Here’s my curated list of best Halloween movies streaming on Netflix Instant for 2012. Updated from my popular post last year, these are my favorite movies, and only the stuff I would personally recommend to others. It’s a big list, with everything from goofy comedy gore to truly disturbing horror, and everything in between; check it out below.
Last update: October 20, 2012.
I’m gonna be honest, this year Netflix has slim pickin’s when it comes to Halloween films. I don’t know if it’s due to the rise of rival streaming services, higher costs to license films, or what, but a huge number of my favorite films from last year are no longer available. Please feel free to use last year’s list as inspiration, if you’re looking to rent or buy some good stuff that isn’t available streaming.
I will continue to search and add to this list. I’m also considering a list of films available on other streaming services, if there’s interest.
The standard disclaimer still applies:
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive; it’s made up of films I actually liked, and would recommend to others.
Everything on this list should be available until at least November 1, but please let me know in the comments if something has gone away. Or if there are things I’ve missed, that you’d like to see added!
- Red State
Kevin Smith’s spatterfest. I’ll be honest, this is queued up but I haven’t watched it. But if you’re at all familiar with Kevin Smith’s work, you know what it’ll be like.
- The Last Exorcism
This is another one of those love-it-or-hate-it movies. It’s set up like a documentary following an exorcism. It’s no The Exorcist, but since The Exorcist isn’t on Netflix this year and I can’t find one I like better, this one makes the cut.
- Paranormal Activity 2
Another entry in the Paranormal Activity franchise, which is all about stationary cameras documenting haunted happenings. These movies can creep you right out, if you’re in the right mood, and I usually am.
- Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
A+++++ Would Watch Again!! This is one of my most favorite movies ever, much less horror/Halloween-y movies. It’s a funny, smart sendup of the horror movie genre, in the vein of forever-classics Scream and Cabin in the Woods.
- Session 9
Psychological/suspenseful horror film in which a haunted asylum drives a team of cleaners mad.
- Scream, Blacula, Scream!
Blaxploitation voodoo Dracula, with Pam Grier.
- The Last House on the Left
The parents of two murder and assault victims take revenge on their killers. Wes Craven circa 1972.
- The Fog
Zombie-ghost pirates terrorize a small town in this John Carpenter film. More John Carpenter horror: Prince of Darkness, Village of the Damned.
- Dracula (1931)
The classic, starring Bela Lugosi.
- Leprechaun 5: In the Hood
Can you believe shows like Firefly get canceled, while film series like Leprechaun get five iterations? Me neither. If you like the goofy horror creatures, there’s also Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Rumplestiltskin.
- From Dusk Til Dawn
George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez…and vampires.
- Battle Royale
More of an action film with a lot of blood than a straight-up horror movie, this is an examination of a society on the brink of collapse. To keep the under-30 population docile, classrooms of students are randomly selected to fight each other to death on an island, broadcast live to the rest of the nation. It sounds like the Hunger Games, but it’s not.
- Dark Shadows
Four seasons of the classic daily soap opera from the 60s, which eventually totaled 1,225 episodes. Full of mood and mystery, the show doesn’t introduce the supernatural stuff until about halfway through the first season. This is NOT the Tim Burton remake.
- Aaahh!! Real Monsters
One of the greatest Nickelodeon cartoons, this show is about a group of monster students. Funny, weird, creepy and gross (in a good way).
- Rocko’s Modern Life, Season 3, Episode 3, “Sugar Frosted Frights”
Another Nickelodeon great, about a wallabee and his surreal life. Just this one episode is themed after Halloween.
- If your kids want to watch some Halloween cartoons, this is a good place to start:
Barney: Halloween Party, Thomas & Friends: Halloween Adventures and Children’s Favorites: Halloween Treats.
- House of the Devil
Filmed in the late 00s and set in the 80s, this is a solid revisitation of the classic slasher tropes, with some nice suspense and well-rendered characters thrown in for good measure.
- Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Campy character Elvira causes chaos in her newly adopted hometown.
Another body horror creeper by Takashi Miike. Contains some of the creepiest and most disturbing scenes ever put to film, in my opinion. But that’s also what makes it great. You’ve been warned!
