Top horror films on BFI Player
James R | On 31, Oct 2021
BFI Player presents itself as a gateway to global cinema and it’s not kidding, offering a collection of arthouse and world cinema to subscribers, alongside its pay-per-view rental releases and free archive titles and silent movie shorts.
Among the revered classics and prestigious masterpieces, though, lie an equally formidable collection of genre cinema greats, from Jean Rollin to Lars von Trier and everything in between.
Here are the best horror films to stream with a BFI Player subscription:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
The greatest Iranian skateboarding vampire Western ever made. Read our full review
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Werner Herzog’s remake of F.W. Murnau’s vampire classic proves that there’s always a way to take another look at a familiar tale.
Three years after a shattering personal tragedy, Elin and Tobias’ marriage is at breaking point, and so they embark on that time-honoured tradition of camping – a decision that sets in motion a disorient, devastating study of grief.
David Cronenberg’s The Brood is a chillingly twisted masterpiece of visceral intensity, considered by many as one of the scariest and terrifying films of all time. Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) experiments with “Psychoplasmics” a radical therapy designed to release pent-up emotions in his patients. He keeps his best and brightest patient, Nola (Samantha Eggar), in isolation. But as she successfully vents her rage and expels her demons during the sessions a series of brutal murders will unleash a whole new breed of terror.
The Nude Vampire
Jean Rollin’s second vampire film, 1969’s The Nude Vampire is a typically surreal, sensual affair.
As shocking as it is visually stunning, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is one of the most controversial films of recent years. Chaos reigns in its exploration of therapy through the lens of pastoral fairytale horror.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Tobe Hooper’s seminal film changed American horror cinema forever. Read our full review
A murderous mother-and-daughter team are upended by a masked samurai in Kaneto Shindo’s parable on consumerism and the destructiveness of desire is one of the most distinctive Japanese films of the 20th century.
Santa Sangre (1989)
Alejandro Jodorowsky teams up with Claudio Argento for this horror about a boy who escapes from the circus, later reuniting with his mother to form a bizarre and murderous double-act. It’s as surreal and graphic as you’d expect from the Chilean filmmaker, a combination that has earned it cult status.
Olivier Assayas captures the uncertainty of the digital age in a haunting drama of isolation. Read our full review
Nobuhiko Obayashi’s funny, scary and inventive haunted house ride is quite unlike any other horror film you’ve seen.
Hideo Nakata’s chilling, imaginative horror is as unsettling as it is influential.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Robert Wiene’s silent horror is a seminal piece of expressionist cinema, delving into the bizarre, surreal mystery of a somnambulist who appears to have killed a man – but is he actually under the control of the mysterious Dr. Caligari?
David Cronenberg’s coolly clinical sci-fi Scanners is mind-blowing art for outsiders. Read our full review
Widower Shigeharu seeks advice on how to find a new wife from a colleague. Taking advantage of their position as a film company, they stage an audition. Interviewing a series of women, Shigeharu is enchanted by the quiet Asami. But soon things take a twisted turn as Asami isn’t what she seems to be in Takashi Miike’s controversial thriller.
A traveller arrives at a countryside inn seemingly beckoned by haunted forces. His growing acquaintance with the family living there soon opens up a network of associations between the dead and the living, which pulls him into an unsettling mystery. At its core: the troubled, chaste daughter Gisèle. Carl Theodor Dreyer’s tale is an iconic silent horror.
Presenting an alternate dystopian vision of turn-of-the-millennium Japan, the shocking and highly influential satire follows 42 junior high school students who are dispatched to a remote island, each given individual weapons and ordered to go out and kill one other – an extreme method of addressing concerns about juvenile delinquency.
What We Do in the Shadows
Taiki Waititi’s vampire comedy is moving, clever and mercilessly quick, but most of all, it’s bleeding funny. Read our full review
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