If you’re looking for something spooky to stream this Halloween, Amazon Prime Video definitely has you covered. For £5.99 a month, the site’s horror line-up is scarily diverse, covering everything from recent remakes and cult comedy to modern and old classics. If subscription VOD services are meant to be missing all the movies from before the 1990s, Amazon’s team clearly didn’t get the memo.
We round up the best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video, some spooky, some silly – all of them perfect for Halloween.
From its effects and its haunting music to its powerful study of faith, doubt and sacrifice, William Friedkin’s 1973 horror about a young girl possessed by the devil is deservedly regarded as one of the scariest films of all time.
Struggling writer Jack and his family move into the deserted Overlook Hotel, only for bad things to happen. But Stanley Kubrick lets the bad things surface slowly, relying on the creepy soundtrack, Jack Nicholson’s unhinged presence and incredibly freaky special effects to set the mood. The masterpiece is so intricately assembled that there’s even a documentary looking at all the conspiracy theories surrounding the movie – including the suggestion that it’s a secret confession to Kubrick helping to fake the moon landin.
Night of the Living Dead
George A Romero’s 1967 classc, which sees a group of people barricaded in a farmhouse to survive the reawakening of the dead, remains as chillingly relevant as ever.
Wes Craven’s spoof inspired a ton of copycat movies when it first arrived in 1996. Smart and dumb, scary and silly, and never less than entertaining, Scream one of the best horror comedies of the modern era. The fact that it could be one of the best horrors too says it all.
Wes Craven’s follow-up to the iconic 90s spoof manages the impossible by matching its blend of knowing smarts and genuine chills, as another psychopath dons the Ghostface mask to haunt the survivors of the first film. Sequences in cinemas and college lecture halls give enough tension to balance out the wry humour. (Scream 3 is also available on Amazon Prime Video UK.)
Ethan Hawke stars in this horror about a true-crime writer, who discovers a cache of videotapes depicting several brutal murders that took place in the house he just bought. A man in a dark room watching spooky movies? This is genuinely scary stuff.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
The greatest Iranian skateboarding vampire Western ever made. Seriously. (Read our full review.)
Train to Busan
Just when you thought that public transport couldn’t get scarier than Southern Rail or the Central Line, along comes Train to Busan, a South Korean horror that puts the “loco” in “locomotive”. Yeon Sang-ho’s brilliantly bonkers zombies-on-a-train flick never puts its foot on the brake. (The animated prequel, Seoul Station, is also available on Amazon Prime Video UK. Read our review.)
An American Werewolf in London
Director John Landis wove hilarious set pieces into this 1981 classic, kicking off a horror-comedy trend that has inspired many other directors to date.
Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi’s horror about a young girl who is cursed by a gypsy woman is full of the cheesy, over-the-top and practical effects that first made the director’s name. A refreshingly old-fashioned piece of scary silliness.
When a group of teens cheat death, death starts to claim back their lives one by one. The result is a string of enjoyably far-fetched death scenes in this innovative horror that kick-started a franchise.
Ben Wheatley put himself the map with this breakout horror, which boasts disturbing performances from Michael Smiley and Neil Maskell. The final third is divisive, but there’s no denying how unsettling the experience is. (See also: High-Rise, Wheatley’s gob-smacking, horrifyingly prescient social satire, which isn’t a horror, but shines a stylish light on the horrors of modern Britain.)
From REC to The Orphanage, Spain is responsible for some of the best horror films in recent years. If you’ve never seen a Spanish scarer, though, Julia’s Eyes is a good place to start: a thriller about a woman who loses her sight… only for her heightened senses to detect something lurking in the darkness of her home.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Bank robbers on the run shelter in a bar that turns out to be far from friendly in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s 1996 action horror. It’s a film of two halves, which would be a problem, if it weren’t so entertaining.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce star as the parents of a young girl who finds the family’s new mansion is also home to critters in the basement that only come out when the lights are off. Guillermo Del Toro’s co-written script keeps the kids’ perspective creepily convincing, while Troy Nixey’s direction plays on moving shadows with genuinely spooky tension.
