Best horror movies on Netflix and Prime
From understated classics to hilarious subversions, here are some of the best horror movies to watch this Halloween
Yes, the premise is ridiculous. Yes, it’s gotten even more ridiculous with two sequels and a prequel. But, the first film in the supremely popular Purge series still stands as a great horror-thriller and offers a dark, allegorical take on violence in America. It’s a base horror film with an intelligent edge.
GERALD'S GAME (Netflix)
Never has a sexy attempt to spice up a marriage ended in such lethal consequences. Jessie (Carla Gugino) is handcuffed to the bed by her husband in a middle-of-nowhere house. He suddenly has a heart attack and she’s left to fend for herself, spending hours without food or water and delving into her own dark psyche.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (Prime)
Despite the hilarious edge, Edgar Wright’s breakthrough zombie movie is no less horrifying. Splattered with buckets of blood and bags of flesh, Shaun of the Dead isn’t light on gore and fear. One scene in particular mirrors the famous intestine-eating scene from George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and even trumps it.
NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF HORROR (Prime)
Travelling all the way back to 1922, the classic silent horror Nosferatu is the most chilling adaptation of Dracula ever put to screen. It’s a key film in the career of F.W. Murnau and the German Expressionist movement, but it’s also terrifying (if a bit dated). Max Schreck’s horrifically tall and imposing figure, wielding two sharp front teeth and devilish eyes, are enough to conjure a nightmare or two.
THE SHINING (Prime)
The scariest and eeriest horror movie ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the famous Stephen King novel is an essential for any film fan. As well as giving us memorable lines like ‘Heeeeeere’s Johnny!’ and ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, it’s also sprouted numerous theories about the world inside the Overlook Hotel (especially in the film’s iconic closing shot). It’s more than a horror film – it’s an investigation.
Probably one of the most gruesome detective-thrillers, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman investigate a serial killer who uses the Seven Deadly Sins as a basis for his murders. This is probably David Fincher’s darkest film (and he is a dark filmmaker), and has plenty of mutilated bodies to feel sick over. Don’t hope for light at the end of the tunnel with this one.
You can’t escape Stephen King on any horror list, and we’ve included three. This one, Misery, returns to King’s classic theme of writer’s block – only this time in the most dangerous circumstances imaginable. Disabled after a car crash, author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) wakes up in the secluded house of Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his number one fan. After reading his latest Misery novel, she is distraught and threatens him to write a new ending… or else.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Prime)
Returning to the walking dead, George A Romero’s classic zombie movie was the one of the first to jumpstart the genre (expanding into a trilogy with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead). After visiting the graveyard with her brother, Barbra (Judith O’Dea) is assaulted by a walking corpse and must escape to safety.
‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’ This is a favourite for film-school students, as it brilliantly breaks down the horror genre in a way that later deconstructive pieces (like Cabin in the Woods) would only dream of. Wes Craven’s entrance into the ‘90s is scary, funny, and cuttingly clever.
AMERICAN PSYCHO (Netflix)
Based on the controversial novel from Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho follows New York investment banker Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) who moonlights as a serial killer. Given such cinematic force and humour by director Mary Harron, this film is often considered preferable to the original book. And you can't go wrong with Christian Bale, even when he's an unsympathetic psychopath.