When October arrives with its promise of pumpkin-shaped candy and pleasant scares, it’s all too easy to settle in for a movie marathon of your favorite horror films. The old standbys like Poltergeist, The Shining, and Friday the 13th always get plenty of play — as they should — but there are so many underrated horror movies fans of the genre could be streaming too. As comforting as it is to queue up the classics, there’s plenty to be said for indulging in the unexpected terror that comes from diving into a spooky movie you’ve never seen before.
The horror genre is a vast landscape full of strange nooks and crannies. It’s no wonder some of the best scary films get lost in the mix. These 13 underrated horror movies are all available to stream online, so pick one (or three) and prepare to discover a new favorite Halloween movie you can add to your standard rotation of Wes Craven and George Romero classics.
- Under the Shadow — Netflix
A mother is left alone with her daughter during the bombings in Tehran, and to make matters so much worse she also suspects she’s being haunted. Under the Shadow expertly mixes the horrors of war with the supernatural to create an intense, psychologically rich story of a mother and daughter’s fight for survival.
2. Honeymoon — Netflix
If the idea of marriage makes you paranoid, you may or may not want to watch this eerie film starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway. A happy couple heads off for a secluded honeymoon at a cabin, but their joy quickly turns to suspicion and fear after Leslie’s Bea wanders off into the woods one night.
3. The Witch — Amazon Prime
New England in the 1630s is already creepy. When you add in a demonic goat, a devil-fearing father, and a hefty dose of seclusion you get a deeply unsettling tale with mounting suspense and a nearly flawless ending.
4. Maggie — Epix/Hulu
Arnold Schwarzenegger gives his best performance in years as a man trying to find a cure for his daughter after she is infected with a zombie virus. His desperate journey to save Maggie will break your heart while also keeping you on the edge of the couch.
5. The House of the Devil — Shudder
Ti West is one of the best directors working in horror today, but his movies never get enough love. This ’80s throwback about a young woman who accepts a babysitting job at a creaking mansion on the outskirts of town is no different.
6. Krampus — HBO Now
Are you irrationally angry about stores already having Christmas decorations up? Then settle in for this horror comedy starring Adam Scott. After a visit from Krampus you’ll see that even that giant inflatable Rudolph hanging out in your local Wal-Mart can be foreboding under the right circumstances.
7. The Girl With All The Gifts — Amazon Prime
Can a zombie be trusted? That’s the question at the heart of this bleak, apocalyptic tale of one little girl’s quest for love and survival, despite her undead state.
8. The Crazies — Starz
A close-knit community begins to turn on one another in a remake that’s just as terrifying as the 1973 classic.
9. Haunter — Hulu/IFC/Shudder/Netflix
Nothing ever changes for this teen caught in a time loop, and when she sets out to find out why, she makes a horrifying discovery that changes her family’s life forever.
10. Vacancy — Starz
An unhappy marriage provides the backbone for a thriller that will make you think twice about pulling over at a random hotel after a long day of driving.
11. The Blackcoat’s Daughter — Amazon Prime
One girl is left behind at her Catholic boarding school as her parents are running suspiciously late, and another is out hitchhiking in the freezing cold. How their stories connect will leave you shocked, scared, and more than a little impressed.
12. Stonehearst Asylum — Netflix
This is one of those movies that Netflix keeps suggesting to you, and you just keep ignoring. Well, it’s time to stop ignoring their suggestion because this is an old-fashioned scarefest set in an asylum with a mystery element designed to keep you guessing.
13. Creep — Netflix
Creep makes an excellent case for the mumblecore horror genre to become an actual thing in this tale of a man who is strapped for cash and the assignment he takes on that goes horribly awry.
Take a break from your go-to Halloween favorites tonight, and try one of these horror movies that deserve more love instead — and if you end up losing a little sleep in the process, remember, ’tis the season for scares.