We love costume contests and and bags of candy, but one of our favorite parts of Halloween is the scary movies. When the sun sets and the wind picks up outside, there’s nothing quite like settling down with a big bowl of popcorn, turning the lights out and hitting play on a creepy movie. And while going to the video store to find a Blu-ray does have a certain charm, the selection of movies available for streaming these days means you can have your pick of literally hundreds of the scariest movies ever made. Watch them when you want, where you want. To help sort through the myriad choices, we picked out some of the best Halloween movie options on Netflix . So fire up the Roku or Apple TV, there’s something here for everyone in the family!
Watching with kids [G/PG]
This, of course, is a tricky situation to make recommendations for, and every parent is going to know what’s best for their kids. We’ll reference Common Sense Media’s age appropriateness rating (when available) for all of the kids and family flicks.
Curious George: A Halloween Boofest – Curious George and Bill go on a Halloween adventure to find the mysterious “No Noggin,” a scarecrow that’s been spooking the countryside. Common Sense Media rates it appropriate for ages 3 and up, with the story treating “spooky Halloween images (for example, ghosts and spiders) with gentle humor and a very mild “boo” factor.”
Hotel Transylvania 2 – Picking up seven years after the original movie, this sequel returns to the Transylvanian hotel, and a world that now knows monsters exist. The whole cast of kooky characters is there, including Mavis and Johnny’s new son, who may or may not have inherited his mother’s vampiric powers. There are no real scares, but a bit of rude humor so it’s suggested for ages 7 and up.
DreamWorks Spooky Stories & Spooky Stories 2 – These collections of animated shorts put everyone’s favorite Dreamworks characters into a series of spooky settings. Watch as Shrek and friends spend the night in Lord Farrquaad’s haunted castle, or see Susan Murphy and the monsters from Monsters vs Aliens take on mutant pumpkins from outer space. Common Sense Media rates it appropriate for ages 6+, saying “there are no worries for most kids, though very young ones might be frightened…”
Corpse Bride – From the mind of Tim Burton, this stop-motion musical is reminiscent of his iconic holiday hit The Nightmare Before Christmas. It follows the adventures of Victor, as he works to escape the netherworld and return to his beloved Victoria, just days before they’re set to be married. Suggested for ages 10+ due to some animated scares, Corpse Bride has an overall positive message.
Goosebumps – Based on the best-selling children’s horror fiction book series, this movie brings R.L. Stine’s literary monsters to life, literally. Jack Black stars as the author whose imaginary creatures escape from the book pages and descend on his Delaware hometown. Its up to his daughter and her friends to save the town from terror. Suggested for ages 9+ due to the variety of monsters and some “rude humor.”
The Boxtrolls – This beautiful, stop-motion animated fantasy film explores the world of trash-collecting trolls who live beneath the hill-top town of Cheesebridge. Though peaceful, the town fears them, and Lord Portley-Rind has set out to exterminate every one of them. Along with their friend, the human boy Eggs, the Boxtrolls must find a way to show the townspeople that they are peaceful. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Rated for ages 9+ due to “tense moments and a very unpleasant villain,” but filled with positive messages.
Jaws – The movie that made two chords strike fear in the hearts of beach-goers around the world. It turned forty last year, but thanks to Steven Spielberg’s tight directing, it still holds up as a stellar example of using suggestion to scare. So while there’s not much screen-time directly devoted to the beast, the movie is still filled with tense moments and a fair bit of blood. Officially rated PG, it would likely be a PG-13 by today’s standards.
Practical Magic – This fantasy film follows the Owens sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) as they use their powers of magic to protect their loved ones from evil forces. Not the scariest flick, but a Halloween favorite that’s found a fond following thanks to the charisma of the leads.
Trollhunter – While not a “horror” movie in the normal sense of the word, Trollhunter is a Norwegian “found footage” fantasy flick chronicling the adventures of a group of—you guessed it—troll hunters. And don’t be turned off by the found footage aspect, this movie uses the trope to its advantage. The result is a tense, often comedic journey through the Norwegian countryside while the hunters pursue an elusive giant mountain troll.
Big Trouble in Little China – Arguably the greatest of the campy 80s action fantasies, if not the greatest movie ever. Kurt Russel plays Jack Burton, a hapless truck driver who is pulled into a mysterious, magical world located under San Francisco’s Chinatown. He teams up with mystical allies to take on the evil sorcerer Lo Pan and save his friend’s fiancee from a curse in this cult classic from horror and sci-fi master John Carpenter.
Hellboy – “There are things that go bump in the night…and we are the ones who bump back.” So says Professor Bruttenholm, head of the Bureau of Paranormal Resarch and Defense, the organization that protects the world from mysterious supernatural forces in this cult comic-book adaptation. Leading the charge is Hellboy, a demon summoned by the Nazis in a last-ditch effort to win WWII. Hellboy, though crude and bad-tempered, now fights for the good guys. A solid action flick filled with dark, foreboding atmosphere.
Blade II – The second movie in a trilogy is often the best (see: Empire Strikes Back, Godfather II, T2, Aliens) and that seems to be the case with this entry in the Blade trilogy. Directed by master of horror Guillermo del Toro, this sequel finds Blade in an uneasy alliance with his vampire enemies in order to combat an even worse evil force.
The Machinist – Christian Bale famously lost over 60 lbs to play the lead in this psychological thriller. The movie traces his descent into madness and delusion as an extended bout of insomnia has him questioning what is real and what is just paranoia. This thoroughly unsettling movie will have you guessing til the end.
The Amityville Horror – Ryan Reynolds plays George Lutz in this remake of the 1979 horror classic. Lutz and his family move into a haunted house and get tormented by evil spirits in this allegedly true tale.
The Relic – While not a straightforward horror movie, this thrilling sci-fi flick follows a detective and anthropologist as they encounter—and try to survive—a mysterious creature running amok in Chicago’s own Field Museum of Natural History.
The Babadook – This indie movie, about an evil monster from a children’s book, made waves when it debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Critics raved about it, praising its ability to genuinely scare viewers without resorting to cheap gimmicks and jump scares. Keep a light on when you watch.
The Crow – Two decades before the current superhero comic book movie explosion, there was The Crow. This dark, noir-ish action/fantasy film is based on the comic book of the same name, and follows Eric Draven, a rock star who comes back from the dead to avenge his and his fiancee’s murders. Dark in every sense of the word, the perfect adult watch on Halloween night.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – By turns gruesome and hilarious, this cult comedy/horror film is unlike anything else you’re likely to watch this Halloween. This less you know going into this one the better, but if you want to laugh while getting grossed out, there’s no better film on Netflix for it. Fans of Shaun of the Dead will likely appreciate this flick.