing a badge and cowboy boots - proving that despite what you saw in Hitman, he really can be a leading man.

Gore level: Medium

Violence level: Medium, including one particularly harrowing scene with a kitchen knife.

28. The Descent (2005)

Available on: Showtime (US), Netflix (UK) 

So, what scares you more: being trapped underground, being in complete darkness, or the idea that you may not be down there alone? Eh, no need to choose, because The Descent gives you all three in this brilliantly directed movie about a group of friends who go spelunking and take one wrong turn too many. The Descent is also a rarity among horror films in that it has an all-female cast who stay dressed the entire time and are treated as fully-realized people, as opposed to mindless scream machines. And, yes, Tomb Raider did totally copy that one scene. Once you’ve watched it, come back and well discuss the alternate theory about what really happened down there. Seriously, its a doozy.

Gore level: Medium(ish)

Violence level: High

27. You're Next (2013)

Available on: FandangoNow (US), Netflix (UK) 

You’re Next looks like a by-the-numbers slasher flick at first. A squabbling family heads to their remote country estate for a little getaway and suddenly ne’er-do-wells begin bumping them off one by one. From that ordinary starting point, however, You’re Next takes off in shockingly smart directions, including a female lead who does far more than strip down to her skivvies and scream, and a pretty dang good reason for the killings in the first place. A marvellous subversion of expectations.

Gore level: Medium

Violence level: Medium

26. The Thing (1982)

Available on: Showtime (US), Now TV (UK), Sky Go (UK) 

There are three versions of The Thing, but this is the only one you ever need to see. A masterpiece of tension building with effects that will still creep you right the hell out even 30 years later (that’s what an Oscar-winning effects master gets you), The Thing does something so few horror movies are willing to do: assume you’re a smart viewer paying attention. The scene with the blood test is pure genius, building and building until you’re sure it cant possibly get worse - which it of course then does.

Gore level: High

Violence level: High

25. The Conjuring

Available on: HBO Go (US), HBO Now (US), Amazon (US / UK) 

Yep, it really is based on a true story: Ed and Lorraine Warren truly did spend their lives investigating paranormal situations, including the haunting of the Perron family home in Rhode Island. Rock-solid performances by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the Warrens give this one the footing it needs to feel utterly genuine. The fact that the family behaves like normal people actually would if they thought their house was haunted - scared out of their minds - adds to the feeling of vulnerability and tension. That said, if you sleep with your foot sticking out from under the covers, you’re kind of asking for it.

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Low

24. American Mary (2012)

Available on: Amazon (US / UK) 

From the delightfully dark Soska Sisters - previously known for Dead Hooker in a Trunk - comes this body mod tale starring Ms Ginger Snaps herself, Katherine Isabelle. Body modification and horror combine with seriously nasty results as a medical student realises she can make more money from slicing up willing victims than waiting for them to be wheeled into a hospital. Don’t be fooled by its dark comedy, there’s some grim horror waiting in here and a nasty tale of revenge to boot, and even a slightly disappointing ending cant ruin a hell of a twisted tale.

Gore level: Medium

Violence level: High

23. Society (1989)

Available on: Amazon Prime (US), Shudder (US / UK) 

Some body horrors can be troublesome to watch. You squint and watch through your fingers as some ungodly thing occurs onscreen, waiting for the moment your stomach stops churning. Society has the exact opposite effect. Brian Yuzna's film slams you over the head with its take on body horror. Welcome to a flat-out bizarro corner of the horror genre, where former Baywatch beefcake Billy Warlock plays a teen who suspects his perfect neighbourhood is hiding something. He's right, by the way, but I won't say anymore. It takes a creative, bold stab at societal norms with a high ratio of WTF? moments, that won't have you cowering behind the couch, but instead have your face up close to the screen to figure out what is happening to Billy's community. 

Gore level: High 

Violence level: Medium

22. Oculus (2013)

Available on: Hulu (US), Amazon Prime (UK) 

Also known as the horror movie starring Amy Pond, Oculus tackles the well-worn subject of a haunted object (in this case a mirror) and attacks it from a new angle. It’s less about discovering that the mirror is haunted and more about figuring out what to do about it - how do you go about destroying something that’s supernaturally designed to protect itself? The ending is pretty controversial, but utterly perfect.

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Medium

21. Alien (1979)

Available on: FandangoNOW (US), Amazon (UK) 

Alien sometimes doesn't get the love that its more bombastic sequel does, and that's a shame. This is a meticulously-crafted, intelligent, slow-burn horror film about a crew of regular Joes trapped with a monster, and it works on multiple levels. Sure, it's terrifying that there's a creature out there that can (and will) kill anyone it comes into contact with, but the psycho-sexual elements of the film cannot be denied, and it's this exploitation of our most intimate behaviour (and all its accompanying fears, anxieties, and consequences) that elevates Alien beyond just another monster movie.

Gore level: Medium (save for one very famous dinner scene)

Violence level: Low (despite the creature's vicious nature, most violence happens offscreen)