The Final Destination
Horribly witty and with no sense of fear, the fourth film in the Final Destination series knows its novelty factor inside out – right to the point where this became its first in 3D. Immersive? The future of cinema? Death’s having none of that. This is shallow, gimmicky and completely without artistic merit – and one of the uses of 3D you’ll ever so. From swimming pools and sharp fences to escalators – yes, escalators – this inventively trashy sequel won’t have you ducking out the way, but you will be laughing your head off.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
Even seen a film and wished you skipped the ending? The Last Exorcism is one of those. Up until its misjudged finale, this is a superbly executed idea, following a sham priest who performs fake exorcisms to make money – and to help the affected heal psychologically. Or so he tells us. Breaking the fourth wall with its found footage presentation, the gradual shift from fly-on-the-all comedy to immediate terror is very effective.
This 2008 horror about a couple (Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender) who find themselves hounded by a group of kids by a lake offers food for thought – and a showcase for director James Watkins, who has gone on to helm The Woman in Black and an episode of Black Mirror.
This Aussie horror about some tourists who find themselves captured and tortured by a sinister bushman is graphic, brutal, horrifying stuff.
There’s something about corridors that freaks people out. Is it the ghost of The Shining lurking around the corner? Ti West does well to avoid it in his haunted hotel flick, The Innkeepers. Joining lacklustre staff members Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) for the last few days of business, West’s workplace hangout feels closer to The Office than a horror movie – and that defiantly low-key shamble is mostly its best feature.
John Carpenter’s They Live
Professional WWF wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper plays John Nada, an unemployed construction worker who discovers a pair of sunglasses that, when worn, reveal a world run by upwardly mobile, capitalist, yuppie aliens intent on keeping the human race sedate and brainwashed through advertising and the media.
Tobe Hooper’s 1980s classic follows the close-knit Freeling family, who find their house invaded by otherworldly forces, transforming it into a supernatural sideshow.
Tired of haunted house movies? Try a haunted son movie. James Wan’s horror isn’t any more original than all the other possessed-children genre flicks, but there are some solid scares to be found here.
We Are What We Are
Jim Mickle’s signature brand of slow horror that unsettles without resorting to gore continues with this story of a family, who find themselves left without their food-providing patriarch. And also happen to be cannibals.
This trashy sci-fi about a ship that goes beyond the boundary of space and human sanity combines Sam Neill’s unnerving stare and some strange visuals to truly freaky effect.
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Bela Lugosi stars in Ed Wood’s (unintentionally) seminal sci-fi horror, which sees aliens from outer space reanimate the Earth’s dead in an attempt to save the human race.
House on Haunted Hill (1958)
The inimitable Vincent Price stars as a suave, eccentric millionaire who invites five guests to spend the night in a sinister haunted house, offering each $10,000 but only if they survive until morning.
X The Man with the X Ray Eyes
A doctor uses special eye drops to give himself x-ray vision, but the new power has disastrous consequences in this classic 1960s B-movie.
Rubber (Quentin Dupieux)
If anyone was going to make a film about a rubber tyre blowing people up, it would have to be Quentin Dupieux. He’s French, he did that Flat Eric thing, and he’s clearly bonkers. With Rubber, he’s made a movie that’s as much about a killer tyre as it is about watching movies. It’s an unusual approach for a modern B-Movie, but one that gives it a unique edge. Should it be left as a 20 minute short instead of stretched out to 82 minutes? Perhaps, but that’s partly the point. One debate halfway through about whether an on-set corpse is actually dead or not (depending on if there’s an audience watching) is full of knowing wit – even the film’s smug self-awareness ends up as part of the joke. That and you totally get to see a tyre blow people’s heads off.