By The TV Answer Man team.
TV Answer Man, I love Halloween and scary movies. Do you have any recommendations for the best scary movies ever? — Darla, Washington, D.C.
Darla, there’s nothing more fun than watching a well-crafted horror film, particularly on Halloween night. We have five recommendations for the best horror films ever — and where you can stream them tonight!
1. Psycho (1960)
Directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho remains a timeless classic that redefined the horror genre. The film follows Marion Crane, a secretary who embezzles money and checks into a remote motel run by the enigmatic Norman Bates. Hitchcock’s masterful direction, combined with Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score, creates an atmosphere of suspense that is palpable throughout the film. Janet Leigh’s unforgettable shower scene has become synonymous with horror cinema, forever ingrained in the collective psyche of moviegoers.
Streaming now on Peacock.
2. The Shining (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s novel and directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is a psychological horror masterpiece. Jack Nicholson delivers a tour-de-force performance as Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic who becomes the caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel during its off-season. The film’s chilling atmosphere, unsettling imagery, and Kubrick’s meticulous attention to detail combine to create an unforgettable cinematic experience. “Here’s Johnny!” has become one of the most iconic lines in film history, encapsulating the terror of the movie.
Streaming now on Max.
3. The Exorcist (1973)
Directed by William Friedkin and based on William Peter Blatty’s novel, The Exorcist remains one of the most terrifying films ever made. The story revolves around the possession of a young girl named Regan and the battle between good and evil that ensues as two priests attempt to save her soul. The film’s groundbreaking special effects, haunting score, and stellar performances, especially by Linda Blair as Regan, contribute to its status as a horror classic. “The Exorcist” not only shocked audiences but also delved deep into themes of faith and the supernatural, leaving a lasting impact on the genre.
Streaming now on Vudu.
4. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter’s Halloween is a seminal slasher film that set the standard for the genre. The movie follows Michael Myers, a masked serial killer who escapes from a mental institution and returns to his hometown to terrorize a group of teenagers. Carpenter’s minimalist approach, coupled with the eerie score he composed, creates an atmosphere of dread and anticipation. Jamie Lee Curtis’s portrayal of Laurie Strode adds depth to the film’s protagonist, making her one of the most memorable final girls in horror history. Halloween spawned numerous sequels and a franchise, solidifying its place in horror lore.
Streaming now for free on Crackle.
5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Directed by George A. Romero, Night of the Living Dead is a groundbreaking film that redefined the zombie genre. Made on a shoestring budget, the movie follows a group of people trapped in a farmhouse as they fend off hordes of reanimated corpses. Romero’s social commentary on race and society, combined with the film’s visceral horror and relentless tension, makes it a landmark in horror cinema. Night of the Living Dead not only influenced generations of filmmakers but also introduced the concept of the modern zombie, shaping the horror landscape for years to come.
Streaming now for free on Pluto TV.
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— Phillip Swann