Photo via CU Denver News

It’s our favorite time of the year. The month of October calls for pumpkin carving contests, Halloween costumes, and of course, scary movie binges. What would Halloween be without watching a good slasher film?

The horror genre tends to provoke a certain reaction in people. Some shudder at the thought of watching anything scary, while others live for the chance to suspend disbelief for a couple of hours. English film critic Robin Wood famously argued that horror’s “true subject is the struggle for recognition of all that our civilization represses or oppresses.” With that in mind, the divide between horror fans and non-horror fans is not surprising. The unsavoriness of the genre can make viewers feel uneasy. Movies like The Shining (1980) and Silence of the Lambs (1991) are both psychological thrillers that play heavily into the viewer’s subconscious in the most uncomfortable way. People either love the heart-pounding suspense these films create or hate it. Other notable sub-genres include paranormal and Sci-Fi horror, such as the nerve-racking film Poltergeist (1982) and the Sci-Fi thriller, Alien (1979). Both films rely on extraterrestrial beings rather than human characters to create terror. That fear, however unrealistic it appears on the surface, still evokes an emotional response from moviegoers.

Horror films are some of the most experimental and low-budget productions in the industry. It gives a chance for new filmmakers to make a name for themselves and the freedom for creative exploration. Keep reading to find our top horror films that you should watch—even if it’s not Spooky Season!

Horror is the madwoman in the attic of cinema

James Marriott

32 Horror Movies. Only One Can Be The Winner. Are You Ready?

Whether you are an avid horror fan or just getting started, there are plenty of routes to take within the film genre. A fun place to start is often with the ridiculous, horror-comedy films like the Evil Dead series by Sami Raimi. Evil Dead 2 just so happens to be included in our Halloween Madness showdown. Follow along with our horror film bracket and watch all 32 scary movies as an ode to one of entertainment’s most thrilling and controversial film genres. Download the Halloween Madness Bracket.


horror movie bracket 2021

Where to stream the top horror movies

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Directed by George A. Romero

Only available to rent


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

JustWatch Info

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Directed by Sam Raimi

JustWatch Info


SAW (2003)

Directed by James Wan

Only available to rent


Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Directed by Wes Craven

Just Watch Info

The Birds (1963)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

JustWatch Info


Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

JustWatch Info


Candyman (1992)

Directed by Bernard Rose

JustWatch Info


Alien (1979)

Directed by Ridley Scott

JustWatch Info


Scream (1996)

Directed by Wes Craven

JustWatch Info


Hereditary (2018)

Directed by Ari Aster

JustWatch Info


Nosferatu (1922)

Directed by F.W. Murnau

JustWatch Info


Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Directed by Roman Polanski

JustWatch Info


28 Days Later (2002)

Directed by Danny Boyle

JustWatch Info


The Shining (1980)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

JustWatch Info


The Wicker Man (1973)

Directed by Robin Hardy

JustWatch Info


It Follows (2015)

Directed by David Robert Mitchell

JustWatch Info


Psycho (1960)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

JustWatch Info


Halloween (1978)

Directed by John Carpenter

JustWatch Info

JAWS (1975)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

JustWatch Info


IT (2017)

Directed by Andy Muschietti

JustWatch Info


Get Out (2017)

Directed by Jordan Peele

JustWatch Info


The Thing (1982)

Directed by John Carpenter

JustWatch Info


The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Directed by Drew Goddard

JustWatch Info


The Exorcist (1978)

Directed by William Friedkin

JustWatch Info


Frankenstein (1931)

Directed by James Whale

JustWatch Info


The Witch (2015)

Directed by Robert Eggers

JustWatch Info


The Descent (2005)

Directed by Neil Marshall

JustWatch Info


The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Directed by Jonathan Demme

JustWatch Info


The Babadook (2014)

Directed by Jennifer Kent

JustWatch Info


The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Directed by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

JustWatch Info


Carrie (1976)

Directed by Brian De Palma

JustWatch Info