31 Spooky Movies to Get You in the Mood for Halloween 👻

If I had to provide a ratio of things I’ve watched in my life scary to non-scary, it would fall somewhere around 90/10. Anyone who knows me knows this is part of my personality at this point. If new scary movies come out, I’ve seen them—and I definitely have opinions on them.

Throughout my past 25 years, I’ve seen just about every horror and thriller movie that a single person could. All this to say: If I’m an authority on anything, it’s scary movies. And when’s the best time to watch a scary movie? Right now, baby.

We still have a few glorious weeks left of spooky season, so there’s no time like now to check off the boxes on a scary movie bucket list. From decades-old classics to lesser-known Netflix gems, curl up on your couch and work through them this spooky season—I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve ranked all movies on a scariness level, 👻  being the least scary, 👻👻👻👻👻  being the scariest I’ve seen (a ranking only four movies in history have earned from me!).

 

1. Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkHulu

Spook rating: 👻

The book this is adapted from, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is half of the reason I am who I am. Growing up, I had yearly Halloween parties with all of my friends. We’d carve pumpkins, watch a movie, and before we went to bed, my dad would read one of these stories to us. The lights would be off, and he’d have a flashlight and would bellow “Whereeeeeeeee issssssss myyyyyyyy toeeeeeeee” (if you know, you know), and then my mom would jump out from somewhere else. All of us would scream, and then nobody (but me) would be able to sleep.

This is very much a movie intended for younger people, but it’s a perfect scare-free movie to get a spooky ambiance with no risk of anyone not being able to sleep at night.

 

2. Practical Magic, $3.99 on Amazon Prime or free with HBO Max subscription

Spook rating: 👻

A classic spooky movie that isn’t scary whatsoever, this is calling your name for a girls’-night-in filled with red wine and all the pumpkin-flavored foods Trader Joe’s has in stock.

 

3. Hocus Pocus, $3.99 on Amazon Prime or free on Disney+

Spook rating: 👻

If you go through a spooky season without watching this—the best nostalgic scary movie of all time—you’re no friend of mine. 

 

4. Halloweentown$3.99 on Amazon Prime or free with Disney+ subscription

Spook rating: 👻

This is one of the most sentimental Halloween movies there is—it’s impossible to go through an October without queuing this up at least once.  

 

5. The Nightmare Before ChristmasDisney+

Spook rating: 👻

I know some of you might see this and say, “But it’s a Christmas movie!”, and to that, I would say that you’re entitled to your opinion, but it’s wrong. This is absolutely a Halloween one—and a phenomenal one at that. 

 

6. Friday the 13th, $2.99 on Amazon Prime or free with HBO Max subscription

Spook rating: 👻👻

You could opt for either the 1980 version or this 2009 remake and get similar experiences (give or take one particularly steamy sex scene). It’s the story we all know: Masked Jason torments a group of hot people at Crystal Lake. This is in the same vein as Halloween, as it’s a teen horror movie that’s not going to leave you too scared to sleep but is still a good movie to watch on an October night when you need something a bit freaky.

 

8. Scream, $3.99 on Amazon Prime or free with HBO Max subscription

Spook rating: 👻👻

There are about a million Scream movies, but nothing beats the original. Courtney Cox’s bangs might be the scariest part of this movie. 

 

7. Get Out$3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

Get Out was one of the most talked-about movies of recent years and for good reason. Jordan Peele completely changed the horror movie game with this. I would argue that it’s more suspenseful than scary, and the social commentary it provides far overrides any horror elements. If its Oscar win somehow didn’t convince you to watch it, now is the time.

 

9. Seven, Hulu

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

Another oldie, but can anyone really argue against watching some young Brad Pitt? Seven follows two detectives—Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, a real dream team—investigating a series of murders that each represents one of the seven deadly sins. It’s dark, captivating, and saves the best twist for the end.

 

10. The Silence of the Lambs, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

I will include this in every scary movie roundup I do in my life for a simple reason: It’s the best movie of all time. It is unparalleled in its storyline and acting and even the genre it hits. If you’ve never seen it, it should absolutely be #1 on your to-be-watched list. 

I gave this 3/5 ghosts because, while there’s not much gore, the principal is quite scary. But everyone on this planet should definitely watch this because of how good the story is. 

 

12. The Woman in the WindowNetflix

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

This much-anticipated book-to-movie adaptation came after everyone and their mother devoured the book back in 2018. Amy Adams plays any mysterious, scary character in a way that sucks the audience in, and she helps in making this one of the best scary movie releases of 2021.

 

13. The Blair Witch Project, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

This is under the “Scary as Hell” category on Hulu, and I would enthusiastically agree with that. I’ve only seen this once in my life, but it has haunted me since. Three filmmakers go into the woods and are haunted by an entity, and it’ll give you that agoraphobic-lost-in-the-woods kind of terror.

 

14. 13 Cameras, free on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

I absolutely adore a scary movie where the antagonist (or shall I say murderer) is a real person and not a ghost or a “Bughuul” (@Sinister), but they are shockingly difficult to find. This is a classic landlord-gone-bad film, and it will leave you wanting nothing more. They did, however, make a sequel entitled—you guessed it—14 Cameras if this wasn’t enough for you.

 

15. Creep, Netflix

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

If you, like me, are a fan of movies where a real person (not a paranormal entity) is the villain, you’ll love this. I didn’t watch it until recently and couldn’t believe it took me so long to check it out. There’s also a sequel you can follow it up with that’s equally as bizarre.

