Looking for the best classic horror movies on Netflix for Halloween? Here are the ones you must watch if you’re a fan of the genre—especially if you like a little nostalgia.
There are many among us who are drawn to that characteristically morbid feeling of immersing ourselves in horror stories when knowing we’re perfectly safe. To get the atmosphere and our frame of mind just right—while being able to turn the lights on whenever we want—is oddly satisfying. And the best way to immerse ourselves in that experience is through horror flicks of the highest order, time-tested and sure to frighten. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the genre and are in a nostalgic mood. Either way, if you are even slightly intrigued, then this list is for you. Here are the best classic horror movies on Netflix for this Halloween. And remember: for the best possible results, be sure to turn off the lights!
The Shining (1980)
Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is a writer who is given a job as winter caretaker of a remote, isolated hotel. Warned by his employers about the trying psychological nature of the task (which has claimed victims in the past), Jack finds the hotel’s solitude appealing for his writing and takes his wife and son with him. Soon, they all regret having ever traveled to a place, which, as it turns out, is not what it seems.
Let me be direct: The Shining is, without a doubt, one of the best horror films ever made. Its atmosphere, characters, acting and setting are second to none. Stanley Kubrick’s masterful direction is entirely focused on making you feel the creepiest tension and sheer terror to your very bones, as you follow the characters around what’s probably the best haunted building in the history of cinema: the Overlook Hotel. Based on Stephen King’s famous book of the same name, The Shining is a classic for good reason, and is certainly one of the most memorable cinematic horror experiences out there.
Children Of The Corn (1984)
In a small rural town in Nebraska, a group of children have gathered under the banner of a cult led by the evil entity known only as “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” As the devoted kids become extreme zealots, they look to murder all the local adults and a couple driving through, who must then fight for their lives and escape from the nightmarish town.
Another adaptation from one of Stephen King’s works, Children Of The Corn has gained a cult following over the years and remains one of the oldest adaptations from the famed author’s immense repertoire of horror stories featuring creepy children. It’s far less terrifying than The Shining, for sure, as the plot doesn’t take too long to turn into a traditional heroic adventure rather than sustaining suspense. Still, it’s a worthy classic for those looking to watch a fun horror flick.
A supernatural event is triggered after an accident spills some of Larry Cotton’s blood on the attic floor of an abandoned house, resurrecting Larry’s brother, Frank, who needs a constant supply of blood to complete the process. Julia, Larry’s wife, provides it by luring innocent men into the house, while Kirsty, her daughter, finds a puzzle box that summons the multidimensional sadomasochistic beings called the “Cenobites,” lead by one of the most iconic characters in horror cinema, Pinhead. Soon, things unravel and Kirsty is drawn into a fight for survival as her parents, uncle, and the strange visitors bring chaos to the world.
Established and prolific horror writer Clive Barker makes his directorial debut with this movie, an adaptation of the author’s own novella The Hellbound Heart. The film explores the interconnection and boundaries between pain and pleasure through a depiction of sadomasochism at its worst and has become a classic that delves into the grotesque like few films have since.
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) is a grieving plantation owner who lost his wife and daughter at some point in 1791. After all seems lost, a vampire by the name of Lestat de Lioncourt offers Louis the gift of immortality, and soon the two become a duo who have to deal with the burden of everlasting life and an unquenchable thirst for blood. Louis, in keeping with his humanity, refuses to kill people, while Lestat holds a rather opposing stance. In their own way, each has to find the meaning of being a vampire in a world filled with terrors and dangers particular to their kind.
An engrossing adaptation of Anne Rice’s 1976 gothic novel by the same name, Interview With The Vampire is a brilliant entry to the vampire film genre that truly offers a refreshing take on the seductive undead, even by today’s standards. Before the genre was overpopulated by misfortunes such as The Twilight Saga, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas and Kirsten Dunst provided one of the most enduring and re-watchable vampire stories out there, enriching and developing the vampiric canon like few movies had since Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Five strangers wake up to find themselves in a disorienting compound made up of identical cubical rooms, many of which are rigged with deadly traps. Completely unaware of where they are or how they got there, the group must rally together and figure out the clues in each room so they can escape.
Its surreal atmosphere—complemented with a fitting unsettling score—and original plot made Cube an instant classic and gave it a cult following, spanning two sequels and inspiring an upcoming remake. It’s a great and disturbing film driven by a surprisingly simple premise with a wonderful execution.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
As child psychologist Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) tries to redeem himself after failing to successfully treat one of his previous patients, he meets nine-year-old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), who is certain he can see and communicate with dead people. Soon enough Crowe begins to see there might be some terrifying basis for Cole's claims and fears as he vows to transform the young boy’s life, revealing a shocking truth along the way.
Director M. Night Shyamalan was rocketed into superstardom following the release of The Sixth Sense, his most critically successful film. (And as you may know, under the burden of reproducing its wonder, he has been famously unable to come up with the same quality thereafter.) The Sixth Sense became a cultural phenomenon ever since it premiered in 1999, and it’ll probably be a fan favorite for years to come. The unforgettable acting, intelligent (and unexpected) script, and intense atmosphere of the film work together perfectly to play all the right notes and hit a fantastic horror home-run. To this day, few movies have even come close to the amazing and shocking effect that The Sixth Sense managed to generate in its audiences, and the film still holds up in 2018.
The Witch (2015)
In New England during the 17th century, a family is driven out of its Puritan community and settles on the edge of a remote forest. After their infant child abruptly disappears, the rest of the family members will find themselves haunted by a strange presence as they slowly descend into a destructive madness.
This one’s quite recent, but it’s easy to see why it would be considered an instant classic. With gorgeous photography and an unrivaled atmospheric suspense, The Witch is truly a terrifying wonder to experience and a shining example of the highest artistry of horror cinema. It's inspired by the 17th century’s folk legends about witches and witchcraft, showing us a close look at the raw fear in the minds of the population at that time. And what we find, what we are shown, is nothing short of blood-curdling, bone-chilling, and outright dreadfully disturbing.
So, there you go. Get ready, curl up on your couch, grab a cushion or a significant other to squeeze as you scream in horror, and enjoy your movie marathon.
And let us know how it goes in the comments!
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