Horror movie fans looking to get their gore fix have a friend in Shudder, the streaming service owned by AMC that deals exclusively in the macabre. With lots of original programming, including The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs, the Creepshow anthology, and the excellent In Search of Darkness documentary franchise, there’s never any shortage of creepy content. Check out some of our favorite horror films currently available—blanket-cowering optional. (You can find Shudder in your streaming device library, or via Amazon Prime, which we link to below.)
1. Phantasm (1979)
Director Don Coscarelli chilled audiences with this low-budget shocker about a young man (Michael Baldwin) who runs afoul of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), a malevolent undertaker plotting world domination. The plot is a little out there, but the nightmare visuals have made this an enduring cult classic that has spawned several sequels. Coscarelli has said that he wanted to make a movie that had a scare every five minutes.
2. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Two young boys worry about their mother, who has returned home covered in surgical bandages and who may not be the matriarch they remember. That's the first of many twists in this effective Austrian thriller. Naomi Watts is slated to star in an American remake.
3. Night of the Demons (1988)
Few movie teens in the '80s could get away with a sex-filled party without homicidal consequences, and Night of the Demons is no exception. While hosting a bash at a funeral home, some unfortunate young people accidentally unleash a demonic force. The film was originally titled Halloween Party, but producers of the Halloween franchise objected.
4. Maniac Cop (1988)
Robert Z’Dar lends his formidable presence to this slasher flick about a cop who is believed to be dead, but returns to exact punishment in a way that doesn’t quite align with department policy. Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead franchise) co-stars. Writer Larry Cohen was also behind the It's Alive killer baby franchise.
5. The Beyond (1981)
Italian horror legend Lucio Fulci brings his brand of surrealist theatrics to this well-regarded film about a woman named Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl) who oversees a hotel in Louisiana with a serious zoning problem: It’s situated above the entrance to hell. Because Fulci spoke little English, he directed his American actors by miming, gesturing, and utilizing other body language.
6. Ginger Snaps (2000)
Two best friends (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) find their relationship tested when one of them is bitten by a werewolf, provoking bloodlust that proves slightly more awkward than your normal teen growing pains. Isabelle and Perkins later played sisters in a very different project—a Disney Channel movie titled Another Cinderella Story (2008).
7. Society (1989)
Class issues come to a boil in this imaginatively grotesque feature from Brian Yuzna (producer of 1985’s Re-Animator). Preppie kid Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) discovers his parents (Charles Lucia and Connie Danese) are part of a secret cabal of wealthy Beverly Hills elite who need an orgiastic ritual in order to remain young—a scene you won’t soon forget. Owing to its peculiar tone, Society didn't see a U.S. release until 1992—three years after it had debuted in Europe.
8. Emelie (2016)
Babysitter Emelie (Sarah Bolger) settles in with her young charges for what their parents hope, for them, will be a fun evening out. Back at home, Emelie begins exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior. Bolger has said she and the production shot some of the more disturbing scenes when the child actors were off-set to avoid upsetting them.
9. The Changeling (1980)
George C. Scott stars in this slow burn horror about a bereaved father who relocates to cope with the memory of his dead wife and daughter. In his new home, he encounters a paranormal entity that does little to soothe his nerves. The supernatural elements were reportedly based on a real Denver home in the 1960s. Occupant Russell Hunter claimed water faucets turned on and off by themselves and that the walls of the house sometimes vibrated.
10. Threads (1984)
While not exactly an ‘80s horror staple, the made-for-television BBC film Threads still managed to horrify viewers with its unrelenting and graphic depictions of what a nuclear fallout might look like. During screenings for journalists, more than one person reportedly walked out, finding the experience too unpleasant to bear.
This article originally ran in 2021; it has been updated for 2022.