Looking for some nightmare fuel?
HBO and HBO Max are both bringing the scares with their horror movie collections. You can find some recent Jordan Peele creations, zombie classics, and cult thrillers on the streaming platforms, but if you don’t have time to sort through them all, check out this list of our top picks.
These are the best horror movies on HBO and HBO Max for your Halloween season.
Run Time: 116min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Jordan Peele’s nightmarish follow-up to Get Out cements the director’s status as a master of horror. This twisted tale follows an African-American family on vacation who encounter evil doppelgangers of themselves that hint at an even darker conspiracy. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke play a married couple, Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, who must protect their family from beings known as the “Tethered,” clones who have been trapped underground for decades and who are ready to take over on the surface. Peele takes fans on a thrilling ride, causing us to constantly question what’s real and who’s who, but you probably won’t get a good night’s sleep after watching this thing.
Ready or Not (2019)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Samara Weaving and Adam Brody star in this horror jaunt about a wealthy family with a dark secret. Weaving plays Grace, a young woman set to marry her fiance, Alex, at his family’s estate. Alex comes from money, and Grace quickly discovers that his ancestors pulled some supernatural strings to get rich quick. A deadly game of hide-and-seek and a curse that ends in exploding bodies follow.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return for round two of this haunting horror franchise. Ed and Lorrain travel to London to help a single mother of four children who live in a house plagued by evil spirits. The setting has changed, but the plot stays pretty much the same, with the couple confronting some dark truths about their own natures while trying to save the kids.
The Invisible Man (2020)
Run Time: 124 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Elisabeth Moss stars in this terrifying tale of the consequences of a toxic relationship. Moss plays Cecilia, a woman haunted by the specter of her abusive ex. Everyone believes the guy took his own life, except Cecilia, who he left his immense fortune to with the caveat that she remain of sound mind. The whole film centers on his goal of driving her insane, torturing her in invisible form as her friends and family slowly question her sense of reality. It’s horrifying simply because it could easily be true. And well, he’s invisible, so the jump scares are also strong here.
The Thing (1982)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
That whole adage about surrounding yourself with people you can trust really comes into play in this sci-fi psychological thriller starring Kurt Russell. Russell plays MacReady, a member of a team of scientists and researchers in Antarctica. The freezing cold weather and perpetual night suck, but what ends up proving deadly for these explorers is the shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. When anyone can be the monster, that’s when you know you’re in for a good horror story.
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.4/10
Ridley Scott basically invented sci-fi horror with this alien thriller about a crew on a commercial space tug who must battle a violent extraterrestrial being that’s infiltrated their ship. Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, an officer aboard the Nostromo, who’s forced to face down the titular Alien, an aggressive lifeform intent on killing the ship’s human crew. Most of the action revolves around Weaver’s attempts to destroy the creature and save her shipmates but it’s Scott’s direction behind the camera that creates the suspense and terror this film has become known for.
Run Time: 124 min | IMDb: 8.0/10
With just a few bars on the piano and an oversized mechanical shark, Steven Spielberg terrorized generations of moviegoers with Jaws. The film follows a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer who team up to hunt a great white shark who has a worrisome bloodlust and seems to be targeting a small beach town during the busiest time of the year. Spielberg’s camera work — the lingering, underwater shots, the quick cuts of flesh being torn from bone and rows of teeth flashing to the surface — make this exercise in inciting aquaphobia even more chilling. You’ll never look at a carefree day at the beach the same way again.
The Curse of la Llorona (2019)
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 5.3/10
Linda Cardellini stars in this supernatural horror flick based on Mexican folklore. Cardellini plays Anna, a social worker investigating a case of child negligence when she encounters the titular weeping woman, a ghost who steals children and drowns them. Anna’s own kids are marked by la Llorona as is Anna, and the family fights for survival while uncovering disturbing details about the woman’s life.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Run Time: 86 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
George Romero is a bona fide maestro of horror and it’s this ’80s creation that helped launch our collective fascination with the zombie subgenre. Romero crafts a classic tale — an apocalypse brought on by a zombie horde forces a group of military officers into an underground bunker where they try to survive the worst of the invasion — but he adds just enough humor and gore to make this a truly enjoyable watch.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
This Wes Craven adaptation is, admittedly, hard to sit through. Like its predecessor, it centers on a family that falls prey to a group of cannibals living out in the desert. Unlike the original movie, this thing has perfected its special effects — the monsters are more terrifying than ever — and it doesn’t shy away from showing the rape, death, and destruction the bad guys cause.