 

16. 1BR, $2.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

This is a brand new addition to Netflix, and after our editor Beth texted me that it was her favorite scary movie she saw last year, I dropped everything to watch it. Sarah moves to LA, and after living in her apartment complex for a few days, she realizes her neighbors are not what they originally seemed. I second Beth’s statement: This is one of the best scary movies of 2020.

 

17. Misery, $6.99 on Amazon Prime or free with HBO Max subscription

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

A Stephen King classic, Misery takes a twist on a hostage movie, with Kathy Bates playing a woman holding her favorite author captive in her house in the woods. It’s more of a thriller than horror and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

 

18. Us$3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

After Jordan Peele’s debut movie Get Out, I didn’t know how he could possibly come up with another story that twisted—but he did, and he did not disappoint. This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, period, and it managed to chill me to my core while also keeping me fully invested in a unique, out-of-the-box storyline (Lupita Nyong’o not getting an Oscar for her performance in this was a crime I’ll never get over, but that’s a rant for another day). 

 

19. Carrie, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

If you haven’t seen this movie, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, but I absolutely needed to include this (plus, I had to acknowledge that Netflix made the right choice by adding the 1976 version instead of the absolute train wreck that is the 2013 remake). If you’re having a girls’ night and are trying to force everyone to watch a horror movie, you can probably choose this one because a) non-scary movie lovers have most likely already seen it and b) it was made in 1976, so you can tell everyone that it can’t be that scary.

 

20. American Psycho, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

This movie is truly disturbing and is a classic for a reason. It’s hard to watch, and an extremely hot man is murdering people left and right. It’s an interesting story about what you do (and don’t) know about people. 

 

21. Halloween, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

You’ve seen it 101 times, and ’tis the season to watch it for 101st. Perhaps the most classic horror movie of all time, Halloween just doesn’t get old.

 

22. Run., Hulu

Spook rating: 👻👻👻

Sarah Paulson has made herself a bit of an icon in the horror genre, and this movie was one of her best pieces of work yet. It flew under the radar but deserves a spot on your watch list as a mother-holds-her-child-hostage story.

 

23. The Babadook, $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

Generally, I don’t love any movie related to the supernatural, but this is one of my favorites of all time because it’s so good. It’s scary with a purpose; it doesn’t just have a million jump scares or gory things but tells a truly scary story. This is perfect for if you want a horror movie but don’t want to deal with blood.

 

11. The Perfection, Netflix

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

Our Beauty Editor Beth Gillette and I watched this together one Saturday night last year, and I would do anything to have footage of our faces as we were reacting to what we were seeing. This movie is, in short, absolutely bizarre. I made my roommates watch it the next day just so I had more people to talk to about it and so they’d stop calling me “dramatic” when I kept saying, “it was the craziest thing I’d ever seen.”

 

24. The VVitch, Hulu or $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

Listen, one of the few rules I follow is that I usually want nothing to do with a period piece, but The VVitch (witch? vitch?) is the exception to that rule. Anything that consists of a town from long ago fearing a girl becoming a witch is superb entertainment, and this is quite scary. The ambiance combined with Anya Taylor-Joy’s acting is *chef’s kiss.*

 

25. Hush, Netflix

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

The concept of this movie is unique and horrifying: A masked lunatic breaks into a deaf woman’s home. Without her being able to hear him (and with him knowing she can’t hear him), things escalate quickly, and the movie will keep you guessing throughout.

 

26. Goodnight Mommy, Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

I distinctly remember this movie trailer coming out and the internet going absolutely wild about it for weeks after, but I didn’t feel like many people actually ended up seeing it. This movie is, in a word, petrifying. It is completely bizarre, and the aesthetics are enough to haunt you for weeks after, but after you see the ending, it turns it into a sleep-with-the-lights-on kind of experience.

 

27. It, $3.99 on Amazon Prime or free with HBO Max subscription

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻

This is—by far—one of the scariest recent movie releases. The child actors in this movie are amazing, and you can follow it up with It Chapter Two, which stars Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain. This is a keep-you-up-at-night, bone-chilling one to check off your list.

 

28. The Strangers, Netflix

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻👻

I’ve mentioned this movie in every horror movie roundup I’ve ever done, and I will continue to until the day I die. This could just be a personal thing—maybe this movie hit me harder than the rest of the general population—but it is one of the few movies I’ve seen that genuinely terrifies me to my very core. I actually can’t sleep every single time I’m at a cottage in Michigan because I think about this movie. If you aren’t scared of potato sack masks, you’re about to be.

 

29. Midsommar, Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻👻

Made by the same studio as Hereditary, this will leave you feeling less petrified and more disturbed. It’s completely unique in its concept and has some of the wildest scenes of any horror movie I’ve ever seen in my life. This movie is a full-blown experience and stands in a league of its own in terms of storyline and acting (Florence Pugh is incredible in it). Another selling point? The entire film takes place in full daylight.

 

30. Sinister, Hulu or $3.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻👻

There was a period of time around 2012 where a group of new-age horror movies came out that were all “meh” (Insidious, The Conjuring, etc.), but this one stood out from the crowd. This movie scared the bajeezus out of me. It scared me more than anything I had seen at the time. To this day, I’ve only watched it one more time, but I think about it approximately once a week. A certain element they included (some spooky tapes that are found in the attic) are one of the most bone-chilling things I’ve ever seen. This is a good one to watch with a group.

 

31. Hereditary, Hulu or $2.99 on Amazon Prime

Spook rating: 👻👻👻👻👻

This is, hands down, one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen in my life. It has so many realistic scenes of things you probably never want to see, but if you want to watch something super scary, this is the one for you. This solidified that Toni Collette is one of the best actresses of our time and you can quote me on that.