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

10. The Sixth Sense (1999)

(Image credit: Buena Vista)

Available on: Netflix (US), NowTV (UK), SkyGo (UK)

"I see dead people." That's the line everyone remembers from The Sixth Sense, and, that one iconic line more or less sums up the film. Cole (Haley Joel Osment) is a sensitive kid who indeed does see ghosts. His mom (Toni Collette) sends him to see a therapist Malcolm (Bruce Willis) to help with his visions and social anxieties, all the while his experiences with the dead continue to grow more violent...

This is the reason everyone pays attention when Shyamalan releases a new movie. The Sixth Sense set the standard high and we're not even talking about the twist. It packs in a raft of creepy moments, making it one of the most chilling flicks ever made, and somehow also manages to be a massive tearjerker at the same time. Toni Collette's last scene? Try not to blub.

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Low

9. It Follows (2014)

Available on: Roku Channel (US), Vudu Free (US), Chili (UK), Amazon (UK)

Easily the best horror film of 2014, It Follows’ blend of a primally horrifying concept – a faceless, relentless creature of destruction that will follow you slowly, but endlessly, and can look like anyone you know – glacial, dreamlike flow, and affecting, underplayed, realistic performances makes it one of the most chilling and fresh new horror films in a great many years. 

When the overt horror happens, it happens with a nightmarish visual flair and profound instinct for how to shock and unsettle (It Follows is a film about real scares, not jump-scares) but in between these genuinely powerful moments of fear, you’ll never get a second to relax. No more than its tormented, increasingly broken protagonists do. It’s a film whose form mirrors its subject matter perfectly, and as such, one of the most immersive, troubling horror films you’ve likely ever seen. 

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Medium

8. Tigers Are Not Afraid

(Image credit: Shudder)

Available on: Shudder (UK, US)

Mashing together the magical fantasy prevalent in Guillermo Del Toro’s repertoire with the brutal reality of the Mexican drug war, filmmaker Issa Lopez constructs a masterful piece of horror. The horror contained with Tigers Are Not Afraid is revealed two-fold: this isn’t a by-the-numbers genre piece, as Lopez heads to the streets to dig into the unfortunate circumstances which befall a group of orphans. The everyday horror for these children is that they have no home. Their lives are at risk every moment. 

The leader of the pack, Shine, gives in to a young girl named Estrella, desperate to join the gang. She receives three pieces of chalk from her schoolteacher, who tells her they each represent a wish. It’s these wishes, when spent, that ignite the film’s magical element. Simultaneously, they unleash some genuinely creepy terrors – including one scene akin to Thriller. This isn’t your mainstream horror, and it’s all the better for it. A must-see from 2019 that will see you jumping from your seat one moment, and drying your eyes the next. 

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Medium

7. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Available on: NowTV (UK), SkyGo (UK), Shudder (US)

Although its impact has been dulled by years of variable sequels, an increasingly comedic Freddy Krueger, and one entirely piss-poor remake, the original Nightmare on Elm Street is still a hell of a potent and terrifying film. With a killer concept based on real-life cases of unexplained, violent, unconscious death, and playing on an inescapable human fear – you’re at your most vulnerable when you’re asleep, and you can’t avoid it – Nightmare is an endlessly creative, energetic, and scary assault. 

Blending its stand-out kills into an increasingly ambiguous, hazy ambience of sleep-deprived confusion, increasing uncertainty and paranoia throughout, it’s still as razor-sharp and drum-tight as it ever was. And by infusing his supernatural killer with a deliriously sadistic, entirely believable personality, Robert Englund created a performance that is still as jarringly affecting now as it was in 1984. 

Gore level: High

Violence level: High

6. Poltergeist (1982)

Available on:  NowTV (UK), SkyGo (UK), Amazon (US)

If ever there were a film made of a perfect alchemy of director and producer, it’s Poltergeist. Directed by Tobe Hooper, of Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Salem’s Lot fame, and written and produced by Steven Spielberg (of everything), it’s a wonderful blend of both creators’ conceits and talents at the top of their game. Spielberg’s craft in the realm of sketching out warm, believable, desperately human family units and drama, touched by the awe of the fantastical, is the bedrock of the entire film. 

