Halloween horrors at home

Film treats for a spooktastic Saturday

by Jennie Kermode

They're watching you - but what are you watching?
They're watching you - but what are you watching? Photo: William Warby, under Creative Commons

Having to live with coronavirus restrictions is tough, and never more so than on special occasions. To help you make up for missing trick or treating and fancy dress parties, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best horror films you can enjoy online this Halloween, a mix of old favourites and great new releases sorted by category to make it easier to find what you want. There’s also a little something extra for serious horror fans and those of you missing the chance to meet new people, because at Eye For Film we’ll always do what we can to provide the scare you need.

Coraline
Coraline

Frights for all the family

Coraline – Amazon Prime

A bored girl who has just moved house and whose parents are ignoring her finds her way into a parallel world where she’s the centre of attention – but there could be a terrible price to pay.

Corpse Bride – Netflix

A shy young man accidentally finds himself betrothed to a dead woman, and descends into a world full of very strange creatures as she refuses to let him go.

Hotel Transylvania – Netflix

There’s a monsters’ ball with a difference when Dracula’s daughter comes of age, but the pointy-toothed legend is less than happy when she falls for a human gatecrasher.

Monster House – Netflix

When three kids investigate the house across the street to seek out the secret behind its sinister reputation, they find themselves doing battle with a real architectural horror.

Monsters Inc – Amazon Prime

Is there anything more scary than the thing that crawls out of the closet after the lights are off? Monsters who do just that, using children’s screams to power their world, turn out to have a cuddly side.

Paranorman – Amazon Prime

Young Norman sees dead people and gets bullied as a result, but when an ancient curse threatens the town where he lives, only he can save the day.

Anaconda
Anaconda

Monsters and mayhem

Anaconda – Netflix

When scientists venture deep into the jungle in search of rare orchids that could prolong human life, they have to deal with treachery in the ranks and giant snakes who view them only as snacks.

The Beach House – Shudder

Two couples on romantic getaways find themselves in trouble after something sinister washes up on the shore, triggering a mysterious outbreak of disease.

A Quiet Place – Netflix

Survival relies on silence as monstrous creatures prey on humankind, but a deaf girl and her family are better places than most to defend themselves and search for a solution.

Sea Fever – Hulu

Seafarers’ superstitions come to the fore in this story of sailors – with a scientist on board – who stray into forbidden waters and encounter somrthing nasty under the surface whose spores need hosts.

Species – Netflix

The legendary HR Giger contributed his designs to this tale of what happens when alien DNA is combined with a human embryo, resulting in a beautiful predator who, if she reproduces, could make humans extinct.

Zombeavers - Netflix

They’re small, they’re fluffy, they have a relentless appetite for human flesh and they’re very hard to kill. When a girls’ weekend at the lake turns bloody, a cabin proves a poor retreat from these wood-munching monsters.

Beetlejuice
Beetlejuice

Horror comedies

Beetlejuice – Amazon Prime

As new arrivals set about destroying their lovingly decorated home, a recently deceased couple turn to a fiendish ‘exorcist of the living’ for help, and get much more than they bargained for.

Braindead – Amazon Prime

Known in the US as Dead Alive, this early Peter Jackson film sees a shy young man struggling to escape the tyrannical influence of his mother even after she’s died and become zombified.

Bullets Of Justice – VoD

A brother and sister fight for the human resistance against mutant pigs in a post-Apocalyptic world where anything goes, but is it all really about men’s fashion and who has the world’s best arse?

Dead – VoD

A murdered cop seeks the help of a psychic to track down his killer, but their very different attitudes to life make the investigation even stranger in this cheery and warm-hearted New Zealand comedy.

Ghostbusters – Amazon Prime

The original and still the best, Ivan Reitman’s classic tale about starting a small business amid supernatural shenanigans in New York has all the spooky thrills you could want and a lot of foam too.

Two Heads Creek - VoD

A brother and sister who travel to Australia in search of their birth mother get more than they bargained for in a village whose people have strange appetites and sinister government links. See our interview with writer/star Jordan Waller.

Peeping Tom
Peeping Tom

Serial killer chillers

Chop Chop – VoD

A couple enjoying a romantic evening together are interrupted by a pizza delivery man with vicious intentions, but nothing goes as expected in this clever and highly stylised thriller.

Cold Light Of Day – Arrow Video Channel

This 1989 fictionalised take on the Dennis Nilsen murders uses odd framing to create the sense of distance and dislocation as it explores horrors taking place in a very ordinary setting.

I Am Not A Serial Killer – Amazon Prime

An emotionally distant teenager stalks a serial killer as he explores issues around his own identity, but he’s much more vulnerable than he realises in a film with more than one unexpected twist. See our interview with director Billy O'Brien.

Peeping Tom – BFI Player, Amazon Prime

A photographer murders his models out of a fascination with fear in a pioneering classic which challenged the censors and asks difficult questions of its audience.

Psycho – BFI Player, Vimeo

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic sees a woman on the run stop off at the wrong motel. once seen, never forgotten, it became the template for half a decade of horror wth its shower scene and iconic shrieking score.

Wolf Creek 2 - Netflix

The Wolf Creek franchise draws on another true tale of Outback terror as a young couple try to escape the attentions of its wisecracking butcher - and life could depend on how much they know about Australia. See our interview with star John Jarrett.

Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak

Ghastly ghosts

Crimson Peak – Netflix

There’s high Gothic drama in Guillermo Del Toro’s tale of a young American seduced by an English aristocrat who risks a grisly fate in his remote mansion but whose ability to see ghosts may make all the difference.

