As much as we love outdoor movie screenings—not to mention summer’s big ‘n’ dumb blockbusters—there’s nothing like a horror film to get the juices flowing. And there’s no need to wait to October to watch the best Halloween movies. Netflix offers plentiful options year-round for stay-at-home horror freaks. We’ve browsed every subcategory and found these 10 best horror movies on Netflix, sure to draw you closer to whomever is shivering next to you on the couch.
RECOMMENDED: See all of the best movies on Netflix
Best horror movies on Netflix
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
From a certain perspective, all of Kubrick’s movies are horror films: 2001’s terrifying cosmic loneliness, Dr. Strangelove’s cheery annihilation, the death duels from Barry Lyndon. Which is all by way of saying that when the director finally got around to making a proper thriller, he paradoxically produced the ultimate comic satire on the American family. With blood in elevators. Essential.
Watch if you liked: The Conjuring
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
The finest film of its decade, David Lynch’s terrifying comeback begins as a sordid Los Angeles noir; eventually, it punches its way to a cosmic cynicism rarely achieved in cinema. In the troubled autumn of its 2001 release, we may have understood the movie’s anxieties all too well. Mulholland Drive is the monster behind the diner; it's the self-delusional dream turned into nightmare.
Watch if you liked: Blue Velvet
Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Aussie Jennifer Kent’s supremely confident feature debut already feels like a horror classic, restoring the genre to its psychological prestige while turning the monstrous-mommy gimmick on its head. Inventive, recognizably real and scary as fuck, the film staked out a shadowy domestic terrain last dominated by Roman Polanski.
Watch if you liked: Rosemary’s Baby
Director: John Landis
Cast: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne
This near-perfect blend of Jewish humor and horror from John Landis (Animal House) was a seminal movie for burgeoning cinegeeks and Fangoria subscribers in the ’80s; thankfully, it’s also one of the few scary comedies from the era that doesn’t seem dated. The transformation scene, ingeniously set to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” remains a highlight.
Watch if you liked: Shaun of the Dead
Directors: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez
Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard
Even with the volume pumped up, it’s less terrifying than creepy, but on those limited grounds, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s low-budget hit is pure gold. The scariest part is how these kids can’t put their cameras down, regardless of how much supernatural danger they’re in. Don’t say this film wasn’t prophetic.
Watch if you liked: The Witch
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Pay your respects to the late Wes Craven by returning to his most enduring creation, a dream killer with razors for fingernails. You know his name. And yes, that is indeed Johnny Depp getting wasted in the water bed, one of the movie’s bloodiest kills. This film has a deeper level (expressed by mom Ronee Blakley), about the sins of the parents being returned upon their children.
Watch if you liked: Saw
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hie-bong, Park Hae-il
A huge tadpole terrorizes Seoul in Bong’s ode to mutant-creatures-run-amok films—complete with the usual dollop of political paranoia. The director would go on to make the expressly class-conscious Snowpiercer, but this one is just as effective.
Watch if you liked: Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh
With Twilight in the rearview mirror, vampires had a rebound in 2014, thanks in part to this pulse-quickening debut by Ana Lily Amirpour. She’s an L.A.-based director who infuses her nighttime tale with weird Lynchian lulls, spaghetti-Western–sounding deep cuts and prickly gender politics.
Watch if you liked: Only Lovers Left Alive
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
We open in the heart of Michael Myers country, a suburb populated by long-limbed teenage girls and their scruffy, oversexed male admirers. When Jay (Maika Monroe) makes the mistake of sleeping with one of the aforementioned boys, she finds herself followed by a mysterious, slow-moving presence (the camera itself) that can assume any human form. The film possesses the folklorish simplicity of an urban legend, with the added spice of a smartly deployed STD metaphor.
Watch if you liked: Halloween
Director: Rodney Ascher
It must be the case that a godlike filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick thought of every angle, right? Maybe not: Filmmaker Rodney Ascher takes this question as a winking premise, as he collects the theories of five fans obsessed with The Shining—normal folk, you imagine, until they begin to speak and reveal hours spent in the dark with their weird ideas.
Watch if you liked: The Shining