The 25 Best Horror Movies on Shudder (Which Is Fully Worth a Subscription, BTW)
Ghosts, zombies, chainsaw-wielding mad men – all manner of ghastly evils await you in the best horror movies streaming on Shudder. The horror streamer is devoted to all things that go bump in the night, and as a result it’s stacked with classics and indie gems alike. Are you a horror beginner? Start your scary-movie journey with one of the most influential genre films of all time, Night of the Living Dead. Meanwhile, seasoned horror fans will find fresh takes on well-worn tropes in movies like Prevenge and Tigers Are Not Afraid. With its curated collection of terrifying movies and TV shows, Shudder has no shortage of scary and thrilling content, but the movies on this list are the absolute best the streamer has to offer.
Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas got a modern update in 2019, and while that film is more progressive, the ’70s slasher flick is still a nail-biting entry into the genre. Set over holiday break at a sorority house, a group of young women receive increasingly creepy calls that quickly lead to a much darker situation.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Winona Ryder, Gary Oldman, and Keanu Reeves all star in this lush and Gothic take on Dracula. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this stylish horror film doesn’t stray too far from Bram Stoker’s classic novel, and it’s all the better for its faithfulness to the text.
Watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Shudder starting Sept. 1.
The creeping horror of the 1980 film The Changeling is inescapable. This slow-burn story of a man who moves into a haunted house in the wake of the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter creates a palpable sense of grief and dread that will keep you watching straight through to the heart-stopping ending.
Dig Two Graves
There’s not much gore in Dig Two Graves, but there are plenty of scares as a young girl makes a dangerous bargain to bring her brother back from the dead. Anchored by a mesmerizing performance from Samantha Isler, this twisty tale puts a new spin on the old Faustian-bargain trope.
Ever After (Endzeit)
This German horror movie does the impossible: it adds a fresh twist to the standard zombie-apocalypse thriller by including an unnerving fairy-tale element. The Hansel and Gretel-style tale follows two sisters as they leave their community behind in hopes of finding a safe haven beyond the reach of the undead and the equally dangerous living.
This coming-of-age werewolf movie (yes, that’s a thing) brilliantly uses lycanthropy as a metaphor for a teen finding her power as she begins puberty. The movie focuses on sisters Ginger and Brigitte – Ginger is bitten by a werewolf on the night of her first period, leaving Brigitte to save them both – and their bond only adds another layer of depth to an already-terrific story.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
This 2014 Persian-language horror film is wholly original and packed with social commentary. In a world where women are advised never to walk alone at night, a skateboarding vampire exerts her power by turning men who prey on women into her targets in this wonderfully creepy and stylistically daring movie.
Before it launched a blockbuster franchise and earned Jamie Lee Curtis the title of scream queen, Halloween was a low-budget ’70s slasher film that left moviegoers shaking. Michael Myers’s first big-screen appearance is as chilling today as it was then, but it is Curtis as resilient babysitter Laurie Strode that makes the movie’s stakes feel real.
Heathers‘s status as a horror movie is debatable, but if Shudder is going to categorize the high school satire as a scary movie, then we’re not going to argue. After all, there’s no debating the hellish nightmare that is high school or the dreaded mean-girls clique. And thanks to the murderous twists in this ’80s classic, Heathers certainly leaves viewers feeling uneasy.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Forget the 2006 remake, the original The Hills Have Eyes is Wes Craven’s most disturbing film. The iconic director pulls no punches when it comes to depicting the cannibalistic clan that targets a family after their car breaks down too far off the grid for anyone to hear their screams.
Host is the newest film on the list, but its timeliness and execution make it an instant classic. As the first horror movie filmed in quarantine, this story of a Zoom meetup gone horribly wrong manages to build tension and pull off real scares as a group of friends realize their virtual seance summoned an all-too-real malevolent spirit.
The House of the Devil
Babysitters just can’t catch a break in horror movies. This adage remains true in Ti West’s excellent throwback The House of the Devil. Shot in the style of an ’80s scary movie, this slow-burn tale begins when a stranger offers a woman named Samantha a seemingly cushy babysitting gig. The only trouble is, when she shows up for the job, the sprawling home is completely devoid of children. (Keep an eye out for a pre-Little Women Greta Gerwig in this one.)
It’s no secret that as a performer, Nicolas Cage makes some unusual acting choices from time to time. However, the Hollywood star is at the top of his game in this taut thriller about a woman, Mandy, who is targeted by a dangerous cult leader. Cage plays Mandy’s husband, who goes on a bloody quest for vengeance after his wife is taken.
Mayhem deserves a spot on this list for its stellar cast alone – having Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving in the same movie is a definite win – but it also happens to be a clever horror comedy. Imagine all of your favorite characters from The Office turned into killers overnight, and you have a good idea of what this wild tale of a dangerous virus let loose in a law firm is like.
Night of the Living Dead
If you watch just one movie on this list, then make it George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. This hugely influential zombie film touches on everything from racial tensions to the fear of a nuclear incident. While it premiered in 1968, Night of the Living Dead remains every bit as timely and frightening now as it was upon its release.
In the hands of a lesser director, Prevenge could have been silly instead of scary. However, Alice Lowe turns this tale of a woman whose unborn child instructs her to murder people into a wryly funny, surreal, and creepy ode to the uncertainties that come with motherhood.
Jamie Lee Curtis is best known for her role in the Halloween franchise, but she’s just as good in the lesser-known slasher film Prom Night. In this movie, Curtis stars as a senior with a deadly secret that comes back to haunt her and her friends just in time for last big dance of high school.
Based on a true story, The Reef is pure nightmare fuel for anyone with a shark phobia. After a shipwreck strands them in the ocean, a group of friends have no choice but to attempt to swim to safety. Unfortunately, there’s a shark lurking in the water, waiting to pick them off one by one.
Shudder has no shortage of iconic slasher films, but that doesn’t mean Sleepaway Camp should get lost in the shuffle. Set at a camp plagued by a deranged serial killer, the movie tends toward the schlocky, but it’s still a bloody-good time.
Stake Land is a post-apocalyptic vampire film about a teen attempting to journey to the safety of Canada with the help of a ruthless vampire hunter. Fast-paced, gory, and unexpectedly sly, this little-known movie is the very definition of underrated.
Much like The Babadook, Still/Born plays on themes of grief to create a haunting story of a mother fighting for her child and her sanity. When one of Mary’s twins is born dead, she becomes convinced that a demonic presence is coming for her other baby.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leatherface is one of cinema’s most famous villains for good reason. The axe-wielding killer is a monster that feels all too real, which the movie absolutely capitalizes on with its documentary feel. Squeamish viewers beware, the gore and fear factor of this film have not been overstated.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Issa López’s Tigers Are Not Afraid is a beautifully crafted dark fairy tale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s drug wars. The film follows a group of orphans with three magical wishes as they try to avoid the cartel and the ghosts that won’t stop haunting their young lives.
Train to Busan
Zombie movies rarely use space to their advantage, but Train to Busan understands that being trapped on a train with the undead is a whole lot scarier than watching them amble through city streets. Set entirely on a bullet train, the movie not only capitalizes on the claustrophobic nature of its setting, it also plays up the tension among the passengers as they fight to survive in such tight quarters.
We Are What We Are
Here be cannibals. It should be made abundantly clear that We Are What We Are is deeply unsettling. This is a story about a seemingly normal family with a secret: they eat people, and when their matriarch dies, keeping their true nature quiet suddenly becomes a whole lot harder.