But cutting through it like a clot-caked razor is Hooper’s flair for the nasty and genuinely unsettling. It’s a combination that should be discordant, but it isn’t, instead creating a film in which the supernatural threat is added extra weight by the closeness and care between the characters – something all too absent in far too many horror casts – and whose genuinely chilling imagery and ideas never feel hopeless or insurmountable, however bad things seem to appear. 

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Low

5. Child's Play (1988)

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

The series has long-since slipped into (really good) post-modern self-parody – 2013’s back-to-roots Curse of Chucky and its 2017 follow-up Cult of Chucky notwithstanding – but the 1988 original is a brilliant example of when blending horror and comedy really works. 

Aware of how ludicrous its central concept is – the soul of a dead serial killer possesses the body of a doll, in order to kill and possess its young owner – it nonetheless holds back from playing it for cheap laughs, toying (pardon the accidental pun) with the silly excess of its idea while also delivering a bona fide slasher movie-cum-supernatural horror. It’s a film that understands that neither tempting half of its make-up has to be at the expense of the other, and it’s all the better for it. 

Gore level: Medium

Violence level: Medium

4. Insidious (2011)

(Image credit: Blumhouse)

Available on: Netflix (UK/US), Amazon Video (UK/US) 

At a time when scary movies had started to become, well, not so scary, along came James Wan's ode to haunted house films. This creepy tale takes time to establish the story before making moves on your steadily-increasing pulse.

It starts as most of these movies tend to do: with a family moving into a new home. The Daltons relocate and shortly after settling in, their son falls into a coma and supernatural goings-on commence. Like all good trendsetters the scares are so expertly handled you won't see them coming, and the characters – led by a strong trio of central performances from Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson and Lin Shaye – are believable and likeable. Which makes it all the more terrifying when the demons really cut loose

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Low

3. The Wicker Man (1973)

Available on: NowTV (UK), SkyGo (UK), The Criterion Channel (US)

The king of ‘folk horror’ films, recently popularised by Midsommar, The Wicker Man is the perfect introduction to the most creepingly sinister of genres, covering all of the important thematic and tonal bases, and the requisite, spiralling weirdness, but doing so all by way of a deeply accessible, cleverly slow-burn journey. Following a repressed but stoic, mainland English policeman as he journeys to a remote island to investigate a disappearance, The Wicker Man is the ultimate in isolated fish-out-of-water horror. 

With a slow, gradually all-pervading sense of indefinable wrongness, its glacially closing trap heaps on the tension and stress with every passing moment. It’s a film dripping with cloying anxiety and fatalistic dread, and one whose creeping, inexorable, one-way trip into the depths of an alien nightmare will ultimately shred you at whatever point you see what’s finally coming. If indeed you do at all. 

Gore level: Low

Violence level: Low

2. Carrie (1976)

Available on: Netflix (US), Amazon Prime (US), FuboTV (US), Amazon (UK), iTunes (UK)

Forget the 1999 sequel, the 2002 television movie, and the 2013 remake. The original is the only Carrie that matters. Bolstered by the presence of a ‘proper’ director in The Untouchables and Scarface’s Brian De Palma, it’s one of the best early Stephen King adaptations, delivering real shocks and arresting imagery with no small amount of affecting characterisation and small-town tension. 

With powerful performances throughout, headed up by Sissy Spacek, this story of high-school pressures, small-minded intolerance, and desperately messy, telekinetic fallout is a classic for a great many good reasons. That’s why it’s been remade and riffed on so many times, but it’s also the reason that none of the follow-ups can match it for a second. 

Gore level: Medium

Violence level: Low

1. Battle Royale (2000)

Available on: RakutenTV (UK), Amazon Prime (US), Hoopla (US), TubiTV(US)

The final film of storied director Kinji Fukasaki, Battle Royale is a staggering career mic-drop. A near-future precursor to The Hunger Games, set in a Japan where one high-school class every year is chosen to fight to the death on a remote island in order to quell teenage insubordination, it’s a film that doesn’t for a moment flinch from the harrowing brutality of its concept. But simultaneously it painstakingly explores the emotional and interpersonal impact of the situation with just as much verve. 

As much a traumatic character drama as it is an action-horror movie, Battle Royale is layered with philosophical and political discourse, existential pondering, and a great deal of distressing psychology. One of the smartest treatments of one of the most horrific concepts you can imagine. 

Gore level: High

Violence level: High

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.