Some people thrive in the summer months. But you? Who needs Vitamin D? Some of us are already counting down the days until October, when it’s formally time to get your scare on. (Though we support year-round horror fans wholeheartedly.) That’s why it’s important to have streaming sites like Netflix at the ready, with extensive libraries of horror movies so you can have a build-your-own Halloween movie marathon any night old night. (Or, every night.) You won’t need to conjure any spirit guides to build your watch list. We’ve already summoned the best of Netflix’s spooky and supernatural selections (along with some scaredy-cat-friendly gems) for a perfect shriek-fest.
So dive in (we really recommend you start with His House), and when your lazy friends come around later in the fall with the question, “Which scary movie should we tackle first?” you already have an arsenal of choices prepared to scare the hell out of them.
In 2010 supernatural thriller Insidious, a family moves into a new home only to have their son fall into a coma after an incident in the attic. But this isn’t your average coma, of course—evil lurks in the home. This first film now has three sequels, if you’re feeling like a horror marathon tonight.
The first film in The Conjuring universe is on Netflix, and there’s nothing quite like a horror film based on real people and (allegedly) real events to get your scary juices flowing. In this movie, paranormal investigators and real-life couple Ed and Lorraine Warren come to help the Perron family, who’s are experiencing terrifying events in their Rhode Island farmhouse.
Things Heard and Seen
Amanda Seyfried, what are you doing in his haunted house? The story here follows a young woman who left Manhattan for a more pastoral life, but quickly comes to realize that the house she inhabits (and the husband she moved into it with) aren’t exactly what they originally seemed.
The horror genre has a bad habit of repeating what it’s already done well, but His House defies that urge entirely. A remarkable entry into the genre, the film follows a South Sudanese couple who escaped the throes of living in a war-torn state, only to land in an English town with its own damning qualities…of the supernatural kind.
The Fear Street Trilogy
Teen slasher films will always be en vogue, and Fear Street is proof of that. The trilogy, set across four centuries and three films, follows a group of teens trying to unravel the mystery of a killer whose reign has endured for far too many years, with far too many victims.
Army of the Dead
Zack Snyder really said, “I’m going to put something on every streaming service this year.” The film follows the survivors of a zombie apocalypse traveling to a Vegas quarantine zone or supplies. Come for Dave Bautista. Stay for Tig Notaro. Oh, and please don’t pet the zombies.
Nothing is scarier than a pubescent boy coming of age and realizing he’s got a crush on his babysitter. Unless, said babysitter is in a demonic cult that sacrifices random dudes in your parents kitchen.
Something like A Quiet Place with a twist, Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as a mother who must rescue herself and her children from an ominous force that kills all victims who see it. Their path to safety hangs by one fragile protection against peril: blindfolds.
It Comes At Night
Two families form an alliance for post-apocalyptic survival in this Trey Edward Shults-directed psychological thriller. As they attempt to bond against their shared outside dangers, an internal threat rears its head.
There’s something about stories that feature dolls coming to life—the Halloween industry and scary-movie lovers are all about them. People who have an irrational fear of dolls coming to life (*raises hand*) probably are not. But if you can stomach it, this 2018 film is about a toy manufacturer and his wife, who are terrorized by their niece who tries to summon her late mother’s spirit. Soon, a cursed doll named Sabrina begins to haunt the family. Not to be confused with Sabrina the Teenage Witch (the funny or the scary one).
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on television, pop culture, food, and the south; he is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Assistant Content Strategy Editor
Lauren Kranc is the assistant content strategy editor at Esquire, where she runs the brand’s social media accounts and covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow an expertise on true crime shows
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