Outsider-Approved Horror Movies for Halloween

by Clayton Edwards

Halloween is right around the corner. For me, this is the best time of year. There’s finally a chill in the air and the leaves are still changing. More importantly, it’s horror movie season for all of my pals. Personally, I start celebrating Halloween on July 5 and scary movies are a regular thing for me. However, most folks only watch horror movies around the Halloween season. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your ghoulish gathering or just want to get in the holiday spirit, we’ve got you covered.

A few of the horror buffs on the Outsider team put our heads together for this one. We think we’ve compiled just about the best list of horror movies for Halloween that you’ll find.

Horror Movies Steeped in the Halloween Spirit

Sure, just about any good horror movie goes with Halloween. However, these flicks aren’t just scary. They’re steeped in the holiday spirit. So, it only seems right to start with a couple of movies that’ll boost your festive spirit. Gets some friends together, crack some beers, and enjoy!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Look, Michael Myers/The Shape is an excellent villain. Furthermore, I’ll concede that the original Halloween is a masterpiece. To summarize what could be an essay in and of itself, John Carpenter gave birth to the slasher craze with that film. However, he intended to create an anthology series, not a slasher franchise.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is just about the perfect horror movie for Halloween. The holiday is on display in nearly every frame of this flick. If you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favor and check it out this year.

You can rent or buy it on Prime Video or stream it on AMC+.

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

This anthology film has everything you’d want in a Halloween horror movie. In fact, it has a little something for everyone. Do you want werewolves? It has those. Vengeful spirits? Those too. Serial killers? You betchya. How about a supernatural creature that dispatches people who don’t follow the Rules of Halloween? Yes, and he’s kind of cute.

This one is also a little gory and might get under your skin once or twice. The killer practical effects and expert storytelling have made this flick a cult classic among serious horror fans. Stream it on Hulu or HBO Max or rent in on just about any on-demand service and see why it’s so popular.

The “Classics”

There are plenty of reasons to dust off some older horror movies this Halloween. Maybe it’s for nostalgia. On the other hand, if you’ve never seen them you’ll find out what all the hubbub is about. Either way, put one of these older flicks on your watchlist this month.

The Exorcist (1973)

Can you have a list of horror movies for Halloween without The Exorcist? Probably. I don’t see why you would, though. This movie popularized the demon possession/exorcism sub-genre. Several films tried to imitate it. They all failed.

Linda Blair is phenomenal as the innocent Reagan MacNeil, especially after the ancient Sumerian demon takes possession of her body. Between her acting, the special effects, and William Peter Blatty’s chilling tale of spiritual horror, this is hailed as one of the scariest movies of all time.

If you only watch one of these horror movies this Halloween and you haven’t seen The Exorcist, this should be the one you pick. Stream it on AMC+ or Philo or rent it on Prime.

The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter is a master of horror films. That’s why he keeps showing up on this list. The Thing flopped when it came out. However, it gained traction with horror fans. Today, it’s regarded as a classic, and for good reason. The Thing is a masterpiece. First and foremost, the special effects in this movie are insanely good. They’re so good, in fact, that you could enjoy the movie just for the visuals. It’s so much more than a pretty face, though.

The movie is set in a research center in Antarctica. As a result, you get the twin stressors of isolation and claustrophobia. On top of that, Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimley, and Keith David turn in impressive performances. Then, there’s the stellar score by Ennio Morricone that takes the suspense to a whole new level. If you want to add a dark, brooding horror movie to your Halloween watchlist, this is the one.

Stream it on Starz or Hulu with the Starz add-on, Philo, or Sling, or rent in on VOD.

Hilarious Horror Movies for Halloween

Comedy and horror go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you’re looking for some horror movies that also bring laughs to your Halloween watchlist, these will fit the bill.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

The only movie on this I’ve watched more times than Tucker and Dale vs Evil is The Exorcist. This is one of those horror movies that I come back to all the time –Halloween, middle of the summer, after a long day, just whenever. It’s funny, the characters are truly likable, and the visuals are top-notch. Add some clever writing, spot-on comedic timing, imaginative kills, and a strong cast and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect horror comedy.

Watch it on Sling TV or rent it from a VOD platform. You can thank us after your sides stop hurting.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

A list of horror movies for Halloween would be incomplete without vampires. What We Do in the Shadows has all the vampire action you could ever want. This fanged feature also packs in plenty of laughs. It’s about a group of vampires living in an apartment together. They’re all old vamps from different eras trying to figure out modern life. If you need some fang-baring fun, this is the flick for you.

It looks like you’ll have to rent this one from a VOD platform. However, if you get hooked, they made a series based on the movie that you can stream on Hulu.

Horror That Gets in Your Head

Do you want something more out of your horror movies this Halloween? If you’re tired of all the slashers, ghosts, and monsters, check out something that will get in your head. These flicks play with your expectations and leave you thinking for days. Like mama’s biscuits and gravy, these movies will stick to your ribs.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

This could have been in the “classics” section of this list. However, the cerebral horror drama fits better here. Without giving too much away, it’s about a young couple who move into an apartment building populated by strange neighbors. It’s a tense ride that presents several questions throughout its runtime and answers every one of them in the end. The question most people ponder after this one is, “What would I have done in that situation?”

Stream it on Hulu or rent it on VOD. You’ll be glad you did.

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

The Cabin in the Woods is a must for all kinds of horror fans. By design, it has a little bit of something for everyone. It starts like a stock horror film, with a gang of attractive young adults in a… well… cabin in the woods. By the time the sun sets, things start going wrong. That’s also when the film’s tone changes. This movie takes all of horror’s best-known tropes and turns them on their ear. It’s the definition of subverting expectations.

Stream it on Peacock or rent it on VOD.

Freaky Found Footage Features

Found footage can be a tough subgenre to get into. When it’s done poorly, it’s awful. However, when it’s done right, found footage horror makes you feel like you’re right there in the middle of the action. If you’re looking for some POV scares in your horror movies this Halloween, these won’t disappoint.

V/H/S (2012)

This found-footage anthology takes viewers into the VHS collection of one very twisted individual. Watching this one is like sitting down for several short horror movies and will definitely add some scares to your Halloween. If you’re looking for ghosts, killers, demons, and more V/H/S is your one-stop-shop.

Stream it on Shudder or rent it from any VOD platform.

Hell House LLC (2015)

This one takes place in a haunted attraction in New York. A group of friends buys a run-down haunted hotel in which to build their new attraction. It doesn’t take them long to find out that all the stories about the old building are true. The natural-sounding dialogue and killer camerawork put you right in the middle of all the action.

If you want to add this to your list of horror movies this Halloween, there are plenty of options. You can stream it on Screambox, Fubo, and Prime Video. Tubi and Crackle also have the movie, but they run ads. You can also rent it on Prime.