The Deeper You Dig – Arrow Video Channel

When a drunk driver kills young Echo and buries her in a shallow grave rather than risk getting caught, she comes back from the dead to haunt him and try to reconnect with her mother.

Ghost Stories – IFC Unlimited

A trio of spooky tales intertwine but there are secrets hidden within them, clues to a larger mystery, as a famous debunker of the supposedly supernatural is challenged to explain them.

Insidious – Netflix

A family is plunged into crisis when a little boy’s dreams give way to coma, but there’s much more going on in this first instalment of a franchise about the shadowy world beyond that known to the living.

The Others – Amazon Prime

Two children are isolated by their paranoid mother in a remote mansion, but the strange phenomena they witness suggest that there could be real dangers close at hand. the truth is stranger still.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Undead, undead, undead...

Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Netflix

Not exactly what it claims to be, this big budget take transforms Stoker’s work into a romance between the living and the undead, with bats and wolves and graveyards and the full works.

Byzantium – IFC Unlimited

A mother and daughter with a secret open a seaside bordello, but though it provides cover for their secret lives it can’t resolve the tension between them as the daughter strikes out in her own direction.

The Cured – IFC Unlimited, Netflix

What happens after a zombie plague if those who were infected have been cured? This sombre Irish tale reflects on feelings of resentment, guilt, and a lingering longing to be part of a pack. See our interview with writer/director David Freyne.

Land Of The Dead – Netflix

Long after the Night of The Living Dead, impoverished survivors living with a constant zombie threat scheme to break into the shining city where the rich live in comfort – but the undead follow in their wake.

Nosferatu – BFI Player, Amazon Prime

Every vampire fan should see FW Murnau’s classic at least once in their lives, with its pioneering visual tricks and unforgettable central performance by the mysterious Max Schreck.

Redcon-1 - Netflix

A group of soldiers embark on a dangerous mission through a zombie-ridden England in this low budget film made possible by literally hundreds of volunteers from around the UK – and it’s better than you’d think. See our interviews with writer/director Chee Keong Cheung and star Oris Erhuero.

The Devil Rides Out
The Devil Rides Out

Occult oddities

Antrum – Digital

Documentary scenes frame supposedly cursed material in this multi-layered film which sees a young boy and his teenage sister trying to save a dog’s soul and finding trouble deep in the woods. Watch it if you dare!

The Devil Rides Out – BFI Player

Christopher Lee plays a man trying to save his friend from a Satanist cult and making dangerous enemies in a film filled with ritual, possession, occult lore and existential horror.

The Hatred – Arrow Video Channel

A girl whose family has been slaughtered by soldiers summons up an evil force to assist her as she sets out across the snowy wastes in search of revenge.

Hereditary – Netflix

Family members are set against one another after finding themselves the recipients of a dark legacy in a film which also muses on the horrors of accidental death.

Sinister – Netflix

A writer gets in deeper than intended after moving into a house where a family was murdered and realising that it seems to be connected to similar murders across the country – with a dark secret behind them.

Swallow
Swallow

Women on the verge

Hagazussa – Amazon Prime

Living alone but for her baby on the borders of a Christian village in 15th Century Austria, a heathen woman faces increasing persecution until driven to take a terrible revenge.

Relic – VoD

A mother and daughter travel out to a remote country house after the former’s mother goes missing, in a film about ageing, dementia, the fear of losing one’s identity and the inevitability of death.

Season Of The Witch – Amazon Prime, Shudder

A frustrated housewife tired of being mistreated by her husband decides to learn witchcraft and take control of her own destiny in this haunting early work by George Romero.

Swallow – Apple TV, Google Play

Alone in the mansion where her husband treats her like an accessory, a young woman develops strange cravings, but they’re just the beginning of a journey of discovery. See our interview with writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis.

The Swerve – iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play

Approaching menopause, another lonely housewife is haunted by strange dreams which just might be real, and engages in increasingly extreme behaviour as she starts to lose control of her sanity.

Santa Sangre
Santa Sangre

Strange and Unusual

Await Further Instructions - Netflix

It’s a little early for Christmas but this festive-set film is natural Halloween viewing, wth a family facing peril after they find their house mysteriously sealed shut and the television their only source of advice.

Donnie Darko – Amazon Prime

The film that made Jake Gyllenhaal a star, this story of teenage life, time travel, Halloween parties and giant rabbit costumes is one of those rare indie gems guaranteed to stay with you.

Eyes Without A Face – Amazon Prime, BFI Player

The precursor of many similar films but still unmatched, this is the haunting tale of a surgeon stealing women’s faces in an attempt to help his disfigured daughter, whose gaze never lets go.

The Mortuary Collection – Shudder

A traditionally styled anthology released just this year, this film sees a mortician and his would-be assistant trying to one-up each other with their stories before darker truths reveal themselves. See our interview with writer/director Ryan Spindell.

Santa Sangre – BFI Player

Disability doesn’t stop a wronged woman from exacting holy retribution as she enlists her psychologically fragile magician son to act as her arms – but can he save the deaf-mute girl he loves?

Something extra

Do you enjoy making your own horror movies, or just dressing up for fun? This free online class by motion capture and physical performance coach Robin Berry will help you play the perfect zombie. Berry works with online acting school The Actors’ Gym and promises to help you blend in with the zombie crowd, so maybe it can also help you to avoid being bitten.

Shudderfest is a day-long online festival happening on Halloween itself, with the videos available to watch the following day as well. It consists of conversations and virtual hangouts with stars including Lin Shaye, Clancy Brown, Robert Englund, Lance Henriksen and more. There are special events focused on The Mortuary Collection (with director Ryan Spindell), The Blair Witch Project, musicians who love horror and the future of black horror.

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