A faux-documentary about vampires in Belgium. Full disclosure, I haven’t watched it yet, but I plan to. So maybe you’ll be interested in it too.
- Three … Extremes
Three of the greatest Asian horror directors make scary shorts – uncompromising and not for the faint of heart.
- Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives
With a title like that, how could you not?
- Day of the Dead (2008)
A remake of the third “of the Dead” films, set after the zombies have overrun the planet…only in this version, they sprint after you instead of slowly, inevitably shuffling.
- The Human Centipede
Gross-out horror. If you don’t know the secret, I won’t spoil it for you. The sequel‘s on Netflix, too.
Korean horror director Chan-wook Park’s take on vampires, with all the comedy, drama and violence that typify his work.
- Dead Snow
- Let the Right One In
A fantastically fresh take on the blood-sucking undead set in a small Swedish village.
- The Inkeepers
A slowly-unfolding ghost story about a haunted hotel. Relies more on psychological horror than anything gory, so if that’s your cup of tea, go for it.
- An American Werewolf in London
This werewolf tale is so evocative, moody and funny, that it doesn’t really matter if the plot wanders a bit. Just sit back and enjoy the transformation scene.
- Ju-On: White Ghost / Black Ghost
Remember when there was a huge spate of American remakes of Japanese horror films? One of the best of those was Ju-On. This isn’t that film; it’s two shorts done in tribute of that film’s 10th anniversary.
- Scream 2
The sequel to the classic horror send-up that shook up the genre, and it’s not half bad.
- Scary Movie
A send-up of the classic horror send-up that shook up the genre. This one is actually pretty bad. But it’s kind of entered that place where it’s nostalgic to watch it, and you may enjoy it for that rather than for its actual quality.
- The Omen
One of the great 70s Satan-fearing, evil-child classics, about the son of the devil who’s raised by human parents who lost their own child. These are the kind of films that really get under my skin, and I love ‘em for it.
Far and away one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen, and I wouldn’t even term it a “horror”, exactly. It’s about what happens when zombies start emerging in and around a small Ontario radio station. As with all of the best zombie movies, it’s all about the people–but the zombie part is pretty innovative and thoughtful, too.
- Donnie Darko
A real mind-bender and one of my favorites, Donnie Darko is about a troubled kid who sleepwalks, explores wormholes and, according to the description, is plagued by “visions of a menacing 6-foot-tall, doomsday-prophesying rabbit.” It’s categorized as psychological fantasy, and that doesn’t do it justice. Watch it!
- Monkey Shines
A quadriplegic man’s souped-up helper monkey starts reading his mind. Things do not go well. Written and directed by George Romero!
- The Masque of the Red Death
Vincent Price in an Edgar Allen Poe story. What more do you need?
- House on Haunted Hill
Another Vincent Price chiller. People are challenged to stay overnight in a truly haunted house.
- Stephen King’s Children of the Corn
Tow-headed children in a rural town murder all of the adults.
- A Tale of Two Sisters
This film was my first introduction to South Korean psychological horror. A great entry point into the genre, if you’re interested. As you may have guessed, it’s about two sisters, who must face their new stepmother (and perhaps a handful of ghosts?) after recovering from their mother’s death.
- Santa Sangre
Difficult to describe this one accurately, so suffice it to say, it’s basically a two hour-long hallucination about circuses. Highly recommended.
- Creature from the Black Lagoon
Classic b-movie creature feature about science, love and silver bikinis.
- Hour of the Wolf
Ingmar Bergman makes slow, drawn-out, surreal movies, and this is one of his best, so if that’s your bag, you’ll really enjoy it. It’s about a painter who fantasizes (or does he?) that the strange people he meets are demons in disguise. Things get strange.
- Mad Monster Party
I love 1960s stop motion, and this one has Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller in it.
A tongue-in-cheek body horror flick. I’m really scared of leeches and I can’t bear to watch this one.
- Troll 2
A movie so terrifically bad, it transcends its badness and becomes amazing. (There was also a great documentary about it and its fandom, “Best Worst Movie”.)
Want the Halloween mood without the scares? Try one of these documentaries:
Suggestions, corrections, additions? Let me know in the comments.